How to Protect Shrimp From Filter Intake- Save from Stuck

Hobbyists who have shrimps in their aquariums often face the problem that their shrimps get stuck in the filter. This is why I always face a common question which is how to protect shrimp from filter intake. 

As I experienced, protecting shrimps from filter intake is an easy process if you can manage the tools properly. For example, you can use a filter guard, sponge filter, pre-filter, hang-on back filter, Matten filter, and underground filtration system. 

But, you have to choose first which one is going to be perfect for you. Here I have provided a detailed description of all of these mentioned points. Hopefully, these will help you to protect your shrimps.

6 Easy Ways to Protect Shrimp From Filter Intake

Easy Ways To Protect Shrimp From Filter Intake

1. Using a Filter Guard- Best Equipment for Shrimp Protection 

The first thing that I always suggest using for protecting your shrimps is using a filter guard. I also prefer this mandatorily as a part of my shrimp maintenance process. Here I am putting down those steps that I follow consciously.

First, you have to look for a filter guard that is specifically designed to fit your filter’s intake. Compulsorily, it should have a fine mesh or grid so that it can prevent small shrimp from being pulled in.

Then, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to securely attach the filter guard to the intake. Make sure that it’s properly fitted and won’t come loose. Otherwise, the activities will be complicated. 

After setting properly, periodically check the guard for any debris or detritus that might accumulate. If found, clean the guard gently to prevent clogs and maintain water flow.

A point to be noted here, if your filter has adjustable flow settings, consider reducing the intake flow slightly. This will help to prevent strong suction that might be responsible for pulling small shrimps.

Finally, make the position perfect so that the filter intake is away from areas where shrimp tend to congregate. This reduces the chances of shrimp being close to the intake and thus the filter guard will work to save your shrimps.

2. Installing a Sponge Filter- Best for Smooth Filtration  

Compared to a filter guard, another good option for you can be installing a sponge filter. For this purpose, select a sponge filter with a fine enough pore size that protects shrimps from drowning.

You should put some more labor in it looking for sponges specifically designed for shrimp tanks. If your filter already has an intake tube, remove it carefully.

After that, put the sponge to an appropriate size so that it fits snugly over the intake tube. In this way, it will cover the intake fully to prevent any shrimp from being drawn in.

The next process is to slide the prepared sponge onto the intake tube. But you have to complete it consciously to make sure that it’s secure and fits tightly to prevent any gaps.

Following that, gently insert the intake tube with the attached sponge back into the filter and ensure it’s properly positioned and securely connected.

Once your sponge placing activity is fully completed, adjust the flow rate of the filter to ensure it’s not too strong for the shrimp as they prefer gentle water movement.

To keep this system undisturbed, periodically clean the sponge to prevent clogs. Rinse it in tank water during water changes as the process will privilege to avoid killing beneficial bacteria.

3. Using a Pre-Filter- Used As a Basic System 

Unlike the previously mentioned system, let me suggest you a new type of material which is a pre-filter. It may seem to be different or unusual for many hobbyists. 

But I have become a fan of it from the time when I started to use it. Hence, I want to tell you about that. For this purpose, firstly, attach a pre-filter sponge or mesh material to the intake of your filter. 

It is done to create a barrier that prevents small shrimp and other critters from being drawn into the filter. But to make it fruitful, you have to be conscious enough in the selection procedure.

Ensure that the pre-filter sponge has small enough pores to keep even tiny shrimp from getting through. Test it out by placing a few shrimp near the intake to make sure they can’t be pulled in.

For continuous better service, clean the pre-filter sponge regularly to prevent debris buildup. It will be helpful for good water flow. Also, it prevents clogs that could potentially harm the shrimp.

But, from my point of view, only using a pre-filter may not serve you properly. You should use at least one more system along with this procedure. 

4. Installing Underground Filtration System- Best for Too Small Shrimps

Apart from using those, you can also use an underground filtration system to protect your shrimps. You can also call it an ‘under gravel filter’. 

In this system, the water of the filter passes through the lift tube. Then, it is pulled up by an air pump or powerhead system. Also, this system provides enough surface for bacteria survival.

As you know, bacteria provide enough for the nitrification process which is important for the purification of water. By this means, the water gets filtered naturally due to the passing process.

But over time, debris gets stored in the gravel bed which reduces the efficiency of the filter. In that case, you have to clean it regularly to ensure perfect filtration of the aquarium water. 

5. Using Hang-on Back Filter- Best for Both Biological and Mechanical Filter

The next process that I want to mention is a hang-on back filter. It is such a filter that can serve you both as a biological and mechanical filter.

Commonly, it is placed at the top of the aquarium wall where water is lifted up and then it flows like waterfalls. If you add ceramic rings, it will provide biological filtration. 

On the other hand, you can regulate mechanical filtration by using a sponge in the inlet pipe. As it is pointed at the top of the wall, it reduces the possibility of shrimp intake and also ensures proper filtration 

6. Using a Matten Filter- Best Overall 

Matten filter can be indicated as the hybrid of sponge filter and hang-on back filter. This is because the process of filtration is similar to the hang-on-back system.

This is because the filter is placed in the wall or corner of the aquarium. On the other hand, the walls of the filters are of sponge material which works as a sponge filter.

The giant sponge walls work to prevent shrimp from getting stuck and the hang-on back system works to provide a proper environment for the shrimp by cleaning the water.

Why do Shrimps Get Stuck in the Filter? 

If you have shrimps, especially baby shrimps, in your filter, you might have faced the problem at least one time. This may happen due to several reasons. Firstly, it may be the size of the shrimp. 

Shrimp are small creatures whereas baby shrimps are smaller than their mature height. Some hobbyists also have small and dwarf shrimp varieties, even in their mature height. 

When these shrimps float in the water, they may easily enter the aquarium filter and due to the absence of any reverse process, they cannot immediately enter the aquarium water.

Next, the reason can be strong filter wattage. Filter wattage indicates the flow rate of the water within the aquarium filter. If the flow is too high, the shrimps cannot cope with the strong wattage.

As a result, the shrimps get stuck in the filter, especially the baby shrimps. Hence, I suggest you keep the filter wattage balanced for the shrimps.

What to Do if a Shrimp is Stuck in the Filter?

Meanwhile, I have mentioned the ways which will save your shrimps from getting stuck. But what if any shrimp get stuck already? Let me explain it too so that you can save your stuck shrimp.

To save your stuck shrimp, first, detach the filter from the electricity supply by unplugging it. After that, gently disassemble the filter parts. You have to do it consciously so that the parts remain intact. 

Then, bring out the stuck shrimp and notice it properly. If you find any injury, keep it in another tank where you can take intensive care of it and monitor properly. 

If the shrimp is not injured, keep it in the aquarium. Reassemble the filter parts and turn the power on. Thus, you can save your shrimp even if it is stuck in the filter. But, try to take necessary steps to prevent this occurrence. 

Can Shrimp Survive in Filters? 

Can Shrimp Survive in Filters

If your shrimp goes inside the filters somehow and remains stuck there for a long time, possibly it won’t survive there. As you know, filters in aquariums are designed to remove debris, waste, and particulates from the water. 

Consequently, the process can harm shrimp due to their delicate nature. Shrimps need appropriate water conditions, hiding spots, and access to food to thrive.

That’s why it’s important to create a suitable environment for them, rather than relying on filters as a habitat. If a shrimp gets stuck, you should remove it immediately from there.

Can I keep Shrimp Without a Filter- Learn About Walstad Method

Not really, but a single method can save your shrimp without using a filter. Let me clear this up. Shrimps need extreme or intensive care for their proper nourishment. 

They are sensitive to the aquarium atmosphere and the water parameters are also needed to be set up perfectly. That’s why you have to consider using filters to keep the nitrates, phosphates, and ammonium range perfect. 

But if you still don’t want to keep an aquarium, you can use the ‘Walstad method’. It is nothing but keeping your aquarium water clean by using excessive aquatic plants.

In this method, you have to establish a large amount of water plants. When water will run on these plants, the plants will absorb excess ammonia and will purify the water.

But, it is not as easy as expected. Last year, I tried this method as I was bored of cleaning filters and was tense for my shrimps to get stuck.

But the experience was not so satisfying. I had to manage a lot of plants. Besides, the maintenance procedures of the plants were too tough to handle. They get large quickly. 

Also, if you can’t regulate their growth, they will start to pollute the water making the environment bad for the shrimps. That’s why I again switched to the filters.

Hence, I can suggest to you the ‘Walstad method’ if you are ready to maintain the aquatic plants properly without making any faults. Otherwise, it will be detrimental to your shrimps. 


Is there any tool I can use to divert the flow from the shrimp?

Yeah! You can place decorations like rocks or driftwood strategically near the intake. It will redirect the water flow away from the shrimp habitat, reducing the risk of getting trapped.

Are there any specific types of shrimp that are more prone to filter intake?

Dwarf shrimps or juvenile shrimp are generally more susceptible to filter intakes due to their size. However, you should take the initiative for all the shrimps remaining in your filter.

How often should I check and clean the protective measures in the filter intake?

Regular maintenance is crucial for the filter and other adjusted parts. You should check the pre-filters, sponges, or mesh barriers at least once a week and clean them.

Final Words

Lastly, I want to say that the protection measure that you want to choose for your shrimps to keep them free from being stuck, completely depends on your convenience and the filter type you have.

But in all cases, you have to use the systems properly and clean them at regular intervals so that your shrimps can have a suitable environment for their survival.

Otherwise, you have to face a lot of trouble to maintain shrimps in the tank. If you want more information about this, simply knock me on social sites, and I will try to sort out your problems immediately.

Howard Parker

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