Freshwater and Saltwater Shrimp Types For Your Aquarium

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There are many types of shrimp that make colorful, interesting pets. 

You can keep shrimp in a peaceful community setup with small fish and other inverts or set up a species-only tank.

If you have a freshwater tank, there are plenty of different types of freshwater shrimp to consider, many of which are very easy to care for. But if you have a marine or reef tank, what types of saltwater shrimp could you keep? How big do aquatic shrimps usually get? And, what colorful shrimp species are good for freshwater tanks? 

Read this guide to find out!

Freshwater and Saltwater Aquarium Shrimp Species

Here are our favorite 23 species of freshwater and saltwater aquarium shrimp that you can keep in your home fish tank as part of a community or in a single-species setup.

Types of Freshwater Shrimp

1. Amano Shrimp (Caridina Multidentate)

Amano Shrimp (Caridina multidentate)
  • Scientific name: Caridina multidentate
  • Origin: Southeast Asia
  • Reef-safe: No. Freshwater
  • 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 are extremely easy to care for, peaceful, and entertaining, which makes them a very popular freshwater aquarium resident. Amanos are also top of the charts when it comes to eating algae and keeping your tank clean, especially when kept in small groups.

Amanos are pretty hardy and live for around two to three years. However, unfortunately, these shrimp are very difficult to breed, so you will need to keep replacing them periodically. 

2. Panda Shrimp (Caridina Cantonensis var.)

SoShrimp Black Panda Shrimp - Live Freshwater Aquarium Shrimp - 1/4 to 1/2 inch Long (5 Shrimp)
  • Scientific name: Caridina cantonensis var.
  • Origin: Southern China and Southeast Asia
  • Reef-safe: No. Freshwater
  • 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 beautiful shrimp that get their common name from their black and white coloring.

These shrimp are highly sensitive to ammonia and nitrites, and they have very specific water chemistry tolerances, which makes them somewhat difficult to keep. Unfortunately, Panda shrimp are extremely tricky to breed and they have a short lifespan of one to two years.

3. Babaulti Shrimp (Caridina Babaulti)

Caridina cf. babaulti "Green" is a agile and fast freshwater shrimp, very easy to keep and breed.
Image Source: wikimedia.org
  • Scientific name: Caridina babaulti
  • Origin: India and parts of Asia
  • Reef-safe: No. Freshwater
  • 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

These shrimp are very easy to keep and can be found in many different colors, including zebra-stripes, brown, red, yellow, and green.

Babaulti shrimp breed readily in a home tank, as long as there’s plenty of cover for them and the water conditions are right. These pretty little creatures keep your tank tidy by eating detritus and plant matter.

4. 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!
  • Scientific name: Neocaridina cf. zhangjiajiensis
  • Origins: Captive-bred in Germany
  • Reef-safe: No. Freshwater
  • 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 were created in Germany as a white variant of the Neocaridina cf. zhangjiajiensis species of freshwater shrimp. They take their name from the round, snow-white eggs they carry.

These shrimp feed on algae and detritus, and they breed rapidly and prolifically in your tank, so once you’ve bought a colony, you should never need to buy more.

5. Bamboo Shrimp (Atyopsis Moluccensis)

Close-up view of Freshwater Bamboo Shrimp. Atyopsis moluccensis.
  • Scientific name: Atyopsis moluccensis
  • Origins: India, Southeast Asia, Samoan Islands, Sri Lanka
  • Reef-safe: No. Freshwater
  • 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 are filter-feeders and have fan-like structures instead of claws, which they use to catch floating particles of food that drift past on the current. It’s fascinating to watch the shrimp pick a rock or piece of driftwood where the water flow is strong and catch food as it floats past.

Bamboo shrimp are impossible to breed in captivity, and they have a very short lifespan of just a year or so.

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

Orange Sunkist Shrimp Live Freshwater Aquarium Shrimp
  • Scientific name: Neocaridina heteropoda var. Orange
  • Origins: Taiwan
  • Reef-safe: No. Freshwater
  • 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 are an absolute must for a freshwater tank that needs a pop of color! These gorgeous little crustaceans are extremely easy to care for, peaceful, and can survive on a diet of algae, particles of fish food, and detritus.

