Care Guide for Amano Shrimp
Amano Shrimp is the second most popular aquarium dwarf shrimp after Red Cherry Shrimp. This kind of shrimp is native to freshwater rivers and streams in Taiwan, Japan and Korea. This shrimp’s scientific names are Caridina multidentata and Caridina japonica. They are also called Algae Eating Shrimp, Swamp Shrimp, Yamato Shrimp, and Japanese Swamp Shrimp.
Amano shrimp were first introduced to the aquarium hobby in the early 1980s by Takashi Amano – a popular aquarist, track cyclist and photographer who discovered their ability to eat algae and clean the aquarium. Being recognized as the best algae-eating shrimp in the world makes Amano Shrimp the best choice for planted tanks. They also eat decayed plants, outwatches, dead fish and invertebrates, which makes them an essential part of the cleaning system in any aquarium.
Amano shrimp are good eaters, hardy, peaceful, active and adaptable. Since they can stay in almost any tank size with different water conditions and require an extremely low maintenance level, no surprise that they are the favourite shrimp of many aquarists, especially those who want to introduce invertebrates to their tank for the first time.
So, what do you need to know before purchasing this interesting species? The answers will be found in this care guide!
What is Amano Shrimp? What size does Amano Shrimp? What color is Amano Shrimp?
Amano shrimp are one of the larger freshwater shrimp species, with the most considerable size up to 2-3 inches (5-7 cm) in length. It takes about 3-5 months for the shrimp to reach their full size, but it strongly depends on their care condition, as we will go through later. The typical length of Amano Shrimp at the store is about 0.75 to 1 inch, which is a good size to start because they will mature and grow quickly.
They are easily recognized by the large body, either translucent light grey/brown or green. That color does not as impressive as other brighter-colored dwarf shrimp, but they are still stunning. Their body is highlighted with a long line of solid red-brown or blue-grey colored dots running along their bodies, which is the pattern to distinguish their sex. The colors of these dots are different depending on the shrimp’s diet. If they are given a heavy diet of algae and other plant-based food, these dots will be more green tint.
Their tail (Uropod) is wide and translucent as well. These transparent color help them easily blend into the tank and are hard to find! This ability to camouflage themselves into the environment is helpful to protect them against predators considering them as tasty food.
How long does Amano Shrimp live?
A healthy Amano Shrimp’s average lifespan is between 2- 3 years. They are most likely to die right after being moved to a new tank due to the stress caused by changing water parameters. But these shrimp can live long and healthy if receiving the proper care.
When an Amano Shrimp dies, it will turn to bright orange-red color. If the dead body is left too long, it will turn white. Other shrimp or snails may eat the dead shrimp’s shell to absorb the mineral in the cover. Before this, you should remove the dead shrimp to avoid Ammonia spikes in your aquarium.
How to Care for Amano Shrimp?
Amano Shrimp are excellent species for beginners because of their low demand for care. These shrimp do well in a group. They love exploring hiding places and feel comfortable going out to find food. Having aquarium live plants in the tank is a good idea to provide these shrimp with natural food.
What is amano shrimp tank requirements?Amano Shrimp are adaptable but do best in stable and well-oxygenated water. Since they are an algae-eating species, they prefer a tank that has algae growth and other tasty scum already than a brand new tank. Your shrimp are less likely to survive in a tank without any algae. Make sure the water flow is calm because sudden fluctuations cause Amano Shrimp stress and weaken their immune system.
Tank size should be decided by the number of Amano Shrimp living there. Despite their small size, these shrimp require a large area to live in. Generally, a shrimp needs 2 gallons (7.6L) to have enough space for their activity and interact peacefully with other tank mates, so a 10-gallon (38L) tank will be ideal. With this aquarium size, you could keep a group of 5 shrimp. Keeping only a single Amano Shrimp is not recommended. A group of at least 5 with an even ratio of females and males will be better for reducing any dominant behavior and keeping them safe from larger creatures.
Specific accessories are also needed when setting up your tank to ensure Amano Shrimp’s health and safety. The recommended aquarium filter type is a sponge filter. This type provides both mechanical and biological filtration for your tank, and it does not cause danger for the shrimp by getting sucked into the filter. The filter also traps bits of edible material that Amano shrimp can come and eat.
Amano shrimp don’t have any aquarium substrate requirement, but you can set a layer of gravel or sand to imitate the environment of their natural habitat in Japan and Taiwan.
