Will tetras eat shrimp in my aquarium?


It can be challenging to determine the future inhabitants of a small aquarium as often you may have problems with their compatibility. Sometimes, the aquarium’s perspective will be determined by choosing one aquarium inhabitant type. Shrimps always cause big headaches for their owners. The list of fish that can live with shrimp without a problem is pretty small. Given this, we wrote this article about tetra and shrimp compatibility and other tips about caring for such an aquarium. 

Will tetras eat shrimp?

Let’s start by asking the most crucial question: is it possible to keep neons together with shrimp, and will tetras eat shrimp? Even though tetras are small, they can injure shrimp of all sizes, including cherry and amano shrimp. Tetras will likely be absolutely harmless to adults, but they can cause serious injury to juvenile shrimp.

The shrimp should have somewhere to hide from tetras. This way, there will be almost no chance that tetras will eat even the smallest shrimp. You could use decorations, plants, or moss to create good hiding places.

Cherry Shrimp & Neon Tetra Tank 3 Months Update

Aquarium maintenance with tetras and shrimp.

When caring for an aquarium filled with tetras and shrimp, you should follow these rules:

  • Water needs to be changed on a regular basis.
  • Avoid excessive nitrate levels. Both neons and shrimp are extremely sensitive.
  • Shrimps can live peacefully only with the availability of refuges.
  • Maintain a diversified diet, and don’t let your pets starve.

Compatibility of aquarium shrimp with fish.

Ordering shrimps in good aquarium shrimp shops is a wonderful idea. These freshwater animals are an excellent choice for beginners because they are not too fussy about water quality or living conditions. Professional fishkeepers prefer shrimp for their variety of shapes and colors. For instance, an aquarium with tetras and shrimp makes up the whole aquarium’s functional ecosystem. To preserve subtle shrimp, it is crucial to ensure that all members of the aquatic community are compatible.

The fate of the shrimp in the fish tank

Shrimps are at the bottom of the natural food pyramid, making it difficult for them to make friends with fish. In nature, most fish breeds are always hunting for small crustaceans in their habitat. Even the smallest fish, like tetras, instinctively want to eat all animals smaller than them, regardless of whether they are part of their daily diet. Thus, the biggest reason for the shrimp’s survival is its size relative to the fish. The older a shrimp gets, the more robust its shell becomes.

However, it is worth noting that even if shrimp are getting along with adults, it doesn’t mean that they won’t try to hunt “newly hatched” ones. That’s why no matter how many hiding spots you have in an aquarium, it’s best to transfer the smallest shrimps to a different aquarium until they grow up a bit.

For shrimp to live in a common aquarium, they must have a complex environment to hide from tetra fish. Using various plants, stones, corals, good shelters, grottoes, and caverns, you can achieve this. Even though tiny shrimp can easily hide and flee with all the hiding spots, constant fear of being attacked results in chronic stress and eventually death.

Even among calm freshwater crustaceans, aggressive species can survive without assistance and even attack small and medium-sized fish. Certain shrimp can be aggressive towards other aquarium inhabitants. Macrobrachium shrimp have low compatibility with fish due to their large size (up to 30 cm) and sometimes aggressive behavior towards smaller fish. The freshwater giants will inflict severe injury on those who can’t be eaten with their giant claws.

Sometimes you can see a dead shrimp’s body lying on the aquarium soil even though you followed all the precautions. These “corpses” can be just shed shrimp shells. Those shells should not be removed from the aquarium as they have the required minerals for the normal development of young shrimp.

It is possible to keep shrimp and tetras together in an aquarium. The shrimp, on the other hand, should be given top priority.

What are good shrimp neighbors that do not eat them? 

It is impossible to give an unambiguous answer to the question, “What fish are compatible with shrimp?” It is impossible to provide a universal compatibility table for shrimp as it is affected by many factors, such as the size of the aquarium, the number of plants, the climate regime, food selection, and each aquatic inhabitant’s characteristics. This means that you should rely solely on your experience and that of other fishkeepers.

The best fish species that can live alongside shrimp are those that are other aquarium cleaners. Siamese Algae Eaters or neon tetras are perfect species that can live together in the same small aquarium. Almost all members of the tetra family can live with shrimps. Most snail species and shrimp live in separate worlds, and they are not aware of each other’s existence. Don’t forget about the variety of algae-eating catfish, as they are naturally tranquil and peaceful.

If the environment is favorable, snails can multiply quickly and lead to a severe problem in your aquarium. The shrimp can eat almost all the baby snails and fix the problem efficiently.

A variety of non-aggressive, small fish is another group that shrimp can coexist peacefully in an aquarium. Nearly all shrimp and neon tetras are fully compatible. 

Bad fish neighbors that can eat shrimp.

Most aquarium fish don’t know what to do with their crustacean friends and only attack them in very rare cases. An increase in water temperature, the mating period, malnutrition, or a simple coincidence of circumstances could all be trigger factors. The compatibility of shrimp with most viviparous species can vary from indifference to hostile dismissal. This also includes large Poecilia and Barbus and Cloud Mountain minnows.

Some species simply cannot coexist peacefully with shrimps. These are usually predators or aggressors, like betta fish. Shrimp and bettas cannot coexist for more than a day. One betta can kill a whole flock of shrimp. The same thing is true for threadfish, discus fish, and most goldfish.

It is important to note that the division of fish compatibility with shrimp is pretty arbitrary. The nature of interspecific relationships may vary depending on the circumstances. That’s why it’s best to put a few test shrimp specimens before you start introducing all of them into your aquarium. This will allow you to observe the reactions of the fish to their new neighbors.