Plants for Shrimp Tanks - Planted Tank Mates
blue dream shrimp on leaf

Plants for Shrimp Tanks


Selecting plants for shrimp tanks is easy. There are many combinations to consider, but understanding a few key points will help with the decision making process. Before randomly growing things in your tank, understand that plants help balance the contained ecosystem. They also provide a lot of hiding places for shrimp and help them feel safe and secure when molting. In return, shrimps are scavengers and help break down dead and decaying plants. It’s a codependent relationship where both parties benefit from one another.
Be weary though of selecting plants that require a lot of CO2. In general, high concentrations of CO2 can suffocate livestock. For fish, excess CO2 would cause them to swim less and constantly move their mouths like they’re gasping. Shrimp would behave similarly where they’re less active and possibly gathering into a corner. To create a balanced relationship between shrimp and plants, it’s best to consider plants that are easy to grow with little to no CO2.

Carpet Plants for Shrimp Tanks

Monte Carlo is one of those very hardy and easy to grow carpet plants. Many have successfully grown them without CO2, but it does take a lot longer. The flip side would be that slow growing plants equates to less trimming and work. High lighting will help these plants spread, but be cautious of too much light and algae growth. Beyond that, Monte Carlo makes great plants for shrimp tanks and can provide a nice ground cover scavenging the bottom.

Monte Carlo
Monte Carlo – available on Amazon

Moss Plants for Shrimp Tanks

Java Moss is probably the most popular moss when it comes to shrimp tanks. They’re extremely versatile, can be tied to any decoration and will continue to grow in the most harsh environment. You can provide zero lighting and no CO2 and this plant will still grow. The fuzzy leaves of this moss trap a lot of particulates and in return, Shrimp love to graze and feed off it. Shrimp will even clean the algae growing on moss which makes this plant a win-win combination.

Java Moss Aquarium Plant
Java Moss – available on Amazon

Stem Plants for Shrimp Tanks

Another Java derived plant is the Java Fern. It’s easy to grow, does not require CO2 (though it’ll grow faster with) and does not require a strong lighting. This can be a great background plant for shrimp to graze on, or sometimes under the leaves.

Java Fern
Java Fern – available on Amazon

Floating Plants for Shrimp Tanks

Floating plants like Frogbit is another great option for shrimp tanks, especially baby shrimp that like to hide. They grow roots which extend into the water column and provide a lot of area for shrimp to rest and feed. The long roots also help absorb nitrates which is beneficial to keeping levels low for shrimp.  Frogbit is another fast growing plant that can also filter the light, providing pockets of shade. Being on the surface, it’s a relatively easy plant to maintain.

frogbit planted tank
Frogbit Roots – Floating Plant – available on Amazon

Algae for Shrimp Tanks

Let’s not forget something; shrimps love algae. Period. It is a plant after all and it’s naturally occurring with high levels of light and nitrates. You may have seen some shrimp tanks that add a spotlight to create a concentration of algae on the glass. If done correctly, algae can be an awesome focus point and a fantastic plant for shrimp tanks.

Aquarium Algae as food source

All Things Considered

You can absolutely have CO2 for your planted shrimp tank. Low to moderate doses of CO2 is totally fine, but be cautious of high CO2 demanding plants. If you are treating the plants with excessive CO2, then the shrimp may suffer. Vice versa and your shrimp may thrive but the plant may not grow to its full potential. The key is to find that balance and selecting the plants that help your shrimp, who in return help your plants.  Use a drop checker for CO2 tanks and regardless, always monitor your plants and livestock.

Compare plants for Shrimp tank
Compare plants for Shrimp tank

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