Keeping Freshwater Cherry Red Shrimp as Pets
Why Freshwater Pet Shrimp?
Why not? They are fun little guys and can be much more active than fish. The most popular types of pet shrimp are cherry, ghost, and blue shrimp.
These little guys are great little cleaners and will spend every waking hour exploring your tank and picking up little bits of leftover food and cleaning up algae. Its also fascinating to watch them breed as it doesn't take any special care to get them to breed.
I currently have a small cherry shrimp tank setup, and it's really great fun to watch them speed around the tank with their powerful little legs. It's a great change from keeping fish.
What to Know About Keeping Shrimp
The great thing about keeping pet shrimps is that they don't require huge tanks. You can easily keep a little group of shrimps in a small bowl of around 10–12 liters. If you want to see more activity and breeding, it's best to go for a tank size of 40 liters or more.
Many people keep their pet shrimp tanks inside, and usually room temperature will keep the water at a good temperature range. However, in winter the water may drop below the recommended range of between 20–24 degrees Celsius. So it's best to have a heater handy for the colder months.
Filtration and Aeration
Just like any other aquatic creature, the shrimp requires proper filtration and aeration of the water—especially in large colonies. The most popular filtration setup is either an underground gravel filter or a sponge filter that won't suck in poor young shrimp.
Shrimp are omnivores, so they will pretty much eat anything from little bits of flake food to pellets, which they break down to size. They can also live happily on little micro-organisms growing inside your tank.
Only feed your shrimp once a day, and feed them as much as they can consume within 2–3 minutes. It's hard to monitor it, so a little sprinkle of food is usually enough.
Keeping Shrimp With Fish
Generally, it's best not to keep fish with shrimp. Any fish with a mouth big enough to fit a shrimp is a danger to your little shrimps. The most common tank mates are guppies or endler variety guppies as they are less aggressive and do not grow that big.
There are many shrimp varieties out there to try. They are very compatible with each other, and it's best to have them in decent-size groups of at least 5 so they can stay close to their friends. The most popular varieties are as follows:
- Dwarf Shrimp
- Ghost or Glass Shrimp
- Cherry Shrimp
- Blue Shrimp
- Long-armed Shrimp
Your shrimp don't really require live plants in the tank unless they are competing for survival with other fish (in which case a moss ball or other live plants will help to keep younger shrimp safe). Shrimp do enjoy a bit of driftwood to claw against.
Breeding shrimp is unbelievably easy—just make sure the water quality is good and they are getting enough to eat, and they will start to breed. You will see when the females are plump with eggs, and if you look closely, you can see the eggs; they're very visible.
Freshwater shrimp usually don't get any larger than 3–4 cm long, depending on the type of shrimp, of course. Non-freshwater shrimp can get as huge as 15 cm long.
It's a good idea to get a lid for your tank, because a startled or excited shrimp can spring itself out of your tank and start crawling across your carpet. Either get a lid or just fill your tank 3/4 of the way up.
Watch what you add into your tank, such as supplementation for your plants or anything to help kill the diseases of your other fish. Shrimp are very sensitive to copper, and you could end up killing all your shrimp.
Buying and Collecting Shrimp
Shrimp in pet stores usually aren't that cheap. It's best to look on classified pet enthusiast websites for people who have bred a lot and are willing to sell them off cheap. The other option is to head down to your local river/stream and try to catch some local shrimp and bring them home for your tank.