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Shrimp Tank Maintenance

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Lately, there seems to be plenty of new people are entering the hobby. I have done my fair share of learning here and hope to pay forward the help afforded me to successfully keep these awesome creatures. There are also plenty of shrimp tank setup how-to's written so those bits wont be mentioned here.

First and foremost, YMMV. What works really well for some may not necessarily work for you so use your best judgement on whatever you to do.

My Shrimp tank maintenance consist of, by order of frequency:

  • Water change

  • Water supplement

  • Feedings

  • Attendance

Water change:

1. New Water Preparation. Once a month, water is collected in 5 gallon buckets and dosed with Prime. 1/4 quarter teaspoon of Calcium Montmorillonite clay is added along with 1/2 ml of Fluval Shrimp Mineral supplement. Water is aged for half a day to a full day advance of the WC. My tap parameters are:
kh 2-3 dkh 35.8-53.7ppm gh/kh
gh 5 dkh 89.5ppm gh/kh
ph 7.0
tds 43
Not too shabby for NYC tap however there is room for improvement.
2. Remove Dirty water. A medium sized airline hose is used to siphon the dirty water and debris out of the tank. The substrate vaccum attachment isn't used for shrimp tanks. Care is taken to stir the water and lift debris as not to disturb the substrate itself. Plant decay is pruned and physically removed with planting tongs.

3. Add New Water. The new water should be relatively in close temperature to the tank. A heater is added to the bucket when needed. Water is usually poured into a quart container in the tank to diffuse the water flow and causing a stir in the tank. If a plastic container isn't handy, a cupped hand in the tank would work. Top up to the water line.

Water Supplements:

Each week, a portion of Borneo Wild Vital (using the tiny spoon included) and a pinch of Calcium Montmorillonite Clay is added directly to the tank. The alternative is to mix in a bowl of water then pour into the tank. Both powders readily dissolve and there has been no sign of clumping so do whatever works best for you.


The amount varies by tank and I try to add only what can be finished in an hour or two per tank. Foods are divided by type to make remembering easier.

- Monday/Tuesday feedings are powdered foods. This usually gets the shrimp swimming everywhere, giving everyone a fair chance to feed. The tanks with newborns are exclusively fed Borneo Wild Bebi.

- Thursday/Friday feedings consist of solids by way of veggie sticks, flat strips or algae waffers.

- Occassionally a third feeding may happen on the weekend. This largely depends on my free time. The best shrimpy slap fights happen on the feeding dishes [FIGHT CLUB]. It's also a great opportunity see how they take to new food. If any of these feedings are missed, there's ample biofilm to compensate. I never double feed.

Daily attendance:

Just like grade school, attendance is taken each morning on high grades, berried females, and newborns. I'm sure many of us do this right? right? right? Anyhow, it takes about 10-30 seconds to do depending on the tank and plant density. This is a summary of what works for me.

To the best of my knowledge these were mine along the way:

Using Calcium bentonite clay has largely eliminated mysterious deaths and failed molting. It small number of Neocaridinas and Caridinas started to berry where the past 3-4 months were all stagnant. Since application, the Neos saw 5 - 10 surviving offspring in total while Caridinas had none. Any shrimp that berried would often drop their eggs without reason in the days that followed.

Weekly 10% water changes were adjusted to monthy 25% water changes which i suspect, decreased the number of failed molts.

Indian almond leaves were added to every tank. Either the tanin stained water or the large Grade A leaves themselves seemed to coax the shrimp out of the moss and encourage more activity. The now appeared to be more shrimp than ramshorns where one would have naturally assumed otherwise..

Lastly, The Fluval Shrimp Mineral supplement was replaced with Shirakura CA+. 4 days after the water change, and likely full moon, the following shrimp were berried: 1 SSS+ CRS, 3 SSS CRS, 2 SS CRS, 1 Red rili, 2 Cherry and 1 Yellow. Apart from the SSS, all reside in separate tanks. A clutch of snow white crystal offspring born this week; 12+ counted; Orange sakura also with 10+ counted.

I've tried to keep everything simple yet organized. In hindsight, there may be some things i've overlooked so bear with me. Ultimately, I hope my experience here on TPT may benefit others to become better shrimp parents and raise healthier shrimp.

Please share any helpful tip that has kept your little guys happy and breeding.

AC First draft :)
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