Shrimp Water Parameters: GH, KH, pH, TDS, and Temperature

In this post, I’ll be talking about shrimp tank water parameters. One of the main requirements for successful Neocaridina, Caridina, and Sulawesi shrimp keeping is the quality of water.

The parameters that successful professional breeders measure are GH (general hardness), KH (carbonate hardness), pH (Power of hydrogen), TDS (total dissolved solids), and water temperature.

Water Parameters

GH – general hardness

The measure of calcium and magnesium in the water, usually measured in degrees of hardness.

KH carbonate hardness

The measure of carbonates and bicarbonates dissolved in the water usually also measured in degrees of hardness.

pH power of hydrogen

The measurement of hydrogen ion concentration a measure of acidity or alkalinity of a solution. The units are from 0 to 14, where 7 is neutral, below 7 is acidic and above 7 is basic.

TDS total dissolved solids

It’s a measure of the dissolved combined content of all inorganic and organic substances present in a liquid. It can be measured in micro Siemens or parts per million.


Can be measured in Celsius or Fahrenheit. Each species of shrimp has its ideal temperature range while you can adapt each to different ranges this can be risky as you may lose some shrimp that aren’t as robust or as healthy.

These are my tried and tested water parameters for these common types of shrimp that I currently use in over 25 different shrimp colonies.

It is a good idea to consult with the breeder for their suggested parameters. For example, the orange eye blue tiger shrimp comes in a German and Asian variety. While they can be kept in Caridina water parameters, they can also be kept in Neocaridina parameters as well.

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Water parameters for the main species of shrimp

Freshwater for shrimp generally falls into three main categories or species.
Neocaridina, Caridina, and Sulawesi, which is a type of Caridina from Indonesia.

Water parameters for Neocaridina shrimp

For Neocaridina species or commonly known as cherry painted fire, Bloody Mary shrimp, blue jelly, blue dreams, green jade, and black rose, the parameters I keep them in are:

  • GH 8 to 10
  • KH 6 to 9
  • ph 6.5 to 7.5
  • TDS 200
  • Temperature 72°F to 76°F, (22°C to 24°C)

Water parameters for Caridina shrimp

For Caridina species or some of the common types are Taiwan Bee shrimp, crystal red and black, pinto, tangerine Tiger, red black and yellow King Kong shrimp, and blue bolts, the parameters that I keep them in are:

  • GH 4 to 6
  • KH 0-1
  • pH 6-6.8
  • TDS 130
  • Temperature 68°F to 72°F (20°C to 22°C)

Water parameters for Sulawesi shrimp

For Sulawesi shrimp, common ones are white orchid shrimp, red orchid shrimp, and yellow cheek.

  • GH 4 to 6
  • KH 2 to 4
  • pH 8.1 to 8.3
  • TDS 100
  • Temperature 82°F to 84°F (28°C to 29°C)

RO/DI water for a shrimp tank

Since water consistency is key to successful shrimp keeping, the more serious and advanced shrimp keepers start with RO/DI water, which is reverse osmosis deionized water.

They have GH, KH, and TDS close to zero. This allows you to start from a base of zero and remineralize to your preferred range. While it may be tempting to start with tap water and remineralize, this only works if you know what’s in the water.

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A common argument is, my cherry shrimp are doing well, and breeding well in my tap water, so they should be fine in yours. The issue of that is everyone’s tap water can be different, also tap water can contain chlorine and chloramine, which are potentially harmful to shrimp.

If you have any concerns or questions, you can contact your city for a water analysis to determine the basic parameters, and also use a test kit for GH and KH. For example, in Vancouver, Canada, the water is almost as good as RO/DI water.

A lot of people use tap water, but during the rainy season, the sediments and rainfall can sway the water parameters, and for the people who live in the area with well water they may find their water to be super hard.

First of all, it is good to test your water, and secondly using ro/di water allows you to have a base of zero, which is more ideal.

For Neocaridina shrimp I use “Salty Shrimp Sulawesi Mineral 7.5” to achieve a TDS of 200. For Caridina shrimp, I use Tima or “SL blue wizard” and remineralized to a tds of 130. For Sulawesi I use “Salty Shrimp Sulawesi Mineral 8.5” and remineralized to a TDS of 100.

Since the GH and KH are known and consistent for each of these products, I can always rely on my TDS meter when I’m remineralizing, to ensure it’s consistent every time.

Water change and water top off

For evaporation and water top off I use pure ro/di water. As the water evaporates, minerals are left behind, adding pure water brings it back to the previous levels.

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I perform a 10% water change weekly with ro/di of water to remineralized to the above parameters. Experienced breeders can change 10% by weekly, or 20% water change when the TDS creeps over 20 parts per million. I also highly recommend using an auto top off system to stabilize the evaporated water.

I wanted to share my experience and knowledge on water parameters as I consider it as a pillar of shrimp keeping and breeding. Thanks for reading.

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