Things Amano Shrimp Can Eat

Amano shrimp are freshwater shrimp popularized by the late Aquarist Takashi Amano after he discovered their ability to consume large amounts of algae. It is because of Amano shrimp’s capability to eat almost all types of algae, Amano shrimps are widely known as the algae-eating shrimp. Amano shrimp’s role is not limited to just eating algae, they play a very important part in the ecosystem of freshwater tanks with their various abilities and different diets. 

So, what makes Amano shrimp unique and better than the other shrimp? And what does Amanos eat other than algae to survive? Let’s discover more about these freshwater shrimps in this article. 

What makes Amano Shrimp unique? 

The Amano shrimp (Caridina multidentata) is known for curbing algae growth by feeding on almost every type of algae in the freshwater tank, even consuming the red algae and black beard algae which are otherwise ignored by many other organisms. They consume everything including detritus and keep tanks free of litter, giving them an important role of an effective cleaner in a tank’s ecosystem. 

Amano shrimps are very peaceful in personality which makes them one of the great additions to the community Tanks. Although they are peaceful beings, they can be a little aggressive when it comes to their appetite. They are known to be an aggressive feeder, having an unusual ability to consume large amounts of algae bodies and other matter. They also possess the ability to camouflage themselves into the environment to stay guard and protected, when they sense danger. 

Amano Shrimps are one of the most proactive creatures in the realm of freshwater tank ecosystems. Being a scavenger, they are very active and constantly cleaning surfaces or foraging for food.  

While primarily regarded as algae-eating shrimp, Amano shrimps are omnivorous in nature. They are best with a balanced diet for their longevity and survival. Being Omnivorous grants them the ability to consume almost everything nature has to offer.  

Now, let’s learn about the types of algae Amanos can digest and what other foods they can eat. 

What does Amano Shrimp eat?  

Amanos are endlessly foraging and scavenging the bottom of the aquarium looking for supplements. Amano shrimp are ferocious eaters and can consume almost any soft algae out there. Their diet intakes can consist of a large amount of soft algae bodies such as: 

Hair algae

Hair algae are one of the most widespread algae that grow and thrive in a tank. They are of light green colour that forms in long strands, granting them a hairy or string-like appearance. They are incredibly fast-growing in nature and tend to attach themselves to any tank surface. But because the attachment of the algae to any surface is not strong compared to the other algae, it’s an ideal food for Amano shrimps to devour. 

Black Beard Algae (BBA)

These are found in dark purple or black colour, and usually seem to thrive on aquarium plants. They may appear as tufts of small, dark-coloured shaving brushes. They can grow pretty fast and are notoriously known to be one of the hardiest and most resilient in the classification of algae for the way it firmly fastens to the surface.  

Amano shrimps are one of the few, if not the only aquarium freshwater shrimps that can eat black beard algae. Since they are known to be aggressive feeders, they can devour on black beard algae effortlessly. 

Green Spot algae

These are the type of algae appearing in small and circular green spots mostly found sticking to the glass, plants, rocks, and substrates of the aquarium tank. They remain short and grow fast in hard water, the harder the water the more adamantine it is.  

Amano shrimp are one of the few organisms that can consume the green spot algae, but because these algae mostly attach themselves to the glass, they might find it hard to digest the spots squeaky clean. 

Green Dust Algae

Another appetiser for Amano shrimp is green dust algae which are soft in their texture and appear to be like a layer of dusty particles. Although Amanos feed on green dust algae, they are edible for Amano shrimps only in their initial phase because they will grow to stick on the glass and get solidified within a prolonged time. Thus, making it hard for the Amanos to consume it off the glass. 

Brown/Diatom algae

Brown algae is made up of microscopic animals known as Diatoms. Amano shrimp skillfully dines on them with their filter-eating abilities. However, like green dust algae, brown algae happens to form like dusty particles over the tank surface which transform into a thick layer in no time. It tends to grow and stick to the glass over time which gives Amano a hard time feeding on the spots since they are not built to feed on glass spots. 

Red algae

They appear to be red, reddish, purple, purplish, or reddish-purple. Although they happen to have similar cell walls to plants and use chlorophyll for photosynthesis, these are technically not considered plants. Red algae comprise microscopic organisms that can range from unicellular to multicellular organisms.  

Very few aquatics can eat and thrive on this algae. Amano shrimp may be one of, if not the only freshwater shrimps to feed on red algae, using their filter-feeding skills. 

Staghorn algae

In appearance, staghorn algae form long and bushy strings that stretch out. Since these algae display different tones of grey, it’s often confused with Black beard algae. However, it belongs to the family of red algae and it can also serve as a treat for Amanos when they are extremely starving. 

Although Amano shrimp are always generalised for their algae-eating abilities, Amanos are omnivorous and require a balanced diet. They should be supplemented for better nourishment, particularly when algae and detritus levels are insufficient. 

When Amanos are not in the presence of any algae for food intake, they can find nutrients from consuming other edibles such as: 

Dead Plant Matters 

For extra supplements, they feed on the parts of dead or decaying plants, stems that will otherwise accumulate at the bottom of the surface.  

Fish food and Shrimp food 

Amanos are very opportunistic gobblers. They will devour almost any commercial food fed to them. Amano shrimps love feasting on the varieties of fish and shrimp foods available out there such as algae wafers, fish flakes, shrimp flakes, shrimp pellet, fish pellet, fish food flakes etc. Almost all the freshwater aquatics such as shrimp, fish, crayfish, snails etc love these foods, Amano shrimp is one of them. 

Leftover Foods 

Amanos possess extremely enthusiastic characteristics. Being a scavenger, they are constantly and actively searching for supplements from any sources they may find. While foraging for nutrition, Amanos will eat the foods discarded by other fishes or shrimps, and the foods that are deposited from the previous treats of fish flakes, pellets, algae wafers etc on the bottom.   

Blanched Vegetables 

Blanched vegetables are another gourmet choice for Amanos’ diet. The vegetables such as Peas, Zucchini, Lettuce, Spinach, Broccolis, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Potatoes, Carrots etc serve excellent nutrients for the Amano shrimps. 

Vegetables are blanched by boiling them until they are soft (not cooked fully), about a few minutes for leafy and soft vegetables while a little longer for vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, zucchini etc. 

Other fish and shrimp 

Amanos’ also have a palate for dead fish, shrimps, worms and snails. Although they don’t usually prey on others of their size, Amano shrimp may sometimes eat the weak shrimps or baby shrimps of different species such as of Sakura Reds or Cherry Shrimps. Amano shrimp will also eat other dead Amanos. They also munch on their exoskeleton after the moulting period for extra calcium and other nutritional supplements. 

Waste From Fish and other Creatures  

Just like any other shrimps, Amano shrimp assess the faecal matter to look for the little bits of undigested food and nutrient content that they can assimilate into their nourishment. 

Amano Shrimp also relishes on moss balls and sponge filters because they are an excellent tool for capturing food particles. 

Naturally, Amanos consume and find nutritional benefits from within the aquarium but still, they require additional supplementation periodically. Since they amass a heavy appetite, the amount of extra food and nourishment for Amanos’ depends on the size of the aquarium and the density of shrimps. 

All in all, there is no limit to the unique agility and abilities of Amano Shrimps. And because of their proactive attitude to always stay active and constantly feed, Amano shrimps like all the other shrimps support the ecosystems by cycling nutrients and controlling nutrient outflows from ecosystems. They don’t let anything granted by nature go to waste. 

References and Citations:  

  1. Amano Shrimp | Care, Diet & Breeding – AquariumInfo.org. (n.d.). Aquarium Info. https://aquariuminfo.org/amanoshrimp.html
  2. Care, B. (2021, December 20). What Do Amano Shrimp Eat (And The Ideal Diet For Them). Betta Care Fish Guide. https://www.bettacarefishguide.com/what-do-amano-shrimp-eat-and-ideal-diet-for-them/
  3. M. (2021, August 1). Caresheet: Amano Shrimp | Caridina Multidentata. Aquariadise. https://www.aquariadise.com/spotlight-amano-shrimp/ 
  4. Do Amano Shrimp Eat Hair Algae? Guide on Amano and Algae. (2021, January 14). Urban Fishkeeping. https://urbanfishkeeping.com/do-amano-shrimp-eat-hair-algae/ 

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