Amano Shrimp: A Comprehensive Guide for Aquarists

Amano shrimp, a unique and popular freshwater species, are known for their efficient algae-eating abilities and peaceful nature. Originating from Taiwan, Japan, and parts of Korea, these intriguing creatures can grow up to 2 inches in length and are recognized by various names such as Japanese shrimp, Japonica shrimp, and Yamato shrimp.

As you learn more about Amano shrimp, you’ll discover their fascinating features and the important role they can play in maintaining a clean and thriving aquatic environment. Considering their popularity among aquarists, it’s beneficial to understand their specific care requirements and the best practices to help them flourish in your aquarium.

Species Overview

Amano Shrimp Facts

Property Details
Scientific name Caridina multidentata
Common names Amano Shrimp, Japonica Amano Shrimp, Japanese Swamp Shrimp
Distribution Japan
Size 2 inches
Lifespan 2 to 3 years
Diet Algae eater, also consumes detritus
Temperament Peaceful
Minimum tank size 10 gallons
Temperature 65°F to 85°F (18°C to 29°C)
pH 6.5 to 7.5
Water hardness 1 to 10 dGH
Care level Easy
Filtration/Water Flow Moderate
Water type Freshwater
Breeding Egg-laying; larvae difficult to rear in captivity
Breeding difficulty Difficult
Compatibility Community tank with peaceful tank mates

The Amano Shrimp, known scientifically as Caridina multidentata, is admired for its algae-eating prowess and ability to help maintain a clean aquarium. This small shrimp species is native to Japan and typically grows to around 2 inches in size.

These shrimp are easy to care for and are peaceful in temperament. They can coexist with other peaceful fish and invertebrates in a community tank. With a lifespan of 2 to 3 years and the capacity to adapt to a variety of water conditions, the Amano Shrimp is a popular choice among aquarists.

Breeding Amano Shrimp can be challenging, as their larvae require particular conditions to survive. Due to this, the breeding success rate in captivity is relatively low.

Remember to provide ample hiding spots and vegetation in your aquarium to make your Amano Shrimp feel safe and secure. Enjoy observing these fascinating creatures as they keep your tank clean and free of algae.

Amano Shrimp Basics

Origins and Natural Habitat

Amano shrimp, also known as Caridina multidentata, originate from Japan and Taiwan. They are commonly found in freshwater streams and swamps. Their natural habitat is usually filled with vegetation and algae, which they love to feed on. These shrimp are sometimes referred to as Yamato shrimp, named after the Yamato River in Japan where they were initially discovered.

Size and Shape

As a hobbyist, you’ll find that adult Amano shrimp typically grow to a size of about 2 inches (5 cm) in length. Their bodies are semi-transparent and have a flattened, elongated shape. A solid exoskeleton protects them, and periodically, they will molt as they grow.

Color and Markings

Amano shrimp have clear bodies with light grey or brown stripes running down their backs from head to tail. Their sides display a series of dots and dashes that can be grey-blue or red-brown in color. Additionally, they have a white stripe running from head to tail and black eyes. While they might not be as vibrant as the red cherry shrimp, their coloration and markings make them a unique addition to your aquarium.


In a well-maintained aquarium, Amano shrimp have a lifespan of about 2 to 3 years. To ensure their longevity, it’s important to provide them with suitable water conditions, a balanced diet, and plenty of hiding spots to feel secure during their molting process.

Remember to keep your Amano shrimp in a comfortable environment to promote their natural behavior and ensure a healthy, happy life in your aquarium.

Diet and Feeding

Amano shrimp love feasting on algae in your aquarium, making them excellent natural cleaners. They also enjoy a varied diet to maintain their overall health. As part of this variety, you can include algae wafers, which offer a nutritious alternative to the algae found in the tank.

Another great option to add to their diet is bloodworms, a tasty treat that provides additional protein for these shrimp. However, don’t forget to introduce some blanched vegetables like spinach, zucchini, and carrots, which will support their balanced nutrition and satisfy their omnivorous appetite.

Incorporating various foods such as fish flakes and shrimp pellets can also be beneficial, but make sure to check their copper content before feeding as high copper levels are toxic to Amano shrimp. With these dietary suggestions, your Amano shrimp will thrive and continue to keep your aquarium clean.

