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Cherry Shrimp A-Z Care Guide for Beginners

Cherry Shrimp A-Z Care Guide for Beginners

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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 shrimps have gained a lot of popularity in recent years. Otherwise known as Neocaridina Heteropoda, Cherry shrimps are bright red freshwater shrimps that add color to any tank or aquarium.

These small and colorful crustaceans are native to Taiwan but can now be found in many stores. This is because they’re being bred in captivity, since they can live and reproduce in freshwater.

Cherry shrimp are low maintenance and relatively easy to care for. With a few care tips to keep in mind, you can enjoy those delightful creatures.

So, if you’ve considered getting a Cherry shrimp, keep reading as we tell you all you need to know about their care.

Are Cherry Shrimp Hardy?

Cherry shrimp are hardy creatures. These shrimps can tolerate and thrive in various water parameters. Cherry shrimp can live in pH levels between 6.5-7.8.

As for temperature, they can tolerate temperatures between 57-86℉ (14-30℃).

The total dissolved salts (TDS) in the tank’s water should be around 100-250.

Additionally, the amount of carbonates in the water is measured by KH. The carbonate levels affect the water’s alkalinity. As such, KH levels neutralize the acids in the water. The appropriate KH level for Cherry shrimp is 1-8.

Finally, the general hardiness level of the water should be around 4-8 GH.


You should adjust the water’s GH for the shrimp’s muscle and shell development. Once a month, Cherry shrimps go through a process called molting.

When a shrimp molts, it grows in size. So, it leaves its exoskeleton to grow into a larger one. An imbalance in GH levels could cause problems with molting. For instance, low GH means that the shrimp won’t take in enough minerals and calcium from the water.

Therefore, the shrimp will grow a soft shell that’ll be hard to break out of when it’s time for molting. This could lead to failure in the molting process. However, if the GH level is too high, the shrimp will take in more minerals and calcium than it needs.

This extra amount will make the shrimp’s shell too hard to break. As a result, the molting process might also be unsuccessful.

To make everything simpler, here’s a chart of the water parameters for Cherry shrimps:

Temperature57-86℉ (14-30℃)

What is a Cherry Shrimp’s Natural Habitat?

As mentioned, Cherry shrimps are native to Taiwan. Their natural habitats are in moderately flowing rivers and streams.

However, Cherry shrimps have also been seen in thermally polluted canals in North Poland. Thermal pollution is the change in water temperatures due to human activities.

Cherry shrimps have also been detected in the Erft river in Germany and other rivers in Eastern Japan.

Additionally, springs, streams, and reservoirs on Oahu island in Hawaii have Cherry shrimp.

This distribution of Cherry shrimps proves how hardy they are, and that they can tolerate various water conditions.

Cherry Shrimp Shape and Size

Cherry shrimp have typical shrimp heads, a pointy nose (rostrum), and four antennae with one pair longer than the other.

Their eyes stick out of each side of their rostrum. They also have three pairs of little legs under their mouths to help them while scavenging for food.

The abdomen of Cherry shrimps has six shell segments that overlap. The abdomen also has five pairs of legs that the shrimp uses for swimming.

As for color, there are five shades of red colors in Cherry shrimps. Here’s a list of the color gradients from the least red shrimps to the reddest ones.

  • Standard Cherry shrimp: Almost transparent with some red marks
  • Sakura Grade Cherry Shrimp: More red color but with some transparent patches
  • Fire-Red Low-Grade Cherry Shrimp: Almost all red shrimps
  • Fire-Red High-Grade Cherry Shrimp: Completely red shrimp
  • Painted Fire Red Cherry shrimps: Bright red color all over, including their legs

A typically healthy adult Cherry shrimp is 1.5 inches long. However, males are usually smaller than females.

Do Cherry Shrimps Need a Filter?

The short answer is yes! While you might find some people don’t include a filter in their tanks, you should do it if you want your Cherry shrimps to live a long and healthy life.

Imagine what will happen if you’re making lemon juice without using a lemon squeezer. The seeds will fall in.

The lemon squeezer is like a filter that keeps the seeds from the water. Similarly, the filter will remove any harmful substances from the water.

Some Cherry shrimp owners might tell you that shrimps in the wild don’t have filters, so they’re unnecessary.

To an extent, this is true. You could replace the air filter with lots of plants, which also clean the water and replicate the shrimp’s natural environment.

However, it’s not as simple as that. Remember that a tank is much smaller than a river. So, the conditions will differ. You’ll need a lot of plants to provide enough oxygen and keep the tank clean.

Too many plants will crowd the tank, leaving less room for the shrimp to swim. Additionally, overly crowded plants could ruin the aesthetic of your tank.

There are different types of filters that you could install in your tank. However, we recommend a sponge filter for Cherry shrimps. A sponge filter consists of three parts: a sponge filter, an air pump, and an airline tube that connects them.

During the filtration process, the air pump pushes air through an airline tube into the sponge filter. Then, bubbles form and rise from the sponge, drawing the water through its walls.

When the water goes through the foam, all the debris and large particles get caught outside it.

Sponge filters are also a good choice because they’re relatively cheap and they’re easy to clean. Additionally, sponge filters last longer compared to other filters, as they don’t break easily, because they contain fewer mechanical parts.

Do Cherry Shrimps Need Air Pump?

Most sea creatures need a certain amount of dissolved oxygen to survive. This is why many tanks or aquariums have air pumps.

So, what about Cherry shrimp? Well, whether your tank needs an air pump will depend on a few factors. However, the short answer is that Cherry shrimps don’t necessarily need an air pump.

