Freshwater Species Spotlight: Cherry Shrimp

Neocaridina heteropoda

Cherry shrimp are perfect for any aquarist looking to try out something a little different for their tank. They spend their days looking for uneaten food and algae to eat(a very valuable trait for those of us who like to take a more holistic approach to our tanks… or are just too lazy to scrape the glass as often as we should). They coexist peacefully with any fish that wont eat them and given proper care will soon reproduce to fill your tank with bright red shrimp.

Parameters

Water Temp: 72 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit (22C to 27C)

Origin: Taiwan

pH: 7.0 to 7.9

Max Size: 1 1/2 inches (for females, males tend to stay below 1 inch)

Minimum Tank Size: 2.5 gallons

Temperament: Peaceful

Diet: Omnivore

Care Level : Easy

Characteristics / Behavior

Cherry shrimp are a very peaceful scavenger, looking to live a low profile life searching for food and reproducing in your tank. In the wild they are a dull green brown color which helps camouflage them, but through mutations and breeding you will almost always find bright red ones available for sale(though several other color varieties are sold as well).

Cherry ShrimpTank Setup

Their bright red offers a very pleasing contrast in a planted tank which is the environment they tend to do best in. They wont eat plants, and love to graze on the algae that can grow on the leaves. The ample hiding places planted tanks provide will make them feel more comfortable and will greatly improve the number of baby shrimp that make it to adulthood. They can also do well in non-planted tanks though, just be sure to have some decorations that provide cover for them.

It is important that only peaceful tank mates are housed with these shrimp, they are very likely to end up as an expensive snack for any larger or aggressive fish such as angelfish or African Cichlids.

It is also important that the pH and hardness of their water not be too low as this can lead to issues with their shells and molting and cause health issues over time.

Breeding

All cherry shrimp in the trade are captive raised. Breeding them is considered easy as long as there are many small spaces for the young shrimp to hide in while they grow. Given a proper environment it’s hard not to add to your initial number of shrimp.

The larger shrimp are females, when they are ready to lay eggs she will release pheromones letting the male know she is ready. Males will become very active and deposit their sperm and then she will lay her eggs. She will tuck them under her tail and after about 4 weeks anywhere from 10 to 40 miniature shrimp will hatch.

Availibility

They are readily available in most fish stores due to their ease of breeding and care as well as their unique color. They usually sell for around $3 to $5 per shrimp. When starting a colony it is often suggested to begin with at least 6 to 12 shrimp, and be sure to get both large and small ones to increase to odds of getting both males and females.

Conclusion

Provided they are offered a proper environment, and don’t become snacks for your other tank inhabitants, cherry shrimp are a wonderful species for your aquarium. They help keep the tank clean, will offer a self sustaining colony over time, add almost nothing to your bioload, and provide a beautiful and unique addition for your tank.

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