Do Shrimp Need A Filter In Their Aquarium?

Most shrimp tanks don’t need a filter due to their low bioload not causing problems with their water parameters.

Fast-growing stem and floating plants can easily maintain safe and stable water parameters allowing your shrimp to thrive.

Do Shrimp Need A Filter?

do shrimp need a filter
My Shrimp Tank Without A Filter

Most shrimp tanks don’t have to have a filter as fast-growing plants can easily maintain safe and stable water parameters for your shrimp.

I have a dedicated article on the best plants for the Walstad method that features plants that work well in filterless tanks.

My filterless shrimp tank shown in the photograph at the start of this section relies on Rotala Rotundifolia and Salvinia to maintain safe and stable water parameters.

Both are cheap, easy to find, and easy to keep making them perfect options for this type of aquarium.

As I mentioned in my article on the best plants for a shrimp tank, Rotala Rotundifolia and Salvania are great additions to shrimp tanks.

They increase the available surface area in your shrimp tank helping to provide grazing areas and hiding spots helping to keep your shrimp well fed and relaxed.

Pros Of Using A Filter In Your Shrimp Tank

Shrimp In My Tank Without A Filter
Shrimp In My Tank Without A Filter

Just because shrimp tanks don’t need a filter, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use one anyway.

If you are a beginner then a filter offers peace of mind and serves as a backup to ensure water parameters stay within expected ranges.

Another advantage of some filters is that they can provide excellent mechanical filtration helping to remove particles from your water that may make the tank look dirty.

Most filters will provide surface disturbance in your aquarium helping to oxygenate your tank and provide dissolved oxygen for your shrimp to breathe.

A surprising amount of biofilm grows on sponge filters offering additional grazing spots for your shrimp.

Cons Of Using A Filter In Your Shrimp Tank

Shrimp In One Of My Tanks With A Filter
Shrimp In One Of My Tanks With A Filter

Filters can have downsides too, especially when it comes to shrimp tanks.

The most common problem with non-air-powered filters is shrimp getting into the water intake.

This results in shrimp getting crushed in the impeller of the filter and although prefilter sponges can reduce this risk, baby shrimplets can get through and get crushed.

An easy way to overcome this issue is to stick with cheap air-powered filters like sponge or box filters with sponge filters being my preferred option.

Another downside of using a filter in your shrimp tank is the additional cost. Many people new to the hobby are on a budget and want things to be as cheap as possible.

Thankfully, cheap sponge filters with USB air pumps are around $20 keeping costs low.

Some filters can add a high or moderate flow to your aquarium stressing shrimp and reducing the breeding yields of the tank.

Another potential downside is the noise created with this being more of an issue in bedrooms as it can make it difficult to sleep.

Alternatives To Filters For Shrimp Tanks

The best alternative to using a filter in your shrimp tank is live plants with fast-growing stem plants and floating plants being the best options.

Both plant categories have a rapid growth rate causing them to use up large amounts of the ammonium and nitrate in your aquarium.

This helps maintain safe and stable water parameters for your shrimp and prevents any problems from occurring.

Floating plants like Salvinia, Red Root Floaters, and Amazing Frogbit also block out light from the surface helping some species of shrimp feel safer in the tank.

I often find my shrimp hanging upside down on the floating plants in their tank grazing on algae, biofilm, and trapped food.

Stem plants like Rotala, Limnophelia, and Hygrophila are all excellent options for submerged plants in your shrimp tank.

They help provide submerged hiding spots and grazing areas for your shrimp while naturally purifying your tank water to keep shrimp safe.