7 Best Foods for Freshwater Aquarium Shrimp
If you’re not trying to breed champion-quality shrimp, then finding the “best” food to feed freshwater shrimp is not as hard as you may think. 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. To feed Caridina or Neocaridina shrimp, find out which foods are our top seven favorites.
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. Because they are small enough to be eaten by babies and adults, these tiny sinking pellets can be used for breeding cherry and crystal shrimp. (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 contains calcium and other vitamins that promote 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 Sinking 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 3 mm sticks are made to hold their shape underwater for long periods of time, giving your shrimp plenty of time to graze without their food melting into the cracks between 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
We often try to recreate an aquarium animal’s environment and its diet in the aquarium hobby. That’s why Sera came out with the Sera Shrimps Nature Food that uses a mixture of natural ingredients with no dyes or preservatives. The sinking granules contain all your shrimp’s favorites, such as spirulina, stinging nettle, alder cones, and herbs. You can boost the growth, coloration and breeding of your shrimp colony by using healthy ingredients that won’t pollute your water.
4. Fluval Bug Eats 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 include salmon, green beans, and alfalfa, which promote healthy growth and ease of digestion.
5. Repashy Gel Food
As tiny scavengers with tiny stomachs, shrimp prefer to constantly graze all throughout the day. Repashy gel food made it to our list. Simply mix the powder with hot water to form a nutritious gel food that stays water stable for up to 24 hours and yet is soft enough for shrimp to easily grab a bite. 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 has a high amount of algae and plant matter such as pea protein, alfalfa leafs, seaweed, and spirulina. 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. A Nano Banquet Food Block can be added to your tap water’s regular meal rotation for those with very low mineral content. The blocks are also packed with nutritious plankton and spirulina that your shrimp, snails, and fish will enjoy.
Canned and blanched vegetables can be a great way to increase the plant content of your shrimp’s diet. One of their favorites is canned green beans because of the nutritious content, soft texture, and ability to sink immediately. Canned sliced carrots are another popular vegetable to feed because the beta carotene naturally enhances the red-orange coloration in shrimp. You can also blanch slices of zucchini to make them soft enough for shrimp to chew. 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 are also known as Indian almond leaf. Shrimp breeders love them because the leaves grow a thin layer of biofilm as they break down. The biofilm is rich in nutritious bacteria, algae, microorganisms, and other microorganisms that baby shrimp can eat throughout the day. We recommend adding one leaf per 20 gallons of water and then adding a new leaf once the old leaf starts developing holes. You don’t need to remove the old leaf as it will be eaten by your shrimp.
In our experience, most shrimp are not that picky and will eagerly eat any food that you drop into the aquarium. For more information on keeping, feeding, and breeding shrimp, read our Overview of Freshwater Dwarf Shrimp article.