Shrimp Breeding Tank Size: What You’ll Need

Breeding freshwater shrimp can be incredibly rewarding. Some species don’t require too much attention or fuss, like red cherry shrimp, which can thrive in a tank of nearly any size.

However, if you’re just getting into freshwater shrimp breeding, you might not know where to start. Primarily, what should the size of the breeding tank be?

The good news is that you can even start with a tiny 1-gallon tank and work your way up to something bigger. Therefore, shrimp breeding tank size is not the most critical factor in breeding freshwater shrimp successfully.

shrimp breeding tank size


How Big Should a Shrimp Breeding Tank Be?

Many successful shrimp breeders have started with tanks that were as small as two or three gallons. In general, if you don’t have much space at home, a smaller tank makes more sense.

However, even though it may seem like it might be easier to breed shrimp in a larger tank, that’s not always the case.

First, bigger aquariums are more expensive, and they’re potentially more dangerous. That being said, there is one reason 10-gallon tanks and larger can be a better option.

Breeding shrimp in a larger tank means you’ll be less likely to deal with ammonia.

This is a very toxic chemical derived from a nitrogen compound, and it can naturally occur in shrimp aquariums. However, numerous factors can cause the presence of ammonia in your shrimp breeding tank.

It might be overfeeding, poor maintenance, or overdosing on medication. But most commonly, it occurs due to the lack of proper filtration, which is more prevalent with smaller tanks.

Still, most novice shrimp breeders are unlikely to have everything they have on their first try. So, you can use any tank you have on hand.

The only important guideline is that five to 10 shrimp per gallon in a single tank is the maximum.

Red cherry shrimp, bamboo shrimp, and Babaulti shrimp, for example, are all considered easy to breed and would be an excellent choice for beginners.

For my full guide on how to set up a shrimp tank for breeding shrimp, click here.

Can You Breed Shrimp in a 1-Gallon Tank?

The short answer is yes – you can. If you have a fishbowl sitting empty on the shelf, a 1-gallon tank will do the trick, but only in the short term.

Ideally, the tank of this size wouldn’t contain more than two to five shrimp, but even if there are around a dozen of them, it would probably be alright for a little while.

The problem is that they’ll likely breed fast, and you will have to either have taken some of the shrimp out or get a bigger tank.

To ensure the shrimp are doing well, it’s essential to keep an eye on a few details, such as the temperature: You need to pay attention to the temperature.

Fortunately, you don’t need a heater to breed red cherry shrimp. However, they thrive in temperatures that range from 65-81° Fahrenheit. So provided the room temperature doesn’t go outside that range, they’ll be fine.

Can You Breed Shrimp in a 5-Gallon Tank?

While a 5-gallon tank is a significant upgrade from a 1-gallon tank, it still falls into the category of nano-aquariums.

This type of tank is more than enough for someone who wants to test the waters of shrimp breeding without investing in any expensive equipment.

Ideally, you’d choose shrimp breeds that will do well in smaller-sized tanks, such as cherry shrimp, bumblebee shrimp, ghost shrimp, or Pinocchio shrimp. However, to ensure these animals thrive, grow, and reproduce, you’ll also need a proper filter and light.

Adding some moss, other live plants, and even driftwood will make it even more comfortable for them.

But, again, you need to be mindful of the temperature, as anything outside the normal range will make them more susceptible to disease.

Still, you might wonder how many shrimp in a 5-gallon tank would be optimal? While there is no precise number to abide by, the recommended range is 25-50 shrimp for a 5-gallon tank.

Can You Breed Shrimp in a 10-Gallon Tank?

According to many dwarf shrimp breeding experts, a 10-gallon tank is a bare minimum if you want to take shrimp breeding seriously.

A shrimp tank of this size is a great starting point for many, but you will need to install a proper filtration system and monitor the water parameter continuously.

So, how many shrimp in a 10-gallon tank would be ideal? The minimum is 50 shrimp, but the 10 gallons is more than enough to sustain around 100 shrimp at a time.

Larger Shrimp Breeding Tanks

One of the best parts of breeding freshwater shrimp is that you’ll likely see results quite fast (and sometimes maybe not).

Before you know it, the 10-gallon tank will be too small, and you might have to look for aquariums that are anywhere between 20 and 50 gallons.

Shrimp tanks measure in hundreds of gallons, but they’re more the exception than the rule. With shrimp tanks that are over 20 gallons, breeders need to consider many factors.

The filtration system needs to be impeccable; the temperature fluctuations have to be monitored, and the pH levels must be maintained.

Also, if you have a 40- to 50-gallon tank, you might want to introduce some shrimp-safe fish. Not all shrimp breeders are on board with this idea, however.

Still, if you already have a tank with nano fish that don’t pose any harm to shrimp, then there’s no need to remove them.

Fish like guppies, small tetras, otocinclus, livebearers, and micro rasbora are welcomed in the tank. Also, remember that moss and aquatic plants are vital for the shrimp breeding process as they filter nitrates, and shrimp love hiding among them.

Ideal Number of Shrimp by Tank Size

Tank SizeIdeal # Shrimp
5 gallons25-50
10 gallons50-100
20 gallons100-200
30 gallons150-300
40 gallons200-400
50 gallons250-500
55+ gallons550+

In Summary

If you’re thinking about purchasing only freshwater shrimp, the correct shrimp breeding tank size might be difficult to determine. A simple 1-gallon tank will do the trick if you have up to 10 shrimp.

However, even a 5-gallon shrimp will quickly become too small if you want to see the shrimp thrive and breed successfully.

The recommended starting point for most is 10 gallons, but you can easily start with something more significant. Remember, 10 shrimp per gallon should be the limit, and if the number is exceeded, consider upgrading.

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