Do You Really Need to Feed Shrimp in a Planted Tank?

Creating the perfect aquatic environment for your shrimp doesn’t have to be a struggle. In this article, we’re diving deeper into shrimp care, specifically answering the question of whether or not you need to feed shrimp in a planted tank. We’ll also explore various factors affecting shrimp nutrition, ideal living conditions, and the best food options. Hold on to your fins—we’re about to make a big splash!

Shrimp typically get the sustenance they need from a well-planted tank where they’re surrounded by decaying plant matter, algae, and biofilm. So, in short, you do not always need to feed your shrimp in a planted tank. However, it’s important to remember that every tank is different and some supplemental feeding might be necessary. Careful observation and monitoring will ensure your shrimp thrive.

Setting the record straight, this article offers a wealth of information on the ideal living conditions for shrimp, factors that influence their wellbeing, and the importance of maintaining a balanced diet. Let’s dive in and make sure you have all the knowledge necessary to keep your shrimp happy and healthy in their planted tank.

The Perfect Shrimp Environment

Shrimp Nutrition 101

Shrimp have a varied diet, and a thriving planted tank offers plenty of food for them. From algae growth to biofilm, your shrimp will have a feast! Here are some elements that contribute to shrimp nutrition:

  • Biofilm: Useful bacteria organize into a slimy film that covers aquarium surfaces. Shrimp love to graze on biofilm, which contains protein, carbohydrates, and essential nutrients.
  • Algae: Various types of algae provide essential nutrients and help maintain water quality.
  • Decaying plant matter: Shrimp scavenge on the leftover bits of plants, enriching their diets.
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Tank Parameters

To keep your shrimp happy, maintain these ideal tank parameters:

  • Temperature: 65-80°F (18-26°C)
  • pH: 6.0-7.5
  • GH (General hardness): 4-8 dGH
  • KH (Carbonate hardness): 2-5 dKH
  • Ammonia and nitrite: 0 ppm
  • Nitrate: <20 ppm

Remember to perform regular water quality tests to make sure your shrimp live in a healthy environment.

Planted Tank Setup

A planted tank offers not only nutrition but also shelter and hiding spots. Here are some popular aquatic plants for shrimp tanks:

  1. Java moss
  2. Anubias
  3. Cryptocoryne
  4. Moss balls
  5. Water sprite

These plants not only provide food but also oxygen and overall improved water quality.

When to Supplement Your Shrimp Diet

In most cases, shrimp will thrive on what your planted tank provides. However, sometimes you may need to offer supplemental feeding. Keep an eye on these factors:

  • Overcrowding: Too many shrimp in a tank may deplete their natural food sources.
  • Lack of plant growth or algae: Insufficient plant growth or weak algae formation may lead to less available food.
  • Molted shells and gestation: Shrimp need extra calcium during molting, while female shrimp require additional nutrients during gestation.

Some popular shrimp food options include:

  1. Sinking pellets or wafers
  2. Vegetables (e.g., blanched zucchini or spinach)
  3. Powdered shrimp food blends (e.g., Bacter AE)

Balance your shrimp’s diet and don’t overfeed, as it may affect water quality.

Shrimp Community Life

Remember that shrimp can coexist with various fish species, but some fish might prey on them. Choose compatible tankmates to avoid turning your shrimp into a snack.

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  • Do shrimp need supplemental food in a planted tank?
    • In well-established tanks, shrimp may not require supplemental food. However, observe your shrimp and offer additional food if needed.
  • What options are there for supplemental shrimp food?
    • Sinking pellets, blanched vegetables, and powdered shrimp food blends can be offered.
  • How often should I feed shrimp?
    • Feed shrimp sparingly, every two to three days. Overfeeding can negatively impact water quality.
  • Can I keep shrimp with fish?
    • Yes, but choose non-predatory, peaceful fish as tankmates.
  • What plants are best for a shrimp tank?
    • Java moss, Anubias, Cryptocoryne, moss balls, and water sprite are popular choices.


In conclusion, it is not always necessary to feed shrimp in a planted tank, as they can scavenge on various sources like algae, biofilm, and decaying plant matter. However, be mindful of your shrimp’s needs and observe them to ensure they thrive. Supplement their diet if necessary, and create a thriving environment with proper tank parameters, plant selection, and well-suited tankmates. Happy shrimping!

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