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Can You Have a Shrimp Only Tank? (Yes, Here’s How to Set It Up)

If you are wondering if you can have a shrimp-only tank, then you are in the right place.

In this article, I am going to answer this question.

I will also tell you how to set up and take care of your shrimp only tank.

You can have a shrimp only tank. However, you should avoid keeping different species of shrimp from the same genus in the same tank. Because they’ll crossbreed and the offspring will have a greyish color which doesn’t look appealing

Now I am going to tell you how you can set up your shrimp only tank and how to take care of it.

Keep reading… 

How to set up a shrimp only tank

When setting up a shrimp tank, first of all, we will need to decide on the tank size.

Ideal tank size for shrimp

Generally speaking, when it comes to tank size for shrimp, you should try to get as big a fish tank as you can.

There are several benefits to having a bigger tank than a smaller one.

Shrimps are very sensitive to water parameters, so in a smaller tank, the water parameters can change quickly and drastically, which stresses the shrimp. 

On the other hand, if you have a bigger aquarium, it takes a while for the water parameters to change, giving you sufficient time to adjust them and get them in the ideal range.

Also, waste builds up slowly in larger aquariums, so you don’t have to do maintenance like water changes all the time to keep ammonia, nitrate, and nitrate levels low in your shrimp tank.

Also, in a bigger aquarium, you can keep more shrimp compared to a smaller aquarium.

Overall, when it comes to selecting the size of your tank for shrimp, you should try to select the largest tank possible.

Ideal tank size for beginners

As mentioned earlier, in smaller aquariums, the water parameters can fluctuate dramatically, so if you are a beginner, you should get at least a 5-gallon tank for keeping shrimp.

If you are planning to breed shrimp, then you will need a bigger tank, at least a10 gallon tank.

Choosing shrimp species for your shrimp tank?

What are two categories of freshwater shrimp

The second thing you need to think about when setting up your shrimp tank is the type of shrimp you want to keep.

Broadly, shrimps are divided into two categories: 

  1. Neocaridina shrimp
  2. Caridina shrimp

Caridina shrimp includes shrimps like Red crystal shrimp and Black crystal shrimp and a very popular, Amano shrimp.

On the other hand, Neocaridina shrimp includes shrimps like Red cherry shrimp, Yellow shrimp, and Blue velvet shrimp.

Neocaridina shrimps and Caridina shrimps require different water parameters, and different species of neocaridina shrimps and caridina shrimps may require different water parameters.

So the point is that each type or species of shrimp may require different water parameters. So once you’ve decided on the shrimp you want to keep in your tank, you should do thorough research about the water parameter requirements for the shrimp.

Which is the best species of shrimp for beginners?

which species of shrimp are good for beginners

If you are a beginner then you should go for a hardy species of shrimp. For example, if you want to keep caridina shrimp, you should go for Red crystal shrimp, which is very hardy.

If you want to keep Neocaridina shrimp, you can choose Red Cherry Shrimp, a popular species of shrimp.

Crystal red shrimps are more expensive than Red cherry shrimps but they are not too expensive.

You can get Crystal red shrimp for $5. On the other hand, you can get Red cherry shrimp for $3  to 4$.

If you want to get shrimp for a low price, look through Craigslist and find a local breeder because they usually sell shrimp for much less money.

You could get shrimp for as little as $1 a specimen.

How Many Shrimp Should I Put in My Aquarium? (Helpful Table Included)

Set up the aquarium equipment

Once you’ve decided on the size of your tank and the species of shrimp you want to keep in it, you’ll need to set up aquarium equipment to create an ideal environment for the shrimps in your tank.

Aquarium filter

You will need an aquarium filter to filter the water in your aquarium and make it safe for your aquarium shrimps.

However, you cannot simply select any filter for your shrimp tank.

If the inlet of the aquarium filter is too strong then it may suck up the small shrimps into the filter.

I recommend Aquaclear hob filter. You can check its latest price at Amazon here.


If you live in a cold region or if you are keeping species of shrimp that require warmer water then you will need to set up a heater in your tank.

I recommend the Tetra HT Submersible Aquarium Heater. You can check its latest price at Amazon here.

Aquarium light

Aquarium light is important for your shrimp tank to emulate the day-night cycle in your aquarium.


If you are keeping live aquarium plants, then a good aquarium light is critical for their proper growth and development.

I recommend the Finnex Planted+ aquarium light. You can check its latest price at Amazon here.

Add live aquarium plants

planted shrimp tank

It is debatable whether you must have live aquarium plants in your shrimp tank.

However, most aquarists and shrimp keepers will agree that having some live aquarium plants in the shrimp tank is essential.

There are just so many benefits of keeping live aquarium plants in your shrimp tank.

  • Live aquarium plants help with the filtration of your aquarium water. 
  • Live aquarium plants help to oxygenate your shrimp tank.
  • They help to create a natural habitat in your shrimp tank.
  • They create hiding places in your shrimp tank, which is especially important during the molting period because they are very vulnerable to being picked on by other shrimps.

Here’s a list of the best live aquarium plants you can keep in your shrimp tank.

Cycle your shrimp tank

Before adding shrimp to your shrimp tank, you will need to cycle the tank.

