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They play a variety of roles depending on their morphology. You have filter-feeding shrimp, scavengers/algae eaters and predatory.

Filter feeders help filter the water of food/algae particulates, while scavengers tend to either swift through the sand substrate or eat directly from the source (algae or leftover food).

The primary role of most dwarf shrimp that we keep is scavenging, they're great for picking off the piece of food all the other fish seemed to miss and to a lesser extent algae control. Not sure if Amano shrimp are the opposite (prefer algae over scavenging?) though.
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