Do Shrimp in a Fish Tank Need a Heater?

Shrimps are beautiful creatures that can be kept in a fish tank.

If you are a busy person, shrimps are ideal pets as they are not very demanding and easy to take care of.

Just adding a few plants and supplements to a typical aquarium tank is enough to make a comfortable home for these freshwater shrimps where they can thrive.

So how easy are shrimps to take care of? Do they require a specific temperature of the water?

Will the shrimps survive with or without a heater? Read our guide to learn more about these fantastic creatures and whether they need a heater.

Do Shrimps Need a Heater?

Each species of shrimps requires different sets of conditions to survive. Freshwater shrimp naturally occur in lakes that have slightly warmer temperatures.

Thus, shrimps have a better chance of surviving in homes when their natural habitat is imitated as closely as possible.

It is why aquariums should be accompanied by a heater that can fix the temperature of the water according to the shrimp’s requirement.

Since different types of shrimps thrive in different temperatures, a thermostat fixed with an aquarium can get the job done.

However, there are many pros and cons of having a heater attached to your aquarium tank that need to be weighed before you make any decision.

This article will go through everything you need to know related to different species of freshwater shrimps and which type of aquarium or heater is good for them.

Different Types of Shrimps and What Temperature Do They Require?

We have listed down the ten most common types of shrimps that would make a good addition to your aquarium and the temperature conditions that suit each of them the best.

Panda Shrimp

These are one of the most demanding pets. They require a particular set of environmental conditions to survive, except temperature.

They can thrive fine at an extensive range of temperatures from 62⁰F to 75⁰F.

Crystal Red Shrimp

They are related to the Panda shrimps. They prefer an almost similar temperature range, from 65⁰F to 75⁰F.

Heaters can maintain this constant temperature.

Blue Tiger Shrimp

They also thrive best in a range of 65⁰F to 75⁰F.

Having a heater is preferred.

Blue Bolt Shrimp

These are similar to the Blue Tiger Shrimps and would prefer water temperature of 65⁰F to 75⁰F.

Ghost Shrimp

These shrimps require a heater to survive, as they need temperatures between 70⁰F  to 80⁰F to live.

Red Cherry Shrimp

These shrimps also grow well in heated waters only.

Heaters can warm the water between the range of 77⁰F to 81⁰F, as preferred by the shrimps.

Snowball Shrimp

These are related to the Red Cherry shrimps but can survive in a broader temperature range from 65⁰F  to 85⁰F.

However, a heater is preferred to keep the temperature within range.

Amano Shrimp

They also live only in a short range of 77⁰F to 81⁰F only.

Babaulti Shrimp

These shrimps are beautiful yet require care to thrive.

They live best between temperatures of 77⁰F to 81⁰F.

Cardinal Shrimp

Native to Indonesia, these shrimps are used in hot and humid weather.

Heaters are able to warm it up to 77⁰F to 88⁰F, which they prefer.

Also read: How Many Shrimp Can You Put in Your Aquarium?

Advantages of Keeping a Heater for Shrimps

There are several advantages of having an external heater, especially if you have shrimp in your fish tank.

Stable Temperature

Freshwater shrimps are very susceptible to temperature changes. Their whole lives quite literally depend on the temperature. They reproduce only when the temperature is warm.

Fluctuating temperatures will cause a considerable amount of stress on the shrimp.

Higher water temperatures facilitate their breeding cycle and allow them to molt easily. However, these temperatures shouldn’t exceed a certain limit.

On the other hand, lower water temperatures slow their growth rate.

If the place where you live has stable or moderate weather that does not change too much, then you may not need to install a heater in the aquarium for your shrimp.

However, if you live in an area where the temperature can fall or rise to either extreme, having a temperature-controlling thermostat is extremely important to ensure the life cycle of the shrimp is not disturbed.

Molting is a vulnerable time for shrimps.

If the temperature is too warm when they are supposed to undergo molting, the shrimp will not be able to grow out their new exoskeleton.

If the temperature is too cold when they are supposed to mate, the shrimps will become stressed and not reproduce. Their growth will slow down.

Allows for Keeping Different Types of Shrimp

While many shrimp are comfortable living at room temperature, some shrimp types cannot acclimate themselves to it.

Having a heater allows you to keep different types of shrimp-like Cardinal Sulawesi, which prefers a warmer environment.

A heater will also replicate their natural habitat conditions and temperature. This will allow the shrimp, along with other species, to adjust to their environment and get comfortable quicker.

Also read: What Fishes are Safe to keep with Shrimps in Aquarium?

A Heater Helps with Breeding Shrimp

Shrimp will only start their breeding cycles when the temperature is sufficiently warm for them.

Breeding can also start if your room temperature alone is high enough for it.

Having a heater allows you to regulate the temperature and trigger the shrimp’s reproduction cycles. It also improves their metabolism.

If you want to breed shrimps that live in places with different temperature requirements, a heater will do you good.

You will even be able to breed species like the Cardinal Sulawesi, which is only found in Indonesia, where they live in the warm Sulawesi lakes

Avoids Repeated Molting Cycles

Molting is when shrimp shed their outer cover or layer. Although this is a necessary process, it needs to be done at appropriate times.

With optimum water temperature levels, shrimp will molt naturally without any problems.

It is important to note that if the temperature is higher than required, it will accelerate their shrimp’s growth.

This will lead to molting cycles occurring again and again. If this happens, your shrimp will show signs of stress and discomfort.

Improves Quality of Offspring

We know that shrimp breed in higher water temperatures. However, having a constantly high temperature will result in breeding cycles happening repeatedly.

Not only will this make your fish tank full of shrimp, but it also produces weaker shrimp.

By using your heater, you can control the frequency of shrimp reproduction and stop them from overpopulating your aquarium.

Disadvantages of Keeping a Heater

There are some minor drawbacks as well when you add a heater to your fish tank with shrimps.


Heaters take up a considerable amount of space. If you have a relatively small tank with different types of décors already in it, a heater will take up a lot of space.

Furthermore, from a purely aesthetic perspective, heaters somewhat ruin the visual appeal of your fish tank.

Regular Maintenance Required

There is no heater out there that is built to last forever. Installing a heater requires constantly checking to make sure there is no damage or malfunction.

In case of malfunction, the water temperature will start rising or dropping. If the water is overheated, the shrimp will be boiled.

Hence, fish owners need to regularly check their heaters are functioning properly.

Does Your Room Have Ideal Temperature for Shrimp?

Ideally, your room temperature should be between 72 degrees Fahrenheit to 84 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius to 29 degrees Celsius, respectively).

This is the right amount of temperature for shrimp.

At these temperatures, your shrimp will grow healthily. They will have a normal appetite and will start their reproduction cycles too.

Types of Heaters for Fish Tanks with Shrimps

There are different types of heaters commonly used by fish tank owners.

Among these, the submersible and immersible heaters have similar looks, but they work quite differently from each other.

Immersible Heater

Immersible heaters are placed vertically in the fish tank.

Since these heaters aren’t waterproof, the control mechanism needs to be above the water surface.

Submersible Heater

Submersible heaters, on the other hand, can be placed completely inside the water.

They are completely waterproof and can be placed horizontally.

Substrate Heater

Substrate heaters are put beneath the substrate of the fish tank.

The main benefit of substrate heaters is that it is completely out of sight; hence your fish tank remains beautiful to look at.

Furthermore, substrate heaters do not take up space in your fish tank.

The flip side of substrate filters is that, should anything happen, you can’t reach them easily.

If there is a problem or a malfunction, the fish tank will have to be dismantled to access the substrate heater.

Filter Heater

Filter heaters are useful because they stay out of sight and are easy to access if there is a problem.

Fish tank owners install filter heaters by attaching them to the external filter.

Are Heaters Dangerous for Shrimp?

Heaters are only dangerous for shrimp and fish if they break. The outer side of the heater can crack, causing a leak.

If this happens, there is a high chance of your aquarium pets getting electrocuted.

All heaters will eventually break down if they are used for a long time. You cannot prevent a heater from breaking down at all.

Hence, it is important to recognize early on when it is time to replace your heater.

Similarly, your thermostats can also prove to be dangerous for your aquarium pets if they malfunction.

Thermostats will either stop heating the water, or it will cause the water to become too hot.

In both cases, your fish and shrimp will suffer a lot. Many of them might even die from such rapid temperature fluctuations.

Which Tank Heaters are Best for Freshwater Shrimps?

Let’s now have a look at some of the best heaters you can get for shrimps.

Fluval E Electronic Heater

Fluval E Electronic Heater is easily the best heater on the market. Some would say it is too good if you only need it for shrimps.

This heater has a wide range of temperature controls between 68⁰F to 93⁰F. Such temperature is suitable only for shrimps that prefer very high temperatures or other tropic fish.

It has a clean-cut design that makes it look good when installed with the aquarium.

It has many other functions, such as the detection of water levels. It automatically turns off when the aquarium’s water level starts getting low.

So many features mean that this tank is a bit more on the expensive side.

Cobalt Aquatics Neo-Therm Heater

Cobalt Aquatics Neo-Therm is a heater that is better suited for breeding shrimps.

It comes in more sizes that are able to fit as many shrimps as you want, even if it’s just one.

It has a wider temperature range than the Fluval E Electronic and is suitable for shrimps that prefer lower temperatures like 66⁰F to 96⁰F.

It has a modern design that does not ruin the aesthetic of the aquarium either. Despite its cool features, the Cobalt is still a heater considered too expensive for just shrimps.

Aqueon Adjustable Pro Heater

Compared to the Fluval or Cobalt, the Aqueon is almost a perfect fit for most species of shrimps.

It comes in multiple sizes. It does not have the temperature ranges of Fluval or Cobalt, but the moderate temperature it supports is perfect for most shrimps.

It has an indicator light that turns green or red to indicate the correct temperature or heating, respectively.

Despite having so many features, Aqueon is much cheaper and even has a lifetime warranty! This makes it a much better option for shrimp pet owners.

EHEIM Jager Aquarium Heater

Another heater that looks like it was almost exclusively made for shrimps. The EHEIM has some of the most diverse features among all aquarium heaters.

It comes equipped with an LED light indicator, nine sizes, glass that is too strong to break and detects water levels, shutting down when it gets too low.

The temperature range is moderate to high (65⁰F to 93⁰F) and is suitable for most shrimp species.

The EHEIM is precisely what you may need for your shrimps.

However, one commonly faced issue with this heater is that it heats up quite fast, often remaining relatively hotter. It also takes more time to start working.

Mylivell Submersible Aquarium Heater

If you’re working with a tight budget, you may want to go for the Mylivell.

This heater has the appropriate temperature range required by most shrimps is 65⁰F to 93⁰F. You can also find it in different sizes.

Since it’s not as expensive, it’s also not on par with the other heaters on our list. Many people have had to face the issue of breaking glass due to this heater.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can shrimp live without a heater?

Yes, most shrimp can live in the absence of a heater. For them, the room temperature should be warm enough to keep them happy.

However, some species of shrimp require an even higher temperature, and as such, they cannot live without a heater in the aquarium.

What happens when the water temperature is too high?

In case the water temperature gets too high, you should immediately lower it to nominal levels. Failure to do so may cause shrimp to get stressed out.

Shrimps that are under stress will show unusual behavioral patterns and will not eat food.

In worst-case scenarios, shrimp will not be able to tolerate the increased water temperature and will die out.

Should fish tank heaters touch gravel substrate?

If you have a heater that is encased in glass, you should ideally keep it above the gravel substrate.

This is because the glass encasing may break easily. Metal encasing is preferable as it is more durable against gravel.


Most shrimp, typically, can do fine without a heater as the room temperature will suffice for them. However, it is recommended to have a heater nevertheless.

Some species of shrimp are used to warmer temperatures, and for them, a heater is an absolute necessity.

If you want the shrimp to reproduce, having a heater will allow you to adjust the water temperature, thereby helping them breed.

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