Cycling a tank is basically a process of getting some beneficial bacteria in your aquarium. So that the toxins that are produced by your shrimp waste will get converted into less harmful toxins so that your shrimp will not die.

If you want to know more about cycling a fish tank, then read this article.

Different methods of cycling your shrimp tank

Broadly, there are two methods of cycling a fish tank.

  1. Fish in cycling
  2. Fishless cycling

Fishless cycling is recommended because it doesn’t stress your fish.

Now there are different methods of doing fishless cycling.

I have written articles on different methods of fishless cycling.

For an in-depth guide on fishless cycling, read this article.

If you want to cycle your fish tank using fish food, then read this article.

If you want to cycle your fish tank with plants, then read this article.

When it comes to cycling a shrimp tank, you will need an ammonia source to start the cycle.

If you are planning to have a heavily planted tank, then you will need to use active soil like ADA Aqua soil in your tank.

So, in this case, the active soil will already have ammonia, so you don’t need to manually add ammonia.

However, if you are not using active soil then, in that case, you will need to add ammonia manually into the tank to start the aquarium cycle.

How long does it take to cycle a fish tank?

Usually, it takes 4–6 weeks to cycle a fish tank.

But there are a few ways to cycle your fish tank instantly.

In this article, I will tell you four different ways to cycle your fish tank instantly.

Once your fish tank is cycled, you should acclimate your shrimp before adding them to the tank.

How to take care of a shrimp only tank

planted shrimp tank

Now I’m going to share with you some tips for taking care of your shrimp, which will help them grow and thrive in your tank.

Maintain stable water parameters

Shrimp are very sensitive to water parameter changes, which is why you will need to maintain stable water parameters in your fish tank.

So you should do research about the ideal water parameters for the species of shrimp that you want to keep in your tank and maintain the water parameters in your tank.

If you are a beginner, then you should choose a bigger aquarium of at least 5 to 10 gallons to keep shrimp. Because in bigger aquariums, water parameters don’t change as quickly as they can in smaller aquariums.

Feed high-quality and varied diet

You should feed a high-quality and varied diet to your shrimps for their proper growth and development.

Shrimp are omnivorous, so you should feed them both plant-based foods as well as meaty foods.

You can feed them vegetables to fulfill their plant-based diet. Just make sure to boil and blanch the vegetables before feeding them to your shrimp.

As for meaty foods, you can feed them flakes and pellets that contain meaty ingredients.

Keep your fish tank well oxygenated

Shrimp require sufficient oxygen for their proper growth and development. That’s why you should always make sure that your fish tank contains the optimum oxygen level.

To maintain optimum oxygen levels in your fish tank, you can keep some live aquarium plants in your tank.

You can also run an air pump in your tank to maintain sufficient oxygen levels.

Avoid medications containing copper

is copper harmful to freshwater shrimp

Copper can be deadly for your shrimp, which is why you should avoid any medications that contain copper in your shrimp tank.

Keep up with regular maintenance of your shrimp tank

You should keep up with the regular maintenance of your shrimp tank on a weekly and monthly basis.

Weekly maintenance tasks include:

  • Changing 20-30% of your aquarium water.
  • Cleaning or scraping the inside of the glass with an algae scraper.
  • Siphoning the substrate of the tank using a gravel vacuum cleaner.
  • Testing the aquarium water to check whether all the water parameters are within the ideal range using an aquarium water test kit.

Monthly maintenance tasks include:

  • Trimming the live aquarium plants if needed.
  • Cleaning aquarium filter.

How Long Do Shrimp Live? (6 Tips to Increase Lifespan in a Tank)


Do you need a filter in a shrimp only tank?

You need a filter in your shrimp only tank to keep your aquarium water clean and safe for the shrimp in the tank.

A filter not only removes visible debris from the tank but it also provides a good place where beneficial bacteria can form their colonies.

Can I keep shrimp without plants?

You could keep shrimp without plants. However, there are a lot of benefits to keeping live aquarium plants. So, at least you should have some hardy plants in your shrimp tank.

Do you need to cycle a shrimp only tank?

Shrimp are sensitive to ammonia and nitrates, that’s why you need to cycle your shrimp only tank. 

What can I feed my shrimp only tank?

Shrimp are omnivorous so you can feed both meaty foods as well as plant-based foods.

To fulfill their meaty diet requirements, you should feed them flakes and pellets that contain meaty ingredients.

To fulfill their needs for a plant-based diet, you should feed them cooked and blanched vegetables.


Overall, you can have a shrimp only tank.

Just make sure to follow all the tips that I have mentioned in this article to successfully keep and maintain a shrimp only tank.

If you’re wondering, how many shrimps I should keep in my tank then read this article where I answered this question in detail.

I hope you found this article helpful.

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Prathmesh Gawai
He is the main author and editor at Aquagoodness.com. And he loves to share helpful information on aquarium and/or fishkeeping hobby. Prathmesh has over five years of aquarium and/or fishkeeping experience. Currently, he has a Betta fish tank. He has written hundreds of articles on various aquarium fish species and on fish tank maintenance over the last five years. Connect with him on YouTube here. Learn more about him here.

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