Vampire Shrimp Care: Tank Setup, Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases & More

Caring for a vampire shrimp can be an exciting and rewarding experience. As an aquarium enthusiast, I’ve found these fascinating creatures to be wonderful additions to my aquatic habitat.

Vampire Shrimp require a tank size of at least 10 gallons, water temperature between 72-78°F, and a pH range of 6.5-7.5. They are scavengers and need a varied diet of high-quality pellets or flakes, as well as occasional live or frozen foods. They also require hiding places and a well-planted aquarium. Regular water changes and tank maintenance are important for their health.

In this Ultimate Care Guide, we’ll explore the necessary steps to providing the best possible environment for your vampire shrimp. From water quality to diet, these essential tips will ensure your pet shrimp thrives in its new home.

I remember when I first introduced a vampire shrimp to my aquarium – I was amazed at how they blended in seamlessly with their surroundings. But their beauty isn’t the only reason to care for them properly. A healthy and well-maintained environment contributes to their unique behaviors and extended lifespans.

Species Summary


The Vampire Shrimp is an intriguing freshwater species originating from West Africa and South America. I recall being fascinated by their unique appearance when I first encountered them.


Vampire Shrimp are known for their relatively long lifespan of 5 to 6 years, providing you with a delightful long-term companion.


These captivating creatures have a translucent blue-to-gray exoskeleton, which showcases their inner organs. Their fan-like appendages make them stand out among other freshwater species.


They generally grow to be about 3 to 6 inches in length, making them one of the larger freshwater shrimp species.

Growth Rate

Vampire Shrimp have a steady growth rate, reaching their full size within 1 to 2 years.

Behavior & Temperament

These non-aggressive, nocturnal creatures are expert filter-feeders. I’ve noticed that they prefer to hide during the day and venture out at night to feed.

Male vs Female

Sexual dimorphism is subtle among Vampire Shrimp, but with a keen eye, I can usually spot the bulkier, slightly larger males.

Tank Setup

Tank Size

When I first started keeping Vampire Shrimp, I learned that they require a tank size of at least 20 gallons. This allows them room to grow and explore their surroundings.


I have found the ideal lighting for Vampire Shrimp to be moderate – not too bright, but not too dim either. It’s best to replicate their natural habitat, which consists of shaded areas and sun-filtered water.

Filtration & Aeration

In my experience, a good filtration system and proper aeration are essential for maintaining clean water and providing oxygen to these sensitive creatures. These elements are key to their well-being and overall health.


When setting up my tank, I made sure to include a heater to maintain the water temperature between 75 and 81°F. Consistent water temperature is critical for vampire shrimp, as their metabolism and molting processes are affected by it.


I noticed that the best substrate for Vampire Shrimp is sandy and smooth, which allows them to dig, forage, and molt without risk of injury to their delicate legs.


To make my vampire shrimp comfortable, I like to provide a combination of driftwood, rocks, and hiding places. This caters to their need for secure and shaded areas to rest and molt.


Finally, I found that incorporating plenty of live plants with broad leaves would mimic their natural habitat and provide them with valuable security and relaxation spots. Personally, I recommend using java moss or anubias barteri.

Water Quality

Water Temperature

One thing I’ve learned in my experience with Vampire Shrimp is that they prefer a stable water temperature. The ideal temperature range for these unique creatures is between 68°F to 77°F (20°C to 25°C). Maintaining a consistent temperature is crucial for their health and wellbeing. When I first set up my aquarium, I made sure to purchase a reliable aquarium heater and a thermometer to monitor the temperature.

Water pH

Vampire Shrimp are sensitive to the pH level of their environment. They thrive in slightly acidic to neutral water, with a preferred pH range of 6.5 to 7.5. During my first few months of keeping these shrimp, I regularly tested the water’s pH level and adjusted it accordingly to ensure their comfort and health.

