The short answer to what freshwater shrimp eat is...pretty much anything. They are natural scavengers, always grazing as they would in their natural habitat. Because freshwater shrimp can eat a variety of food and we can control what we feed them, a veggie diet with some mixing of protein is always recommended that provides the most nutrients for healthy development. We like to balance their diet with fresh food and quality commercial food.
Some popular veggie foods include:
-Carrots(be careful feeding too much carrot, it may affect your neos colors)
With most veggies, you can chop them into small pieces and drop them directly into the aquarium. For protein, veggies will have a percentage of protein, but we also like giving our shrimp a "protein only" type of food made specifically for shrimp. We tend to feed the protein only food once a week because a heavy protein diet will increase the size of the shrimp too fast that can affect molting and faster death rates.
Some items your shrimp will not eat include:
-Indian Almond Leaves
-Trees that have sap
Freshwater shrimp won't eat the above items, but they will graze on wood and leaves eating the biofilm that grows on the surface. It is also important to keep in mind that when adding new leaves to your tank, that the leaves or wood do not come from a tree that gives off sap, like Pine or Eucalyptus trees. The oils of these trees may harm your shrimp or even kill them.
Choosing a commercial shrimp food
When it comes to commercial food, always look at the ingredient list to understand the main ingredients. Most commercial food from overseas will add filler to bind ingredients and to lower cost for themselves, but increase prices in the USA as "premium or the latest and greatest food". Some of these fillers are yeast, which adds no nutritional benefit to shrimp. Another popular binder is "algae powder". Algae powder is not a bad ingredient, but when it makes up more than 50% of the ingredient sheet and the rest is miscellaneous ingredients, the shrimp food will have very little health benefits. Popular brands on the market like SL Aqua and our own A.C. Shrimp Foods, use raw ingredients to create their food without adding filler ingredients and have been tested with thousands of shrimps.
A healthy balance of fresh veggies and premium commercial shrimp food will go a long way in keeping your shrimp healthy and happy.