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What Do Shrimp Eat?

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Shrimps are not the most beautiful creatures on earth, but they do play a very big role in our oceans and even in our personal lives.

Shrimps are part of the decapod crustacean family and they are often referred to as prawn. 

These are thousands of species of shrimp found on the seafloor and many even thrive in rivers and lakes.  

These insect-like creatures are an important food source for many aquatic and land animals.  They are also enjoyed as a tasty treat for humans and are now successfully farmed.  

Shrimps are also often kept in fish tanks and aquariums because they can be very pleasing to look at and they can help keep fish tanks clean.


What Type Of Food Do Shrimp Eat?

Shrimps are very important to our water sources because these tiny creatures help keep seas and rivers clean.  

Shrimps are omnivores and will consume both plant and flesh matter.  They are primarily scavengers and the diet of different species may vary slightly.  These tiny creatures will consume just about anything that will fit into their tiny mouths. 

They dwell on the bottom of oceans and seas where they have access to lots of foods.

Here is a quick look at some of their favorite foods;


Algae and other Plant matter

While moving about on the ocean floors, shrimp will feed on any type of plant matter they can find. 

They enjoy eating all sorts of algae organisms and will also eat other types of dead and decayed plant matter such as tiny pieces of dead coral, leaves, roots, and much more.  There is basically no type of plant matter that these creatures will not consume.


 Dead fish and decaying matter

Since they are scavengers, they are happy to consume any type of dead and decaying flesh matter they can find.  Shrimps consume lots of dead fish as well as any other type of decayed meat they happen upon.  This can include any type of fish, animal, or organism.



Plankton is a very important food source for shrimp.  As tiny fry, shrimp also make out a huge part of plankton and they are very likely to consume their own young when they are scavenging for tiny pieces of plankton that might be drifting about the ocean floors.



Shrimps will also eat clams they find growing on ocean floors.  They do however have tiny mouths and as such can only consume tiny or newborn clams.


Snails and worms

These animals will hunt and eat sea snails or worms that are small enough to fit into their mouths. 

Shrimp cannot chew and therefore will avoid larger snail and worm species or adult snails and worms.  They only focus on snails or worms that are either dead and rotting or very small.



Shrimps do look a lot like and are very similar to crabs with acceptance to their skinny legs but they can and will eat crabs.  Tiny crabs are a tasty treat for adult shrimps.  These insect-like-creatures will eat just about any crab specie they can find that can fit into their mouths.  


Food pellets

In commercial shrimp farms, these animals are often supplemented by offering them food pellets.  Since shrimp can consume a very diverse diet, farmers are not at all limited to the type of fish or food pellets they offer.  Most do however offer pellets that can increase their calorie intake and protein levels so these farmed organisms will refrain from eating each other.


Other shrimps

Shrimps are cannibals and will catch and eat any other smaller shrimps they come across.  They will also feed on the dead and decayed bodies of fellow shrimps.  


Diet Variations

Being scavengers, we cannot really say that these creatures do have any diet variations. 

They will eat just about any type of matter whether alive, dead, or rotting.  If the flesh or animal matter can fit into their mouths, they will consume these foods.


How to Feed Shrimp?

Being bottom dwellers, you do need to offer foods that sink to the bottom of your tank if you are feeding shrimp.  Only plankton – tiny shrimp fry- are located on top of the water but all larger shrimps tend to linger close to the ocean floors because this is where they find most of their foods.

The only real important factor to keep in mind when feeding shrimp is that they do require a variety of food types to stay healthy.  These creatures are omnivores and get their needed nutrients from both flesh and plant matter.  


How Much Do Shrimp Eat?

A shrimp will eat more as it grows.  As a small fry, it cannot consume much food at all and a few bits of algae are sufficient. 

As it grows, it will start to eat a wider range of foods such as plankton and algae and food consumption will gradually increase.

Since shrimps are scavengers, they are happy to consume decayed foods.  You, therefore, do not have to clear foods from your tank if the shrimp did not consume all foods.  It is however better not to offer too much food since excess decayed food pieces can make your tank look and smell horrible.  


What do Baby Shrimp Eat?

Baby shrimps are called fry.  Shrimp fry forms part of the plankton community and unlike adult shrimps, these will first drift on top of the water amongst other plankton.  Young fry survives mainly on algae, plankton, and any other plants they can find.  

In captivity, young fry are raised by feeding them on algae and plant matter.   


What Do Wild Shrimp Eat?

In the wild, shrimps will feed on just about anything.  Their habitat greatly influences the type of food they consume.  As a fry, they consume algae and plankton organisms because this is what is found drifting along with them on the ocean waters.  As adults, they will consume foods they find around them.


Do Shrimps Eat Poop?

Shrimps are often kept in tanks to break down fish poop.  They are very handy for keeping fish tanks clean and are often used to consume fish poop which in return helps reduce the frequency of tank cleaning required.


What Do Shrimp Eat In A Fish Tank?

In fish tanks, shrimp will eat anything they find on the bottom of the tank.  They are happy to eat flesh matter from dead fish, fish poop, algae, leftover fish foods, and many other microorganisms you never even knew lived in your tank.


Do Shrimp Eat People?

Yes, shrimps can eat human flesh.  If a human body falls into a lake or ocean, they will eat any pieces of flesh they can swallow.

Shrimp is very important in our world.  They serve as a tasty treat and are useful for keeping our oceans nice and clean. 

They are also very interesting creatures to add to your fish tank if you want to keep your tank nice and clean.

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