I am Dana, a Veterinary Doctor who studied Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida. For years, I have got common questions from friends and family about their pets. So, I decided to open up this website and answer all those frequently asked questions. Alongside, here I share my expert knowledge about pet care, pet health and the animal environment. Click Here to read more about me. Thanks for visiting aplaceforanimals.com

Top 4 Freshwater Invertebrates as Aquarium Pets

freshwater invertebrates

You’re an aquarium enthusiast and love seeing your fish wandering around in the fish tank. But, whenever you see your aquarium now, it feels incomplete. Well, we know what you can add to your aquarium to jazz it up, freshwater invertebrates!

Freshwater inverts are a great addition to any aquarium. You must be thinking there aren’t many inverts that can be kept in an aquarium. But let us help you find inverts you’ll love keeping in your freshwater fish tank.

If you’re worried about taking care of invertebrates, we got you covered! We’ll tell you some anatomical features and what you can feed them. Just go through this article and learn about your new pets.

Freshwater Invertebrates Aquarium

Many aquarium hobbyists get disheartened when looking for invertebrates for their tanks. But they don’t know that there are many options for them to choose from.

Unlike fish, invertebrates have no backbone but a hard exoskeleton supporting their body. They’ve become a new fascination for all aquarium enthusiasts who want to keep something unusual apart from fishes and plants. This group’s crustaceans are great as aquarium pets because of their vibrant colors and attractive patterns.

Although many people don’t dive into the crustacean empire, it doesn’t mean you can’t. The later paragraphs will help you throughout your journey if you’ve always wanted an invertebrate aquarium.

What Lives in Freshwater?

Before buying a new pet for your aquarium, you must know which will suit you and your other fish. Freshwater invertebrates are easy to take care of because of their hardy nature and low-maintenance pet care.

So, which inverts are suitable for freshwater aquariums? Well, we’ve got an aquatic invertebrate list that will bring life to your aquarium. You will just be staring at them for a long time!

We’ve listed the top 4 inverts for keeping in your freshwater tank. They each have their own unique look and personality. Just go through it and pick your favorite!

1. Freshwater Dwarf Shrimp

Freshwater shrimps are a trendy choice of invertebrates for many aquarium owners. Their vibrant colors and easy-to-care nature has made them so popular. Take Red Cherry Shrimp, Ghost Shrimp, Amano Shrimp, and Crystal Red Shrimp, for example.

  • Cherry Shrimp are the most common aquarium invertebrates. Their bright red color and hardy nature have made them a fan favorite. But they are also tiny, about 1.5 inches.
  • Crystal Red Shrimp has a vibrant red color pattern with white stripes. They are beautiful to look at.
  • Ghost Shrimp, just like their names, are transparent. They are small and hard to see, but when you notice one, you won’t be able to take your eyes off them. You can literally see inside their stomach. It’s pretty cool!

But Do Not keep the shrimp with fish larger than their size because the fish will eat them.

2. Freshwater Dwarf Crayfish

Another popular and common pet is the dwarf crayfish. They’re small, hardy, and peaceful. You’ll be mesmerized by their colors of olive, orange, blue, brown, and etc.

Moreover, they can quickly adapt to an extended range of water parameters, but you must provide enough space; otherwise, they can become territorial. Additionally, give them hiding places to accommodate molting.

Although crayfish live harmoniously with many other fish, they sometimes can nip on long fish fins, slow-moving fish’ fins, and dwarf shrimps. So, be careful when deciding on crayfish tank mates.

3. Freshwater Snails

Snails are a great addition to any fish tank and for aquascaping. They fit well in any planted tanks. Here are six popular aquarium snails with attractive patterns to choose from. 1. Zebra Nerite snail, 2. Horned Nerite snail, 3. Tiger Nerite snail, 4. Ramshorn snail, 5. Rabbit snail, and 6. Assassin snail.

Some snails can reproduce quickly in freshwater and turn from pets to pests. On the other hand, nerite snails can’t reproduce in freshwater, making them suitable for a fish aquarium.

Most snails are omnivorous, feeding on algae, leftover fish food, and waste at the bottom of the tank. But, the Assassin snail is a complete predator. They will hunt other snails, remains of fish, and fish eggs. So, we would advise you to avoid them.

4. Freshwater Crabs

You’ll just love the view of a crab walking around in a fish tank, but they can be hard to keep. They’re intelligent inverts with developed sensory organs who need unique environments to survive. Moreover, different crabs have different temperaments, so you must carefully notice if you’re meeting your crab’s needs. 

