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The Lifespan of Cherry Shrimp (How Long Do They Live?)

The Lifespan of Cherry Shrimp (How Long Do They Live?)

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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 are becoming more and more popular as pets among aquarists, and rightfully so!

These tiny crustaceans are easy to care for and can even help keep the tank clean. Not to mention, they look amazing with brilliant colors and patterns!

But did you ever wonder “what is the lifespan of cherry shrimp?”, “How long can they survive without food?”, or “Can you extend their lifespan?”

Today’s article answers all these questions and more, so keep reading as we dive deeper into the fascinating world of cherry shrimp.

How Long Do Cherry Shrimp Live?

The average lifespan of cherry shrimp is around 1 to 2 years. Under optimal conditions, you can keep your cherry shrimp alive for up to 3 years.

The length of your cherry shrimp’s life will depend on multiple factors such as water conditions, diet, tank mates, and tank location.

How Long Do Cherry Shrimp Live in a Fishbowl?

As mentioned above, the lifespan of your pet cherry shrimp depends on various factors.

In captivity, you need to keep an eye on all the parameters and requirements to ensure an optimal environment.

Generally speaking, cherry shrimp can live for 1 to 2 years in a tank if all the proper conditions are present. You can keep your cherry shrimp alive for an extra year if you maintain those conditions at an ideal level.

Unfortunately, cherry shrimp are less likely to live a long life in tanks.

That’s because these creatures are very delicate, so they’re highly sensitive to changes in their environment. Without strict care, cherry shrimp may only survive for a few months in an aquarium.

How Long Can Cherry Shrimp Survive Without Feeding?

Because cherry shrimp are scavengers that roam around the bottom of the tank searching for edible bits, you don’t need to feed them too often.

As a general rule, you should feed your cherry shrimp every other day or 2 times per week.

If you don’t give your cherry shrimp any food, their survival period will depend on the condition of the tank as follows:

  • A well-aged tank means there’s a higher chance there’ll be enough algae and biofilm to sustain your cherry shrimp for a while.
  • A new, bare tank means there’s not enough build-up of biofilm and algae to keep your cherry shrimp fed. In this case, your pets won’t probably last longer than a week.

What Factors Decrease the Lifespan of Cherry Shrimp?

Poor water parameters

The conditions of the tank environment are a critical factor when it comes to the growth and health status of cherry shrimp.

Cherry shrimp are delicate creatures. If you fail to provide them with favorable water conditions, chances are their lifespan will greatly suffer.

As such, you should optimize the water parameters in the aquarium to support cherry shrimp. Here are the most important ones to look out for:


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 and breeding of your cherry shrimp. But it also encourages molting more frequently, which corresponds to higher energy expenditure and -consequently- more stress.

Such stress reduces the life quality of cherry shrimp, cutting down their lifespan.

Also, be careful not to expose your cherry shrimp to sudden changes in temperature. This can also result in unwanted stress.

pH level

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. Acidic water can weaken the shrimp’s exoskeleton because it eats away at it.

Carbonate hardness (KH)

This indicates the stability of the pH level in the aquarium water (how fast it can change).

The optimal KH range for cherry shrimp falls between 3 to 15 (50 to 250 ppm). The older or more established the aquarium, the more stable its pH (lower value of KH).

General hardness (GH)

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)

Total dissolved solids (TDS)

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 high-quality filter is important to remove toxins such as ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate compounds.

A sponge-type filter is a better option for cherry shrimp because it has a gentle suction power that won’t accidentally suck up their small bodies.


You should also equip the tank with an oxygenation pump. The flow of air will provide the shrimp with more oxygen to counter stress triggers.

Wrong diet/Overfeeding

Cherry shrimp are opportunistic omnivores, which means they’ll eat both animal and plant matter, including:

  • Algae (such as brown algae and green algae)
  • Decaying plants
  • Decaying worms
  • Rotting snails
  • Rotting fish
  • Food leftovers
  • Organic remnants
  • Dead shrimp (including cherry shrimp and brine shrimp)
  • Shrimp exoskeletons resulting from mottling

While most of their diet should be made up of algae and biofilm, these food sources don’t contain all the nutrients necessary to keep cherry shrimp healthy and thriving.

You need to provide your cherry shrimp with foods rich in protein, minerals, and vitamins such as bloodworms, cucumbers, pellets, spinach, kale, algae wafers, zucchini, pears, and lobster/crab bits

Additionally, you should keep in mind that cherry shrimp are scavengers. Their feeding behavior mostly consists of roaming around the bottom of the aquarium searching for edible bits that fell to the substrate.

This makes overfeeding more likely to happen.

Giving your cherry shrimp too much food can cause issues such as poor water quality because of the uneaten food particles that quickly decompose, altering water parameters like TDS, KH, and GH.

This can lead to a shorter lifespan.

Overfeeding can also result in various diseases like infections and fungi, which will negatively affect your cherry shrimp.

Unsuitable tank mates

Cherry shrimp are tiny, peaceful inhabitants that won’t cause trouble to any other fish or tank mates.

Unfortunately, their small size and delicate nature puts these shrimp at risk of getting bullied or attacked by fish that are larger than cherry shrimp or with aggressive tendencies.

Rooming with the wrong tank mates can cause continuous stress, effectively harming the lifespan of your cherry shrimp.

As such, you need to stick to tank inhabitants that get along with cherry shrimp. Examples include snails, small tetras, other shrimp species, dwarf suckers, and small rasboras.

As for tank mates to avoid, these include angelfish, discus, cichlids, fish with large mouths, and aggressive fish like barbs, betta, and mollies.

Improper tank location

Too much noise around the tank can stress out your cherry shrimp and cut down a significant chunk of their lifespan.

This can happen if you choose a bad location to place your aquarium. For example, in the kitchen, close to a TV, in the living room, or any other room where there’s constant traffic.

What Does a Dying Cherry Shrimp Look Like?

Signs to look out for in a dying cherry shrimp include:

  • Color changes: the shrimp’s body turns light pink or cloudy white.
  • Inactivity: the shrimp will move less and more slowly.
  • Loss of appetite: the shrimp isn’t interested in food.
  • Strange swimming pattern: the shrimp is swimming sideways (due to unsuccessful molting).

What Does a Dead Cherry Shrimp Look Like?

If a cherry shrimp is dead, you’ll notice that it stopped moving completely. Appearance-wise, its inner body will look fleshy even if the exoskeleton looks normal.

Can You Save a Cherry Shrimp that’s Dying?

Saving a dying cherry shrimp depends on how early you notice the symptoms. Hopefully, you recognized the situation soon enough to do the following steps:

  • Isolate the dying shrimp by transferring it to a separate bowl or tank. This reduces stress and prevents the spread of potential diseases.
  • Identify the reason by checking the water conditions, feeding, and other environmental aspects.
  • Make the necessary changes.

Final Thoughts

So, what is the lifespan of cherry shrimp?

On average, a cherry shrimp stays alive for about 1 to 2 years. If you maintain optimal conditions, you can extend the lifespan by an extra year or so.

The length of your cherry shrimp’s lifespan depends on multiple factors including water conditions, diet, tank mates, and tank location.

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