The Cherry Shrimp also known as Red Cherry Shrimp or Neocaridina Davidi, is a popular crustacean that thrives in both minimalist or nano tanks and larger community tanks. It is widely renowned for consuming algae and its positive contribution to keeping algal blooms and other toxic substances in check.
In this article, you’ll learn all about this tiny yet amazing shrimp. Our experts will share their knowledge on this one-of-a-kind addition to your home aquarium.
Cherry Shrimp Stats and Facts
In this section, you’ll get to know the Cherry Shrimp better. Here’s a handy reference table you can use to brush up on the important stats and facts about this popular freshwater shrimp.
|Size||Up to 1.5 inches|
|Lifespan||One to two years only|
|Color||Red, with varying intensities or shades|
|Care Level Needed||Minimal care only|
|Minimum Experience Level Needed||Suitable for both beginners and experienced aquarists|
|Minimum Tank Size Required||Five to 10 gallons|
|General Community Behavior||Amiable with other peaceful types of fish or aquatic creatures|
A Brief Background on the Cherry Shrimp
The Cherry Shrimp or Red Cherry Shrimp is a native of Taiwan’s bodies of fresh water. In their natural habitat, the Cherry Shrimp is far from the bright red color that aquarists recognize today. Instead, the original Cherry Shrimps sported a muddy brown color that served as an excellent camouflage from predators.
This freshwater shrimp was then selectively bred by enthusiasts inside and outside Taiwan’s borders, resulting in the more intensely colored Cherry Shrimps we know today.
The Cherry Shrimp belongs to the Neocaridina group of shrimps. They are different from the Caridina group in terms of their body shape. Typically, the Neocaridina shrimp has a pear-shaped endopod (an appendage found on the tail-end of the shrimp), while the Caridina shrimp has a more leaf-shaped endopod. Since its popularity boom in the aquaria industry, the freshwater Cherry Shrimp has become a fast favorite among fish keepers because of the shrimp’s peaceful nature and unique aquarium behaviors.
Similar to other popular members of the shrimp family, the Cherry Shrimp is small in size and lean in girth. It has a carapace or shell that protects its softer body parts from harm. This carapace, however, is not as hard or tough as the shell of a crab. Instead, the carapace of a Cherry Shrimp is quite thin, making it easy for them to molt and move around.
Today’s Cherry Shrimps are a distinct red color with different intensities or shades. These varying shades of red are graded according to intensity and consistency throughout the Cherry Shrimp’s body.
The following are the six recognized grades of Red Cherry Shrimps:
- Cherry Grade or Low Grade
- Sakura Grade
- High Sakura Grader
- Fire Red Grade
- Painted Fire Red Grade
- Bloody Mary Red Grade
The higher the grade of your Cherry Shrimp, the redder and more opaque its color. Many aquarists often ask if grading has any significant effect on a Cherry Shrimp’s health and behavior inside an aquarium. The short answer is no. If you’re a novice fish keeper who just wants to add a pop of color or a different type of aquatic creature to your aquarium, then you will do fine with a Cherry Grade or Sakura Grade Cherry Shrimp.
On the other hand, if you are a veteran fish keeper on the lookout for more stellar ambassadors for the Cherry Shrimp species, then you may want to be more conscious of the color grading of the shrimp you bring home. In either case, the amount of money you are willing to pay for your Cherry Shrimps will often dictate what color grade you are able to purchase.
It is also important to note that Cherry Shrimps come in a variety of colors other than red! There are orange, yellow, green, and even blue Cherry Shrimps available on the market today. Whatever color of Cherry Shrimp you decide to purchase, know that females are lighter than males in color. In addition, female Cherry Shrimp will have an orange-colored saddle or sack-like appendage located on top of her stomach for holding eggs when she reaches sexual maturity.
Choosing Cherry Shrimps: How To Spot Healthy Tank Additions
Now that you have a better grasp on the appearance and origins of this red freshwater shrimp, you should learn about what separates healthy Cherry Shrimps from sickly or weak ones. This information will save you time and effort later on when you introduce your new Cherry Shrimps into your aquarium. Below are some of the key pointers you should remember when you choose and purchase your first batch of Cherry Shrimps.
– Whole Bodies and Appendages
The first thing to check on your potential Cherry Shrimps is the physical state of their bodies and appendages. A healthy Cherry Shrimp will have no loose appendages, no bent legs, and noticeable bumps on the body or carapace. You might have to spend some time inspecting your potential batch of Cherry Shrimps up close, but doing so now will increase the chances of you bringing home only healthy and hardy shrimps.
