Experience level: beginner, for a tropical to semi-aggressive community
For ages: 8 & up, with adult supervision
Traits & behavior
Many species of aquatic invertebrates are peaceful and can be kept with tropical fish, but be sure the sizes
are compatible so neither group sees the other as food.
You will see crabs and shrimp swimming at the bottom of your aquarium or climbing on the decor. Snails,
however, will adhere to the aquarium glass and crawl up the sides of the tank.
This is a characteristic of crabs and shrimp and means they need to shed their outer skin in order to grow.
Things to remember
Snails readily reproduce in an aquarium environment.
Cover your aquarium
A tight-fitting aquarium hood is essential as many of these invertebrates can escape from an uncovered
Safety & cleanliness
Please remember that all pets may bite or scratch, and may transmit disease to humans. Keep your pet's
home clean and wash your hands before and after handling your pet or cleaning his home. Infants, young
children, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, and the infirm or elderly are at
greater risk of infections and should use caution when in contact with the pet or its habitat. Consult your
doctor for more information.
Although snails will move along the surfaces of the aquarium scraping green algae with their mouths, they
will also accept all kinds of commercial flake and pellet foods. Crabs and shrimp must be fed sinking pellet
foods that they can find at the bottom of the tank.
For optimum health, feed your aquatic invertebrates as much food as they will consume in 1-3 minutes,
twice a day.
Signs your aquatic invertebrates are healthy:
Clear eyes and smooth, clean skin or shells free from any lesions or inconsistent colorations
Things to watch for:
Shell damage or discoloration
Most freshwater aquatic invertebrates require an aquarium habitat similar to any freshwater tropical fish. A
good rule of thumb is one gallon of water for every one inch of full-grown fish or invertebrate. Minimum tank
size should be 10 gallons.
For crabs, hiding places should be offered as they prefer a secure area as a retreat. Live aquatic plants are
beneficial for snails, which will graze on their leaves.
Snails can be kept in most tanks, but some gouramis, skunk loaches and other large fish may eat smaller
snails. Juvenile shrimp and crabs can be kept in a general community aquarium, but as adults they may
harass their tankmates and should be kept by themselves or with other large, tough fish.
An outside power filter, an internal box or an undergravel filter should be provided to keep water clean and
Test water weekly to assess water quality. It is recommended that 10% of your aquarium water be changed
per week. At the very least, 25% of your aquarium water should be changed per month.
Water temperatures should range between 72-82º F. Use an aquarium heater to maintain water
Place your aquarium in a low-traffic area, away from direct sunlight and drafts.
An aquarium stand will safely support the weight of your filled aquarium.
Are aquatic invertebrates right for you?
I have an appropriate location and stand for a correctly sized aquarium.
I will test the water quality weekly and do a partial water change every 1-4 weeks.
I will provide a proper environment and adequate nutrition for any invertebrates I keep in my
Here's a list of the necessities you'll need to take home today to help your new aquatic invertebrates stay
healthy and happy.
An appropriate size glass or acrylic aquarium
Gravel (2"-3" layer or 1.5 lbs. per gallon)
Filtration system (ask associate for recommendation)
Aquarium heater and thermometer
Fish food (flakes/pellets)
Live plants (assists with biological filtration)
Water test kit/strips
Gravel vacuum (for water changes)