How To Set Up A Shrimp Aquarium

In this article, I will explain how to set up a shrimp aquarium. Because shrimps are really fun to keep. Their different colors look bright and cheerful when your shrimp scoop through their shrimp aquarium.

There are several species of shrimps you can choose from just try not to mix different species of shrimp together. Not all shrimp are compatible with eachother and even if they are. Your shrimp will interbreed, meaning your baby shrimps will turn grey.

let’s start explaining how to set up a shrimp aquarium.

Step 1: Aquarium Size for Shrimps

Shrimps are tiny little cute creatures and do not require a large shrimp aquarium. You can keep shrimps in a shrimp aquarium as small as 5 gallons (19 Liter). A 10 gallons (38 Liter) shrimp aquarium is the most common size used for shrimp aquariums.

For beginners, however, I recommend starting with a shrimp aquarium in the size of 10-20 gallons (38 Liter – 76 Liter). This is because shrimps need stability and water parameters that are going up and down can be very harmful to your little shrimp friends.

Therefore, the bigger your shrimp aquarium the better, especially as a beginner. You will be able to come up with a solution faster to fix your water issues.

Also, a bigger shrimp aquarium is easier to maintain and requires less maintenance than a smaller shrimp aquarium because a bigger shrimp aquarium will be more stable with water parameters and temperatures.

Because shrimps are more sensitive than regular fish for changes in the water. It is important to keep your water parameters and temperature as stable as possible or else your shrimp friends can become sick and possibly die. Let’s get to step 2 of how to set up a shrimp aquarium.

Step 2: Where to Place Your Shrimp Aquarium Stand

Before you pick a nice spot for your shrimp aquarium stand you need to take a few things in consideration because it will make keeping care of your shrimp friends a lot easier. This goes for in and outside your shrimp aquarium.

  • Try to take a spot that is close to an outlet and make sure there are a few inches/centimeters between your shrimp aquarium and the wall. This will make it easier to maintain your shrimp aquarium and to accommodate filters, hoses, and cords.
  • Make sure you take a spot that makes it easy for cleaning your shrimp aquarium because you are going to need to haul with water.
  • Do not put your shrimp aquarium in direct sunlight, your water temperature will fluctuate too much and your shrimp friends need a stable water temperature or else they will get sick or die.
  • Avoid putting your shrimp aquarium near a vent or under a vent, your water temperature will go up and down too much which makes it impossible to keep a stable water temperature.
  • Test if your shrimp aquarium is leveled correctly. You can use a spirit level or by filling up your shrimp aquarium an inch/centimeter or two. A shrimp aquarium that is not balanced correctly on your stand is extremely dangerous as it can fall over or worse.

Step 3: Cleaning Your Shrimp Aquarium

You need to clean your shrimp aquarium first before you can fill your shrimp aquarium up with water. Even if you bought a new shrimp aquarium, there can still be some dust.

  • Never ever ever use soap or other forms of cleaning chemicals to clean your aquarium glass. Soap and cleaning chemicals are very toxic for your shrimp friends.
  • Do not panic though if you did clean your shrimp aquarium with soap or other cleaning chemicals. Keep rinsing your shrimp aquarium with water over and over again until your shrimp aquarium is clean again.
  • When you bought a new shrimp aquarium a damp cloth is enough to wipe off any dust that is on your shrimp aquarium.
  • If you are using a second-hand shrimp aquarium you can use a kitchen roll and vinegar to clean the in and outside of the glass.
  • Clean your shrimp aquarium with new cloths only because that way you are 100% certain there are no household products on it that could end up in your shrimp aquarium.
  • With an acrylic shrimp aquarium (used or new) you need to be careful because acrylic glass scratches easily. You need special cloths for an acrylic shrimp aquarium.
  • Let’s get to step 4 of how to set up a shrimp aquarium.

Step 4: Cleaning and Adding Substrate

There are a lot of debates going on about which substrate is the best for your shrimps. However, in the end, it really depends on the fact if you want a planted shrimp aquarium or a non planted shrimp aquarium.

