What Do Shrimp Eat? (Essential Feeding Guide)

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what do prawns eat

Shrimps are another specie of the crustacean family. They are related to lobsters and crabs but are also pretty different from any sea creature. There is a huge variety in 

the shrimp family line. There are more than 550 different shrimp species and more than 2000 subspecies of them in the wild. They are found in almost every water body and are developed according to the environment they live in. 

They are super important for the water bodies they live in, and they also make amazing pets. Some people think that shrimps are difficult to keep as pets and about what do shrimp eat because of a lack of knowledge on shrimps, but that is not true because they are easy and super fun to keep.  

Some people even call them ‘cockroaches of the sea’ because they eat anything and everything that fits into their tiny mouths. But on the other hand, they are little opportunistic omnivores because their diet consists of leaves to small particles of meat.  

 This guide is totally about shrimp and what do shrimp eat for food. So, let’s get started.

What Do Shrimp Eat In The Wild?

Shrimps that live in the wild differ from shrimps because of their diet. A pet shrimp grows on what you feed, but in the wild, the whole sea is their buffet.

Now you might be wondering what it means that the whole sea is their buffet? So what do shrimp feed on in the wild exactly? Well, fret not because I will tell you exactly what they eat in the wild.

image of a shrimp in freshwater

The sea or lake in which the shrimp lives serve as their buffet because there are a million things the shrimps can eat. The floor of the sea or ocean is lined with decaying fish, remaining particles of sea creatures, algae, cuttlebone, leaf particles, etc. 

Shrimp are popular for eating anything, everything that is available for them and fits in their mouth. But, of course, what they eat actually depends on their environment.

But, generally, people don’t worry about what shrimps can or can’t eat because they are one of the species which can survive on anything. They are the scavengers who will eat anything if they are hungry and there is anything near them to eat.

 Here is what type of food do shrimp eat:

  • Zooplankton
  • Bacteria
  • Algae
  • Cyanobacteria
  • Small fish
  • Invertebrates
  • Diatoms
  • Decaying remains of sea creatures
  • Remains of leaves
  • Aquatic plants

What Do Shrimp Eat As A Pet?

If you want to keep adorable and interesting sea creatures in your house, shrimps are a great choice. They look amazing in any setting, and they are also low maintenance. 

So, if you decide to keep shrimp as pets, you should also know what shrimp eat in the fish tank. In addition, the things you can feed your pet shrimp should be similar to what they eat in the wild. 

image of brown shrimp in aquarium

As you already know, shrimps are scavengers (as you already know), and they can eat everything as long as it doesn’t eat them first. 

Therefore, if you are wondering what can I feed shrimp, you should try to give them food that closely mimics the things available for them in the wild. You have a lot of options. Here are a few of them:

  • Algae: try to give an algae sheet to your shrimp or add your shrimp to the tank that has a lot of algae. This way, algae will regenerate, and there will be a natural food for shrimps.
  • Fresh vegetables: this is a healthy plant-based supplement which helps them grow better. There are many veggies like cucumber, sweet potatoes, spinach, broccoli, carrot, kale, etc. that you can feed your shrimp. But, you will have to prepare them a bit. You will have to peel your veggies, cut them into ½-inch thick slices, and then boil them for only 2 minutes. This will make the veggies easy to chew and sink to the aquarium’s bottom, making them easy to eat.
  • Broken leaves: in the wild, many leaves fall in the water. They accumulate the substrate; infusoria is a harmless bacteria that collects on the leaves, which the shrimps love to eat.
  • Cuttlebone: now you might think, how can a shrimp eat cuttlebone? It must be impossible! Well, It is not impossible for shrimps to eat because it becomes soft once it settles down in the bottom of the aquarium. It is made of calcium carbonate and becomes like broken coral once completely soaked.
  • Homemade food: making food for your cute little pets will increase your love for them. Take help from youtube for recipes, and you can freeze the extra food for later use.

How Often Do Shrimp Eat?   

Now that you know what aquarium shrimp eat. It is time to ask a different question. This time we will talk about how often do the shrimps eat. 

If we talk about wild, then shrimps graze all day long. All they do is eat something from wherever they go. But, if we talk about how often do shrimps eat in aquariums, then that depends on the condition and age of the aquarium.

