Shrimp Tank Mates - Planted Tank Mates
bloody mary shrimp

Shrimp Tank Mates

Overview

Aquarium shrimp are not only great scavengers, but they add a nice pop of color to any community tank.  They’re peaceful in nature, unique in appearance and are relatively active day and night.  The most common are the ornamental Caridina and Neocaridina species; Cherry shrimp being one of the most popular.  The water requirements are different for these 2 species and their dwarf size makes them susceptible prey.  So what are good shrimp tank mates and how do you create a safe environment for them?

Caridina Shrimp Tank Mates

Most Caridina shrimp prefer acidic waters of around 6.5 – 6.8 PH range, 7.0 max.  They’re very sensitive to water changes and require stable parameters.  A popular Caridina species is the Crystal Red Shrimp.  They do best with nano fish and snails that also prefer acidic waters and a heavy planted tank.

Crystal Red Wine Shrimp
Crystal Red Wine Shrimp – available on Amazon

Dwarf and Pygmy Corydoras are bottom dwellers and make great tank mates with Caridina shrimp.  While Dwarf species can get to about 2.5” in size, Pygmy Corydoras max out at about 1”.  They’re peaceful bottom feeders that graze the tank and are non territorial.  Their mouths are small enough that they commonly don’t try to eat shrimp.

Pygmy Corydora
Pygmy Corydora – available on Amazon

Cardinal and Rummy Nose Tetras also prefer soft and acidic waters.  They’re peaceful community fish that occupy the middle of the tank and average about 1.5” – 2” in size.  Many have successfully kept them with Caridina shrimp species without issue.

Cardinal Tetra
Cardinal Tetra – available on Amazon

 

Rummy Nose Tetra
Rummy Nose Tetra – available on Amazon

Sparkling Gouramis (Pygmy Gouramis) are fantastic top dwelling fish that can be kept with Caridina Shrimp species.  They prefer a PH range of 6.0 – 7 .0 and average about 1.5” in size.  Sparkling Gouramis are peaceful, active, and most likely won’t hunt down shrimp for snacks.

Sparkling (Pygmy) Gourami
Sparkling Gourami – available on Amazon

Neocaridina Shrimp Tank Mates

Neocaridina shrimps such as the infamous Cherry Shrimp are extremely hardy and can tolerate a wide range of water parameters.  They do best in slightly alkaline water conditions, so you can pair them with some higher PH nano fish.  

Red Cherry Shrimp
Red Cherry Shrimp – available on Amazon

Rosy Loaches prefer slightly alkaline water parameters and are relatively small for a loach species.  About 1 ¼” in size, their small mouth makes them a peaceful bottom dweller that won’t eat adult shrimp.  They do require a high protein diet, so provide a lot of hiding spaces for baby shrimp.

rosy loach fish side profile
Rosy Loach

Emerald Dwarf Rasboras actually prefer more alkaline water conditions and make great Neocaridina shrimp mates.  They max out at about 1.5” and typically dwell in the middle of the tank.

emerald dwarf rasbora fish side profile
Emerald Dwarf Rasbora – available on Amazon

Fancy Guppies loves to swim around the top part of the aquarium and will seldom come across the bottom-dwelling Cherry Shrimp.  They do prefer harder water so most Neocaridinas can go well with them. 

Fancy Guppies @ top
Fancy Guppies – available on Amazon

Universal Shrimp Tank Mates

Regardless of Caridina or Neocaridina species, these list of tank mates do well with both and can tolerate a wide range of water parameters.  The key is keeping the water parameters stable and minimize fluctuations.

Amano Shrimp are peaceful, hardy and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions.  Best of all, they won’t crossbreed with any of the Caridina or Neocaridina species.

Amano Shrimp
Amano Shrimp – available on Amazon

Otocinclus is another hardy fish species that make great tank mates with all shrimp species.  Even baby shrimp are safe from these gentle catfishes.

dwarf otocinclus side profile
Dwarf Otocinclus Catfish – available on Amazon

Snails are generally another good option.  They won’t attack live shrimp that move around, but dead shrimp will definitely draw a crowd.  Assassin snails might be the exception, so be weary of keeping them with your shrimp. Check PH preferences for each snail species.

yellow rabbit freshwater snail
Yellow Rabbit Snail – available on Amazon

Most Neon Tetras and Rasboras can handle a wide range of PH and are generally peaceful with all shrimp species.  They’re great middle dwelling fish and won’t actively hunt down shrimp for snacks.

Harlequin Rasbora
Harlequin Rasbora and Neon Tetra – available on Amazon

Celestial Pearl Danios are another great tank mate with all types of shrimp.  They’re colorful, hardy and average about ¾” in size.  A group of 6-10 of them make a great community companion.

Celestial Pearl Danio
Celestial Pearl Danio – available on Amazon

All Things Considered

Dwarf shrimps make a great addition to your tank.  Not only are they ornamental but they help clean algae and contribute to a balance ecosystem.  Unfortunately, the only guaranteed safety when it comes to shrimp tank mates are other shrimp.  Most nano fish are peaceful in general and have small mouths, but they can snack on baby fry.  Provide a lot of plants and hiding places for shrimp, especially when they’re molting and vulnerable.  Avoid aggressive species like barbs and pea puffers, or even large fish like cichlids who will gobble them up.  You’ll know your community tank is a success when shrimp are swimming casually around and not hiding.  If shrimp are clustered in a corner or constantly missing, something is up.  Active shrimp and fish equals a happy community.

 

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