A heavily planted tank is ideal for this species. Amano Shrimp love to graze along the plants for algae and old leaves. Live plants also help to maintain the water quality that shrimp need to survive. Java Moss and Green Cabomba are the most suitable aquatic plants for them.
Shrimp will also need some hiding places for safe coverage after molting, so tall aquatic plants, shrimp tubes or driftwood help them feel secure and comfortable. The tank should have light and dark areas to provide the Amano Shrimp with plenty of places to feed, hide, and play. Consider putting a lid on top of the tank because Amano Shrimp are very active and likely to jump out of the tank when attacked by bigger creatures.
What is amano shrimp tank temperature?
Amano Shrimp’s native water is quite cool, they can adapt to a temperature range between 18°C to 28°C (65°F to 80°F), and the ideal is 24°C (76°F). A need for a heater depending on the temperature of the room and the general climate, but as long as the room temperature is higher than 65°F, a heater is not necessary. If the temperature is cooler, Amano Shrimp will eat less and delay their growth.
In contrast, higher temperature boosts the metabolic rate and makes the aquarium algae and plants grow faster. It also affects Amano Shrimp’s molting, reducing the water's oxygen level and causing a shorter lifespan.
What is amano shrimp water parameters?Generally, Amano Shrimp can thrive in harder water, but the carbonate hardness level should remain around 6.0 to 8.0 dKH. Amano Shrimp would benefit from changing their water twice a week to reduce harmful chemicals. Introducing this shrimp into an aquarium with a well-established nitrogen cycle is crucial. Nitrite, Nitrate, and Ammonia levels should be at 0, as wild-caught Amano Shrimp are very sensitive to these chemicals. And especially, avoid using copper because it’s toxic to your Amano shrimp as well as other invertebrates in your tank.
Maintaining the pH range of 6 - 7.5 (a general neutral level) is recommended. Amano Shrimp can’t deal with high CO2 levels, which tends to decrease pH levels. This species should never be left in an environment with a pH below 6, as they will more likely struggle to survive.
To prevent the shrimp from being shocked and endangering in a toxic environment, allowing Amano Shrimp to acclimate to the tank parameters is essential. Use the drip method on the Amano Shrimp inside the bowl for 3 hours and monitor for at least 24 hours.
How to sex amano shrimp?It’s pretty easy to distinguish the two gender of the Amano shrimp. First of all, females are slightly bigger than males. The female shrimp also have a saddle on the hind abdomen, where she stores thousands of eggs.
Secondly, you can determine their sex by the speckles or dots on their exoskeleton. In females, the row of dots along their exoskeleton is made up of long, irregular dashes which look disorderly. While for males, the row of dots is distinctly separated and evenly spaced.
What does Amano Shrimp Eat?
Amano Shrimp eating behavior
Amano Shrimp’s favourite activity is eating. They spend most of their time grazing along the tank's surface or amongst the substrate and plants, looking for the algae and leftover food to eat.
They are generally peaceful and don’t bother anyone; however, this changes when the food comes. The Amano Shrimp has a different and more forceful approach to food than any other kind of shrimp. When food is dropped into the tank, they will sense it and move quickly to grab it or even steal from other shrimp, but the biggest shrimp always takes priority.
What to feed Amano Shrimp with?
Although Amano Shrimp are famous for feeding on algae, which controls algae issues and contributes to the cleanliness of the aquarium, algae and leftovers are not the only things they eat. Amano Shrimp are primarily omnivores, so they eat both meaty and plant food. The core of their diet should consist of a high-quality pellet or algae wafer.
Fish flakes, shrimp pellets and algae wafers, which provide Amano Shrimp with the protein, can be put into the tank as a whole or split into smaller pieces. In addition, their food includes vegetables to provide calcium, such as zucchini, spinach, cucumber and moss balls. Supplements will be required if there is not enough algae and plant debris in the aquarium. Always remember to blanch the vegetables first and calculate the amount of food you should give them. The typical snacks can be dead fish and molted exoskeletons, or you can also use frozen snacks like bloodworms and brine shrimp. Amano Shrimp do not likely eat Black Beard Algae due to their toughness. It’s important to remove all uneaten food in the tank no later than one hour to avoid ammonia spikes and water contamination, which cause Amano Shrimp's death.
Ensure not to overfeed your shrimp. In an established tank, feeding your shrimp 2-3 times a week is reasonable. If Amano shrimp are hungry, they will get agitated and swim crazy around the tank. When you see this behavior, it’s time to drop some food.
