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Looking into a shrimp tank setup? Look no further, we got your back! For beginners, we recommend Ghost Shrimp, Amano Shrimp, Cherry Shrimp, or Crystal Red Shrimp. Regardless of having experience with keeping an aquarium or not, setting up a shrimp tank is easy!

Why Freshwater Shrimp?

If you’re limited to space but really want an aquarium, shrimp can be kept in nano tanks – tanks as small as 5 gallons. Although they can be kept in smaller aquariums we recommend keeping them in at least a 10-gallon tank. The larger the tank, the easier it is to take care of because larger volumes of water are easier to keep stabilized.

Equipment Needed:

  • Tank
  • Filter
  • Lighting
  • Heater
  • Substrate
  • Freshwater Aquarium Test Kit

What’s the Best Filter for Shrimp Tanks?

When choosing a filter for a shrimp tank, all filters get the job done so it all comes down to preference. There are sponge filters, under gravel filters, hang on the back filters and canister filters.

Sponge Filters

Aesthetics: 2 out of 5
Shrimp Safe: 5 out of 5
Mechanical Filtration: 4 out of 5
Biological Filtration: 4 out of 5
Chemical Filtration: 1 out of 5
Maintenance: 5 out of 5
Cost: 5 out of 5
Overall: 4 out of 5

The most affordable and safest shrimp filter there is. The only con is its appearance.  The way this filter works is by pulling water through the sponge using an air pump – this is mechanical filtration. Over a period of time, beneficial bacteria will grow on the sponge.

Maintenance on this sponge is easy, drain some water into a bucket, disconnect the air tube, squeeze out the sponge and it’s ready to go back into the tank!

Undergravel Filters

Aesthetics: 5 out of 5
Shrimp Safe: 5 out of 5
Mechanical Filtration: 4 out of 5
Biological Filtration: 4 out of 5
Chemical Filtration: 2 out of 5
Maintenance: 5 out of 5
Cost: 5 out of 5
Overall: 4 out of 5

Undergravel filters operate similar to sponge filters but are completely hidden except for the tubing where the air tube connects. It utilizes substrate as its mechanical and biological filtration. How? When air is pumped through the tube, water gets pulled down into the substrate. The downward pull is gentle, making this filter a very safe option.

Maintenance for this filter is simple, you just need to grab a gravel vacuum and suck up debris and you’re finished!

**If you have sand as a substrate we recommend you not use this filter as it might pull sand up through the air tube and leave you with a sandstorm in your tank!

Red freshwater shrimp closeup shot in aquarium (genus Neocaridina)

HOB / Hang on Back Filters

Aesthetics: 3 out of 5
Shrimp Safe: 3 out of 5
Mechanical Filtration: 4 out of 5
Biological Filtration: 4 out of 5
Chemical Filtration: 4 out of 5
Maintenance: 3 out of 5
Cost: 3 out 5
Overall: 4 out of 5

Hang-on-back filters are the most popular filters out on the market, their efficiency and price leave them unmatched. They offer mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration. These filters alone aren’t safe for shrimp which is why you must add a pre-filter sponge.

Maintenance is simple, turn off the filter, remove some tank water into a bucket, take the filter media inside and give it a swish or squeeze. After replacing it with your filter and you’re set!

Canister Filters

Aesthetics: 4 out of 5
Shrimp Safe: 3 out of 5
Mechanical Filtration: 4 out of 5
Biological Filtration: 4 out of 5
Chemical Filtration: 4 out of 5
Maintenance: 2 out of 5
Cost: 2 out of 5
Overall: 4 out of 5

Canister filters are usually found in large aquariums. In shrimp tank setups, people love using them because they are out of view excluding the intake and return tubes. Just like a HOB filter, you must add a pre-filter sponge on the intake or your shrimp will get sucked up.

Lighting for Your Shrimp Tank Setup

Lighting is a must for your tank, but which should you choose? We recommend using LED aquarium lights because other lights will heat up your tank. If you have a planted fish tank, make sure the LED lights you choose are powerful enough to grow your plants.

Heater for Your Shrimp Tank Setup?

Whether or not you use a heater is a personal preference. Some people don’t need them, others live by it.

By using a heater you eliminate the possibility of your shrimp tank temperature fluctuating. Heaters nowadays will automatically turn on or off to match the temperature it’s set to.

We highly recommend using a heater in your shrimp aquarium setup especially if it’s your first time keeping shrimp. This will reduce stress in your shrimp and also fatality. When you choose your heater make sure you use the 3 to 5 watts per gallon ratio. For larger tanks, we recommend using two heaters; one on each side.

Choosing a Substrate for Shrimp Tank Setup

When selecting substrate for your freshwater shrimp, you should know what type of shrimp you plan on keeping. For example, crystal red shrimp need an active substrate that can keep the pH at a certain level – around a pH of 6.2 to 6.8. Shrimp that fall under the Neocaridina family should have an inert aquarium substrate, meaning the substrate shouldn’t alter water parameters. *Neocaridina species prefer a pH of 6.8 to 8.0.

Shrimp freshwater aquarium.

Use a Freshwater Test Kit!

We highly recommend using a test kit to make sure your shrimp are living in the correct water conditions. This also helps if you plan on breeding your shrimp. If you have the perfect water conditions, your shrimp will breed easily. If not, they may live perfectly fine but never breed.

If you want to be completely safe, invest in a copper test kit. Freshwater shrimp are sensitive to this element. If your water contains high traces, your shrimp will most likely die. To avoid this problem, use RO/DI water from your local fish store (or grocery store). This water is the safest option.

What Do Freshwater Shrimp Eat?

Shrimp were born to scavenge. When cycling your tank you might encounter a thin white film growing on rocks, driftwood, or decorations. This is known as bio-film. Shrimps love this stuff, but it’s recommended to mix up their diet using commercial shrimp foods.

It will give your shrimp a nice balance of protein and veggies. Shrimp do not need to be fed every day. You can feed them every other or every few days. If you throw in some almond leaves or alder cones, shrimps will scavenge on the bio-film that it produces.

I highly recommend ordering the Aquatic Arts Sinking Pellets, they are not only a good price but the container will last you a long time!

Check the price on Amazon!

Freshwater Shrimp Care & Final Thoughts

To properly maintain your shrimp friends, make sure you do partial water changes. Simply use a gravel vacuum and suck some water into a bucket. Empty your bucket and fill it with new water, make sure you use a de-chlorinator! With that being said, I hope this guide helped you gain the knowledge needed to start your very own shrimp tank setup!

Any questions? Feel free to leave a comment down below or shoot us an email!

If you like the article above, here are some other similar articles you should check out!

Guide to Breeding Freshwater Dwarf Shrimp

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Hi, my name is Jordan. I've been in the fishkeeping hobby since my childhood. Welcome to my blog where I help fishkeepers enjoy the hobby by offering free guides, advice, & product reviews. Read more...

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