How Many Amano Shrimp Per Gallon?
You probably have heard of Amano Shrimp, and you have seen them in a tank. Now you want to keep them in your tank as well. But, how many Amano shrimp per gallon you should keep? The answer and all the additional facts you need to know are explained in this post.
Keeping Amano shrimp in your tank is great and extremely easy. But first, you do need to know something more about this shrimp species. Their Latin name is Caridina multidentata, and they live in waters surrounding Japan and Taiwan.
Other names associated with the species are algae shrimp, Japanese shrimp, Yamato shrimp, and obviously, Amano shrimp. They are an excellent choice if you want to remove a large number of algae from your aquarium.
Below is a general breakdown of how many Amano shrimp you should keep in your aquarium.
|Aquarium capacity in gallons||Ideal shrimp count|
|10||4 or less|
|20||6 or less|
|30||10 or less|
|40||13 or less|
|50||16 or less|
|Between 55 and 65||18 or less|
If your tank has a more specific capacity, you need to know that, ideally, one shrimp should be kept per 3 or even 4 gallons of water. If you keep more of them than recommended, you will have issues with other species in a tank!
What Do Amano Shrimp Eat?
Amano shrimp eat algae most of the time. However, they need a well-balanced diet and need various ingredients in order to have a happy and healthy lifespan. The main reason why aquarists always keep a recommended shrimp count in a tank is due to their nature. When in higher numbers, Amano shrimp will eat food for other fish and tank ‘’residents’’. Even worse, they are prepared to fight for food. This is the main reason you need to know how many Amano shrimp per gallon is appropriate.
Amano shrimp are omnivorous invertebrates. This simply means that they will eat almost anything. Their primary food is algae. They will consume most algae types. However, they won’t eat black beard algae! Most aquarists use them to remove excess algae from the tank. But, Amano shrimp will be ineffective when it comes to black beard algae.
Besides algae, Amano shrimp will eat leftovers. This is a secondary food source and, almost always, they do need an additional one. In most situations, you will need pellets for this species or use sinking pellets and frozen food. They also love to eat raw vegetables, especially zucchini and cucumbers.
Amano Shrimp Lifespan
Amano shrimp can live between 2 and 5 years in a tank. They need 5-6 months to reach full maturity. Most shrimp live up to 3 years, but if the tank conditions are suitable for them, they can live up to a maximum of 5 years. It should be noted that they are quite fragile when added to a new tank. If they don’t die at that point, they are likely to live at least 2-3 years.
You can do several things in order to help them achieve the longest lifespan possible. The main thing to know is that this process is very simple and doesn’t require a lot of steps. Obviously, they need to be well-fed, and they need a water temperature between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. These are the basics.
Other than that, you need to keep the copper level in your tank low. This metal is dangerous for Amano shrimp and all invertebrates in general. Secondly, make sure to maintain a steady and stable temperature and pH (anywhere between 6.0 and 7.0 is ideal). Any sudden drops may have a catastrophic effect on the shrimp!
Last but not least, make sure to keep your eye on the shrimp when they molt. They are very vulnerable during this time frame and do need your attention. One thing you must know is that Amano shrimp will shed during this process once per month, but only if they are well-fed and they are happy with the environment.
Differences Between Male and Female Amano Shrimp
If you are planning to keep this shrimp species, you obviously need to know the difference between male and female shrimp. With some species, such as Cherry Shrimp, telling the difference is extremely difficult and even impossible in some cases. With Amano shrimp, this is extremely simple. You need to know 3 facts.
- Males are smaller than females
- Females have long dashes on their exoskeleton while males have small dots
- Female Amano shrimp will have an egg nest or a saddle at the bottom of a stomach (they keep eggs here)
Breeding Amano Shrimp
Although telling the difference between male and female Amano shrimp is simple, breeding is not. As a matter of fact, this is a complicated process even for experienced aquarists, and it may end up with failure more than once. One of the main reasons is the brackish water.
