Not once, I was disappointed to see eaten shrimp at the bottom of my tank. When I followed my fishes’ behavior, I noticed that the cichlids nibbled on the shrimp quite often – angelfish in particular. Do angelfish eat shrimp? Can they live together in a tank? My frustration drove me to investigate the issue a little deeper.
Yes, angelfish eat shrimp due to their omnivorous characteristics. Since they eat both plants and animal matters, angelfish are likely to eat smaller sea creatures, including shrimp. While relatively small shrimp may be quickly consumed, bigger ones would probably be severely damaged by the angelfish’s bites.
However, as you will see later on, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes the angelfish ignore the presence of shrimp, and the two may coexist. To make that more likely, I will share a few tips I’ve learned over the years.
Will Angelfish Eat Shrimp?
Angelfish are not picky. They are omnivorous, which means that they eat both plants and meat. Do they eat shrimp? Yes, they do. The creatures will eat any shrimp they can get their hands on. This often creates a dilemma for some who do not know whether or not they should introduce shrimp to their tanks.
Shrimp are fascinating creatures. They have odd but beautiful bodies, which is why people do not hesitate to grow them. It is worth mentioning that shrimp are not all the same.
In fact, the reaction you might encounter from your angelfish when you introduce shrimp into their tank could vary depending on the type of shrimp. Some of the most common varieties include:
1. Cherry Shrimp
Everyone loves Cherry shrimp. They have some of the brightest colors among shrimp, which is what makes them so interesting to keep and observe. People also grow cherry shrimp because they are useful. Think of them as janitors. They will basically eat anything you don’t want to see in the tank.
That includes algae and any food your fish might have leftover. You are still expected to feed them, especially if they have their own tank. But in a community aquarium, they tend to care for themselves.
Most amateurs can look after them with minimal effort. Though, keep in mind that they thrive best in water that is maintained at a particular temperature.
Temperatures lower than 18 Degrees Celsius are bad for them because they inhibit breeding. For cherry shrimp to thrive, they must be kept in peaceful aquariums.
They are unlikely to survive around aggressive fish. If you have angelfish, this is a problem for you because they will happily eat your cherry shrimp.
2. Ghost Shrimp
People say that cherry shrimp are easy to care for, although ghost shrimp have them beaten in that arena. If you know nothing about shrimp, ghost shrimp are the type you should get.
They are not as beautiful as cherry shrimp. However, they also don’t need much. People call them scavengers because they will eat whatever they can find. That includes algae, leftovers, and whatever else you throw their way.
But like cherry shrimp, ghost shrimp are prey for cichlids. Your angelfish might not necessarily go hunting for ghost shrimp. However, if they happen to stumble upon these creatures in the tank, the chances that they will be eaten are quite high.
Ghost shrimp are even more problematic because they start their lives in the world as larvae. That makes them quite vulnerable to attack, potentially the most vulnerable at that stage of their cycle. However, they can still survive if their tank has only shrimp.
They also have a decent chance of making it if their community tank is filled with peaceful fish. But angelfish have an aggressive streak. So it isn’t the best idea to introduce ghost shrimp to their aquarium, especially in larvae format.
3. Snowball Shrimp
Snowball shrimp will also fit perfectly in that category of shrimp that amateurs will appreciate. Like the types mentioned above, these don’t require that much effort to care for. Unlike ghost shrimp, snowball shrimp are aesthetically pleasing. Ghost shrimp are not ugly, but they are nothing special.
The same cannot be said for snowball shrimp, which is not as colorful as the cherry type. But their look is still striking. Additionally, they will eat anything. You can use them to keep your aquarium clean. They won’t hesitate to clear out all the algae, and they can easily survive on detritus.
If your objective is to have as many shrimp as possible, you will love the snowball type. They breed quickly and easily. It won’t take you long to multiply your colony.
That being said, their chances of surviving in a tank with angelfish are no better. Again, your fish might not necessarily seek them out, but if an unfortunate meeting between the two happens, the chances of the angelfish eating your snowball shrimp are relatively high.
