10 Gallon Blue Diamond Shrimp Tank

Published October 13, 2023

We bought and moved to a new house last year. I decided to set up a shrimp tank with something other than red cherry shrimp. I also did not want to go the Walstad route, and decided to have only non-stem plants with the exception of crypts.

10 gallon blue diamond (Sapphire) shrimp tank 10 gallon blue diamond shrimp tank

What you need

  • 10 Gallon Aquarium: Petco for $15
  • Substrate: For now, none, the tank is bare bottom
  • Light: One 8W LED daylight bulb with rating 5000K
  • Lava Rocks: Home Depot and Petco; the lava rocks here are from the old aquarium
  • Cholla Wood: We bought several cholla wood pieces from Etsy
  • Plants: Java moss, Java Windelov Fern, guppy grass, giant duckweed and a few crypts
  • Livestock: Blue diamond shrimp (around 10), two Otocinclus catfish, Nerite snail, a few ramshorn, Malaysian trumpet snails and pond snails
  • Air Stone: None
  • Filter: No filter
  • Heater: No heater

Cycling and adding first livestock

We reused lava rocks from our previous tank without letting them get dry. Lava rocks are highly porous and can house beneficial bacteria from the previous aquarium. It was instantly cycled and there was no need to wait. A few months prior to getting the shrimp, the only inhabitants of this tank were Malaysian trumpet snails, ramshorns and a Nerite snail. Normally, cycling a new tank from scratch without media from a previous tank should take 2-4 weeks.

Nerite snail Nerite snail

Prepare and arrange the rocks

We rinsed the 10 gallon tank and made sure that it was clean and checked for possible leaks. Then we aquascaped the layout with lava rocks and other rocks. A few of these rocks have plants attached to them. One river rock and one ocean rock are from my wife's province in the Philippines.

A few months after this was setup, we bought two large lava rocks from Petco. The dimensions of these large lava rocks are 6 inches x 4 inches x 4 inches each. I wanted lava rocks with large surface area and ended up with one flat plateau kind of rock and another with a hilly look. The shrimp seem to like both rocks.

Lava rocks are a great addition to any shrimp tank because of the pores and holes in them. These pores house beneficial bacteria called denitrifying bacteria. They also help with maintaining the nitrogen cycle, and help break nitrate to form nitrogen and oxygen. Shrimp also love to forage on lava rocks to search for food.

Lava rocks are inert, so they do not alter the water chemistry.

Add the cholla wood and plants

Previously, I created a shrimp jar with a lot of red lava rock and cholla wood and called it "Apocalypse Jarrarium". I'm reusing the cholla wood along with new ones in this aquarium.

Cholla wood is soft and will break down over time. Cholla wood grows biofilm as it breaks down. This biofilm is great for the shrimp and otocinclus catfish to forage on.

Aquascaping the tank Aquascaping the tank

Add the shrimp and otocinclus catfish

A few months after I set up the tank, I bought 10 blue diamond shrimp from a local hobbyist. They are more black than blue and lovely. I also bought two otocinclus catfish from a local fish store. The first otos I bought seemed sick with an S-shaped spine, and I noticed it as soon as I reached home, so I took them back immediately without taking them out of the bag. The replacement otocinclus catfish were good and healthy and are still doing great, two months later.

Blue diamond (Sapphire) shrimp Blue diamond shrimp munching on cucumber

Why is there no filter?

The plants act as a biological filter. They convert the CO2 byproducts into oxygen. I do not need another biological filter because of the densely populated jungle made by Java moss and guppy grass. I also do not need a mechanical filter, though an air bubbler may benefit if I were to add more livestock (in this case, fish).

Why is there no heater?

The temperature of my house stays at a constant 74 Fahrenheit. Sometimes it goes as low as 72F, but that's about it. Blue diamond shrimp can thrive in temperatures of 64° to 78° F. Otos and Nerite snails are happy with this temperature range as well.

Are otocinclus true catfish or not?

I occasionally run into condescending LFS employees. In the first place we bought the oto catfish, my wife asked an employee about buying "two oto catfish". That LFS employee responded by "correcting" us with an unsolicited lecture about how "otocinclus is not a catfish, but is a kind of pleco, which is not a catfish". That employee also sounded on the aggressive side, so I didn't even respond to what he said. Not worth it. While 99% of the Pet* employees are polite and actually great, there is always this odd one out who is either having a bad day or behaves as if he/she is forced to go to work or in a few cases acts on stereotypical assumptions.

And, yes, otocinclus are catfish.


We ordered an Aqueon metal stand from Amazon. This should hold one 20 gallon regular and one 10 gallon regular aquariums. I will update it when we got the stand and buy our 20 gallon aquarium.


Your results may vary. Please let me know how it worked out for you.

More Updates

16 January 2022: Added giant duckweed to the tank. One blue shrimp is berried.

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If you have any questions, please contact me at arulbOsutkNiqlzziyties@gNqmaizl.bkcom. You can also post questions in our Facebook group. Thank you.

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Last Updated: October 13, 2023.     This post was originally written on January 16, 2022.

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