Can Seahorses Be Kept With Shrimp? Best Shrimp For Seahorses.

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Seahorses require tankmates that are similarly natured and won’t harm them or outcompete them for food. One possible tankmate is shrimp, but can these crustaceans co-exist with docile fish like seahorses? Is this partnership even safe?

Shrimp can be successfully kept in a seahorse aquarium provided you choose the right shrimp type that is compatible with the sensitive nature of seahorses. The right pairing will result in these tankmates co-existing allowing for a mutually beneficial relationship.

Shrimp is quite a common tankmate for seahorses and many hobbyists chose these crustaceans as a part of their species-specific tanks.

These invertebrates make for beneficial tankmates for seahorses and they add a lot of color, personality, and interaction to an aquarium.

With such as huge range of marine shrimp species to choose from, you need the right type of shrimp to enhance your seahorse aquarium.

The wrong shrimp species can leave your seahorses susceptible to attack since some shrimp are highly territorial and aggressive.

You should choose the right species if you want peaceful inhabitants and co-existence.

Choosing The Right Shrimp For Seahorse Tanks.

Even though shrimp are not overly aggressive by nature, there are only a few that possess qualities that make them suitable tankmates for a seahorse aquarium.

When choosing the right type of shrimp you should consider the following:

Most Suitable

Always look for shrimp that are most suitable to the nature of seahorses. You looking for shrimp that are peaceable, easygoing, and friendly to other tank inhabitants.

Avoid aggressive shrimp like the mantis shrimp which can easily devour seahorses. You basically looking for compatible shrimp that are willing to co-exist peaceably.

Right Size

Choosing shrimp with the right size is also important. Seahorses love shrimp in fact shrimp makes up most of their diet.

If you choose smaller shrimp as tankmates chances are that these ponies will attack and eat them.

For them to not consider the shrimp as prey get shrimp that are larger and can be kept safely without the potential of falling prey.


Shrimp are very beneficial to saltwater aquariums and they help a lot in the maintenance. However, choosing the right shrimp to get the job done is important.

Some shrimp may prefer to scavenge on leftovers, some may prefer to groom other tankmates while some may prefer to feed off algae.

Choosing a variety of different species is best for all-around maintenance, depending on what’s needed in your aquarium.

Best Shrimp For Seahorse Tanks.

Peppermint Shrimp.

The Peppermint Shrimp (Lysmata wurdemanni) is a smaller saltwater invertebrate, reaching about 2 inches (5 cm) in size as an adult.

Peppermint Shrimp have transparent bodies with red stripes all over, they are fairly common and can be bought for around $5 to $10 dollars.

Peppermint shrimps make for an amazing addition to seahorse tanks, provided that you know how to take care of them.

These shrimp eat creepy parasites like Aiptasia( rock anemones) and numerous other pests that affect the general condition of your aquarium.

Due to their diet, these shrimp will maintain the cleanliness of your aquarium, thus reducing the need for aquarium pesticides.

They are great for species-specific tanks like seahorse tanks and will greatly benefit them in co-existing peaceably while keeping their environment clean.

Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp.

The scarlet skunk cleaner shrimp is another firm favorite that many seahorse enthusiasts add to their tanks.

These stunning decorator shrimp add a lot of diversity and personality to just about any aquarium.

They are bright yellow and red that can add a splash of color to your seahorse aquarium.

These guys are known for grooming and cleaning tankmates removing ectoparasites or tissue that are freely hanging.

They are sure to keep your seahorses clean and well taken care of but can become too much for seahorses to deal with.

Overall these are good tankmates for seahorses and you can always keep an eye on them if they become too obsessive over cleaning your ponies.

Tiger Pistol Shrimp.

The tiger pistol shrimp is one of the most popular pistol shrimp in the marine aquarium hobby.

It has a peaceful temperament, is inexpensive, and is great for beginners due to its low maintenance requirements.

They are great for seahorses (except dwarfs) and will grow to around 2-2,5in (6cm). They boast vibrant colors, featuring a striking combination of orange and white patterns on their body.

These tiger pistol shrimp are carnivores feeding on mysis shrimp and other meaty goodness.

They may also eat detritus and macroalgae and will scavenge on whatever is around them.

These are great occupants for seahorse tanks as they will take care of the leftover food that has fallen to the sandbed.

Spotted Cleaner Shrimp (For Dwarf Seahorses)

The spotted cleaner shrimp is a type of cleaner shrimp that is quite small making them great tankmates for dwarf seahorses.

They have a transparent body patterned with brown and white saddle-shaped markings.

