Do Shrimp Eat Fish Poop in Your Tank?

Have you ever wondered what goes on in the fascinating microcosm of your aquarium? One frequently asked, but rarely discussed question is: Do shrimp eat fish poop in your fish tank? Let’s delve into this particular aspect of shrimp behavior and unravel some helpful tips for maintaining a healthy tank.

shrimp eat fish poop

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Will Shrimp Eat Fish Waste?

As an aquarium enthusiast, I’ve had my fair share of dealing with various tank inhabitants and their eating habits. Shrimp are one of the most intriguing invertebrates kept in our tanks, and they play a crucial role in the ecosystem.

To answer the question straight away, yes, shrimp do eat fish poop in your tank and will help break the fish waste down. However, this does not mean that shrimp can survive on fish poop alone.

Shrimp are known as scavengers, which means they consume leftover food, dead plants, and, of course, fish waste. By doing so, they help keep your tank clean and contribute to maintaining a balanced environment for your fish.

Different species of shrimp have varying preferences when it comes to their diet. Some examples of popular aquarium shrimps are:

  • Amano Shrimp: They are great algae eaters and enthusiastic waste munchers.
  • Cherry Shrimp: They’re not as voracious as Amano shrimp, but Cherry shrimp also consume fish waste.
  • Ghost Shrimp: These transparent little shrimp are omnivorous and will gladly feed on fish poop.

Despite their appetite for waste, it’s important to remember that shrimp will not single-handedly take care of your tank’s cleanliness. They’ll contribute to the process, but there’s no substitute for regular tank maintenance.

While shrimp can be a helpful addition to your aquatic ecosystem, it’s crucial to provide a balanced diet to ensure their health and well-being. Supplement their diet with shrimp pellets, blanched vegetables, or algae wafers to guarantee they receive the proper nutrition.

What Does Eat Fish Poop?

Apart from shrimp, there are other tank inhabitants that feed on fish waste, helping maintain a cleaner aquarium environment. Each creature has its unique benefits, and including them in your aquarium can contribute to a more balanced and self-sustaining ecosystem. Let’s take a closer look at some of these fish poop-eating critters.

  • Snails: Snails, like the popular Nerite snail and Malaysian Trumpet snail, are valuable aquarium cleaners known for feeding on algae, leftover food, and fish poop. They’re also aesthetically pleasing, adding a nice touch to your tank.
  • Plecostomus: Commonly known as “plecos” or “algae eaters,” these fish can grow quite large, depending on the species. Their primary diet consists of algae, but they also feed on leftover food and fish waste.
  • Corydoras Catfish: These social, bottom-dwelling fish are omnivores with a penchant for scavenging. Corydoras catfish sift through the substrate, scavenging food and eating fish feces in the process.
  • Loaches: Some loach species, like the Clown loach and Kuhli loach, are known to feed on fish waste. However, they should be provided with a proper diet and not rely solely on fish waste to fulfill their nutritional needs.

Bear in mind that incorporating waste-eating critters into your aquarium cannot and should not replace regular tank maintenance. Partial water changes, filter maintenance, and cleaning substrate are all essential tasks to ensure a healthy and thriving aquarium environment.

A combination of shrimp, snails, and other waste-eating fish can contribute to keeping your tank tidy, but remember to provide an appropriate diet for these creatures as well.

Furthermore, always manage the population of these organisms to avoid overstocking, which can lead to stress, competition for food, and eventually, an unhealthy aquarium.

What is an Aquarium Clean-Up Crew?

An aquarium clean up crew is essentially a group of organisms that work together to remove waste, leftover food, and algae in a tank. These critters serve a vital purpose by helping to maintain a healthy aquatic ecosystem.

A well-selected clean up crew can not only ensure that your tank stays visually clean but also help minimize water parameter fluctuations by breaking down waste products more efficiently.

The ideal clean up crew might include a mix of crustaceans, snails, and fish that consume various undesirable substances in your tank. Here’s a shortlist of some popular clean up crew members:

  • Shrimp: As previously mentioned, shrimp (Amano, Cherry, and Ghost shrimp, for example) are excellent scavengers that feed on fish waste, dead plant matter, and algae.
  • Snails: Nerite snails, Malaysian Trumpet snails, and other species can contribute to waste management by consuming algae, leftover food, and fish poop.
  • Fish: Plecostomus, Corydoras catfish, and some loach species are suitable fish for a clean up crew, given their scavenging habits and preferences for feeding on fish waste and algae.

When assembling an aquarium clean up crew, it’s crucial to consider the compatibility and requirements of each species. Be mindful of factors such as tank size, water parameters, and the inhabitants already in your tank. This will help ensure that your clean up crew coexists harmoniously with other tank residents, without causing stress or competition for resources.

How do Shrimp Clean Up Your Fish Tank?

Shrimp play a vital role in maintaining a clean and thriving environment within an aquarium. Their natural scavenging habits make them valuable additions as part of a clean-up crew. But how exactly do shrimp contribute to the cleanliness of your fish tank?

  • Consuming Fish Waste: As previously discussed, shrimp feast on fish poop. They sift through the substrate in the search for food and during this process, they consume and break down fish waste, thus contributing to a tidier tank.
  • Eating Algae: Shrimp also eat various types of algae growing in the aquarium, including hair algae, green spot algae, and brown algae. By consuming these algae, they help prevent unsightly growths and preserve the aesthetic appeal of your tank.
  • Devouring Dead Plant Matter: It’s inevitable that some of your aquarium plants will shed leaves or die eventually. Shrimp will scavenge and eat these decomposing plant parts, preventing them from fouling your tank water.
  • Removing Uneaten Food: Overfeeding is a common problem for novice fish keepers. Excess food can cause ammonia spikes, which can be harmful to your fish. With their scavenging habits, shrimp help remove uneaten food from the tank, thus minimizing the risk of ammonia issues.

While shrimp play a role in cleaning your aquarium, it is essential to emphasize that they should not be seen as a substitute for proper tank maintenance. Water changes, filter upkeep, and substrate cleaning are necessary activities to maintain a safe and healthy aquarium for all its inhabitants.

Shrimp serve as efficient clean-up crew members for your tank, helping to break down waste, control algae growth, and prevent the decay of dead plant matter. However, shrimp should not be solely relied upon for tank care, and a comprehensive maintenance routine should still be practiced.

java moss amano shrimp

Best Shrimp Breeds to Use for Keeping Tank Clean

I’ve found that certain shrimp species are more effective for keeping tanks clean than others. Each species has specific requirements regarding water parameters, temperature, and diet, so it’s essential to choose the right breed to match your tank conditions.

Let’s look at some highly recommended shrimp breeds for efficiently maintaining the cleanliness of your aquarium:

  • Amano Shrimp (Caridina multidentata): Amano shrimp are robust, hardy, and highly efficient when it comes to cleaning up algae, fish waste, and leftover food in the tank. Though not as colorful as some other shrimp, they are popular due to their excellent tank-cleaning abilities.
  • Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina davidi): Cherry shrimp come in an array of vibrant colors, making them attractive additions to your aquarium. While they may not be as voracious as Amano shrimp, Cherry shrimp still consume fish waste, algae, and dead plant matter, along with uneaten fish food.
  • Bamboo Shrimp (Atyopsis moluccensis): Also known as Wood shrimp, these fascinating filter feeders catch floating particles of waste and leftover food in the water column. While not as efficient as other shrimp in cleaning the substrate, they excel in maintaining water quality.
  • Ghost Shrimp (Palaemonetes paludosus): These inexpensive, semi-transparent shrimp are efficient omnivorous scavengers that feed on fish waste, algae, and leftover food. Ghost shrimp can be a great addition to your clean up crew if they’re compatible with your fish tank’s occupants.

Remember that selecting the best shrimp breed for your tank depends on aspects like size, temperature, water parameters, and the compatibility of the other inhabitants.

Ensure that you provide appropriate care, including a balanced diet and a suitable environment, for your chosen shrimp to thrive and contribute to a cleaner, healthier aquarium.


In summary, shrimp do eat fish poop in your tank and serve as valuable members of your aquarium clean-up crew. However, regular maintenance is still crucial for overall tank health. What are your experiences with shrimp in your aquarium? Leave a comment and let us know!

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