When you are going for a planted shrimp aquarium you are going to need a suitable substrate and gravel and sand will not do it.

You would need an all-in-one substrate that is packed with nutrients for your plants. Also, keep in mind that most all-in-one substrates need to be replaced after a year because your pH levels will start to climb by that time.

Before adding any kind of substrate you are going to need to clean it first.

  • Gravel substrate is easy to clean with tap water just keep rinsing it through with your hands until the water is clean.
  • Remember not to use any soap or other chemicals when you clean your gravel substrate.
  • When your gravel is clean I suggest starting with adding a thin layer to avoid scratching the glass on the bottom of your shrimp aquarium.
  • For a sand substrate, you are going to need a clean bucket. Fill the bucket half-way with water and then add about half a bucket of the sand substrate.
  • While adding sand to the water, swirl with your hand around as it fills. When the bucket is full and the sand has settled. Pour out the dirty water and repeat until the water is completely clean.
  • Most local pet stores sell shrimp substrate and can be placed into your shrimp aquarium right away.
  • Add about an inch/centimeter of a substrate in your shrimp aquarium.

Step 5: Checking Your Shrimp Aquarium for Leaks

It is important to check your shrimp aquarium for leaks before you fill it up with water. It will save you a lot of mess and dead shrimps. Start with putting a cup or plate in your shrimp aquarium to avoid the substrate from stirring, then add a few inches/centimeter of water.

Make sure you see no water coming out of your shrimp aquarium from the outside, you might want to wait a bit to be 100% sure there is no water leaking. Let’s get to step 6 of how to set up a shrimp aquarium.

Step 6: Installing the Filter

For your shrimp friends to thrive you are going to need a filter. Filters do not only clean the waste of your shrimps and floating debris it is also very important for maintaining crucial beneficial bacteria.

There are different types of filters and it depends on personal favor which one you are going to take. For a beginner, I do recommend starting with a sponge filter because sponge filters are just perfect for shrimp aquariums. Shrimps are so tiny they can easily be sucked up into filters without a filter guard or sponge.

  • Before installing your filter make sure you have rinsed your filter material with clean water, do not use soap or other household chemicals.
  • Check the manufacturer’s direction because installing a filter varies per brand.
  • When you are going for a non-sponge filter system make sure you buy a filter guard or else your filter will act as a vacuum for your shrimp friends.
  • Internal power filters are placed on the inside of your shrimp aquarium and are pretty easy to be installed. Assemble all the parts and hang your filter inside your shrimp aquarium. Do not turn your filter on after installation.
  • If you dislike having a filter in your shrimp aquarium you can go for an external power filter that is placed on the outside of your shrimp aquarium. Do not turn your filter on after installation.

Step 7: Installing the Heater and Thermometer

Shrimps are sensitive to temperature changes and even though most will do fine with room temperature water. You will still need a heater because the temperature in your room can fluctuate a lot. This can be from an open door, window, the day going to night, etc.

  • To decide where your heater goes, read the description of the manufacturer because it varies per brand.
  • Do not turn on your heater after installation. Wait approximately 30 minutes before plugging in your heater.
  • By waiting a minute or 30 before plugging in your heater you will make sure your heater does not get overheated and can slowly adjust to the water temperature. Including your internal thermometer.
  • Pick a heater that has the capacity to heat a shrimp aquarium in your size.
  • Install your thermometer on the opposite end of your heater. This way your shrimp aquarium is heated throughout your entire shrimp aquarium.
  • Shrimp require water temperatures of 65-80°Fahrenheit / 19-26 °Celcius.

Step 8: Adding Plants, Decoration, and Water

Before you start adding any kind of decorations you need to clean them with water after that you can go as wild as you want with decorating your shrimp aquarium.

How To Set Up A Shrimp Aquarium - Iguami Style

A great aquascaping design for your shrimp aquarium is the Iguami style. Not only is this style amazingly beautiful it also gives your shrimp friends the space they need. Shrimp really love having an open and flat terrain because they search for partners and scavenge for foods in open spaces. Therefore, it is recommended to leave the front of your shrimp aquarium open for the rest go as wild as you like with decorating.

