Will Shrimp Eat Fish Waste in Freshwater Tank?

Do you have a planted tank and want to know the best ways to deal with fish waste? Shrimp will eat it, making them the perfect cleanup crew to add to your tank. They won’t eat your plants or dig up their roots, making them very beneficial animals to have around.

There’s a lot to know, so let’s begin!

Are Shrimp Good for Fish Tanks?

Shrimp are great to add to freshwater fish tanks. They leave the other fish alone and happily eat the food they forget about. Plus, the shrimp are lovely cleaners. They sweep the bottom of the aquarium, cleaning fish waste that your filter might not be able to reach. 

Shrimp works excellent with other small community fish and are very low-maintenance creatures. They will gradually improve the appearance of your tank over time as well.

Species of Freshwater Shrimp

There are several different species of shrimp you can consider adding to your habitat. The larger species include the ghost shrimp, Amano, and the bamboo shrimp. They can live safely in tanks between 10 and 55 gallons. 

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Some other better species for small tanks include bee shrimp, crystal shrimp, and red cherry shrimp.

What Freshwater Fish Can Live With Shrimp?

Many species of shrimp are easy to introduce to your current tank. They fit well with danios, guppies, tetras, corydoras, rasboras, and plecos. If you have a freshwater tank, you likely have some of those types of fish already in your aquarium.

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Nano Planted tank

If you love shrimp, you can also base an aquarium entirely on raising them. These tiny creatures are fun to watch, making them an incredibly popular species for fish keepers to have around.

Do Ghost Shrimp Eat Waste?

Ghost shrimp are the most popular species to raise at home. So, you will be happy to learn they are exceptional at cleaning up fish waste. They are low maintenance, too, and eat anything that drops to the bottom of the tank.

They are incredibly peaceful creatures and won’t fight one another for food. They also can be purchased as a meal for larger fish species. If you want them only for cleaning, you don’t want to keep them with Bettas or Cichlids, as they will eat them if they are large enough.

Ghost Shrimp Diet

These shrimp species are scavengers, meaning they eat anything that would be considered waste by other water creatures. They take their time eating, picking apart food with their tiny arms- making them fascinating to watch!

Ghost shrimp will eat:

  • Dead plants
  • Algae
  • Fish food 
  • Dead fish
  • Waste

They also will happily eat fish eggs, so make sure you don’t keep them in nursery tanks! The shrimp won’t seek out eggs but eat them when they stumble across them. They also will start eating dead fish if you don’t remove them from the tank right away. 

Ghost shrimp also don’t need to be fed at certain times. They will scavenge all day, stopping when they are full to take a break. When your planted tank has algae, you don’t need to worry about feeding them as often. The shrimp will snack on the algae instead.

Ghost Shrimp Lifespan

Ghost shrimp can live with other types of shrimp and can live for a few days but can also live up to a year. They can also grow up to be one and a half inches long at most. Even at this large size, they are still peaceful. You won’t have to worry about them bothering your fish!

Will Shrimp Clean My Tank?

If you struggle to keep your tank clean on your own, then adding some shrimp to it is a wonderful idea. The tiny creatures are excellent for clearing uneaten food that falls to the bottom of the tank. They also keep the algae amount low and remove fish waste.

The shrimp will be very busy during the day. You will notice them swimming around and picking up small pieces of food around the tank. The shrimp are much like sweepers or tiny Roombas that clean the bottom of your aquarium.

Caring for Shrimp

Provide Hiding Spaces

Shrimp love hiding spaces like plants and other decorations- making them best suited for planted tanks. In these settings, they will consume plenty of algae, making them excellent at assisting your nitrite cycle.

Consider the Tank

When adding any new creatures to your tank, you need to consider the size of the tank. You can keep about four shrimp per gallon of tank. However, you will need to also think about how many other fish you currently have.

Even though shrimp eat waste, they still add to the “biological load” in your tank. This phrase refers to the amount of life in your aquarium. Every creature produces waste and nitrogen, which leads to ammonia. Overfilling your tank can cause many health issues for your animals.

Molting Shrimp

Keep in mind that shrimp molt as they grow. The shrimp will shed old shells and be in a vulnerable state until they reharden. During this stage, aggressive fish can harm them. That is why we recommend you raise shrimp in tanks with peaceful fish.

You can help your shrimp stay safe as they molt by providing them with logs and plants to hide in. You mustn’t panic when you see a shrimp shell! Many new fish keepers feel alarmed when they find an empty shell, thinking one of their pets has passed away.

If you find an empty shell, the shrimp who used to wear it is likely hiding somewhere. They clean your tank slowly when their skin is soft, as they are nervous when they are exposed. You don’t have to take out discarded shells either- your shrimp will eat them!

Final Thoughts

So, yes! Shrimp eat fish waste. Not only that, but they eat plenty of other items that cause issues in the tank. They love algae and other debris. Ghost shrimp are some of the most popular types. Still, you can find several different species of freshwater shrimp to add to your aquarium!