What do shrimp eat?

In this brief blog we will answer the query, “What do shrimp eat?” We will look at how shrimp forage for food. We will also discuss what animals feed on shrimp and what you should feed your shrimp in a tank.

What do shrimp eat?

Shrimp eat literally any sort of organic matter they come across on the ocean floor, this can be animal proteins, algae, other dead shrimp, fish food leftovers, living plants and decaying organic matter. Shrimp are omnivores and consume both plant and animal based foods.

How do shrimp forage for food?

Different species of shrimp use different methodologies to forage for food. For instance, brine shrimp are known to be filter feeders. Filter feeders usually strain their food matter from the ocean waters as they swim along.

Majority of shrimp species are blind and usually pick on their surroundings so as to close on the gap between their sense of smell and taste. In what is known as a chemosensory ability they use their chemical senses to get food from the waters. They are also known to make use of their legs and tentacles to get a feel of the sandy ocean floor and pick any prey that is underneath.

Other species of shrimp use very proactive and creative methods to get their food. Species such as cleaner shrimp usually clean out bacteria and detritus from the bodies of bigger species of fish. This is a symbiotic relationship because as they clean the coral reef stations the fish find cleaner habitats to congregate.

What animals feed on shrimp?

Shrimp have a whole lot of predators and this comprises different types of fish as well as many types of birds. Wading birds like flamingos have a bill well suited to scoop up and eat shrimp. Fish such as herring, cod and catfish also feed on shrimp.

Shrimp are known to spend a lot of time at the lowest depths of their habitats and at such depths there are predators such as stingrays and carpet sharks that usually cling at such depths in search of food and they eat shrimp. 

Halibut and flounder are other types of bottom feeders that usually feed on shrimp. But you wouldn’t guess who the biggest predator of shrimp actually is.

Yes, us humans are the largest single consumers of shrimps. Humans fish an estimated 7.4 billion lbs of shrimp in just a year in the US. Unlike the native predators of shrimp, humans actively farm and feed on shrimp. 

Human shrimp farming has been said to destroy important mangrove habitats resulting in unhealthy levels of antibiotics in meat. Traditional shrimp fishing is also harmful to the environment as it results in numerous marine creatures killed and left when fishing.

What do shrimp eat in a tank?

Some popular types of shrimp that can be tanked are ghost shrimp, cherry shrimp and brine shrimp. Ghost and cherry shrimps can be fed on microfilm and leftovers of food. Feed such as algae wafers and shrimp pellets should work just fine and are popular among aquarium owners.

Ghost shrimp, cherry shrimp and brine shrimp are also known to love feeding on any blanched veggies as well.

The best foods for your shrimp are as below:


Algae should be the main food that you feed your shrimps. You should ensure that you only add shrimp in a tank that’s already mature and contains plenty of algae.

If your tank has adequate algae the shrimp will happily feed on the algae all over the tank during the day and night. They come in handy because they do a pretty good job in cleaning algae in even tiny and hard to reach places.

If you find that your shrimp are just zipping around the tank then they probably have fed on all the algae and you should consider some supplementary food.

Fresh Vegetables

Fresh vegetables are also a good option for your shrimp and they are a great plant based supplement to their core diet. You can feed your shrimp veggies such as cucumber, kale, spinach, zucchini, sweet potatoes and broccoli. 

Ensure that you peel any vegetables such as cucumber, zucchini and cucumber before feeding them to your shrimp. This is because shrimp and also fish don’t eat the peels and by peeling you also ensure that you eliminate any possible pesticides.

You can read more about shrimp feed formulation by clicking here.


In this brief blog we have answered the query, “What do shrimp eat?” We have also looked at how shrimp forage for food. We have also discussed what animals feed on shrimp and what you should feed your shrimp in a tank.


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