Say hello to a long-time aquascaper favourite! With their exceptional cleaning skills, peaceful nature and interesting appearance, Amano shrimp make a great addition to the peaceful tropical community tank.
Keep reading for everything you need to know about Amano shrimp care and keeping Amano shrimp in your own aquarium.
|Minimum tank size||10 gal (38 L)|
|Temperature||68-86 °F/20-30 °C|
Caridina multidentata (also sometimes Caridina japonica), Amano shrimp, Japonica shrimp, Yamato shrimp, Algae Eating shrimp.
Amano shrimp natural habitat
These shrimp are found in Taiwan, Korea and the Yamato river area in Japan.
Amano shrimp are larger than dwarf shrimp like Crystal Reds and Cherry shrimp – they grow to about 3-4cm (~1,5 inch). They can easily be recognized from their greyish transparent bodies with rows of small dots on each side, and are sexed by looking at the bottom row: males will have a line of dots, females will have a line of longer dashes.
Females sometimes carry small eggs, which they supply with oxygen by waving water over them. As we’ll discuss in the section on breeding you likely won’t have much success in getting the fry to survive, though.
Amano shrimp requirements
Part of what makes Amano shrimp such a great addition to your aquarium,is that they don’t demand very specific water values or temperature. All you have to do in order for your Amanos to thrive is keep the water quality and temp stable.
Amano shrimp are best kept in 10+ gallon (35+L) cycled tanks in groups of at least 5. Plenty of hiding spaces in the form of live plants and shrimp tubes are also a good idea, as shrimp are prey animals that are vulnerable during molting time. Strange but true: the more hiding places you provide, the more you’ll see your Amano shrimp. They’ll feel safer and more confident venturing into open spaces if they know they can retreat to a hide quickly.
Before purchasing Amano shrimp, make sure you know whether your other aquarium inhabitants have an appetite for seafood! It would be a shame to have your new additions ending up as dinner within a day. All tankmates should be peaceful and too small to fit an Amano shrimp into their mouth. Smaller carnivores like dwarf cichlids, Bettas and killifish might work, but anything bigger than these can prove to be risky.
Amano shrimp diet
Their diet is what made these shrimp famous. They first became popular after being mentioned in one of famous aquarium author Takashi Amano’s books as super effective algae eaters. They are also very effective at cleaning up leftover fish food, and make a great cleanup crew if you have messy fish.
Don’t forget to supplement your Amanos’ diet, though, especially when algae and detritus levels are low. Our aquariums are usually just not ‘dirty’ enough to sustain a group of shrimp, which can leave them hungry. This can cause fatalities when it’s time for the shrimp to shed, because a new exoskeleton requires a lot of calcium and other nutrients to develop successfully.
Amano shrimp are omnivores, so they’ll accept pretty much any kind of food. Specialized shrimp foods are preferred, but regular tropical fish food will happily be eaten as well. For some great extra variety in their diet you can also feed them blanched vegetables like cucumber and zucchini or frozen foods such as mosquito larvae. I tested the GlasGarten brand shrimp food with my Amano shrimp and they seemed to love it, so if you’re looking for a staple food it might be a good option. You can find my review here.
It’s been noted that while Amano shrimp are effective algae eaters, they will eat pretty much anything and everything else before resorting to eating algae. If you want them specifically to eat algae, they ideally need to be in a tank where other foods aren’t readily available. However, they’re still handy because they’re one of the few known shrimp that will eat black beard algae and green hair algae. Again, though, they’ll only do it if there’s nothing else to nibble on.
Even if you’re relying on your Amano shrimp to clean up after their tankmates, don’t forget to manually remove uneaten leftovers within 3-4 hours to keep the water clean. Rotting foods can cause serious water quality issues!
Amano shrimp behavior
Apart from being slightly greedy during feeding time, these shrimp are very peaceful and fun to watch.
They spend their time foraging for leftover bits of food together but also swim around occasionally, especially after water changes and during mating time. If an Amano shrimp has just molted this can result in a true ‘dancing event’, with all the others chasing it around the tank in an attempt to breed.
Breeding Amano shrimp
In the aquarium trade, Amano shrimp are often wild caught because of how difficult they are to breed. Or rather, more specifically, the problem is actually not so much that they’re hard to breed. You’ll often see females carrying eggs, but hatching and raising the young is the hard part.
Unlike most dwarf shrimp species, which hatch as tiny copies of the parents, Amano shrimp start their lives as larvae that require brackish to salt water for a while. After their larval stage they need to be transferred back to fresh water. In a normal freshwater aquarium the larvae often simply end up as food for the fish or die shortly after hatching.
This means you’ll often see your female Amanos carrying eggs between their swimmerettes (back legs) and being chased by the males, but never any fry. It’s pretty difficult to breed Amano shrimp, but a few aquarists have reported succes.
If you’d like to try your hand at breeding Amano shrimp, consider checking out the article on Amanos that I wrote for Aquarium Hobbyist Magazine a while back. It contains more info about the process of rearing the fry. Challenging, but not impossible – it has been done! You can find the article here (Q1 2018, p. 10-12).
Buying Amano shrimp
If you’re looking to buy Amano shrimp be sure to look for shrimp that appear healthy and are actively foraging and moving around. Amanos with a milky-colored body and shrimp that sit motionlessly might not make it, so you’re best off avoiding those.
You can buy Amano shrimp online here!
Have a group of Amano shrimp and want to share your experience? Still not sure whether to get Amano shrimp and want some additional info? Leave a comment below. Happy shrimp keeping!