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Freshwater Shrimp – Types, Breeding, Food, Tank, And Care

There are many types of freshwater shrimp that can make an interesting, fun addition to a peaceful community fish tank.

Shrimp are generally easy-to-care-for, and some species can be very helpful, too, grazing on algae and scavenging on detritus that would otherwise pollute the water. 

So, how big do freshwater shrimp get? What are good tank mates for shrimp? And, are there any coldwater shrimp species?

Read this guide to discover 19 of the best freshwater shrimp species that you can keep as pets.

19 Freshwater Aquarium Shrimp Species

Here are 19 species of freshwater aquarium shrimp that make great alternative pets to fish!

1. Amano Shrimp (Caridina Multidentate)

Amano Shrimp (Caridina multidentate)
  • Care level: Easy
  • Size: 2 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 10 gallons
  • Temperature range: 70°F to 80°F
  • Suggested water pH: 6.0 to 7.0

Amano Shrimp come from the warm waters of Southeast Asia. 

These semi-transparent little critters are just about the most popular species of aquarium shrimp in the hobby, being peaceful, easy-to-care-for, and fun to watch. But it’s the Amano’s habit of grazing on algae in the tank that makes them a favorite with many hobbyists.

Unlike some aquarium shrimp, Amanos are extremely difficult to breed, so most of the specimens that you buy in your local fish store are commercially raised or wild-caught. Like most shrimp, Amanos have a short lifespan of only two to three years.

You can keep Amano shrimp in groups in a well-maintained tank with a low flow rate.

2. Babaulti Shrimp (Caridina Babaulti)

Caridina cf. babaulti "Green" is a agile and fast freshwater shrimp, very easy to keep and breed.
Image Source: commons.wikimedia.org
  • Care level: Easy
  • Size: 1 inch
  • Minimum tank size: 5 gallons
  • Temperature range: 64.5°F to 82.5°F
  • Suggested water pH: 6.5 to 7.8

Babaulti shrimp originate from India and parts of Asia. These pretty dwarf shrimp do best when kept in an invertebrate tank or with very small fish that won’t eat them. 

These shrimp are relative newcomers to the hobby, but they are easy to keep and come in a range of colors, including brown, green, red, yellow, and zebra-striped.

Babaulti shrimp are omnivores, eating detritus and plant matter. In fact, some owners report that their shrimp are more interested in foraging food from their environment than eating special shrimp pellets!

Babaulti shrimp will breed in the home aquarium if provided with plenty of hiding places.

3. Bamboo Shrimp (Atyopsis Moluccensis)

Close-up view of Freshwater Bamboo Shrimp. Atyopsis moluccensis.
  • Care level: Moderate
  • Size: 2 to 3 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 10 gallons
  • Temperature range: 75°F to 81°F
  • Suggested water pH: 7.0 to 7.5

Bamboo shrimp come from India, Southeast Asia, Samoan Islands, and Sri Lanka. 

Although they lack the bright colors of some other shrimp species, Bamboo shrimp are fascinating creatures that are very entertaining to watch. 

These shrimp are unusual in that they are filter-feeders, having fan-like structures rather than claws. Bamboo shrimp find a spot in the tank where the flow is strong. The shrimp clings to a rock or piece of driftwood, where they catch fragments of food that drift past in the water.

Bamboo shrimp are virtually impossible to breed in captivity and have a short lifespan of up to two years.

4. Blue Tiger Shrimp (Caridina cf. Cantonensis sp. ‘Blue Tiger’)

Blue Crown Aquatic 5 Orange Eye Blue Tiger (Caridina) Live Freshwater Aquarium Shrimps 1/4 to 1/2 inch
  • Care level: Moderate
  • Size: 1.5 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 5 gallons
  • Temperature range: 65°F to 75°F
  • Suggested water pH: 6.0 to 7.5

Blue Tiger shrimp come from Southeast Asia. 

These bright blue shrimp with their orange eyes make a great display when kept as a colony in a single-species tank. The tank should be fully-cycled, as all shrimp species are highly sensitive to ammonia, nitrates, and nitrates. 

Your filter system should generate a low flow so as not to buffet these delicate little creatures. I recommend using a sponge filter so that the shrimp don’t get sucked into the filter unit.

If provided with the correct, stable water parameters and a well-maintained tank, these little shrimp are prolific breeders.

