Aquarium Livestock Pet Care Guides

Aquarium Shrimp

Natural Habitat

Indo-Pacific, Atlantic

Tank Temperature




Specific Gravity



Most are omnivores or scavengers and can be fed frozen or pelleted meaty foods, like brine shrimp, silversides, worms; will also feed on leftover food and detritus.


Aggressiveness and activity level varies with species, from passive and reclusive to active and aggressive; molts exoskeleton periodically (do not disturb shrimp during this process).


Do not keep shrimp with predators, such as Hawkfish, Triggers, Squirrelfish, Lionfish, or Groupers. Compatibility with other tankmates varies with species; research individual choices carefully.

Species Overview

Shrimp make interesting and colorful additions to a tank. They can be found in almost every aquatic environment, and most species rely on stealth and camouflage for protection. The number of species of shrimp is staggering and cannot be covered completely in a short guide. Research your individual choices carefully.

Most shrimp are omnivores or are opportunistic scavengers. They will generally accept foods like flakes, pellets, algaes, and frozen meaty foods as well as whatever they scavenge from their tank (or tankmates). "Cleaner" shrimp get their name from their habit of picking external parasites, dead scales and other irritants off of the surface of other fish. Some fish will actively seek out a cleaner shrimp to clean them while others can become irritated or stressed by the shrimp's "good intentions". Cleaner shrimp will also accept other foods. Some species of shrimp may eat corals or invertebrates; this can range from the "helpful" behavior of eating nuisances like Aiptasia anemones or bristleworms to shrimp like the notorious Mantis Shrimp that are active and aggressive predators or the Harlequin Shrimp that feed only on starfish.

Shrimp molt their hard outer skeleton to grow and it is not unusual to find an empty molt in an aquarium with shrimp. Shrimp also can molt under environmental stress such as water changes, rapid changes in conditions or during shipping. Always acclimate shrimp slowly to avoid sudden changes in their environment.

Crustaceans benefit from iodine and mineral supplements to help form a healthy, hard exoskeleton. Regular water changes with high quality salt mixes usually provide enough, but extra supplements may be needed in reef tanks or in tanks with heavy invertebrates loads that use up iodine and other minerals rapidly. If water changes with new, fresh saltwater are not done regularly, the minerals also get depleted and nitrates accumulate and can also be detrimental to crustaceans and other invertebrates.

We always suggest that you do further research before adding a new pet to your tank. What we have provided for you are guidelines and suggestions. If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact our fish room at 717-299-5691 ext. 1213 or

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