The Ultimate Shrimp Keeping Guide


Crystal Red Shrimp


  1. Water Preparation

  2. Water Chemistry

  3. Substrate

  4. Tank Cycling

  5. Water changes

  6. Acclimation

  7. Food

  8. Plants

  9. Buying Shrimp

Water Preparation

Let me start by going over the basic term of water chemistry and what they mean.


pH means Potential Hardness

This is a scale from 1-14 with 1 being the most acidic and soft and 14 being the most alkaline and hard, a neutral pH would be a pH of 7.


gH means General Hardness

This is a measurement of Calcium and Magnesium.

The more you have of these two the harder the water will be.

See below for a guideline.

General Hardness Chart

Degrees of Hardness (DH)





Very Soft






Slightly Hard



Moderately Hard






Very Hard


kH means Carbonate Hardness

This is a measurement of the buffering capacity of the water with an active substrate you don’t need to worry about kH but if you are on sand or gravel you should have some kH value as this will stop your talk from having pH swings which could kill your shrimp.


NH3 is Ammonia

Ammonia should always be zero


NO2 is Nitrite

Nitrite Should always be zero


NO3 is Nitrate

Nitrate should always be under 5ppm

A little Nitrate is desirable as its a good fertilizer for plants and it helps to promote biofilm.

Water preparation is probably the single most important thing you will need to learn to be successful at keeping shrimp, this is why this is the first thing on this list I want you to concentrate on this the most as this will make or break your success as a shrimp keeper.

Get this wrong and many shrimp will die because the water conditions change to much, I myself have lost a lot of shrimp before I got it right and the number one reason for shrimp deaths is people treat them like fish which they are not.

The first rule is to store and age your water in a container for at least 24hours this lets the water heat up to an ambient room temperature, if your room is below 20c for most of the time then it is a good idea for you to use a heater, just remember to check the heater every now and and then because they do break.

letting the water sit allows the waters pH to stabilize as water straight from the tap has a much higher ph than normal, this is caused by the pressure of mains water forcing

Ruby Red

oxygen (O2)into its make up, letting it sit allows that oxygen to escape and the ph to return to its normal value.

As we touched on before you must allow the temperature of the water to equalize with the temperature of the room, which for us is anything between 20-25c which just happens to be the perfect temperature for shrimp.

You can, of course, keep shrimp above and below what I recommend but you will see drops in breeding ratios and deaths if the water gets to warm, water that is too warm has less oxygen in it.

Shrimp naturally come from temperate areas so its best to treat them as just tropical and no more, studies have show temperatures in streams where Caridina species are found range from 16c in the winter to 26c in the summer, so this part is simple if your water is cold add a heater if your water is warm add a cooler or even a simple fan near the tank will drop the temperature.

Seeing as you are just starting or here to learn more this would be a great time for you to consider buying a gh and kh test kit (If you have set up your tank with an active substrate then it is worth your while buying an ammonia test kit also because some of them have ammonia in them, ammonia is used in some substrates to kick start the cycling process.

As a rule I like to keep my GH in all my tanks between 6-8 and have a kh of around zero for bee shrimp species and a kh 2-6 is acceptable for Neocaridina species.For those with Reverse Osmosis units and TDS (Totally Dissolved Solids) pens add Salty Bee Shrimp Buffer GH+ or Salty Bee Shrimp GH/KH + to your water until you get a reading of 150ppm for bee shrimp and roughly 200ppm for Neocaridina.

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