Amano Shrimp Guide

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Amano shrimp, also known as Japanese Algae Shrimp, Japanese Algae-Eater Shrimp, and Japonica Shrimp, are the friends many aquarists and aquascapers love.

These crustaceans are native to parts of Asia, and are a favorite of many due to how they love devouring algae. In fact, they are known as the best shrimp available for managing green algae!

Japanese algae shrimp

Although peaceful in nature and happy to nibble on any algae growing in a tank, Amano shrimp can be cheeky food thieves. They themselves can also become prey to certain species of fish.

Even if you are desperate to get on top of that dreaded algae that’s been plaguing your tank, dumping ten Amano shrimp into the mix is no guarantee. Proper Amano shrimp care is vital to ensuring that your tank is happy and healthy.

This guide will walk you through all you need to know about how to keep and care for your Amano shrimp!

All About the Amano Shrimp

Size

Amano shrimp vary in size. An adult can hit anywhere between one and two inches.

Shrimp molt on a monthly cycle as they grow. Once fully grown, they will continue to molt on a regular basis.

This is a natural form of defense against micro-parasites, so don’t be alarmed if you find molted shells in your tank.

Color

Amano shrimp are typically semi-translucent, and they will gain color depending on what you feed them!

Shrimp that feed primarily on algae will gain a green tinge to their shells, whereas those feeding on fish flakes will grow reddish shells.

Lifespan

The average lifespan for Amano shrimp is between two and three years.

Sadly, some of your shrimp may die within a few days after being introduced to the tank; this is due to stress and differences in water.

Diet

Amano shrimp are fantastic omnivorous animals that will eat just about anything. They do need a balance of proteins and fibers, meaning that they can’t just live of the algae in your tank.

Japonica shrimp

By Richard Bartz (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 licence)

For Amano shrimp to live their healthiest and best life, they need a variety of plant-based and meat-based foods, which can include any leftovers from your fishes’ lunch.

If you are an aquascaper, fear not that Amano shrimp will devour your delicate plants. These shrimp don’t eat moss or living plants; they will eat dead and decaying plant matter instead.

Temperament

Although male Amano shrimp can be relentless when pursuing Amano females with an egg clutch, Amano shrimp have calm temperaments. Giving them plenty of places to hide, such as decorations and plants, will improve their confidence.

Amano shrimp can be somewhat cheeky too, stealing food right out of the mouths of their tankmates. Ensuring that all of the shrimp have access to food regularly will tone down this sort of behavior.

Amano shrimp will typically get along with other breeds of shrimp that are of similar size and temperaments.

As for fish, Amano shrimp aren’t aggressive by any means, but they will be vulnerable to carnivorous fish, such as cichlids, catfish, and angel fish.

Amano Shrimp Tank Requirements

Compatible Tankmates

Fish that are compatible with Amano shrimp are generally around the same size or also feed on plants and algae.

Betta fish, tiger bards, guppies, rasaboras, loaches, corydora catfish, and tetras are all a-okay to live with Amano shrimp.

Common fish that will eat Amano shrimp are: goldfish, large plecos, discus, angelfish, aggressive bards, crayfish, and almost all types of cichlids.

There are more common aquarium fish that are unsuitable; however, a basic rule of thumb for finding proper tankmates is that anything around the same size, diet, and temperament can live with them.

Do some research or ask attendants at quality aquariums stores about compatible tankmates for Amano shrimp.

It’s important to note that juvenile Amano shrimp are vulnerable to even the fish listed above. If you want to introduce young Amanos to your tank, ensuring that they have places to hide will improve their chances of survival.

Water Requirements

Amano shrimp larvae live in brackish water, whereas juvenile and adult Amano’s need to live in freshwater – hence why breeding them is so difficult!

By Caroline CCB (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 licence)

Amano breeders often have complicated tank set-ups in order to accommodate the needs of Amano larvae.

Any Amano shrimp that you buy in stores or online will be old enough to live in freshwater.

70 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature for Amano shrimp. They aren’t from tropical climates, but they still require a heater to maintain a constant temperature.

Ideally, the pH level of your tank should sit nicely between 6.5 and 8.

Tank Requirements

Twenty gallons is the minimum requirement for Amano shrimp. So long as there are hidey holes for them, Amano shrimp can happily live in much larger tanks too!

