Most aquarium enthusiasts opt for brightly colored fish for their freshwater tanks or home aquariums. What many of them fail to realize is that freshwater shrimp is an equally compelling and attractive alternative to add to their aquariums.
Whether you want to add a new species to your tank or are hoping to get into the world of breeding, freshwater shrimp belong to the category of the most attractive and striking creatures that you can add to your aquarium.
Additionally, shrimp are vividly colored scavengers that stay on the hunt for stray food remnants and help keep your aquarium water clean.
So, have you ever wondered just how many shrimps can you put in your aquarium? Let’s find out!
How Many Shrimp Can You Put in Your Aquarium?
Let’s first focus on the size of your aquarium; the ideal aquarium or fish tank size to keep freshwater shrimp is a 10-gallon aquarium. If you want to keep a 10-gallon aquarium solely for freshwater shrimp, you can put up to 100 shrimp in it!
However, for your shrimp to have ample space and to have a healthy, breathable aquarium, the recommended number is 50 shrimp for a 10-gallon aquarium – this means your tank should have 5 shrimp per gallon of water.
When it comes to the number of shrimp you should keep per gallon of water, it depends on some factors.
Aquarium Type Determines Shrimp Population in an Aquarium
The ideal number of shrimp to put in your aquarium will vary depending on the kind of aquarium setup you want in your home. So, let’s look at how many shrimp you can keep in some of the most popular aquarium setups.
A Community Aquarium
As the name suggests, a community aquarium is designed to keep a wide range of fish and aquatic life species that aren’t necessarily found living together in nature.
You might hear a lot of people claim that keeping fish and shrimp in the same aquarium is a big “No”. This is not without reason since fish are known to feast on small shrimp. However, you can definitely keep some fish and shrimp varieties together in an aquarium.
You will simply have to follow these two basic rules if you want your fish and shrimp to live together:
- Make sure that you don’t keep your shrimp species with territorial and aggressive fish species, such as Cichlids.
- Make sure that you don’t keep your shrimp species with fish species large enough to gulp them down.
The aquarium that you choose should have ample coverage room for your shrimp species; the ideal aquarium for shrimp is one that is decorated with plants and has small hiding spots made by intricate adornments.
Small schooling fish species such as Neon tetra and Harlequin rasbora are the perfect companions to keep with your shrimp species in the same aquarium.
So are passive bottom inhabitants such as Kuhli loaches and Cory Catfish. Fish such as Zebrafish and Rummy-nose tetra will also work well with shrimp species. Even the ever-popular Siamese fighting fish, commonly known as Betta, can live peacefully with larger shrimp varieties.
As for your shrimp varieties, you should avoid putting the smallest types, such as Dwarf Shrimp, with large fish varieties; large fish will eat shrimp that can fit into their mouths. You can keep Cherry Shrimp with small schooling fish.
Amano Shrimp, on the other hand, are tough and large, so they are perfect to add to a community aquarium. Ghost Shrimp, although smaller, can live with fish varieties such as Guppies.
Guppies will eat the small baby shrimp but will leave the adult shrimp alone. So, make sure you have hiding spots in your aquarium for your baby Ghost Shrimp.
Number of Shrimp in a Community Aquarium
The recommended number of shrimp that you can add to your budding community aquarium will vary depending on the kind and number of the shrimp and fish species that you want to keep together in your aquarium.
For a nice assortment of colorful shrimp, you can first add some Amano Shrimp to your shrimp aquarium since they will help clean up your tank. Amano Shrimp mature up to 5 cm or 2 inches, so you can add around 5 to 10 of them to your aquarium. As they are bigger in size, other residents in the tank don’t eat them up.
You can also add dwarf shrimp, such as cherry shrimp, to your aquarium. They grow up to be about 4cm or 1.6 inches in size, so you can put around 10 to 15 of them in your aquarium. It’s better to add more Cherry Shrimp than Amanos since baby Cherries are too small and are under the actual threat of being eaten by their aquatic tank-mates.
