10 Best Freshwater Shrimp for Beginners

Posted by on 08/25/2023


Caring for aquarium shrimp is an exciting and rewarding hobby. These invertebrates have active personalities, and can be fascinating to observe in an at-home aquarium. 

Freshwater shrimp are sought after for both aesthetic and functional purposes. Whether it's their algae-eating abilities or distinct coloration, these small critters provide a lot of value for hobbyists. In this post, we'll recommend 10 beginner-friendly freshwater aquarium shrimp, so that you can get started in caring for these wonderful invertebrates.



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Our Top 10

In freshwater aquariums hobbyists often select livestock that contrast with the coloration of the aquarium foliage and hardscape. When selecting a shrimp species from this list, keep in mind the coloration of your substrate, hardscape, and plants, to choose a species that stands out the best.

Amano Shrimp

It's no surprise that the Amano Shrimp tops our list. We've mentioned the species before in our list of 10 Best Shrimp for a Betta, and it's for good reason. While the species features a translucent coloration, its algae-eating abilities are unmatched, making the Amano shrimp one of the best stocking choices you can make for a planted aquarium.

Image of an Amano Shrimp
Joan Carles Juarez/Shutterstock.com
An Amano Shrimp

High-Grade Red Cherry Shrimp

Color morphs of Neocaridina davidi are some of the most popular in the hobby, and high-grade red cherries are easily some of the most sought-after amongst the group.

High-grade variations of the red cherry have a bright red coloration and easily stand out in a jungle-like aquascape. However, hobbyists will need to pay a hefty price to get their hands on some of the best-looking grades.

Image of a Red Cherry Shrimp
ictheostega/Flickr
A Red Cherry Shrimp

Orange Pumpkin Shrimp

We don't see much orange coloration in the freshwater scene, making the Orange Pumpkin Shrimp a fantastic option for hobbyists looking to add a pop of color to their tanks.

Orange Pumpkins look great in a planted aquarium, and their relatively affordable and easy to find for sale.

Image of an Orange Pumpkin Shrimp
SritanaN/Shutterstock.com
An Orange Pumpkin Shrimp

Green Jade Shrimp

Next on our list is the Green Jade Shrimp. Individual species of this Neocardinia davidi color morph can display a lime-green to deep-green coloration. If you maintain, or plan to build, a Dutch-style aquascape with a large amount of red aquatic plants, look no further than the Green Jade Shrimp.

Image of a Green Jade Shrimp
@natevanbonn8742
A Green Jade Shrimp

Blue Dream Shrimp

Another common Noecardinia davidi color morph is the Blue Dream Shrimp. Slightly different in appearance than the similar Blue Velvet Shrimp, this color morph is quite common, and can easily be found for sale by hobbyists and local fish stores.

Image of a Blue Dream Shrimp
Serhii Shcherbyna/Shutterstock.com
A Blue Dream Shrimp sits on top of an aquatic plant

Crystal Red Shrimp (advanced)

Crystal Reds are without a doubt the hardest to care for on this list. The species requires pristine water conditions, and you'll also need to provide soft water. Unless you have soft water coming out of your tap, or RO/DI water at the ready - you'll want to pass on the species.

However, if you have access to soft water, it is possible to keep Crystal Reds in a planted aquarium, just pay close attention to CO2 levels, and maintain water parameter stability as best as possible.

A Crystal Red Shrimp
Emilia Murray/Flickr
A Crystal Red Shrimp

Cardinal Sulawesi

Native to Myanmar, and relatively new to the hobby, is the Cardinal Sulawesi shrimp. The species sports a maroon coloration, adorned with small, white dots. These shrimp can survive quite well in hard-water conditions, but hobbyists will need to search far and wide to locate some for sale. The species is relatively new to the hobby, and are often snatched up quickly by aquarists looking to add a few to their planted tanks.

Sulawesi Shrimp
SritanaN/Shutterstock.com
Sulawesi Shrimp

Orange Rili

Beginner hobbyists may mistake the translucent band on an Orange Rili as an oddity, but the reality is quite the opposite. The distinguished translucent band is what results in the "Rili" name designation, and makes the shrimp highly sought after by those in the know.

Orange Rilis look great in a freshwater aquarium, but hobbyists will have to do some digging to find a group of these shrimp for sale online, as they can be quite rare.

Image of an Orange Rili Shrimp
Atulbhats/Wikimedia Commons
An Orange Rili Shrimp

Yellow Sakura

The brightly colored body of a Yellow Sakura makes this Neocardina davidi shrimp a favorite among hobbyists. Similar to other Neocardina davidi color morphs, shrimps that receive the "Sakura" designation demonstrate the brightest colors and result in the highest price tags.

While the bold appearance of this shrimp is undeniable, hobbyists may need to pay a pretty penny to add a few of these to their freshwater planted tanks.

Yellow Sakura
DirkBlankenhaus/Wikimedia Commons
A Yellow Sakura Shrimp

Ghost Shrimp

With an appearance similar to Amano shrimp, Ghost shrimp (scientific name: Palaemonetes paludosus) are about an inch larger than Amanos, and are less known for their algae-eating abilities. As known scavengers, the species is quite active, and will constantly be foraging around the tank looking for new food sources.

Ghost shrimps are less sought after than Amanos, making them an affordable option for hobbyists looking to pick up some translucent shrimp for their planted tank.

Image of a Ghost Shrimp
Shutterstock.com
Ghost shrimp (scientific name: Palaemonetes paludosus)

Conclusion

That sums up our list of 10 beginner friendly freshwater aquarium shrimp. While we've only covered a few options, there are many different invertebrates available that can live comfortably in a freshwater tank. 

As with all livestock you plan on keeping, always maintain stable water parameters, and make any water chemistry adjustments slowly over time.

Now that we've provided a few options, which do you think you'll choose? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to visit our marketplace where you can purchase these shrimp directly from other hobbyists.

Image of Miles Harrison

Miles Harrison

With over a decade of aquarium experience, Miles can be found writing about saltwater and freshwater aquariums. When he’s not writing about fish, you can find him going for a run or building websites, such as this one!