Mysis Shrimp: A Care Guide about their Diet, Breeding & Eggs

Size of a mysis shrimp between 0.2 in and 1 in

Welcome to the fantastical world of Mysis Shrimp care! Did you know Mysis Shrimp are not only delicious snacks for your aquatic buddies but also fantastic cleaners, gobbling up pesky algae and leftover food?

This guide covers all the essentials you need to keep these little guys happy in your tank. Whether you’re a seasoned aquarist or just starting out, learning about Mysis Shrimp is a must in the aquatic world.

They’re not just any small fish fare; they’ve got a whole taxonomy to classify, habitats to explore, and unique physical traits that set them apart from other marine snacks. So let’s get started!

Taxonomy and Species

Mysis shrimp come from the family Mysidae, which is a bit of a misnomer since they’re not true shrimp, but part of an order of crustaceans called Mysida. With nicknames like opossum shrimp, mysid shrimp or just mysids, they give us over 1000 species to chat about.

Habitat Distribution

Cruising around the world, opossum shrimp can be found in both marine and freshwater environments. Some like to kick back in the inland lakes, while others prefer the salty vibes of the ocean.

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They have a knack for popping up in unexpected places, like Lake Tahoe, thanks to some interesting human intervention.

Physical Characteristics

Flexing their translucent bodies, mysis shrimp are usually about 1 inch long, but don’t let their size fool you – they’re packed with nutrients. 

With a distinct appearance that includes stalked eyes and a body encased in a carapace, they’re the superheroes of the aquarium diet, providing essential fatty acids and proteins to their aquatic buddies.

What is the difference of mysis shrimp vs brine shrimp?

Mysis shrimp are bigger than brine shrimp (also known as artemia) and although both are good foods for fish, mysis are not found as easily. If you can get live brine shrimp that would be preferred over its frozen version, and if frozen is the only option for both then go for mysis. 

As far as crude protein content they vary from suppliers, some stating 4.0% for brine shrimp and 4.2% for mysis shrimp (check Hikariusa), while others like Piscine Energetics offering 69.5% minimum crude protein from dry weight for mysis shrimp. 

Many brine shrimp swimming looking for food

Ecological Role

Let’s dive right in and talk about the fascinating ecological role of mysids. We’ll be exploring their dining preferences and danger-dodging tactics, as well as getting a peek into their love life – shrimp style.

What do mysis shrimp eat?

Mysis shrimp mainly eat zooplankton and phytoplankton, keeping these populations in check. They are also cannibals so you could feed them twice a day babies from the same hatch, and as they grow move them into the adult tank. 

What species eat mysis shrimp?

Interestingly, they’re not just the eaters – they’re also on the menu! Fish, particularly lake trout, find mysis shrimp to be a delightful snack, making them a crucial link in the food chain. Even corals like the Favia Brain coral appreciate some mysis shrimp three times a week.

You could say that mysis shrimp are the ultimate middlemen in their ecosystems, influencing both the upper and lower trophic levels. 

Author Note: They pull a neat trick though: at night, they migrate up the water column to feed, making a secretive escape from predators who might be lurking in the depths during the day.

Reproductive Behavior

When it comes to romance, mysids have quite the routine. They will breed at the end of the summer and in the fall. Something important to note is that after breeding the mysis shrimp males die, but the babies won’t be alone since the females will live through the winter.  

Females carry up to 40 eggs in a brood pouch, all cozy and protected, before releasing them into the water as free-swimming larvae. It’s like their own little underwater maternity ward! 

The population of mysis can boom under the right conditions, making them an even more prominent ecological player. 

Aquarium Care

Caring for mysis shrimp at home can be a splash hit if we get the details just right. From salinity to snack times, we’ve got the scoop to keep them healthy and happy!

Tank Requirements

Our little shrimp buddies need their space to swim and thrive! Here are the specifics:

  • Tank Size: A 30 gallon tank will fit 200 young adult Mysis.
  • Water Quality: Clean water is a must, with a salinity of 1.023 – just like their natural habitat.
  • Temperature: A cool 8-18°C (46-64°F) will keep our shrimp pals cool as cucumbers.

Maintenance and Health

Keeping our shrimp squad in tip-top shape involves some housekeeping:

  • Water Changes: Regular 10-15% weekly water changes keep their environment primo.
  • Filtration: A gentle filter system ensures cleanliness without creating a shrimp whirlpool.

Now, while they are tough little critters, they’re not invincible – maintaining the right conditions is the secret handshake to a thriving mysids community.

Commercial Use

In our dive into the world of opossum shrimp, we find their role as frozen and live food in commercial use as intriguing as the little creatures themselves. From enhancing aquaculture yields to boosting nutritional intake, these mini marvels of the water world pack a significant punch!

Aquaculture and Fishing

Aquaculture Appreciation: As tiny as they are, Mysis shrimp have made a big splash in the aquaculture sector. They were introduced into various ecosystems with hopes of amplifying fish stocks. 

In fact, in British Columbia’s Kootenay Lake, fisheries managers in 1949 had the bright idea to introduce these shrimp to fatten up the resident fish. It’s like a buffet, but for fish, and Mysis shrimp are the star of the show!

Fishing Frenzy: Over in Lake Tahoe, Mysis made their grand entrance courtesy of California and Nevada’s departments of Fish and Game in the 60s. Who would have thought that these little critters could cause such a stir in the fishing world?

Mysida shrimp in a saltwater aquarium

Nutritional Value

Power-Packed Pellets: On the dietary front, it turns out that Mysis shrimp are not just snacks for fish—they’re like the multivitamins of the sea. 

They use gnathopods to catch their dinner, and boy, are they nutritious! Brimming with protein and fatty acids, these shrimp are like a superfood for our aquatic friends. Whether you use live or frozen cubes, your fish will very grateful for the snack. 

So when we talk about the seafood chain, let’s just say mysids are quite the catch!

Wrapping Up

And there you have it, with all this new knowledge the delightful world of Mysis Shrimp care awaits! Keep in mind these little shrimps aren’t just cute critters; they’re eco-friendly superheroes, helping keep your tank spick and span with their voracious appetite for algae.

So, as you finish this guide please remember to keep your tank sparkling clean, your shrimp well-fed, and your aquatic kingdom brimming with joy. If you are looking to learn about other shrimp check our Sexy Shrimp care guide.

Don’t forget to tag us on Facebook when sharing cool photos of your aquarium and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out to us. Best of luck!


What is the life span of a mysis shrimp?

Mysis shrimp has an average lifespan of 1 to 3 years and females actually live longer than males. As far as their sexual maturity this is reached usually after a year.

What are the predators of mysis shrimp?

It’s a long list! Since mysis shrimp are known to be food they are eaten by cowfish, seahorses, pipefish, rockfish, rays, cephalopods, small fish, shrimp and sea dragons. 

Can you buy live Mysis shrimp?

Yes! You can actually breed mysis shrimp yourself and you can buy them online or at a store. 

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