Red cherry shrimp

Cherry Shrimp Care Guide: Grades, Tank Conditions, Tank Mates, Diet, and Breeding

Aquarists keep invertebrates, especially shrimps, for different purposes, and freshwater Cherry Shrimp is the most famous among them. These red cherry shrimp (Neocaridina shrimp) originated from Taiwan and are quite hardy, which makes them a popular choice among beginners. They are available in many shades of red, and their vibrant colors add attractiveness to the tank.

In this article, we will talk about everything from their appearance, diet, tank conditions, tank mates, and breeding, etc. Before going to description, let’s take a brief look at the table given below –

Category Rating
Family Atyidae
Scientific name Neocaridina heteropoda
Temperament Peaceful
Lifespan 1-2 Years
Care Level Easy
Diet Omnivore
Color Form Red
Tank Set-Up Freshwater, Heavily Planted
Size 1.5 Inches
Minimum Tank Size 5 Gallons
Compatibility Other Shrimps and Snails

Cherry Shrimp Overview

Red cherry shrimp
Red Cherry Shrimp: Neocaridina shrimp

Cherry Shrimp are freshwater dwarf shrimps. These red shrimps belong to the Atyidae family of invertebrates with 20 other varieties. These algae eaters are native of Taiwan and are known for their non-aggressive nature.

Apart from this, cherry shrimps are easy to maintain and look after. They will add color and keep the tank clean as well. Their qualities make them perfect for a beginner.

How Long Do Cherry Shrimp Live?

Cherry shrimps are hardy and can sustain in harsh water conditions. They need heavy plantation in the freshwater tank with lots of shelter and caves to hide. If the water conditions are suitable, the cherry shrimp can live up to 1-2 years.

In the wild, many color variants of shrimps are available, but you will find only red one from the aquarists. Its dark red color is the result of selective breeding over the year. Now, they are graded based on shade and brightness.

Cherry Shrimp Behavior

Cherry shrimp, like others in the family, are non-aggressive. If you look at them, you will find them quite busy.

They spend most of their time at the bottom of the tank in cleaning and looking for food. Red Cherry Shrimp will add attractiveness from their appearance and keep you engage from their active movements.

Cherry Shrimp Appearance

Cherry Shrimps have a red-colored appearance with different shades. The color ranges from the deep, bright red colored body to the paler color body with red spots on it.

Red Cherry Shrimp Size

The female red Cherry Shrimp can grow up to 1.5 inches (approx. 4 cm) while the males are slightly shorter than them.

Female cherry shrimp
Female Cherry Shrimp

Types of Cherry Shrimp

There are several cherry shrimp grades. Some types of cherry shrimp are given below-

  • Cherry Shrimp: These shrimps have the lowest grade of red and are known as regular cherry shrimp. They have a translucent body with red patches on it.
  • Sakura Cherry Shrimp: These shrimps have slightly paler coloration, but the patches are quite visible on it.
  • Fire Red Shrimp: These shrimps have red coloration on the whole body instead of patches.
  • Painted Fire Red Shrimp: These shrimps have solid deep red coloration, which is considered as the highest grade. Even their legs have red coloration, which makes them expensive.

The female cherry shrimps have more bright coloration and are larger than the males. But the difference can be determined only when they are matured. The females develop an orange-colored saddle on their stomach, which is used to hold eggs before fertilization.

Cherry Shrimp Tank Conditions and Habitat

Cherry Shrimps can be found living in densely packed ponds and streams in the wild. These ponds and streams have a rocky substrate. You have to replicate the conditions of their habitat in your aquarium for them to thrive.

Conditions Parameter
Temperature 65-85 °F
pH 6.5-8.0
Plantation Heavy, Java Moss
Substrate Rocky
Tank capacity 5 gallons minimum

As we mentioned earlier, they need heavy plantation to breed and hide. You can also include crevices, moss, and driftwood for them to hide. They are very sensitive to water conditions, so make sure to avoid any rapid change.

Cherry shrimp tank
Red Cherry Shrimp Tank

The shrimps with lower grades can still be able to survive poor water conditions, but a higher graded shrimp won’t. In equipment, you can add a heater to stable the temperature, which is optional but having a filter to cycle water is a must. The increased amount of nitrite can cause difficulty for them.

They are small and can be sucked by the filter. So, to avoid this from happening, use the sponge filter. If you are using a canister filter, then add foam on the inlets to keep the flow of water low.

They have a bright red appearance when they feel safe in their surroundings or when the water conditions are suitable.

What Size Aquarium Do Red Cherry Shrimps Need?

5 gallons aquarium is enough for keeping shrimps. But they breed quite quickly, and there will be a colony in your tank before you know it. So, buy a tank which is slightly bigger than this to avoid last-minute situations.

How Many Cherry Shrimp Per Gallon?

You can keep 2-5 shrimps per gallon. But if you are planning to keep the colony, then the size of the aquarium should not be smaller than 20 gallons.

Cherry Shrimp Tank Mates

Shrimps are non-aggressive, whether it is Red Cherry Shrimp or any other member of its family. They won’t harm or cause trouble to other fishes and will be busy all day minding their own business. Another reason for this is they don’t have anything to defend themselves.

But this weakness can make them prey to other fishes. To avoid this, don’t keep them with any fish that has a mouth big enough to swallow them. The other way is to create a lot of space for them to hide. But, don’t put higher grade shrimps with another tank mate.

Ideal Red Cherry Shrimp Tank Mates

The mates that can be kept with lower grade tank mates include – Catfish (Cory and Otocinclus), Small Tetras, Freshwater Snails (Ivory, Mystery, Gold Inca, Nerite, Malaysian Trumpet), Small Plecos, Dwarf Gourami, etc.

Enemy Red Cherry Shrimp Tank Mates

The mates you should avoid at all costs are – Oscars, Cichlids, Arowanas, Discus, etc.

Keeping Cherry Shrimp Together

Cherry shrimps should not be kept alone in the tank. They can get stressed and won’t show any activity as they will feel unsafe. You can keep a group of 10 shrimps as the more the number, the more confident they get. They will thrive and show their different behaviors as well.

For male and female ratio, make sure the number of females is more than that of males. To add variety, you can keep other species of shrimp with Cherry Shrimps like Vampire Shrimp, Amano Shrimp, or Ghost Shrimp. You can also add snails in the tank.

Cherry Shrimp Diet and Feeding

Cherry Shrimps are omnivores and act as a scavenger in the wild which makes them easy to feed. They are algae eaters but can feed on anything from plant debris to small organisms.

Male cherry shrimp
Male red cherry shrimp

You can also feed them from homemade food or premade food to live or frozen food. Many foods are available in the market that is made specifically for the shrimps. It is important to add pellets or wafers as a large part of their diet.

For vegetables, you can add boiled and mashes cucumber, carrots, spinach, lettuce, and zucchini in their diet. But make sure to add only a small quantity of food and remove any remaining food after 2 hours of feeding.

Like other algae eaters, a large proportion of their diet includes algae itself, which they look for the whole day. They can’t clean the tank as quickly as large fishes, but they will keep the glass and corner of the tank shinning.

It is important to feed them with high-quality food with the right amount. It will keep shrimps healthy and active but overfeeding will not only make them sick but pollute the tank as well.

Cherry Shrimp Care

Cherry Shrimp are easy to feed and care. They won’t demand a lot of care and maintenance from you, but still, some things can make them sick or even kill them. The things that can harm them are as follows –

  • Copper – They are very sensitive to Copper. It is found in many fish food items and lots of medication. So, check the ingredients before adding anything in the tank.
  • Ammonia – Ammonia and nitrites are other elements that can harm Cherry shrimps. The amount of these elements increases if the tank is not getting cycled or cleaned properly. Make sure to check the water parameters once a while.
  • Exoskeleton – The shrimps shed their exoskeleton as they grow. These are not harmful to them, but many people remove them as they see it falling on the surface. But it should not be done as the shrimps will feed on them to get essential minerals.

You will face fewer challenges if your tank is big, but you can face many of them when the tank is small.

Cherry Shrimp Breeding

Cherry shrimps are the species that are easiest to breed and don’t ask for much effort from the breeder. They get matured in 4-6 months and will start breeding as soon as they get comfortable in their surrounding.

Cherry shrimp breeding
Cherry shrimp breeding: Pregnant Cherry Shrimp

The process of breeding Cherry Shrimp can be categorized into three stages – pre-breeding, breeding, and hatching.

  • Pre-breeding – They breed in the summer season, but if you want to breed them in any other season, you can increase the temperature up to 82o

Also, make sure there is ample space for them to breed and feel safe. You also need to add more protein to their diet during the breeding season.

  • Breeding – As we discussed, they reach sexual maturity in 4-6 months. Once they mate, you will notice females carrying eggs underneath their tails(berried eggs) and regularly fanning them to provide oxygen.
  • Hatching – It takes around 30 days for the eggs to hatch. Once they hatch, you can keep them in the main tank to provide the necessary diet. The adult shrimps are not very considerate for their baby shrimps and leave them to fend for themselves.

To increase the chance of their survival or you don’t think they are getting ample food, you can plant Anacharis for them to feed.

Is Cherry Shrimp for you?

Cherry shrimps are beautiful little creatures who not only add beauty to the tank, but their activity will also keep one engaged.

They are dwarf shrimps found in streams and ponds of Taiwan. They are easy to care, feed, breed, and make an excellent tank cleaner as well. All these qualities make them ideal for a beginner.

What qualities of Cherry Shrimp did you like the most? Did you keep them in your tank? Let us know in the comments below.