Whisker Shrimp – Complete Guide [2023]

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Written By Elliot Galindo

Elliot Galindo is a highly educated expert on freshwater shrimp and their care as pets. He received his Bachelor's degree in marine biology from the University of Oregon and has used that knowledge to become an authority on shrimp care.

Fact Checked by
Sheldon Myers, MS / Aquarist

Whisker shrimp, also known as Malaysian trumpet shrimp, are a type of freshwater shrimp characterized by their transparent bodies and elongated antennae. They are larger and have longer antennae than ghost shrimp and lack the orange bands seen on ghost shrimp’s antennae. With over 240 species, the Whisker shrimp genus is known for its high degree of genetic variation. While some species live in saltwater or estuaries, the majority are found in freshwater habitats, particularly in countries like Malaysia, Thailand, and Myanmar, and they are also one of the most common species found in Laos.

Scientific name: Macrobrachium Lanchesteri
Also known as: Whisker Shrimp
Origin: Peninsular Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, southern China, Java, and Indonesia
Size: 1-2 inches
Life expectancy: 1-2 years
Color: Clear/Grey
Diet: Omnivore
Temperament: Aggressive
Minimum tank size: 5 gallons
Temperature: 75–85°F
pH: 6.5–8.5
Hardness: 4.0–14.0 dGH
Care level: Intermediate

Care for Whisker Shrimp

The Whisker Shrimp is a popular choice among aquarium hobbyists due to its low-maintenance nature and ease of care. As a bottom-dwelling creature, it is comfortable in the lower levels of the aquarium. To ensure optimal health and growth, a freshwater tank with temperatures between 75 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit and a pH range of 6.5 to 8.5 is required. These conditions will provide the Whisker Shrimp with the ideal environment to thrive.

Size of Whisker Shrimp

Whisker Shrimps usually grow to a length of 1 inch at the small end and 2 inches at the large end during their lifetimes.

Diet and Food

The Whisker Shrimp is known as a “scavenger” by aquarium hobbyists because it is an aggressive eater that spends much of its time at the bottom of the tank consuming various types of food, including algae, small pieces of fish or shrimp, and commercial shrimp pellets. This shrimp can also eat a variety of other foods such as flake foods, Hikari crab and lobster bites, Shirakura shrimp foods, sinking stick food for shrimp, spinach, cucumber, Mosura seafood food, and Borneo wild Shrimp food. Due to its scavenging nature, it helps to keep the tank clean by eating leftovers and other debris.


A Whisker Shrimp can live for 1 to 2 years on average with proper care. This includes providing them with appropriate water conditions such as a freshwater tank with temperatures between 75 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit and a pH range of 6.5 to 8.5, as well as a varied diet of foods such as algae, small pieces of fish or shrimp, and commercial shrimp pellets. Additionally, regular water changes and tank maintenance can also help to ensure their longevity.

Tank Dimensions

Whisker shrimp are small freshwater shrimp that typically grow to a size of 1-2 inches, so they do not require a large tank. A 10-gallon tank is suitable for a small group of these shrimp, as long as it is set up properly with the appropriate water conditions. It is important to note that the more shrimp you keep together the more bioload your tank will have and the more water changes and maintenance will be required. It’s recommended to have one gallon of water per shrimp.

It’s also important to make sure that the tank has a properly functioning filtration system to keep the water clean and maintain the appropriate water chemistry. Additionally, it’s important to include plenty of hiding spots, such as rocks, caves, and plants, for the shrimp to retreat to and feel secure.

Tank configuration

Whisker shrimp can survive in a well-lit tank but it’s important to note that too much light can lead to algae growth, which can make it harder to keep the tank clean. It’s best to provide some shaded areas for the shrimp.

It’s important to keep in mind that shrimp are very sensitive to changes in their environment, so it’s best to avoid making drastic changes to the aquarium features. The use of a proper filtration system is important to maintain clean and safe water conditions for the shrimp to grow and survive.

Whisker shrimp are versatile creatures that can be kept in any aquarium with any substrate without any special care or maintenance needed. They can live in a variety of environments, including aquarium dirt, gravel, and sand. This allows you to have complete control over the appearance of your tank and choose the best substrate for your plants to thrive.

Whisker Shrimp Breeding

Breeding Whisker Shrimp can be challenging for many hobbyists. It requires specific tank conditions and a bit of patience. To successfully breed Whisker Shrimp, the following steps should be taken:

  • The temperature of the tank water should be set between 65 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Male and female shrimp must be kept in the same aquarium. Male shrimp typically grow larger than female shrimp. If both females have eggs in their swimmerets, one male can mate with both.
  • The female should be removed from the tank and placed in another tank before the male can fertilize the eggs. It’s important to handle the female with care as stressed females are more likely to abandon their eggs.
  • Young shrimp should develop in 21 to 24 days after fertilized eggs are laid.

