Aquarium salt is not safe for all types of shrimp. Freshwater shrimp do not need aquarium salt at all. However, most types of shrimp tolerate aquarium salt in small doses. Nonetheless, increasing the salt concentration to high levels at once affects their health and is not recommended.
Let’s dig into this a bit more…
Does Shrimp Need Salt?
To understand if a particular type of shrimp prefers saltwater, we should look at the type of shrimp and where they live in the wild.
Now, did you know that there are both freshwater and marine shrimp?
Most species of shrimp live in saltwater.
These animals are bottom dwellers that live in the muddy layers of the ocean floor.
Some varieties of marine shrimp even burrow into the sand.
Since marine shrimp live in saltwater habitats, they adapt to saline environments.
However, most types of shrimp kept as pets in home aquariums are freshwater varieties.
These include feeder shrimp varieties like the Ghost shrimp, Amano shrimp, Cherry shrimp, and Bamboo shrimp.
The specific water requirements of freshwater shrimp will depend on the species.
Most freshwater shrimp are not too particular about water pH or alkalinity.
They survive in dechlorinated tap water and are not affected by slight changes in pH levels.
So, they will adjust to small amounts of salt in aquarium settings.
Aquarium owners often use aquarium salt to help their fish recover from external infections.
Salt kills small pathogens like bacteria by the process of osmosis.
When the salinity of the water increases, water is sucked out from the bodies of pathogens, and they die.
Since the fish are much larger than these microorganisms, the slightly saltier water does not affect them.
When the disease-causing pathogens die, the fish recover faster.
In typical aquarium settings, the recommended dosage of aquarium salt is 1 tablespoon per 3 to 5 gallons of water.
This concentration does not harm small tank inhabitants like shrimp and snails.
However, accidental overdosing drastically alters the outcome and makes the animals suffer.
Your freshwater shrimp are naturally saltier than the water they live in.
Through osmoregulation, they take tank water into their bodies and discharge body salts into the water.
Thus, they maintain a healthy equilibrium condition.
When the salinity of the water increases beyond a certain level, this equilibrium is lost.
As a result, the shrimp suffer and even die.
So, you should be very careful about the salinity level of the water when you have shrimp in your tank.
What Will Happen If You Place Freshwater Shrimp In Saltwater?
Most aquatic organisms do not tolerate drastic changes in the salinity of their surroundings.
However, invertebrates like shrimp and snails are more affected than bigger animals like fish.
Fish keepers often place sick fish in concentrated salt baths for a few minutes to help with skin infections.
This helps them recover, and the fish are not adversely affected by the short-term exposure to strongly salted water.
However, it is not the case with shrimp. Freshwater shrimp will be adversely affected if you place them in salt water.
The increased salinity shocks their system.
Their internal organs will be unable to process the sudden change, and the animals will usually die in a matter of hours.
Is Epsom Salt Safe For Shrimp?
While aquarium salt is sodium chloride, Epsom salt is another mineral called magnesium sulfate.
It is used to alter the chemistry of the water.
Epsom salt helps fish to cope with various health conditions like dropsy, constipation, and swim bladder disorder.
It also helps to improve plant growth in planted tanks.
A mild dosage of Epsom salt does not usually harm shrimp.
Certain types of shrimp even benefit from the added magnesium content in the water.
So, some aquarium owners deliberately add calculated amounts of Epsom salt to help their shrimp do better.
However, it is easy to overdose, and this can cause significant damage to your shrimp.
Common Freshwater Aquarium Shrimp And The Effect Of Aquarium Salt On Them
Let us now look at the three most common types of aquarium shrimp and how the addition of aquarium salt to their habitats affects them.
Is Aquarium Salt Safe For Ghost Shrimp?
Ghost shrimp are curious and aggressive creatures that liven up the tank with their frenzied activity.
Ghost shrimp actively clean tanks by eating algae and leftover food.
There are different varieties of ghost shrimp, and the temperaments vary from one species to the other.
Some ghost fish do well in brackish water and are unaffected by the addition of aquarium salt.
This shrimp can even be treated for various diseases using aquarium salt.
Timed salt baths help them recover from infections like vorticella.
However, prolonged exposure to extremely high salt concentrations is harmful.
Is Aquarium Salt Safe For Amano Shrimp?
Amano shrimp are peaceful dwarf shrimp with bright colors.
In the wild, adult Amano shrimp live in freshwater streams and rivers.
However, the offspring need brackish water in the initial stages of their life.
So, the larvae hatch in brackish water and then move to freshwater.
A low dosage of aquarium salt is safe for Amano shrimp. However, adult Amano shrimp are sensitive to saline water.
Exposure to salt beyond permissible limits harms them and puts their life at risk.
Pure aquarium salt helps Amano shrimp if they are suffering from bacterial or fungal infections.
However, you should always be careful about the dosage and stick within the recommended limits.
The safe dosage is 1 tablespoon of salt for 5 gallons of water.
You should also do a 25% water change every day in the coming week.
Is It Safe To Use Aquarium Salt For Cherry Shrimp?
The bright colors and fascinating personality traits make cherry shrimp an exciting addition to home aquariums.
They rarely fall sick and are very easy to care for. This shrimp prefers to roam around the bottom of the tank.
They help fish tank owners by cleaning up unwanted algae and food waste.
Wild cherry shrimp live in freshwater habitats. So, they do not need aquarium salt.
Nonetheless, cherry shrimp will not be affected by small doses of aquarium salt in a tank.
They will adapt to the increased salinity if the salt concentration is low.
You do not have to separate your cherry shrimp from the tank when treating other fish with aquarium salt when it is in small doses.
Since the shrimp are quite sensitive to changes in water chemistry, you may like to reserve the use of aquarium salt only when your fish or shrimp are ill.
If your cherry shrimp are affected by bacterial or fungal infections, a timed salt bath can help.
However, monitor the shrimp closely during the bath.
Release them into their original tank if they show signs of distress during this time.