Freshwater shrimp are small, cute crustaceans that can turn any freshwater tank into a vibrant and lively ecosystem.
But with the cold weather already upon us, you may wonder if they need a heater to stay healthy.
To put it shortly, freshwater shrimp need heaters. They come from lakes, so they’re accustomed to warmer temperatures than is typically found in homes.
In this article, I’ll dive into the science behind why freshwater shrimp need heaters and share some tips on finding a good heater specifically designed for shrimp.
Do Shrimp Need a Heater To Survive?
Shrimp can survive without a heater. However, you should pay extra attention to their water temperature to ensure it does not dip below the recommended range.
Under ideal conditions, shrimp can withstand minor changes in temperature. In contrast, if the temperature drops below their optimal range, they may become unwell or even die.
Why Do Shrimp Need an Aquarium Heater?
Since freshwater shrimp are naturally found in lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water that have a higher temperature than homes, they’re more used to warmer temperatures.
For this reason, adding a heater to your shrimp tank can help improve the longevity of your shrimp by keeping their temperature within the ideal range.
In fact, too low or too high temperatures can significantly impact their lifespan and overall health.
Another benefit of using a heater for your shrimp tank is that it contributes to optimal growth rates for these tiny creatures. Since shrimps are cold-blooded animals, they need the warmth of a heating system to support their overall development.
In addition to improving growth rates, a heater for shrimp tanks can also help maintain their metabolism.
When it is too cold, shrimps are less likely to feed and digest food as efficiently. This can lead to digestion and nutrient absorption issues, resulting in stunted growth or even death.
Thus, using a heater for your shrimp tank can help ensure that your shrimp is active and healthy, with optimal metabolism and growth rates.
Also, their appetite improves, which means you’ll need to do less feeding.
Avoids Frequent Molting Cycles
As the young shrimps mature, they will go through regular molting cycles. During this process, their exoskeleton is shed and replaced with a new one.
If the temperature of your tank is too high, these molting cycles can become more frequent and intense. This can damage the shrimp’s delicate skin and organs, leading to stunted growth and other issues.
Lowers Breeding Cycle
These guys will be more inclined to breed as the aquarium water temperature rises too much. This can lead to a proliferation of shrimp in your tank, which may also overcrowd the rest of your tank’s inhabitants and cause issues with their health.
Also, this infestation can completely take over your tank, leading to an unbalanced ecosystem and general stress for all of your shrimp inhabitants.
Improves Offspring Quality
A stable temperature also results in healthier and more robust offspring. When the environment is too cold, shrimp can be born with deformed limbs or other health conditions, impacting their survival rates.
On the other hand, when the temperature is too high, the shrimp will reproduce more often than necessary, resulting in smaller and weaker offspring.
What Are the Cons of Using Heaters?
Like they always say, with great power comes great responsibility. While heaters can help improve the health and longevity of your shrimp tank, there are also some cons to using these devices.
Here are some of the main drawbacks to using a heater for your freshwater shrimp tank:
- They Take up a Lot of Space: Many heaters are quite bulky, making them difficult to fit into smaller tanks. Additionally, some types of heaters require specific installation methods that can be challenging for inexperienced aquarium owners
- Hardware Failure: Heaters aren’t perfect, and their thermostats have been known to break, which could make your aquarium too cold or overheat the water and boil your shrimp. If you do decide that you want a heater in your tank, it’s best to get a temperature controller, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally killing everything in your tank
- Destroy Your Tank Aesthetics: Heaters are generally not very attractive. If you want your tank to look as attractive as possible, you’ll need to take special care when selecting a heater for your shrimp tank
- They Can Be Very Expensive: While other equipment needed for shrimp tanks is generally quite affordable, heaters can be very costly. Depending on the size and type of your tank, you may need to invest hundreds or even thousands of dollars in a reliable heater
Can Aquarium Heaters Be Dangerous?
Most aquarium heaters are prone to breakdowns, which can endanger your shrimp and fish.
The heater’s exterior can crack or develop a leak, resulting in a short circuit in the tank. This can cause the water to overheat, boil your shrimp, or freeze them solid.
Also, when the thermostat of your heater malfunctions, it can raise or lower the temperature of your tank far beyond what is safe for shrimp.
This can cause serious health issues, including organ damage, hemorrhaging, and death.
Although it’s not preferable, some breakdowns don’t always have a disastrous ending.
I’ve had my fair share of broken thermostats and leaking heaters throughout the years, but I’ve always been able to save my shrimp and fish by monitoring their tank closely.
However, there is no guarantee that your heater will not malfunction and harm your shrimp, so it’s important to be diligent when using a heater in your freshwater shrimp tank.
What Are the Different Kinds of Heaters Available?
Several different types of heaters are available on the market, each with its advantages and drawbacks. Some of the most common types include:
Submersible and Immersible Heaters
Most heaters you’ll encounter are either submersible or immersible and usually consists of a tube made from glass, plastic, or some noncorrosive metal.
While they may look similar at first glance, there is actually a big distinction between the two types of heaters.
For instance, submersible heaters are waterproof, while immersible heaters aren’t. So, if you are worried about the safety of your shrimp, it’s best to opt for a submersible heater.
Overall, these two types of heaters have the main advantage of being easy to install and adjust, and they are usually the least expensive type of heater.
These heaters are installed directly into your aquarium’s substrate, allowing them to maintain a more consistent temperature than other types of heaters.
Also, they take up less space in your tank and won’t disturb any decorations you may have placed on the bottom.
One downside of substrate heaters is that they can be difficult to maintain and repair if something goes wrong.
Additionally, some aquarium owners worry that substrate heaters may damage the sensitive roots of aquatic plants.
The filter heater is a type of submersible heater that you can install in an external filter.
This means that you don’t need to worry about interfering with the look and design of your tank, but it can make adjusting the heater more difficult.
What Temperature Requirements Do Different Types of Shrimp Need?
Not all human species can withstand the same climate. Similarly, not all types of shrimp have the same temperature requirements.
The table below lists the optimal temperature ranges for different types of shrimp:
|Ideal Water Temperature Range
|62-76°F / 16-25°C
|57-84°F / 14-29°C
|78-88°F / 26–31°C
|81°F / 27°C
|62-75 °F (16.5-24.5 °C)
|Crystal red shrimp
|65-75 °F (18-24 °C)
|Blue tiger shrimp
|65-75 °F (18-24 °C)
|Blue bolt shrimp
|65-75 °F (18-24 °C)
|70-80 °F (21-26.5 °C)
|Red cherry shrimp
|77-81 °F (25-27.5 °C)
|65-85 °F (18-29.5 °C)
|77-81 °F (35-27.5 °C)
|77-81 °F (25-29.5 °C)
|77-86 °F (25-30 °C)
Is It Safe to Put an Aquarium Heater on Top of Gravel?
Glass-encased heaters are more likely to break when they rest on gravel, so it’s best to avoid doing that.
However, metal-encased heaters are less vulnerable and don’t have a chance to break under the same circumstances.
Is It Safe to Submerge My Aquarium Heater?
It is safe to submerge your aquarium heater. In fact, most heaters are designed specifically for submersion and require being fully submerged in order to work effectively.
If you are unsure about the safety of your heater, be sure to check with the manufacturer.
Is it still tough to determine whether your shrimp need a heater? Ultimately, it comes down to understanding your species of shrimp and the temperature requirements they need to thrive.
Also, be sure to monitor your tank closely, especially if using a heater. This can help you respond quickly and appropriately in the event of any issues with your heater or shrimp.
I hope this information helps you make the best decision for your shrimp and tank. If you have any other questions, feel free to comment below!