4. Amano Shrimp
Are you looking to build a large colony of shrimp? Well, you should avoid Amano, especially if you are just starting. To be clear, for beginners, Amano shrimp are amazing. They are among the most natural shrimp to care for. If you keep the water within a certain range, you don’t have to worry about their survival.
If that wasn’t enough, they love algae. This is what they are known for. So you can trust them to keep your tank sufficiently clean. That being said, they need special conditions to breed optimally. Raising Amano fry requires skill and knowledge. If you don’t want the headache, you are better of abandoning them.
As far as their relationship with angelfish is concerned, Amano shrimp have a better chance of surviving alongside these aggressive sea creatures than most other shrimp.
Angelfish have no qualms about eating shrimp of any kind. But Amano shrimp are big. And in many cases, you will find that they can’t quite fit in the angelfish’s mouth. This is what keeps them safe. There are exceptions. But in most cases, your Amano shrimp should be fine in a tank with freshwater angels.
5. Bumblebee Shrimp
As you might have guessed, these shrimp get their name from their appearance. They have black and gold stripes that remind people of the bumblebee. There is no reason for beginners to buy bumblebee shrimp. This type of shrimp is more trouble than beginners can stomach.
It can survive in the same conditions as the cherry shrimp, but it reacts adversely to ammonia and nitrates. Unless you are willing to do the work required to maintain the pristine conditions of their water, bumblebee shrimp are probably not your cup of tea.
They are also no better at defending against aggressive fish, like angelfish.
6. Crystal Red Shrimp
The crystal red shrimp is the one shrimp that has the cherry shrimp beaten in the area of beauty. Crystal red shrimp are not beautiful by pure chance. People breed them that way. This is why you are unlikely to find them in an amateur breeder’s tank. Their beauty is the reason why you don’t keep them in the same aquarium as angelfish.
They are simply too expensive. You can blame this on their appearance. People keep breeding them selectively to produce unique colors and patterns. Today, if you are buying some crystal red shrimp, the fish store retailer will probably ask you to choose the grade you want. They typically range from C to SSS. The higher the grade, the more expensive the shrimp.
These creatures should be kept in tanks with their own kind. Though, there are ways to keep them alive in peaceful community aquariums. Angelfish, which can get quite aggressive, are not the best companions for Crystal Red Shrimp.
7. Blue Bolt Shrimp
This is another beautiful type of shrimp. It is also rare. So, you might struggle to find it at your local fish store. These are also not the sort of shrimp that beginners necessarily want. They are somewhat sensitive. You have to watch the water in which they are placed. Keep an eye out for nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia.
If you are determined to get one, they are available online. But it isn’t always a good idea to keep them in the same place as other shrimp types because interbreeding can become an issue.
Blue bolt shrimp need peaceful tanks to thrive. So that tells you everything you need to know about the sort of relationship they will have with your angelfish. They will not be able to coexist.
8. Babaulti Shrimp
If you are looking to control the ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites in your water, you should consider getting these shrimp. They are easy enough to care for. People do not necessarily value them. Yes, they come in so many colors, but they are not quite as beautiful as cherry shrimp.
That being said, they eat whatever they find in the tank, which makes them appealing to amateurs. Their meals typically consist of plant matter that has started to decay. This is why you need them in planted tanks. They will find and eliminate dead plants before they become a toxic problem for your other shrimp.
Don’t expect Babaulti shrimp to survive along with hungry Angelfish. They will have no problem eating this type of shrimp.
9. Blue Tiger Shrimp
Blue tiger shrimp are omnivorous, which means they can eat anything. That being said, you need to watch what you feed them. It is never a good idea to give them too much food. People love these shrimp because of their striking color. If you have an aquarium, no one will blame you for introducing these creatures.
But they are not easy to care for, which is why they are not encouraged for beginners. You need to watch the temperature and pH. If you can care for them appropriately, they will thrive.
Do not expect them to survive in the presence of Angelfish, though. There is no reason why your fish won’t eat them.