Let’s look into two adorable crabs suitable for a fish tank.

  • Vampire crabs, the name may scare you, but they’re only about an inch large when adult. Their name was given due to their glowing yellow eyes. They’re semi-aquatic animals, so they need a crab paludarium to live a healthy life. They eat insects, worms, and veggies but will go on occasional hunts for fish.
  • Pom Pom crab is a fully aquatic animal, unlike the vampire crab. They’ve pom pom-like hair on their claws, which help catch food. They’re peaceful and outstanding tank mates. Their food diet includes plants. But, pom pom crabs are also great climbers making them prone to escaping their enclosure.

What Do Invertebrates Eat?

We can’t specify what each invertebrate eats because it would take us days to complete. But we’ll briefly explain their diets, especially for the earlier mentioned species.

Aquatic invertebrates can be both omnivores and predators. Omnivores feed on tree leaves, algae, phytoplankton, waste materials, wood, etc. In comparison, predators scavenge for fish remains, worms, and insects and hunt for other invertebrates and even small-sized vertebrates like fish and tadpoles.

Now, let’s move to the four mentioned freshwater invertebrates’ diets.

  • Dwarf Shrimps are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and meat. If you’re looking for food to feed your shrimp, go for fish flakes or pellets, shrimp pellets, algae wafers, pollen, biofilm, and decaying plant matter.
  • Dwarf Crayfish are also omnivores. Their diet includes algae wafers, sinking pellets, small fish or shrimp, insects, bloodworms, snails, plankton, dead plant or animal matter, mashed peas, etc. If you get them, there are plenty of options to choose from.
  • Snails are mainly plant eaters, but they do enjoy occasional dead fish. You can also give your home aquarium snails non-acidic fruits such as grapes, melon, apples, etc. Freshwater snails love to scavenge for algae, surplus fish food, and dead plants.
  • Crabs aren’t picky eaters, and there are many crab food options. We have a whole list:
  1. Live or frozen seafood
  2. Brine shrimp
  3. Mysis shrimp
  4. Bloodworms
  5. Algae wafers
  6. Aquatic plants
  7. Crustacean pellets
  8. Kelp
  9. Insect larvae
  10. Lean meat
  11. Unsweetened cereal

There is much more food your aquarium pets will enjoy and benefit from. You must research before feeding them anything toxic.

How Do Invertebrates Breathe?

Typically invertebrates use their gills for breathing, but not all live underwater. Inverts use their gills only when they’re underwater. 

For example, snails have a particular type of lung that isn’t similar to any vertebrates. Their lung derives from the mantle, which helps air enter a pouch to circulate oxygen in the blood. 

Then, some crabs have some types of lungs, which are modified gill chambers. It allows them to remain in both water and land.

How Do You Identify Freshwater Worms?

Many fish keepers can’t identify the tiny white worms in their fish tanks. It leads to incorrect treatments causing the death of their invertebrates or fish. If you don’t want the same thing happening to your beloved pets, learn how to identify the different tiny fish tank worms.

We have 3 ways to identify worms living in your tank. These worms can grow due to improper cleaning, air filter problems, or adding new water to your tank.

1. Tadpole-like bugs in the water

Hundreds of tiny white tadpole-like bugs swimming in your fish tank are a problem. Some may have white-brown stripes like the detritus worm, while others, like anchor worms, may attach themselves to your fish, having a tail-like structure.

2. Fish have red lesions

If you notice red marks on your fish, you might have a worm infestation in your aquarium.

3. Gliding, Wiggling or Crawling

If any white, thin-bodied, round-headed organisms are gliding in your water, wiggling on the glass, or crawling on the gravel, they’re tank worms. You need to take immediate action about it.

4. Is Spring Water Dechlorinated?

Spring water usually isn’t dechlorinated. Moreover, if you’re asking if it’s safe for fish tanks, our advice is not to use it. Chlorinated water can kill your fish, so it’s better to use tap water. If you still want to use spring water, it’s better to dechlorinate it first.

Get Your Inverts!

Now that you know a lot about invertebrates, you can get your own. But we advise you to research more after getting them. It’ll help you give them a better life. Ask a veterinarian about the fish tank worms for more information.

We hope we helped you decide on your pet invertebrate. Go through our website for more similar content. Don’t forget to leave a comment. We love to help! Have a good day!

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