Will Harlequin Rasboras Eat Shrimp?

Harlequin rasboras are omnivores and will eat brine shrimp and other shrimp they are fed. However, because of their tiny mouths, Harlequin rasboras are unlikely to eat adult cherry shrimp, and you can keep them together. Harlequin rasboras may eat baby shrimp if they are small enough. 

Suppose you’re considering adding shrimp and Harlequin rasboras to the same aquarium. In that case, you should first know if the rasboras will eat the shrimp. Understanding the dietary requirements of Harlequin rasboras and how to keep them from eating your baby shrimp will help you achieve a peaceful and beautiful aquarium.

Can I Feed Harlequin Rasboras Shrimp?

Harlequin rasboras are omnivorous fish and can survive on a combination of plant foods and proteins. For the healthiest Harlequin rasboras, it is recommended that you feed them a combination of high-quality flake food and protein. The protein you can feed Harlequin rasboras includes brine shrimp, insect larvae, blood worms, and daphnia.

Feeding your Harlequin rasboras a mixture of these foods will ensure they are healthy, have strong immune systems, and are more likely to breed. It’s also important to feed baby Harlequin rasboras enough protein to help them grow fast and strong.

I, Lerdsuwa [CC-BY-SA-3.0]
Harlequin rasbora fry are tiny and require small pieces of food so they can quickly eat and digest it. Therefore, the best protein to feed Harlequin rasbora fry is infusoria. When the baby Harlequin rasboras have grown somewhat, you can also feed them baby brine shrimp.

Since Harlequin rasboras are omnivores, they may eat their fry on occasion. This means that you should keep the fry separate from the adults until they are big enough to escape from the adults and won’t fit in their mouths.

Of course, since Harlequin rasboras are omnivores and eat brine shrimp and other animals, you may be concerned about adding shrimp, such as cherry shrimp, to your aquarium with Harlequin rasboras. But will Harlequin rasboras eat aquarium shrimp?

Can I Keep Shrimp With Harlequin Rasboras?

Despite their dietary preferences, Harlequin rasboras are generally peaceful fish. They aren’t aggressive and don’t display fin nipping or other aggressive traits towards their tank mates.

Harlequin rasboras are also top to mid-range fish, meaning they stick to the top and middle parts of the aquarium.

On the contrary, shrimp, like cherry shrimp, tend to keep to the bottom of the aquarium, where they can scavenge for food on the substrate. Your Harlequin rasboras and shrimp won’t have much contact in the aquarium.

Harlequin rasboras aren’t known for preying on shrimp in aquariums, so it shouldn’t be a problem. But if you notice that your shrimp population is decreasing, the Harlequin rasboras may be eating them.

In this case, it might be because the tank is too small to accommodate both species. If the Harlequin rasboras are too much in contact with the shrimp, they may start eating them.

Also, if the Harlequin rasboras aren’t fed enough, they may feel hungry and resort to hunting the shrimp for food.

Few aquarium owners have reported that their Harlequin rasboras eat their shrimp. Therefore, you can assume that they won’t and can add shrimp to your aquarium with Harlequin rasboras.

There is one exception: shrimp babies.

Will Harlequin Rasboras Eat Baby Shrimp?

Although Harlequin rasboras aren’t typically aggressive fish and don’t usually prey on their tank mates, they will eat other fish and shrimp that fit into their mouths. While they may not actively pursue baby shrimp and fry, they will eat them if they come across them.

It’s generally recommended that you keep your fry and baby shrimp in a separate breeding tank until they are big enough so they won’t get eaten. Adult fish and shrimp are too big for Harlequin rasboras to eat and are, therefore, safe in the same aquarium.

You should be wary when placing your baby shrimp in an aquarium with Harlequin rasboras. They will be an easy target and may get eaten. But, of course, there are other ways to protect your shrimp and baby shrimp from getting eaten by the Harlequin rasboras.

How To Keep Harlequin Rasboras From Eating Your Shrimp

If you’re worried that your Harlequin rasboras may start preying on and eating your shrimp, you will wonder what you can do to prevent this. Fortunately, there are several ways to prevent the Harlequin rasboras from making a meal out of your shrimp.

The four best ways to ensure your Harlequin rasboras don’t eat the shrimp are to ensure the tank is big enough, there is enough shelter in the tank for the shrimp, the Harlequin rasboras are fed regularly, and have enough protein in their diets.

Let’s consider each of these methods more carefully.

1. Ensure The Tank Is Big Enough

Although the Harlequin rasboras will mostly stick to the top part of the aquarium while the shrimp swim at the bottom, the two species can mix if the tank isn’t big enough. Most aquarium experts recommend getting a long tank with at least 25 gallons of water to ensure sufficient space for both species.

The Harlequin rasboras have plenty of space to swim around in the top waters of the tank, while the shrimp have sufficient substrate and bottom water to explore and eat. If the two species don’t mix, the Harlequin rasboras are less likely to prey on the shrimp.

By Stefan Maurer [CC BY-SA 2.0]

2. Put Enough Plants And Shelter In The Tank

Another way to protect your shrimp from becoming the Harlequin rasbora’s prey is to put enough plants and shelter in the aquarium. The shrimp, especially the baby shrimp, will hide in the foliage and are safer from predators like Harlequin rasboras.

3. Feed The Harlequin Rasboras Twice Daily

You can also ensure your Harlequin rasboras don’t prey on the shrimp by feeding them twice daily. This way, the Harlequin rasboras won’t feel hungry and are less likely to swim to the bottom of the aquarium searching for food, where they may encounter some lost shrimp.

4. Give The Harlequin Rasboras Enough Protein

Finally, you can protect the shrimp by feeding the Harlequin rasboras enough protein. As mentioned, Harlequin rasboras require enough protein and plant foods to be healthy and breed.

By ensuring they get enough brine shrimp, blood worms, or infusoria, the Harlequin rasboras won’t start hunting the shrimp in search of protein.


Harlequin rasboras will eat shrimp, such as brine shrimp, as a part of their diet. They require enough protein and minerals to breed. Feeding the Harlequin rasboras brine shrimp is a great way to ensure they get enough protein.

However, Harlequin rasboras aren’t aggressive and are unlikely to hunt or eat other shrimp you place in their aquarium, like cherry shrimp. Ensure the tank is big enough and the shrimp have space to hide to prevent the Harlequin rasboras from eating them.