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Which shrimp species are best for beginners? | 4 best starter shrimp

If you're just getting into shrimp keeping it can be a little difficult to figure out which type to start with. There are so many species! So many colors, sizes and different requirements to choose from. Some are difficult to care for and some are super easy. Luckily, The Shrimp Farm can help.

Keep reading to find out the 4 best starter shrimp!

Red Cherry shrimp (Neocaridina davidi var. Red)

Red Cherry shrimp are probably the most popular dwarf shrimp among both beginners and more experienced shrimp keepers. And for good reason! This red Neocaridina variety is not too fussy about water values, very easy to breed and quite decorative. Colors can vary from a light pink to deep blood red and with smart selective breeding you can easily improve the intensity.

Keep your Red Cherry shrimp in a fully cycled aquarium of at least around five gallons (19L). If you're interested in breeding your Cherries a single species setup with only shrimp is recommended. However, these shrimp also do well in peaceful community setups, as they breed very quickly and the occasional casualty won't damage the population at all. Provide your Red Cherries with plenty of hiding places, especially in community tanks, and feed a high quality shrimp food.

You can find a full Red Cherry shrimp caresheet at The Shrimp Farm here.

Amano shrimp (Caridina multidentata)

Amano shrimp are named after the late famous aquascaper Takashi Amano, who first introduce them into the aquarium hobby on a large scale. Though colorless and not too exciting to look at, these shrimp are among the most popular because they are pretty hardy, have a huge appetite for algae and make a great cleaning crew. They are a little larger than dwarf shrimp but still entirely peaceful and a great addition to any peaceful community tank. The only downside is that they are almost impossible to breed in the home aquarium: they hatch as larvae which go through a brackish stage where they need a very specific amount of salt. After that, they need to be returned to fresh water at exactly the right time.

Keep your Amano shrimp in a heated and cycled aquarium of at least around ten gallons (38L). As with all shrimp, provide plenty of hiding places in the form of plants, rocks and driftwood. If there is plenty of algae for the shrimp to eat you don't have to supplement their diet all that much but be sure to always have some shrimp food on hand in case the algae run out.

You can find a full Amano shrimp caresheet at The Shrimp Farm here.

Blue Dream shrimp (Neocaridina davidi var. Blue)

Blue Dream shrimp are a blue Neocaridina davidi variety: basically a blue version of Red Cherries. Their care requirements are the same, they don't need very specific water values and their striking color makes them a great eyecatcher in any shrimp tank. Like all shrimp they also make a good cleaning crew that keeps the aquarium tidy by eating leftover foods and algae. They can be combined with small, peaceful fish species (provided there are enough hiding places) but show themselves more and breed more readily in an invert-only setup with snails and other shrimp.

There are plenty more Neocaridina davidi varieties out there, all of them easy to care for and a great breeding project for beginners. Go for Blue Velvets if you're looking for a lighter blue color or maybe a bright Yellow! Just don't combine these shrimp in one aquarium; they do interbreed and any offspring will feature a brownish wild color.

blue dream shrimp

Ghost shrimp (Palaemonetes sp.)

Ghost shrimp are often sold as cheap food for larger fish species but can also make an interesting permanent addition to the aquarium. They are on this list because they are incredibly hardy and can tolerate bad water values a lot better than most other shrimp. A great option if you're just getting started!

'Ghost shrimp' is a collective name for various shrimp species in the Palaemonetes genus, so be sure to buy from a reputable seller to avoid ending up with a huge aggressive river prawn or brackish variety. The Shrimp Farm sells Palaemonetes paludosus, which doesn't grow too large and should work fine in most cases. Keep your ghost shrimp in a cycled aquarium of at least around 10 gallons. A peaceful community should work just fine (though keep in mind ghost shrimp can be slightly more aggressive than dwarf shrimp). Ghost shrimp larvae are tiny and very vulnerable, so if you're interested in breeding and don't want the young to end up being eaten a single-species setup might be the best idea.

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