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 aquarium inhabitant. Provided no tankmates try to snack on the Amano shrimp, they are a good community tank addition for tanks of various temperatures.
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
|Tank Level||Bottom dweller|
|Minimum Tank Size||10 gallons|
|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 the length of the shrimp. It should only be kept with nonaggressive species of fish such as livebearers and tetras, danios or other small community fish species.
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 aquariums. As with most shrimp species, they like to have lots of places to hide from their tankmates. Keep this in mind if you are housing them with any other species that 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 aquarium 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 aquarium 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. Just like fish, shrimp do not tolerate poor water quality. 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 aquarium. 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 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.
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 this 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: