19 Different Types of Freshwater Shrimp for your Aquarium

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Freshwater shrimp can make an entertaining, fun alternative to keeping fish, and they can make excellent peaceful tank mates for aggressive fish, such as bettas, too. Many shrimp species are brightly colored, active little creatures that love to graze on algae and scavenge on detritus, helping to keep your tank clean while producing a minimal amount of waste.

Can shrimp live in a nano tank? What’s the most popular freshwater shrimp species? How many types of freshwater shrimp are there?

Read this guide to learn about 19 different types of freshwater shrimp species that can all make easy-to-care-for, unusual pets for your aquarium.

Caring For Freshwater Shrimp

Before we look at the different types of freshwater shrimp you can keep, let’s learn more about their care.

Are Freshwater Shrimp Easy To Care For?

Many freshwater shrimp are beginner-friendly and extremely easy to care for.

types of freshwater shrimp

Lots of popular pet shrimp species are hardy and rarely succumb to diseases. In addition, many shrimp types breed readily in the home aquarium, so you’ll never need to worry about buying more.

What Size Tank Do I Need For Shrimp?

Although dwarf shrimp are very small animals, we recommend starting with a minimum tank size of 10 gallons.

As a general rule of thumb, you can keep around 5 shrimp per gallon of water, depending on the size of the shrimp and the species.

If you plan on breeding your shrimp to create a colony in a single-species tank, you should choose the largest tank you have space for. That means you won’t need to relocate your shrimp and upsize it at a later date.

What Do Dwarf Shrimp Eat?

Aquarium shrimp are very easy to cater to when it comes to their diet, and that’s one reason why shrimp make such a popular addition to a cleanup crew in home fish tanks.

Growing shrimp typically graze on many species of nuisance algae, helping to keep your tank tidy. These busy little helpers also eat worms, snails, and dead fish, and they will make inroads into leftover fish food, organic waste, and detritus.


That said, it’s crucial that you don’t forget about your shrimp. We recommend offering your shrimp algae wafers and shrimp food to ensure the shrimp don’t starve or suffer from nutrient deficiency.

Are Shrimp Nocturnal?

Some shrimp species are nocturnal, becoming most active at night and venturing out of their daytime hiding places to scavenge for food. However, many species, such as Cherry shrimp, are active both during the day and at night.


If you’re new to shrimp keeping, you might go to feed your pets one morning and think you have a dead shrimp crashed out on the substrate!

Don’t panic; it’s most likely a molted shrimp exoskeleton. Shrimp molt regularly as they grow. In fact, juvenile shrimp often shed their skin as frequently as once every week!

When a shrimp has molted and lost its shell, the creature will be vulnerable to predators for several days until its new carapace has hardened. During that time, the shrimp will hide away in a cave or among clumps of dense plants. So, it’s essential that you equip your shrimp tank with plenty of suitable decorations that double as hiding places for recently molted shrimp.

Leave any cast shells in the tank for a day or two, as the shrimp often eat the shells for the calcium they contain, which is essential for developing a healthy new carapace.

Can I Breed Freshwater Aquarium Shrimp?

Red Cherry Shrimp

Most species of freshwater aquarium shrimp breed readily in the aquarium, provided you keep your tank well-maintained and give your shrimp the water chemistry and conditions they need.

Clearly, you need a group of both male and female shrimp to breed from, so the more shrimp you buy, the more chance there is you’ll get a good mix of the two sexes.

For the safety of the shrimplets, we recommend setting up a separate breeding tank, especially if you keep multiple shrimp species or if your fish live in a community fish tank.

19 Freshwater Shrimp Species For Your Aquarium

Now you understand more about caring for freshwater shrimp, you’ll want to know what species you can choose from.

So, here are 19 species of freshwater aquarium shrimp that make great alternative pets to fish!

1. Amano Shrimp (Caridina Multidentate)

amano shrimp
  • Care level: Easy
  • Size: 2 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 10 gallons
  • Temperature range: 70°F to 80°F
  • Suggested pH: 6.0 to 7.0

Amano shrimp are semi-transparent shrimp that are found in tropical water bodies in Southeast Asia.

These shrimp are super-easy to look after, as well as being peaceful and fun to watch. In addition, these industrious little creatures love to graze on most species of algae that grow in your aquarium.

When it comes to breeding shrimp, Amanos are the exception to the rule because they are not easy to breed in captivity. For that reason, most of the Amano shrimp you buy are wild-caught or raised by commercial breeding operations.

Amanos do best when kept in small groups in a well-maintained aquarium, typically enjoying a lifespan of between two and three years. Be sure to keep the water flow rate pretty low to avoid stressing the shrimp.

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 are attractive little shrimp that are best kept in a single-species or invertebrate community tank, as they can be viewed as a food source by larger fish.

These omnivorous shrimp come from parts of Asia and India and are relatively new to the hobby. However, Babaulti shrimp are rapidly gaining popularity thanks to their pretty, striped colors and ease of care.

