Amano Shrimp Species Profile

Characteristics, Origin, and Helpful Information for Hobbyists

Amano shrimp sitting on a plant

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The Amano Shrimp, also known as the Japonica Amano or Japanese Swamp Shrimp, is growing in popularity, being a peaceful, algae and detritus-eating freshwater tank inhabitant. Provided no tankmates try to snack on the Amano shrimp, they are a good community tank addition for tanks of various temperatures.

Species Overview

Common Names: Amano Shrimp, Japonica Amano Shrimp, Japanese Swamp Shrimp

Scientific Name: Caridina multidentata (previously known as C. japonica)

Adult Size: 2 inches

Live Expectancy: 2 to 3 years

Characteristics
 Family Palaemonidae
 Origin Japan
 Social Peaceful
 Tank Level Bottom dweller 
 Minimum Tank Size 10 gallons
 Diet Omnivore
 Breeding Egg layer 
 Care Beginner 
 pH 6.0 to 7.6 
 Hardness 3 to 10 dkH 
 Temperature 60 to 80 F (15 to 27 C)

Origin and Distribution

As their alternative names suggest, the Amano shrimp is native to Japan. Originally dwelling in freshwater swamps, these crustaceans have been recently brought into the aquarium hobby. As with many other shrimp species, the Amano shrimp survives in the wild by grazing on algae and detritus left by other aquatic animals.

Colors and Markings

The Amano shrimp is mostly translucent and either brown or tan in color. They may have a brown or tan stripe running along the length of their dorsal ridge with matching darker stripes or bands along the sides of their body. The stripe across their back may have a solid white or lighter color line in the middle. Their side bars may be broken up, look more like dots, or run only partway of the length of the shrimp.

Tankmates

A peaceful, community player, the Amano shrimp's biggest concern is being snacked upon by its tankmates. Small, crunchy shrimp should not be on the diet of any of the fish kept with this species. Even if you try to satiate the appetites of aggressive carnivores, they will likely still snack upon defenseless shrimp.

Given its temperature range tolerance, the Amano shrimp does well in both heated and non-heated tanks. As with most shrimp species, they like to have lots of places to hide from their tankmates. Keep this in mind if you are hosting them with any other species who like to have their own space, such as a Plecostomus.

Amano Shrimp Habitat and Care

The Amano shrimp is an excellent addition to a well-established tank with a shrimp-friendly substrate. Although you do not need to use a shrimp-specific substrate, large rocks or lots of bulky décor items are harder for a shrimp to navigate in comparison to smaller rocks, gravel, sand, or live plant substrate.

Live plants are a great addition to a shrimp tank and you will often see them nibbling on dead areas. There is a common misconception that shrimp destroy live plants, but they only eat the dead materials. If your plants fail to thrive, do not blame your shrimp.

Just because the Amano shrimp likes to clean your tank for a living does not mean your maintenance routine should be altered! Continue to keep a close eye on your water chemistry and stick to your usual maintenance practices. Shrimp do not tolerate poor water quality as well as some fishes. Depending on how many shrimp you have in your tank, expect to continue cleaning some of the algae yourself!

Amano Shrimp Diet and Feeding

Many hobbyists make the incorrect assumption that Amano shrimp can subsist on only the algae in the tank. However, the Amano shrimp does best when fed a mixed diet of plant and animal-based proteins. If kept in a tank with other fish species, just make sure there are enough leftovers for the shrimp to have a thorough meal.

You do not have to feed a shrimp-specific diet. Depending upon the mix of other species in your tank, your shrimp will do well on a mix of omnivore, herbivore and/or carnivore fish diets being fed to other tankmates.

Gender Differences

There are subtle physical characteristics that can differentiate male and female Amano shrimp. Provided they are the same age and fed the same diet, female Amano shrimp will be larger than males. Females also have a spot on their underside, known as a saddle, for storing eggs. This may not be evident, however, if your female is not in the process of spawning.

Breeding the Amano Shrimp

It has been difficult for hobbyists to breed the Amano shrimp in captivity. Like other shrimp species, the female will release a breeding hormone to attract the males to breed. You may note a change in your shrimps' behavior as they try to find the mature female.

In the wild, the fertilized eggs will drift along the current into brackish water, and out to the open sea. Once fully grown, the shrimp will return to freshwater. This is thought to be the main issue with successfully breeding these shrimp in captivity.

More Pet Shrimp Species

If you're interested in more shrimp species, like the Amano shrimp, check out these profiles and other references: