Tetra Fish And Shrimp: Can They Live Together?

As I was preparing my own fish tank, one of the questions I kept asking myself was whether or not teras and shrimp can coexist. Since both are quite prevalent in aquariums, learning about their symbiotic life was inevitable for me. That was when I began to research that topic profoundly. 

Yes, tetras and shrimp can live together in the same tank. That is because both species share similar water requirements, including pH, temperature, and hardness levels. Moreover, their size differences aren’t significant, lowering the chances of aggression towards one another.

As we move forward in this article, I will share with you the most appropriate types of shrimp you should place in a tetra tank. Following that, I will show you which kinds of fish are unlikely to hassle shrimp. That may help you in diversifying your fish tank, making it much more enjoyable.

Can Tetras Live With Shrimp?

Fish owners keep shrimp for many reasons. Some appreciate their bright colors. Others value the fact that they eat the waste in an aquarium, helping in keeping it clean. However, shrimp are quite small. 

That poses an issue because fish tend to eat whatever they can fit in their mouths, and tetras are no different. Can tetra fish eat shrimp? Yes, they can. That much cannot be denied. If push comes to shove and the conditions are right (or wrong), tetras are more than capable of eating shrimp.

Can tetra fish and shrimp live together? Based on the information above, you may think that the answer to that question is a resounding ‘No’. But that isn’t true. Tetras and shrimp are far more compatible than you might think.

When placed in the same tank, there are a few factors you should consider:

1. Temperament

When it comes to determining whether or not particular tank creatures can coexist with one another, their personality should be your first consideration. Fish owners presume that size is the most crucial factor. However, two species of drastically different sizes can live peacefully side by side if they are both non-aggressive.

And that is what you have in our case. Tetras are peaceful, non-aggressive fish.[1] Peaceful fish can become a nuisance if they are fast and active. But tetras are also quite calm. They are schooling fish that enjoy the company of their own kind as well as other species, like shrimp, for instance.

In fact, you are not supposed to keep tetras alone. They thrive in the company of others. Freshwater shrimp are no different. They are peaceful and calm.[2] They are not particularly fast or active, so you don’t have to worry about their presence becoming a source of stress for the tetras.

Because they are social creatures, they are more than happy to share a tank with other non-aggressive fish. More than that, they will take advantage of the debris tetras leave behind and clean up the bottom of your tank.

2. Size Differences

While the size is not necessarily the most critical factor in this equation, it still matters. Many species of fish are incompatible with shrimp because they are too large, and the size disparity increases the chances of the shrimp being eaten.

But in this case, the differences in size are unlikely to concern you. The average shrimp is roughly 1 inch. Some are larger, while others are smaller. But 1 inch is an accurate estimate of the sizes you can expect to encounter.

Tetras, on the other hand, have an average size of 2 inches. As you can see, the gap isn’t large enough to create any immediate complications. That isn’t the case with angelfish, for instance. As I’ve explained in this article, there are certain shrimp species that angels will happily eat. 

3. Tank Conditions

Here, the situation also favors a peaceful co-existence between shrimp and tetras. Both creatures require tanks of at least 20 gallons. Also, tetras need a pH ranging between 6.8 and 7.8.[3] shrimp overlap this with a pH ranging from 6.0 to 8.0 (depending on the specie). 

If your current tank is too small, you may find my aquarium kits’ recommendations useful. Along with more advanced packages, I made sure to include there the precise kt that I use. Getting that package was one of the most cost-effective decisions I’ve made during the years of fish growing.

Where the temperature is concerned, you must keep the water between 65 and 82 degrees F for most shrimp.[4] With tetras, the temperature ranges from 75 to 80 degrees F. As you can see, tetras and shrimp can survive and even thrive in tanks with similar parameters.

Still, it is essential to keep the water stable within that temperature range. That is why I highly recommend you to read my aquarium heater buyer’s guide. I reviewed there the particular device that I use, which was able to keep my water parameters stable enough to raise both species. 

It is also worth noting that tetras prefer environments with dense vegetation. They thrive in tanks with plenty of decorations and plants because the presence of hiding places allows them to live stress-free. Shrimp are equally drawn to planted tanks.[5]

As you can see, you don’t have to worry about harming one of these creatures in an attempt to provide favorable conditions for the other. Luckily, they both enjoy the same aquarium conditions. 

4. Food Requirements

This is where complications typically arise. Shrimp will eat any organic matter they can find in the tank. They usually spend a lot of time digging into the substrate, searching for debris. Though, you are still encouraged to feed them flakes and pellets and some plant matter to supplement their meals.[6]

The only way to guarantee the safety of your shrimp is to keep them in tanks with herbivores. The presence of carnivores puts them at risk because they are small and enticing enough to tempt bigger fish.

However, tetras are omnivores. This makes them a threat to your shrimp because they eat both animal and plant matter. In other words, they could easily survive on a diet constituting shrimp. But since tetras are peaceful creatures, if you feed them appropriately, you can trust them to leave your shrimp alone.

It is also worth noting that, while shrimp are always digging through the substrate in search of food, tetras eat from the surface. Therefore, the two creatures have no reason to interact with one another during meal times. The presence of food has been known to spark conflict in tanks. But in this case, that risk is entirely absent. 

Nevertheless, keep in mind that the feeding habits of tetras frequently present a danger to the tank. Because they primarily eat the food you sprinkle on the surface, any food they do not eat within the first three minutes will sink to the bottom of the tank. 

