How to Setup a Shrimp Tank?

Shrimp tanks are increasingly becoming popular among aquarium hobbyists these days. This follows the growing demand for freshwater shrimp in different parts of the world.

With their small size, unique features, appealing personality, and active nature, shrimp have become one of the most preferred aquatic pets for smaller or nano tanks.

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These tanks come with special considerations that you need to know. Some can be intimidating while others can turn out to be delicate, especially for first-time hobbyists. So a lot of planning is needed if you are considering setting up your shrimp tank.

Even though their tanks are a little bit delicate to handle, it does not imply that keeping shrimp is a difficult task. As a matter of fact, most shrimp are easy to keep compared to other aquatic creatures. What you need is proper planning and the best strategy and everything else will fall in place.

In this article, we are going to help you get on the right track by discussing everything you need to know about setting up your shrimp tank.

Choose Tank Size for Shrimp

As usual, bigger is better and a little more stable than the smaller version and for good reasons.

Even though your shrimp will technically thrive best in a small tank, the conditions are prone to fluctuations, especially temperatures and water parameters. This should be a worrying trend among those aquarists that keep their shrimp in smaller tanks.

Poor water conditions can lead to a number of problems, particularly premature death of your shrimp.

This should tell you that shrimp don’t survive for long in a tank that experiences parameter fluctuations from time to time. Again, shrimp need a larger tank for a reason. A bigger tank provides enough room for breeding.

A small tank will not support their offspring as you would expect. This one of the drawbacks of smaller tanks that should make you consider acquiring a relatively larger version for your freshwater shrimp.

However, the tank should not be too large to make it look almost empty. Keep in mind that shrimp are small-size crustaceans in comparison to most other aquarium pets.

Due to this fact, it is recommended that you go for a 2-gallon tank on the minimum side or a 10-gallon tank if you want to maintain stable water parameters for your little pets.

On the other hand, a 4-ft tank will be more affordable in terms of purchase and set it up.

A tank such as the Marina LED Aquarium Kit will be just fine for your shrimp. The tank measures 20 x 10 x 12.5 inches in length, width and height respectively, and comes fully equipped with the necessary accessories to keep the water parameters conducive for your shrimp.

Substrate for Shrimp

The substrate is a very significant part of the shrimp aquarium. That is why there are numerous discussions on the need for the right substrate in tanks for different aquatic animals.

So, which type of substrate is suitable for your shrimp aquarium? To answer the question, you need to compare different substrates used today in tanks.

The most common substrate that you are likely to come across is sand and gravel. The two are easy to find because they are abundant in nature. While some aquarists prefer gravel, others go for the sand.

Gravel is mainly used because it allows aquatic plants to root easily and does not become compacted. Sand, however, is preferred because it does not trap tiny pieces of food or poop. Besides, it is easier to clean and maintain.

Whichever choice you make between sand and gravel, make sure that you go for the black ones. Black substrate allows plants and shrimp to stand out better than using natural colored or white substrates.

Apart from sand and gravel, there are also buffering and non-buffering substrates. A good example is the ADA Aquasoil Amazonia which is used by many shrimp keepers for their buffering ability.

In simple terms, such substrates help in maintaining low pH levels and soft water in shrimp tanks. They also act as boosters for plant growth because they contain essential nutrients.

If you are a beginner hobbyist, buffering or non-buffering substrate is not good for you. Instead, you may try out Super Naturals Crystal-River Sand or use Seachem Flourite Black Clay Gravel to set up an aquarium for your shrimp.

Decoration and Plants

Just like other aquatic animals, shrimp prefer planted tanks. Make sure that your tank has a few plants to allow you to monitor your shrimp’s progress. Too many plants may interfere with tank parameters and affect your shrimp’s way of life.

Several plants are suitable for freshwater shrimp when planted in the tank. Examples of such plants include the following:

  • Anubias
  • Java Fern
  • Java Moss
  • Moss Balls
  • Rotalas
  • Cypts
  • Duckweed as floaters
  • Water Lettuce as floaters
  • Guppy Grass
  • Amazon Frogbits
  • Hornwort
  • Cholla Wood
  • Indian Almond Leaves
  • Drift Wood

You may also consider carpet aquatic plants such as Monte Carlo if you are going to use an active substrate in the tank. Rotalas and duckweed can as well make a great addition to the tank because they protect your shrimp against high nitrate spikes.

Above all, consider taking care of tank plants occasionally to prevent the build-up of decaying matter in the aquarium.

Aquarium Heater and Temperature

Most shrimp species can survive at room temperature. But it is a good idea to keep yours in a heated tank if you want them to stay healthy.

Leaving your shrimp at room temperature might not be the best choice. These rooms experience temperature changes at different times of the day or night.

Such changes influence the temperature within your aquarium. As you may know, shrimp respond poorly to sudden changes in the tank environment.

This calls for drastic measures to maintain the temperature in the tank. So a heater should come in handy to help make conditions in the tank conducive for your shrimp.

A heater (with a thermostat) is designed primarily to maintain the temperature in the aquarium. The thermostat on the heater enables it to start the power immediately when the temperature gets below a certain level.