That said, you should include live plants such as moss or algae in your shrimp’s tank. In general though, Cherry shrimps don’t require a lot of oxygen to survive.

Those shrimps can get all their oxygen needs from the photosynthesis of live plants in their tank. However, if you don’t have any, or don’t plan on including live plants in your tank, then you’ll require an air pump.

Other than providing oxygen, an air pump provides other benefits to the tank. Here’s a list of the benefits of installing an air pump:

  • Increases water movement and circulation
  • Prevents stagnant areas from forming in the tank
  • Helps in gas exchange
  • Better physical activity

Now, let’s go over those benefits, and explain how they help with the overall health and well-being of the shrimps.

1 – Increases Water Movement and Circulation

The water flow inside the tank helps create an even distribution of nutrients throughout it. This can ensure that the shrimps get the needed supply of nutrients to reach their optimum growth.

Moreover, water circulation helps oxygenate the tank and regulate its temperature.

2 – Prevents Stagnant Areas From Forming

Cherry shrimps’ natural habitats are flowing rivers and streams, which means that they’re not adapted to living in still water.

A water pump would help in creating a more natural environment by stimulating gentle currents which are found in the Cherry shrimps’ natural habitats.

Additionally, moving water prevents stagnant areas inside the tank, which can lead to the growth of harmful bacteria.

3 – Helps in Gas Exchange

Good water circulation in a tank dissolves the gasses which form inside it. Cherry shrimps, (and other living things in the tank), produce gasses such as nitrogen, methane, and carbon dioxide.

These gasses all need to be released outside of the tank. When the water is still, those gasses remain at the bottom of the tank.

However, flowing water will carry those gasses to the water’s surface where they’ll be released into the atmosphere.

4 – Better Physical Activity

In a confined tank, shrimps don’t get lots of space to move around. However, Cherry shrimps need physical strength for their growth and development. They also need it to help them grow a strong enough shell during the molting process.

Water circulation provided by an air pump creates some resistance in the water, which gets the shrimps to move more. Accordingly, the shrimp get enough physical activity.

What Do Red Cherry Shrimps Eat?

Feeding red Cherry shrimp is easy, as their diet is simple. Cherry shrimp are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and animals. They can eat commercial foods such as fish flakes, fish pellets, and algae wafers, too.

They also enjoy feeding on algae like green-brown and green algae. So, including such plants inside the shrimp tank is a good idea.

Keep in mind that Cherry shrimp are small creatures and don’t eat much. So, it’s important not to overload the tank with food amounts that they won’t consume.

You should feed your Cherry shrimp in small amounts once or twice daily. Moreover, remember to remove uneaten food so it doesn’t decompose in the tank and lower the water quality.

Cherry Shrimp Breeding

Interestingly, Cherry shrimp can breed in freshwater aquariums. When a female Cherry shrimp becomes berried (which means carrying eggs), she carries her eggs under her tail.

During that stage, it’s essential to insert a pre-filter sponge to prevent the baby shrimps from being sucked into the filter when they hatch out of their eggs. No one wants to repeat that scene from Finding Nemo!

When baby shrimps are growing, they like to have shelter. So, we recommend you include plants with fine, dense leaves where the babies can hide. Such plants include Caboma, Water Sprite, and Anachris.

How to Breed Cherry Shrimps

You can easily fill up your tank with these colorful little shrimps as they’re easy to breed. You only have to follow a few tips, and you’ll have those baby shrimps in no time.

All you have to do is include shrimps of both genders inside the tank and feed them well. You should also remove any fish that may eat the baby shrimp when they hatch out of their eggs.

The way the process works is that after the female finishes molting, she becomes ready for spawning, which is releasing her eggs.

To signify her readiness, she releases pheromones which are detected by the male shrimps. After they mate, the female shrimp becomes berried.

A female Cherry shrimp can carry 20-30 eggs under her tail. Depending on the water’s temperature, the female will typically carry the eggs for about a month.

How Long Do Cherry Shrimps Live?

Under healthy conditions, the typical lifespan of a Cherry shrimp ranges from 1 to 2 years. With proper care, Cherry shrimps might live longer than two years.

Factors such as water quality, diet, and tank mates affect the lifespan of Cherry shrimps. So, you should provide your Cherry shrimps with good living conditions if you want them to live long.

Cherry Shrimp Tank Mates

Cherry shrimps are small and peaceful creatures that can easily become prey to larger fish. Therefore, you should carefully choose what fish to place in the tank with the shrimps.

The most important factor when choosing tank mates for your little shrimps is that they are similar in size. Meaning that any tank mates should also be small.

Here’s a list of suitable tank mates for Cherry shrimps:

  • Neon Tetra
  • Endler Guppy
  • Amano Shrimp
  • Chili Rasboras
  • Endler’s Livebearer
  • Octocincus Catfish
  • Ember Tetra
  • Corydoras Catfish
  • Kuhli Loach

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Cherry shrimp are low-maintenance creatures and easy to care for. Cherry shrimp are very hardy creatures and can tolerate various water conditions, which is why they’re easy to keep in a tank.

All you need to do is adjust the water parameters, which shouldn’t be hard as they can withstand a wide range.

Cherry shrimps will require a filter to keep their tank clean, preferably a sponge filter. Additionally, adding a water pump will give you a lot of benefits for the tank and the shrimp’s health.

Cherry shrimps also breed easily and quite fast, so you can fill your tank with many of them. With proper care, they live for 1-2 years. However, you should carefully choose their tank mates.

Overall, Cherry shrimps are a great addition to any tank or aquarium as they’re colorful, peaceful, and easy to take care of.

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