5. Golden Bee Shrimp (Caridina cf. Cantonensis)

Golden Bee Shrimp with green plants
  • Care level: Intermediate
  • Size: 1.2 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 10 gallons
  • Temperature range: 62°F to 76°F
  • Suggested water pH: 5.8 to 7.4

The Golden Bee shrimp is snow-white in color, but their flesh is orange-pink, which gives the creature a beautiful golden color. The origin of these charming creatures is uncertain, and you won’t often find them in your local fish store. However, you can buy the shrimp online.

Bee shrimp are best kept in a single-species tank or with tiny fish that won’t be physically able to eat the shrimp, such as Pygmy Corydoras

These pretty little shrimp eat algae and biofilm, so be careful not to clean the tank too thoroughly, or the shrimp might go hungry.

6. Blue Velvet Shrimp (Neocaridina Davidi var.)

Blue Velvet Shrimp Live Freshwater Aquarium Shrimp - 1/2 to 1 inch Long
  • Care level: Easy
  • Size: 2 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 10 gallons
  • Temperature range: 72°F to 82°F
  • Suggested water pH: 6.8 to 7.5

The Blue Velvet shrimp is a variant of the ever-popular Cherry shrimp. 

These gorgeous blue shrimp make perfect pets for kids, as they can live in a small, well-maintained tank, are easy-to-care-for, and they breed very readily too. These tiny shrimp help to clean the tank by grazing on algae and feeding on detritus and scraps of fish food.

You can keep Blue Velvet shrimp in an invertebrate tank with other shrimp species and snails, but they can also do fine in a community tank with peaceful fish species that are too small to make a meal of the shrimp.

7. Blue Bolt Shrimp (Caridina cf Cantonensis)

Blue bolt shrimp(Caridina cantonensis) variation of bee shrimp by selective breed
  • Care level: Intermediate
  • Size: 1 to 1.5 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 5 gallons
  • Temperature range: 65°F to 85°F
  • Suggested water pH: 6.2 to 7.8

The Blue Bolt shrimp is a type of Taiwan Bee shrimp and has a beautiful blue and white body. These shrimp make an excellent cleaning crew, grazing on algae and foraging for scraps on the substrate and around the tank.

Blue Bolts are not very easy to breed in the tank environment, and they are also very fragile when it comes to water quality. The tiniest amount of ammonia or nitrite will quickly wipe out a whole shrimp colony, so your tank must be kept pristine. Also, this species of shrimp has very particular water chemistry requirements.

8. Pinto Shrimp (Caridina Cantonensis Pinto Bee)

Pinto Shrimp at the top of green plants
Image Source: instagram.com
  • Care level: Intermediate
  • Size: 1 to 1.5 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 10 gallons
  • Temperature range: 62°F to 76°F
  • Suggested water pH: 5.8 to 7.4

The Pinto Shrimp is one of the most attractive inverts that you can keep in your home tropical tank. 

These shrimp are not commonly seen in fish stores, largely because they are not easy to keep and are also quite expensive. Because Pintos are heavily selectively bred, they are intolerant of unstable water conditions, and they’re fussy about water chemistry, too. 

Experienced shrimp keepers often use RO (Reverse Osmosis) water along with a pH-lowering substrate. That allows you to create your preferred water values, and you can be certain that the water is toxin-free.

9. Blue Pearl Shrimp (Neocaridina cf. Zhangjiajiensis var. Blue)

  • Care level: Easy
  • Size: 1 to 1.2 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 10 gallons
  • Temperature range: 60°F to 85°F
  • Suggested water pH: 6.5 to 8.0

If you’re looking for a pretty invertebrate to add to a shrimp or peaceful mixed community setup, you could do worse than get a few Blue Pearl shrimp to add to the mix.

Blue Pearl shrimp are relatively recent additions to the hobby, having first been bred in Germany from wild Neocaridina cf. zhangjiajiensis. These shrimp made their debut in home tanks in around 2007. Thanks to their hardy nature and ease of care, Blue Pearls quickly gained popularity.

These shrimp can be pale, pearlescent blue through to white, with females being more colorful than males. Color is influenced heavily by water quality and genetics.

10. Cardinal Shrimp (Caridina Dennerli)

Two Cardinal Shrimp on the wood
Image Source: commons.wikimedia.org
  • Care level: Intermediate
  • Size: .5 to 1 inch
  • Minimum tank size: 5 gallons
  • Temperature range: 77°F to 86°F
  • Suggested water pH: 7.5 to 8.5

Cardinal shrimp come from Lake Matano, Sulawesi, Indonesia. Here, the shrimp live in very warm waters, feeding on detritus and algae.

