Smallest Shrimp Tank For Beginners – Setup and Recommendations

If you have a small space or limited budget, getting a small or nano shrimp tank is not a big idea. The exact size you can get will depend on a number of factors which I will be discussing below.



What size of shrimp tank is right for me?

Every one has different needs and constraints. Below are a few important ones to take note before you make any purchase decisions.

  • How many shrimps do I want to have? If you are intending to keep, say just 1 shrimp, then even the smallest shrimp aquarium such as those under 1 gallon can support that. If you are intending to have a big colony, then you need to think about 2-5 gallon shrimp tank for the shrimps to feel comfortable.
  • How many species do I want to keep? Related to the above is the number of species you intend to rear. If you intend to have only 1 species (which is pretty hard to do in the long run as most hobbyists will add more as time goes on) then a gallon fish tank is still doable. Anything above that will probably do better with at least a 2-3 gallon fish tank.
  • Type of shrimp you want to keep. Shrimps that are suitable for a smaller living space includes cherry shrimp, ghost shrimp etc. If you want to keep something like a mantis shrimp, then you problem need a bigger fish tank, just to be able to create a deep sand bed for the mantis to dig into. If you are beginner, getting cherry shrimp as a start is not a bad idea and for that, a small tank will do fine.
  • Do I want to add nano fish? If you are thinking about spicing up your shrimp tank with nano fishes then size becomes a more tricky issue. I would suggest a 5 gallon fish tank if you are thinking of adding small fish like betta.
  • Is it easy to buy accessories for a smaller fish tank? The accessories are just as important as the tank. Once your tank size goes below 1 gallon, buying stuff such as filter becomes more troublesome.  Heater is also another accessory that is difficult to get for under 1 gallon shrimp tank. Most accessories can support 2-5 gallon so you might want to think about that before buying the smallest fish tank possible


1 gallon shrimp tank setup guide

Lets say you have very limited space to have anything beyond 1 gallon. This is how you should set up such a small shrimp tank and the problematic areas to look out for during your preparation:

  • Frequent water change: the biggest issue you will be facing is the water change. You probably can’t use a filter due to its small size so it has to be a manual water change. Adding to this problem is that frequency of change. General rule of thumb is that the smaller the tank, the more frequent the change should be. I suggest doing about 50-80% water change once a week to keep it clean and healthy for your shrimps.
  • Go easy on the aquascape: the more complicated your plant set up is, the more troublesome it is for you to change water. I suggest 1-2 water plant with hard pebbles. Anything more will lead to a bigger complication that you don’t want to handle.
  • Types of shrimps: Go for species such as cherry or ghost shrimps that are easy to maintain and non demanding. Out of the two, I prefer cherry shrimps due to the bright colors. Ghost shrimps can be tricky to see if you don’t have a dark pebble bed to contrast it with. Definitely do not go for seawater shrimps as it will more complicated to keep in a small tank.
  • Feeding the shrimps: Another tricky thing about one gallon shrimp tank is the feeding. If you choose the right shrimp species, they can actually just feed on the plants in the tank.
  • Getting the right light: If you intend to go for the plant route to feed the shrimps, then you probably need to think about the lighting that is required to keep the plants healthy. Although it is also difficult to find a aquarium lighting to fit a one gallon tank, you can buy a bigger one since it does not need to sit inside. If you need help on choosing the right brand of lighting, check out our guide on the best nano lighting.



The great thing about rearing shrimp is their low maintenance and strong adaptability. Hence, they can survive even in the smallest environment. Having said that, you still want to create something comfortable for them and choosing a right shrimp tank according to your needs is an important first step.

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