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Can Triops Live with Fish?

If you’re an experienced aquarist, you’ve likely heard of triops. These crustaceans are unique and colorful, making them a great addition to a freshwater tank. If you’re new to the aquarium hobby and are thinking of keeping triops, you may be wondering what fish can live with these invertebrates?

You can keep triops in a freshwater tank with other tropical fish but do so with caution. Ensure their tankmates are smaller than 3 inches, peaceful, and preferably herbivorous otherwise, the triops are likely to be eaten. Triops are best kept in a species-only tank and enjoyed for their own sake.

Now that you know you can keep triops with small, peaceful, plant-eating fish in a community tank environment, let’s explore this topic together in more detail. We’ll learn what these crustaceans are exactly, if they can live with betta and/or cichlid fish, if they’re compatible with other shellfish like shrimp, and what they need in their tank.

So, if you’re ready to learn all you need to know about keeping triops and how to maintain them in captivity, then let’s get started!

What are Triops?

If you’re looking for a low cost, low maintenance aquatic creature to add to your freshwater tank, then you can’t go wrong with triops. These freshwater crustaceans got their name from the Greek words ‘tria’ meaning ‘three’ and ‘ops’ meaning ‘eyes’.

Triops are typically sold as eggs in kits at pet shops. Once introduced to water, the eggs hatch almost immediately. Within a few days, you have a full-grown pet that can reach lengths of up to 1.5 inches and can live anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks in captivity.


Can You Keep Triops in a Fish Tank?

You can keep triops in a fish tank under the right circumstances. Triop eggs should never be left to hatch in a community tank environment. They must be raised in a separate breeding tank and then moved to the main tank once they’ve matured.

If you put triops in a community tank when they’re less than ½ inch long, they’ll likely be sucked up into the filter and killed. Not only that, if you introduce them to an aquarium with omnivorous tankmates too soon, tiny triops represent an easy target and will get eaten.

Triops are best kept in a species-only aquarium. Though they make a colorful addition to a community tank, they won’t survive long in that type of environment. Specific parameters are required since this species is sensitive to fluctuating water conditions, especially pH levels.

What Can I Put in a Tank with Triops?

When it comes to stocking an aquarium with triops, you must ensure its tankmates are small, peaceful, and herbivorous. Omnivorous fish are okay too, provided they’re mouths aren’t big enough to snap up tiny triops! A few options to consider include the following:

  • Glow light tetras
  • Cardinal tetras
  • Cory catfish
  • Dwarf otocinclus catfish
  • Dwarf African frogs

Can Triops Live with Betta Fish?

Betta fish should not be kept with Triops as they’re carnivorous and aggressive. Though it could be possible to keep the two together if your bettas are female, well-fed, and in a large enough tank with plants and other hiding places, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Can Triops Live with Cichlid Fish?

Most cichlids are aggressive carnivores and therefore, not recommended for an aquarium with triops. These predatory fish specialize in hunting and eating small, weak, or slow-moving aquatic creatures. Triops would make an easy meal for cichlids and won’t last long in a community tank environment.

Can Triops Live with Sea Monkeys?

Triops and sea monkeys aren’t meant to live together in captivity. Sea monkeys are herbivores and prefer saltier water. Triops prefer a freshwater environment and are omnivores, so they’d likely eat the sea monkeys if the opportunity presented itself.

Can Triops Live with Shrimp?

Cherry shrimp can be kept in a tank with triops, provided their well-fed and the tank is large enough with plenty of hiding places. Triops are opportunistic feeders and could prey up smaller crustaceans such as crab or shrimp. In fact, triops are cannibals and will even eat other if food is scarce.

Can Triops Live with Snails?

Adult pond snails like mysteries, nerites, and ramshorns can typically be kept in a tank with triops. Triops will eat the baby snails which not only provides them with a nutrient-rich source of food, but also helps control snail overpopulation.

Can Triops Live with Frogs?

Small amphibians such as the African dwarf frogs can typically live with triops in captivity. If the frogs are too big, underfed, or kept in a crowded community environment, they may eat the triops. Make sure the triops are full-grown before introducing them to a community tank with frogs.

a lone triop

What do Triops Need in Their Tank?

Triops on their own need a clean, 5-gallon tank with fresh water. You can use natural spring water or tap water that’s been treated with a water conditioning or dechlorinating agent – don’t use mineral or distilled water. The temperature should be between 72- to 84-degrees F and have a pH of 7.0 to 9.0.

Since they originate in shallow ponds, they don’t need a filter and since the eggs are the size of a grain of sand, they’d probably be sucked up into it before they had a chance to hatch! An aquarium light is recommended but if you have the tank sitting under a lamp or in the sun, you may not need one.

To mimic their natural habitat, add some soft, sandy substrate and a few artificial or aquarium-safe live plants for decoration. Don’t add rocks or sticks you find in your backyard as they may leach harmful bacteria into the tank and poison your triops.

Are Triops Good Pets?

Triops make good pets if low cost and low maintenance are your main objectives. They need little more than a small aquarium and some food to survive. They’re not picky eaters so flaked and/or pellet food will suffice. And, since they live only 6 to 12 weeks in captivity, they’re also a low commitment option.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, triops are a species of freshwater crustacean that can be kept with small, peaceful, herbivorous fish in a community tank environment. Aggressive, carnivorous fish that are larger than 3 inches should never be kept with triops as they won’t survive for long.

In truth, triops are best kept alone in a species-only tank. They make good starter pets for kids or adults looking for a low cost, low maintenance, and low commitment alternative. Colorful and unique in appearance, why not give these little critters a try!

Thanks for reading and good luck with your aquarist hobby!

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