– Bright and Consistent Coloration
After you’ve taken a look at the Cherry Shrimp’s bodies and appendages, you should also take note of their coloration. Regardless of color grading, a healthy Cherry Shrimp should have a relatively even distribution of color throughout their bodies.
Aquarium Setup 101 for Cherry Shrimps
Before you take home your new batch of Cherry Shrimps, you will need to prepare your aquarium thoroughly. Cherry Shrimps are used to calm rivers with a lot of plants, rocks, and natural debris resting on the substrate. Keep this in mind when you design your tank. Here are some more specific factors you should pay attention to before introducing your Cherry Shrimps in your aquarium:
|Temperature||65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit; the ideal temperature would be around 70 degrees Fahrenheit|
|pH Level||7.0 to 7.8pH|
|Water Hardness Level||4 to 8 dGH|
|Light Level||Low to Moderate|
The water parameters above should serve as guidelines for you when it comes to providing the optimal environment for your aquarium shrimp. Keep the water warm and with a consistent degree of hardness and steady pH level. Cherry Shrimps are hardy aquatic creatures and are quick to adapt to most freshwater environments that are not too extreme or experience rapidly fluctuating water parameters. That said, you should find that your Cherry Shrimps have settled in well in their new home after a few days of being in your aquarium.
There are also other things you should consider when preparing your home aquarium to receive a new batch of Cherry Shrimps.
– Cherry Shrimps Thrive in Planted Tanks
These tiny crustaceans love plant environments. Live aquatic flora such as Anacharis, Anubias, and Water Sprite are among the best plants to include in a Cherry Shrimp tank. However, these shrimp will do well with most types of live aquatic plants for as long as they provide shelter and shade. Though Cherry Shrimps can be kept in minimal, substrate-only tanks, they tend to become more stressed and sickly in such environments.
Another thing to keep in mind is to strike a balance between flora and fauna in your aquarium. That is, be sure that the Cherry Shrimps and other fish in your tank have enough space to swim and move freely. You do not want to overcrowd your planted aquarium with flora or, on the other extreme, have your aquarium run over by a maxed-out population of Cherry Shrimps. A good rule of thumb to remember is that you only keep six Cherry Shrimps per five gallon of tank capacity.
– Use a Pebble Substrate for Your Aquarium
One of the best ways to mimic the Cherry Shrimp’s natural habitat is by using a pebbly substrate for your aquarium. This might be problematic if you are going to introduce your Cherry Shrimps into a community tank with fish that prefer fine sand or gravel as the substrate. If that is the case, don’t fret! The Cherry Shrimp is highly adaptable and will do fine in aquariums with sand or gravel substrates. However, if you plan on having a species-dedicated tank in which to house your Cherry Shrimps, be sure to give them a pebbly substrate to help them feel more at home and encourage them to settle in quickly.
– Add Suitable Wood or Rock Decorations
Aside from including live plants in your aquarium, you should also add driftwood and rock caves when possible. The driftwood and rock caves will make your tank more aesthetic, as well as provide your Cherry Shrimps with places to hide and explore. These types of decoration are, of course, optional. Some aquarists prefer having only aquatic flora in the same space as their Cherry Shrimp to better see where the shrimps are and for easier tank maintenance as well.
– Implement Gentle Filtration and Water Flow Only
While the Cherry Shrimp is a highly adaptable species, it thrives best in aquariums with a gentle filtration and water flow. Remember that these are pretty tiny creatures that could be easily swept away by strong water currents. That said, you might want to consider using a sponge filter setup as this will not only provide a gentle water flow for your tank but will help keep the ammonia and nitrate levels of your aquarium low as well. Cherry Shrimps are sensitive to ammonia and nitrate changes, and high levels of either substance might prove to be fatal to your shrimp population.
– Keep the Aquarium in a Dim or Shaded Area
Finally, be sure to keep your Cherry Shrimp aquarium in a dim or shaded area. In the wild, these creatures are usually more confident coming out during the afternoon or early evening when the sun is no longer beating down its heat on the rivers of Taiwan. Keeping your Cherry Shrimp tank in a dim or shaded area will also help you maintain consistent water temperature throughout the day since you won’t have to worry too much about external sources of heat and light.
