Cherry shrimp are probably one of the most popular aquarium invertebrates around. They are available in most aquarium shops and do not grow to large sizes (4cm max), so they are suited to any size aquarium or even a bowl. Cherry Shrimp are very easy to keep and display bright colours, two reasons that they are so popular amongst aquarists.
Cherry Shrimp or Neocardina davidi/heteropoda, originally come from Taiwan. In the wild, they come in a vast variety of colours, the most common in the aquarium trade is red, they have been selectively bred over the years to produce a deeper red colouration. This red colouration is often how Cherry Shrimp are graded. The red colour looks great in the surrounding of a green planted aquarium.
Cherry Shrimp care
Cherry Shrimp are easy to care for and for such small creatures they are surprisingly hardy. This makes them ideal for beginner aquarists. They live in tropical waters, so a heater is required to maintain a constant temperature. They will be happy anywhere between 22 – 26 degrees Celcius, though they seem to prefer the cooler end of that range. The pH of the aquarium should be around neutral (7 – 7.8) but they will survive happily in slightly wider conditions.
Cherry Shrimp are a great addition to the aquarium as they eat algae. Algae eaters are often sought out by aquarists to assist in keeping the aquarium clean looking and free of green/brown mess. Cherry Shrimp will spend most of their day grazing around the aquarium for algae, uneaten food, anything they find really. They are very active and rarely stay still for long which makes them very interesting to watch.
As you would expect, Cherry Shrimp are a prey ‘animal’, and just about any fish larger than them will have a go at eating them, so the best options for tankmates are other shrimp and snails. Some fish, such as a Betta, may live very happily with Cherry Shrimp though, so they can live with fish too, just carefully chosen ones.
Cherry Shrimp Feeding
Cherry Shrimp seem to eat anything, from algae to dead fish, so they certainly arent fussy. Honestly, they will eat anything that they find in the aquarium. They spend most of their time wandering around in search of food, having a well-established aquarium makes this very easy for them. They will happily graze on algae but adding some additional food in the form of Shrimp pellets, or fish flakes will add a little protein to their diet and will help with growth and colour.
Feeding Cherry Shrimp is really easy, they really aren’t fussy and will eat just about anything.
Cherry Shrimp and Plants
Live plants are a great addition to a Cherry Shrimp tank, plants provide a great place to hide, food, and help with waste management. The colour of a bright red Cherry Shrimp will stand out fantastically against a green planted background.
Plants provide lots of areas to explore in search of food for the Shrimp, they oxygenate the water and provide a source of food. It is unlikely that Cherry Shrimp will eat much live plant, but as leaves die and wilt away, they become fair game to the Shrimp, a real circle of live kind of thing.
Cherry Shrimp breeding
Cherry Shrimp require very little encouragement to breed. All you need is a male and a female in the same tank. Cherry Shrimp sexing is fairly easy, the females grow distinctively larger than the males. When they are ready to breed, the female Cherry Shrimp will develop what looks like a little saddle on her back.
Once the female lays her eggs, the male will fertilise them and the female will then carry them under her body. This is often referred to as being ‘berried’, as it looks like the shrimp is carrying a bunch of berries with her.
Cherry Shrimp babies are tiny. So it is best to have a sponge filter that won’t suck them up. Hiding places will be appreciated where they grow, and this is where plants come back in. Thick plants make great hiding places for baby shrimp and will allow them to grow in safety until they are large enough to venture out.
Cherry Shrimp are a great addition to the aquarium, they are small, active and attractively coloured. They will do a great job of keeping an aquarium nice and tidy and are almost self-sufficient in a mature, planted aquarium. This makes caring for them extremely easy yet rewarding. Tankmates need to be chosen carefully though as most fish would love a little shrimp for lunch.
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