How Fast Do Shrimp Grow?

Does a shrimps tank size limit its growth and breeding potential ? What are the factors that affect the growth rates of Shrimp? There are plenty of things to consider.


Nitrates. Pheromones. Diet. Water quality. Genetics. Temperature etc etc .Nitrates and their effect on fish and shrimp are well studied and high nitrates are known to affect the expansion of fish. Nitrates should always be kept low and not exceed 20mg/l.Nitrates and are best controlled by doing regular water changes. 

Pheromones are hormones which act externally, hormones are contained within the body and affect the body from within.

Pheromones can affect the body when within the local environment instead of within the body itself. shrimp like fish can release growth inhibiting pheromones which limit their growth and also the growth of other fish and shrimp within the same environment. If these pheromones are allowed to build up in a closed system then they’re going to have a big say on growth.

In a small body of water they’re likely to be present at higher concentrations because there’s less water to dilute them. Water changes are the simplest way to control the extent of those pheromones.

Diet An incorrect diet will starve the shrimp of essential nutrients it requires to make its body, a very good example of this is if you do not feed your shrimp or fish enough protein they will not produce eggs.


Water quality, when we make a daily partial water change we are actually making several changes:

Replenishing biologically important trace and minor elements. Replenishing carbonates. Diluting pheromones. Diluting nitrates. Removing dissolved solids.

All these things have a sway of shrimp growth so making water changes of the appropriate volume and make them often enough, this has a huge impact not only on the expansion of shrimp but on the well being of the shrimp too. Most captive bred shrimp now accept and do best in water which avoids extremes. 

Others shrimp which still regularly come from the wild like Cardinal Sulawesi need water that replicates their wild environment so they can thrive. If shrimp are kept within the wrong form of environment it’ll become stressed and shrimp that are stressed don’t grow as big as they should.

Genetics, some people grow to 2 meters tall and weigh 150 kg while others stop growing at 1.2 meters and 60kg. the identical things happen to shrimp, some shrimp despite their care simply won’t grow as big as another shrimp of the identical species kept within the same aquarium. there’s nothing that may be done to change this. shrimp that are line bred for several generation in captivity often find themselves smaller than their wild cousins thanks to this.


So what implications does this have for shrimp keepers? Well it means if we wish our shrimp to grow naturally and reach their full potential we’ll need to offer them sufficient space to try and do so. What it does n’t suggest is that potentially larger species of shrimp can stay in small small tanks, because they will not. Their growth is also delayed and that they won’t reach their full size. If anything this research has told us that we may have to revise our tank sizes upwards for many species.

Temperature can greatly affect shrimp growth and there have been several studies over the years to prove this. Higher temperatures do make the shrimp grow faster and better temperatures do make gestation times shorter but they also increase the fatality rate of the shrimp.

A study was done on Neocaridina shrimp Neocaridina davidi to be precise. Three tanks with three different temperaturs, 20 c, 28c and 32c.

The first tank at 20c had a moderate number of berried females and also the gestation time was 28 days.

The second tank at 28c had lots of berried females and also the gestation time was 22 days which was almost a week faster.

The third tank at 32c had berried females but it also had a high number of berried shrimp mortalities and no young were witnessed to have survived.

Cherry Shrimp Care - Neocaridina Davidi - YouTube

Conclusion the effects of the many items mentioned during this article are made worse when the degree of water is tiny. But they’re in a roundabout way caused by the degree of water being small. it’s true that thanks to the care captive shrimp receive they’re more likely to finish up being smaller when kept in small aquariums, but this is often almost entirely thanks to not being given excellent care. If a shrimp kept in a small tank is given excellent care and every one these problems are overcome then the expansion of the shrimp is most of the time just delayed and will grow bigger once placed in a larger tank. (this is why culling can be essential)


Shrimp growth is limited by tank size and water change frequency, a good rule of thumb I use is to have no more than two to three shrimp per liter of water, give them space and they will grow.

Regarding water change size and frequency this is directly related to the individuals shrimp keepers competence to match the conditions of the tank and nothing more.

Let me give you an example.

Shrimp keeper one is new to the hobby and doesn’t know about aging tap water or making the new water the same temperature as the tank… this is just ignorance based on a lack of knowing what do. They then do a 10% water change and end up having deaths.

Shrimp Keeper number two has years of experience, he has a reverse osmosis system and matches everything from tds to ph and gh the lot, he also does a 10% water change yet his shrimp thrive and he has a bazillion baby shrimp everywhere.

Simple match the conditions of the tank and do regular water changes to negate all the things we have mentioned above and you will have a lot of luck.

Also knowing the conditions and matching them means you are able to do way more water changes.

This is why it can be hard to give people advice without knowing them.

Happy Shrimp Keeping

Marks Shrimp Tanks