Best Whisker Shrimp Care: Tank, Lifespan, Food

Whisker Shrimp are freshwater shrimp that have semi-transparent bodies. They look like Ghost Shrimp, but they are thicker and have longer bodies. Whisker Shrimp are a bit aggressive and can bully other aquarium shrimp. Here’s everything you need to know about Whisker Shrimp’s care.

NameWhisker Shrimp
Other NamesIndian Whisker Shrimp
Scientific NameMacrobrachium sp.
Tank Size10 gallons (minimum)
Size1 – 2 inches
Optimal Temperature70°F – 88°F
Optimal PH6.5 – 7.5 (6.0 – 8.0)
Optimal GH6 – 8 (<15)
Optimal KH2 – 6 (<11)
Optimal TDS150 – 200 (100-300)
NitrateLess than 20 ppm
Lifespan1-2 years
Whisker Shrimp Overview

Whisker Shrimp Appearance

Whisker shrimps have a translucent grayish body, tail, and torso. Sometimes you can see through their bodies and see their insides. These shrimp have 7 to 9 dorsal teeth that protrude from their rostrum. There are also 5 to 9 ventral teeth. A whisker shrimp uses these teeth to attack prey. In Whisker Shrimp, the males are usually smaller than the females.

Whisker Shrimp Behavior

Whisper shrimp are aggressive and attack and eat other shrimp, small fish, or sick fish. Some suggest that the best tank mates for Whisker Shrimp are aquarium snails. Others recommend keeping the Whisker Shrimp well-fed so that it won’t attack smaller tank mates. Always monitor the tank to see what’s happening and make adjustments accordingly.

Whisker Shrimp Size

Whisper Shrimp usually grow to a size of 2 inches in length.

Whisker Shrimp Lifespan

The average lifespan of Whisper Shrimp in captivity is 1-2 years.

Whisker Shrimp Tank Size

Whisker Shrimp can live in different aquarium sizes. Small tanks between 5-10 gallons are suitable for keeping a small colony. But, a 20-gallon tank allows for more shrimp, more activity, and easier management.

Whisker Shrimp Water Parameters

Like most shrimp, whisker shrimp need pristine water conditions to survive. Regular cleaning of the tank, testing, and partial water changes are important. Unclean water, build-up of nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia are lethal to whisker shrimp. Try to maintain the following optimal water parameters to match their natural habitat:

  • Water Temperature: 72 – 82 Degrees Fahrenheit is ideal.
  • Aquarium pH: Varies/Adaptable.
  • Aquarium Lighting:  Normal fish tank lighting.

Whisker Shrimp Diet & Feeding

Whisker shrimp will eat small live fish and other shrimp. However, they are omnivores and scavengers so they also eat organic matter. For example, algae.

While Whisker Shrimp spend most of their time scavenging for food on the aquarium bottom, they also enjoy eating Marino Moss Balls, shrimp food, and blanched vegetables. These shrimp will also eat crab and lobster bites. Aim for food that does not break apart easily.

Whisker Shrimp are voracious eaters and will turn to the live species in your tank if they are not well-fed. That being said, avoid overfeeding the shrimp because excess food will mess up your tank’s water quality.

Whisker Shrimp Reproduction

It is possible to breed whisker shrimp in an aquarium. However, in order for reproduction to be successful, you need specific water conditions and a separate tank.

The whisker shrimp breeding tank should be between 65 and 82 °F (18.3 and 27.8 °C). One male and one or two females are enough to encourage mating.

Female whisker shrimp produce eggs when the water temperature is ideal. They carry the eggs on their swimmers waiting for the male to fertilize the eggs. Once fertilization occurs, separate the male from the female. Whisker shrimp eggs usually hatch in about 3 weeks.

Whisker Shrimp vs Ghost Shrimp

Whisker shrimps have an appearance similar to that of the ghost shrimp. However, they are longer and wider than ghost shrimp. Ghost shrimp have orange bands on their feelers or front legs while whisker shrimp do not. Whisker shrimps also have longer feelers than ghost shrimps.

ghost shrimp vs whisker shrimp
ghost shrimp vs whisker shrimp


A Whisker Shrimp is more aggressive than Ghost Shrimp. They will often harass Ghost Shrimp if kept together in the same tank. Whisker Shrimp can also be aggressive with other small species of shrimp and small fish.