Safe Tankmates for Shrimp
by Ryan Wood
There are several commonly asked questions in the freshwater Aquarium Shrimp Hobby. One of them is "what fish are safe with my shrimp," or "will these fish eat my shrimp," also "should I put my shrimp in my tank with these fish?"
It is of course a very important question. Putting your shrimp in with fish can result in a great dessert for the fish and doomsday for your shrimp. I have heard stories of people putting their new shrimp into a tank and immediately upon entering the tank watch them get gulped down by predatory fish. It may sound comical but I doubt anyone would laugh if it happened to them.
We should all remember that even though these shrimp can be expensive and we love them, they are also a natural food source in the wild. For many fish and other aquatic creatures, shrimp are viewed upon as a quick snack, or in some cases the main contributor to the overall diet. Introducing shrimp to an aquarium with predatory fish will almost certainly result in a shrimp feast. Most aquarium fish eat processed foods and may relish the moment to eat a live creature it eats naturally in the wild.
There is another aspect often overlooked in this particular subject: the ability for shrimp to hide. In the wild the shrimp spend most of their time hiding from predators. Natural coloration which mimics the surrounding aquatic habitat helps the shrimp to further evade predators. In the shrimp hobby we have somewhat completely removed this natural defense. Most of the ahrimp are selectively bred to achieve appealing colors. Solid red, blue, white, etc. are not naturally found in the wild. By removing this natural defense we further remove the shrimps chance of survival in the aquarium. They are a neon light for predatory fish.
So, hopefully you have not been deterred from the hobby but rather "enlightened." There is a reason why there are aquariums that are shrimp-only and predation is one of them. When you have expensive shrimp you do not want to worry about whether or not they will be eaten. There are very few fish that you can keep with shrimp without worrying however. Almost all algae eating fish are safe with shrimp due to their diet of algae. Any fish that has a carnivorous diet in the wild can be a potential danger to shrimp.
If unsure use this motto: if it can fit it in its mouth then it could be dangerous. Any fish can also nip at a shrimp until it dies, then eat it.
100% confident to list as shrimp safe:
Do not house:
..any other fish not mentioned could be harmful