To prevent shrimp from being eaten, make sure to add enough plant cover to your aquarium as that will provide the smaller species with sufficient hiding ground. Eventually, their numbers will grow to form a small, protected colony.
A Breeding Aquarium
If you opt for an exclusive shrimp-only aquarium, you can put in around a hundred shrimp in one aquarium. A shrimp-only aquarium will also act as a perfect and safe breeding ground for your shrimp. The ideal starting count for your shrimp colony will be around 10 to 20 shrimp.
If you want them to breed, add a few more females than males in your aquarium. If the aquarium is too big or the number of males is too low, then it will be hard for the shrimp to find each other during the breeding season.
Also, make sure that your aquarium has their favorite food of shrimps — biofilm— present for them to freely much on.
Overly Planted vs. Scarcely Planted Shrimp Aquarium
An overly planted aquarium will have less room for your shrimp to easily and comfortably maneuver in since it will have a large variety of beautiful plants and lots of ornaments.
For such an aquarium, you can stick to a lesser number of shrimps – maybe 10 to 15. If the number exceeds 20, then it will kill the aesthetic appeal of your aquarium and make it look too crowded.
As for a scarcely planted shrimp-only aquarium, you can put a higher number of shrimps in it and let them breed freely since there will be plenty of space for them to move about in the aquarium.
How to Deal with Shrimp Overpopulation
If your shrimp population exceeds your expectations and has multiplied to a count which is significantly more than you can handle, then you can reduce the number via the following ways:
Relocate the Entire Colony to a Larger Aquarium
The obvious thing to do is to relocate your budding shrimp colony into a larger and breathier aquarium.
A 10-gallon aquarium is the perfect starting aquarium size for keeping shrimp. However, as the number of shrimp increases and if you have the capacity and time to manage them all, then you can keep increasing the aquarium size with it.
Simply clean the new tank, fill it with clean, fresh water, add aquarium filters, and move your shrimp colony into their new home.
Move Some Shrimp to a Different Aquarium
Make sure to carefully select a few males and females and relocate them to a new aquarium.
You can also experiment with putting different species and breed them to add a variety of shrimp species to your growing collection.
Sell a Few of Them
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of managing another aquarium or getting a larger one, simply sell a few of your shrimp.
Sell them to pet shops or online to earn a few extra bucks that can help you care for the ones left with you.
If the sale picks up, you can even consider making a business out of this pastime of yours!
Give a Few of Them Away
You can also give some of your shrimp away as gifts to your family members or friends.
You can also help them out in setting up their own aquarium and show them the ropes of taking care of a shrimp colony.
Trade Them on an Aquarium Forum
You can also trade your shrimp for other varieties with other aquarium enthusiasts.
You can try and breed different colored varieties or get the same species to strengthen the gene pool of your existing shrimp. You can also trade them for a beautiful plant or an ornament to keep in your aquarium.
Type of Filter Best Suited for a Shrimp Aquarium
If you are adding shrimp to your tank, you need to get a proper filter.
A sponge filter is an ideal filter for a shrimp-only aquarium.
You could also look into a corner box filter. However, avoid putting in a power filter in your shrimp-only aquarium since most power filters will suck the smaller shrimp inside and kill them!
Ideally, you should only add 5 shrimp per gallon of water.
However, depending on the type of aquarium you have, the number can vary. If you feel like your tank is overpopulated, you can always use the methods mentioned above to deal with the problem.
You may also like the following articles about aquarium and fishkeeping:
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- How Long Can Fish Go Without Food in an Aquarium?
- What to Feed Bluegill In An Aquarium?
- What to Feed Catfish In An Aquarium?
- Can Earthworm Live in Aquarium?
- How Many Fish Should Be Kept in an Aquarium?
- What Fishes are Safe to keep with Shrimps in Aquarium?