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Whisker Shrimp Care, Diet, Lifespan, Habitat, And Breeding

Whisker Shrimp Care, Diet, Lifespan, Habitat, And Breeding

Get ready to shrimply adore these little guys! 

Whisker shrimp are popular little tank critters not only fascinating to look at, but also for their low maintenance. They make a great addition to any tank which is what we are going to talk about today.

We are going to dive into everything you need to know about caring for these shrimp, including their diet, lifespan, and even how to breed them. 

So, grab your fins and let’s get started on this shrimptastic journey!

Whisker Shrimp Species Overview

Whisker shrimp, also known as Macrobrachium Lanchesteri, are a species of freshwater shrimp that originate from Southeast Asia. More specifically, they originate from Peninsular Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, southern China, Java, and Indonesia.

These shrimp belong to the Palaemonidae family and the genus Macrobrachium.

But it’s not just their taxonomy that makes them special, these shrimp are also quite popular in the aquarium hobby. Their unique appearance, with their long whiskers and colorful stripes, makes them a fun addition to any tank. 

Plus, their ability to filter and clean the tank water makes them a helpful addition to your aquatic community.

So, if you’re looking for a shrimp that’s not only cute but also useful, you might want to consider adding a Whisker shrimp to your tank. 

Just be prepared for a lot of “oohs” and “ahhs” from your friends and family when they see these little shrimp in action!


whisker shrimp
Photo: hunts.tanks

Whisker shrimp are quite the lookers in the underwater world! 

These little crustaceans have a sleek and slender body that is usually transparent and vibrant shades of blue, green, and yellow. Their body greatly resembles the Ghost shrimp. 

But that’s not all, their whiskers are also quite the showstoppers. 

Whisker shrimp (Macrobrachium Lanchesteri) are so named because of their long, feathery antennae that look like whiskers! These whiskers serve as sensors, helping the shrimp to find food and navigate through its aquatic environment. They’re like the shrimp’s own personal antennae-powered GPS!

In terms of legs, these shrimp have 10 of them. They also have 2 antennae that they use to sense their surroundings and 2 eyes that can move independently of each other, giving them 360-degree vision.

They can change color to blend in with their surroundings or to make themselves more visible to potential mates. They also use this superpower to hide from predators. 


Whisker shrimp are tiny but mighty! These little crustaceans typically grow to be about 1-2 inches long. 

Additionally, their growth can be affected by factors such as water temperature, food availability, and even their own genetics. 

And, just like any other living thing, there are variations in size among male and female shrimp. 

Male Vs. Female Whisker Shrimp

In general, females tend to be slightly larger than males. 

The male Whisker shrimp are dashing with their larger antennae, perfect for wowing the ladies. 

Meanwhile, the female shrimp are multitaskers, sporting larger, plumper bodies. They are not just multitaskers, but also great at carrying a secret! They keep their yellow eggs tucked away safely under their plump, translucent bodies, ready to hatch when the time is right. 

These yellow eggs are like little treasures, waiting to hatch into tiny shrimp babies!

Both males and females can have some color variations, such as brown or greenish hues, due to the algae or other particles they’ve picked up in their environment.


Whisker shrimp are tiny underwater creatures known for their feisty personalities, ready to put up a fight if they feel threatened. They’re like the ninja warriors of the sea, fiercely protecting their homes and families from danger. 

Unlike other peaceful crustaceans, Whiskers are a bit more territorial and behave more aggressively when defending themselves. It’s all just part of being a shrimp that’s gotta do what it takes to survive!

Males are a bit more feisty than females, as they tend to push out any intruders from their cozy habitat. No aquarium critter dares to enter this shrimp’s territory!

These shrimp spend most of their time scurrying around the aquarium floor, searching for bits of food to munch on. 

In addition to their feisty temper, these shrimp can also be masters of hide-and-seek, just like the infamous Amano shrimp. They know how to blend in with their surroundings, tucking themselves away in crevices and caves to stay hidden from danger. 

However, when push comes to shove, these little guys will not back down, using their quick reflexes to fight for survival.


Whisker shrimp typically have a lifespan of 2-3 years in the wild, but with proper care in captivity, they can live for up to 5 years. There are several factors that can affect the lifespan of a whisker shrimp. 

In the wild, these shrimp face many challenges, such as predators, harsh weather conditions, and limited resources, which can shorten their lifespan. 

However, in captive environments, such as aquariums, these shrimp can thrive with the proper water conditions, a suitable diet, and adequate space to roam.

