Shrimps are an indispensable part of a planted aquarium. These colorful critters add beauty with little contrasts of color inside the tank. They also help to maintain the water quality by eating leftover foods and scavenging. They are an integral part of your tank’s clean-up crew.
Even though shrimp will eat just about anything, the algae in your tank is not enough to sustain them, especially when you have tens of shrimp in the same tank. You need to supplement with commercial shrimp food. This is where things get touchy. Feeding shrimp is more like feeding fish. If you give them too much, the uneaten food will poison the water.
How do you keep your shrimp full and happy without killing them? This guide has all the answers you need on how to feed your shrimp.
What Else is in Your Aquarium?
The type of tank you have can affect your shrimp feeding schedule. If you keep fish and snails in your planted aquarium, you may not need to feed the shrimp. They will get all the nutrition they need from leftover food, fish and snail poop, algae, and from dying plants in the tank. This is the perfect set up for the shrimp.
If you have a shrimp only tank, then the question of feeding comes to mind. The critters need to eat. But the food should not change the quality of water. This balance is like a tight-rope walk.
How Often Should You Feed Shrimp?
The frequency of feeding your shrimp depends on how many you have. With about 10-20 shrimp, feeding once every Tuesday and Friday is enough. The amount of food depends on the product you’re using. You can refer to the manual for the amount to give, but don’t trust it completely. Instead, use it as a yardstick to gauge how much to start with then monitor the amount the shrimp eat in an hour then adjust accordingly.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to come up with a proper feeding schedule for your shrimp. Some keepers feed up to 6 times a week while others find 3 times more than enough.
For better analysis, try using feeding dishes. These will give you a better picture of how hungry the shrimps are and how often you need to feed them.
How Much Food Should You Give the Shrimp?
Other than the frequency, how much food to give is the other main concern for shrimp keepers. The golden rule of feeding shrimp and even fish is, “Underfeeding is better than overfeeding.”
Shrimp can go several days without food. They can survive with less as you try to figure out the right amount.
The amount of food you give the shrimp depends on a few factors;
- The number of shrimps you have
- The type of shrimp you have
- If you have other tank mates
What’s more, there are tons of other factors in play when considering how much to give your shrimp. The best approach is to provide them with what they can eat in 20-40 minutes.
Remember, they are scavengers and have to play their role inside the tank. Additional foods should only supplement the algae and biofilm diet.
When choosing shrimp food, it’s not advisable to buy food rich in protein. Also, you should limit feeding to about 35-40% of the food. These little guys don’t know when to stop eating. If you give them too much, it will disrupt their metabolic system, which can kill them.
What Foods Should You Give Your Shrimp?
Shrimps are like human beings. They need diversity in their food. It’s true, they are not picky eaters, but they have nutritional demands which can only be satisfied by giving them different foods.
Other than diversity, you need to make sure you buy your shrimp quality food. Cheap foods will breakdown quickly in the water. The uneaten, broken down food particles are hard to remove from the water and eventually affect water balance when they decay.
There are numerous types of shrimp foods in the market while some are already in your refrigerator. Some of the popular shrimp foods and brands include;
- Sera Catfish Chips – For beginners looking to run their shrimp tank on a budget, Sera catfish chips are pocket-friendly, especially considering how long they will last. The catfish chips don’t breakdown easily in the water, which makes it easy to fish out what the shrimp don’t eat. The chips are loaded with various ingredients to meet the nutritional demands of your shrimp.
- Hikari Shrimp Cuisine – If you like going all out for your critters, Hikari Shrimp cuisine is perfect. It makes for a great supplement that you can give to your shrimp every two or three days because of its nutritional value. This cuisine is rich in vegetable matter like seaweed and spirulina and crude protein. It also contains minerals that are essential for the molting process and does a great deal in maintaining water quality. What’s more, it keeps the color of your shrimp bright and vibrant.
- Bacter AE – Bacter AE is fortified with ingredients that not only improve the health of the shrimp but also improves water quality and the development of biofilms. You will pay a premium for this product, but it’s worth every penny.
- Spinach leaves, cucumber, and Zucchini – Vegetables are inexpensive but equally valuable to the nutrition of your shrimp. Before feeding vegetables like spinach leaves and zucchini, it’s essential to make sure it’s insecticide and pesticide-free. Organically grown vegetables are the best. Boil the vegetables for about 2 minutes then rinse them under running water. Place the leaves inside the tank for about a day then remove the uneaten part.
- Catappa Leaves or Indian Almond – Feeding Indian leaves to your shrimp is different. Place the leaves in the tank for a month and wait for them to breakdown. Once broken down, they ensure your shrimp have enough food supply for some time.
Shrimp can also eat various flakes and other brands of shrimp food. The priority is to pick quality foods that will meet their nutritional needs.
A Sample Feeding Schedule
If you’re a beginner shrimp keeper, it’s possible you feel confused with all the varieties of shrimp food, yet there’s little time to feed.
These few tips will get you out of that quagmire and help you take care of your critters the right way right from the beginning.
- Only feed your shrimp once. The time you choose to feed the shrimp does not matter.
- Make sure they have access to a spinach leaf, cucumber, or a piece of pumpkin for 24 hours once every seven days.
- On every day of the week, you can give them different foods. On Monday, you can feed them Sera Chips, Bacter AE on Tuesday, Hikari Shrimp Cuisine on Wednesday, Sera Chips on Thursday, Keep them hungry on Friday, Spinach, or another vegetable on Saturday, and Sundays, you can feed them one of the options.
How Do You Feed the Clutch?
If you’re breeding, you have to think about feeding the shrimplets (Clutch) as well. Luckily, their behavior makes them easier to feed. When small, the shrimps are territorial and stick to one corner or side of the tank. They don’t move to other parts of the tank. Not even to feed.
Shrimp powder foods like the Shrimp King Baby food are the best because they spread all over the tank and can get to where the babies are without much fuss or intervention.
There you have it! Everything you need to feed your shrimp like a pro! If you’re traveling for a few days and don’t have a feeding timer, it’s best to leave the shrimp without food than to give them enough to last the length of your trip. With aquariums, less is always better when it comes to food and feeding.