These shrimp do best when kept in a tank that replicates their natural lake habitat. So, you’ll need a setup with a carbonate-rich substrate, driftwood, rocks, and some plants to provide a platform for algae and biofilm.

The best tank mates for Cardinal shrimp are Sulawesi snails and Sulawesi shrimp, which won’t interbreed and enjoy similar water conditions. 

11. Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina Davidi)

Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina davidi)
  • Care level: Easy
  • Size: 1.5 inch
  • Minimum tank size: 5 gallons
  • Temperature range: 65o F to 85o F
  • Suggested water pH: 6.5 to 8.0

Cherry shrimp are just about the most popular species of freshwater shrimp in the hobby. These little guys are super-easy-to-care-for, don’t grow too large, and add a pop of bright color to your tank.

As well as the characteristic red color, Cherry shrimp also come in yellow, orange, blue, violet, black, and green. Cherry shrimp are graded according to the vibrancy of their color, with the best-colored specimens earning the highest grading and commanding a higher price.

Cherry shrimp can be kept in a community setup with peaceful companions, including snails, Neon tetras, and some varieties of small catfishes. You can also safely keep Cherry shrimp with Betta fish.

12. Chocolate Shrimp (Neocaridina Davidi)

Chocolate Shrimp on green plants
Image Source: instagram.com
  • Care level: Easy
  • Size: 1.5 inch
  • Minimum tank size: 5 gallons
  • Temperature range: 65o F to 85o F
  • Suggested water pH: 6.5 to 8.0

Chocolate shrimp are another color morph of the popular Cherry shrimp, ranging in color from brown to almost black.

Although these shrimp make an interesting contrast to the brighter colored variants of this shrimp species, they are extremely prolific breeders and will happily crossbreed within their own species. Eventually, that will dilute the colors of the other shrimp varieties in your setup.

Chocolate shrimp are scavengers feeding on leftover fish food, detritus, and algae.

13. Ghost Shrimp (Palaemonetes Paludosus)

Ghost Shrimp (Glass Shrimp)
Image Source: instagram.com
  • Care level: Easy
  • Size: 1.5 inch
  • Minimum tank size: 5 gallons
  • Temperature range: 65o F to 82o F
  • Suggested water pH: 7.0 to 8.0

Ghost shrimp are small, transparent shrimp that make a useful and interesting addition to a peaceful community tank. These little shrimp are easy-to-care-for and make excellent members of a cleanup crew, grazing on detritus, food scraps, and algae. 

Ghost shrimp are incredibly easy to breed, which is fortunate as these guys typically only live for a year or so. These shrimp are cheap to buy and, consequently, are used by many hobbyists as feeder fish.

As well as plenty of hiding places, you’ll need to provide a sandy substrate, as Ghost shrimp like to burrow.

14. Indian Whisker Shrimp (Macrobrachium Lamarrei)

Indian Whisker Shrimp Macrobrachium lamarrei At Cincinnati Zoo
Image Source: commons.wikimedia.org
  • Care level: Difficult
  • Size: 2 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 10 gallons
  • Temperature range: 72o F to 82o F
  • Suggested water pH: 7.0 to 7.8

Indian Whisker shrimp are often mistaken for Ghost shrimp, being mostly transparent in appearance.

However, unlike the peaceful Ghost shrimp, Indian Whisker shrimp can be highly aggressive toward each other, other inverts, and even small fish, especially if the tank is overcrowded.

These large shrimp are very fussy when it comes to water parameters and cleanliness, which makes them quite difficult to keep healthy. That said, Indian Whisker shrimp are very easy to feed, happily scavenging for scraps and detritus and eagerly accepting most commercially prepared shrimp foods.

15. Panda Shrimp (Caridina Cantonensis var)

SoShrimp Black Panda Shrimp - Live Freshwater Aquarium Shrimp - 1/4 to 1/2 inch Long (5 Shrimp)
  • Care level: Intermediate/Difficult
  • Size: 1 to 1.5 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 5 gallons
  • Temperature range: 62o F to 76o F
  • Suggested water pH: 6.0 to 7.5

Panda shrimp are extremely attractive little shrimp with distinctive black and white coloration, hence their common name.

These shrimp are difficult to keep, largely thanks to their very particular water chemistry requirements and sensitivity to ammonia and nitrites. Panda shrimp are also quite tricky to breed, although that can be achieved with patience and perseverance.

