At one stage in my fish-keeping career, I wanted to have other inhabitants in my fish tank. I choose to put in shrimps together with my fish, and it didn’t go well. They were eaten by my fish, and I didn’t know how to prevent it by then!
As a whole to keep shrimp safe, have a well-planted fish tank to provide hiding places for the shrimp, keep the shrimp together with fish that are herbivores and of a smaller size. Be sure that your fish are well fed to prevent them from eating the fish.
It is important that your fish and shrimps enjoy their environment and there is usually when the environment is insufficient that the fish will eat the shrimps. I will go through all about making the environment sufficient for both the fish and the shrimps and have success keeping them together in this article.
Why is Fish Eating the Shrimps?
In the wild, the shrimp is at the bottom of the food chain. They are very small and eat plankton and plants. The fish will also eat plankton but some fish are eating smaller fish and shrimps in the wild.
The same goes for the shrimp and fish in a fish tank. The fish is bigger and can eat the shrimp, the shrimp have nothing against the much bigger fish.
There are some reasons fish is eating the shrimps in your fish tank.
- There are no hiding places for the shrimp
- The fish is hungry
- The fish is curious
- The fish is an omnivore, eating shrimp in nature
- The fish is bigger, making it able to eat the smaller shrimp
- The fish is stressed
Provide hiding places for the shrimp
A very common reason for a shrimp to be eaten by a fish is that the shrimp have nowhere to hide.
Since the shrimp are very low on the food chain they need somewhere to hide when threatened. The easiest and best way to provide hiding spots for the shrimps is to keep the fish tank well-planted and to have a lot of decors in the tank.
By having a lot of plants, the shrimp have an easier time escaping any fish threatening their life. The downside is that you will not be able to see the shrimp as much since it will spend more time hiding.
Keep your fish well-fed
Another common reason for shrimp to be eaten is that the fish is hungry. Any animal is programmed to constantly try to find food. They will eat what’s provided since in nature, you never know when you could find your next meal.
By keeping the fish fed and not keeping them hungry you will lower the risk of them starting to snack on your shrimps. Try to feed the fish enough for them to be able to eat all food within 2 minutes of feeding.
Also, try to feed them twice a day, but with a lower amount of food each time. If you want to read more about the best way to feed your fish I have an article going through everything you need to know about feeding your fish the best way.
If a fish is an omnivore, it will probably eat shrimps. Shrimps are a natural part of their diet and these kinds of fish are not suitable to keep together with shrimps.
Having curious fish
Curious fish will taste everything. That’s normal in nature.
In the hunt of finding food, the fish will try different things to see if it’s possible to eat or not. The same goes for us, humans.
Some of you really like to try new food (like me) while some of you don’t. It’s individual differences and fish also have individual differences when it comes to curiosity.
The fish you have now could leave the shrimp alone, but when adding new fish they could be curious and eat the shrimps, even if the fish you add is the same species as the ones you already have.
Stressed fish is eating shrimp
Having stressed fish is also a reason the fish will eat your shrimps.
By having a good water quality you will prevent the fish to be stressed. By adding a water conditioner, you help the water quality to be good and it will also calm the fish.
A water conditioner I have used and recommend is API Tap Water Conditioner. You could get it through my affiliate links either through Marine Depot here. Or you could get it from my affiliate link through Amazon here.
Hiding Spots for Shrimps
The best way to prevent shrimps from being eaten by your fish is to have a lot of hiding spots for the shrimps.
Shrimps are very small creatures and are at the bottom of the food chain. That means they have a lot of threats, trying to eat them.
Since they are so small, they have a hard time protecting themselves. What are you doing if you cannot fight the threat? You hide.
By providing a lot of hiding spots for the shrimps the fish will have a harder time finding the shrimps and thus making it less likely the fish will eat the shrimp.
Hiding spots for shrimps are primarily plants. By having moss such as moss balls and ferns like Java fern in your fish tank, you provide good hiding spots for the shrimps.
Decor could also be a good hiding spot for the shrimps. Have small decor, like tubes where the shrimps could crawl into but are too small for the fish.
By having plants and decor providing hiding spots for the shrimps you lower the risk of the fish finding the shrimp and therefore lower the risk of the fish eating the shrimp.
Fish That is Not Eating Shrimps
Some fish have a very low risk of eating shrimps. Those are the fish only eating plants and plankton in nature. Those are called herbivores.
The herbivores include Plecos and Otocinclus and many other types of fish.
If you have Otocinclus with shrimps you have a very low risk of any shrimps being eaten. That’s because the Otocinclus are quite small and don’t run the risk of accidentally eating shrimps.
That’s a risk with bigger herbivores as Plecos. Plecos are bottom dwellers and are quite big which is a risk of them landing on a shrimp at the bottom, crushing it or if the shrimp get into the mouth of the Pleco, being eaten.
The Otociclus are small and are not bottom dwellers. They swim around and eat algae on the windows on the fish tank and plants.
Fish with smaller mouths are also fish that could fit together with shrimps. It’s mainly smaller fish such as tetras that are suitable then.
It’s no guarantee though that the fish will leave the shrimp alone. There are recordings of tetras eating shrimp too despite the small size of the tetra.
There is no guarantee of any fish not eating the shrimps. Fish are individuals and every individual is different from another.
The safest and best way to keep fish from eating shrimps is to provide the shrimp with hiding spots. Then the shrimp will be able to handle the threat of fish by themselves and come out when they feel safe for you to enjoy.