If the aquarium is old, it will have enough algae and biofilm for shrimps to graze, and in this case, food is given after every 2-3 days. However, if the aquarium is new, you must feed the shrimp at least twice daily (in the smallest portion possible).

What Is A Shrimp’s Favorite Food?

So, now that we have covered what shrimp eat in aquariums and what they eat in the wild, we need to know their favorite food.  Many shrimp species eat almost anything available to them; the only bet is that it should be organic. 

image of white shrimp in aquarium

The favorite food of shrimps is vegetable remains, animal protein, and algae. Therefore if the shrimps are in the wild, they will find their favorite food themselves on the floor of the waters.

But, if they are in your aquarium, then try giving them their favorite food. Another thing shrimps like to eat in captivity is repashy gel food; you can buy it from your nearest pet food store.

Best Food For Freshwater Shrimp

As the blog moves forward, I was wondering, what do you feed freshwater shrimp? If you are wondering the same thing, you should know that freshwater shrimp like to eat the remains of plants, bacteria on the leaves, algae, aquatic plants, remains of fish corpses, any decaying organic matter, and anything that doesn’t eat the shrimps first.

What Do Shrimps Eat To Survive?

Shrimps can eat anything and everything that can fit into their mouths. One thing is certain is that shrimps don’t die of starvation, especially in the wild.

However, if they are in your aquarium, what do fish tank shrimp eat to help them survive? Then the answer to this question is that you can feed the shrimps: algae.

Bacteria, zooplankton, dead or decaying fish (you can also give them remains of fish which you brought for yourself, invertebrates, vegetables, canned shrimp food which contains the nutrients they need, etc.

Survival of the shrimps is never an issue because they can survive easily on the algae in water even if they are not fed for 2-3 days.

What Do Pink Shrimp Eat?

Pink shrimps are remarkable little fellows with pink and dark-colored hues with black spots; they are one of the fastest-growing species of shrimps.

And they can reach 8 inches in length depending on the salinity and temperature of the water. However, these shrimps can reproduce when they reach only 3.3 inches!

image of pink shrimp

The larvae of pink shrimp love to feed on zooplankton and phytoplankton (tiny floating animals and plants in water), while the juveniles and fully-grown shrimps like to feed on both plants and animals since they are omnivores. 

Usually, they feed on diatoms, copepods, algae, yeast, tiny mollusks, bacteria, plant detritus, and slime. Sometimes they also eat other shrimp larvae and postlarvae.  

What Does Gabon Shrimp Eat?

Gabon shrimp is also known as vampire shrimps. Although they are freshwater creatures that are huge compared to other species of shrimps, they have a different appearance than most shrimps, which is why some people also call them monster shrimp. But, they are nowhere like a monster; instead, they are very friendly creatures. 

Image of The vampire shrimps
Credits: Aquatic Arts

However, you must be wondering what do vampire shrimp eat? Well, Gabon shrimps are easy eaters. They are filter feeders, meaning they eat the microorganisms from the water. 

Apart from this, they also eat organic detritus, algae, diatoms, insect remains, and other mini particles in the sea. Since they only eat micro things, it is ideal to feed them powdered food if you are breeding them.

What Do Pacific Cleaner Shrimp Eat?

Pacific cleaner shrimps are creatures of saltwater. But, what do cleaner shrimp eat? Like most saltwater creatures, they also eat meaty foods like mysid shrimp, brine shrimps, or other meaty foods.

image of Pacific Cleaner Shrimp

In addition, they eat the pellets that are flowing with the current. But, overall, they are omnivores who enjoy eating tissues of dead fish and parasites.

What Do Ghost Shrimp Eat?

Ghost shrimps are freshwater creatures. They are called ‘Ghost Shrimp’ because they have translucent bodies, and we can see everything inside them.

But, like any other shrimp, they are omnivores and enjoy feeding on pellet food, algae, weeds, larvae, and aquatic plants. They can easily feed on anything that fits in their mouths. 

image of Ghost Shrimp

The amazing thing is that you don’t have to feed them three times a day if you keep them as a pet because they can graze on the algae or particles in the water and survive.

