Will Neon Tetras Eat Shrimp? - "Caridina Japonica Shrimp & Neon Tetra" by carolineCCB is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Will Neon Tetras Eat Shrimp? - "Caridina Japonica Shrimp & Neon Tetra" by carolineCCB is licensed under CC BY 2.0.


Aquarium enthusiasts often face a common dilemma when considering the cohabitation of neon tetras and shrimp within the same aquatic environment. A question that often arises is, “Will neon tetras eat shrimp?” These two species, known for their striking beauty and distinct behaviors, can indeed coexist peacefully, provided the aquarium is thoughtfully set up to cater to the needs of both. In this guide, we will delve into the intricacies of creating a balanced ecosystem that accommodates both neon tetras and shrimp, taking into account the vital concern: will neon tetras eat shrimp.

About Neon Tetras

Neon tetras are popular freshwater aquarium fish known for their striking and vibrant appearance. These small, colorful fish originate from the clearwater streams and tributaries of the Amazon Basin in South America, specifically in Brazil, Colombia, and Peru. Neon tetras have been a favorite among aquarists for many years due to their dazzling colors and ease of care.

Here are some key characteristics and information about Neon Tetras:

  • Size and Appearance: Neon tetras are small fish, typically growing to about 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5 to 4 centimeters) in length. Their most distinctive feature is the bright iridescent blue stripe that runs horizontally along their body, starting from just behind their gills and extending to the base of their tail fin. Below this blue stripe, their body is colored in a vibrant, almost fluorescent red. This striking coloration makes them one of the most recognizable and popular choices for community aquariums.
  • Behavior and Temperament: Neon tetras are peaceful and social fish, making them excellent choices for community aquariums. They are known for their schooling behavior, so they should be kept in groups of at least six or more to help them feel secure and display their natural behaviors. In a school, they will often swim together, creating a beautiful and mesmerizing display of color.
  • Tank Requirements: To keep neon tetras healthy and happy, it’s important to provide them with a well-maintained aquarium. A tank size of at least 10 gallons (40 liters) is suitable for a small group of Neon Tetras. They prefer water conditions that are slightly acidic to neutral, with a temperature range of 72 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 26 degrees Celsius). Neon tetras are sensitive to water quality, so regular water changes and a properly cycled tank are essential.
  • Diet: Neon tetras are omnivores and will accept a variety of foods. They should be given a balanced diet that includes high-quality flake foods, live or frozen foods like brine shrimp, daphnia, and micro worms. A varied diet helps maintain their vibrant colors and overall health.
  • Health and Care: Neon tetras are generally hardy, but they can be susceptible to common aquarium diseases if their tank conditions are not well-maintained. Regular monitoring of water parameters, a balanced diet, and a stress-free environment are key to keeping them healthy. Quarantine new fish before introducing them to an established aquarium to prevent the spread of diseases.

Neon tetras are captivating and peaceful aquarium fish that can add a burst of color to your tank. Their unique appearance and social behavior make them a favorite choice among aquarists, from beginners to experienced enthusiasts. Proper care and attention to their specific requirements will ensure that these beautiful fish thrive in your home aquarium.

About Shrimp

shrimp are a delightful and increasingly popular addition to freshwater aquariums. They come in various species, each with its unique characteristics and requirements. Here’s a general overview of keeping freshwater shrimp in your aquarium:

Common Freshwater Shrimp Species

  • Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina davidi): Cherry shrimp are one of the most popular and beginner-friendly choices. They are known for their vibrant red color, but they also come in other color variations, such as yellow, blue, and green. Cherry shrimp are relatively hardy and easy to care for, making them an excellent choice for novice aquarists.
  • Crystal Shrimp (Caridina cantonensis): Crystal shrimp are prized for their stunning and intricate patterns. They require more specific water conditions and can be a bit more challenging to care for compared to Neocaridina species. Crystal shrimp are sensitive to water parameters, particularly water hardness, and are best suited for experienced hobbyists.
  • Amano Shrimp (Caridina multidentata): Amano shrimp are valued for their algae-eating abilities. They have a translucent body with brownish spots and stripes. These shrimp are excellent at keeping aquariums free from algae and are a popular choice for aquarists who want a natural method of algae control.

Habitat and Tank Requirements

  • Tank Size: Shrimp don’t require large tanks, and a 5-gallon (or larger) aquarium can be suitable for a small group of shrimp. It’s essential to provide a stable and well-maintained environment, as they are sensitive to water quality.
  • Water Parameters: Different shrimp species have specific water parameter requirements. For example, Cherry shrimp prefer slightly alkaline to neutral water with a pH range of 6.5-8, while Crystal shrimp thrive in soft, acidic water with a pH range of 5.8-7. A good practice is to research the specific needs of the shrimp species you plan to keep and adjust your tank conditions accordingly.
  • Filtration and Circulation: Shrimp are generally sensitive to strong water flow, so it’s essential to use gentle filtration and provide them with areas of calm water. Sponge filters are commonly used in shrimp tanks.
  • Substrate: Use a fine-grained substrate like sand fine gravel, which provides a natural environment for shrimp to forage and explore.