Water Hardness

Proper water hardness is essential for these shrimp as it helps with their molting process. Vampire shrimp prefer soft to moderately hard water with a general hardness (GH) range of 6-12 dGH. To maintain ideal water hardness, I use a water test kit and make necessary adjustments with water conditioners like Seachem Equilibrium.

Water Changes

Regular water changes are crucial for keeping the shrimp’s environment clean and optimal for their growth. In my experience, performing a 25-30% water change every two weeks has been effective in maintaining water quality. During water changes, I make sure the new water’s temperature, pH, and hardness match the existing water parameters in the aquarium to avoid causing stress to my Vampire Shrimp.

Tank Maintenance

Keeping your Vampire Shrimp’s tank clean and well-maintained is essential for their health and well-being. To start off, regular water changes are a must. I usually do a 25% water change every week to ensure optimal water quality.

It is also important to monitor water parameters like temperature, pH, and ammonia levels. Personally, I use an aquarium testing kit to check these parameters regularly.

When it comes to filtration, I recommend using a gentle sponge filter because Vampire Shrimp are filter feeders and need low water flow. Make sure to clean your filter monthly to keep it working efficiently.

In addition, managing debris and algae growth in the tank is crucial. You can consider adding some live plants to help with this, but don’t forget to trim them occasionally.

Here are some brief bullet points for tank maintenance:

  • 25% weekly water changes
  • Monitor water parameters
  • Use a gentle sponge filter
  • Control debris and algae

As for a personal anecdote, I once neglected to check the water parameters for a couple of weeks, and my Vampire Shrimp started to show signs of stress. I quickly realized my mistake and took action to improve the water quality, and thankfully, they recovered in no time. It’s a good lesson to always stay on top of tank maintenance for the benefit of your shrimp.

Tank Mates

Compatible Fish Species

I’ve found that the best tank mates for Vampire Shrimp are peaceful, small to medium-sized fish. Some good examples include:

  • Tetras: Their calm nature makes them a great choice.
  • Guppies: These colorful fish usually mind their own business.
  • Rasboras: A very peaceful species that won’t bother your shrimp.
  • Corydoras: Bottom-dwelling fish that won’t compete for food.

Incompatible Fish Species

On the other hand, there are some fish species that are not suitable to be housed with Vampire Shrimp. These include:

  • Cichlids: Known for their aggressive behavior, they can prey on shrimp.
  • Oscars: These large fish can easily view shrimp as a snack.
  • Arowanas: Due to their predatory nature, Arowanas might harm your shrimp.

Choosing the right tank mates is crucial to ensure a stress-free environment for your Vampire Shrimp. Always research fish compatibility before introducing new species to your tank. In my experience, maintaining a peaceful community allows these fascinating creatures to thrive.


What To Feed

As a vampire shrimp owner, I’ve found that these fascinating creatures thrive on a diet of particulate matter in the water, including detritus, algae, microorganisms, and suspended particles. They use their fan-like appendages to filter food from the water, so offering them a good variety of small, slow-sinking foods is essential.

Some suitable food options are:

  • Finely crushed fish flakes or pellets
  • Baby shrimp food
  • Algae wafers (broken into small pieces)


My vampire shrimps generally prefer to eat in a quiet and dim environment, so I make sure to feed them during the evening hours. It is recommended to offer food 2-3 times a week, depending on the availability of natural food sources in the tank. Observe their feeding behaviors and adjust the frequency accordingly.


In my experience, it is crucial to maintain high water quality and appropriate water flow in the aquarium to support the feeding habits of vampire shrimps. Here are some useful tips:

  1. Gentle water flow: Install a sponge filter or slow-flowing canister filter to create gentle water movement, so the shrimp can easily filter feed.
  2. Supplemental feeding: Use a turkey baster or pipette to target feed the shrimp, ensuring they receive enough nutrients.
  3. Tank setup: Adding live plants, such as Java moss or Anubias, helps create a natural environment and promotes the growth of microorganisms that vampire shrimps consume.