It’s important to keep in mind that breeding Whisker Shrimp is not an easy task, especially for new enthusiasts. It requires a lot of patience and attention to detail. It’s best to start with a small group of shrimp, and as you gain experience, you can try breeding them in larger numbers.

Female or male Whisker Shrimp

Whisker Shrimp, like many other shrimp species, has some differences in the physical characteristics between males and females. Male shrimps are often physically smaller than females, and the presence of small, spherical green eggs beneath the female shrimp’s tail is a clear indication of her gender. This is a common characteristic in shrimp species, the females are usually larger and have the ability to carry eggs, while the males are smaller and do not have this ability. This difference in size and reproductive ability is something that sets Whisker Shrimp apart from other shrimp species.

Whisker Shrimp Illness

Sickness and disease in Whisker Shrimp can often be caused by poor water conditions or unsanitary environments. These shrimp are sensitive to changes in their environment, and if the water is contaminated or the tank is not cleaned regularly, they can become susceptible to fungal and bacterial infections. Some common symptoms of disease in Whisker Shrimp include:

  • Clamped fins
  • Loss of appetite
  • White or cloudy eyes
  • Discoloration of the body
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Unusual growths on the body
  • Dead shrimp

It’s important to keep a close eye on your shrimp and to take action if you notice any of these symptoms. Regular water changes and tank maintenance can help to prevent disease and ensure the health of your shrimp. If you suspect your shrimp may be sick, it’s best to quarantine them and seek advice from an aquarium expert.


Vorticella is a protozoan, not a fungus, that can be found in a variety of aquatic environments including freshwater. It is known to attach itself to other hosts such as plants, driftwood, rocks, and animals.

It is important to note that not all Vorticella species can be found in freshwater and the treatment method may vary depending on the species. A salt bath is one method that can be used to treat Vorticella. However, it’s important to consult an expert in order to determine the appropriate concentration and duration of the salt bath.

Permanganate acid, also known as potassium permanganate, is another treatment option for Vorticella. It is a water-soluble, highly oxidative compound that can be used to help eliminate the protozoan. It is important to handle it with care, as it is a strong oxidizer and can be dangerous if not handled properly. It’s always best to consult an aquarium expert or veterinarian to determine the appropriate treatment method and dosage.

Necrosis of the Muscle

Necrosis is a biological term that refers to the death or destruction of cells which can occur in any organism, including shrimp. It can be caused by various factors such as injury, infection, or disease, and it can result in inflammation or degradation of the surrounding tissues and cells.

In the case of muscular necrosis in Whisker shrimp, it is important to remove any infected shrimp from the aquarium as soon as it is detected. Unfortunately, there is no specific cure for necrosis, but regular water changes and maintaining a healthy environment can help to limit the spread of disease and promote healing. It’s important to keep an eye on the shrimp’s behavior and physical appearance and to consult an aquarium expert or veterinarian if you suspect any of them is showing signs of necrosis.

Japanese Scutariella

Scutariella Japonica, also known as the Japanese ghost shrimp parasite, is a parasitic nematode that can infect Whisker Shrimps. It can be difficult to distinguish from other parasites such as Vorticella.

Treatment for this parasite includes a salt bath, which is a common method used to treat various parasites in aquatic animals. To perform a salt bath, you can mix one cup of water with one teaspoon of salt in a mixing bowl and then pour it into the tank containing the infected shrimp. It’s important to isolate the infected shrimp before performing the salt bath to prevent the spread of the parasite to other shrimp in the tank. It’s important to monitor the shrimp’s behavior and physical appearance and to consult an aquarium expert or veterinarian if you suspect any of them is showing signs of being infected with Scutariella Japonica.

Whisker Shrimp are they aggressive?

Whisker Shrimp are opportunistic feeders and will consume a variety of foods including small fish, shrimp, and snails. They are not picky eaters, and will consume whatever food is available in their environment. They are also known for scavenging for food and will consume algae, small pieces of fish or shrimp, and commercial shrimp pellets.

However, they can also become prey for larger and more aggressive fish. Larger fish such as cichlids, goldfish, and some species of catfish are known to prey on Whisker shrimp. If you want to keep Whisker shrimp in a tank with other fish it’s important to research the compatibility of the fish species and to ensure that the shrimp will have a safe and secure environment to live in.

