Amano Shrimp – The Ultimate Guide


Being a prominent algae eater, Amano Shrimp are famous among hobbyists and sought by them.

Keep on reading as you will find the ultimate guide to take care of this species so that they can thrive well and live longer.

Amano Shrimp Overview

Amano Shrimp were firstly introduced to the trade by Takashi Amano, a prominent aquarist from Japan, during the 1980s. They soon become popular due to their top-notch ability in controlling algae and keeping the tank free from any debris.

This Caridina multidenta is also famous under some other names in case you come across one of them in a fish store. Amano Shrimp are also known as Caridina Japonica, Japonica Shrimp, Algae Eating Shrimp, Yamato Shrimp.

As you can tell from their name, these shrimp are native to Japan. You can also find them in Korea and Taiwan. What makes them more interesting is they are not bred. They are caught in the wild, instead. After that, they are sold to stores.

So, the shrimp that you can get in stores are wild, and they are typically hard to breed.

Despite being hard to breed, these shrimp are quite hardy, which is good news for any novice who wants to try to keep invertebrates for the very first time.

Amano Shrimp has a unique attitude that is worth observing. They are eminently peaceful. But it will soon change when they encounter food. They will become more aggressive as they race after the food.

The most interesting thing is you can witness some kind of pecking order here. The bigger the Amano Shrimp’s size, the stronger it will become among its pack.

The Appearance

Although Amano Shrimp do not feature standout translucent coloration compared to some other species, they are still charming with their subtle pattern.

These particular shrimp have translucent grayish or light blue bodies with some small dark red or brown dots that you can find from the head to the tail lengthwise.

The dots can also be blue or gray sometimes depending on their diet. The ones that consume more algae and other green can have a subtle green tint in the dots.

Also, this species can grow up to 2 inches, which makes them the largest “dwarf shrimp”. Although they are quite big, they will not cause any harm to their smaller tank mates as they will not interbreed with them, nor eat the fry.

You might be wondering what you should purchase – Amano vs cherry shrimp?

Well, it depends on your ultimate goal of keeping them. If you want to keep some freshwater shrimp that can hold algae at bay well, Amano will be your greatest bet. However, they are more expensive than Cherry.

Another interesting fact of Amano Shrimp is that they can mask and blend into the tank nicely. You will find it hard to spot them when they are hiding.

But you can do it by shining a spotlight into your tank to the substrate. The eyes of Amano Will shine due to the reflection.

The Difference Between Males and Females

Sexing Amano is not a hard thing to do. You can tell it from the size, pattern, and shape. The females of this species are usually bigger than the males. They also have a saddle right under their stomach to store eggs.

The females of Amano Shrimp feature different dots on their exoskeleton that form long dashes. The dots on the males are evenly spaced out.

How to Identify the Real Amano Shrimp

Since the price of Amano is quite expensive, you may come across lots of imposters and lookalikes. It will be quite hard to distinguish the real Amano.

The reason why it is hard to tell which one is the real Amano is that Cardinals comprise more than 200 different varieties which might look virtually identical. No wonder many aquarists cannot recognize a shrimp as true Caridina multidentata.

The only way you can do this is to identify their behavior. Imposters are generally lazy. They do not clean algae as well as the real Amano do.

Imposters tend to be smaller than Amano, and they will just breed in a freshwater tank. The real Caridina multidentata require brackish water to do this.

You might also mix Amano up with Ghost Shrimp as they are quite similar if you see them at a glance.

Here are some clues that you can observe to identify Amano vs Ghost Shrimp.

  • Amano’s maximum growth length can reach up to 2 inches while Ghost Shrimp can only grow until 1.5 inches. Shrimp have a sharper claw grip while Amano features shorter claws.
  • Ghost Shrimp can only live in freshwater while Amano can also thrive well in slightly alkaline or even salty water.
  • Amano mostly feeds algae. On the other hand, Ghost Shrimp eat blood-worms and many other aquatic animals.

Tank Requirements

To make your Amano thrive well, you have to know the required water parameters that you have to maintain in your tank.

For your information, Amano Shrimp are originally from Japan, China, and Taiwan. They usually live in freshwater rivers and streams along with their large troupes.

Freshwater rivers and streams are not the only places for them to thrive. Only the adults live there. Amano’s larvae need to stay in brackish so that they can hatch and survive. Once they are mature, they will naturally move to freshwater rivers.

So, what should you do with your tank?

Tank Size and Conditions

Although Amano Shrimp is quite hardy, it does not mean you can ignore the tank requirements. As stated above, this species stays in brackish when they are in the form of larvae, and move to freshwater rivers and streams when they are mature.

For this reason, you need to make a thorough plan for your tank. They need to live in a heavily-planted tank with lots of hiding places because they will feel vulnerable if they have to wander without a shell, which happens when molting.

Try adding Java Moss and Green Cabomba as they will help you provide shelters and comfort for Amano. Another affordable option to create sufficient hiding places is wooden branches. Simply put them in your tank, and you are good to go.

