Cherry shrimp make for awesome pets in your tank. They come in vibrant shades, adding a fantastic pop of color to your aquarium.
They’re peaceful so they get along with pretty much any tankmate. They’re also a breeze when it comes to feeding since they’re far from picky.
If you’re keeping cherry shrimp, you need to know what to expect. You may be wondering something along the lines of “how big do cherry shrimps get?” or “how fast do cherry shrimps grow?”
Today’s article answers all these questions and more, so keep reading to learn more about the size and growth of these tiny adorable creatures!
An adult cherry shrimp will reach a full size of approximately 1.5 inches (4 cm) at around 75 days old. The maximum size it can grow is 2 inches (5 cm).
To help your cherry shrimp reach such a size, you need to provide a well-balanced diet and optimize the water parameters of the tank.
The speed of growth of cherry shrimp depends on the water quality and diet you provide.
Under proper average conditions, a cherry shrimp will gain between 3 to 5 grams of weight within the first 2 days after it hatches and enters the post-larval phase. Its length will be under 2 millimeters.
During the following 4 to 5 months, the cherry shrimp will become around 25 grams heavier and reach adulthood. Once an adult, the cherry shrimp will grow about 2.5 grams every week.
If an adult cherry shrimp gains less than 1 gram per week, this can be a sign of an inadequate diet, poor water conditions, or an overcrowded tank.
Under ideal conditions, the lifespan of cherry shrimp is approximately 1 to 2 years.
Baby cherry shrimp stay inside eggs attached to the pregnant shrimp for about a month. Right after hatching, the size of the baby shrimp is so tiny and transparent that you probably won’t be able to see it in the tank.
Under proper average conditions, a baby cherry shrimp will gain between 3 to 5 grams of weight within the first 2 days of the post-larval stage. It’ll mostly remain at the bottom of the aquarium hiding for around 3 or 4 days.
The baby cherry shrimp will become a juvenile after approximately 2 months and an adult after about 4 to 5 months.
Yes, male and female cherry shrimp have different sizes.
Generally speaking, female cherry shrimp grow to a larger size than males. That’s because they need additional support to be able to carry the eggs after breeding.
The average female cherry shrimp can get as big as 1.5 to 2 inches under ideal conditions. Male cherry shrimp, on the other hand, will almost always be smaller than 1 inch.
If you notice some cherry shrimp are larger than others after reaching sexual maturity, chances are the bigger ones are females.
Although size is the easiest way to tell female and male cherry shrimp apart, it can be tricky for some beginners because both sexes are pretty small.
The outline of the cherry shrimp can also help you differentiate between male and female cherry shrimp.
If the shrimp has a saddle (indentation) on top and its lower torso is curved inwards, then it’s a female. Male shrimps are slimmer with no saddle and a smaller, straight abdomen.
To ensure that your shrimp are growing as fast, big, and healthy as possible, you need to make sure they’re living in a proper environment and eating the right diet.
The conditions of the tank are critical factors affecting the growth and size of cherry shrimp. More specifically, you should optimize the water parameters in the aquarium to support cherry shrimp as follows:
The ideal temperature range of water for cherry shrimp ranges between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 26 degrees Celsius).
A warmer environment can promote the growth of your cherry shrimp. Be careful not to expose them to sudden changes in temperature
Equip your tank with a light source to provide the cherry shrimp with around 7 to 8 hours of light per day
This indicates the level of acidity or alkalinity of the tank water.
The optimal pH range for cherry shrimp falls between 7 and 7.5. You should keep the water neutral or slightly alkaline as acidic water can weaken the shrimp’s exoskeleton.
This indicates the stability of the pH level in the aquarium water.
The optimal KH range for cherry shrimp falls between 3 to 15 (50 to 250 ppm).
This indicates the amount of dissolved magnesium and calcium in the tank water.
The optimal GH range for cherry shrimp falls between 4 to 8 (65 to 130 ppm)
This is a general indication of the total amount of all solids dissolved in the tank water including minerals and ammonia.
The optimal TDS range for cherry shrimp falls between 150 to 250.
A good-quality filter is important to get rid of toxins such as ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate compounds. Use a sponge filter because it has a gentle suction power that won’t accidentally suck up the tiny baby shrimp.
Additionally, equip the tank with an oxygenation pump. The flow of air will provide the shrimp with more oxygen to be used in growth instead of basic survival.
Cherry shrimp aren’t all picky about their food. They’re opportunistic omnivores, so they’ll eat both animal and plant matter.
This includes algae (such as brown algae and green algae), decaying plants, decaying worms, rotting snails, rotting fish, food leftovers, and other organic remnants.
They’ll also eat dead shrimp (including cherry shrimp and brine shrimp) and shrimp exoskeletons resulting from mottling.
Cherry shrimp are scavengers. This feeding behavior means that they mainly roam around the bottom of the aquarium searching for edible bits that made their way down to the substrate.
As such, cherry shrimp make for terrific tank cleaners.
Keep in mind, however, that cherry shrimp can’t survive eating only algae and biofilm. They definitely won’t thrive either.
While most of their diet should consist of algae and biofilm, these food sources don’t contain all the nutrients necessary to keep cherry shrimp healthy and strong.
Algae and biofilm can be sufficient for the baby stage, but if you don’t want your cherry shrimp to suffer from protein and vitamin deficiencies as they move into adulthood, then provide a balanced diet.
Cherry shrimp need plenty of protein and carbonate sources to boost their growth speed and maximize their size. These elements are important for their body development and exoskeleton strength.
Provide your cherry shrimp with food sources such as bloodworms, cucumbers, pellets, spinach, kale, algae wafers, zucchini, pears, and lobster/crab bits.
- When your cherry shrimp molt, let them eat their exoskeletons. These contain minerals (such as calcium) and vitamins to make up for the elements lost during the molting, offering an extra boost of strength for the new exoskeleton.
As for the frequency of feeding, you don’t need to do it every day once they become adults. Since cherry shrimp are omnivorous scavengers, they’ll eat plenty on their own.
Feeding them every day will make them less efficient in cleaning the tank because they’re not very hungry. It’s best to feed your cherry shrimp every other day for better cleaning productivity.
So, how big do cherry shrimp get?
An adult cherry shrimp will reach a full size of around 1.5 inches (4 cm) at around 75 days old. The maximum size it can reach is 2 inches (5 cm), with females growing larger than males.
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.