Amano Shrimp: Care Guide

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Amano shrimp are known for their boundless energy, especially when it comes to eating! These shrimp love to zoom around the tank in search of their next meal, like little underwater vacuum cleaners. If you think your tank could use a bit of cleanup in the algae department, then Amano shrimp might be the perfect addition. Apart from being helpful custodians, they are also pretty in their own right, with a unique translucent body covered in lines and dashes. And, of course, it's always fun to watch these little guys run around the bottom of the aquarium!

These shrimp are hardy little creatures, but, as with any addition to your fish tank, it's important to make sure you have the right conditions to make sure they are well taken care of.

Amano Shrimp Quick Reference Sheet

  • Scientific Name:  Caridina multidentata 
  • Common Names: Amano Shrimp, Japanese Shrimp
  • Care Level:  Easy
  • Size:  Up to 2 inches
  • Life Span:  Two to Three years
  • Origin/Habitat: Japan/Taiwan 
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Minimum Aquarium Size: 10 Gallons
  • Diet/Foods: Omnivore
  • Tank Region: Bottom, usually around shelter

Amano Shrimp: The Voracious Eaters

If you want to get some Amano shrimp for your tank, you should first make sure that your tank has plenty of live plants for these little guys to crawl around in. Firstly, live plants provide good hiding places, which these shrimp love. Secondly, live plants can also be a source of food for your shrimp, so they don't have to rely on algae alone.

Despite their hardiness, it's important to note that Amano shrimp can sometimes die right after being moved into a new tank. To avoid any premature deaths, it's best to have an already established tank with a stable temperature and pH.

Amano shrimp live best with the following water conditions:

Water Temperature: 72 - 78 F

pH: 7.2 - 7.5

Appearance

Amano shrimp can come in various shades of green or brown, but they are usually light grey. No matter their color, however, these shrimp are always translucent. They also have interesting color patterns of dots and dashes up and down their bodies. Amano shrimp have one long, narrow stripe that starts at the top of their body and ends at their wide, translucent tail.

It is easy to tell apart male and female Amano shrimp, as the females are much larger than the males. Furthermore, both males and females have lines running down the sides of their bodies, but on the female it is composed of dashes, whereas the males' line is made up of dots.

Because Amano shrimp are so small (reaching a maximum length of just two inches), you should not place them in tanks with aggressive or predatory fish. Otherwise, your poor little shrimp will be eaten immediately.

Every six weeks or so, Amano shrimp molt, leaving an empty shell of their old skin. At first, the old molt may look as though the shrimp has died, but don't worry! Your shrimp is probably just , hiding somewhere in the tank, waiting for their new outer shell to toughen up a bit more. Rather than taking the old shell out right away, however, it's best to leave them in the tank for a couple of days. The minerals from the old shell are actually important for your shrimp to re-ingest, so it can get ready for its next molt.

If your Amano shrimp suddenly turns bright orange then, sadly, the poor little guy has died. If you notice this color transformation, it's time to take the shrimp out of the tank so that other fish won't start to eat the body.

Diet/Feeding

While Amano shrimp feed mainly on algae and plant matter, they are omnivorous. Even though these shrimp are known for excitedly eating any algae they can find, be careful not to overfeed the rest of your aquarium's inhabitants. If you feed too much, lots of algae can still accumulate, and you can't expect your shrimp to do all the work for you!

On the flipside, you should also refrain from keeping the tank too clean, so that your shrimp have plenty of food available. If your tank is looking especially clean, it's best to supplement your shrimp through other means. You can feed your shrimp things such as shrimp pellets, fish food, algae wafers, and even some vegetables such as raw zucchini or blanched spinach.

Also, it is important to keep in mind that Amano shrimp only eat soft kinds of algae; those green algae spots that grow on the sides of your tank are too hard for Amano shrimp to eat.

Breeding



While Amano shrimp will breed naturally given the right conditions, successfully rearing the fry takes a lot of hard work and patience. If you want to breed your shrimp, make sure you have an even ratio of males to females, and raise the water temperature to 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Before long, you will notice that at least one of your females has laid eggs onto her stomach. This is when you should start setting up a separate tank to rear the fry in. Because the fry need to be raised in brackish water, you will have to buy a hydrometer in order to measure how much salt is in the water. At first, the salinity should be between 17ppt and 35ppt. Aside from the level of salt within the tank, you should make sure the water conditions are completely identical to the original tank (i.e., temperature, pH, water hardness, etc). This is because Amano shrimp can have difficulty moving from tank to tank, and prefer stable water conditions.

The eggs will take about 5 weeks to hatch, so wait until a few days before the eggs are ready to move the female. After you move her, it shouldn't take long for the eggs to hatch. You should then move the mother back into the other tank immediately, otherwise she will begin to eat her young.

Feed the babies brewers yeast, but make sure it is very fine. The shrimp will be extremely tiny, so their food shouldn't be too big for them to eat. Only feed a tiny bit at a time, about 4-8 times per day within equal intervals.

Somewhere between 30 and 60 days after hatching, the fry will reach the post larvae stage. At this point, if the water is too salty, the shrimp will die, so you need to lower the salinity to 15ppt. As they grow older, lower the salinity again to 5ppt before transferring them to a freshwater tank.

As mentioned before, rearing Amano shrimp is a time-consuming process, but if you are determined to do it, the results are very rewarding!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Amano Shrimp Nocturnal?

Many first time Amano Shrimp owners rarely see their shrimp during the day, which may cause you to wonder if they are nocturnal. Amano shrimp are not actually nocturnal; rather, they are shy little creatures, and often prefer to hide in shelters and under plants rather than out in the open. With some food, they can usually be encouraged to start exploring more open areas.

Can Amano Shrimp Live with Cherry Shrimp?

Amano shrimp are generally peaceful, and make excellent tank mates for cherry shrimp. Make sure, however, that there is always plenty of food available in the tank. Sometimes, Amano shrimp can become more aggressive when they are trying to eat. So long as there is enough food, however, you shouldn't have to worry about any tussles between your shrimp, and they should all get along just fine! Make sure, however, that you don't place Amano shrimp into tanks with aggressive and predatory fish; Amano shrimp make tasty snacks for a hungry goldfish or cichlid.

Can Amano Shrimp Live in Saltwater?

Amano shrimp have to be raised in saltwater, but the adults need to live in freshwater. The reason for this is that adult Amano shrimp breed in freshwater, but the young are then carried downstream into saltwater, where they grow up before eventually returning to freshwater.

How many Amano Shrimp Can I Put in a 20 Gallon Tank?

The recommended amount of Amano shrimp in a 20 gallon tank is up to six. Seven or eight shrimp could technically survive in a 20 gallon tank, but it is not at all ideal. All living creatures need some amount of space to themselves, and more than six in a 20 gallon is simply too crowded. If you have too many shrimp in one tank, your tank can become too dirty, and your shrimp will be unhappy.

Can Amano Shrimp Live Alone?

Amano shrimp can live alone without any problems. If you have a smaller tank, it is recommended to have a smaller number of shrimp, anyways. These shrimp can live in a variety of conditions, including on their own, with other kinds of shrimp, or with several members of their own species. Most people, however, prefer to get at least two Amano shrimp.