Cherry shrimp are an adorable addition to your fish tank. Aside from their vibrant red hue that adds a pop of color to your aquarium, they also benefit the tank ecosystem by eliminating debris and algae.
However, aquarium keepers and breeders face problems with Cherry shrimp dying easily. Cherry shrimp have a short life span and are sensitive to environmental changes.
Furthermore, Cherry shrimp dying can be due to problems associated with the tank’s temperature, poor water quality, or stress.
In this article, we will discover why Cherry shrimp die and find different ways to prevent this phenomenon. Without further ado, let’s get down to this fishy business.
Unfortunately, Cherry shrimp can die easily, especially in unfavorable environments. Moreover, their average life span lasts for only 1-2 years.
Apart from their short life span, Cherry shrimp are sensitive animals.
That’s why keeping them in the aquarium is quite challenging and entails great responsibility. You must monitor temperatures, water levels, and feeding daily to help them thrive.
One dead Cherry shrimp may not be something to fuss about. However, once they start dying one after another, there could be problems in the tank or underlying diseases.
That said, when continuous deaths happen, the first thing to do is avoid adding chemicals or changing your tank.
Changing your tank may further aggravate the underlying cause and result in more shrimp death.
Apart from natural death, here are some of the most common reasons for Cherry shrimp death:
Nutrition is essential in keeping your shrimp colony healthy. However, too much shrimp food left in the tank will decompose and result in increased ammonia levels.
In turn, your shrimp may become lethargic and die, not to mention that other animals in the tank may get affected, too.
On the other hand, underfeeding may cause malnutrition and a poor survival rate.
Since you’re keeping Cherry shrimp in a tank, mimicking their natural environment is important to improve life expectancy.
That’s why it’s vital to maintain the water quality within recommended parameters.
That said, you must be mindful of your water’s pH level, general hardness, and carbonate hardness. When these conditions aren’t met, your shrimp’s health rapidly deteriorates.
Replacing your tank water more frequently than normal damages the water quality and stresses your shrimp. Staying consistent with your water-changing schedule is essential.
Ammonia or nitrite spike is toxic to your shrimp as well as other fish in the tank. This phenomenon happens because there are decomposing animals, a damaged biofilter, or the tank’s uncycled.
Cycling your tank is an important process where bacteria break down ammonia into a harmless form. So, failing to cycle your tank causes ammonia and nitrite levels to peak, threatening life in the tank.
Moreover, an ammonia spike is highly dangerous when it occurs alongside increased pH levels. At the same time, increased ammonia levels may result in more problems like:
- Increased likelihood of diseases
- Poor health and reproducibility
- Failure to molt
Water treatment chemicals are harmful to your shrimp. Copper and chlorine, for example, are especially toxic to Cherry shrimp.
Aside from water treatment chemicals, be wary of the fertilizers, pesticides, and pests that can get to the tank through plants.
At the same time, the cleaning agents you use to clean your aquarium’s glass can also be harmful. Examples of these are vinegar and glass cleaner.
Stress in shrimp can result from overpopulation or predators in the tank. So, to keep your shrimp healthy, you must know how many are substantial for a tank or which animals go well together.
On the other hand, here are common symptoms indicating that your shrimp are stressed:
- Loss of color
- Failure to molt
- Not moving or hyperactive swimming
- Poor breeding
- Loss of appetite
Cherry shrimp tend to shed their exoskeleton every three to six weeks. As molting is necessary not just in breeding but for keeping the shrimp healthy and protected, failure to do so may result in death.
Shrimp fail to molt because of poor water quality, increased ammonia levels, and stress.
Sometimes the culprit could be diseases or parasites that can be passed on from one shrimp to another.
Examples of parasites are Vorticella and nematodes called Scutariella Japonica. These parasites can cause fungal-like growth affecting your shrimp’s mouth or eye.
Additionally, parasitism in shrimp is very common and spreads rapidly; that’s why it’s best to quarantine affected shrimp immediately after you notice unusual symptoms.
To care for your shrimp and prevent more deaths, here are some quick tips that you can follow:
Proper nutrition is important in healthy molting and your shrimp’s overall health. Algae is one of their favorite treats, so encouraging its growth is helpful for your shrimp’s health.
To promote algae growth, adding plants to your tank or exposing your tank to sunlight for a few hours aids in photosynthesis.
When it comes to feeding your shrimp with shrimp pellets, a small pinch twice or thrice a week should do.
Maintain water quality by keeping your water’s pH at 6.5 to 8.0 and water hardness at a maximum of 1.0 dGH.
Meanwhile, the water temperature should be within 65 to 75°F.
It’s recommended only to have up to 5 shrimp per gallon of water, not to mention that you should also be selective of your shrimp’s tank friends.
Additionally, meat-eating fishes like goldfish or betta fishes love to prey on shrimp, so it’s best not to keep them all in one tank with your shrimp.
Water change frequency varies depending on conditions like treating a hydra infestation. That said, you may start by replacing 10 to 25% of the tank water every two to three weeks.
At the same time, don’t forget to monitor your water parameters (pH, GH, KH, and TDS).
Be cautious with the medicine, plants, or water you introduce to the tank. As much as possible, avoid adding tap water that may contain chlorine.
Moreover, if you suspect chemical contamination, use test kits to check. Once confirmed, use activated carbons, chemical sponges, and dechlorination to eliminate these.
On the other hand, look out for pests like the hydra that may accumulate on your plants and pebbles.
6 – Add a Filter or Substrate
Adding a water filter helps regulate the build-up of nitrite or ammonia in your tank.
Plus, a fine pebble substrate with plants and driftwood appeals to your Cherry shrimp.
Yes. A dead shrimp’s carcass will eventually decompose and contaminate your tank. It contributes to ammonia levels, too.
Apart from ammonia spike, a dead shrimp that may have died due to disease remains contagious and affects other Cherry shrimp.
On the other hand, it’s important to check if it’s a dead shrimp or the remains of the exoskeleton from molting. If it’s just the exoskeleton, leaving it in the tank poses no threat at all.
Cherry shrimp dying can be due to overfeeding or underfeeding, poor water quality, frequent replacement of water, failure to molt, stress, diseases, and more.
Oftentimes, these causes are interconnected, so addressing habitat problems first may yield promising results.
So, that concludes our talk on Cherry shrimp. We hope this guide’s been helpful!
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.