Cherry Shrimp Care: Complete Guide for Beginners

Welcome to the world of Cherry Shrimp care, fellow aquarist! As a fellow enthusiast and keeper of these fascinating, bright-colored, and low-maintenance creatures, I’m excited to share with you my experience and knowledge. If you’re a beginner in the fascinating hobby of keeping Cherry Shrimps, this comprehensive guide was written with you in mind.

cherry shrimp care

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Sit back, relax, and let me take you through a journey of understanding these unique creatures and discovering how to provide them with the perfect environment to thrive. Strap in, and let’s dive into the wonderful world of Cherry Shrimp care!

Cherry Shrimp Supplies

Before we jump into the specifics of caring for your Cherry Shrimp, let’s take a look at the essential supplies you will need to set up and maintain the ideal environment for these fascinating creatures.

Supply Purpose
Aquarium A 5-gallon or larger tank will provide ample space for your Cherry Shrimp, allowing them to thrive and multiply.
Heater Maintaining a stable water temperature is crucial; aim for a range between 72-78°F (22-26°C).
Substrate A dark-colored substrate, such as gravel or sand, brings out the vibrant red color of your Cherry Shrimp.
Filter A sponge filter is ideal as it provides gentle water flow and prevents shrimps from being sucked into the filter.
Plants & Hiding Spaces Live plants, such as Java moss or Anubias, and hiding spots, like caves or shrimp tubes, promote safety and wellbeing.
Test Kits & Thermometer Monitor essential water parameters (such as ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH) and temperature to maintain optimum conditions.
Shrimp Food A varied diet of high-quality pellets, blanched vegetables, and occasional treats ensure proper nutrition.

Now that you have a basic idea of the supplies needed for optimal Cherry Shrimp care, let’s delve deeper into the specific requirements for their habitat and overall well-being.

cherry shrimp planted tank

Before Getting Cherry Shrimp

Before you even bring your Cherry Shrimp home, there are a few essential steps to ensure their new environment is prepared and safe for them to thrive in. Following this preparatory process will ensure the healthy growth and longevity of your shrimps.

Choose the Right Tank

It’s vital to select an appropriate aquarium for your shrimps, with a minimum of 5 gallons (19L) of water to provide sufficient space. This allows room for the colony to grow and also makes it easier to manage water quality. A larger tank can offer more stability in water parameters and accommodate additional tank mates.

Cycle Your Aquarium

Cycling your aquarium is a critical process that builds beneficial bacteria to convert harmful ammonia and nitrite into less toxic nitrate. Complete the process of cycling your tank for a few weeks before introducing your Cherry Shrimp to ensure their habitat is safe, stable, and free from harmful substances.

Prepare the Ideal Environment

  • Substrate: Opt for a dark-colored substrate, like black sand or gravel, to help bring out the beautiful red color of your Cherry Shrimp.
  • Plants and Hiding Spots: Provide a variety of plants, like Java moss or Anubias, as well as hiding spots, like coconut shells or shrimp tubes. These help your shrimps feel safe and reduce stress, which can lead to better health and reproduction.
  • Water Parameters: Use a thermometer and test kits to ensure optimal water conditions for your shrimps:
    • Temperature: 72-78°F (22-26°C)
    • pH: 6.2-7.8
    • Ammonia: 0
    • Nitrite: 0
    • Nitrate: <20 ppm
  • Lighting: Maintain a 6-8 hour daily photoperiod to promote plant growth and imitate natural daylight conditions for your shrimps.

Taking the time to create and maintain the ideal environment for your Cherry Shrimp will pay dividends in their overall happiness, health, and activity levels once they arrive in their new home.

cherry shrimp types

Types of Cherry Shrimp

Cherry Shrimps, known scientifically as Neocaridina davidi, come in a variety of colors and grades. While the name “Cherry Shrimp” often refers specifically to the red variety, this guide can be applied to other color morphs as well. Here’s a brief overview of some common types of Cherry Shrimp:

Red Cherry Shrimp

The most popular and widely recognized Cherry Shrimp is the red variety. These vibrant little creatures can range from pale pink to deep red, depending on their grade. The higher the grade, the deeper and more opaque the red coloration.

Sakura Shrimp

Sakura Shrimp is a higher grade of Red Cherry Shrimp, characterized by their more intense, solid red coloration. These shrimps often have fewer transparent or colorless areas and showcase a more uniform appearance.

Fire Red Shrimp

Fire Red Shrimp is an even higher grade variant within the red Cherry Shrimp family. They display a solid, bright red coloration throughout their entire bodies, with little to no transparency. Due to their striking appearance, they are a popular choice among shrimp enthusiasts.

Other Color Varieties

Cherry shrimp also come in other color variants which have been selectively bred over time. Some notable examples include:

  • Yellow: Also known as Golden Back Shrimp or Yellow Cherry Shrimp, they exhibit a solid yellow coloration with a golden stripe running along their back.
  • Blue: Available in different shades, such as Sky Blue or Blue Velvet, these shrimp can range from pale blue to deep, vibrant blue.
  • Green: The green Jade Shrimp is a more recent addition to the hobby and is still quite rare. They display a beautiful dark green hue.
  • Orange: Showcasing bright orange coloration, also known as Orange Sakura, these Cherry Shrimp can add a vibrant touch to any aquarium.

Understanding the types of Cherry Shrimp available will help you choose the perfect variety for your aquarium, allowing you to enjoy their lively personalities and stunning colorations within your underwater world.

cherry shrimp tank setup

Cherry Shrimp Tank Setup

Setting up the perfect environment for your Cherry Shrimp is key to ensuring they thrive and live healthy, happy lives. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you create a comfortable living space for your shrimp:

1. Choose a Suitable Aquarium

As mentioned before, a 5-gallon (19L) tank is the minimum recommended size for a small colony of Cherry Shrimp. If you plan on having more shrimp or tank mates, consider a larger aquarium.

2. Add Substrate

Add a dark-colored substrate like black sand or gravel, which not only enhances the appearance of your Cherry Shrimp but also promotes the growth of beneficial bacterial colonies. On top of that, a dark substrate provides a greater contrast with your shrimp, making their vibrant colors more striking.

cherry shrimp substrate

3. Install Filter and Heater

Use a sponge filter for your aquarium to maintain gentle water flow, protect your shrimp from being sucked into the filter, and promote the growth of beneficial bacteria. Pair your filter with an adjustable heater to maintain a stable temperature between 72-78°F (22-26°C).

4. Create Hiding Places and Plant Your Tank

Provide several hiding spots for your Cherry Shrimp, such as caves, shrimp tubes, driftwood, or coconut shells. In addition, include live plants like Java moss, Java fern, Anubias, or floating plants like Water Sprite. These plants not only offer shrimp places to hide and forage but also improve water quality by absorbing excess nutrients.

5. Fill Your Tank with Dechlorinated Water

Remember to use dechlorinated water, either through a water conditioner or by letting tap water sit overnight. This helps in removing chlorine, which can be harmful to your shrimp.

6. Cycle Your Tank

Before introducing your Cherry Shrimp, cycle your aquarium for a few weeks to establish a stable nitrogen cycle and ensure a healthy environment. Monitor ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels using test kits, aiming for 0 ppm ammonia, 0 ppm nitrite, and less than 20 ppm nitrate.

7. Maintain Good Water Parameters

Alongside temperature, regularly monitor your tank’s pH, with an ideal range between 6.2-7.8. Maintain optimal water quality by performing regular water changes, usually around 20-30% every two weeks.