Red Cherry Shrimp Care Guide
– Cherry Shrimp Diet Guidelines
One of the most crucial aspects of caring for any aquatic creature is knowing what and how often to feed them. The Cherry Shrimp is no different. These freshwater shrimps are not too picky with what they eat, but there are a couple of food types you should be sure to include in their diet.
Fish Flakes, Wafers, and Pellets
One thing to know about the Cherry Shrimp is that it is a natural scavenger. It will eat whatever is available in its immediate environment. As such, they tend to pick up leftover fish flakes, wafers, or pellets that are discarded by other aquarium inhabitants. You can also find crustacean-specific commercial food in your local fish store. Select high-quality brands and feed these to your Cherry Shrimps two to five times a week, depending on the amount of food available in the tank.
Aside from crumbled commercial food, you can also feed your Cherry Shrimps some boiled vegetables. Many aquarists have shared that they add tiny pieces of boiled vegetables to their Cherry Shrimps’ diet for variety and nutrition’s sake. Some of the vegetables you can feed your Cherry Shrimps include carrots and cabbage. Be sure to boil the vegetables properly and cut them up into tiny pieces that will be easy for the shrimp to pick up and digest.
Feed your Cherry Shrimps different boiled vegetables once or twice a week only.
Algae and Biofilm
The most natural type of food that a Cherry Shrimp consumes is algae. This freshwater aquarium shrimp actively feeds on the small particles of algae that float around in most fish tanks. Cherry Shrimps also feed on biofilm. This is the collective term for microorganisms that grow on surfaces usually found in the aquarium.
This type of food is readily available to your Cherry Shrimps and will make up the bulk of their diet.
It must be said that for the Cherry Shrimp, knowing when to stop feeding is just as important as knowing what kinds of food are safe for them to consume. Since they are scavengers and grazers, they will almost always have access to food. As such, you should consider only adding extra food to the tank when you see signs of unrest or frenzy in your Cherry Shrimps. That is, if you observe your Cherry Shrimps to be unable to graze on any particular surface in your aquarium, it might be because there are no food sources left.
Adding extra food only when appropriate will help you keep your Cherry Shrimps healthy, and it will also aid in keeping your tank free of unnecessary waste products. This, in turn, should lessen the chances of your Cherry Shrimp getting sick.
– Care Tips
Apart from providing your Cherry Shrimps with healthy food, there are also some other things you can do to improve their health and happiness in the aquarium.
Copper is known as the silent killer of Cherry Shrimps and other crustaceans, for that matter. This mineral is toxic to Cherry Shrimps and is usually found in commercial water treatments and liquid fertilizers. With that in mind, it would be wise to use such substances sparingly to avoid poisoning or killing off your entire shrimp population.
Perform Water Changes Regularly
Even though Cherry Shrimps help regulate the algae population in your aquarium, you should nonetheless perform water changes regularly. This will keep your water parameters consistent and the tank water quality high. In addition, performing regular water changes will control the algae and microorganisms population in your tank effectively, making it easier for your Cherry Shrimp to keep the remaining algal blooms under control.
Prevent Predator-induced Stress
Cherry Shrimps are delicate prey in the eyes of their predators. Avoid keeping Cherry Shrimp with aggressive and territorial fish to prevent predator-induced stress. If Cherry Shrimps constantly feel threatened, they will be less likely to come out of hiding places in your tank to feed. They will also become more sickly, and of course, they might end up as another fish’s dinner.
Cherry Shrimp Diseases
Cherry Shrimps, despite their hardiness and low-maintenance qualities, are also prone to diseases. Below are some of the most common diseases that Cherry Shrimps suffer from and how to treat them.
|Scutariella Japonica||You’ll know that your shrimp has the parasite Scutariella Japonica when you see appendages that have suddenly appeared on the Shrimp’s head; these appendages are usually one to two millimeters in length.||Perform an aquarium salt bath and major water change if possible. Alternatively, you can also treat this condition with chemical medications found at your local fish store.|
|Vorticella||This is another parasite that commonly latches on to Cherry Shrimps. A clear sign of Vorticella infection is the spread of a white, fungus-like substance on the head of your Cherry Shrimp. This substance can also cover the rest of the carapace if not treated immediately.||You can also treat this parasitic infection with a salt bath or over-the-counter medicine, or aquarium solutions from your local fish store.|
|Hortodrilus Truncates||This particular health condition is caused by worm-like creatures that anchor themselves to the areas of the rostrum and pleopods of crustaceans. Symptoms for this infection include sudden weakness, loss of color, and frantic movements.||This condition can also be treated with salt baths. There are available commercial medications for this type of parasitic infection, but Hortodrilus Truncates is quite resistant to these treatments.|
All of these common diseases in Cherry Shrimps are mainly caused by one thing: poor water hygiene. To prevent your Cherry Shrimps from getting sick, be sure to perform regular water changes and treatments if necessary. In addition, quarantine any new shrimps or fishes before you introduce them to the home tank. This will drastically reduce the chances of the newcomers bridging over parasites and bacteria that might infect the established members of your aquarium.