Since debris and algae are essential for Amano, adding them to an established tank is advisable. You will not find algae and all that jazz in a newly cycled aquarium.

Amano Shrimp’s natural habitat is in the rivers and streams. Therefore, put small rocks and pebbles to mimic river beds in Japan.

They usually can thrive well in a tank with a temperature of 70°F – 80°F and a pH level of around 6.0 – 7.0. The water hardness is around 6.0 – 8.0DKH. They are quite hardy, though. They can put up with a wide array of water conditions.

What Size Aquarium Do Amano Need?

They need to live in a 10-gallon tank. It is the minimum requirement. With this size, it can accommodate at least 5 shrimp.

How Many Amano Shrimp per Gallon

Ideally, one Amano Shrimp needs two gallons. But the number of shrimps that you can add in your tank depends on how many species and fish you have in it.

Tank Mates

Since Amano Shrimp is hardy and does not interbreed, you can keep them in a community tank with other species and fish. However, you still need to be careful because Amano tends to be seen as food by larger fish.

For this reason, you should keep peaceful and small fish or shrimp in the same tank as the one where your Amano lives.

The best tank mates for Amano will be:

  • Cherry Shrimp
  • Mystery Snails
  • Tiger Barb
  • Neon Treats
  • Otocinclus Catfish
  • Guppies
  • Bamboo Shrimp
  • Malaysian Snails
  • Cory Catfish
  • Discus
  • Bristlenose Pleco
  • Berita Snails
  • Vampire Shrimp

You can also put some Amano Shrimp in the same tank. We recommend you to keep them in a group of, at least, 6 to lessen any dominant behavior. Maintaining makes and females in an even ratio is worth trying, too.

Although Amano Shrimp are peaceful, it does not mean they can get along well with any other fish.

Bear in mind that there is an indisputable rule; the bigger will eat the smaller. Therefore, you should not keep your Amano with cichlid, goldfish, Arowana, Oscar, Large Pleco, Crayfish, Gourami, and Betta.

What do Amano Shrimp Eat

Amano Shrimp is renowned for its ability to feed on algae. Cleaning up the tank is their forte. If you have them in your aquarium, you will not find any plant debris and leftover food, either. They can even eat dead fish. Isn’t it wonderful?

Unfortunately, many people think that they only eat leftovers and algae, and that is enough for them to thrive. Well, it’s not entirely wrong.

But like other shrimp and fish, they still need a supplementing diet. Give them algae wafer regularly along with a high-quality pellet.

Do not worry about the ingredients because Amano is omnivores. They can eat pellets containing plants or meat. Just make sure they do not comprise copper as it can be harmful to any invertebrate including Amano Shrimp.

You can also give them frozen foods and vegetables, such as cucumber, squash, spinach, and zucchini. Try giving them bloodworms and brine shrimp for their snacks. They will love it.

Bear in mind that you should blanch the vegetables before giving them to your Amano, and avoid leaving them in the tank for more than an hour because they can contaminate the water.

The amount of supplementing diet that you give to your Amano depends on how much algae and debris they consume in the tank. The more algae they eat, the lesser supplementing you should provide.

How to Breed Amano Shrimp

You might be able to distinguish the females and males of this species without breaking a sweat. However, breeding them is no picnic.

This is the reason why the price of Amano Shrimp is relatively high. It is also one of the drawbacks of preferring this species to Cherry Shrimp.

Cherry might not be as good as Amano when it comes to cleaning algae and debris. But they can breed so that the number of them can multiply. Amano, on the other hand, will not breed in your tank.

The main factor that makes breeding Amano hard is the use of brackish.

In their natural habitat, the pregnant female will carry the eggs for about six weeks after being fertilized by the male. During this period, the female will often waft its tail to give oxygen to the eggs.

While in the sixth week, the female will be laying eggs and putting the larvae into brackish water. Here comes the confusing problem.

The larvae do need saltwater to thrive. On the other hand, adults can be killed if they experience a small exposure to salt, let alone live in brackish water.

The solution is by separating the couple in a breeder tank. Once the females release the larvae, increase the salinity level of the water up to around 1.024, and remove the adults from the aquarium.

However, this does not always work, especially if you are a novice. Breeding Amano Shrimp can only be done by an experienced aquarist.

How to Take Care of Amano Shrimp

As stated above, Amano Shrimp are not fussy when it comes to tank conditions and food.

They are even resilient to ammonia spikes and also get along well with some other fish and shrimp whose sizes do not surpass theirs.

However, you still need to pay attention to the ingredients of their supplementing diet and the water conditions.

Because if both of them contain copper, your Amano will be in danger. You will also need to avoid rapid pH changes or temperature drops if possible.

Amano Shrimp Lifespan

Although Amano Shrimp are renowned for their hardiness, they usually die as soon as you add them to your tank. But it only happens occasionally.

Some of them can survive the first few weeks when added to an aquarium. If you happen to experience this, you can expect your Amano to have a longer lifespan for about 2 or 3 years.

Are you interested in keeping Amano Shrimp in your tank? Go grab them in the nearest fish store.

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