After following these steps, your Cherry Shrimp tank should be well-prepared and ready to welcome your new inhabitants. Monitoring and maintaining your tank’s conditions will be essential for the long-term health and happiness of your colorful Cherry Shrimp colony.

cherry shrimp requirements

Cherry Shrimp Water Requirements

Maintaining the appropriate water parameters is a crucial aspect of Cherry Shrimp care. They can be relatively adaptable, but it’s important to provide consistent water conditions to ensure their wellbeing. Here are the essential water requirements for your Cherry Shrimp:


A stable water temperature is key to your shrimp’s health. Aim for a temperature range of 72-78°F (22-26°C), using a reliable aquarium heater to maintain this level consistently.


Cherry Shrimp can tolerate a moderately wide pH range. A pH level between 6.2 and 7.8 is acceptable for your shrimp. Regularly test your water pH with a test kit to ensure it remains within this range. If necessary, use pH-adjusting products cautiously to avoid sudden fluctuations that can stress your shrimp.

Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate

Establishing a stable nitrogen cycle in your aquarium is imperative for Cherry Shrimp survival. The presence of ammonia and nitrite can be fatal to Cherry Shrimp, so ensure they remain at 0 ppm. Ideally, nitrate levels should stay below 20 ppm. Regular water changes and a well-cycled aquarium contribute to maintaining these parameters within safe levels.

GH (General Hardness) and KH (Carbonate Hardness)

The ideal GH range for Cherry Shrimp is between 4-8 dGH, while the KH range should be around 3-10 dKH. These parameters are essential in maintaining a stable pH level and contribute to the overall health of your shrimp, especially for molting. Testing kits for GH and KH are available to assist you in monitoring these levels.

Water Changes

Regular water changes are essential in maintaining the water quality your Cherry Shrimp require. Around 20-30% of the water should be changed every two weeks to prevent a buildup of harmful substances. Make sure the new water is at a similar temperature and treated for chlorine before adding it to your tank.

Keep in mind that Cherry Shrimp can be sensitive to sudden fluctuations in water parameters. It’s essential to introduce changes gradually and regularly monitor the conditions using test kits. By ensuring that all water requirements are met and maintained, you’ll provide a healthy environment where your Cherry Shrimp can thrive.

cherry shrimp feeding

Cherry Shrimp Diet and Feeding

Cherry Shrimp are omnivorous scavengers, which means that they naturally forage for a variety of food sources. Providing a balanced and varied diet is vital in promoting the health and energy of your shrimps. Here are some key aspects to consider when feeding your Cherry Shrimp:

Commercial Shrimp Food

Specially formulated shrimp pellets or wafers should be the main staple of your Cherry Shrimp’s diet. These food sources are made with high-quality ingredients, such as algae, vegetables, and proteins, ensuring that your shrimp get the necessary nutrients for their growth and well-being.


In addition to commercial shrimp food, supplement your shrimps’ diet with blanched vegetables. Spinach, zucchini, cucumber, and lettuce are excellent veggie options for your shrimp.

Make sure to blanch the vegetables by briefly boiling them and then quickly cooling them in ice water before feeding. This softens the vegetables, making them easier for your shrimp to consume.

Occasional Treats

As a little extra to your shrimp’s diet, offer occasional treats like bloodworms, daphnia, or brine shrimp. These protein-rich treats can stimulate their growth and coloration. However, be cautious with the quantity and frequency, as overfeeding protein can lead to molting issues.


Algae that naturally grow in your tank is also a valuable food source for Cherry Shrimp. Adding algae wafers or initiating algal growth on rocks or decorations can be beneficial, too, but make sure to keep algae levels under control to prevent imbalances in your tank.

Feeding Schedule

Cherry Shrimp should be fed once a day or every other day, with only an amount that they can consume within 2-3 hours. Overfeeding can cause poor water quality, which can harm your shrimp, so be attentive to their needs and adjust the feeding accordingly.