Feeding and Care

Freshwater shrimp are primarily detritivores, which means they feed on algae, biofilm, decaying plant matter, and small microorganisms. While they can subsist on the naturally occurring food in the tank, it’s a good idea to supplement their diet with specialized shrimp pellets or algae wafers. Occasionally, you can offer blanched vegetables like zucchini or spinach for variety.


Shrimp are generally peaceful and can coexist with many community fish species. However, some larger or more aggressive fish may view shrimp as potential prey. Be cautious when selecting tankmates for your shrimp.

Keeping freshwater shrimp in aquariums can be a rewarding and captivating experience. Their diverse colors and patterns, as well as their unique behaviors, make them a fantastic addition to both beginner and experienced aquarists’ tanks. To ensure the health and happiness of your shrimp, it’s essential to research and meet the specific requirements of the species you choose to keep and provide them with a suitable and well-maintained environment.

Will Neon Tetras Eat Shrimp?

So, will neon tetras eat shrimp? Neon tetras are generally peaceful fish and not known for being aggressive predators. However, there is a possibility that they may consume baby shrimp, particularly if the shrimp are very small or vulnerable. Adult shrimp are less likely to be targeted by neon tetras, especially if the tetras are well-fed and have access to their preferred diet.

If you plan to keep neon tetras and shrimp in the same aquarium, it’s a good idea to provide hiding places or dense vegetation where shrimp can retreat to avoid potential interactions with the tetras. Additionally, ensuring that the shrimp population is well-established before introducing the neon tetras can help minimize any potential issues. Careful observation of their interactions is essential to assess compatibility, and it may vary depending on the individual fish and shrimp in your specific tank.

Will Neon Tetras Eat Shrimp? - "Caridina Japonica Shrimp & Neon Tetra" by carolineCCB is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Will Neon Tetras Eat Shrimp? – “Caridina Japonica Shrimp & Neon Tetra” by carolineCCBis licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Aquarium Setup

Creating an aquarium that accommodates both neon tetras and shrimp requires some careful planning to ensure the well-being of both species. Here’s how you can set up an aquarium to provide hiding places for shrimp, including baby shrimp, while keeping neon tetras:

  • Select the Right Aquarium Size: Start with a tank of appropriate size. A 10 to 20-gallon (40-80 liter) aquarium is suitable for a community of neon tetras and shrimp.
  • Aquascape with Live Plants: Live plants play a crucial role in providing hiding places for shrimp. Plants like Java moss, Java fern, and small leafy plants with dense growth can create shelters for shrimp. Ensure that there are plenty of hiding spots, especially near the bottom and in shaded areas.
  • Create Shrimp-Friendly Substrate: Use a fine-grained substrate like sand or fine gravel to mimic the natural environment of shrimp and facilitate foraging. A substrate with small granules will not trap baby shrimp as easily as larger gravel.
  • Use Decorations: Add driftwood, rocks, and other decorations with crevices and caves where shrimp can retreat. You can even use commercial shrimp shelters or breeding tubes to create additional hiding places.
  • Dense Floating Plants: Floating plants can provide shade and shelter for shrimp. They also help diffuse light, which can be beneficial for both shrimp and neon tetras.
  • Provide Proper Water Conditions: Maintain stable water conditions with slightly acidic to neutral pH, a temperature range of 72-78°F (22-26°C), and good water quality. Regular water changes are essential to ensure a healthy environment.
  • Observe Interactions: After introducing the neon tetras and shrimp, closely monitor their interactions. If you notice any aggression or harassment, consider providing additional hiding spots or rearranging decor to create more cover.
  • Feed Appropriately: Ensure both neon tetras and shrimp receive appropriate food. Neon tetras can be fed with high-quality flake foods and live/frozen options. Shrimp will graze on algae and biofilm, but you can supplement their diet with specialized shrimp pellets or blanched vegetables.
  • Protect Baby Shrimp: If you have a thriving shrimp population, consider using a breeding box or a separate nursery tank to protect baby shrimp until they grow large enough to avoid predation by the neon tetras.

By setting up your aquarium in this way, you can create an environment that caters to the natural instincts and needs of both neon tetras and shrimp, ensuring a harmonious coexistence in your tank.


In conclusion, the harmony between neon tetras and shrimp in the same aquarium hinges on careful planning, proper tank setup, and ongoing observation. While the question, “Will neon tetras eat shrimp?” may arise due to their predatory instincts, it is entirely possible to maintain a thriving community where these two species coexist. Creating an environment with abundant hiding places, suitable water conditions, and compatible tankmates will promote a harmonious cohabitation, allowing the beauty and charm of both neon tetras and shrimp to shine in your aquatic oasis. By following these guidelines and maintaining a balanced ecosystem, aquarists can enjoy the fascinating interplay of colors and behaviors these species offer without the concern of neon tetras eating shrimp.