Keep these shrimp in a species-only tank or with small, non-aggressive fish and snails and wait for a population explosion of tiny orange shrimplets!

7. Blue Bolt Shrimp (Caridina cf Cantonensis)

Blue bolt shrimp(Caridina cantonensis) variation of bee shrimp by selective breed
  • Scientific name: Caridina cf cantonensis
  • Origins: South China
  • Reef-safe: No. Freshwater
  • 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

If you’re an experienced aquarist with a knowledge of shrimp keeping, the Blue Bolt shrimp might be a good choice for you. 

These fragile beautiful little blue and white inverts graze on algae and biofilm and scavenge on the substrate. You’ll need to keep your water pristine, as the slightest amount of toxin in the tank will kill these delicate creatures, and they are fussy when it comes to water chemistry.

8. 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
  • Scientific name: Caridina cf. Cantonensis sp. “Blue Tiger”
  • Origins: Southeast Asia
  • Reef-safe: No. Freshwater
  • 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

A colony of these pretty blue shrimp makes an eye-catching sight in the tank with their bright orange eyes and cool blue color.

These active little creatures are quite easy to care for and they will breed very readily if you keep the water conditions stable and maintain the tank properly.

9. Golden Bee Shrimp (Caridina cf. Cantonensis)

Golden Bee Shrimp with green plants
  • Scientific name: Caridina cf. cantonensis
  • Origins: Unknown
  • Reef-safe: No. Freshwater
  • 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

These tiny white-gold shrimp are a very unusual addition to the freshwater tank, and you’ll most likely need to buy them online rather than in a fish store.

Because of their relative rarity and cost, I recommend that you keep Golden Bee shrimp in a single-species tank or with other small, peaceful inverts. These shrimp feed on biofilm and algae, helping to keep the tank surfaces clean.

10. Blue Velvet Shrimp (Neocaridina Davidi var.)

Blue Velvet Shrimp Live Freshwater Aquarium Shrimp - 1/2 to 1 inch Long
  • Scientific name: Neocaridina davidi var.
  • Origins: Taiwan
  • Reef safe: No. Freshwater
  • 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 are variants of the Cherry shrimp and enjoy the same water conditions.

These bright blue inverts make a colorful display when kept in a shrimp tank with other kinds of Neocaridina davidi. They are extremely easy to look after and they breed prolifically, making them perfect pets for kids.

11. Pinto Shrimp (Caridina Cantonensis Pinto Bee)

Pinto Shrimp at the top of green plants
Image Source: instagram.com
  • Scientific name: Caridina cantonensis Pinto Bee
  • Origins:
  • Reef-safe: No. Freshwater
  • 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 gorgeous Pinto shrimp is a strikingly marked little invert that undoubtedly makes a statement in any tank.

However, these shrimp are heavily selectively bred and that makes them fragile and intolerant of all but the most perfect water chemistry and cleanliness. If you take on a colony of Pintos, you will need to use a pH-lowering substrate and RO (Reverse Osmosis) water to keep these shrimp happy and thriving.

12. Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina Davidi)

Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina davidi)
  • Scientific name: Neocaridina davidi
  • Origins:Taiwan
  • Reef safe: No. Freshwater
  • 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 easy to care for, breeds prolifically, and brings a bright splash of color to the home aquarium.

These iconic little red shrimp are graded according to their depth of color, and you can also get them in orange, violet, black, yellow, and violet.

You can keep Cherry shrimp in an invert tank with other shrimp and snails, or in a community setup with Bettas, small catfish, and Neon tetras.

13. Chocolate Shrimp (Neocaridina Davidi)

Chocolate Shrimp on green plants
Image Source: instagram.com
  • Scientific name: Neocaridina davidi
  • Origins: Taiwan
  • Reef-safe: No. Freshwater
  • 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

As mentioned above, Cherry shrimp come in a range of colors, and the brown color morph is commonly called the Chocolate shrimp.