Obviously, overcrowded tanks are unhealthy. The lack of space means that bacteria colonies can explode, water needs to be changed more frequently as ammonia levels rise, and tank inhabitants will grow more aggressive as they compete for food and space.

Population

Amano shrimp will happily live with a dozen or more of their fellows. As these shrimp are quite small, so long as there is plenty of food and places for them to explore, you can have quite a large population living in the same tank.

The same goes for fish populations in your tank. Avoiding territorial breeds, or keeping a limit on how many fish go into the tank, will make for a peaceful population.

Tank Maintenance

Amano shrimp are a low maintenance and good for beginners. Aquascapers can pop a dozen of these crustaceans in their tanks for aesthetic purposes, as well as to help keep algae at bay and clean up uneaten fish food.

Caring for Amano shrimp is simple. They can handle living in still water and in gently moving water. However, if your filter’s output is too strong, they can get tossed about.

amano shrimp care

By Seotaro (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 licence)

There is also the possibility of the little shrimp being sucked up by the intake hose; avoid this by having an intake hose that is covered by a fine grate or mesh that prevents your Amano’s from being vacuumed up.

Copper

Some types of fish food, medications, and so forth, contain copper or copper sulphate, which is toxic to Amano shrimp.

Carefully read through the ingredients to any foods or solutions you add to your tank.

Molting

As Amano shrimp molt, they will litter your tank with their old husks.

These don’t have to be removed immediately, and the shrimp will actually begin to eat molted husks.

Introducing Amano Shrimp to the Tank

You introduce Amano shrimp to the tank the same way you would for fish. As Amano shrimp can die of stress, you should take the following steps to keep the transfer as calm as possible.

Creating the Ideal Environment

Amano shrimp, and shrimp in general, love tucking themselves away in little crevices and caves. Live plants are a great way to create environments that improve the health of your tank and provide cover for these little crustaceans.

Rocks (live and not), hollow decorations, driftwood, and dense plants are all fantastic for making the ideal Amano shrimp environment.

Amano shrimp also benefit from you popping a few moss balls into the tank. These collect food particles and algae, making for easy pickings for the shrimp; you’ll see your shrimp gather around moss balls come feeding time!

Preparing the Tank

Aquascapers with tanks void of fauna can skip the bulk of this step.

Preparing the tank for new creatures means feeding everyone already in the tank. This will tone down any aggressive hunting or territorial behavior when the Amano’s are introduced.

amano shrimp

By Przemysław Malkowski (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 licence)

If possible, move around a few decorations and plants to disrupt any territories staked out by inhabitants.

Should you wish, you could also add new decorations or plants to the tank. It is also important to ensure that there are cave-like places for the shrimp to hide in.

Now, for both fauna-less and populated tanks, dimming the lights prior to introducing the shrimp will further calm temperaments.

You should also perform a chemical and acidity test on your tank water and compare it to the levels of the water your shrimp arrive in.

Transferring the Amano Shrimp

Transferring the Amano shrimp should be taken slowly, as over-stressing these delicate crustaceans are the main reason why they die – aside from old age.

Let the bag they come in sit in the tank and adjust to the water’s temperature for ten minutes.

Ideally, you would then open the bag and pour a cup of your tank’s water into the bag; this allows the shrimp to acclimatize to any changes in acidity.

After another five minutes, gently tip the bag to the side and let the Amanos swim out.  Don’t be surprised if they scuttle away and stay hidden for up to three days after being introduced to the tank.

Monitoring the Amano Shrimp

Lights should be kept off for at least a day after the Amano’s have been introduced to the tank.

If you see any shrimp that are listless, pale, or floating near the surface, perform a chemical check on the acidity of the water. These shrimp may be going into shock, and, unfortunately, they may die.

Quarantine tanks are always a good idea. As Amano’s are often caught in the wild, due to them being so difficult to breed in captivity, they can struggle to adjust to aquariums.

Here’s a video showing more information on Amano shrimp care.

Conclusion

Amano shrimp are a popular creature for aquascapers and aquarists alike for their voracious appetite towards green algae.

These critters will happily chow down on any algae growths in your tank, all while peacefully coexisting beside many common types of aquarium fish.

Caring for Amano shrimp is simple, although transferring them to the tank requires some care and consideration.


Do you have any amano shrimp care tips?

Staff Writer
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