Knowing the water parameters of our tanks as shrimp enthusiasts is crucial to maintaining the safety and health of our shrimp.
Naturally, cherry shrimp have specific water environment requirements; thus, understanding your cherry shrimp water parameters is vital to providing them with a comfortable habitat.
In this article, we’ll cover all you need to know about cherry shrimp water parameters, such as what to monitor and what levels are acceptable.
Also, we’ll go over the common water parameter issues and ways to avoid them to keep your cherry shrimp comfortable.
Water parameters are the chemical and physical properties of aquarium water that directly affect aquatic species’ health and well-being. Maintaining steady parameters is necessary for cherry shrimp survival, growth, and reproduction.
Below are a few key factors to keep in mind:
Cherry shrimp require water that’s slightly acidic to neutral, with a pH of 6.5–8.0. Extreme pH levels might lead to stress and poor health.
Shrimp are cold-blooded species that need consistent water temperatures. Cherry shrimp thrive at temperatures ranging from 70–73ºF (21–23ºC). Temperature fluctuations can cause stress and even death.
GH and KH are important factors as they affect the capability of shrimp to mature and absorb nutrients. Cherry shrimp require a GH of 6–8 and a KH of 2.6.
Freshwater test kits, which can be bought in pet stores, can get the correct GH and KH levels. These kits usually measure magnesium, calcium, and carbonate levels.
On the other hand, the TDS test can provide GH and KH levels, plus any other fine particles that aren’t filtered by these kits.
TDS is a method to measure the concentration of dissolved particles in water. The acceptable TDS range for cherry shrimp is 150–200 ppm.
Given this, it’s important to understand the TDS because incorrect levels may cause a great deal of stress to shrimp. It can slow their growth, restrict their breathing, and increase their vulnerability to diseases.
Cherry shrimp are extremely sensitive to nitrates and nitrites. These chemicals have a wide range of adverse effects on them. Some negative effects are:
- Reduce feeding rates
- Growth reduction
- Low reproduction rate
- Poor hatching success
- Dark cuticular lesions due to stress
- Deformed spines
Hence, weekly water changes and the installation of a filtration system are recommended to maintain a nitrate level of less than 20 ppm. It’s also best to avoid copper-based medications, as they can also harm or kill shrimp.
Preserving the ideal water parameters aids in promoting shrimp growth. Thus, understanding the different factors affecting water quality is key to achieving optimal conditions.
Below are some significant points to remember:
The nitrogen cycle is pivotal to the overall health of your aquarium. It’s the process by which good bacteria convert ammonia into less harmful nitrites and, eventually, nitrates.
Good water quality entails that the nitrogen cycle forms and operates properly.
A high level of phosphate in your aquarium may cause excessive algae growth, which can cease or reduce your shrimp’s reproduction.
Given this, you can keep the phosphate levels under control–between 0 and 2 ppm by:
- Weekly or bi-weekly water changes
- Adding plants (absorbs phosphates)
- Using phosphate removers
- Using Zeolite
- Applying the Reverse Osmosis Deionization (RO/DI) system
- Reducing feeding
If ammonia levels are too high, it can cause serious health problems or even mortality in cherry shrimp. Keep in mind that the ideal ammonia level for the cherry shrimp aquarium is always kept at zero.
When the ammonia level exceeds zero, that’s when trouble starts to happen. At low levels, typically not more than 0.25 ppm, the shrimp’s exoskeleton starts to burn, causing them great stress.
Moreover, when ammonia levels increase, it destroys the shrimp’s organs, eventually killing them. This is called nitrate poisoning.
Given these points, you should maintain nitrate levels at 0.5 ppm.
To maintain these lovely critters in ideal condition, you should be mindful of common issues and tips to avoid them.
Below are some of the most common water parameter issues faced by cherry shrimp breeders.
Excessive sunlight, poor water circulation, or an accumulation of nutrients in water can all contribute to algae formation.
To prevent it, reduce the feeding frequency. And while the aquarium water shouldn’t be replaced entirely at once, you may change 10–15% of it regularly to keep nutrient levels in check.
Cherry shrimp are extremely sensitive to rapid changes in water parameters. A sudden drop in pH, generally triggered by acidic matter, can be fatal.
To avoid pH crashes, try adding java moss and driftwood to the aquarium. This is a natural way to moderate pH levels, and keep your shrimp happy and active.
Alternatively, the use of RO units and CO2 reactors is effective for lowering freshwater pH levels.
Typically, water evaporates in aquariums, leaving particles behind. Hardness increases when the water level decreases, since the exact amount of minerals is absorbed in less water.
To restore the water’s recommended hardness, top it off with RO/DI or distilled water.
Ammonia buildup in the tank can swiftly kill shrimp. To avoid this, you can limit ammonia production by feeding your shrimp less than usual, carrying out regular tank maintenance, and eliminating waste using a bio-filter.
Maintaining water parameters isn’t the only factor that contributes to the health and wellness of your cherry shrimp. They also need some buddies to go for a swim and play.
Generally, cherry shrimp is harmless and has no means to defend itself. So, when picking tank mates, remember that putting them with random freshwater creatures is dangerous.
However, several critters will thrive with cherry shrimp when introduced properly.
Below are the recommended tank mates that can cohabit with your cherry shrimp.
These snails get along nicely with cherry shrimps and do a great job of maintaining the tank clean.
Aquarium snails of different kinds are a breeze to care for since they’ll only grow to about 1–2 inches in size.
So, remember to pick your snail species wisely, since some breeds fast and can get out of hand.
Nerite snails are recommended as they’ll not reproduce in a tank with cherry shrimp.
These fish make excellent tank mates for cherry shrimp due to their gentle demeanor and small size. This micro fish rarely gets bigger than 0.75 inches long and comes in a fascinating red hue with unique black stripes.
Since this fish type is small, it poses no danger to your cherry shrimp. In addition, chili rasboras prefer slightly acidic water, so keep it between 6.5 and 7.5 pH.
Generally, this specie thrives in a group of six or more and in a tank with lots of plants to explore and dwell in.
This fish can be an exceptional addition to your tank and is the perfect tank mate for cherry shrimp. This type of fish is native to South America and can grow up to 1.5 to 2 inches long.
Naturally, pencil fish have small mouths, which means they can’t swallow your shrimp at once. Also, they tend to swim near the water’s surface, so they won’t have much interaction with your shrimp.
This type of fish is small yet gorgeous and is native to South America. Their naturally metallic blue scales can bring more life to your aquarium.
In addition, this fish has a small mouth, so you don’t need to be concerned about them trying to devour your shrimp.
However, they may swallow newly hatched shrimp, so make sure your aquarium has lots of java moss for the baby shrimp to hide in.
The neon tetra usually grows between 0.7 and 1.3 inches long and requires a tank capacity of about 10 gallons to survive.
In essence, keeping a close eye on cherry shrimp water parameters is important.
By maintaining the right pH, water temperature, GH/KH, TDS, hardness, and ammonia and nitrate levels, you can help your cherry shrimp survive and reproduce.
Additionally, it’s best to keep records of your water parameters and any adjustments you make, so you can easily monitor the effect over time.
Finally, make sure that your chosen tank buddies match your cherry shrimp’s disposition and size. It’s a good idea to keep away from creatures that may eat your shrimp in one go.
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.