You won’t often see Panda shrimp in your local fish store, and they are quite expensive to buy online. For that reason, it’s best to keep them in a single-species setup or with other Caridina cantonensis varieties.

16. Red Rili Shrimp (Neocaridina Davidi)

A Red colored rili variant of the Neocaridina Davidi
Image Source: commons.wikimedia.org
  • Care level: Easy
  • Size: 1 to 1.5 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 5 gallons
  • Temperature range: 65o F to 85o F
  • Suggested water pH: 6.2 to 8.0

Red Rili shrimp are beautiful little shrimp that are selectively bred from Red Cherry shrimp. Red Rilis are bright red with translucent patches.

These delightful shrimp are peaceful and very easy-to-care-for, eating algae, detritus, and scraps of fish food. You can keep them in a shrimp tank with other non-aggressive species or with snails and small, peaceful fish species.

Red Rilis are inexpensive and readily available, and they are prolific breeders, too. All in all, these brightly colored shrimp make the ideal choice for a beginner with a nano tank.

17. Snowball Shrimp (Neocaridina cf. Zhangjiajiensis)

Imperial Tropicals 12 Snowball Shrimp (Color Variation of Cherry Shrimp) - Neocaridina (1/3"-1/2") + 1 Marimo Moss Ball - USA Born and Raised!
  • Care level: Easy
  • Size: 1.25 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 5 gallons
  • Temperature range: 68o F to 72o F
  • Suggested water pH: 7.0 to 7.4

The Snowball shrimp is a selectively bred white color morph of the Neocaridina cf. zhangjiajiensis species. These hardy, easy-to-keep shrimp make an excellent companion for Cherry shrimp, and they are just as easy to breed in the home tank.

The shrimp get their common name from the brilliant white eggs they produce that look exactly like snowballs!

Snowball shrimp are detritus and algae eaters, deriving most of the nutrition they need from what they can scavenge in the tank. However, you can also supplement your Snowballs’ diet with shrimp pellets and algae wafers.

18. Vampire Shrimp (Atya Gabonensis)

Vampire Shrimp below the rock
Image Source: flickr.com
  • Care level: Intermediate
  • Size: Up to 6 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons
  • Temperature range: 75o F to 84o F
  • Suggested water pH: 6.5 to 7.5

Despite their name, Vampire shrimp are not actually vampires! These are peaceful filter-feeders that are somewhat shy, spending much of their time hiding, especially during the daytime, emerging at night to feed.

Vampire shrimp need a fairly strong flow in the tank to move particles of food around that the shrimp can catch with their fans. 

For these shrimp to thrive, you need to make sure that there is plenty of food for them to grab. Baby shrimp food and algae wafers can be a good food source to supplement the detritus that makes up the majority of the shrimps’ diet.

19. Orange Pumpkin Shrimp (Neocaridina Heteropoda var. Orange)

Orange Sunkist Shrimp Live Freshwater Aquarium Shrimp - 1/2 to 1 inch Long (10 Shrimp)
  • Care level: Easy
  • Size: 1.5 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 5 gallons
  • Temperature range: 65o F to 85o F
  • Suggested water pH: 6.2 to 7.8

The brilliant orange color of the Orange Pumpkin shrimp and their undemanding care requirements make this freshwater shrimp species a wonderful choice for beginners.

These shrimp are not fussy when it comes to water conditions, and they can exist on detritus, fragments of fish food, and algae. Orange Pumpkin shrimp are peaceful creatures that can live with snails, other small shrimps, and fish species that won’t view the shrimp as a food source.

Orange Pumpkin shrimp are prolific breeders, producing fully-formed babies every couple of weeks.

In Conclusion

Freshwater Ghost Shrimp or Glass Shrimp

I hope you enjoyed our article, introducing you to the many varieties of freshwater shrimp that are popular in the hobby.

Freshwater shrimp make an interesting, colorful addition to a peaceful community tank. Also, many shrimp species are super-easy to keep and care for, making a small shrimp tank an ideal gift or project for a child.

What’s your favorite aquarium shrimp species? 

Tell us in the comment box below, and don’t forget to share this guide if you enjoyed it!

Alison Page has been an avid fish keeper for over 35 years and has owned many different species of freshwater tropical fish including bettas. Currently Alison has two large freshwater tanks. The first tank has two huge fancy goldfish who are almost ten years old and still looking as good as ever. In the other, she has a happy community of tiger barbs, green tiger barbs, corydoras catfish, platys, and mollies.

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