When people design an aquascape, they generally focus on fish, aquatic plants, and coral. It’s easy to overlook shrimp, snails, and other armored denizens of the deep. We want to help your aquarium come out of its shell, so to speak, by proving just how gorgeous shelled animals can be.
Blue Velvet Shrimp
Try to imagine what it would look like if an ice sculptor crafted shrimp out of a chunk of cool, blue ice. Got the image in your head? That’s pretty much exactly what you’ve got with blue velvet shrimp. These tiny crustaceans are faintly translucent and bear a refreshing blue color that’s reminiscent of a frozen winter lake. What I love so much about these shrimp is that they bring in colors that are hard to find in freshwater aquariums. The water of freshwater tanks tends to be crystal clear, so these shrimp bring in the water hues that you can normally only find in saltwater tanks.
Painted Fire Red Shrimp
The opposite of ice is fire, so it’s appropriate to follow blue velvet shrimp with the painted fire red shrimp. These fiery critters have more of the classic lobster red coloration, though you can find shrimp that have more of a dull rust or orange color. Painted fire red shrimp will really pop in a freshwater tank, especially if it’s bursting with aquatic plants. As you may remember from the article on aquarium colors, red and green are complementary colors, which means that they stand out beautifully against each other. Despite their humble size, these shrimp can easily be the star players in your freshwater aquascape.
Sulawesi Orange Rabbit Snails
Snails are technically mollusks and not crustaceans, but they still pack a visual punch. Sulawesi orange rabbit snails are beautifully orange, like the color of the sun as it approaches the horizon on a warm summer night. They’re just gorgeous, aren’t they?
Golden Yellow Shrimp
We just covered red and orange, so naturally we should follow up with yellow. The petite golden yellow shrimp has a bright yellow color, but the shrimp’s translucent body cuts the intensity of the color. The cheerful yellow colors will bring some bright optimism to your aquascape, making it feel less serene and more energetic.
Taiwanese Black Shell Shrimp
Of course, not everybody wants to have an aquascape filled with bright neon colors. Aquascapers who want a more subdued aquarium might want to take a look at Taiwanese black shell shrimp. These all-black shrimp will add interesting movement and complexity to an aquascape without being overly distracting.
As you can see, crustaceans and mollusks are a great way to add a bit of color and depth to your aquascape. Sure, they may not be quite as visually interesting as fish or frilly plants, but they allow you to introduce miniature doses of rare colors into your aquascape.