Relevant readings:

Bottom Line:

By now, you must be clear on what you feed aquarium shrimp and know a great deal about their survival and environment. 

Shrimps are natural scavengers, which means that there is a variety of items they can eat for survival as they swim across the waterways. They can basically eat anything that is smaller than their mouth and doesn’t eat them.  

If you are keeping shrimp as pets, how do you feed shrimp in an aquarium?

Well, you try to feed them mimics of what they will eat in the wild, another thing you can also make sure that your fish tank is mature enough before you put in shrimps so that they graze on algae and other microorganisms. Doing so will ensure that your shrimps live happily in captivity. 

Frequently Asked Questions

#1 – Do Crabs Eat Shrimp?

Crabs are omnivores, so yes, they do eat shrimps. Crabs are just like shrimps. They can eat both plant and animal-based diets.

Their diet contains clams, seaweed, algae, small clams, shrimps, squid, mussels, snails, other crabs, sand dollars, starfish, and barnacles. The policy of crabs is that if they can open it easily with their pincers, then they can eat it. 

#2 – Do shrimps eat poop?

No, when I said that shrimps eat the remaining parts of fish, poop wasn’t one of them. Shrimps will eat the remaining flesh of fish but not poop.

Even if they eat it, it is because they have mistaken it for food, but they spit it out as soon as they realize that it is not food.  Shrimps will only clean the water of decaying animal bits, microorganisms, and aquatic plan particles.

#3 – What leaves do shrimp eat?

You can feed the following leaves to your shrimp: banana, peppermint, nettle, almond, walnut, mulberry, and guava leaves. These leaves help the shrimps stay healthy, increase the water quality, and possess perfect for biofilm growth (which is a great food source for the shrimps).   

#4 – What plants do shrimp eat?

There is no specific plant that shrimps eat. Instead, they can and will eat any plant they like. For example, they can eat algae, dead or living plants, corals, hydrophytes, etc.

#5 – Are shrimp the cockroaches of the sea?

As we mentioned in the blog, the shrimps are also known as the ‘sea cockroaches’ because of their omnivorous diet. They basically eat the garbage of the sea, just like real cockroaches. These creatures have many similarities, which is why shrimps are considered roaches.

#6 – Can shrimp eat fish flakes?

Yes! All the species of fish can eat fish flakes. They are one of the best foods you can feed your shrimps. The shrimps quickly snatch fish flakes and pellets because it is healthy and one of their favorite foods.  You can give them flakes of any fish, be it goldfish, tuna, salmon, or other fish.

#7 – Do shrimps eat carrots?

As we mentioned in our blog, all shrimp species can and will eat carrots. But, it is ideal to blanch any vegetable you give your shrimps so that they become soft and sink to the bottom. This way, they will easily eat them and grow a layer of biofilm bacteria.

#8 – Does shrimp eat the banana?

Yes, shrimps eat a banana and its leaves, they love to eat this vegetable, and you can give it to them in tiny pieces. Apart from this, they can also eat the skin of a banana as it contains antioxidants and minerals like other fruits and veggies. Well, we can say that shrimps eat healthier than us! (pun intended)

#9 – What leaves can I put in a shrimp tank?

In powder form, you can put almond, mulberry, nettle, walnut, banana, peppermint, guava, and mint leaves in your shrimp tank. If you want to give the shrimp leaves to eat as it is, make sure they are broken into small pieces. 

#10 – Do shrimp eat plankton?

Yes, shrimps do eat plankton; in fact, they are one of the biggest predators of the plankton. However, shrimps are opportunistic omnivore creatures and will never miss a chance to eat delicious plankton. 

#11 – Do shrimp eat algae?

Yes, shrimps do eat algae as they eat both plants and animals (omnivores). They love to include algae in their diet, so it is suggested that you let some algae growth in your fish tank before putting shrimps in it. Algae is the idle food for shrimps because they graze on it the whole day.

#12 – Do shrimp eat seaweed?

Seaweed is one of the least consumed food by shrimps. They rarely eat it, but they do eat it if they want to and if there is no other option available.

Shrimps don’t like to eat seaweed, but if necessary, then they will make an exception. This is why shrimps are famous for eating anything and everything.

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