Whisker Shrimp Tank Companions

Whisker shrimp are known to be aggressive towards other shrimp species and small fish in their environment. They may compete for food with their tankmates and this can affect their behavior. To avoid aggressive behavior it’s often preferable to keep these shrimp in isolation or in groups of one male and multiple females, rather than individually.

When choosing tankmates for Whisker shrimp, it’s important to consider the compatibility of the species. Fish that are small and peaceful such as Neon Tetras, Pygmy Corys, Rasboras Harlequin, Minnows with White Clouds, and Glassfish make good tankmates for Whisker shrimp. However, larger or more aggressive fish such as Crayfish, Dwarf Shrimps, Crayfish and Crabs from freshwater species are not recommended as they may prey on Whisker shrimp.

Proper feeding is also important to control the behavior of Whisker shrimp. It’s essential to ensure they have access to a varied diet and enough food to prevent competition among tankmates.

Betta fish and whisker shrimp

Bettas and Whisker shrimp can coexist peacefully in some cases, but it largely depends on the temperament of each individual betta. Bettas are known to be aggressive and territorial, and some individuals may view Whisker shrimp as prey. While other Bettas can be more peaceful and less aggressive, it’s important to note that the tank arrangement should be compatible with both Whisker Shrimp and Bettas.

When keeping both Bettas and Whisker shrimp in the same tank, it’s essential to provide plenty of hiding spots, such as rocks, caves, and plants, for the shrimp to retreat to and feel secure. Additionally, it’s important to ensure that the Bettas have enough space to swim and establish their territory, which can help to reduce aggressive behavior.

It’s also important to monitor the behavior of both Bettas and Whisker shrimp, and to separate them if necessary if you notice any signs of aggression or distress. Bettas and Whisker shrimp can coexist peacefully but it’s important to monitor the tank conditions and behavior of both species to ensure a harmonious community.

Is Whisker Shrimp available for purchase?

Whisker shrimp can be found in many pet stores and online marketplaces. The price of Whisker shrimp may vary depending on the location, store and number of shrimp you buy. The price of five Whisker shrimp can be around $20 USD on average, but it can vary depending on the quantity of shrimp you want to purchase and the location. It’s important to ensure that the shrimp you purchase are healthy and from a reputable source. Some online marketplaces are known for selling sickly or unhealthy shrimp, so it’s important to do your research before making a purchase.

Whisker Shrimp vs. Ghost Shrimp

Whisker shrimp and Ghost shrimp have a similar appearance, but there are some key differences between the two.

Whisker shrimp have a transparent body, which allows you to see through them, similar to Ghost shrimp. However, Whisker shrimp are generally larger in size and have longer bodies and feelers than Ghost shrimp. They also lack the distinctive orange bands that are present at the base and on the front legs of Ghost shrimp. These orange bands are a good way to distinguish Ghost shrimp from Whisker shrimp.

Whisker shrimp belong to the genus Atya and have over 240 different species, while Ghost shrimp belong to the genus Palaemonetes. Both species have a lot of genetic variation and are popular among aquarium enthusiasts.

Amano Shrimp vs. Whisker Shrimp

Amano shrimp, also known as Caridina multidentata, are a freshwater shrimp species that are closely related to a saltwater aquarium species. They are known for their striking coloration and their ability to control algae growth in the aquarium. Amano shrimp are known to consume a large amount of algae, making them a popular choice among aquarium enthusiasts.

While Amano shrimp and Whisker shrimp are both freshwater shrimp species, they have some key differences. Amano shrimp prefer to be low and near the ground, and they tend to spend most of their time foraging for food. In contrast, Whisker shrimp tend to prefer to be close to rocks and substrates, where they can hide and feel secure.

In terms of tank setup, Amano shrimp thrive in a planted tank with a sandy substrate, while Whisker shrimp can live in any aquarium with any substrate. Amano shrimp are generally a bit more delicate than Whisker shrimp and require a bit more care.

In terms of tankmates, Amano shrimp can be kept with a wide variety of peaceful fish, while Whisker shrimp are more aggressive and may attack small fish and other shrimp species.


In conclusion, Whisker shrimp (Atya sp.) are freshwater shrimp species that are known for their transparent body and long feelers. They are popular among aquarium enthusiasts and can be found in pet stores and online marketplaces. They are low maintenance and can thrive if given the proper conditions such as suitable water temperature, pH, and a clean environment. They can be kept in any aquarium with any substrate and are known to scavenge for food. However, they are aggressive and can attack small fish and other shrimp species. They have some similarities with Ghost shrimp and Amano shrimp but also have some key differences such as size, coloration, habitat location and preferences. Proper research and planning is needed before keeping them in a tank with other species.