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Do Shrimp Need A Filter?

The popularity of keeping shrimp as pets or as part of your aquarium clean up crew is on the rise with more and more people taking to adding either cherry shrimp or neon yellow shrimp to their tanks due to their bright colors and various benefits that they offer your tank.

In addition to that, 1 gallon shrimp tanks are very popular right now as is breeding your own shrimp for your tanks too.

As you can probably guess, with shrimp seeing such a large surge in their popularity right now, the number of people reaching out to ask various questions about taking care of their shrimp is also on the rise.

We have noticed more and more people reaching out to specifically ask if shrimp need a filter over the last couple of months so we have decided to publish our own dedicated article going over the topic.

This is partly due to seeing so many people reaching out to ask about the filter requirements for a shrimp tank as well as much of the information that we see on social media about the topic actually being incorrect.

Our hope is that our article will be able to help as many of our readers as possible with our table of contents below offering a quick and easy way for our readers to navigate the article with ease too.

Do Shrimp Need A Filter?

Although shrimp can technically survive for a short period of time without having a filter in their tank, we would highly recommend that you do take the time to either add a biological filter or a mechanical filter to the tank.

This will ensure that your shrimp will live for as long as possible as well as have a happy life while going about their business of keeping your tank clean by eating detritus, algae, and discarded fish food.

The majority of people usually just go with a cheap mechanical filter for their shrimp tanks and these really do work great and can easily do the job.

Some people do like to set up a planted shrimp tank and use natural, biological filters though and although this is a little more difficult and takes more time, the aquascapes possible with the live plants really can catch the eye.

We actually have a dedicated article on how to set up a shrimp tank with biological filters that can help you quickly and easily set your own tank up using those methods.

The short version of that article is to plant your tank with Amazon Swordplant, Echinodorus major, Pygmy Chain Sword, Echinodorus, Dwarf Sag, and Dwarf Baby Tears to take advantage of their natural filtering properties while also mixing the plants to create your own, unique, beautiful aquascape.

“Red Cherry Shrimp” by Solomonic is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

Can Shrimp Live Without Filter?

Shrimp can live within a tank for a very short period of time without having any type of filter but this will usually drastically reduce their lifespan.

Some people will make their own custom planted tanks that use live plants for the filtering process so don’t need to use a mechanical filter with some people classing this as a filterless tank although the plants are technically the filter for the aquarium.

Setting up these biological planted tanks that use live plants such as Amazon Swordplant and Pygmy Chain Sword as the filter for the aquarium is becoming increasingly popular too due to their unique looks often helping photographs and videos of them go viral within the aquarium keeping communities.

This is also partly due to people saying that it was not possible to setup a natural filter for shrimp tanks using live plants but a huge number of people have proven that this can be done over the last two decades.

As more and more people start to use these natural filter systems for their shrimp tanks, the methods become more refined making it easier than it used to be too.

This is why so many people are switching over from using a mechanical filter to using live plants as the filter systems for their shrimp tanks and we only expect this trend to continue to increase over the coming years.

Do Shrimps Like Filters?

Most shrimp are totally fine with having a mechanical filter in their tank but some smaller aquariums can have problems with water flow if you have a high powered filter.

This can then make it difficult for your shrimp to move around their tank as they wish and can result in issues further down the line but most shrimp don’t care about having a filter in their tank.

As we mentioned earlier in the article, the majority of people do still use a cheap mechanical filter for their aquariums with the number of people using live plants such as Dwarf Sag and Dwarf Baby Tears as a biological filter in their tank increasing rapidly.

It does appear that shrimp may like biological filters more than mechanical filters as they don’t cause problems with water flow, vibrations, or noise in their tank either.

One think that we would point out is that it is totally normal for some shrimp species to feed on the live plants in their aquarium that you use as a filter.

This does not mean that your shrimp do not like their filter plants but that they are simply eating the decaying parts of the plants.

Detritus is a large part of the diet for many shrimp so it is only natural for them to go off and look for decaying plant life as a source of food but it is rare that they will eat healthy live plants.


That brings our article going over if shrimp need a filter in their aquarium or not. We hope that we have been able to help you understand that shrimp do need a filter system to live a long and happy life in captivity but this filter system does not have to be a mechanical filter. Biological filters made of different types of live plants are becoming increasingly popular and we doubt that they are going to drop in popularity anytime soon due to how many people are switching over from mechanical filters to biological filters for shrimp tanks.