10. Panda Shrimp
These are not easy shrimp to keep. They are definitely beautiful. It isn’t that hard to understand why someone would buy one of these. They have bold black and white stripes, hence the name. They look like pandas. And they were once so rare that some people would spend hundreds of dollars trying to get them.
They are cheaper now. Though hobbyists still love them. Nevertheless, they are not easy shrimp to keep. They won’t react well to changes in water conditions. So, you have to keep a careful eye on the water in their tank. As far as breeding is concerned, you can’t count on them to build you a large colony, not easily.
You are not encouraged to keep them around other fish. That automatically excludes angelfish, which are quite aggressive. The chances that they would get eaten are quite high. Most breeders would rather not take the chance.
Are Angelfish Always a Danger to Shrimp?
Angelfish are not picky eaters. As was mentioned above, they will eat whatever they can catch and fit in their mouths. Now, you could argue that this automatically makes the relatively large shrimp Amano safe.
But that isn’t true. Angelfish are capable of growing beyond the sizes that most people know. And if your angelfish grow large enough, they will swallow your Amano or any other shrimp without hesitation.
That being said, plenty of people keep shrimp in the same tank as angelfish without incident.
First of all, shrimp are not necessary foolish creatures. In many cases, you will find that they spend most of their time hiding, only coming out to eat. Additionally, they are quite fast, fast enough to escape the clutches of an angelfish that suddenly decides to attack them.
Also, do not be surprised if you find angelfish that show absolutely no interest in the shrimp around them. There is no way to predict the reaction you will get with cichlids – angelfish in particular.
Yes, they can eat shrimp. But that doesn’t mean they always want to. Some fish are simply more aggressive than others. That being said, If you like your shrimp, you are better off keeping them away from your Angelfish.
What Else do Angelfish Eat?
Angelfish eat meat. When they are out in the wild, they eat a lot of smaller fish and insects. You can try to replicate this diet in your tank. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t eat plants. You can add some vegetables to their diet if the need arises.
There is no defined nutritional diet for angelfish. Naturally, there are food items that you are encouraged to give them. But for the most part, you need to experiment until you find something that works. Most angelfish will happily eat cucumbers, zucchini, and the like.
They are also unlikely to refuse pellets and flakes, the one food item that most fish owners can afford. They might be cheap, but pellets and flakes are nutritious, especially if you find brands that were made with angelfish in mind. If you can’t afford it, give them shrimp. They love brine shrimp.
How do I Stop Angelfish From Eating my Shrimp?
In many cases, the issue is inevitable. No matter what you try, you will eventually find your shrimp eaten at the bottom. Nevertheless, over the years, I’ve learned a few techniques to make the angelfish less aggressive.
- First, I suggest that you introduce the angelfish to the aquarium after the shrimp has established his territory. Never add the shrimp last. When they feel they are in unfamiliar territory, angelfish tend to be more gentle.
- Also, I highly recommend that you use a relatively large aquarium with sufficient amounts of plants. When you pick decoration, choose those that feature broad leaves. That will resemble the natural angelfish habitat, which is the Amazon Basin. Hopefully, that would calm them down.
- Lastly, make sure you don’t exaggerate the number of angelfish. Even though they are better in groups, the more there are, the more likely they will harm your shrimp. Introduce relatively small groups, perhaps 2-3 angelfish at most.
Angelfish will probably won’t coexist with shrimp, no matter what kind. They belong to the cichlids’ species, which is known to be omnivorous and quite aggressive to other fish.
Do not be surprised if you find your shrimp beaten down at the bottom. If you still wish to give it a try, make sure you introduce the angelfish last. Also, choose a large aquarium and make sure to buy enough decoration.
- Cherry Shrimp Image – Flickr
- Snowball Shrimp Image – Flickr
- Bumblebee Shrimp Image – Flickr
- Blue Bolt Shrimp Image – Flickr
- Blue Tiger Shrimp Image – Flickr
- Featured Image – PixaBay