How to breed freshwater shrimp in the aquarium

Having an aquarium is the new fad nowadays. With little effort, you can make a stunning one yourself. To make them look even more attractive, people use various plants and inhabitants. One of the most popular is freshwater shrimp.

Dwarf shrimps are very popular in aquariums. However, just keeping them isn’t enough. It is crucial to know how to breed shrimp in an aquarium. Breeding is a very tricky process that even experienced aquarium owners mess up.

Relax, to make your first breeding attempt successful; I have come up with a guide that will make your journey easier. Why don’t you read below and what I have in store for you?

Breeding Freshwater Shrimp in the Aquarium

Setting up your shrimp breeding tank

Are you excited to breed your batch of shrimps? Hold your horses! There is an order to things; so, we need to go through this in an organized manner.

Pick your preferred shrimp

Call me to captain obvious, but this was necessary to mention. You might make a huge mistake if you think for a second types don’t matter.

How you have to treat your shrimp depends on its types. Some of them even have special conditions that you need to fulfill.

For starters, you should start with one species until you figure out which species are good at cohabitating. Keeping it simple is hasn’t hurt any first-timer.

Freshwater shrimps are a safe bet to get started. there are mainly three types of shrimp that are common in the hobby:

  1. Sulawesi Shrimp
  2. Caridina Shrimp (e.g. amano, pinocchio shrimp)
  3. Neo-Caridina Shrimp (e.g. red cherry, blue dream)

There are few more classes, but even these main types have so much variety that it is overwhelming. This is where I, your favorite aquarium guy, jumps in. I’ll suggest you pick Neocaridina davidi a.k.a Cherry Shrimp for your first conquest.

Why should you listen to me? Because they are extremely easy to breed and maintain. They are non-aggressive and less difficult when it comes to feeding. The most popular breed of this species is the Red Cherry Shrimp.

We got the first obstacle done. Now, you need to get a few requirements sorted, and then we can move on to the main event. Some of these take more priority than others, so I’ve divided them into two categories- Primary and Secondary.

Primary requirements


  • Must have high PPI [25-30]
  • Canister filters are the most popular
  • Do not over filter
  • Tank should be properly cycled before adding livestock


  • Should be between 65-84 degrees Fahrenheit
  • If room temperature fluctuates, use a heater (or a chiller)

Water condition

  • pH: 6.5-8
  • GH [general hardness]: 6-8
  • KH [carbonate hardness]: 1-4
  • TDS [total dissolved solids]: 100-300
  • Tap or well water is sufficient

There is no way to play around with primary requirements for breeding shrimps. Without these, you can’t have a breeding season.

Secondary requirements


  • 20 long tanks are popular for its surface area
  • Keep 5-10 shrimps per gallons of water


  • Must provide hiding place and biofilm growth
  • Driftwood, Chola wood, Java moss are choices

Water changes

  • Monthly is a must
  • Weekly for high TDS and nitrate levels


  • On for at least 6-8 hours

While you can have the bare minimum aquarium with just primary requirements cleared, having these ensure your shrimp has an ideal environment to breed and grow.

Aquarium Shrimp Breeding

The breeding process of caridina and neo caridina is quite simple, while some other species may require special attention (see: How to breed Ghost shrimp). For most regular shrimp, we can break down the process into three stages for easier understanding:


Before we commence with the breeding process, we have to start making some preparations. It’s a good idea to have lots and lots of plants surrounding your aquarium to provide security and extra comfort.

There should be enough protein-rich foods, so they stay healthy and happy. Most importantly, the water temperature inside the aquarium should be around 82 degrees Fahrenheit so that it can recreate their breeding season, summer.

The female shrimp will release hormones that attract the male so that they can mate and create eggs.


If everything is in tip-top shape, then shrimps will settle down. Generally, in 3-5 months, mature shrimps start breeding. A mature shrimp is 4-6 months old.

You’ll know when the shrimps have start mating because the females would carry eggs below her tail. When that is happening, she is referred to as berried. A berried shrimp will fan her tail to ensure the eggs get enough oxygen.

Some hobbyists claim if you add a bit of pollen every week, it boosts the breeding.


Around 30 days, the eggs will start to hatch. Your new neighbors look exactly like a teeny-tiny version of their parents. But you have some responsibility for your new friend.

Adult shrimps aren’t gonna be on anyone’s list for the best parent of the year award, as they leave the child to fend for itself.

A newly cycled aquarium won’t contain the organisms the baby shrimp depends on. That’s why it’s best if you keep them in a matured aquarium. I’d suggest having an Anacharis plant around so you can use its leaves as food for the baby.

Live moss is helpful in hiding the child shrimp, and its microfauna helps in the growth of the shrimp.

Aquarium Shrimp Care

Feeding your freshwater shrimp

A red cherry shrimp isn’t much of a fussy eater. They are omnivores and love to have a variety. While they can eat almost any kind of aquarium food, they love shrimp pellets or algae and vegetables like carrots. If you don’t mind spending a bit, feeding some exotic food also helps.

Zoo Med Planktons help the shrimp being active and supplies minerals to the aquarium, especially calcium.

Catappa, leaves are great for shrimp as they can treat fungal or bacterial infection. Banana and Guava leaves are also a good source of food. Repashy food that contains 45% is also a great source of nutrients for the shrimp.

Another great feed for shrimps is Cholla wood, they excel at making bacteria that shrimps can munch on.

The key here is to feed in moderation. If you put too much food into the tank, there is a good chance it’ll pollute the surrounding water. If you have too many shrimps, the volume of uneaten foods is so much that you have to remove it in 3 hours.

Successful aquarium owners suggest feeding them every other day.

Care tips

  • Use the thermostat to check temperature to get an accurate reading
  • Freshwater snails are a great companion for shrimps
  • Add substrates to your aquarium tank
  • Be careful of supplements that have copper

Say hello to your shrimps

If you made it all the way down here, you know enough about how to breed shrimp in an aquarium for starting your own. The red cherry shrimp is a fantastic companion to start your adventures with.

Make sure all requirements are met, and don’t give up. Once you are confident enough then branch out, do your research and fill your aquarium with colorful shrimps. Enjoy your new hobby!

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