The shrimp help to keep your tank tidy by eating plant matter and detritus and will often eat what they can scavenge in preference to the expensive shrimp pellets their owners provide for them.

Unlike Amano shrimp, Babaultis will breed readily in your tank as long as you include lots of hiding places in the setup.

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 don’t have the bright colors of some dwarf shrimp species, but they are fascinating to watch and bring something a bit different to your tank.

These critters originate from Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka, India, and the Samoan Islands. In their wild habitat, the Bamboo shrimp grabs onto a rock or some other solid object in the water, where it sits waiting for scraps of food to float past in the current. The shrimp have fan-like structures instead of claws, which they use to snare their food.

Bamboo shrimp don’t live for more than a couple of years in captivity and are pretty much impossible to breed in the home tank.

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 originate from the tropical waters of Southeast Asia.

These shrimp are extremely popular with hobbyists, thanks to their brilliant orange eyes and vibrant bright blue color. Like most shrimp species, Blue Tiger shrimp are extremely sensitive to poor water quality, especially high levels of ammonia, nitrates, and nitrates. So, you’ll need a fully-cycled tank if you want to keep this shrimp species.

Blue Tiger shrimp are delicate creatures that won’t tolerate a strong flow. So, we recommend using a sponger filter to prevent the shrimp from being sucked into the filter inflow.

Provided you give these shrimp a well-maintained tank with stable water chemistry, you can expect a population of Blue Tiger shrimp!

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

Bee shrimp, or Golden Bee shrimp, are brilliant white in color with orange-pinkish flesh, giving the shrimp a gorgeous golden color.

This is an unusual shrimp species you can’t generally find in fish stores. However, you can usually buy Bee shrimp online from breeders and suppliers. We recommend keeping Bee shrimp in a single-species tank or with small fish that won’t try to eat them.

These attractive little creatures feed on biofilm and algae, so you must leave some patches of the green stuff growing on your viewing panes or decorations so the shrimp don’t 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

Blue Velvet shrimp are a color morph of the ever-popular Cherry shrimp.

These shrimp are ideal for beginners and as kids’ pets, being easy to look after and prolific breeders that do well in a well-maintained nano tank. Blue Velvet shrimp make handy members of your cleanup crew by eating detritus, leftover fish food, and algae.

These attractive little critters make excellent additions to a community tank with some small, peaceful fish or a dedicated invert tank with other shrimp species.

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

Blue Bolt shrimp are gorgeous blue and white colored shrimp that are a color morph of the Taiwan Bee shrimp. Like many dwarf shrimp species, these charming creatures make an efficient cleanup crew since they love to forage for food scraps around your tank, and they eat algae, too.

However, there are a couple of downsides to keeping Blue Bolt shrimp that don’t make these shrimp a good choice for beginners.

Firstly, Blue Bolts are delicate creatures that don’t tolerate unstable or poor water quality. Even a trace of ammonia or nitrite in the water column will rapidly wipe out your entire Blue Bolt shrimp colony, so your tank maintenance regime must be spot-on.

In addition, these shrimp are extremely fussy about water chemistry, and they don’t breed readily in captivity. That said, if you have experience in keeping shrimp, you might want to try adding a group of these beauties to your collection.

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

Pinto shrimp are unusual dwarf shrimp that make an absolutely beautiful feature in any setup.

You don’t usually see Pintos in fish stores, mainly because these creatures are difficult to keep and are very expensive to buy, typically costing between $50 and $200 per shrimp, depending on the specimen’s sex, size, and color.

Pintos are heavily selectively bred and, for that reason, are highly intolerant of unstable water conditions. These shrimp are also extremely picky about water chemistry.

All in all, we recommend Pinto shrimp for experienced shrimp keepers only.

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

Blue Pearl shrimp are delightful, attractive invertebrates perfect for a mixed community or single-species tank. These creatures first appeared in the hobby around 2007, making them relative newcomers, having been developed in Germany from wild Neocaridina cf. zhangjiajiensis.

Blue Pearls are hardy, easy-to-care-for shrimp that range in color from pearlescent blue to white. Female shrimp are usually more brightly colored than males, with color being heavily influenced by the shrimp’s genetic makeup and the water quality you provide.

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

The Cardinal shrimp originates from Indonesia, specifically Lake Matano in Sulawesi. The shrimp thrive here in the warm, tropical water, eating algae and detritus.

These charming little shrimp will thrive if kept in an aquarium closely mimicking their wild habitat. That means using plenty of driftwood, plants, rocks, and a carbonate-rich substrate, which ensures good growth surfaces for biofilm and algae.

Ideal tank mates for Cardinal shrimp include Sulawesi shrimp and Sulawesi snails since all three species thrive in similar water conditions, and the shrimp won’t interbreed.

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

The Cherry shrimp is probably the most recognizable and popular freshwater aquarium shrimp in the hobby! These tiny shrimp are beginner-friendly, stay small, and add a vibrant pop of color to your setup.