If the room where your tank is placed does not have a steady temperature, you should consider looking for a heater equipped with a thermostat.

High-quality heaters can serve you better and longer although they are costly. Avoid cheap heaters as they can occasionally malfunction, creating more problems for these lovely, sensitive invertebrates.

Different shrimp species require different temperatures to stay comfortable, active, and healthy at any given time.

Here are a few species of shrimp with their ideal water temperatures:

  • Caridina Shrimp: Water temperature range from 70 to 73 °F
  • Neocaridina Shrimp: Water temperature range from 65 to 73 °F
  • Red Cherry Shrimp: Water temperature range from 77 to 81 °F
  • Amano Shrimp: Water temperature range from 70 to 80 °F
  • Crystal Red Shrimp: Water temperature range from 70 to 78 °F
  • Ghost Shrimp: Water temperature range from 65 to 85 °F

When it comes to the aquarium heaters, the whole subject becomes controversial to different shrimp keepers. The main reason for this controversy is that some shrimp species can survive in tanks without heaters while others need a certain temperature range to be comfortable.

Ideally, the right temperature for most freshwater shrimp is between 70 °F and 79 °F. But some breeders claim that a heater is not necessary with certain species of shrimp provided that climatic conditions in their areas are conducive.

In your case, you may go for Fluval E Aquarium Heater to keep tank water at the right temperature for your shrimp.

Water Filtration

Water filtration for the freshwater shrimp is a very tricky affair. The entire process is complicated in the essence that you need to account for all shrimp fry. At the same time, you need to consider their small nature.

Basically, the filter can easily suck up baby shrimp or even the adult if you don’t take care during the filtration process. To prevent such cases, you should modify the filters in a way that cannot interfere with the safety of your shrimp.

In this regard, you should choose one of the following options:

– Sponge Filter

This is an affordable type of filter that you can install on your tank. The filter is cheap, easy to install, and not dangerous to your small aquatic creatures. Most shrimp breeders prefer this option because it is readily available and safe.

– Hang On Back or HOB Filter

It is also called a power filter. It is excellent for your aquarium but you need to modify it first. Modification of the HOB will help you prevent it from causing accidents or sucking up young fry. To achieve this feat, you must insert a sponge pre-filter on its intake to prevent losses.

You may look for Hygger Sponge Filter if you want to keep water in the tank clean while protecting your shrimp. Never use Canister Filters as they may be too dangerous for this type of application.

Adding Your Shrimp

To begin with, you must recycle the tank before adding your shrimp. Then check for all parameters in the recycled tank. Once you are sure that all water parameters and water quality meet the requirements for your shrimp, add it to the tank.

Check for any leaks and repair them as soon as possible. Then add a few plants to the tank as well as a reliable source of light. Siphon some water from the aquarium into a clean bowl or container holding your shrimp.

Using the appropriate net, transplant your shrimp to the aquarium. Be Gentle during the transfer process to keep them safe.

Feeding Your Shrimp

Even if you have a planted aquarium, you should feed your shrimp at specific intervals. Providing them with the right type of food will help them get all the essential nutrients they need.

Foods such as boiled vegetables (spinach and zucchini) are appropriate for your shrimp’s health. Flakes and other processed foods can also be a good choice of food for your shrimp.

It is recommended that you provide them with a commercial feed like the Dennerle Shrimp King and many others. Most importantly, provide them with sinking foods only to maintain water quality.

Testing Water Parameters

To add your shrimp to the tank, you need to treat the water first to make it safe. But if the source of your water is from the pet stores there is no need to treat it at all. Ordinary water from the tap will need treatment before you can add it to the tank.

The treatment may involve the following steps:

  • Perform the chlorine level test with the help of a test kit from the pet store. If you detect traces of chlorine, remove it using a commercial dechlorinator.
  • Make sure that ammonia and nitrate levels are zero. You may use water treatment kits to reduce ammonia and nitrate levels from the water.
  • Check for the pH range to ensure that it remains within 6.0 to 7.5. Use the pH and TDS meter such as VIVOSUN pH & TDS Meter Combo to get accurate results.
  • Check the tank water temperature Your shrimp survives best in the water temperature range of 65 to 80 °F.

Each species requires its own water temperature range. You need to find out the specific temperature range for species of shrimp you want to keep. The most recommended testing kit is API Master Test Kit for the temperature.

Shrimp Tank Maintenance

Proper tank maintenance is necessary to prevent a phenomenon known as the “old tank syndrome”. During the maintenance, your goal should be to check the water quality. Shrimp are sensitive to nitrite and ammonia.

To minimize or eliminate ammonia from the tank water, you need to do water recycling regularly. In addition, you need to do water changes, cleaning the tank and trimming tank plants whenever they overgrow.

These are tasks you need to perform weekly. Monthly tank maintenance may involve filter cleaning and sponge replacement as a way of keeping tank water clean throughout.


Shrimp are great pets just like other aquarium creatures. If you take good care of them, these little, colorful crustaceans can be rewarding. That is why you should consider setting up their tank to meet their requirements.

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