Chocolate shrimp enjoy the same care and tank conditions as Cherry shrimp, but be careful if you introduce these critters to your setup. Like all Neocaridina davidi, these shrimp are prolific breeders, and they do crossbreed with other color variants in their species.

Types of Saltwater Shrimp

14. Blood Red Fire Shrimp (Lysmata debelius)

red marine shrimp Lysmata debelius
  • Scientific name: Lysmata debelius
  • Origins: Indonesia, Sri Lanka
  • Reef-safe: Yes
  • Care level: Easy
  • Size: 2 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 15 gallons
  • Temperature range: 72o F to 78o F
  • Suggested water pH: 8.1 to 8.4

Blood Red Fire shrimp are primarily nocturnal and spend much of the daytime hiding away out of the light.

These beautiful shrimp are peaceful as long as they have plenty of space, as they can be somewhat territorial with others of their own species. The shrimp are “cleaner shrimp,” picking parasites and dead tissue from fish and scavenging meaty foods from the substrate.

15. Sexy Anemone Shrimp (Thor amboinensis)

Sexy Anemone Shrimp (Thor amboinensis)
  • Scientific name: Thor amboinensis
  • Origins: Indo-Pacific, Indonesia
  • Reef-safe: Yes
  • Care level: Easy
  • Size: 1.5 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 10 gallons
  • Temperature range: 72o F to 78o F
  • Suggested water pH: 8.1 to 8.4

Sexy Anemone shrimp get their name from their rather exotic body undulations when walking.

In nature, these shrimp typically live among an anemone’s tentacles. However, in the home tank, Sexy Anemone shrimp like to take up a vantage point on an outcrop of live rock or a coral frag.

Keep these shrimp in small groups and offer them a diet of flakes and frozen meaty foods. 

16. Peppermint shrimp (Lysmata wurdemanni complex)

Berried peppermint shrimp
Image Source : wikimedia.org
  • Scientific name: Lysmata wurdemanni complex
  • Origins: Caribbean 
  • Reef-safe: Yes
  • Care level: Easy
  • Size: 2 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 15 gallons
  • Temperature range: 72o F to 78o F
  • Suggested water pH: 8.1 to 8.4

Peppermint shrimp are popular with marine and reef hobbyists largely due to its natural management of nuisance glass anemones.

These shrimp are regarded as “cleaner” shrimp, although they are primarily scavengers, picking detritus, decomposing organic matter, and uneaten fish food from the live rock in your tank.

Peppermints are peaceful and sociable toward most reef inhabitants.

17. Banded Coral Shrimp (Stenopus tenuirostris)

banded coral shrimp with reef coral in the similan island, Thailand
  • Scientific name: Stenopus tenuirostris
  • Origins: Indo-Pacific
  • Reef-safe: Yes
  • Care level: Easy
  • Size: 1.5 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 15 gallons
  • Temperature range: 72o F to 78o F
  • Suggested water pH: 8.1 to 8.4

Banded Coral shrimp come in several color morphs, including blue and gold. These shrimp are perfect for any reef or invert aquarium, happily cleaning dead tissue and parasites from fish at cleaning stations.

These helpful little shrimp are also highly effective at hunting bristle worms in a reef tank and controlling populations of these pests. You should keep Blue Banded Coral shrimp singly in smaller tanks, although a small group is possible in a larger setup.

18. Harlequin Shrimp (Hymenocera elegans)

Harlequin Shrimp
  • Scientific name: Hymenocera elegans
  • Origins: Africa, Indian Ocean
  • Reef-safe: Yes
  • Care level: Moderate
  • Size: 1.5 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 15 gallons
  • Temperature range: 72o F to 78o F
  • Suggested water pH: 8.1 to 8.4

The stunning Harlequin shrimp is an unusual and seldom-seen invert that’s best kept in a mated pair in a reef setup with moderate lighting.

