by Robert Paul Hudson
Filtration is important for keeping freshwater shrimp because most species are pretty sensitive to water conditions and ammonia or nitrate levels. Biological filtration is therefore extremely important.
In a shrimp only aquarium it is important to have the tank already cycled, or to add just a small number of shrimp and change the water frequently. Some shrimp keepers do daily water changes. Even in heavily planted tanks it is a good idea to have a decent running bio filter. Often times a simple sponge filter is all that is needed and is the best choice for several reasons.
The sponge not only provides biologocal filtration, but is also a favored place for the shrimp to graze on organic matter and bio film. Shrimp will eagerly spend hours picking at the foam in utter delight. A sponge filter may be easily removed to be cleaned with very little disturbance. It is also easy to move from one aquarium to another if you need to provide immediate filtration for a new aquarium.
My favorite is the Hydrosponge filter. This model pictured above is for up to ten gallons. It is small in size, but has a strong, heavy base that keeps it upright and from falling over. I cannot stand the cheap sponge filters that have suction cups that rarely work. The lift tube creates a stronger current. There is a nipple inside the tube at the bottom where airline tubing connects, or a powerhead may be attached directly to the top of the tube.
Whatever type of filter you use, just make sure the current is not too strong and the shrimp do not get sucked up into the filter intake if you are using outside filters. A pre filter sponge attached to the intake tube will prevent this. Hydrosponge makes a good quality pre filter as well.
This beautiful 20 gallon shrimp and plant tank utilizes a sponge filter: