Best Shrimp Tank Filters (Our Top Picks)

When setting up an aquarium for shrimp, you have to be careful which filter you choose. You don’t want one that has too much flow. Or, worse, one that will suck up your shrimp and kill them. Rather, you want a filter that is nice and gentle but still gets the job done.

Not sure where to start? That’s okay. To make your life easier, we’ve included a list of the five best shrimp tank filters.

Overall, the best shrimp tank filter is the Aqua Clear HOB Filter. It provides crystal-clear, clean water with adjustable flow rates.

Aqua Clear HOB Filter — Best Filter Overall

The Aqua Clear HOB filter is the best for keeping your water crystal clear and healthy. You can get it in several different sizes. The smallest you can buy is for a 5-gallon tank, while the largest is for a 110-gallon tank.

But, there are also large holes in the tubing to suck up your shrimp. So, you’ll have to do a bit of modifying.

Most people simply place a sponge over the intake tube. You can also place one near the exit to slow down the flow. A sponge is also a good way to build up colonies of good bacteria.



Aquapapa Corner Filter Bio Sponge Ceramic — Best Filter For Shrimp Fry

The Aquapapa Corner Filter is small and inconspicuous, and it will keep your shrimp safe. It has a multilayered design that includes mechanical and biological filtration.

The top layer consists of a white filter pad for mechanical filtration. The second layer consists of a black bio-sponge for biological filtration. The bottom layer consists of ceramic beads for biological filtration.

One downside is that this filter doesn’t include chemical filtration. But, there are sponges that you can buy that include chemical filtration properties. You can easily replace the top white sponge layer with a chemical filtering sponge.

The intake is very small, making it perfectly safe for shrimp and their fry. The filter is also completely quiet.



Fluval External Filter — Takes Up The Least Amount Of Space

The Fluval External Filter is a canister filter designed for smaller tanks, up to 30 gallons. It’s a nice option because it doesn’t take up space within your aquarium. Although it’s small, it is very efficient and will provide you with crystal clear water. Still, the flow rate is adjustable, so you don’t have to worry about your shrimp struggling to swim.

This filter has removable filter baskets that you can fill with filter media. So, this filter can combine chemical, biological, and mechanical filtration.



Dennerle Corner Filter — Small & Quiet

If you’re looking for a small and quiet filter for your shrimp tank, then the Dennerle Corner Filter will be good for you. It sits at the corner of the tank so that it’s out of the way. It’s also incredibly quiet so that you almost don’t know it’s there!

Despite its small size, it is powerful and will keep your tank nice and clean.

The flow is also adaptable, so you never have to worry about the flow rate being too high for your shrimp. You can even decide where in the tank you want to direct the flow. You can adjust the filter outlet up to 90 degrees.

The best thing about this filter is that it’s designed for small inhabitants. The intake opening is narrow with extra fine openings. The openings consist of bio-farms to catch anything small enough to make their way inside. Because of this, this is one of the best filters for those wishing to breed their shrimp.



Lee’s Original Or Premium Undergravel Filter — Safe & Easy To Hide

Lee’s Original or Premium Undergravel Filters are nice because they come in two different sizes: 5.5 or 10 gallons. These filters consist of strong, durable plastic. They also come with a flow-through setup so that you can attach a powerhead if you would like to.

They have two uplift columns which provide excellent water circulation. The circulation extends to the filter plate and the overlaying gravel. This prevents waste from building up inside the gravel.



How To Choose The Best Filter

It may be difficult to know which kind of filter is best. There are so many different options. What is best for one aquarium might not be suitable for another aquarium.

There isn’t one specific kind of filter that works better for shrimp tanks. You just need to make sure that the filter you choose has adaptations suited for your tiny friends.

Canister Filters

These are usually best for larger aquariums, so most shrimp keepers won’t use them. But, they can be nice for smaller tanks as well since they sit outside the tank. This way, you’re not wasting any tank space on a bulky filter. If you have a large community tank with shrimp, they may also be a good option.

Canister filters are excellent for keeping your water crystal clear and healthy.

They don’t have any intake or return tubes to suck up the shrimp. But, you will need to cover the intake with a sponge to prevent your shrimp from being sucked up.

Undergravel Filters

Undergravel filters are one of the better options for shrimp tanks. They prevent your shrimp from being sucked up.

As the name suggests, the filter goes underneath the gravel in your tank. Not only does this keep your shrimp safe, but it saves space in your aquarium, too.

Most of these filters have an adjustable flow rate. This is nice for shrimp tanks since too much flow can make it difficult for them the swim. They’re also very easy to maintain.

If you choose an undergravel filter, make sure to pick a medium-coarse substrate. Something fine like sand will clog the filter. Gravel that is too large won’t allow for proper filtration of waste.

Hanging Aquariums

Another popular filter type is filters that hang over the back of the aquarium. These are one of the most common filters used for shrimp tanks. They are nice because they come in a wide range of sizes. So, they are ideal for small tanks as well as larger ones.

These filters are nice because they don’t take up a lot of space. The bulk of the filter hangs off the back of the aquarium, so it’s not actually taking up space within your tank. Usually, the intake tube is the only thing sitting inside your aquarium water.

The downside to these filters is that the intake tube can be dangerous for your fish. Often, the openings in the intake tube are large enough to suck up your shrimp. Because of this, you’ll need to do some modifications.

Some people will get a fine mesh that they wrap over the intake tube to prevent their shrimp from being sucked up. Others will place a fine sponge over the tube for the same reasons.

Another problem you might encounter is the flow rate. Some overhanging filters have adjustable flow, but most do not. Because shrimp are weak swimmers, they might have trouble with the flow rate. To combat this, you can place a sponge at the outflow opening to slow down the current.

In-Tank Filters

You can buy a filter that goes on the inside of the tank. These are usually on the smaller side. But, despite their small size, they can still feel bulky in an already small tank.

The flow is usually more gentle than that of larger filters. Plus, the intake is usually smaller, so you may not need to make any modifications.

Sponge Filters

Lastly, you can buy a sponge filter for your shrimp tank. These often take up more space because they sit in the water at the bottom of the aquarium. But, because the filter is wrapped in a sponge, they are completely safe for you shrimp.

Sponge filters are run by an external air pump. So, you will have to spend a bit of extra money for an air pump and tubing. Plus, air pumps can be noisy if you don’t have them set up correctly.

But, air pumps are nice because they allow you to adjust the flow of the filter.

Which Is Best?

Which type of filter is best depends on your personal preferences and needs.

Overall, we recommend sponge filters and over-the-tank filters. They are some of the easiest filters to maintain and adjust.

Sponge filters are completely safe for your shrimp. Plus, overhanging filters only need simple modifications.

These filters are also some of the best for keeping the water clean. They have plenty of space for building communities of bacteria.


The clear winner is the Aqua Clear HOB Filter. You can adjust the flow for easy swimming. Plus, it will keep your water crystal clear. It has biological, mechanical, and chemical filtration.

The only small downside is the size of the holes in the intake tube, but you can easily cover them with a fine sponge.

The Aquapapa Corner Filter Bio Sponge Ceramic comes in second place. This is because it lacks chemical filtration. Otherwise, it’s great for shrimp tanks. The small intake openings are completely safe for shrimp and their fry. Plus, the filter is quiet and small enough to hide behind decorations.

In third place is the Fluval External Filter. It is great for smaller aquariums, providing you with crystal-clear water. It doesn’t take up any space in the aquarium, so it’s great for small shrimp tanks. With some minor modifications, it’s completely safe for shrimp.

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