  • After you cleaned all your decorations and plants, arrange them in the way you want by placing them in your shrimp aquarium.
  • Fill up the rest of your shrimp aquarium with water. To avoid the substrate from stirring around you can add a cup or plate.
  • From preventing water running down into your electrical socket you can make a loop, also known as a “drip loop”. Let the chords touch the ground and then let them enter an outlet.
  • Tap water contains a lot of chemicals like chlorine therefore, you are going to need a neutralizer. By adding a water conditioner you can dechlorinate your shrimp aquarium water. For the correct ratio read the instructions on the bottle.
  • Wait around 30 minutes before you turn on your filter and heater. When the filter starts, your shrimp aquarium water level can drop slightly.

Step 9: Cycling Your Shrimp Aquarium

One of the most important steps is cycling your shrimp aquarium. This is important because your shrimp aquarium needs time to grow beneficial bacteria.

When you add shrimp before the cycle process it will mean that your shrimp friends undergo the cycle process as well, and that can make them sick or even worse. Your shrimp friends can die.

  • Your shrimp aquarium water must be clear for 24/48 hours before you can start the cycle process.
  • The temperature of your water also has to be stable before you can start the cycle process.
  • You can use a bacterial catalyst to speed up the cycle process. The bacterial catalyst will help with growing beneficial bacteria.
  • Keep the light off during the cycle process or else you will have an insane growth of algae.
  • Cycling your shrimp aquarium can take 2 to 8 weeks.
  • You are building beneficial bacteria in your biological filter and that is great because it keeps your shrimp friends healthy.
  • Use a shrimp aquarium test kit to test your water bi-weekly for pH, ammonia, nitrate, chlorine, and nitrite levels.
  • Re-treat your water if it is needed.
  • Nitrate and ammonia levels should give a reading of 0ppm (Parts per Million).
  • The pH levels should be as close as possible to the water of the store where you bought your shrimp friends.
  • The optimal number for nitrate is 0ppm (Parts per Million).

Step 10: Adding Shrimp to Your Shrimp Aquarium

To get your new shrimp friends home, the pet store will most likely put them in a container or bag with water that your shrimp friends are already used too. You need to put your shrimps including the water from the bag/container in a clean bucket.

After that, you need to add water from your cycled shrimp aquarium into the bucket. Before you can add your new shrimp friends to your new shrimp aquarium you need to mix the water.

This will make it easier for your shrimp friends to get adjusted to their new environment.

  • Make sure that the bowl or bucket you use is clean. Do not use soap or other chemicals for cleaning your bucket.
  • You can use a hose to transfer water from your shrimp aquarium to the bucket.
  • Make sure that your hose is clean and has no dust inside.
  • Place your hose in your shrimp aquarium and suck on the other end of your hose until water starts to come out.
  • Letting the water run like that is way too much. Therefore use a rubber band and let a few drops come out from the hose.
  • You want to aim for around 1-2 drops of water per second.
  • Leave your hose like that for a minute or 20-30.
  • After a minute or 30, you can remove the hose and use a soft net to scoop your shrimp friends over to their new home.
  • After adding all your new shrimp friends make sure to close the cover of your shrimp aquarium.
  • Shrimp can jump and have the tendency to escape.
  • Wait for 12 hours before feeding your new shrimp friends, also keep the light off during that time.

ConclusionHow To Set Up A Shrimp Aquarium - Blue Dream

Thank you everybody for reading my article on how to set up a shrimp aquarium.

Setting up a shrimp aquarium seems like tons of work but before you know it you have gone through all the steps on how to set up a shrimp aquarium.

Do not forget to close the cover from your shrimp aquarium because your new shrimp friends like to escape.

If there are any questions on how to set up a shrimp aquarium. Please leave them in the comment box below and I will do my best to answer them all.


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