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A Cherry Shrimp Breeding Guide (Tips & Techniques for Success)

A Cherry Shrimp Breeding Guide (Tips & Techniques for Success)

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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 breeding has become increasingly popular in the aquarium hobby because of its beautiful and vibrant colors. Breeding these crustaceans can not only be a rewarding experience for aquarium enthusiasts, but also provide a source of income.

However, understanding the basics of breeding is crucial for success. In this cherry shrimp breeding guide, we’ll discuss the necessary aspects you should know to start breeding.

Setting up for Cherry Shrimp Breeding

Wondering how to breed cherry shrimps? Preparing your aquarium is the fundamental step.

When it comes to setting up a breeding tank for cherry shrimp, there are a few things to consider. They are as follows:

Choose a Suitable Aquarium

When selecting a tank for cherry shrimp breeding, the right tank size is essential. A 10-gallon tank or larger is recommended.

The tank size will depend on how many shrimp you plan to keep. In general, you need to have at least 5 gallons for every 10-12 cherry shrimp.

Here are some additional factors you have to consider:

Tank Shape

A long, shallow tank is ideal for cherry shrimp breeding as it provides ample swimming space and allows for good water circulation. Moreover, a tank with a square or rectangular shape is better than a tall, narrow tank.

Fully Cycled Tank

Before adding cherry shrimp, it’s essential to ensure the tank is fully cycled. This means beneficial bacteria have established in the tank, converting ammonia to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate. Using a water testing kit, you can test for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels.

Stable Water Parameters

Cherry shrimp are sensitive to changes in water parameters. Maintaining stable water parameters is important by monitoring the temperature, pH, and hardness.

The ideal cherry shrimp breeding temperature range is 72-78°F. Also, the water needs to have a pH range of 6.5-7.5 and a water hardness of 4-6 dGH.


A sound filtration system is essential for cherry shrimp breeding. It’ll help to remove excess waste and maintain good water quality. In addition, a sponge filter is a nice choice for a cherry shrimp tank as it provides gentle water flow and won’t harm the shrimp.

Set up the Substrate

Use a substrate that’s shrimp-safe. Avoid using sharp or rough substrates that could harm the shrimp. Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Choose the Right Substrate

For cherry shrimp breeding, it’s best to use a fine-grained substrate that’ll allow for good root growth and provide a natural environment for the shrimp. Some good options include sand, gravel, or a specialized shrimp substrate like ADA Amazonia.

Step 2: Clean the Substrate

Before adding the substrate to the tank, rinse it thoroughly to remove any dust or debris. This process will help prevent cloudiness in the water.

Step 3: Add the Substrate to the Tank

Once the substrate is clean, you can add it to the bottom of the tank. You’ll want to create a substrate layer 2-3 inches deep. Make sure to spread it evenly across the bottom of the tank.

Step 4: Create Slopes and Contours

Add flair to the tank and create different areas for the shrimp to explore. You may do it by creating slopes and contours in the substrate. Use your hands or tools like a spoon to imitate hills and valleys in the tank’s substrate.

Add Live Plants

Put live plants in your cherry shrimp breeding tank. It’s a great way to provide a realistic environment for your shrimp. Moreover, they also help maintain water quality by absorbing excess nutrients and producing oxygen.

Here are some efforts to make when adding plants to your breeding tank:

Pick the Suitable Plants

Look for freshwater plants that’ll thrive in similar water conditions as your cherry shrimp. It means low to medium light and pH levels around 6.5-7.5. Some good options include Java moss, Anubias, and Amazon sword plants.

Rinse Them Well

Before adding them to your tank, rinse them thoroughly to remove any debris or contaminants.

Suppose you suspect the plants may have encountered any chemicals or pesticides. In that case, it’s recommended to soak them in a solution of dechlorinated water.

Ensure Adequate Spacing

Use a substrate such as gravel or sand to anchor the plants in the substrate. Leave enough space between the plants for the shrimp to move around.

Monitor Your Plants

Watch them closely to ensure they’re healthy and not decaying. Remove dead or decaying leaves or stems to prevent them from polluting the water.

Provide Enough Light and Nutrients

Ensure the plants receive enough sunlight and nutrients to thrive. Consider adding a liquid fertilizer or root tabs to provide additional necessary nutrients.

Introduce the Shrimp

Once your tank is set up, introduce a small group of cherry shrimp to the tank. A group of at least 5-10 shrimp helps ensure they feel secure and have a better chance of breeding.

When introducing shrimp to a new tank, following a few steps is vital to help them acclimate to their new environment and reduce stress.

Step 1: Acclimating

Before introducing the shrimp, it’s necessary to acclimate them to the water in the tank. This step involves floating the bag of shrimp in the tank for 30-60 minutes. Doing so will allow the temperature of the water inside the bag to match the temperature of the tank water.

Step 2: Releasing

After acclimating the shrimp to the water temperature, carefully release them into the tank.

It’s important to avoid pouring water from the bag into the tank, as this can introduce harmful chemicals or pathogens. Instead, use a net to scoop the shrimp out of the bag and place them into the tank.

Feed a Balanced Diet

Once the shrimp are in the tank, monitoring them closely for the first few hours is essential to ensure they adapt well to their new environment. Avoid disturbing them during this time, as they may be stressed and need time to adjust.