Cherry Shrimp Breeding Guide
Cherry Shrimps are among the easiest crustaceans to breed in a home aquarium. Follow the steps detailed below, and you should soon have a new batch of shrimplets to raise in your tank.
– Step 1: Prepare a Breeding Tank
To have better control over the breeding process and the resulting shrimplets, you must prepare a separate aquarium to breed your Cherry Shrimps. This tank should have warm (81 to 82 Fahrenheit), slightly acidic, and hard water. This warmer temperature mimics the river biome during the summer months and will encourage your Cherry Shrimps to mate. Ensure that the tank has plenty of plant cover as well.
– Step 2: Introduce the Breeding Pairs
After you have cycled and tested the water to check for consistent water parameters, you can introduce the breeding pairs into the new environment. Remember that males will be more intensely colored than their female counterparts. Feed your Cherry Shrimp with high-quality food to further encourage breeding. Also, fish keepers have observed that breeding usually takes place after a female Cherry Shrimp molts.
After a few weeks of settling into the breeding tank, you should begin to notice that the females have rounder bodies and are carrying hundreds of eggs beneath their tails.
– Step 3: Support the Shrimplets’ Growth
The female Cherry Shrimp will shelter the eggs for an incubation period of about 25 days. After this, she will give birth to several miniature Cherry Shrimps that will need your support for proper growth and a higher survival rate.
Remove the parent Cherry Shrimps from the breeding tank after the eggs have hatched. Then, feed the shrimplets with powdered food for juvenile crustaceans. You can easily purchase this from your local fish store or other specialty stores.
Cherry Shrimp Tank Mates
If you want to house your Cherry Shrimps in a community tank, you should know which types of fish will be the best neighbors for them. Below is a short list of our experts’ top-recommended tank mates based on Cherry Shrimp compatibility:
Most species of catfish are peaceful bottom dwellers that will not see the Cherry Shrimp as a food source. Some of the best catfish to pair with Cherry Shrimps are the Corydoras Catfish, Pygmy Corydoras Catfish, and the Otocinclus Catfish.
Rasboras are another type of fish that are generally peaceful and docile. They do not grow to large sizes and are unlikely to bully your Cherry Shrimps. You can include the Harlequin Rasbora and the Dwarf Rasbora in your list of potential tank mates for your Cherry Shrimps.
Tetras also make wonderful neighbors for Cherry Shrimps. However, you must make sure that the Tetras you introduce are on the small side. Larger Tetras might take to harassing the Cherry Shrimp or snacking on them. The Neon Tetra, Ember Tetra, and Cardinal Tetra would make great additions to your Cherry Shrimp tank.
Snails are herbivorous bottom dwellers that generally do not take notice of Cherry Shrimps in the same tank. They are also easy to care for and aid in keeping your aquarium clean. The only thing you should be careful of when keeping snails in an aquarium is that they can multiply quite fast and overpopulate the area.
As you can see, the humble Cherry Shrimp has a lot more going for it than meets the eye. We covered a lot of topics about this small aquatic creature. Below are the key points that we tackled in this article:
- Cherry Shrimps come from the freshwater rivers of Taiwan.
- This type of shrimp is known for its peaceful nature and algae-eating behavior.
- You can feed Cherry Shrimps with fish flakes, wafers, pellets, and boiled vegetables.
- The Cherry Shrimp is prone to parasitic, bacterial, and fungal infections; these can be treated with salt baths and chemical medications.
- Cherry Shrimp can be bred relatively easily with the help of a separate breeding tank.
- This type of shrimp is best paired with peaceful fish such as Tetras, Rasboras, and Catfish, as well as freshwater Snails.
With these facts in mind, you should be able to raise your own batch of Cherry Shrimps with absolute ease.
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