Are you considering introducing a fish community to your shrimp aquarium?
Breeding shrimp alongside fish can be a challenge because there’s a big chance that your pet fish will end up eating your shrimp, instead.
Choosing the right type of fish is very important here. Read on as we discuss which types of aquarium fish eat shrimp and what you can do about it.
Which Aquarium Fish Eat Shrimp?
As it turns out, humans aren’t the only ones that enjoy eating shrimp.
Shrimp serves as an important food source for marine animals as well. Consequently, aquarium fish can also turn into predators if a shrimp population is introduced in their environment.
Some aquarium fish will only be able to coexist peacefully with shrimps if certain conditions are met.
For instance, the size of the aquarium, availability of food, and the size and age of the shrimp play an important role in determining whether fish will eat their shrimp neighbors.
However, some types of fish eat the shrimps in their vicinity regardless of how much food is available. These include:
If your shrimp community comprises of brine shrimp or ghost shrimp, then there’s a good chance that a goldfish will eat them. These shrimp undergo molting.
Molting is a process where a shrimp grows a new shell and sheds the old one. A shrimp is incredibly vulnerable during this period as it does not have a hard outer covering to serve as protection against predators.
Ghost shrimp and brine shrimp are also small in size as compared to other shrimp species. This can make them easy targets for goldfish. Other shrimp species that are larger and have a hard outer covering can fare better against goldfish.
Adding a shrimp population to a tank containing Discus is a bad idea. They’ll quickly become fish food for the Discus. Discus and shrimp are also incompatible because they require different water temperatures to survive.
You can try and keep Amano shrimp in an aquarium that also houses Discus. However, you’ll have to make sure that the shrimp are fully grown and too big for the Discus to eat.
Cichlids are vigorous shrimp eaters. Introducing shrimp in a tank containing cichlids will ultimately translate into buying some extremely expensive fish food for the cichlids.
Cichlids show hostile behavior to other types of fish as well and fare best when they are bred separately.
If given a chance, Gourami will also go after shrimp.
Baby shrimp are the most vulnerable to a Gourami attack. In the case of adult shrimp, Gourami will keep attacking the shrimp until it dies. They will then eat the carcass.
You can try keeping cherry shrimp in an aquarium containing Gourami. However, you’ll have to keep a close eye on your shrimp at all times to make sure they don’t get eaten.
Contrary to what their name suggests, Angelfish will go after any type of shrimp introduced in their environment.
Cherry shrimp and other small shrimp species are particularly vulnerable to an attack from this fish type.
Unlike other types of fish that may spare the shrimp if they are housed in a large enough aquarium, Angelfish will hunt down the shrimp and eat them anyway.
Betta fish are horrible tank mates for shrimp. Shrimp is a natural food source for Betta fish.
They are highly predatory and aggressive as well. They will eat baby shrimp easily because of their small size. In the case of mature shrimp, Bettas have been known to attack the legs of larger shrimp until they die.
Their predatory habits will force a shrimp to constantly hide, which can be incredibly stressful for these poor creatures.
Which Aquarium Fish Are Friendly Toward Shrimp?
If you are still interested in breeding shrimp alongside fish in your tank, then you can consider the following types of aquarium fish:
Otocinclus are easily the best fish neighbors for your shrimp. They are incredibly peaceful creatures and will not go after your shrimp, regardless of their size or age. You can house them with all types of shrimp species and expect them to coexist with each other peacefully.
Pygmy Cory Catfish
A Pygmy Cory Catfish can also live alongside adult shrimp populations.
These fish are non-aggressive and show little interest in an adult shrimp as a food source. However, in some cases, these fish have been known to eat shrimp babies (particularly cherry shrimp babies).
You can try and introduce a small population of shrimp to a tank containing Pygmy Cory Catfish and see how they fare.
Panda Garra is a very peaceful fish type by nature. This makes them compatible with most non-aggressive fish types as well as invertebrates. Bear in mind that they are omnivores by nature.
Therefore, once they grow to full size, you may have to shift them to a separate tank. If you don’t, they may start preying on your shrimp and other small animals.
Housing Panda Garra with a dwarf shrimp population is a particularly bad idea, and you should be very cautious about putting these two species in the same tank.
Chinese Hillstream Butterfly Loach
Hillstream loaches serve to be peaceful neighbors for shrimp.
They are small in size, which makes them less of a threat to small shrimp species, such as dwarf shrimp.
Dwarf shrimp are also ideal tank mates for Hillstream loaches because they inhabit areas having lower water flow. As a result, they naturally steer clear of Hillstream loaches.
Albino Bristlenose Pleco
These fish species can prove to be good neighbors for shrimp and other small aquatic animals. They keep to themselves and will pay little attention to their neighbors.
Adult shrimp are safe from attacks from Albino Bristlenose Plecos. However, things may get a little complicated if a Pleco comes across some small shrimp fry.
There have been incidents where Plecos have gone after small shrimp fry and eaten them.
On the other hand, many shrimp suppliers also breed this fish type alongside shrimps. All things considered, there’s a good chance that your shrimp won’t get eaten by a Pleco.
Borneo suckers can also coexist with shrimp. These fish are small in size. Their diet mostly comprises of things like algae wafers, flake, tetra bits, and frozen worms.
They are omnivorous, but they will not go after shrimp as a food source. Too much protein is deadly for Borneo suckers as well. This automatically makes shrimp as an unfavorable food source for these fish.
Forktail Rainbow Fish
You can also consider introducing a population of adult Forktail Rainbowfish in an adult shrimp community.
These fish tend to occupy the upper and middle areas of the tank and will have little contact with your shrimp population. You can house them with various types of adult shrimp, such as adult dwarf shrimp.
However, these fish may go after baby brine shrimp, so you may want to take some precautions to protect them from a fish attack.
For instance, adding a lot of plants to the tank can be an effective measure for protecting baby brine shrimp against an unexpected predator attack.
Other fish types that are relatively peaceful and non-threatening for shrimp include:
- Ruby tetra
- Ghost Class Catfish
- Small guppies
- Endler’s fish
- Dwarf Chain Loaches
- Neon tetra
- Harlequin Rasboras
- Danio rerio
- Rummy nose tetra
Tips for Protecting Your Shrimp Population
Introducing shrimp to an aquarium can be very useful. They can consume organic material, such as algae, dead plants, and detritus. This can keep your tank clean. They also make for a beautiful and unique addition to your fish tank.
If you are serious about breeding a shrimp population alongside fish, then the following tips can increase your success rate:
- Never introduce a baby shrimp population to a tank containing adult fish. Instead, you can introduce a baby fish population to a tank with a pre-existing shrimp community. In this case, the fish will be more focused on acclimating to their new environment and will not look at the shrimp as a source of food. It will also allow the shrimp to establish themselves more successfully without fearing a predatory presence.
- Provide plenty of plant cover to the shrimp to seek refuge in.
- Try and mix fish and shrimp populations that occupy different areas of the tank (lower water flow areas vs. upper water flow areas).
- Get a large aquarium so that both species have plenty of room and do not treat each other with hostility.
- Make sure your fish are well fed. If you do not provide them with a sufficient amount of food, they are more likely to look for other options, i.e., your shrimp.
If you are looking to breed shrimp alongside fish, then we suggest you steer clear of fish types, such as the goldfish, Discus, Cichlids, Gourami, Angelfish, and Betta fish.
Remember, there is no universal rule that can help distribute fish types according to whether they eat shrimp or not. These things tend to be highly circumstantial.
However, as long as you choose the right types of fish and provide both species with an adequate amount of living space and food, then they should be able to coexist peacefully.
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