Behavior and Temperament

Amano shrimp are known for their peaceful nature, making them a great addition to your aquarium. They get along well with most tank mates, except for aggressive or predatory species. As omnivorous creatures, they consume algae and other organic materials in the tank, helping to keep it clean. In fact, they’re often referred to as algae eaters or even mistaken for Siamese algae eaters.

These shrimp appreciate having hiding places in the tank, such as plants, rocks, or driftwood. Providing these spots allows them to feel secure and exhibit more natural behaviors. While they love hunting for algae, it’s essential to supplement their diet with shrimp pellets or blanched vegetables. This not only ensures that they get the nutrients they need, but also encourages them to forage and display their typical algae-eating behavior.

Remember to observe your Amano shrimp regularly, as their activity can inform you of their well-being and the overall health of your aquarium.

Care and Tank Requirements

When it comes to taking care of Amano shrimp, it’s essential to provide the optimal tank environment and conditions. In this section, we’ll go over the key aspects of proper Amano shrimp care, including tank size, water parameters, tank setup and decorations, and filtration and aeration.

Tank Size

Your Amano shrimp will thrive in a tank with a minimum size of 10 gallons. This size provides enough space for your shrimp to swim freely and explore. A larger tank is even better, as it allows them to establish territories and comfortably coexist with other tankmates if desired.

Water Parameters

Amano shrimp are freshwater creatures, meaning they require specific water conditions to flourish:

  • Temperature: Maintain a temperature range between 60° – 80° F (15.5° – 27° C).
  • pH level: Keep the pH level range between 6.0 – 7.6.
  • Water hardness: Aim for a gH between 4 – 14 and kH between 0 – 10.
  • Total Dissolved Solids (TDS): Try to keep TDS within 80 – 400.
  • Monitor your tank for any sudden changes in ammonia or nitrate levels. High nitrate, ammonia spikes, and the presence of copper should be avoided.

Tank Setup and Decorations

Creating an optimal environment for your Amano shrimp involves setting up a planted tank with lots of hiding places:

  • Use live aquatic plants like java moss, green cabomba, and baby tears to provide cover and a source of sustenance.
  • Include a variety of hiding spots, such as caves, driftwood, or PVC pipes.
  • Ensure the tank is not overly crowded with other species to prevent stress or territorial issues.

Filtration and Aeration

Maintaining proper water quality is crucial for Amano shrimp care. Filtration and aeration systems help maintain necessary water conditions:

  • Use a filter suitable for the size of the tank to keep the water clean, removing potential harmful substances like ammonia and nitrates.
  • Provide a slow to medium water current to simulate their natural environment, while also ensuring proper aeration.
  • Regularly perform water changes and check water parameters to maintain optimal conditions.

By carefully considering tank size, water parameters, tank setup and decorations, and filtration and aeration, your Amano shrimp will have a healthy, thriving, and stress-free environment.

Suitable Tank Mates

When selecting tank mates for your Amano shrimp, you must consider their peaceful nature and potential to be eaten by aggressive tankmates. Here is a brief and friendly guide to help you choose suitable companions for your Amano shrimp.

First, it is vital to provide hiding places in your aquarium, especially if you are housing Amano shrimp with other species that value their own space. Compatible tank mates include:

  • Dwarf shrimp
  • Small peaceful fish
  • Catfish
  • Plecos
  • Danios
  • Guppies
  • Hillstream loaches
  • Otocinclus
  • Ram cichlids
  • Tetras
  • Filter shrimp
  • Vampire shrimp
  • Singapore flower shrimp
  • Various snail species

On the other hand, unsafe tank mates that should be avoided are:

  • Angelfish
  • Barbs
  • Bettas
  • Large catfish
  • Cichlids
  • Crayfish
  • Discus
  • Pacu
  • Large plecos
  • Goldfish
  • Large gourami
  • Aggressive crayfish or lobsters

Amano shrimp can coexist with other Amano shrimp, Otocinclus catfish, Cory catfish, and various freshwater snail species. However, be aware of the feeding behavior in the aquarium, as larger Amano shrimp may dominate smaller ones during feeding time, as well as ghost shrimp and cherry shrimp.

When introducing new tank mates to your aquarium, it is always wise to consult with store clerks regarding compatibility before making a purchase. This ensures a harmonious and stress-free environment for your Amano shrimp and their tank mates.


