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Are Cherry Shrimp Nocturnal? (Why You Only See Them at Night)

Are Cherry Shrimp Nocturnal? (Why You Only See Them at Night)

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This post is written to the author's best knowledge and is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. In addition, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Cherry shrimp are now one of the most popular pets among aquarists. They’re easy to take care of, plus their vivid colors give life to the tank.

However, new owners may notice their shrimp are prone to hide. Sometimes, they only come out at night. So, are cherry shrimp nocturnal?

Do Cherry Shrimp Sleep?

Sleep in the human sense can be different for other organisms. Generally, sleep is characterized by the body’s relaxed state, lessened movement, and unresponsiveness to external stimuli.

For shrimp, the absence of a mammalian brain makes their exact sleeping behavior a mystery.

Juvenile shrimp become less active and have a slower heartbeat when placed in a dark environment. This period of rest may suggest a form of sleep wherein they recuperate their energy.

Additionally, they also become sluggish and seem to have impaired memory in prolonged durations without motionless rest. The state shows similar symptoms to sleep deprivation.

In the case of cherry shrimp, sleep could be described as a motionless retreat at secure and well-hidden spots in the aquarium.

But are they nocturnal?

Cherry shrimp are neither nocturnal or diurnal. They have an irregular sleeping pattern characterized by short periods of motionlessness throughout the day and night.

If you notice that your cherry shrimp are gone most of the day, it could be due to several factors.

Why Cherry Shrimp Hide?

There are multiple reasons you don’t see your cherry shrimp a lot during the day. They can seem shy and evasive depending on the conditions in your tank.

1 – They’re in a New Tank

In a new tank, cherry shrimp will take time to adjust and be familiar with the new environment. You’ll have to wait before they feel properly settled in their new home.

Cherry shrimp feel safer in the dark, so they’ll explore the aquarium during nighttime or when the lights are off. They’re able to feel less vulnerable when the tank has enough artificial structures where they can hide.

The shrimp also love greenery which makes them feel more welcome. Not only do plants provide food, but they also improve water quality.

2 – They Feel Unsafe

Cherry shrimp look for hiding places when they feel threatened. Common threats include:

It’s important to provide adequate spaces where they can hide, such as caves, vegetation, logs, rocks, or other artificial structures in the tank. These hidden places also reduce stress and promote natural behavior.

3 – They’re Molting

As they age, cherry shrimp gradually grow larger. When their exoskeleton becomes too small, they eventually have to shed it.

This process is called molting. It usually occurs every three weeks.

During molting, shrimp can feel especially vulnerable due to the soft skin that replaces the shed exoskeleton. This new skin needs time to harden; until then, the shrimp remain in their hiding places.

4 – They’re Breeding

After molting, female shrimp don’t immediately emerge. They release pheromones which attract males to their hiding places.

Eventually, mating occurs and the females become pregnant. The female shrimp will take time to remain hidden until they’ve laid their eggs.

5 – They’re Sick

Your cherry shrimp are vulnerable to various conditions and illnesses inside the tank, including:

  • Parasites
  • Bacterial Infections
  • Fungal Infections
  • Malnutrition
  • Bad Water Quality

The following are common diseases for cherry shrimp:

  • Bacterial Infections
  • Chitinolytic Bacterial Diseases
  • Dragonfly Nymphs
  • Fungal Infections
  • Leeches
  • Muscular Necrosis
  • Parasitic Dinoflagellates and Ellobiopsids
  • Scutariella Japonica
  • Vorticella

When they don’t feel well, the shrimp will retreat to their hiding places so that they won’t feel exposed and defenseless.

To prevent them from getting sick, you should always make sure that the tank’s water is properly cycled and regularly changed. This ensures they’re not exposed to toxins.

You can also give additional supplement foods, like calcium, which helps in shell growth and overall health.

Final Thoughts

Cherry shrimp don’t have a regular sleeping pattern. They rest intermittently night and day in order to recuperate lost energy.

Thus, they’re neither nocturnal nor diurnal.

There are plenty of reasons why you can only see your shrimp more active during the nighttime. These include changes to a new environment, perceived threats in the aquarium, molting, breeding, as well as illnesses and diseases.

As long as you keep your shrimp secure and healthy, they’ll feel safer in the open.

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