The Cherry Shrimp or Neocaridina Heteropoda or red cherry shrimp is an invertebrate dwarf that lives in freshwater and is native from Taiwan. It is affiliated to the Atyidae family. This family has more than 20 other varieties of Shrimp. They are available in the market in different shades of red and are graded accordingly. These fishes are easy to maintain and are housed by beginner aquarists. These calm fish are in demand because of their algae-eating habits. They are bottom eaters and low-maintenance species. These species are appropriate for both beginners as well as experienced aquarists.

The size of the fish is small and their ability to protect themselves is limited. For this reason, they require plenty of hiding spaces. In wild these exist in different colors but in the aquarium trade, the red ones are in demand. The deep red hue happened because of years of selective breeding. Now they are graded depending on the shades and depth of red hue.

Cherry Shrimp is amicable and calm. In the tank, you will discover that it spends a lot of time grazing around the moss, plants substrate. They are full of movements in the daytime and even at night. Females are around 1.5 inches long but males are a little smaller. Females are more colorful. It is difficult to differentiate between males and females the only sign being females have a saddle on their stomach on maturity. They even hold eggs prior to their fertilization. Shrimp live for a year or two. Individuals use them in bigger aquariums for waste management and algae management.

Cherry Shrimp Closeup Pic

Cherry shrimp are graded based on their color. It begins with the deepest red to paler colors with red dots. Some of the varieties are;-

  • Shrimp cherry - It belongs to the inferior grade. It has a clear color with interspersed red patches
  • Shrimp Sakura cherry - A little deeper red with patches dotted over the body.
  • Shrimp red fire - This is completely red in color.
  • Shrimp painted red fire - these cost more as they are considered as a superior grade. They are evenly deep red all over the body.

Other varieties of shrimp apart from red are yellow, blue, green, violet, chocolate, black-white, and ghost with no pigment. In the aquarium trade, red ones are usually sold. The deep red hue is because of years of selective breeding. Grading is based on shades and depth of red.

It is very pleasing to watch them in the tank. They have aesthetically ornamental quality at the same time purpose of eating all kinds of freshwater algae organic debris. It is a clean-up crew for the tank. Cherry shrimp is highly adaptable in an aquarium that has good filtration, water quality, food and shelter are in excess. Shrimp hide after molting that is shedding exoskeleton to enable growth. 

Female carries a clutch of yellowish eggs behind its tail and these hatch in about 30 days. The clutch has eggs developing in the females' ovaries. Newborns appear just like adults and survive on the same type of food of algae.  Cherry shrimp is omnivores

How to Setup Aquarium for Pet Cherry Shrimp?

In the wild, cherry shrimp resides in streams and ponds enveloped by thick plant growth and a rocky substrate. Mimic the wild environment in the aquarium as well. Use small pebbles as a rocky substrate.

Cherry Shrimp In Aquarium

As regards equipment heater is not necessary in case the room is heated otherwise add a heater for temperature stability. Filters have to be used with care. In case the filter is extremely powerful cherry shrimp is in danger of being sucked into it. The next best choice is a sponge filter. If you are using canisters use foam for inlets to minimize the flow. In case you are worried about reduced filtration to make use of air stone.

Pet Cherry shrimp is sensitive to copper. Copper-based medications are forbidden in aquariums housing ornamental invertebrates. Do not keep cherry shrimp with loaches, puffers, and other bigger carnivores that will use them as food.

Higher grade shrimps require better water conditions. The pH level should be 6.5-8 and the temperature range 65-85 degrees F. Shrimps are sensitive to nitrites. Cherry shrimps survive small aquarium with just 5 gallons of water. The size varies with the number of shrimps being housed. Keep 2-5 shrimps per gallon of water. Quick breeding will increase their number. Make sure the tank is a little bigger rather than small. For a colony have at least 20 gallons of the tank.

Cherry shrimp are defenseless so it is vital that tank mates are picked with precautions. They should not become food for other fish.  Have enough plants and a hiding place in the tank. The tank mates could be;-

  • Catfish like Cory or Otocinclus
  • Freshwater snails
  • Tiny plecos
  • Puny tetras

Avoid keeping predatory fish or a bigger variety within the same tank. Cherry shrimp are easy to breed. The young shrimp spend much of their time hiding among plants and eating microbes of the tank. Java moss is not costly and grows fast it extends cover for the young. Keep more females than males. Java moss and Java fern are the best plants for a shrimp tank.