Another important factor is the presence of predators. Most of the shrimp species, including this one, are preyed upon by a wide variety of animals, including fish, octopuses, and even other shrimp. If they are able to avoid these predators, they will have a better chance of living a longer life.

Several diseases can significantly impact the lifespan of these shrimp both in the wild and in captivity.

Common Health Problems

In the wild, Whisker shrimp can be exposed to bacterial diseases or parasites that can cause illness and shorten their lifespan. 

In captive environments, such as aquariums, poor water quality, overstocking, and poor nutrition can increase the risk of disease and negatively impact their health. Poor water quality can lead to a variety of problems for the shrimp, such as stress, disease, and even death.

If not properly treated, diseases such as bacterial infections, fungal infections, and parasites can quickly spread and be fatal to this rather hardy species of shrimp. 

In addition, stress can lead to a number of health problems for whisker shrimp, including a decreased appetite, a weakened immune system, and even death.

It’s worth mentioning that these health problems can also affect other aquatic animals if the water quality is poor, the tank is overpopulated, or the shrimp is stressed. 

Whisker Shrimp Care Guide

In this guide, we’re going to dive deep into everything you need to know to keep your Whisker shrimp happy and healthy.

First, we’ll talk about diet and what these little shrimp like to munch on. From there, we’ll dive into the nitty-gritty of water and tank requirements. 

Trust us, your shrimp will thank you for getting this right!

Diet And Feeding Habits

Whisker shrimp are generally considered to be scavengers, feeding on whatever they can find, including dead fish, algae, and even other crustaceans.

They can also be fed a variety of foods such as algae, plankton, and frozen or dried foods specifically made for invertebrates.

They should be fed once or twice a day, depending on the size of the colony and the amount of food available. 

It is best to feed them small amounts of food, several times a day rather than one large feeding. It is also a good idea to give them bite-size pieces of food! 


Algae is definitely a shrimply delicious option! Whisker shrimp love munching on all kinds of algae, from the common green varieties to the more exotic types like red or brown algae.

And let’s not shrimply forget about wafers! These tasty treats are packed with all the nutrients your shrimp need to thrive.

But, is an algae and wafer diet a healthy option for your whisker shrimp? The short answer is yes! 

Algae is a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, while wafers provide a balanced mix of protein, fats, and carbohydrates. However, it is always a good idea to provide variety, as a varied diet is the key to a healthy and happy shrimp.

That being said, it’s important to keep in mind that overfeeding can lead to water pollution and health problems for your shrimp. 


Make mealtime fun for your Whisker shrimp by adding a delicious serving of plankton to their diet! This will give them the nutrients they need to stay healthy and happy.

Think of it as a tiny shrimp buffet, offering small bites of yummy plankton throughout the day with a pipette or dropper. No need for a huge feast, these little guys prefer smaller portions.

And the best part? You can easily find the perfect plankton supplement at your local pet store or even online.

Frozen Or Dried Food

Frozen or dried foods can be a tasty treat for your whisker shrimp, adding variety to their diet.

Meaty foods like brine shrimp or mysis shrimp, pack a protein punch and keep your little guys well fed and healthy.


In a well-maintained aquarium with a balanced and varied diet, Whisker shrimp should not require additional supplements or vitamins. However, there are certain situations where supplements can be beneficial.

For example, if your shrimp are exposed to high levels of stress, such as during breeding or molting, they may benefit from additional calcium and vitamins. 

Calcium is especially important for proper exoskeleton growth and a healthy molting process. It is typically added as a supplement in the form of a powder or liquid.

Water Requirements

whisker shrimp water parameters

Water quality and parameters are very important for the health and well-being of any shrimp species, including our lovely Whisker shrimp.

Water parameters are a big deal when it comes to caring for your Whisker shrimp. The perfect temperature and pH levels are the key to their superpowers!

A happy shrimp is a healthy shrimp, so let’s get those water parameters just right and keep those shrimp smiles coming!

Water Temperature:72-78°F
Water pH:6.5-8.5
Water Hardness:3-8 dGH
Water Quality:well-oxygenated and clean

High pH levels can be a problem for this shrimp, but there’s no need to worry! By keeping an eye on the pH in your tank and taking steps to lower it, you’ll create a welcoming and healthy environment.

Allowing a proper cycle to occur ensures a healthy environment for your aquatic friends and prevents any potential problems down the line. 

