Do Shrimp Make Good Pets?

Trying to find a good pet for my son for a 20-gallon aquarium I had seen, I looked into shrimp and was wondering if they would make good pets. Here is what I found out.

Shrimp make excellent pets; they are fascinating, easy to keep and they are a lively addition to almost every aquarium. Kids and adults can learn a lot by taking care of them, and they don’t have to cost much.

below are some of the basics essential you will need and some of the reasons how I came to these conclusions.

What Do You Need, The Basics

Of course like any hobby you can take this as far as you like, but the minimum requirements that you need to have for a nice shrimp tank with a good ecosystem aren’t that many. The basics essentials are:

You Need a Tank or Aquarium

You can go as small as a 3 or 5-gallon nano tank but generally the bigger the tank, the easier it is to maintain a stable environment for your shrimp. Although a big aquarium can look very beautiful, you don’t need a big fish tank to have a good shrimp dwelling. I would advise getting at least a 10-gallon tank, this is about 20 inches wide if you are starting small. In this case, bigger is better.

Cherry Shrimp Breeding Aquarium
Cherry Shrimp Breeding Aquarium

Tip: If you get a second-hand tank, make sure the previous tenants have not been treated with copper-based medication. Copper is toxic to all Dwarf Shrimp and traces of it can still be present in the aquarium, even after the tank is rinsed thoroughly.

Some Plants and Rocks and/or Wood for Decoration

Stones and wood are not only a beautiful decoration in the tank, but they also provide a large surface where microorganisms and algae can live where the shrimp can feed off.

plants rocks and shrimp aquarium

Something to Filter the Water

A sponge filter will be the best choice here. The sponge will hold all kinds of bits and pieces the shrimp will feed, and the sponge will also prevent the little shrimp from being sucked into the filter. An added bonus is, the sponge filters are usually cheaper than the external filters. You can use an external filter, they can be very good at cleaning the water, just make sure you put a piece of sponge on the intake.

An Aquarium Heater

Different type of shrimp prefer different temperatures, make sure you know the right temperature for the species you chose. Shrimp can live in a range of temperatures, but mostly they like it to remain constant. What you need to know about shrimp and temperatures is, if the temperature is on the higher side, they will grow and breed faster, but it will shorten their lifecycle.

Food for Your Shrimp

There are a lot of different specialty foods like pellets, flakes, and wafers created only for your little CrustaceanOpens in a new tab.. They are almost all good, but most aren’t picky with their diet. They will eat almost everything they can find, the fish flakes you feed your fish that falls to the bottom, fish pellets, and algae wafers. They also eat matter shed from your aquarium plants. They will find food everywhere and tirelessly keep searching your aquarium and clean everything. Very fun to watch them go.

Why They Make Such Great Pets

They are Fun to Watch

A lovely shrimp tank is a beautiful addition to any room in your house. Shrimp are very active and very fun to watch. They have a calming, mesmerizing effect when you watch them go about their business looking for food and interacting with each other. It is also a lot of fun watching them clean themselves with their many little legs. Always busy looking for food.

Easy to Keep

If you take a look at most pets, they will need a lot of attention. Most shrimp will eat almost anything, they will find food all over the aquarium. They like some forms of algae, dead plant matter, small bits of fish flakes or special shrimp food you can get in pet stores. Some even eat little bits of vegetables, they can have a lot of fun with a green pea for instance. Shrimp are also known to be very peaceful and live in harmony with a lot of other peaceful shrimp and fish, though bear in mind the number of different species and you don’t overcrowd your tank.

Breeding Shrimp

If your Shrimp are are happy and thriving they often will breed. It is very intresting to see them keep their egg withe them and care for them untill they hatch. If you like to find out how to setup an aquarium for breeding cherry shrimp you will find this article interessting.

My Aquarium Cleaning Crew

I like to call them my cleaning crew, they are like little minions tirelessly cleaning everything they can get their little grabby paws on.

Amano Shrimp Cleaning

Best Aquarium Cleaners

Cherry shrimp (Neocaridina davidi) spend their entire day foraging for food, eating algae and biofilm wherever they can find it.
I like these guys the best because of many factors:

  • They are one of the easier to take care of.
  • They can adapt to a wide range of water and temperature conditions (be careful, this does not mean continually fluctuating water conditions).
  • They come in a wide variety of colors, natural green-brown, through breading ranging from red to orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, black and everything in between.

Most Shrimp are naturally omnivores that will eat anything they can find, but these are for me the best IMHO.
For the same reasons, I like them the best as a beginner Species.

Best Algae Eaters

As stated aquarium shrimp eat almost all unwanted stuff in your tank and this also includes some form of algae. The Amano shrimp (Caridina multidentata) is very popular and one of the most active best algae-eating shrimp of them all. They are also known as the “algae eating shrimp,” they consume not only most types of algae but like the other varieties, they also eat dead plant castoff material (detritus) and clean the tank of leftover food. They are real little algae-eating machines.

Tip: If you want to start breeding Shrimp, don’t choose Amano shrimp. They are extremely hard to breed as the larvae need salt/brackish water in which the adults can’t survive.

Silly Advantages of keeping Shrimp as a Pet

  • They don’t have to be groomed or have their nails clipped.
  • They don’t have to be walked or leave fur all over the place.
  • They are very clean and won’t track dirt in the house or make a mess.
  • And they are very quiet, they don’t wake you up at night.
  • They do not come to you if you call them

What Did My Son and I Choose For His Tank?

For my son, we chose a mixed aquarium with red Cherry shrimp (Neocaridina davidi), some Cardinal tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi), and some guppies (Poecilia reticulata). We had lost of fun setting it up, and we enjoy looking at them whenever we get to his room. What we did and how we set it up is a story for another blog post.

Cherry shrimp and Neon Terta aquarium

Related Questions

How long do shrimps live in a fish tank? Most pet shrimp live between one and three years. Temperature is a big influence here, a higher temperature shortens their lives.

Do ghost shrimp clean tanks? Ghost shrimp will clean up any uneaten fish food as well as keeping algae levels down


My name is Jaap, and I am a passionate shrimp and fish enthusiast. I rediscovered my love for this hobby with my son and want to share our knowledge and tips with you on this aquarium blog. We cover topics such as setting up and maintaining an aquarium, feeding and breeding your shrimp and fish, and creating the perfect environment for them to thrive.

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