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In the past few years, the interest around including dwarf shrimp in an aquarium has significantly grown. Keeping this shrimp category is rewarding, fun, and generally easy.

One of the popular options among those who love dwarf shrimp is the cherry shrimp. This is a freshwater shrimp with a vibrant red color that informs its name. It forms a perfect contrast with the black substrate and green plants in an aquarium.

The cherry shrimp belongs to the invertebrate family of Atydiae that comprises more than twenty shrimp species. It is scientifically known as the Neocaridina Davidi or Heteropoda and is a native of Taiwan. The cherry shrimp is a hardy fish and thus suitable for beginner and experienced aquarists.

The following are guidelines that will answer most of the questions you might have when keeping cherry shrimp in your aquarium.

Cherry Shrimp Appearance

Female cherry shrimps will attain adult lengths of 1.5 inches, with the males being somewhat shorter than them. The most renowned element of the cherry shrimp appearance is its color. The red cherry shrimp is, in fact, graded into the following categories based on its color intensity:

  • Cherry shrimp; this is the regular cherry shrimp and tends to be primarily clear with red spots.
  • Sakura cherry shrimp; this is slightly redder compared to the regular cherry shrimp with clear body patches.
  • Fire red shrimp; this is entirely red.
  • Painted fire red shrimp; this is the highest grade and most expensive cherry shrimp. It is a solid deep red with no transparent body areas.

Irrespective of their grade, female cherry shrimps are more colorful compared to their male counterparts. When young, there is not much difference between male and female shrimps in appearance. As adults, however, female cherry shrimps have orange-colored saddles in which they hold their eggs before fertilization.

Cherry Shrimp Tank Requirements

A five-gallon aquarium will suffice for a small school of cherry shrimp, but for a colony, get a 20-gallon tank. A densely planted aquarium with lots of java moss and crevices will mimic the fish’s natural environment and guarantee its comfort. You should also include driftwood in the tank so that your fish nibble the algae on it.

You can use tiny pebbles as the substrate for the tank to mimic the natural bottoms in the streams and ponds where cherry shrimps live. You do not need a heater for the tank if the room where you place it is heated. A sponge filter is your ideal choice to keep the water clean without sucking in the small cherry shrimp in your aquarium.

Cherry Shrimp Water Conditions

Cherry shrimps are quite tolerant to water changes. Even so, high-grade fish will need the best possible water conditions for them to thrive. The following are the parameters you should aim for in your aquarium for a thriving school of cherry shrimp:

  • Temperatures: 25-27 degrees Celsius or 77-81 degrees Fahrenheit
  • PH: 6.2-7.3
  • Nitrite: 0ppm
  • Ammonia: 0ppm
  • Nitrate :< 20ppm
  • Water changes: not less than 30% weekly

Cherry Shrimp Diet and Feeding

Cherry shrimps are omnivores and eat pretty much anything they come across in the wild. Their scavenger nature makes them easy pets to feed since they are not fussy eaters.

You should include a high-quality pellet feed in the aquarium diet for your cherry shrimp and substitute this with boiled and blanched vegetables and frozen foods.

Cherry shrimps make an excellent clean-up crew that will get rid of the debris in your tank. Even so, they will not eat as much as large aquarium dwellers will and should not be considered tank cleaners. Remember to remove the leftover feeds in your tank two hours after you feed your cherry shrimp to avoid overfeeding.

Cherry Shrimp Tank Mates

Cherry shrimps are peaceful inverts that will not hurt other fish because they have no means of self-defense. Their little defense capabilities, unfortunately, also mean they can be preyed on by other tank mates. The ideal tank mates for cherry shrimp include:

  • Small catfish (otocinclus and Cory)
  • Dwarf gouramis
  • Freshwater snails {gold Inca, Malaysian trumpet, Nerite, ramshorn, ivory, mystery}
  • Small tetras
  • Small plecos
  • Other shrimp species {bamboo, small ghost, vampire, amano}

Even with the above options, your fish tank should include lots of hiding places and plants. These act as added security in case the tankmates mistake the small shrimp for food.

You can alternatively opt for a species-only aquarium exclusively comprising cherry shrimps. In this instance, keep more than ten of them to prevent dominant behavior.

Cherry Shrimp Breeding

The breeding of cherry shrimps is thankfully easy. Your first step will be preparing your fish tank for reproduction by including many plants for the shrimps’ security and comfort.

You then should feed your pets on a high protein diet. It would help if you also raised your water temperatures to about 82 degrees Fahrenheit to mimic the beginning of summer when shrimps breed in the wild.

Shrimps become sexually mature when they are 4-6 months old and will start breeding when they settle in your tank in about 3-5 months after their introduction. After mating, the female shrimp carries eggs under her tail and continually fans the tail for the eggs to get adequate oxygen. These eggs hatch in thirty days.

Baby cherry shrimps resemble the adults. They should be kept in a mature fish tank that has enough organisms for them to eat. When the females are carrying fertilized eggs, remember to replace the filter in your tank with an aerator. You can also use thick wool layers over the filter to slow down or block large intake siphons that would suck in the eggs. 

Wrapping Up

With the above guide, you are now ready to keep cherry shrimps in your aquarium. You, however, should be vigilant about what you include in the tank. Cherry shrimps, for instance, are very sensitive to the copper in most fish medication.

You should, therefore, carefully scrutinize the ingredients of your aquarium care products and fish feed to ensure they have no copper. Keep water parameters stable since cherry shrimps are also sensitive to ammonia spikes.

Written by Fabian

Hey, I'm Fabian, chief editor at Aquarium Nexus. I really enjoy the aquarium hobby and love sharing my experience with others. If you have any questions feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.

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