Do shrimp Tanks Need lids? What You Need to Know

One popular addition to aquariums is shrimp. Shrimp are scavengers so that they will feed on waste food and even algae. All this can help to keep an aquarium clean, so they are an excellent addition, and can be good tank mates for a few breeds of peaceful fish.

However, there are tales of tank owners finding their shrimp on the floor, or in the throes of trying to escape from the tank. This leads to an essential question if you are considering including shrimp in with your fish.

Do shrimp tanks need lids? What you need to know. In ideal situations, there is no reason to have a cover on a tank that contains shrimp. Nevertheless, there are instances where shrimp, are known to either try to escape, or they fling themselves backward and leap from the top of the tank. To be safe, it is advisable to have a lid on your shrimp tank, but you should know the reasons why they do this.

Here, we will look at all there is about why shrimp may want to escape from your aquarium. Different shrimp appear to do this for various reasons.

By the end, you should learn which shrimp to try to leave a tank, and what you can do to help try to eliminate this.

Why Do Shrimp Try To Leave an Aquarium 

Once you find you have shrimp, who are trying to leave your aquarium, it is their way of saying there is something wrong with their environment.

In many occasions, this will be something wrong with the water conditions. Other reasons can include there is something the shrimp don’t like, they are spooked by something, or something in the tank doesn’t like them.

One other area to consider is the kind of shrimp you have or are looking to keep. Two of the more common escapees are Amanos Shrimp and Ghost Shrimp

Tank Mates for Shrimp

While you can add shrimp to aquariums, that already contain some peaceful fish. It is still a massive topic, as to whether shrimps should be tank mates for fish. Purists often have shrimp only tanks because if it comes to the crunch, there are hardly any breeds of fish, which won’t eat a small shrimp if they have the chance.

You can always choose larger shrimp, such as the Amano, and this will negate the eating issue. However, Amano’s are the most reputable tank escapers there are.

Here are a few things to think about if you are adding shrimp to your established aquarium.

Peaceful schooling fish are the best optionsand potentially shrimp safe. Small. Although if there is a chance of a small shrimp snack, even they may try to grab the opportunity. You may lose a couple of shrimp here and there, but if you have a growing colony, and there are lots of hiding places, they may be able to prosper.

You can find some suitable fish types, that won’t even attempt to eat Ghost shrimp in the majority of cases. Otocinclus Catfish and Pigmy Cordydoras being the most popular and more than likely shrimp safe. The crucial thing is that you can provide the ideal condition for your fish, as well as your shrimp.

To guarantee you won’t lose any shrimp through eating, the only things that are 100% shrimp safe are invertebrates. Snails and especially Nerite snails make great companions. You can mix your shrimp species, but you do need to be cautious of them interbreeding.

Feeding Shrimp

Although shrimp love to eat algae and any other scraps, they can find, and they do need a varied diet. This can be another reason they try to escape from your tank. If they lack something, they may try to seek it out somewhere else, and thus, they find themselves on the floor.

A natural diet of shrimp is anything they can find. As omnivores, they will eat anything, be it algae, decaying plant matter or anything else.

To be sure, your shrimp don’t lack any nutrients, they will need a varied diet, and so if you feed them mainly vegetable-based foods, you do need to add in some meaty proteins. Here are the two ways to make sure your shrimp have everything they need from the foods you feed them.

Staple shrimp foods: You should never make the mistake of selecting the first pack of shrimp food you find. Take the time to check the ingredients before purchasing. If you see ingredients such as wheat or soy as the first couple of ingredients, it signifies these are full of fillers.

Snacks: Although your shrimp food may be more veggie-based, you can still offer them blanched fresh vegetables. Peas are a popular option as long as you remove the skin and mash them with a fork. Frozen Bloodworms can be thawed and fed to your shrimp for a meaty treat.

When it comes to feeding, frequency needs careful consideration, and it does take a little calculation.

To begin with, if you feed once per day and your shrimp leave some food, you can lessen the amount. If they gather around and devour it all, then you can feed them a little more.

Shrimp Tank Considerations

When you have a shrimp tank, you do need to make sure conditions are suitable. This can be water and equipment.

Here is everything you need to know about the different areas of setting up a shrimp tank. While tanks of 5-gallons are often used, it is a strong recommendation to use a minimum of 10-gallon for your tank size.

Selecting the Right Tank Hardware

Unlike fish, you do need to think about hardware more carefully for shrimp. One of the key areas being the shrimp aquarium filter. Any filter you purchase needs to be able to have a sponge fastened across the intake. Either in search of food, fry or young shrimp can be sucked into your filter.

Once the flow of water is too strong, it can be hard for them to battle against the current. Nevertheless, you do need a filter that is suitable for your tank size. There is no use in buying a smaller filter because it generates a weaker current.

Heaters are another thing to think of. While many shrimp are fine at normal room temperature, an aquarium can face different temperatures throughout the day. Thermostat heaters are recommended, because you can set these for the ideal temperature, and they will only heat the water when required.

Temperatures will fall between 70° and 80 ° Fahrenheit, although each species of shrimp may favor a different temperature.

Shrimp Tanks With or Without Plants?

Nearly all shrimp tanks contain plants. It isn’t only appearance, because as omnivores, they do, like to eat plant matter. If your tank has low light, you will need to select low light plants. Ferns and moss are ideal for these conditions.

You can have higher lighting setups, but you will need to make sure your tank has some form of a lid that is suitable. It has to let light into your tank, while at the same time preventing your shrimp from jumping out. Lights need to be on for 8 hours per day as this can help to reduce algae growth.

It does take more effort for a planted tank, through shrimp love the new hiding places and water conditions vastly improve as a result.


Before placing any substrate in your aquarium, you do need to rinse it. You will need a good one to two inches of substrate, and it will vary depending on your plants.

Shrimp prefer a terrain, which is on the flatter side, so all the vegetation should be toward the rear of your tank, with the front flat and open. When searching for mates or feeding, they do this in public spaces.

Substrates will need choosing with shrimp in mind. Most species thrive in soft water with lower pH levels. You can even select your substrate based on the species of shrimp you have. Bright colored shrimp such as Fires Cherry or Crystal Cherry stand out against dark substrates.

Mystery Shrimp Deaths

On occasion, you may see some of your shrimp dying for what appears to be no reason. You can link this to them trying to escape from your tank.

Most times this happens is because of the water condition. Shrimp don’t like ammonia spikes, or high levels of nitrites. Both of these can be enough to make your shrimp want to leave the water, or they unfortunately die before they have a chance to escape.

Fluctuations are the biggest cause, so you will need a good aquarium-testing kit, so you can keep on top of these levels.


With the right conditions, there is no reason your shrimp need to try to escape; however, preventing them from doing so can be hit or miss. Plenty of tank owners don’t have issues, while others always seem to struggle.

If conditions are the same, the only difference can be something startles the shrimp. It is when they are spooked they take to flipping themselves out of the tops of the tanks. It can be this why certain fish are not suitable.

With a decent lid, there is no reason why you can’t have a thriving community of shrimp in your aquarium.