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Cherry Shrimp Care, Diet, Lifespan, Tank Specs & Breeding

Cherry Shrimp Care, Diet, Lifespan, Tank Specs & Breeding

If you are looking for an interesting addition to your tank, then you are at the right place! Meet the Cherry shrimp, a cute little aquarium critter that comes in more than just a cherry red color. 

But, its appearance is not the only thing that leaves tank hobbyists in awe. 

Stick around with us to find out more about these mesmerizing freshwater creatures that never cease to amaze!

Cherry Shrimp Species Overview

Cherry shrimp are part of the mighty genus Neocaridina davidi. These freshwater shrimp are native to Taiwan where they thrive in tropical streams and ponds. 

They were first described by a French naturalist E.L. Bouvier in 1904, after which they quickly became a popular addition to aquariums all over the world. 

Well, taking into consideration their beautiful appearance and timid nature, it is no wonder these little guys stole the show. In fact, they are among the shrimp best sellers in the hobby. 


Let’s have a quick chit-chat about the dashing appearance of our little friend, the Cherry shrimp. We can all agree that these little fellas are truly a work of art. 

Take their colorful exoskeletons as an example. They come in various colors and have the ability to change in relation to their environment. Pretty cool huh? But, we will get to those later, let’s jump to the basic shrimpy anatomy.

With 10 legs and two dark eyes, these shrimp have all the tools they need to navigate the underwater world. And, let’s not forget their long antennae

They use their antennae to get by, find other shrimp and communicate with them. They also come in handy when scavenging for food. 

If you take a closer look, you will notice that these antennae constantly twirl and twist, taking in all the sights and smells of the aquarium. 

What Colors Do Cherry Shrimp Come In?

Shrimp colors are often referred to as morphs, and the Cherry shrimp species come in all colors of the rainbow:

  • Red: Red Cherry and Red Onyx shrimp
  • Orange: Orange Sakura and Orange Pumpkin shrimp
  • Yellow: Yellow Sakura shrimp
  • Green: Green Jade and Blue-Green Emerald shrimp
  • Blue: Blue Dream, Blue Velvet, Blue Cherry, Blue Pearl, Blue Diamond, and Blue Jelly
  • Striped: Rili shrimp
  • Black: Back Rose and Black Cherry shrimp
  • White: Snowball shrimp

You see, there are plenty of morphs to choose from. Some of them are very rare and might be difficult to find, not to mention how pricey they can be. 

The most common morph is the Red Cherry shrimp, which is often used to develop other Cherry shrimp morphs. 

How Big Do Cherry Shrimp Get?

red cherry shrimps

Adult Red Cherry shrimp can grow up to 1.6 inches in length, which is an average freshwater shrimp size. 

And here’s a fun fact for you, the ladies of the group are even larger than the gents. That’s right, the female Red Cherry Shrimp are the ones who wear the bigger shoes in the tank! Imagine them actually wearing shoes...

Male Vs. Female Cherry Shrimp 

Let’s get into a bit more detail about the gender differences between these magnificent shrimp. 

First up, the antennae. The antennae of male Cherry shrimp are usually longer and thinner than those of the female. The female antennae, on the other hand, are shorter and a bit sturdier.

Next, we have the swimmerets or pleopods, which are used for swimming and carrying eggs. 

Therefore, females have bigger and wider swimmerets than the males, specially made to provide an ideal place to carry and protect her precious eggs.

Now that we’ve mentioned shrimp eggs, females also have a wider, rounder, and plumper abdomen (pleon) whose shape is perfect for carrying the eggs. 

There is a special place where she stores her eggs, and it is called the saddle. Take a closer look and you will notice a bright yellow or green spot on the back of your Cherry shrimp, that’s it! 

Temperament And Behavior

red cherry shrimp

These little crustaceans look super-unique, but their personalities are as diverse as the colors they come in. Some are shy and timid, while others are outgoing and curious. 

But, one thing they all have in common is their peaceful nature. 

Think of Cherry shrimp as peacekeepers of your tank, always minding their own business and living their best lives.

If we were to compare the genders, I would point out that males have a very unique behavior. Or should I say, they have a nose for love! 

When female Cherries are ready to breed, they release pheromones which are love chemicals that attract males. You can clearly see males follow them around as soon as they pick up their scent. 

