7 Best Foods for Freshwater Aquarium Shrimp
It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to breed champion-quality shrimp. Finding the best food for freshwater shrimp is easy. Aquarium companies know that ornamental shrimp are very popular right now, so they spend a lot of marketing dollars trying to convince you that shrimp have very specialized needs that only their brand of shrimp food can meet. In reality, dwarf shrimp are last on the food chain, serving as scavengers that eat decaying plants, deceased animals, algae, and biofilm chock-full of microorganisms. Their diet is a mixture of protein and vegetable matter. Therefore, it’s important to provide them with a variety to ensure they have sufficient nutrients and minerals. Find out our top 7 favorite foods to feed Caridina and Neocaridina shrimp.
1. Hikari Shrimp Cuisine
Hikari is a long-lived company known for its excellent, delicious fish foods in the aquarium hobby, and their Shrimp Cuisine is no different. These tiny sinking pellets are great for breeding crystal and cherry shrimp because they’re tiny enough to be eaten by both babies and adults. (If you prefer a larger pellet size, Hikari Crab Cuisine is a very similar food for shrimp, snails, crayfish, and crabs.)
Shrimp Cuisine is a comprehensive shrimp diet that contains vegetable matter like seaweed and spirulina algae, as well as natural color enhancers like krill. It provides calcium and vitamins that support healthy growth and molting. Beginner shrimp keepers often fear that the copper in shrimp foods can harm their invertebrates, but many shrimp foods such as Shrimp Cuisine contain trace amounts of copper that are necessary for the shrimp to make blood or hemocyanin.
2. Xtreme Shrimpee Snatching Sticks
Shrimp foods are easy to dissolve into small pieces to ensure babies get a bite. However, too many nutrients can cause algae to form and cloudiness in your aquarium. Shrimpee Sinking Sticks are a better choice if you’re not as concerned about breeding for profit and keep adult shrimp in community tanks. These 3mm sticks will keep their shape underwater for a long time. This allows shrimp to have plenty of time to eat without food getting stuck to the substrate. You can eat this staple shrimp food every day as it has high quality ingredients, calcium, vitamins, and is easy to prepare.
3. Sera Shrimp Natural sinking Granules
Aquarium hobbyists often attempt to replicate an animal’s natural environment and diet. Sera created the Sera Shrimps Nature Food, which is a mix of natural ingredients without any preservatives or dyes. All your shrimp’s favorite ingredients, including spirulina or stingingnettle, alder cones, herbs, and alder cones are included in the sinking granules. Healthy ingredients won’t harm your water and will help to increase the color, growth, and breeding of your shrimp colony.
4. Fluval Bug Bite Shrimp Formula
The proteins in shrimp and fish food usually come from fish and crustaceans, but don’t forget that insects are also a naturally occurring part of a shrimp’s diet. Fluval Bug Bites Shrimp Formula is made from sustainably harvested black soldier fly larvae. They are rich in nutrients, and fortified to provide strong exoskeletons. These 0.25-1 mm granules also include other tasty ingredients like salmon, green peas, and alfalfa for healthy growth and easy digestion.
5. Repashy Gel Food
Shrimp are tiny scavengers and have tiny stomachs so they prefer to graze throughout the day. That’s why Repashy gel food makes it onto our list. You can mix the powder and hot water to make a nutritious gel-like food that will keep for up to 24 hours. The gel food is still soft enough for shrimps to eat. You can even feed the powder directly into the water column for the baby shrimp to eat, since newborns do not swim around a lot and can’t compete with adults during mealtime. Repashy Soilent Green contains a lot of algae and plant material, including spirulina and alfalfa leaves and seaweed. Repashy Community Plus is an omnivore blend that includes krill, alfalfa and squid. Learn how easy it is make gel food.
6. Zoo Med Nano Banquet Food Blocks
Vacation food blocks are usually thought of as a specialty fish food you only feed if you’re going out of town for a while and don’t want to hire a pet sitter. They contain large amounts calcium sulfate and magnesium sulfate to slowly release food into the water without causing it to cloud. This is essential for shrimp molting. If your tap water is very soft and low in minerals, consider dropping in a Nano Banquet Food Block as part of their regular meal rotation. The blocks are also packed with nutritious plankton and spirulina that your shrimp, snails, and fish will enjoy.
Canned or blanched veggies are an easy way to increase your shrimp’s plant intake. One of their favorites is canned green beans because of the nutritious content, soft texture, and ability to sink immediately. Canned sliced carrots, which contain beta carotene, are another favorite vegetable to feed shrimp. It naturally enhances their red-orange color. You can also try blanching slices of zucchini so that they are soft enough for shrimp to graze on. You should not overfeed your tank. The uncooked vegetables can cause problems with water quality and will eventually fall apart.
Bonus: Catappa Leaves
These dried botanicals, also known as Indian almond leaves are used in aquariums. They release brown tannins that have mild antifungal and antibiotic properties. Because the leaves form a thin biofilm, shrimp breeders love them. The biofilm is rich in nutritious bacteria, algae, microorganisms, and other microorganisms that baby shrimp can eat throughout the day. If the old leaf is beginning to show holes, we recommend that you add one leaf per 20 gallon of water. No need to take out the old leaf because it will get completely devoured by your shrimp.
We have found that shrimp are generally not picky and will eat anything you put in their aquarium. For more information on keeping, feeding, and breeding shrimp, read our Overview of Freshwater Dwarf Shrimp article.