5 reasons to add freshwater isopods to your aquarium

Asellus Aquaticus Portal

Asellus aquaticus, water louse, aquatic sowbug or pillbug… whatever you call them, freshwater isopods are the new cool kids in the block in the aquarist hobby. Let’s break down a list of reasons why we think you should add them to your tank!

1 Aquatic isopods are fascinating creatures

Asellus aquaticus make for spectacular aquarium pets. They are similar to neocaridina shrimp in terms of size and care requirements, but differ greatly in their behavior. They can be evasive and tend to only come out at night, floating and digging rather than swimming around. And if that isn’t entertaining enough, males can also get quite jealous and protective when it comes to mating…

2 They are extremely low-maintenance

Just throw your water louse in any aquarium tank, bucket, or even a small glass container and chances are they will do just fine. These creatures can adapt to nearly any kind of environment and they do not require any special attention. They make a perfect candidate for self-sustaining LED ecosystems, a 5-gallon nano tank setup or even freshwater jarrariums!

3 They are ideal tank mates for most other fish and invertebrates

Because of their small size, asellus aquaticus are not a threat to any other aquarium pet. They won’t even disturb your newly hatched fish fry or baby shrimplets, as they only feed on decaying vegetation and microorganisms on their leaves. That said, be careful that they don’t become someone else’s prey!

4 They help keeping your aquarium clean

Aquatic sowbugs are often compared to the infamous amano shrimp for their voracity when it comes to eating algae, including brown algae. They will also munch on decaying material from any type of freshwater plant you may keep in your aquarium, helping to keep your tank clean and preventing the water from getting polluted. See also: best algae-eating and tank cleaner shrimp for your freshwater aquarium.

5. Asellus aquaticus are still new and rather trendy in the hobby

Freshwater isopods are very easy to find in natural environments, but they are a rather recent discovery for aquarists to keep in their aquarium. They are somewhat of a rare find in pet stores, whereas it’s relatively easy to catch some yourself if you have access to a pond or stream of water – no matter where you are in the world. Adopting some asellus aquaticus is a sure way to impress your friends and fellow fish keepers!


PS. We are maintaining a list of online sellers of asellus aquaticus worldwide. Already keeping some? You may want to have a look at our in-depth freshwater isopod care sheet.

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