Whether you should add live plants to your shrimp tank or not ultimately depends on whether you plan to breed your shrimp. Regardless, your shrimp tank should feature at least some plant life.
So, do you need live plants for shrimp? In this guide, I’ll explain the benefits of putting live plants in your shrimp tank and also list some of the best compatible varieties.
Do You Have to Have Live Plants in a Shrimp Tank?
If you own a shrimp breeding tank, it’s generally advised to place only a few plants in the aquarium (taking into account the size of your tank). The reason for this is that you’ll want to keep a close eye on all your shrimp, and the plants can block your view of them.
Nonetheless, adding a few plants to your tank will provide your shrimp with plenty of health benefits, as well as a good place for them to hide.
First and foremost, live plants maintain the water’s pH balance, and they also oxygenate the water.
Plant life also helps create a more natural habitat for your shrimp, and it allows them to hide during the process of molting (they need hiding places when they molt because this is when they feel the most vulnerable).
Most importantly, aquatic plants create biofilm, which is an excellent source of nutrition for shrimp.
Since shrimp can live and breed in freshwater, you have abundant live freshwater plants to choose from for your tank. In fact, you can select between aquatic plants with roots and floating plants.
Here are some of the best live plants for your shrimp tank.
Java Moss for Shrimp Tanks
No matter what type of shrimp you have, moss is always a good option.
Java moss is an excellent fit for your shrimp tank because it can grow under any kind of lighting.
Not only that, but it promotes the growth of algae, which shrimp eat.
It’s also a great hiding place. Since this type of moss doesn’t have any roots, it doesn’t require you to have substrate in the tank.
Pearl Weed for Shrimp Tanks
If you’re looking to add a low-maintenance plant to your shrimp tank, then pearl weed might be the best option.
Aside from the fact that it’s easy to take care of, it also doesn’t require much light to thrive.
Since it’s commonly used as a carpet plant, you can place it anywhere you want in your shrimp tank.
Just like moss, it provides the shrimp with plenty of places to hide.
Vallisneria for Shrimp Tanks
This aquatic plant resembles grounded onion stems. Since it looks like grass, it’s best to fill your aquarium with it.
However, since this aquatic plant can grow to be quite large, it’s not best suited for nano tanks. If you have a larger 20-30 gallon tank, Vallisneria might be the right option for you.
Water Lettuce for Shrimp Tanks
If you want your shrimp tank to have a floating plant, water lettuce might be just what you’ve been looking for.
It grows at a rapid pace, so it’s not uncommon for it to take up the whole surface of your tank.
Just keep in mind that water lettuce needs a lot of humidity to thrive.
What’s more, since it floats on the surface, you don’t need any kind of substrate for the bottom of your shrimp tank.
Anubias for Shrimp Tanks
Anubias is also a popular choice for shrimp tanks, mainly because it’s straightforward to take care of. All you need for its growth is moderate lighting, and you can use it with any type of substrate.
As a result, it grows relatively slowly and promotes the growth of algae.
In addition, the Anubias plant is affordable, and it’s ideal for nano shrimp tanks.
Do Shrimp Eat Live Plants?
If you’re planning on having shrimp, you probably know that they are omnivores. This means that they eat almost anything you place in their tank, and live plants are no exception.
In addition, shrimp are scavengers in their natural habitat, which means that it’s in their nature to search for food and eat anything they find. They even eat dead shrimp.
Not only do they eat live plants, but also the algae and biofilm that some of the plants produce. This can be incredibly nutritious, and it provides an array of health benefits.
However, just because your shrimp eat the live plants in your tank doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t feed them. Shrimp also love vegetables and staple food.
Do Artificial Plants Work for a Shrimp Tank?
No matter the health benefits live plants provide, some shrimp tank owners prefer to have tanks with no live plants.
It can be hard to take care of live plants, and they can transfer pests and parasites to your shrimp tank.
Not to mention that they can take up a lot of room in your tank, and you wouldn’t be able to clearly see your shrimp.
While some tank owners don’t include any types of plants in their shrimp tanks, some prefer to add artificial plants. While they provide no health benefits, they’re easy to clean and provide your shrimp with plenty of places to hide.
Technically, fake plants are harmless, but they don’t produce oxygen and beneficial bacteria.
While the choice is entirely up to you, adding live plants to your shrimp tank would ultimately make them happier and healthier.
On the other hand, if you want to breed shrimp and be able to keep an eye on them or avoid constantly having to clean the tank and dealing with pests, you can always opt for artificial plants for your aquarium.