Looking for something different to tropical fish? Why not keep cherry shrimp?
Good evening lovelies,
Quite recently, I talked about my love for shrimp as pets. Perhaps you’re feeling like I did about the whole idea; you can’t pet them, you can’t hold them, why even have them? Well, to that my question is simple: You can’t hold and pet fish, so why do people keep them? Simple! Because they’re so mesmerising to watch!
I Mean.. Really?!
When I set up my aquarium, I was aware that my set up was going to be small. I’d love a larger tank, but we just don’t have the room. Instead, we have a 54 litre nano tank, and a smaller, 30 litre nano tank to raise and sell the fry. When we started out though, we only had a small 7 litre tank, which I admit, is tiny.
“You could probably have a few shrimp in there”, I turned my nose up at the idea. Shrimp?! I didn’t want shrimp, I wanted fish!
Larger tank purchased and half a dozen <Endlers Livebearers introduced, I was aware of leftover food waste building up on the bottom. I asked the wonderful people over on the FIshlore forum for their advice and once again, a lot of people recommended shrimp. Shrimp. I was not sold.
Reluctant but stuck for other ideas, I ordered ten Blue Cherry Shrimp. A dozen would be ideal, I was told, but ten was all I could get. There are many colours to choose from, but given the calming nature of our lounge I decided that the “Blue Diamond” variety was best. I felt anxious about the idea, but all I could do now was sit back and wait.
When they arrived to me, the shrimp were holding onto a piece of netting, secured inside a bag of aquarium water and safely nestled inside a padded polystyrene box. I quarantined them in the then empty 7 litre tank for two weeks and then moved them over. At the same time, that was also when these little guys started really revealing their behaviour.
When I introduced the shrimp to the quarantine aquarium, they swam out of the container and sunk to the bottom, then got straight to work cleaning. They swim out not unlike tiny aquatic paratroopers and get to business straight away. Just occasionally, they also like to dart up and scuttle along the glass. Very quickly, I was in love.
A lot of aquarists call shrimp the “clean up crew”, and it’s not hard to see why. What the fish don’t eat, the shrimp will. I lost two shrimp by overfeeding my Endlers. Not because my fish ate themselves to death and thus poisoned the water, but my shrimp couldn’t handle so much food. No matter how much my Endlers beg for more food now, they get a tiny bit of food, once day, maximum. My poor cherry shrimp can’t handle what gets left!
The Advantages Of Shrimp In Your Aquarium
By now, I’ve discussed perhaps two of the biggest benefits of keeping shrimp, but there are more. Not only are these guys great for cleaning up left over food, they’re also great algae eaters. They’ll eat almost anything, the true Friar Tucks of the fishkeeping world! They’re affordable, easy to maintain and easy to breed, too. Just like my Endlers, hard water at 22 degrees Celcius seems to be perfectly fine!
The Disadvantages Of Shrimp In Your Aquarium
The biggest disadvantage that I have found is that, if there really is too much food, shrimp can and will go belly up unexpectedly. These little creatures are great cleaners, so it can be saddening to wake up and find one on the bottom of the tank with it’s little legs in the air. Not only, but as scavenger eaters, shrimp will eat other dead shrimp. I was recently put off of my tea and a slice of cake when I looked up to see one of my shrimp chewing a leg off of his deceased brother or sister..
The other thing to be aware of (which nobody had mentioned to me until I researched “see through” shrimp) is that shrimp molt, a process of removing the old shell that they have now grown out of. If you’re aware of it, then the clear shrimp-shaped shell in your aquarium won’t startle you. In my case though, it came as quite a surprise! If you find a shrimp molt, don’t panic. They will normally eat them over a few days, or the shell will break down and provide useful nutrients into the water – or at least so I have now been told!
A Head’s Up On Shrimp Tankmates
Oh bless my father-in-law. He tries so hard, but just occasionally things just go that little bit not quite right for him, as was the case with his new aquarium. Having set up his new tank, he introduced four guppies and a shrimp and, within days he told me, his guppy had eaten his shrimp. Quite contrarily, my Endlers and shrimp hang out in peace and share small patches of algae just fine. Like all other peaceful fish and invertebrates, shrimp need peaceful tank mates to help them avoid being eaten. If you’re going to get them, make sure you research your tankmates first!
Alright my lovelies, I think that’s me on these wonderful and fascinating creatures. If you’re thinking about setting up a small aquarium, please do consider shrimp. Don’t hesitate like I did and consider shrimp as boring creatures – they will be sure not to disappoint you with their antics!
Until next time.
Stay safe & have fun.