It is important to note that the Amano Shrimp are only good at eating algae if they’re hungry. When there’s plenty of tasty food around, they will choose these foods and refuse to eat the algae. So if you want them to eat more algae, cut down your feeding time.
Always avoid unintentionally adding copper into the tank because it harms your shrimp and other invertebrates. Since many fish foods, medications, and plant fertilizers contain copper, it is crucial to read the ingredients list for any product before adding them to the aquarium to ensure they are copper-free.
Does Amano Shrimp molt?Molting is a natural process of any shrimp, which occurs when the old shell can’t stand with the size of the body, so they need a new and larger one to continue developing. Amano Shrimp molting happens monthly or about 5-6 weeks. Identifying which shrimp is molting is challenging because they usually go in a group.
Sometimes, shrimp keepers may mistake molting for dead shrimp, but dead Amano Shrimp change their color white due to the carotenoids present in their body while molting Amano Shrimp is very translucent with a piece of shell pulled apart.
As molting occurs, the old cover loosens and almost detaches from the shrimp's body. Shrimp will bend their tails to create a force that causes the shell to crack in half. After the front half of the body is carefully pulled out of the old cover, the shrimp flick their body to pull the rest out of the shell, and the molting is completed.
Most shrimp feel fragile and highly vulnerable right after moulting, so they need small caves and private areas to hide until their new shell become hardened. It usually takes several days for that. Amano Shrimp may also eat the old cover to absorb the minerals there.
If the water parameters and calcium amount in the diet are incorrect, Amano Shrimp can have molting issues, which may lead to death. Therefore, providing enough calcium in the water and as part of the shrimp’s diet is crucial.
How to breed Amano Shrimp?Breeding Amano Shrimp is complicated since most of these Shrimp in the market are wild-caught, and this process requires brackish water conditions - a mix of fresh water and sea while the typical type of water in almost aquariums is freshwater. This process requires a change from brackish water for the larvae's growth at first to freshwater conditions once they mature into adulthood.
Even if the water conditions are correct, it is still highly challenging to successfully breed these shrimp due to the fragility of the larvae and the special care requirement. Because of the limited success of breeding them, this activity is not for all shrimp keepers. So if you want to breed shrimp for the first time, Cherry or Ghost Shrimp will be the better choice.
However, let’s go through the breeding process to give you general information about it:
For breeding, you must have at least one male and one female in your Amano Shrimp group. In the wild, after mating, female Amano shrimp will lay between 1,000 and 3,000 eggs, which are glued under her body for up to 5-6 weeks until they hatch into larvae. The female usually waists her tail during this time to ensure the eggs receive enough oxygen. After 6 weeks, the fertilized eggs will hatch, and the newborn larvae need brackish water to live and grow well. As soon as the larvae reach adulthood, move them back to freshwater conditions because the adults can’t stand water with any salt.
Amano Shrimp Tank Mates
It can be a good idea to add Amano Shrimp in a community tank with other creatures, but you have to wait until they grow fully enough to a group of around 10 shrimp. It’s necessary to make them feel safe in a tank with larger inhabitants.
Choosing suitable tank mates might be tricky since many creatures commonly consider Amano Shrimp as food. It would be best to exercise caution when putting this species into a new community tank.
Make sure to keep Amano Shrimp away from aggressive and large predatory species because they are likely to eat Amanos, including aquarium crayfish, freshwater lobsters (Tangarine Lobster, Hammer Cobalt Blue Lobsters), Cichlids, Oscars, Arowanas, Large Plecos, Bettas, Catfish and also Goldfish.
Their best tank mates should be small to medium-sized, peaceful and non-aggressive inhabitants. Since Amano shrimp are gentle, they will not threaten the small creatures in their tank. Some good choices are other freshwater shrimp (Cherry Shrimp, Bamboo Shrimp, Vampire Shrimp, Ghost Shrimp); Freshwater snails (Golden Inca snails, Malaysian Trumpet snails, Assassin snails, Ramshorn snails, Mystery snails, Ivory snails, Japanese Trapdoor snails); Octocinclus Catfish, Cory Catfish, Neon Tetras, Ornamental fish, Asian Stone Catfish, Bushynose Plecos, Corydoras Catfish, Danios, Guppies, Hillstream Loaches.
Ensure the tank is large enough to accommodate all species with space requirements.
What a fascinating creature, isn't it? Hopefully, you have had helpful information and are well-prepared to start getting acquainted with these Amano Shrimp.