After a few hours, you can feed them a small amount of food and gradually increase the amount over time. Here are some healthy foods you can feed your shrimps:

  • High-quality shrimp food pellets or flakes
  • Algae wafers
  • Blanched spinach
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumber
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Squash
  • Green bean

Monitor and Maintain

Monitor the water parameters regularly and make any necessary adjustments. Keep the tank clean and provide adequate food for the shrimp. Over time, the cherry shrimp will breed and populate the tank.

Pregnant Cherry Shrimp Stages

Understanding the stages of cherry shrimp pregnancy is important for ensuring the health and well-being of these delicate creatures. Here are the stages of a cherry shrimp’s pregnancy.

Stage 1: Development of Egg

During the first stage of cherry shrimp pregnancy, the egg of the female shrimp develops in her ovaries. The process may take a few days to several weeks, depending on environmental factors. Those include water temperature and food availability.

As the eggs grow and mature, they become seeable as a small splotch behind the head of the female shrimp. This spot may appear red, yellow, or green in color. It’s important to note that not all female cherry shrimp will develop eggs during each reproductive cycle.

Stage 2: Fertilization

During the first stage of cherry shrimp pregnancy, the female shrimp’s ovaries develop and mature the eggs. Once matured, the eggs require fertilization from a male shrimp to grow into viable offspring.

The fertilization process begins as the sperm and egg unite, and the eggs will continue to develop and mature over several days or weeks.

Stage 3: Egg-Carrying

After fertilization, the female cherry shrimp will carry the eggs in a saddle on their underside, between their legs. Depending on the shrimp’s age and size, the saddle can hold a few dozen to several hundred eggs.

Maintaining good water quality and a balanced diet is crucial to supporting the health of the mother shrimp and the developing eggs.

Stage 4: Incubation

During this time, the eggs undergo several developmental changes as they mature and prepare for hatching. The embryo will continue to grow and the yolk sac will be consumed, providing the essential nutrients needed for the developing shrimp.

As the incubation period progresses, the eggs will begin to darken in color. This stage indicates that they’re close to hatching.

Stage 5: Release of Baby Shrimp

Once the incubation period is complete and the eggs have hatched, the baby cherry shrimp will be released into the aquarium. This moment marks the end of the incubation stage and the beginning of a new chapter for the baby shrimp.

With proper care and attention, the baby cherry shrimp will continue to grow into healthy adult shrimp.

Stage 6 Recovery

After giving birth, female cherry shrimp require time to recover and replenish their energy levels.

A well-balanced diet of algae or commercial shrimp food can help the shrimp regain their strength and vitality.

Take note that continuous reproduction can lead to exhaustion and health problems.

Can Cherry Shrimp Breed with Other Shrimp?

Crossbreeding between different shrimp species is possible, but it’s generally not recommended. It can result in offspring that may not be viable or have weaker genetics.

Additionally, hybrid shrimp may not exhibit the same characteristics as their parent species. This thing might lead to disappointment for shrimp keepers expecting specific traits.

Why Are My Cherry Shrimp Not Breeding?

Here are some possible reasons why cherry shrimp may not be breeding:

Fluctuating Water Parameters

Cherry shrimp are sensitive to changes in water parameters. A sudden change in temperature, pH, or hardness can stress them and affect their breeding.

Lack of Varied Food Sources

Cherry shrimp require a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrients. You have to provide algae, biofilm, and commercially available shrimp food. A lack of variation in their diet can affect their health and reproductive ability.

Absence of Male or Female Shrimp in the Tank

If there’s an imbalance or lack of either gender, breeding won’t occur.

Shrimp not Yet Mature Enough to Breed

Cherry shrimp require time to reach sexual maturity before they can reproduce (three to five months). Younger shrimp may still need to be ready to procreate.

End of Cherry Shrimp’s Lifespan

As cherry shrimp age, their reproductive ability declines. Eventually, they’ll reach the end of their reproductive lifespan and may stop breeding altogether.

Stressful Environment

A breeder has to provide a peaceful and stable environment for their cherry shrimps. If they’re stressed due to overcrowding, aggressive tank mates, or a lack of hiding places, they may not breed.

Disease or Parasites

Illness makes breeding difficult or impossible. Moreover, Parasites, such as protozoans, can directly affect shrimp reproduction by infecting their reproductive organs.


Why is my cherry shrimp dropping eggs?

There are several reasons why they might drop eggs, including stress and poor water quality. If you notice your shrimp dropping eggs, it’s crucial to address these factors and ensure their environment is optimal for breeding.

What causes the eggs to be green?

Green eggs are typically a sign that the eggs haven’t been fertilized. Shrimp laying unfertilized eggs will turn green. They’ll eventually become opaque before being absorbed by the female’s body.

How often do cherry shrimp breed?

Cherry shrimp can breed quite frequently under optimal conditions, typically producing a new batch of eggs every 4-6 weeks.

Do cherry shrimp eat their babies?

Cherry shrimp don’t eat their babies, particularly when still attached. They usually discard unhealthy eggs, and other aquatic creatures may consume them.

How many babies do cherry shrimp have?

Typically, shrimp will carry between 20 and 30 eggs. Yet, if they all successfully hatch, you’ll see only a few during the early days.

Final Thoughts

Cherry shrimp breeding can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience.

However, having a basic understanding of their reproductive process and needs can significantly increase your chances of success.

By providing a suitable environment and addressing any potential issues, you can create a thriving breeding colony of cherry shrimp.

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