Freshwater Shrimp Aquarium Setup Tips
Dwarf freshwater shrimp are relatively easy to keep – at least most species are – offering first-time aquarists something "outside the box", and veteran fish keepers a new direction to focus their interests and skills in. They're perfect for 5 to 10-gallon planted aquariums, meaning you can have a shrimp tank almost anywhere!
To set up a nano shrimp tank you'll need the following items:
- 3 to 10-gallon aquarium
- Aquarium cover
- Light suitable for growing live plants
- Shrimp Filter with intake guard to prevent shrimp from being drawn in
- Heater and thermometer
- Fine gravel or live plant substrate
- Driftwood and/or rockwork
- Water conditioner
- Shrimp food
Aqueon makes setting up a shrimp habitat easy with our 7.5 gallon LED. The kit contains the key components you'll need to be successful with dwarf freshwater shrimp and live plants, along with setup instructions and a shrimp and plant guide. Add an Aqueon heater to maintain proper temperature.
If you're building your own shrimp habitat, your filter should have a guard on the intake to prevent shrimp – especially babies, which are miniscule – from being drawn in. Air-operated sponge filters are the exception, and they can be a good choice because shrimp can't get sucked in and they will readily feed on the bio-film that grows on the sponge. Aqueon QuietFlow Internal Shrimp Filters included in our Shrimp Aquarium Kits include a protective screen and foam intake pad to prevent shrimp, small fish and invertebrates from entering the filter. The foam pad can be cleaned by simply removing and rinsing it.
An aquarium weighs approximately 10 lb per gallon when filled with water and décor, so make sure the base you place your tank on is sturdy enough to support it. Also, avoid locating it near sunny windows, heating/air conditioning vents, or drafty areas like outside doors.
Dwarf shrimp like to hang out and forage on rocks, driftwood and plants, making natural decorations essential. As your tank matures, micro-organisms will grow on these surfaces and provide your shrimp with a valuable source of food. Planted aquariums are enjoying a revival of sorts in the hobby, and they go hand in hand with dwarf shrimp. Besides providing habitat for your shrimp, especially newly-hatched young, live plants help balance pH, provide oxygen and improve water quality by removing pollutants like ammonia, nitrate and phosphate.
Pristine water is critical to dwarf freshwater shrimp. Even the most durable species don't tolerate poor water quality, so it's essential to cycle the tank before introducing your first shrimp. There are many ways to cycle an aquarium, but one of the soundest and easiest methods is to start with a few hardy fish like white cloud minnows or zebra danios and wait 4 to 6 weeks, testing ammonia and nitrite weekly. Once both levels are zero, you're ready to add shrimp! (Make sure nitrate is below 10 ppm as well.) The starter fish should be removed at this time, as even the smallest, most peaceful fish are capable of eating baby shrimp.
Choosing the right equipment and being patient when starting out will ensure years of enjoyment with dwarf freshwater shrimp. Check out our article on Dwarf Shrimp Water Quality to learn more about maintaining the best conditions for your shrimp!
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