How to keep shrimp alive

  • By: fishlovers
  • Date: July 15, 2023
  • Time to read: 9 min.
How to Raise Shrimp

The shrimp is trendy. This crustacean has become an essential little gem of the aquarium world. But, as with fish, its survival is conditioned by the respect of several fundamental rules.

Which shrimp to choose?

 The Red Cherry shrimp: with its shell going from orange to bright red which measures only three or four centimeters, this shrimp has a short life expectancy, about a year and a half, but its speed of reproduction is high. The advantage of the Red Cherry is that it does not require a large space. A 20 liter nano-aquarium can be more than enough for a small group of six individuals. Only weak point, cohabitation with other fish which is not recommended.

White Pearl shrimp: a species very easy to reproduce and maintain, it is suitable for a first experience of shrimp farming. The population is growing at a surprising speed. Its name refers to the color of the eggs which resemble small white pearls.

Materials needed to raise shrimp at home

– Prepare the aquarium. You must get an aquarium with a capacity of 20 to 40 liters

– Buy a kit to test the composition and quality of the water

– Buy 5 to 10 shrimp, depending on the breed you want to breed

– an aquarium heating system

1– Prepare the aquarium.

You need an aquarium with a minimum capacity of 20 liters, with an integrated heating system to keep a medium warm environment between 25 ° C and 27 ° C during cold weather, this system must also be equipped with a filtration device and a system for producing air bubbles (generally a pump) and this aquarium must have a more or less dark coloring so as not to stress the shrimp

Pay attention to the first filtration cycles which contain a high level of nitrates and ammonia, so you must rotate the loop of filtered water for at least 3 weeks in an old aquarium before transferring to the new aquarium

pay attention to the grinding device of the filtration system, if your shrimp are sucked by the filtration system through the draft orifices, they will be crushed and reduced to a slurry

2- Buy a kit to test the composition and quality of the water.

liquids to prep shrimp

To balance the composition of your water, you need these kits, the shrimps are sensitive and therefore you need a quality of water not less than the average, for this you must very often control this water, among the elements that make aggressive water are nitrates, nitrites and ammonia, also opt for recognized liquid tests with fresh products

3- Buy your shrimp

The most important step is that of buying your shrimp, buy up to 15 units, their prices are moderately low and are available in pet stores, make sure you buy the whole lot from the same place, with a divisiveness of sex so as not to end up with an aquarium full of a single kind of shrimp, and preferably that they are the same color to facilitate their coexistence together, during their transport, it is necessary to remain attentive to the change in temperature and to shocks and to excess of light so as not to stress them, during transport also, make sure to transport them in bags that are only half or a third full to keep sufficient oxygen in the transport boxes

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shrimp swim

4- A chlorine-free water into your aquarium.

water in fish tank

As said before, shrimps are sensitive and therefore care must be taken not to use chlorinated water because chlorine and chloramines effectively kill shrimps, so you have the choice between using chlorine-free water or use chemical commercial substances to neutralize these elements which will cause the death of your shrimp.

5- Let the shrimp adjust.

Before putting them in their new environment they must be allowed to rest, the sudden change in living conditions can stress or kill them, so preferably put them with their transport bag in the new filtered aquarium water without this water does not come into contact with the shrimp, the shrimp can adapt to their next environment well before it comes into contact with it, as you add a glass of water aquarium in the bag, after 15 min you add another glass then another then another until the complete environment changes

6- Introduce the shrimp into their new environment.

put shrimp in tank

Now that the shrimps are in contact with their new water, the two waters have the same temperature, you can release them gently in the aquarium, knowing the physico-chemical parameters of the new environment

7- Adjust the heating system of the aquarium.

check water temp

Make sure the heating system works to maintain a constant temperature of 27 ° C, in addition to the digital display of the heating system, you can use a thermometer (digital, if possible) to make a comparison in the event of malfunction or deregulation of that of the integrated system, and it is to be checked once a day

The maintenance temperatures vary according to the different species, from 15 to 30 ° C. A good compromise for all species is around 24 ° C. It seems preferable to avoid excessively high temperatures which, by accelerating the metabolism of shrimps considerably shortens their lifespan.

8- Give your shrimp food.

give shrimp food

The feeding and nourishment of shrimp in freshwater aquariums are frequent questions among beginners in invertebrates. Whether it’s Red Cherry, Crystal Red, or Amano, how to feed shrimp?

Almost all shrimp are omnivorous. That means they eat everything.

In the wild, they cannot afford the luxury of being difficult because their lives depend on it.

So it’s not too difficult to feed them, they will eat what they find on the ground

Rest of glitter, they also love cachets for bottom fish that they hasten to take to a corner to taste, but also any dead fish in the aquarium, even sick and lying at the bottom of the aquarium, they will not hesitate to make it their meal! Vegetables are also very popular

“Caridina Japonica” in full flight of background stamp “Caridina Japonica” in full meal on a piece of broccoli

shrimp broccoli

Of course you have to feed them as well or they will die, there is a whole range of shellfish food. We can also put slices of poached zucchini for example, broccoli, or a strip of carrot!