Another thing that is specific for Cherry shrimp species is their love for hiding in small places. Anything goes – from caves, gravel, cervices, to plants and algae. They are like masters of disguise, often blending in with their surroundings. 

This behavior is particularly noticed in Blue Velvet morphs when they disappear all of a sudden. But in reality, they are probably just hiding!

How Long Do Cherry Shrimp Live

Cherry shrimp species usually live up to a maximum of 2 years in captivity. On average, these shrimp live to be one year old. 

And that’s when we’re talking about their snug life in captivity, when all the water parameters and tank specs are proper. 

When it comes to wild Cherry shrimp, their lifespan is affected by various factors, most of which are predators that see them as food. 

Naturally, the life expectancy from wild individuals is by far lower than one year. 

Common Health Problems

Wild Cherry shrimp are prone to various parasitic infestations such as Vorticella, viral, and bacterial infections. However, those in captivity rarely suffer from these health issues because they have been bred in controlled environments. 

Additionally, before introducing their shrimp into a new tank, responsible owners make sure to put these shrimp in a separate, quarantine tank. The same goes for any new tank critters that are to be put into the tank.

This prevents any health problems from occurring, as these shrimp do not have contact with other shrimp and other tank mates. 

If a certain illness does occur, then you should keep your mind on:

It is important to note that wrong water parameters and improper tank specs can lead to the development of many diseases. 

An aquarium with yucky water can only make these shrimp weaker and more prone to health issues. 

What Do Cherry Shrimp Eat

red cherry shrimp in freshwater aquarium

Cherry shrimp are omnivores which means that they eat all kinds of stuff, from debris, plankton, dead fish tissues and dead plant matter to fresh algae. 

However, these little guys don’t eat poop like some tank critters do. So, we can’t really say that they eat everything. They’re picky, at least when it comes to fish poop! 

The fact that they still eat a lot of stuff makes them great tank cleaners because they get rid of all the yucky things! 

As for feeding frequency, Cherry shrimp should be fed a small amount of tasty food at least once or twice a day. 

But here’s the catch, if you put a lot of algae in your tank that serves as a natural food source, then your shrimp may not need additional food because they are going to munch on these greens.

What To Feed Cherry Shrimp

Even though these shrimp are the OG tank cleaners, you still shouldn’t leave them to scavenge all over the tank. It is very important that you provide them with a varied diet that is full of essential nutrients and vitamins. 

Here are some foods you can try giving your Cherry shrimp. Disclaimer: they will love it! 

1. Algae 

It seems that Cherry shrimp are always on the lookout for the latest and greatest algae in the tank. And trust me, these little guys are the best algae eaters of the aquarium world! 

The first step before introducing any kind of plant to your shrimp tank is to go through plant quarantine to make sure you get rid of chemicals that may be present on their surface. 

Remember to always buy from reputable sources because these plants are going to be both food and hiding places for your shrimp. 

All Cherry morphs will happily munch on soft algae such as: 

  • Green algae
  • Brown algae
  • Black beard algae
  • Hair algae 

There are plenty of reasons why you should feed them fresh algae – they are natural, healthy, packed with vitamins, fiber, and minerals. 

What else does a shrimp need to live a happy and fulfilling life? Well, you can always step up your feeding game with some blanched vegetables. 

2. Blanched Vegetables

Yummy, yummy in your shrimp’s tummy! In addition to fresh algae, blanched vegetables make a great snack or a whole meal for your Cherry shrimp. 

You should not give your shrimp buddies fresh veggies straight out of the bag. They are too hard for them to chew on and they might not be able to digest them properly. 

Instead, take the fresh veggies, put them in steaming hot water for a few seconds and voila, you got yourself some blanched greens. 

Stick to somewhat softer veggies such as zucchini, cucumber, and lettuce, because they are easier for your shrimp to digest, especially when you cut them into small pieces. 

Then simply let them cool down for a bit and put them into the tank. 

They may float around for a couple of minutes, but the Cherry shrimp will soon pick up their scent and start feasting on some green goodness! 

Also, it is very important to avoid putting too many pieces of veggies into the tank because your shrimp may not be able to eat all of them in one sitting. 

As a result, leftover food will make the tank dirty, and we really don’t want that! 

3. Shrimp Pellets

You can feed your Cherries shrimp pellets in case your tank does not have a large number of natural plants and algae. These pellets boost their diet with lots of vitamins such as B12, and minerals such as selenium. 