By providing a balanced and varied diet with commercial shrimp food, vegetables, occasional treats, and algae, you’ll contribute to the overall health, growth, and coloration of your Cherry Shrimp, ensuring they lead happy and thriving lives in your aquarium.

cherry shrimp

Cherry Shrimp Care Schedule

Establishing and adhering to a regular care schedule is vital for maintaining a healthy environment in your Cherry Shrimp tank. By following a consistent routine, you’ll keep your tank in optimal conditions, ensuring your shrimps’ health and happiness. Here’s a suggested care schedule to follow:


  • Observe your shrimp: Monitor their appearance, behavior, and levels of activity to ensure their wellbeing.
  • Feeding: Provide a staple diet of shrimp pellets or wafers, providing enough food that can be consumed within 2-3 hours.

Every Other Day

  • Feed vegetables or occasional treats: Alternate feeding days by supplementing commercial food with blanched vegetables or a small amount of protein-rich treats like bloodworms, daphnia, or brine shrimp.


  • Water tests: Check water parameters like pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels to maintain optimal conditions.
  • Temperature checks: Routinely monitor the tank’s water temperature and ensure consistency within the desired range.


  • Water changes: Perform a 20-30% water change every two weeks to maintain water quality and remove toxins.
  • Clean your aquarium: Clean the glass, trim any overgrown plants, remove any uneaten food, and ensure filter maintenance.


  • Test GH and KH levels: Use testing kits to ensure proper hardness levels and overall water stability.
  • Inspect heater and filter: Perform a thorough check of your tank’s heater and filter to guarantee they are functioning properly.

By following this care schedule and remaining consistent in your maintenance routine, you’ll provide a thriving environment for your Cherry Shrimp to grow, reproduce, and live long, healthy lives.

cherry shrimp molting

Cherry Shrimp Health Problems

Although Cherry Shrimp are relatively hardy and adaptable, they may still encounter health problems due to various factors. Here are some common health issues to be aware of, as well as what you can do to prevent or remedy them:

Failed Molting

Improper molting can result in the death of your shrimp. One of the main causes of failed molting is an inadequate supply of calcium, which is essential for a strong exoskeleton. Ensure the GH and KH levels in your water are within the recommended parameters (4-8 dGH and 3-10 dKH) to provide a stable environment and sufficient calcium levels. Feeding your shrimp calcium-rich foods like leafy greens or cuttlebone can also help.

Bacterial Infections

Various types of bacterial infections can affect Cherry Shrimp, often manifesting as white, opaque patches on the body or inflammation around the limbs or joints. Ensuring optimal water conditions and cleanliness in your tank is essential to preventing bacterial infections. In some cases, the use of a shrimp-safe antibacterial treatment may be necessary.


Parasites, such as Scutariella Japonica or Vorticella, can infest your Cherry Shrimp, leading to sluggish behavior, poor appetite, and potential death. Improving water quality and maintaining a clean tank are the first steps in combating parasites.

For some stubborn infestations, a salt bath can be effective in eradicating the parasites. Be cautious when using medications, as some may harm your shrimp or other tank inhabitants.

Poor Water Quality

Ammonia, nitrite, or high nitrate levels in your tank can cause severe stress or even death in your Cherry Shrimp. Consistently monitor and maintain the parameters of your water, perform regular water changes, and avoid overfeeding to prevent water quality issues.

Sudden Changes in Water Conditions

As previously mentioned, Cherry Shrimp can be sensitive to sudden fluctuations in water parameters, such as pH or temperature. Rapid changes in water parameters can lead to stress or shock, which can be deadly to your shrimp. Always introduce any changes to the water environment gradually and monitor your tank regularly.