Cherry shrimp come in a wide variety of colors, including bright red, blue, yellow, violet, orange, green, and black. Red color morphs are graded according to color, with the brightest, deepist red shades commanding the highest prices.

You can keep these scuttling little gems with a peaceful community of small fish and bettas or create a glittering single-species tank by choosing Cherry shrimp in a range of colors.

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

Staying with Cherry shrimp, we introduce the Chocolate shrimp, that’s basically another color morph of the same species. These shrimp can be brown to nearly black, providing a wonderful contrast to the other available colors.

Chocolate shrimp are prolific breeders that will quickly crossbreed with other colored varieties of the same species, ultimately diluting the colors of the other Cherry shrimp in your tank.

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 might not offer the bright colors of other dwarf shrimp species we’ve featured in this guide, but they can make a useful, fascinating member of a peaceful community setup.

These little shrimp are easy-to-care-for and make themselves useful in your tank, eating leftover fish food, detritus, and algae. Ghost shrimp are transparent, so you won’t see much of them, especially as they love to shelter in caves and amid dense clumps of aquatic plants.

Many aquarists use Ghost shrimp as fish food for large fish species, as these inverts are cheap to buy and readily available in most good fish stores. On that subject, I advise caution if you choose these shrimp for your tank.

I decided to add a few Ghost shrimp to my setup to help keep the tank clean and tidy. At the time, my Fancy goldfish were small juveniles, measuring just a couple of inches long. But the goldfish grew rapidly, and a few months later, my poor Ghost shrimp disappeared!

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 look very similar to Ghost shrimp because both species are similar in size and are mostly transparent.

That said, Whisker shrimp are belligerent toward each other, other shrimp, and even small fish, particularly if your tank is overcrowded.

These shrimp are not easy to please when it comes to water quality and cleanliness in their tank. However, Whisker shrimp are effective scavengers, eating food scraps, detritus, and most commercially produced shrimp food.

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 gorgeous black and white shrimp that look stunning in the aquarium.

However, these shrimp are tricky to keep, thanks to their high sensitivity to ammonia and nitrites and their fussy water chemistry requirements. In addition, Panda shrimp are extremely difficult to breed, although they can sometimes be persuaded to reproduce by experienced aquarists.

Panda shrimp are expensive to buy and can usually only be found for sale online since most fish stores don’t stock them. Given how difficult these shrimp are to care for, we recommend keeping them in a single-species setup or with other varieties of Caridina cantonensis.

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 a variety of pretty dwarf shrimp selectively bred using Red Cherry shrimp to produce a delightful bright red invert decorated with translucent patches.

These unusual shrimp make an ideal choice for beginners who want to try their hand at breeding shrimp, being inexpensive, readily available, and easy to care for.

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

Snowball shrimp are another variety of the popular Neocaridina cf. zhangjiajiensis species.

These dwarf shrimp are hardy and easy to keep, typically doing well in company with Cherry shrimp, and they’re a breeze to breed, too. Snowball shrimp are so-named for the bright white eggs they produce that resemble snowballs!

These shrimp are algae and detritus eaters, taking much of the nutrition they require from what they can scavenge in their tank. That said, you should offer your Snowball shrimp supplementary foods, such as algae wafers and shrimp pellets, to ensure they receive all the nutrition they need to thrive.

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

Vampire shrimp are not really bloodsuckers, despite what their common name would lead you to believe! In fact, these shrimp are peaceful filter-feeders that typically hide away during daylight hours, coming out at night to fish for food.

Like Bamboo shrimp, Vampire shrimp need a fairly strong flow to ensure scraps of food are circulated through the tank for the shrimp to snare in their filter mitts. Ideal foods you can use to supplement these creatures include algae wafers and baby shrimp food.

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

Orange Pumpkin shrimp is a beginner-friendly species perfect for beginners to the shrimp-keeping hobby.

These peaceful little shrimp are undemanding in their care requirements, being unfussy about water chemistry and happy to eat detritus, leftover fish food, and algae. Even better, you can keep Orange Pumpkin shrimp safely with other small shrimp, freshwater snails, and fish that won’t try to eat the shrimp.

If you fancy running a breeding program in your shrimp tank, the Orange Pumpkin shrimp is perfect for you! These shrimp produce fully-formed shrimplets every few weeks, so you’ll never need to buy any replacements!

Final Thoughts

Did you enjoy our guide to 19 different types of freshwater shrimp for your aquarium? If our article inspired you to get into the shrimp-keeping hobby, please share it with other hobbyists!

A shrimp tank can make a fun, educational gift for kids and adults. Freshwater shrimp are entertaining, colorful pets that do well in a peaceful community aquarium or single-species setup. Many species we’ve featured in this guide are super-easy to care for, keep your tank tidy by eating organic waste and algae, and breed readily, too.

What’s your favorite freshwater shrimp species? Tell us in the comments box below!

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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