Eggs are yellowish-brown hued and are carried by a female under its tail till hatching. Baby shrimp are small and not noticeable. Newly hatched shrimp hide till mature enough to go out into wider space. Baby shrimp does not go through the larva stage. Right from hatching, they come out as a tiny version of the adult. Thus, not difficult to care and death rates are low. Baby shrimp are sensitive to water conditions. Make sure water chemistry is stable. Slightly higher temperature enhances survival rate and growth speeds up.  Adult cherry shrimp takes approximately a month to settle in the new environment after which breeding is a regular occurrence. Once mated the female many eggs will be there under the tail. Egg carrying females is called berried. The female will fan her tail frequently to ensure the eggs get enough oxygen. Eggs hatch in a months' time.

Cherry Shrimp in Algae

A heater is not required. In case you want to keep water temperature constant a heater can be used. In case the room has a heater then the tank does not require a heater. Filters are a must.

The equipment needed includes a tank. These fishes do not need a big tank. A 10-gallon tank should suffice. Make sure this shrimp doesn't get sucked by the filter. A sponge filter is safe. This filter works through an air pump. The use of a heater prevents temperature fluctuations more so at night when the lights are switched off. In case you are opting for planted shrimp tank lights are necessary. Go in for LED lights these are economical and effective. Erect the correct substrate. Plants get nutrients from the substrate. Plain gravel can be beneficial for a short duration. CEC substrate absorbs and holds nutrients effectively.

After the substrate is fixed fill the tank and put it in plants. The superior plants are Java moss, java ferns, anubias Nana, Cryptos, and flame moss. It is scientifically proved that live plants aid in speeding up the nitrogen cycle. The tank must cycle prior to putting in shrimp. Cycling the tank means building up a group of beneficial bacteria that converts waste like fish poop, extra food into a less toxic substance.

What to Feed Pet Cherry Shrimp?

Cherry shrimp are omnivorous and survive on meat and plant matter. In the normal course, they consume algae and minute organisms. These scavengers are not fussy eaters.  In the aquarium you can feed them with good quality pellets buy ones specifically made for shrimp. Frozen foods and vegetables can also be given. Boil and blanched is the way to serve vegetables. Vegetables that make part of their diet are lettuce, carrot, zucchini, and cucumber. The appetite of these tiny creatures is limited so do not dirty the tank by throwing more than required food. Remove extra feed from the tank so the water chemistry is maintained. Remove the extra feed within 2 hours after eating.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the questions people generally ask/have about pet cherry shrimp. You may also leave your question in the comment box if you don't find it here.

Which fish can be kept with cherry shrimp?

A small calm non-attacking variety of fish can be tank mates. Cherry shrimps are peaceful creatures never attack other fish moreover they can't defend themselves. Names like ottocinclus, catfish, otto cat, corydoras, danio, small plecos, dwarf gouramis, small tetras fish as well as snails should be the choice.

How long does it take for Cherry shrimp to grow?

Shrimp takes about three months to attain maturity. It is at the time capable of reproduction. The life span of the cherry shrimp is one to two years in ideal conditions.

How much do cherry shrimp cost?

In present times it is easy to buy cherry shrimp online than at pet shops. Cherry shrimp costs a couple of dollars. Higher grade cherry shrimp are very appealing in the tank. The aesthetic value of the tank is enhanced. They grow up to be 4 cm.

How do you take care of cherry shrimp?

Keep cherry shrimp in clean water with a pH of 6.5 to 8; keep the temperature 14-30 degrees and moderate room temperature at 72 degrees. The flowing current of water in the tank should be decent. What must be avoided are ammonia spikes, high nitrates, and high nitrates. Cherry shrimp lives its full life in an aquarium with stable parameters superior quality food and acceptable tank mates.

If at feeding time the shrimp shows hyperactivity it is a happy time for them. Feeding time is the best time to observe the health of the shrimp. Despite eating algae they eat again at feeding time.