Understanding and being vigilant about potential health problems is crucial when caring for Cherry Shrimp. By maintaining a clean and more stable tank environment, offering proper nutrition, and quickly addressing any issues that may arise, you ensure a thriving, healthy environment for your fascinating shrimp colony.

cherry shrimp tank mates

Cherry Shrimp Tank Mates

Choosing the right tank mates for your Cherry Shrimp is essential in ensuring a harmonious and stress-free environment for all the inhabitants. While Cherry Shrimps are quite peaceful, it’s crucial to consider potential tank mates’ temperament, size, and dietary habits. Here are some suitable tank mates to consider and a few to avoid:

Peaceful, Compatible Tank Mates

  • Other Dwarf Shrimp: Introducing other dwarf shrimp species, such as Amano Shrimp, Ghost Shrimp, or various Neocaridina color morphs, can be a good option for a diverse, vibrant community tank.
  • Snails: Snails like Nerite or Malaysian Trumpet Snails make excellent, peaceful tank mates for Cherry Shrimp and aid in keeping the tank clean by consuming algae and detritus.
  • Small, Peaceful Fish: Choose small, non-aggressive fish, such as peaceful nano fish including Pygmy Corydoras, Harlequin Rasboras, Celestial Pearl Danios, Otocinclus, and some varieties of Guppies, which can coexist peacefully with Cherry Shrimp.

Species to Avoid

  • Large or Aggressive Fish: It’s best to avoid introducing large, carnivorous, or aggressive fish to your Cherry Shrimp tank. These may prey upon your shrimp or cause significant stress, impacting their overall health and wellbeing. Fish such as Cichlids, larger Catfish, or Angelfish are inefficient tank mates for Cherry Shrimp.
  • Crayfish: Crayfish are opportunistic feeders and can possibly feed on your Cherry Shrimp, so it’s best to refrain from housing them together.

When introducing new tank mates, monitor their behavior, and the overall harmony of the tank. Keeping a balanced community with plenty of hiding spots and peaceful companions will contribute to the health and happiness of your Cherry Shrimp, creating a captivating and lively underwater world.

pregnant cherry shrimp

Cherry Shrimp Breeding

One of the most exciting aspects of keeping Cherry Shrimp is observing their breeding and witnessing the growth of baby shrimplets in your aquarium. As Cherry Shrimp breed relatively easily, even a beginner aquarist can successfully generate new generations of these vibrant inhabitants.

Here’s a brief guide to fostering a breeding environment for your Cherry Shrimp:

Preparing for Breeding

To encourage successful Cherry Shrimp breeding, pay attention to the following factors:

  • Tank Conditions: Maintain optimal water parameters and stable temperature conditions to create a low-stress environment for your shrimp.
  • Hiding Spots: Provide ample hiding places, such as live plants, caves, driftwood, or shrimp tubes, where females can rear their young in safety.
  • Balanced Diet: Offer a well-rounded diet of high-quality shrimp food, vegetables, and occasional protein-rich treats to support growth and reproduction.

Recognizing Mating Behavior

Male Cherry Shrimp will display increased activity, swimming and searching the tank, when seeking a mate. You can tell if a female is ready to mate if she exhibits a yellow saddle under her body, which marks the presence of unfertilized eggs. Once the eggs are fertilized, they move to the female’s swimmerets, forming a greenish or yellowish egg cluster, also known as “berried.”

Caring for Berried Females

During the 3-4 week berried stage, it’s essential to provide supportive care for the female, supplying regular nutrition and ensuring ideal water conditions. Strong water currents can dislodge the eggs, so maintaining gentle water flow with the use of a sponge filter is particularly important.

Hatching and Shrimplet Care

Once the eggs hatch, the shrimplets will resemble miniature adult shrimp and will begin to forage for biofilm and algae in the tank. Although they can survive on this diet initially, offering finely crushed shrimp food or specialized baby shrimp food can further support their growth and development.

By providing the right conditions, diet, and hiding spots, you create a supportive environment for successful Cherry Shrimp breeding, allowing you to enjoy the fascinating process of witnessing new generations emerging in your aquarium.


In this comprehensive guide, we have covered the essentials of Cherry Shrimp care for beginners, from setting up the perfect tank environment to maintaining optimal water conditions and providing a balanced diet. This guide also touched on potential health problems, choosing the right tank mates, and breeding these fascinating little creatures.

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