Common Diseases


In my experience with vampire shrimp, they can suffer from a few common diseases. These include bacterial infections, fungal infections, and parasites.


If you notice any of these symptoms in your shrimp, take action:

  • Lethargy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Discoloration
  • White, cottony patches
  • Swollen body parts


When I faced a sick shrimp, treatment options included:

  • Bacterial infections: Anti-bacterial medications are recommended. Follow the specific instructions on the product label.
  • Fungal infections: Anti-fungal medications will aid in the recovery. Be sure to remove any uneaten food or debris in the tank which can contribute to the problem.
  • Parasites: For parasites, a broad-spectrum treatment is often best. Consult with a specialist to determine the right treatment for your shrimp based on the type of parasite present.


To prevent diseases in my vampire shrimp, I focused on:

  • Maintaining proper water quality
  • Performing regular water changes
  • Monitoring temperature
  • Feeding a balanced diet
  • Offering hiding spaces
  • Observing tank inhabitants for any signs of illness

Signs of a Healthy Vampire Shrimp

After years of owning Vampire Shrimp, I’ve found that there are some key indicators that your shrimp are healthy and thriving.

Active and robust feeding behaviors are the number one sign of a healthy Vampire Shrimp. They position themselves in a spot with a strong water flow to filter food particles efficiently.

Another sign is vibrant coloration. A healthy Vampire Shrimp will display beautiful blue or brown hues, depending on its environment. However, keep in mind that their color can change through molting.

Speaking of molting, regular molting is an essential aspect of shrimp growth and a sign they are developing well. It’s not unusual for them to hide for a few days after molting, so don’t be alarmed.

Finally, movement and exploration show that your shrimp is adjusting well to its surroundings. While they may not move as much as other shrimp types such as the Sunkist Orange Shrimp, healthy Vampire Shrimp should still explore their habitat.

In my experience, maintaining these signs of health requires a clean and suitable environment, with a consistent water temperature, proper filtration, and sufficient feeding.

Signs Your Sunkist Vampire Shrimp is Sick

I remember when I first noticed that my Sunkist Vampire Shrimp was acting differently. It’s essential to know the signs of a sick shrimp to take the proper steps. Here are some indicators that your shrimp may be unwell:

  • Lethargy: If your shrimp is inactive, hiding more than usual or moving slowly, it could be a sign of illness.
  • Changes in appearance: Discoloration, loss of scales, or noticeable damage could indicate a health issue. Watch for white or grey spots as these can be signs of fungal or bacterial infections.
  • Loss of appetite: A healthy shrimp should have a healthy appetite. If you notice a decreased interest in food, it could be a sign that something is wrong.
  • Erratic swimming: Shrimps that swim erratically or continuously rub against objects could be sick or stressed. Make sure to monitor the water conditions and ensure they’re within acceptable parameters.

I had to learn all these signs the hard way, and the key to long-term success is noticing these changes early on. Don’t be discouraged if your Vampire Shrimp gets sick; proper care and timely interventions can make a significant difference.


Breeding Setup

When I decided to breed my Vampire Shrimp, I first set up a separate breeding tank. This tank should have a sponge filter to ensure the safety of the sensitive larvae. Along with a heater to maintain a stable temperature between 74-82°F (23-28°C).

How To Breed

To encourage breeding, I introduced a group of mature shrimp, with a ratio of at least two females per one male. I then conditioned them with high-quality, protein-rich food such as bloodworms and brine shrimp. Soon after, I noticed the females carrying eggs, signifying successful breeding.


Once the larvae hatched, I provided them with a steady diet of live, tiny prey like infusoria, first, and later micro plankton and baby brine shrimp. I monitored the water quality closely, performing frequent water changes to reduce nitrogen build-up. As the larvae grew, I gradually introduced powdered shrimp food. Eventually, I saw my little Vampire Shrimp transform into tiny replicas of their parents, at which point they were ready to be introduced into the main aquarium.