They grow to about an inch(2,5cm) which is quite small but they are cute and easy to care for.

They are very hardy and also act as cleaner shrimp. They should not be paired with larger seahorse species since they can be preyed upon.

Rather they are ideal fits for smaller seahorses like dwarfs (Hippocampus zosterae) and they will co-exist peaceably while helping to maintain the aquarium and tankmates.

Requirements For Keeping Shrimp.

1. Sufficient Tank Space 5. Maintenance Equipment
2. Proper Filter6. Lighting
3. Stable Water Parameters7. Thermometer
4. Decor8. Heater/cooler

Apart from the basic setup of an aquarium, shrimp have other special requirements which are substrate, aquascape, and marine plants.

Let’s take a closer look!


Shrimp are bottom dwellers and will require a suitable sandbed of about 2 inches in depth for them to inhabit.

Even though it’s not a need it is recommended that you provide a substrate bottom when keeping shrimp making sure they are kept comfortable.

Our favorite is the Seachem Flourite Black Gravel which is ideal for seahorses and shrimp. Its deep black pigment allows the colors of these tankmates to pop.

The substrate also adds many benefits to an aquarium by housing beneficial bacteria, allowing for marine plants to grow, and shelter invertebrates and it adds to the aquarium’s aesthetic.

Checkout, our recommended substrates that are great for all aquariums and are perfect for seahorses.


Aquascaping is the arrangement of plants, rocks, and stones to form an aesthetically pleasing centerpiece that houses shrimp.

This is important when keeping shrimp since shrimp needs hiding places to keep safe whenever they feel threatened.


Plants are not a need but it’s advised that you add a few marine plants when keeping shrimp since it provides a lot of hiding places.

These marine plants provide a nice natural habit for shrimp to thrive in.

Make sure the plants you are adding are safe for all occupants within the tank, since shrimp may much on them every now and again.

Benefits Of Keeping Shrimp.

Shrimp don’t just make good tankmates, they also form a pretty good clean-up that greatly assists in aquarium maintenance.

There are also many benefits to keeping shrimp in an aquarium, these benefits include:

1. Shrimp feed on algae which can be a nuisance in a saltwater aquarium if left unattended. This reduces the maintenance required.

2. Shrimp feed of the leftover food that falls to the bottom of the tank. This is very important for seahorse tanks since these guys eat often and are messy eaters.

There are often a lot of food particles floating around, these shrimp can help keep detritus down.

3. Shrimp also groom tankmates, they can help assist seahorses in removing ectoparasites and other debris that may have attached to the body of a seahorse.

4. Shrimp also feeds on anemones (aiptasia) which can enter your aquarium hidden inside of live rock.

This kind of anemone is an invasive species that are pests. They can also sting seahorses hurting or stressing them.

Fortunately, the addition of shrimp can help get rid of these pests.

5. Shrimp also reproduce regularly in an aquarium producing huge amounts of larval nauplii which serves as a great food source for seahorses.

6. Shrimp helps keep water paramaters in check since they consume organics and waste before it breaks down to harmful ammonia which is toxic to seahorses.

7. Lastly, these crustaceans provide a great aesthetic for a seahorse aquarium providing interaction and lots of personality.

Potential Risks To Consider.

Seahorses really do best when kept in a species-specific tank, it’s the safest option but not always the most sought out option.

There’s always a certain level of risk that one attains when keeping other occupants with seahorses.

Likewise when keeping shrimp with seahorses such risks include;

1. Shrimp are scavengers and will munch on probably anything, chances are they will feed off coral and macroalgae if you decide to add them to your aquarium.

2. Adding the wrong shrimp may result in an unsuitable pairing which can open the door to all sorts of aggression within an aquarium.

There are some shrimp that are highly aggressive and should never share the same tank as seahorses.

There are also some types of shrimp that are too small and fragile to be tankmates with seahorses, in such cases, the seahorse seeks them as prey totally consuming them.

3. Large shrimp can outcompete seahorses for food leaving them in a compromised state which can lead to their decline.

4. Some shrimp species breed rapidly which may become problematic.

5. Since some shrimp are very small they can get sucked up by the intake of your filter. Preventative measures must be set in place.

Final Thoughts.

Shrimp are great for seahorse tanks as they have the potential to form a mutually beneficial relationship.

While shrimp are keeping the tank clean, seahorses are expelling food particles through their vacuum snouts as a food source for them.

This win-win situation is great and ideal for this pairing.

Provided you match the right shrimp with the appropriate seahorse, you shouldn’t have any issues.

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