If it isn’t removed, this food will rot, corrupting the water. Fortunately, shrimp are more than happy to eat the leftovers they find at the bottom of the aquarium. In a way, that makes them a perfect companion for tetras.

What Kinds of Shrimp Should You Grow With Tetras?

If you don’t know how to select the shrimp that will share your tetra fish tank, these are some of the most popular choices:[7]

  • Bumble Bee Shrimp – These shrimp get their name from their striped bodies. They can grow to a size of 1.5 inches. Not only do they thrive in similar water conditions as tetras, but they also relatively calm. You can keep them with other fish without worrying about the creatures instigating any violent confrontations. 
  • Red Cherry Shrimp – Everyone loves red cherry shrimp, mainly due to their beautiful colors. Fortunately, they are not just pretty. They are also easy to care for. They grow to a size of 1.5 inches, and they love to scavenge. They will eat whatever organic matter they can find in the tank, including algae.
  • Ghost Shrimp – This shrimp is also known as a great scavenger. It has non-aggressive tendencies, which is why you find it in so many community tanks. It is a favorite among amateurs because it is so easy to care for. If all the other fish in your tank are just as peaceful, your ghost shrimp will thrive.
  • Amano Shrimp – This shrimp can reach lengths of 2 inches, but it is still peaceful. It isn’t necessarily the most attractive shrimp, but it is easy enough to keep, and it enjoys the same parameters as tetras. Therefore, it will fit right in with your tetras in the same tank.
  • Snowball Shrimp – This is another shrimp that beginners will love. Unlike some of the other species, this one is quite hardy. While shrimp are typically sensitive to water changes, the Snowball is strong enough to tolerate some fluctuations. It will also eat whatever you feed it and whatever it can find in the tank. This makes it even easier to keep.
  • Grass Shrimp – Grass shrimp are transparent, which is fascinating. They also thrive in similar pH levels as tetras and enjoy tanks with plenty of foliage. Grass shrimp are amazing scavengers that will eat whatever leftovers they can find in the tank. They can grow to a size of 2 inches (which isn’t too large), and they are pretty easy to care for.
  • Blue Tiger Shrimp – If you want shrimp that will make your tank pop with their colors, you will appreciate blue tiger shrimp. They are very sensitive to ammonia, but they are still easy to care for. If you can maintain a pristine tank, they will survive. They are also likely to get along with your tetras.

What Fish Will Not Eat Shrimp?

Tetras are great companions for shrimp because they are social fish that are unlikely to snack on them. However, if you are looking for more fish to add to the tank, some attractive species that won’t eat your shrimp include:[8]

  • Corydoras – Like tetras, these fish are peaceful and social. They are scavengers like shrimp, which is why they spend so much time at the bottom of the tank. Typically, they tend to leave shrimp alone.
  • Guppies – Guppies are more than happy to eat shrimp. They are peaceful, but that might not necessarily keep them from attacking your shrimp. That being said, you can still raise these two creatures in the same tank. The key is to keep the guppies well fed. 
  • Rasboras – This includes Harlequin, Lambchop, and Chilli Rasboras, to mention but a few. This species is not only peaceful but quite small. Therefore, It is unlikely to eat or attack your shrimp.[9]
  • Endler’s – This is a schooling fish. While it might snack on one or two shrimp every so often, if it is kept in a school with other fish, it will ignore your shrimp. If your Endler’s are developing a taste for shrimp, give the shrimp places to hide. 
  • Glassfish – This fish is fascinating because it is translucent. It is also quite shy, spending a lot of time hiding. Its non-aggressive tendencies make it a suitable tankmate for your shrimp.[10]
  • Sparkling Gourami – While many other gourami types are medium-sized, this variety is small. It is also not as aggressive as other gouramis. It can leave peacefully with shrimp in a tank with ample foliage. 
  • Kuhli Loach – Kuhli loaches are scavengers. They are also small and shy. They could be a danger to small shrimp, but they will ignore fully grown ones. Also, keep in mind that loaches are active at night. That is why you should give your shrimp hiding places they can use to steer clear during nighttime. 

Conclusions

If you wish to keep tetras and shrimp in the same tanks, things should be okay. Since both species enjoy similar conditions and are relatively calm, making them coexist shouldn’t be too challenging. However, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Regarding pH levels, aim to a range of 6.8 to 7.8. You should also keep the temperature stable, ranging between 75 and 80 degrees F. Ultimately, the aquarium should feature enough spaces for both tetras and shrimp. Aim to at least 20 gallons for that matter.

I hope my article had answered your question. If you have any hanging thoughts or new insights, let me know all about them by contacting me in person. I will do my best to get back to you as soon as I can.

References

  1. https://www.fishxperts.com/tetra-fish-care/
  2. https://www.fishkeepingworld.com/cherry-shrimp/
  3. https://www.aqueon.com/information/care-sheets/tetras
  4. https://www.fishkeepingworld.com/ghost-shrimp/
  5. https://www.allpondsolutions.co.uk/fishkeeping-advice/your-guide-to-keeping-tropical-shrimp.html
  6. https://www.ratemyfishtank.com/blog/the-top-5-shrimp-for-the-freshwater-aquarium
  7. https://aquariumadviser.com/freshwater-aquarium-shrimp/
  8. https://aquariawise.com/best-peaceful-freshwater-fish-to-keep-with-shrimp
  9. https://www.fishkeeprr.com/cherry-shrimp-tank-mates/
  10. https://www.theshrimpfarm.com/articles/types-of-fish.php

Recent Content