Make sure to choose high-quality shrimp pellets but do not only feed them to your little critters. They still need their natural algae and veggies! 

Feed them shrimp pellets about twice a week. 

4. Frozen Food

Frozen food is a great option for your Cherry shrimp because you can store it easily in your freezer and it won’t go bad for a while. 

It is also a great source of protein for your tank buddies as it usually contains brine shrimp, bloodworms, and Daphnia sp. 

And, the best thing about it? Frozen food cubes can go directly into your Cherry shrimp tank as they will thaw on their own once in the water. 

Water Parameters For Cherry Shrimp

For them to be in a tip-top condition, Cherry shrimp need proper water parameters. Their water must be clean and well-oxygenated, and should not contain any ammonia and nitrites. 

Water temperature:65°-75°F 
Water pH levels:6.2-8.0
Water hardness:4-8 dGH (66.7-133.4 ppm)
Water quality:well-oxygenated and clean
Chlorine levels:0 ppm
Ammonia and nitrite levels:0 ppm
Nitrate levels:<20 ppm
Concentration of carbonates:3-15 dKH (53.6-268.3 ppm)

It may sound difficult to maintain water parameters, but believe me, it is not. 

You just have to invest in good water quality kits, and you won’t have any problems with keeping this shrimp tank a good environment for every critter inside. 

Tank Requirements And Tank Mates For Cherry Shrimp

Providing your Cherry shrimp with a good, spacious tank is as important as providing them with proper water parameters. 

However, you should not overdo it – a too big of a tank can stress out your shrimp, while a too small of a tank can easily become overcrowded, resulting in health problems or even death.  

How Many Cherry Shrimp Per Gallon

All Cherry shrimp morphs are small critters that will do well in a 5 gallon tank with the rest of the fish

You can keep up to 10-25 shrimp in a 5 gallon tank, as you move up to a 10 gallon tank, you can add 10-30 more shrimp. A 20 gallon tank can house a shrimp colony of 100 individuals, while a standard 40 gallon tank can hold up to 200 shrimp. 

However, if you want to breed these gorgeous critters, then you will have to consider a 40 gallon breeding tank which provides just enough space for new shrimp babies! 

You should avoid overstocking your tank with too many shrimp, as even adding just one extra could lead to overcrowding. 

This may result in poor water quality which will eventually take its toll on the health of all tank inhabitants. 

What Plants Go In A Cherry Shrimp Tank?

Adding plants to a shrimp tank is super-important because they serve both as a food source and safe hiding places. 

Here are some tank plants that will make every Cherry shrimp happy: 

Tank Substrate 

The best and safest tank substrate for Cherry shrimp is gravel. Not only is it easy to clean, but it also mimics the gravel wild shrimp walk on. 

You can choose different colors of tank gravel that can make your shrimp’s color really stand out! 

Tank Mates

Besides plants, diet, and proper water requirements, the temperament and behavior of tank mates introduced into the Cherry shrimp tank is something you should really think about. 

These shrimp are very peaceful and they usually go along well with other peaceful freshwater species like the Amano shrimp. They’re also cool with tank snails and small fish species like neon tetras.

Make sure to avoid aggressive and large fish that will definitely see your shrimp buddies as a yummy snack!

How To Breed Cherry Shrimp

In order to get into the breeding mood, Cherry shrimp need higher temperatures. Not higher, as in steaming hot, usually about 80⁰F.

When you set up the tank temperature and all water parameters are met, it is important to respect the 3:1 females to males ratio. This way you will make the perfect breeding conditions. 

Now, you just have to wait for the gentleman shrimp to start seducing the lady shrimp! 

After mating, the female shrimp will carry 20 to 30 fertilized eggs and it will take up to three weeks for them to hatch. 

Where To Buy Cherry Shrimp

Due to the fact that Cherry shrimp are extremely popular in the aquarium hobby, you can find them in most pet stores, specialized aquarium stores, and reputable online retailers. 

It is worth noting that some Cherry shrimp morphs may be more expensive than the other. 

But, the most important thing is to find a quality breeder because you want your shrimp to arrive alive and healthy. 

Let’s Wrap It Up

Whether you choose a blue, green, black, or a red Cherry shrimp, we can guarantee that each and every one of them will make a unique and fun pet. 

Remember, the most important thing is to keep their environment healthy and their bellies full of nutritious food!