Keeping and Breeding Cherry Shrimp – Neocaridina davidi
Cherry shrimp are becoming increasingly popular as a simple addition to your community aquarium that is also easy to maintain. These little freshwater crustaceans grow to be about 1.5″ in length. Like their saltwater cousins, they have a curved body, small legs, and spend most of their time seeking shelter in tank plant life and eating. We’ll be covering the basics of breeding and keeping cherry shrimp.
Cherry Shrimp Diet
Keep your shrimp healthy by giving them a great diet, consisting of algae and high-quality shrimp food. These shrimp also are natural tank cleaners, searching for tiny bits of bacteria and fish food that has not been eaten in the substrate, mosses, and on plant life. Because they are constantly changing and losing their exoskeletons, it is important to ensure that your shrimp have calcium. To do this, add small amounts of crushed coral or a filter to the substrate.
Shrimp, well shrimp, are just that! So, they’ll be preyed upon by other fish. According to our rule of thumb, a predator is one that can fit inside its mouth. If you want to ensure they won’t get eaten make sure you don’t have anything in the tank that’ll go after them. However, when provided with enough hiding spaces shrimp can co-exist with larger fish, but there will always be a risk. Cholla wood, moss and other hiding places are excellent. When it comes to fish they’re best with more docile species.
Bettas are notorious for going after shrimp.
Grades of Cherry Shrimp Color
Cherry shrimp should be a beautiful deep red color. It’s really what makes these a striking addition to your tank. There are many names available for these fish, depending on the color. These include Sakura, Fire Taiwan and Painted Fire Red. You can also find blue, yellow, and blue versions. The painted color scheme has a shiny, nail-polish red while the other colors have a deeper, more vivid red. Normally, the female cherry shrimp (identified by her thick rounded tail and “saddle” back) will be brighter in color than male cherry shrimp.
Blue Cherry Shrimp AKA blue velvet Shrimp
To simplify things and make it easier on you to select the shrimp you want, we split them into two categories: high grade or low grade. The high grade is very red, and the low grade is not as red. This will let you know what to search for when you shop for these little guys. Choose the one that has the best color and not necessarily the same name.
The color will be more vibrant if it is of a higher grade. However, the name itself has little to do with the actual grade. It’s best to compare these different shrimp colors in an aquarium pet store because it’s difficult to compare them online. In person, you can see the differences in color.
Our high-grade cherry shrimp at Aquarium Co-op
It is possible to see a Sakura Cherry Shrimp with a more vibrant color than a Fire Taiwan. These should be of a higher-grade. It can honestly get both confusing and misleading for the customer. Our motto is “Buy what you see, not just what you read.”
So, regardless of the name, buy the shrimp that have the best color. You’ll find a wide range of colors even in one batch, even from the same breeder. They could be called Sakura, Fire Taiwan, or Painted Fire Red. Each one is classified under the Latin Neocaridina homopoda name, and includes both the blue-colored and yellow varieties.
However, there are exceptions to this guideline. We’ll discuss them below in relation to breeding.
Cherry Shrimp Breeding
All the colors of cherry shrimp give birth to live shrimplets. You’ll notice that the females get ‘berried’ up with shrimplet eggs under their bellies. Keep in mind, though, that the males have slightly less vibrant color than the females. Unless you buy a female already carrying eggs, you’ll have to buy at least one male to start your breeding population.
Macro shot from a shrimplet. Shrimplets usually have no color until they reach adulthood.
So, now that you’ve chosen the highest grade cherry shrimp with the best color, how do you keep up that high grade from one shrimp generation to the next?
Selective breeding is a way to do this. After your female has given birth, you can successfully cull out the shrimplets that have a lesser color. The less-red shrimplets are removed, preserving the bright red genes that will be passed on to the next generation. You will have to do this for each new batch of shrimplets. In this way, you could effectively start with a lower grade shrimp and breed for a higher grade.
It’s easy to breed cherry shrimp! As long as you have both males and females in the tank (without any other fish preying on them), they will readily produce more offspring for you. Reduce the low-quality colors and ensure that your population is well-nourished with calcium and food. That will make you a successful cherry shrimp breeder with a beautiful red population.
Want a more advanced and technical article on breeding these shrimp? You can check out my blog for more information about breeding these shrimp.