13 Shrimp Jar Aquarium Ideas For All Skill Levels!

Shrimp jars are a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to dive into the shrimp-keeping hobby while honing your aquascaping skills.

Many people struggle with aquascaping inspiration so I published this article on shrimp jar ideas.

I’ve included options for all skill levels and tastes, ensuring there’s something for everyone.

The table below, from my article on the best plants for shrimp tanks, will help with plant selection.

Java MossMediumEasyHardscape
Bolbitis HeduelotiiSlowEasyBackground
Limnophila SessilifloraVery FastEasyBackground
Red Root FloatersMediumEasySurface
Rotala RotundifoliaFastEasyBackground
The Best Plants For A Shrimp Tank

Beginner-Friendly Shrimp Jar Ideas

A Basic Shrimp Bowl
A Basic Shrimp Bowl

Beginners should start with these beginner-friendly shrimp jar ideas. Although they might seem challenging, they are surprisingly easy to build, even for those new to the hobby.

Finding jars large enough to accommodate the hardscape can be tricky. Many people use old pickle jars to save money, but you can also purchase purpose-built terrarium jars for your jarrarium.

Depending on your plant selection, you may need a nutrient-rich substrate for your live plants, but you can often substitute it with root tabs or liquid fertilizer.

Topsoil is one of the best substrate options for shrimp jars provided you can cap it with a thin layer of sand or gravel similar to the Walstad method.

Small pieces of driftwood and rock should work perfectly for hardscape.

A Beginner-Friendly Shrimp Jar
A Beginner-Friendly Shrimp Jar

When selecting plants for this type of shrimp jar, it’s best to focus on low-light plants, as lighting issues are common for beginners.

I recommend starting with two to four of the following plants:

  • Rotala Rotundifolia
  • Bacopa Caroliniana
  • Staurogyne Repens
  • Bucephalandra
  • Cryptocoryne Lutea Hobbit
  • Cryptocoryne Parva

All of these plants are easy to maintain and thrive in shrimp jars. However, they will need trimming once or twice a month to manage their growth.

Walstad Shrimp Jar Ideas

A Walstad Shrimp Jar
A Walstad Shrimp Jar

Walstad shrimp jars are an excellent way to dive into the jarrarium hobby, utilizing a simple and affordable system that promotes plant growth.

While many agree that Walstad-style setups are beginner-friendly, there are specific considerations to ensure success.

These include selecting the right topsoil for your nutrient layer, using minimal hardscape, choosing appropriate plants, and getting the capping layer right.

For those interested in the Walstad approach, I have a detailed article on how I set up my first Walstad shrimp jar, which can provide valuable insights.

A Walstad Shrimp Jar
A Walstad Shrimp Jar

Selecting the right plants for a Walstad setup is crucial as these plants absorb excess nutrients in the water column keeping your shrimp safe.

Fast-growing stem plants are perfect for this and these are my favorites:

  • Limnophila Sessiliflora
  • Hygrophila Polysperma
  • Rotala Rotundifolia
  • Hygrophila Rosanervig
  • Rotala Orange Juice

Plant 40-60% of the tank with these fast-growing stem plants to effectively manage the nitrogen compounds in your jar.

Don’t worry about your shrimp; they will love grazing on the horizontal space provided by the plants, which also help naturally purify the water in your jar.

For the remaining planting space, consider these supplementary plants:

  • Staurogyne Repens
  • Bucephalandra
  • Cryptocoryne x Willisii
  • Cryptocoryne Petchii
  • Cryptocoryne Lutea Hobbit
  • Cryptocoryne Parva
  • Eleocharis Acicularis
  • Eleocharis Pusilla

I have an article on different anubias types but anubias petite is perfect for this type of jarrarium.

While some people view floating plants as optional in Walstad-style tanks, I consider them essential. I discuss my thoughts on popular floating plants in this article but salvinia and red root floaters are perfect.

Jungle Style Shrimp Jar Ideas

A Jungle Style Shrimp Jar
A Jungle Style Shrimp Jar

Jungle-style shrimp jars often begin with a neat, floor-level jungle appearance but eventually take on the wild, untamed look characteristic of jungle aquascapes.

While you can trim the plants to maintain the initial tidy look, this can be quite time-consuming. Most people prefer to let the plants compete for light and space, allowing them to grow freely.

One of the best aspects of this type of shrimp jar is that the commonly used plants thrive in low-light conditions.

This means you can use a cheap USB light for your jar and still achieve excellent plant growth, making it a very popular option in the hobby.

A Jungle Style Shrimp Jar With Driftwood
A Jungle Style Shrimp Jar With Driftwood

Another great advantage of this type of shrimp jar is the option to use epiphyte plants, eliminating the need for a nutrient-rich substrate. These plants feed directly from the water column and attach to hardscape.

While you may need to add nutrients to the tank through other means, a cheap liquid fertilizer is often sufficient for maintaining an epiphyte plant jungle shrimp jar.

If the idea of an epiphyte-style jungle appeals to you, here are some plant suggestions for medium to large jars:

  • Microsorum Pteropus Trident
  • Microsorum Pteropus Windelov
  • Bucephalandra Theia Green
  • Bucephalandra Sintang
  • Bucephalandra Red Scorpio
  • Bucephalandra Kedagang
  • Anubias Angustifolia
  • Anubias Nana Petite
  • Java Moss

Both Microsorum Pteropus varieties can grow large enough to fill a small to medium-sized jar, so they are recommended for larger jars. The rest of the plants should work well in most medium to large shrimp jars.

Zen Shrimp Jar Ideas

Zen Aquarium Idea

Zen shrimp jars can be a wonderful project for those seeking a relaxing, low-maintenance hobby they can enjoy over time.

The concept is inspired by traditional zen gardens, adapted into an aquascape. Most zen shrimp jars feature a pale substrate, dark rocks, and minimal planting. However, as I mentioned in my article on zen aquarium ideas, there are several ways to create a zen aquarium.

For example, using a slow-growing stem plant like Bacopa Caroliniana means it will only require trimming once every two to three months.

Others prefer plants that allow for more regular maintenance. Here are some options:

  • Limnophila Sessiliflora
  • Hygrophila Polysperma
  • Rotala Rotundifolia
  • Eleocharis Acicularis

Your choice of plants for a zen shrimp jar will depend on the amount of time and effort you want to invest. These jars can make for a beautiful and serene project to try.

Bonsai Shrimp Jar Ideas

bonsai tree aquarium idea

Bonsai shrimp tanks are an advanced type of aquascape requiring significant skill and effort, so I don’t recommend them for beginners.

Despite their unique and captivating appearance often showcased on social media, they shouldn’t be your first project.

As I discussed in my article on bonsai tree aquarium ideas, the driftwood used for the bonsai tree trunk can cost $50 or more, even for a small piece suitable for a jar.

When you factor in the additional costs associated with this type of shrimp jar, the total can exceed $200, making a full shrimp tank a more practical option.