Product recommendations for Vampire Shrimp:

  1. CaribSea Arag-Alive Fiji Pink Sand: This sand substrate is perfect for creating a natural-looking environment for your Vampire Shrimp.
  2. API Aquarium Test Kit: Regular water testing is crucial for maintaining a healthy environment for your Vampire Shrimp, and this test kit can help you monitor the levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate in your tank.
  3. Hydor Koralia Nano Aquarium Circulation Pump: This compact and efficient pump can help improve water circulation in your aquarium and provide your Vampire Shrimp with a more natural environment.
  4. Seachem Prime: This water conditioner can help remove harmful chemicals from tap water and make it safe for your Vampire Shrimp.
  5. Hikari Crab Cuisine: This specially formulated food can provide your Vampire Shrimp with a high-quality source of nutrition and help promote healthy growth and coloration.
  6. Zoo Med Laboratories Nano 10 Canister Filter: This compact and efficient canister filter can help keep the water clean and clear in your Vampire Shrimp tank.
  7. Fluval Plant and Shrimp Stratum: This substrate is specifically designed for shrimp and can provide a natural-looking environment for your Vampire Shrimp.
  8. Omega One Freeze-Dried Bloodworms: This tasty treat can provide your Vampire Shrimp with a high-quality source of protein and help promote healthy growth and coloration.
  9. Coralife BioCube Protein Skimmer: This protein skimmer can help remove organic waste from the water and keep your Vampire Shrimp tank clean and healthy.


In my experience, taking care of Vampire Shrimp has been a rewarding and fascinating endeavor. When I first got my shrimp, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but as I learned about their unique care requirements, I quickly fell in love with these little creatures.

To recap, it’s essential to maintain stable water parameters, provide a variety of hiding spots, and offer a diet rich in microorganisms. This will ensure your Vampire Shrimp thrive and display their captivating, fan-like feeding behavior.

I remember the first time I observed my shrimp fan-feeding, I was mesmerized by the delicate motions and how they managed to capture tiny particles floating in the water. Observing these behaviors has brought a fantastic world of underwater exploration to my own home.

Keeping Vampire Shrimp might not be for everyone, but if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to meet their needs, you’ll be rewarded with an enchanting and educational glimpse into their captivating lives. Happy shrimp-keeping!


I remember when I first got my Vampire Shrimp, I had many questions about taking care of them. Here are some common FAQs to help you out:

What do Vampire Shrimp eat? Vampire Shrimp are filter feeders who primarily consume microorganisms. They love to eat biofilm, algae, and other tiny particles. You can provide them with powdered shrimp food and frozen daphnia too.

What is the ideal water temperature for Vampire Shrimp? They thrive in temperatures between 22-28°C (72-82°F). I always ensure that my aquarium heater maintains a constant temperature in this range.

How long do Vampire Shrimp live? With proper care, they can live up to 5 years, which is considered quite long for a shrimp species.

Are Vampire Shrimp compatible with other species? Yes, they are known to be peaceful and non-aggressive, making them perfect tank mates for many freshwater fish and invertebrates.

Do Vampire Shrimp require a specific pH level? Maintaining a pH level of 6.5-7.5 is best. It’s essential for their health, and I always monitor my aquarium’s pH to keep it within this range.

How do I know if my Vampire Shrimp is molting? You’ll notice an empty exoskeleton in your tank. It’s vital to leave it be, as your shrimp may consume it for essential nutrients.

Remember to always keep their environment clean and stable, and don’t hesitate to research more to ensure your Vampire Shrimp live happily and healthily.

Reference: Wikipedia.


Hi there! My name is Jacob, and I'm the founder of this Pet people blog that talks all about aquarium and fishkeeping. I've been passionate about fish and aquatic life since I was a kid, and I've spent countless hours learning about different species, their habitats, and how to create the perfect environment for them to thrive in.

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