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In the wild, shrimps graze on young shoots (algae mats and small animals there) or devour detritus (decomposing or decomposed organic matter)

Some claim that they represent a good way to fight against algae, but you should know that a normal density of shrimp, can not completely eliminate the growth of algae, despite their good appetite for them.


Shrimp do not grow like fish, they must moult in order to suddenly change their size.

Each moult represents a physiological upheaval, and a very dangerous event for the animals because, without their protective shell, they are more vulnerable to their predators for hours.

But moulting also represents, the only time when a male can fertilize a female!

Plants in large numbers, caves, stones etc … are therefore essential in the aquarium, they represent possibilities of hiding to remain in the shelter for several hours after their moult.

10-Naines / Dwarf Shrimp:

Among the dwarf shrimp, there are usually all the species of the genus Caridina and Néocaridina.

However, these two phyla contain species of very different sizes, so that adjective “dwarfs” is not suitable for all forms.

Some species do not exceed 3 cm and others reach a length of 7 cm.

In general, all representatives of these commercially available groups are suitable for maintaining in a planted aquarium.

Warning !! however not to be fooled in shops, some sell Macrobrachium also under the name sometimes of Caridina Japonica which small, resemble with little difference, a Caridina Japonica if we do not pay too much attention, but growing, reaches 10 cm easily, if not more, and some of them are fairly aggressive towards small fish and alvins, they feed on snails also present in the tank and, have claws at the front, you can recognize them even small, they do not have the small black dotted lines on the body that we find in Caridina Japonica and are transparent only, they will become much darker by the way as they grow, they will change appearance completely, while the Caridina Japonica has black dotted lines all along the body and no claws either, at the front of the legs.

The Macrobrachium is also sometimes called in some traders, Ghost Shrimp, or Glass Shrimp.

11- Reproduction

    We can observe different modes of reproduction.

The lower species lay eggs (sometimes in large numbers). The larvae hatch in water and in nature, are carried by the current into the sea.

A stay in seawater is absolutely essential for the development of larvae. These small organisms form part of the plankton, feed on microscopic particles and go through different larval stages.

Once their metamorphosis into shrimp is complete, they return to fresh water to spend the rest of their days there. A well-known example illustrating the mode of reproduction is the Amano shrimp, “Caridina Japonica”.

Caridina Japonica Shrimp               

Caridina gracilirostris Shrimp

Caridina gracilirostris Shrimp

Species that reproduce in a more sophisticated fashion lay significantly fewer eggs, but the diameter of the latter is relatively larger. The larval development takes place entirely in the egg, so that when they hatch, they are real small shrimps that come out of the shells. These species spend their entire lives in freshwater

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This is the case, for example, of the “Neocaridina denticulata sinensis var red” which is now better known by the name “Red Cherry”, recently renamed (2013) Neocardina davidi and many other species as well

Red Cherry Shrimp

Red Cherry Shrimp

Crystal Red Shrimp.

12- Maintenance

Shrimp breathe through gills that supply them with oxygen through water.

Oxygenation must therefore be of good quality. A good filter is a good asset for keeping shrimp.

In case of lack of oxygenation in the tank, the shrimp try to escape from hostile living conditions due to a lack of oxygen by jumping out of the aquarium

From where we often hear that it is better to have a closed tray to hold the shrimp otherwise they will escape I would say FALSE!

If they are kept in good conditions, even in an open aquarium, they will not escape from the aquarium.

The water temperature should never exceed 25 degrees, because species from tropical or subtropical regions prefer cool water: they often come from sites in altitudes and experience seasonal fluctuations, but most of them like it in a temperature range of 19 and 25 ° c

Knowing that 21 to 23 degrees maximum is often for most species, the ideal temperature.

For most of them, it is necessary to maintain a pH of 6.5 acid to 7.5 weakly alkaline.


The same goes for the hardness of the water. These invertebrates need these components to form their shell. The ideal is to maintain a medium carbonate hardness (KH between 5 and 10).

If you have particularly hard water, it is advisable to confine oneself to insensitive species or to use osmosis water to lower the hardness of the water.

Some species need reverse osmosis water only mineralized with for example a preis salt, to be maintained in good condition because the pipe water is not suitable for their long-term maintenance, hence a lot of losses sometimes in some time when maintaining these.

Some dwarf shrimp stop reproduction if the water hardness is inadequate.

Warning !! the new plants brought back from the store, they are often kept with strong chemical fertilizers which contain copper in particular, and sometimes in a tank, there can be a carnage at the level of shrimp mortality when a new plant arrives poorly rinsed, shrimp are very very sensitive to it.

In conclusion: I would say well rinse the plants and even let them soak for some time by renewing the water regularly, or introduce them in another fish tank for a certain time (they are insensitive to this level, this is not not the case of shrimps) before introducing them into the shrimp tank to avoid sudden mortality of your shrimps. This is mainly valid for specific shrimp tanks, small Nano tanks.

It is a real cause of death in shrimp.

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