Shrimp are omnivores, meaning they eat plants and animals. They prefer algae, decaying plants, and microorganisms.
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What do shrimp eat?
Shrimp are becoming popular for home aquariums. They’re peaceful and colorful, making them great additions. When adding shrimp to your tank, understanding their needs is vital.
Shrimp are scavengers and will accept almost any type of organic matter. While shrimp will eat many things, they prefer algae, decaying plants, microorganisms, and animal protein. It makes them omnivores.
Due to their size, shrimp eat small prey and what’s available. Shrimp aren’t strong or large enough to fight with other creatures.
In the wild, they’ll eat almost anything. To keep happy shrimp in your home, learn about the type you have, what they prefer to eat and how to feed them.
Freshwater shrimp diet needs
While shrimp are scavengers, it doesn’t mean you should feed them random items. Instead, several types of food ensure you provide a happy life for your shrimp.
Freshwater shrimp love algae, and it’s the main food item in their diet. As long as there are algae, your shrimp will stay busy nibbling on it all day.
That said, it’s crucial to provide a mature tank that has plenty of algae. A new tank is too clean, which means there isn’t enough food to eat.
In a tank with plenty of algae, you’ll notice your shrimp nibbling on algae throughout the entire day. It’s an excellent sign because it means that they’re happy and enjoying the food.
If your shrimp aren’t eating the algae, it means that you’re feeding them too many other foods that are also likely tastier. Skip a day or two with the feeding and allow them to get back to the algae.
Additional feeding is required if your shrimp has eaten all of the algae. There are two signs of this, your tank is clean and they’re frantically swimming across the tank.
The second best thing to feed shrimp is fresh vegetables. If they’re running low on algae, fresh vegetables are an excellent way to supplement their diet.
Shrimp love carrots, cucumber, kale, okra, spinach, squash, sweet potato, and zucchini. Vegetables and algae make a healthy diet.
With the vegetables, it’s important to cut or slice them into small pieces to make it easier for the shrimp to consume. Peel and slice the vegetables with a thickness of around half an inch.
Then, place the vegetables in boiling water for 2 minutes to soften them. Lastly, drain the vegetables and place them on ice to cool.
You can give your shrimp a piece and leave it overnight. Then, remove what’s left in the morning.
In the wild, leaves fall into the water, and microorganisms break them down. Shrimp feed on the microorganisms and decomposing leaves. So, mimicking their natural environment is beneficial for your shrimp.
Gathering leaves from outside can introduce parasites and pesticides. Instead, visit your local pet store or purchase almond leaves online.
They’re also known as Catappa leaves. Plus, make sure the ones you buy are safe for aquariums.
Commercial shrimp food
Commercial shrimp food is convenient. However, it’s filled with animal protein, which isn’t the healthiest for your shrimp.
With commercial food, look for plant-based foods. Typically, the better foods have algae or spirulina.
Buying high-quality and plant-based food is the key to healthy shrimp when you’re using commercially prepared food.
You can add it to your shrimps’ diet once or twice per week. Overall, there are plenty of other foods that’ll keep your shrimp full, happy, and healthy. It’s not necessary to provide your shrimp with commercial food.
Recommended shrimp food
The following are the best foods to feed your shrimp.
Best Almond Leaves: SunGrow Catappa Indian Almond Shrimp Leaves
SunGrow offers large Catappa leaves, which are also known as Indian Almond Leaves. They’re great for food and hiding.
Before adding the leaves to the tank, soak them overnight in boiling water. Then, rinse the leaf and place it in the tank.
It’ll balance the pH level of the water and be a delicious addition to the algae for your shrimp.
Best Commercial Shrimp Food: Repashy SuperGreen
Repashy SuperGreen is an excellent plant-based commercial food. It’s made with spirulina algae and doesn’t contain animal products.
While the scent is strong, shrimp love it. It’s a high-quality commercially prepared food that you can feel good about feeding to your shrimp.
Frequently asked questions
No, shrimp don’t eat poop. It may accidentally eat it. However, it’ll spit it back out.
Shrimp will eat algae and food waste, which leads to a cleaner tank.
As long as the shrimp are happy with the water, they won’t jump out. However, a lid is beneficial because it’ll protect your shrimp. While you don’t need one, it’s good to have.
Yes, cuttlebone provides shrimp with calcium, which benefits their shell growth.
Shrimp are scavengers and will eat many different things. However, algae, fresh vegetables, leaf litter, and occasional commercial foods are the best things to feed your shrimp. It’ll lead to healthy, happy, and thriving shrimp.
Featured image courtesy of Canva.
About the author: David Em is the founder of Nola & Luna Pets, the leading resource for everything you need to know about pets and adorable pet accessories.