Breeding Amano shrimp is considered challenging due to their specific requirements. Unlike other invertebrates, Amano shrimp require brackish water, a mix of fresh and sea water, for successful reproduction. Despite the correct salinity, breeding them is still rare due to fragile larvae and specialized care. In fact, most Amano shrimp available in the market are caught in the wild.

To start the breeding process, you will be observing both male and female Amano shrimp interacting. Females release strong mating pheromones which attract males. When ready, females develop a “saddle” filled with eggs, which will be fertilized during mating. In the wild, a female Amano shrimp typically lays 1,000 to 3,000 green eggs, which she carries attached to her body for up to five weeks.

To attempt breeding Amano shrimp in an aquarium, it’s essential to have live plants and a separate breeding tank. After mating, quickly remove the adults to ensure their safety, as adult Amano shrimp can perish if exposed to water containing salt. Gradually increase the salinity of the breeding tank to create the brackish water conditions required for the larvae to grow. Keep in mind that the larvae will eventually need to migrate back to freshwater as they develop into adult shrimp.

It’s worth noting that for novice breeders, Ghost shrimp and Cherry shrimp are recommended alternatives due to their easier care requirements. However, if you decide to take on the challenge of breeding Amano shrimp, your diligence and attention to detail can be rewarded with a thriving colony in your aquarium.

Common Diseases and Treatments

Amano shrimp, like other freshwater shrimp, may face common diseases such as bacterial infections, fungal infections, and parasites. To maintain your shrimp’s health and prevent these ailments, focus on the essentials, such as proper water conditions and monitoring their molting process.

Bacterial infections often cause lethargy, loss of appetite, and reddening of the shell. To treat them, consider using antibiotics specifically designed for aquarium use. For fungal infections, there are shrimp-safe medications available in the aquarium hobby market.

Be cautious with copper; it’s toxic to shrimp. Double-check any medication or plant fertilizer you use, ensuring they don’t introduce copper to your aquarium. Amano shrimp are part of the dwarf shrimp family, meaning they don’t grow very large, so be mindful of their size and compatibility with your other aquarium inhabitants.

Regularly check your shrimp’s exoskeleton during molting periods, ensuring a smooth process as this time can make them vulnerable to diseases. Remember, a friendly approach and attentive care will help your Amano shrimp thrive in their freshwater environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do Amano shrimp live?

Amano shrimp typically have a lifespan of 2-3 years when kept in optimal conditions. To ensure their longevity, maintain a stable water temperature between 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit, and a pH level between 7.2 and 7.5.

How big do Amano shrimp get?

Amano shrimp reach an adult size of about 2 inches (5 centimeters). Males tend to be slightly smaller and more slender than females.

What do Amano shrimp eat?

Amano shrimp primarily feed on various types of algae, making them exceptional algae-eaters. They may also consume uneaten fish food, detritus, and biofilm. Supplementing their diet with high-quality shrimp pellets or blanched vegetables can also be beneficial.

How many Amano shrimp per gallon?

For a 20-gallon tank, you can safely keep around 10 Amano shrimp. Generally, it’s recommended to have one Amano shrimp per 2 gallons of tank water. This allows them ample space to move around, find food, and avoid overcrowding.

How to breed Amano shrimp?

Breeding Amano shrimp can be quite challenging due to their unique larval stage, which requires brackish water. Simply increasing their number will not guarantee successful breeding. Instead, you’ll need to recreate their natural river-to-sea environment. Females carrying eggs should be moved to a separate tank containing brackish water, allowing the larvae to hatch and develop. Once they reach their juvenile stage, return them to freshwater.

What are the differences between male and female Amano shrimp?

Males and females can be distinguished by their differences in size and appearance. Female Amano shrimp tend to be larger and have a more rounded abdomen, which is particularly noticeable when carrying eggs, also known as being “berried”. Males are usually smaller and have a more slender body shape. Additionally, males may have prominent horizontal dots on their body, while females generally have dashed lines.

Do Amano shrimp eat hair algae?

Yes, Amano shrimp are efficient at consuming hair algae as part of their diet. Their voracious appetite for various types of algae makes them ideal additions to aquariums suffering from excess algae growth.