However, if you are in a hurry, you can do a quick tank cycle in 24 hours, but be prepared to be extra cautious. 

No ammonia or nitrite allowed, those are like kryptonite for your shrimp. 

And nitrates? Keep them low to maintain the shrimp’s superpowers. 

Whisker Shrimp Breeding 

These little critters may be fascinating to watch, but they are pretty difficult to breed in captivity. Don’t let that discourage you! 

With the right conditions and a little bit of patience, you can soon have your own colony of baby shrimp swimming around in your tank.

But before we dive into the Whisker shrimp breeding process, it is important to note that you will need the perfect water requirements for the shrimp to feel like mating and laying eggs. 

So, let’s get started and learn how to breed these little critters and make your tank a thriving shrimp community!

Natural Vs. Breeding In Captivity

In the wild, the female Whisker shrimp will release their eggs into the water where they are fertilized by the males. The eggs will then hatch into crustacean larvae which will eventually settle on the bottom and develop into adult shrimp.

In the wild, there are many environmental factors that can affect the survival rate of the young, such as predation, pollution, and other natural hazards.

However, in captivity, breeding can be accomplished year-round, as long as the water conditions are suitable for the shrimp. Additionally, the survival rate of the young will be much higher. 

The process of breeding in captivity is very similar to that of breeding in the wild. The female and male shrimp should be kept together. Males can mate with one or two female shrimp. The female will release her eggs into the water, where they will be fertilized by the males.

Get ready for a wild ride! It takes around 3 weeks for a bundle of joy to hatch from those fertilized eggs and turn into cute little baby shrimp. 

Tank Requirements And Tank Mates For Whisker Shrimp

When it comes to keeping Whisker shrimp, besides water parameters, one of the most important things to consider is the tank setup. 

This includes everything from the tank size, to the water parameters, to the type of substrate and plants you use, and even the tank mates you choose. 

So, let’s say a few words about tank specs.

Tank Parameters

To start, you can get a tank of 5 gallons. However, a small colony of shrimp may require a 10 gallon tank. And, if you’re planning on breeding whisker shrimp, a separate 10 gallon breeding tank is recommended. 

It’s also important to have a quarantine tank on hand to isolate new shrimp before introducing them to your regular tank. 

This helps to prevent the spread of any potential diseases or parasites.

Tank Plants

Adding plants to a shrimp tank is like adding a little bit of nature to your home, it’s just so fun and peaceful!

When it comes to adding plants to a Whisker shrimp tank, there are a few options to choose from:

These plants not only provide a natural habitat and hiding spots for the shrimp, but they also help to oxygenate the water and keep it clean.

And the best part, these plants will benefit other fish too by providing oxygen and shade. 

Tank Substrate

When it comes to choosing a substrate for a Whisker shrimp tank, there are a few options to consider. Tank substrate can be anything from gravel to sand, and it can affect water chemistry and the overall health of the shrimp.

If you want your shrimp to have a little more grip on the bottom of the tank, go for a coarse substrate like gravel. Additionally, if you’re looking for a traditional look, gravel is a great choice, plus it is easy to clean. 

However, if you want to create a softer, more natural environment, sand is a great choice. Also, if you want a more natural-looking environment, choose sand. 

Some people like the way dark substrate makes the shrimp’s transparent body and colors pop, while others prefer a lighter substrate to show off the shrimp’s natural coloring.

No matter what you choose, just make sure it’s the right size for your shrimp, so they don’t get stuck or hurt. 

Tank Mates

Perhaps one of the most important things to consider when keeping these shrimp is their tank mates. 

Keepin’ it solo is best for these Whisker shrimp! Instead of living the lonely life, one male with many females is the way to go. They may not get along with other shrimp species such as Blue Jellies, as they may get territorial towards them.

But beware, these guys love to compete for food with their tank buddies, so make sure they are well-fed to avoid any fighting.

Some of the compatible tank mates include:

Even though they are notorious for being a bit feisty, these shrimp are generally peaceful creatures and won’t do any harm to others as long as they are not being attacked. 

In Conclusion 

Whisker Shrimp are fascinating creatures with personality and charm! They bring a unique touch to any freshwater aquarium with their unique behavior, territorial nature, and transparent appearance. 

With the right setup, diet, and water parameters, these little guys can thrive and live a long, healthy life. 

Just remember, when shopping for your new shrimp, make sure to get them from a reliable source and inspect them for any signs of disease.