In nature, Amano shrimp will start mating when a male shrimp fertilizes the eggs of a female. Then, she will carry them in the saddle for 6 weeks. You can actually see a female shrimp pushing the water and oxygen towards the eggs. This is the same as with Cherry Shrimp. Knowing how many Amano shrimp per gallon is crucial if you plan to breed this species.
Once 6 weeks are done, female shrimp will release the larvae. But, they need saltwater in this state. Once they are grown, they will need fresh water. The biggest problem is the fact adult Amano shrimp must not be kept in brackish water. They will die due to small or even medium salt exposure.
When you try to breed them, once the female shrimp releases the larvae, remove the adult or adults from that tank, and increase salinity. There are no details regarding this matter due to countless unsuccessful stories from all over the globe. It is much easier to breed Ghost Shrimp or Cherry Shrimp.
It isn’t all bad. There were a few successful breeding processes performed in some parts of the globe. Most of the experts used a 1.024 salinity level. If you are trying to do the same, you may want to use this salinity level but don’t expect too much.
What Happens To The Baby Shrimp After Breeding?
As you have seen, the breeding process is extremely difficult, and we do not recommend you try it. However, let’s assume you followed the steps, and now you’ve got baby shrimps. What should you do afterward?
First, you should remove the Amano Shrimp female to avoid her eating the small larvae. The “babies” are tiny and should receive small amounts of brewers yeast 4-8 times per day, at regular intervals. For the first few weeks, you will need to feed them some micro encapsulated fish fry food of 30-120 microns. Great caution should be taken not to pollute the tank.
Diatoms in the water column are also important and increase the chances of baby shrimps surviving. Also, the babies need good light. You should avoid populating the water tank with any large shrimp that will compete for food with the baby shrimps.
From day 30 to day 60, you will need to monitor the baby shrimps. They’re no longer larvae, but they’re extremely sensitive. Once they have passed this critical stage, you need to move them to a freshwater aquarium, or drop the salinity of their breeding aquarium to at least 15ppt. If you keep them at the same salinity levels as before, they will probably die in 48 hours.
Amano Shrimp babies need about 3-5 months to reach maturity. It all depends on the feeding mechanisms and the genetic heritage of the babies. From thence on, they can live another 2-3 happy years.
Pay Attention to Imposters
There are over 200 different Caridina species all over the globe. This simply means that there are other species that look like Amano shrimp, but they are not. Sadly, it can be almost impossible to tell the difference. These species usually look almost identical, and you need to be an expert in order to tell the difference.
There are a few things that may help you. For instance, most imposters are smaller and they do not consume as much algae as Amano shrimp. The biggest difference is when it comes to breeding. Imposters will breed in freshwater tanks. Amano shrimp requires brackish water to breed.
Being able to tell the difference just by looking at the shrimp is very hard and almost impossible for some. If you are looking for Amano shrimp only, make sure to get it from a trustworthy source. Only then do you need to worry about how many Amano shrimp per gallon you should keep.
Always remember that Amano shrimp will have a transparent, slightly greyish body and circular dots on both sides. Of course, there are differences between males and females, and we have covered that above.
Amano Shrimp Preferred Habitat and Tank Conditions
As we were saying in the introduction, the Amano Shrimp are native to Asia, mostly Japan, China, and Taiwan. They thrive in large groups on freshwater rivers and streams. However, here’s the catch – they love freshwater only when they’re adults. As larvae, they need brackish waters. This is the required environment for them to hatch and survive in the first moments of their life. When they have reached adulthood, they’ll head for freshwater rivers.
So, what should you do in terms of tank conditions? Where do you find a tank that miraculously transforms from brackish waters to freshwater at the snap of your fingers? Well, you don’t, but there are some things you can do.
First, you need to make sure they will have a lot of places to hide in the tank. Plants like Java Moss or Green Cabomba will give Amano Shrimp the safety of a shelter. If you are willing to go a bit further, you could opt for shrimp tubes or wooden branches.
Secondly, make sure that the tank is already in place with enough algae and debris so the Amano shrimp will feel at home when you add them to it. Do not add them to newly cycled tanks!