These shrimp are difficult to keep healthy, largely because of their very specialist feeding requirements. You will need to feed the shrimp a diet of echinoderms, mostly starfish and a few urchins, which is something to bear in mind if you have those creatures in your setup.

19. Marble Shrimp (Saron marmoratus)

  • Scientific name: Saron marmoratus
  • Origins: Hawaii, Maldives, Indonesia
  • Reef-safe: No
  • Care level: Moderate
  • Size: 2 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 15 gallons
  • Temperature range: 72o F to 78o F
  • Suggested water pH: 8.1 to 8.4

Marble shrimp are primarily nocturnal, changing color from their usual brown with green spots to red so that the creature blends into the shadows.

When you first introduce these shrimp into the tank, they hide away from the light. However, eventually, the shrimp will begin to wander around during the daytime, foraging in the coral rubble at the reef base.

20. Pistol Shrimp (Alpheus randalli)

Pistol Shrimp (Alpheus randalli)
  • Scientific name: Alpheus randalli
  • Origins: Indo-Pacific
  • Reef-safe: Yes
  • Care level: Easy
  • Size: 2 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 15 gallons
  • Temperature range: 72o F to 78o F
  • Suggested water pH: 8.1 to 8.4

Pistol shrimp are also sometimes called Snapping shrimp. The shrimp uses its modified pincer to produce a stream of water and a loud clicking sound, largely to frighten off predators or to knock down prey.

Mated pairs of shrimp live in burrows often with a goby. The goby acts as a lookout in exchange for sharing food with the shrimp.

21. Bumble Bee Shrimp (Gnathophyllum americanum)

Bumble Bee Shrimp
Image Source : instagram.com
  • Scientific name: Gnathophyllum americanum
  • Origins: Indo-Pacific
  • Reef-safe: Yes
  • Care level: Difficult
  • Size: 1 inch
  • Minimum tank size: 15 gallons
  • Temperature range: 72o F to 78o F
  • Suggested water pH: 8.1 to 8.4

Bumble Bee shrimp should be kept in pairs in small nano tanks so that you can see them.

These shrimp are not easy to keep, largely due to their feeding habits. The shrimp eat the tube feet of echinoderms but they can also be given frozen meaty foods, cockles, or small pieces of fresh fish.

22. Peacock Mantis Shrimp (Odontodactylus scyllarus)

Peacock mantis shrimp in Bohol sea, Phlippines Islands
  • Scientific name: Odontodactylus scyllarus
  • Origins: Indo-Pacific
  • Reef-safe: No
  • Care level: Difficult
  • Size: 6 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 75 gallons
  • Temperature range: 72o F to 78o F
  • Suggested water pH: 8.1 to 8.4

Peacock Mantis shrimp must be kept singly in a single-species tank.

The shrimp are very aggressive, large animals that have claws that they use to crack the shells of crabs and other crustaceans, and they will eat fish too, given the chance. 

These shrimp need a sandy substrate with live rock that they can use to build a cave.

23. Pederson’s Cleaner Shrimp (Ancylomenes pedersoni)

Periclimenes pedersoni (Pederson Cleaner Shrimp)
Image Source : wikimedia.org
  • Scientific name: Ancylomenes pedersoni
  • Origins: Caribbean
  • Reef-safe: Yes
  • Care level: Difficult
  • Size: 1.5 inches
  • Minimum tank size: 10 gallons
  • Temperature range: 72o F to 78o F
  • Suggested water pH: 8.1 to 8.4

Pederson’s Cleaner shrimp are endemic to only the Western regions of the tropical Caribbean and Atlantic Oceans, often forming a relationship with anemones.

These interesting shrimp do best in a reef tank that has lots of live rock for hiding places. The shrimp entice large fish close enough to climb on them, where they pick off parasites.

In Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this guide to the freshwater and saltwater shrimp species that you can keep in your home tank.

Shrimp make a fascinating alternative to a fish-only setup. So, what aquarium shrimp species do you keep?  

Tell us in the comments box below, and if you loved our article, please share 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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