For over a decade now Amano Shrimp have captivated hobbyists due to their exceptional ability to consume a large number of algae. If you are considering Amano Shrimp this is the guide for you. We discuss how to care for them, ideal tank mates, dietary requirements.
|Color From:||Transparent/Greyish Body.|
|Size:||Up to 2 Inches.|
|Minimum Tank Size:||10 Gallon.|
|Tank Set-Up:||Freshwater, Heavily Planted.|
|Compatibility:||Peaceful community fish, other Shrimps, and Snails|
Amano Shrimp Overview
The Amano Shrimp (Caridina Multidentata) is known under a variety of names including:
- Caridina Japonica (Previously named this until 2006)
- Japonica Shrimp.
- Algae Eating Scrimp.
- Yamato shrimp.
They were brought to popularity by Takashi Amano, because of their reputation for controlling algae and generally keeping tanks debris free. Behind the Cherry Shrimp, it is the most popular freshwater Shrimp in the hobby. Interestingly, because they are incredibly hard to breed, the majority available to buy are actually wild Shrimp.
They are hardy shrimp that makes it ideal for beginners looking to experiment with invertebrates for the first time. They should be kept in at last 10-gallon tank and can be kept in either a species only or community tank. The tank should be heavily planted and contain lots of hiding places for them.
In general, they are very peaceful; however, this all changes when the food comes out. They will frantically race after the food and generally speaking the largest Shrimp has priority; you will definitely see a ‘pecking order’ here. Outside of this, you will see spend most of their time foraging amongst the substrate and plants for leftover shrimp food and debris to eat.
Whilst not exactly a behavior, another interesting observation is when they molt (this generally occurs each month). When they are without a shell they feel vulnerable and normally go into hiding; this is why a heavily planted tank is a must.
They are one of the large “dwarf shrimp”, and can grow up to 2 inches. However, when buying them they will typically be less than 1 inch in length. They are easily recognized by their large transparent/greyish-colored body. You will see a long line of red/brown or blue/grey dots; this is how you determined their sex (see the Sexing section to know more).
The coloring of these dots can vary significantly depending on their diet. A Shrimp heavily fed on algae and other greens will have a green tint to its dots. You will also notice their tail (Uropod) is translucent. Finally, you will also notice that they can mask and blend into your tank incredibly well; they are very difficult to find when hiding!
Sexing (Tell the Difference between male and female)
Unlike Cherry Shrimp, it is actually very easy to identify the difference between male and female Amano Shrimp.
- Firstly, the females tend to be bigger than males.
- Secondly, you can look at the dots on their exoskeleton. The dots on females will be long dashes whereas for males they will have a saddle (i.e. egg nest) underneath her stomach where she stores her eggs.
Imposters and Lookalikes
Unfortunately within the aquarium trade, there are lots of imposters and lookalikes. Whilst many of these imposters look virtually identical can tell the difference in their algae clearing ability. There are more than 200 different varieties of Caridina, so you can easily see why much different Shrimp get confused as true Caridina multidentata.
The easiest way to identify imposters is because they are generally lazy do not make good algae cleaners; real Amano Shrimp are relentless. Imposters tend to be smaller as well. Finally, they will breed in freshwater aquariums whereas true Amano Shrimp require water to breed. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to visually identify imposters.
Amano Shrimp Habitat and Tank Conditions
Ture Amano Shrimp are native to Asia, specifically Japan, China, and also Taiwan. They will live in large troupes within freshwater rivers and streams. Fascinatingly though they do not always live in freshwater. It is only the adults that live in freshwater. As larvae, they require brackish to hatch and survive. It is only once they mature they will head to the freshwater rivers. So how does all this translate to setting up your aquarium? The first thing to note is that your tank should be thoroughly planned. This provides them with lots of shelters and gives them comfort.
You should be using plants such as Java Moss and Green Cabomba. If you want to add even more hiding places for them you could consider a Shrimp tube. You can also add wooden branches into the tank. Second, you should only add them to established tanks; debris and algae are crucial for them and this won’t be present in newly cycled tanks. Finally, as for the substrate, you can use small rocks and pebbles to emulate the river beds of japan.
They are reasonably hardy inverts and can withstand a wide range of water conditions;
- pH level: 6.0 – 7.0
- Temperature: 700F – 800F.
- Water hardness: 6.0 -*8.0 DKH.
In terms of currents; they are used to this because of their natural environment. A hang-on-back filter works best for them.
Amano Shrimp Tank mates
To start with it is important to know that the Amano Shrimp is commonly viewed as food, so you should always exercise caution when adding them to a tank. They are an incredibly peaceful species and have no real means to defend themselves. You should be looking to include peaceful, small to mid-sized, community fish with your shrimp. The following list of fish typically list fish typically does well with them:
|Cherry Shrimp||Malaysian Snails||Guppies|
|Bamboo and Vampire Shrimp||Tiger Barb||Neon Tretras|
|Otocinclus Catfish||Discus||Mystery Snails|
|Cory Catfish||Bristlenose Pleco||Nerite Snails|
You should not keep your Shrimp with any large or aggressive fish. the following list will give you a good indication of which types of fish to avoid:
Remember if you are uncertain fall back on the old rule of thumb; “if it can fit in its mouth, then exercise caution”.
Keeping Amano Shrimp Together
If you plan on Keeping Amano Shrimp it is recommended that you do not keep them alone. You should keep them in a group of at least 6 to help reduce any dominant behavior. Also, try to maintain an even ratio of females and males.
They have such a small bioload that you do not need to worry about overstocking the tank. In addition to keeping them with their own species, you can also keep them other peaceful Shrimp such as Cherry Shrimp and Ghost Shrimp.
If you did not already know, Amano is famous for feeding on algae. They are known as being one of the best cleanup crews in the hobby and will plant debris, leftover food, and algae. They have also been known to eat dead fish. Unfortunately due to their reputation, many people believe that they only need algae and leftovers to survive, this is not true.
They will always need their diet supplementing. Obviously, the more amounts of algae and debris in the tank for them to graze on, the less supplementing they will need. They are actually omnivores, so will eat both meat and plant matter. The core of their diet should consist of a high-quality pellet or algae wafer. However, you can also feed them on sinking pellets, frozen foods, and vegetables. They will eat cucumber, squash, zucchini, and spinach to name a few.
Just remember though, the vegetable should be blanched and do not leave them in the tank for longer than an hour because it will start to contaminate the water. In terms of frozen snacks, think of the usual: bloodworms and brine shrimp. Just like Cherry Shrimp, you should avoid placing anything with copper into the tank; it is toxic to most invertebrates. Be sure to check the labels as many fish food and medication contain copper. Also, you should avoid placing them in a tank with the black beard algae; they will not eat this.