Third, you should know that the river beds in Japan are usually rocky, so consider using some pebbles or small rocks in the tank for the Amano shrimp as well.
Other decorations to add to the tank:
- A lot of plants (Anubias, Java Fern and Java Moss, water lettuce, Cladophora, Water sprite, Rotala rotundifolia, Egeria densa)
- Standard community tank lighting
- Small grain sand
- Gravel substrate, pebbles
- A lot of hiding spots; females need them a lot
Decorations to avoid adding to the tank:
- Anything with sharp edges
- Anything that contains copper
Amano Shrimp Tank Mates
Aside from knowing how many Amano shrimp per gallon, it’s important to consider tank mates.
Did you know that Amano shrimp don’t have any means to defend themselves? They are a peaceful species, and they do not pose a threat to any other tank residents. There is a second part of the story. These shrimp are commonly targeted as food in the wild and some tanks. That’s why it is crucial to keep them in a tank with proper mates. Ideally, you will consider small and medium fish that are also peaceful and social. Here are the best examples:
In this case scenario, you can mix and match until you find a perfect tank community. As you would expect, there is another list we must explain. Here you can see fish that is large, aggressive, or simply doesn’t tolerate Amano shrimp. The species below must NOT be kept in the same tank, or you will lose your shrimp!
If you are looking to add a different species to a tank where you keep Amano shrimp, pay attention to the mouth size. If one shrimp can fit the other in their mouth, do not try to keep them together.
Amano Shrimp Care
Caring for Amano Shrimp should start from the heart, but we’ll mostly discuss the practical stuff here. They are cute little beings that can leave just with peers of their species or with other species like ghost or cherry shrimp, and so on. We’ve discussed this in the tank mates sections.
One thing to know, of course, is how many Amano shrimp per gallon. Keeping too many Amano shrimp in a tank can affect their happiness and wellbeing.
As we were saying, copper will not do them good, and although they are quite resilient to ammonia, you should avoid any temperature drops or rapid pH changes in the tank, just to be sure. However, even if their general care is quite easy, there are some common diseases they can fall prey to.
You should watch for the CO2 levels. As we were saying above, Amano Shrimp love plants for they offer them great places to hide. However, plants need a lot of CO2 to thrive. This means you might have to deal with a lot of pH drops, which can create health issues for Amano Shrimps.
Do not worry about them molting; they do it a lot, and it’s perfectly normal and healthy. They just outgrow their exoskeletons as a snake sheds his skin.
Infections are quite rare, but when they happen, it’s mostly because of Planarian flatworms and as an indirect cause of being bred in captivity. However, these conditions are quite rare, so you don’t need to worry too much about that.
We can’t believe we’re saying this, and please take it seriously: one cause of death for Amanos is starvation. Amano Shrimp need both plant matter and protein. They need a mix of these both. Without the proper mix, they might starve, and given that they eat almost all the time while they’re awake, you should keep an eye on them and their diet.
They’re pretty active fellows, so if you see them slow down in their daily routine, then consider changing their diet by adding some more food or living plants to the aquarium. However, please note that overfeeding is also a bad thing for it can raise the levels of toxins in the water, and that can cause infections or other diseases. It’s a balance here, but it’s reasonably easy to keep.
Last but not least, you should make sure the water parameters are just right and the water filtration is on point. Usually, Amano Shrimps thrive in tanks with sponge filters. Even if they’re scavengers, they’ll need clean water, so make sure you invest in a decent filtration system for the tank.
As a bottom line here, if the Amano Shrimp are no longer as active as before, try increasing their plant matter and protein intake. Usually, blanched spinach or freeze-dried bloodworms will do the trick. Keep the water well-filtered, avoid copper, and they’ll be happy. Antibiotics are generally unnecessary for this species.
How many Amano shrimp per gallon you should keep? Above, you were able to see the table with the specifics. In general, you need to keep one shrimp per 3-4 gallons of water. The minimum tank size should be 10 gallons where you will keep 3 or 4 individuals. Don’t forget that there are many impostors out there that are not effective in eating algae as much as Amano shrimp.