Top 12 Tank Mates to Keep With Cherry Shrimp
Cherry shrimp (Neocaridina davidi) are exceptionally popular in the freshwater aquarium hobby because of their dazzling array of colors, but unfortunately, their petite size makes them irresistibly delicious to other fish. You should keep only one species of shrimp in your tank. This will allow you to breed the most shrimp possible. This list contains potential tank mates for adult cherry shrimp. These suggestions cannot be guaranteed as every living creature is capable of making its own decisions. We recommend providing plenty of cover, such as piles of rocks and aquarium plants.
Category #1: Small Invertebrates
Our first idea for shrimp-safe tank mates is to look at other nano invertebrates. For example, little snails – like nerite, mystery, bladder, and Malaysian trumpet snails – are mostly scavengers and detritivores that won’t eat living shrimp. Although they eat the same food as cherry shrimp, you might see fewer shrimp babies if there is a shortage of them. Larger filter-feeding shrimp, such as bamboo and vampire shrimp, are also a good choice because they predominantly eat tiny particles floating in the water. Thai micro crabs also use their hairy claws or legs to grab small crumbs. They are shy, so they may not be easy to spot.
Vampire or African fan shrimp (Atya gabonensis)
Other dwarf shrimp, like amano and ghost shrimp, can do well with cherry shrimp because they are roughly the same size and have similar care requirements. Crystal shrimp and Caridina shrimp can be difficult to grow together, as they have different water requirements than cherry shrimp. Although some hobbyists keep them together, we find that the shrimp colonies tend to be happier and produce more eggs than the others. Finally, avoid bigger crustaceans – such as long-arm shrimp, prawns, crayfish, and lobsters – because they are voracious creatures that will consume any source of protein they can find, including their smaller cousins.
Category #2: Small Algae Eaters
While most aquarium fish are not purely herbivorous, there are several species that like to graze on algae and aufwuchs (e.g., aquatic microflora growing on underwater surfaces). Otocinclus catfish are amazing algae eaters that are both peaceful and small in size. They are slow eaters, and will most likely not outcompete your shrimp. Stiphodon gobies are another type of nano aufwuchs grazer with a suction cup-like mouth built for scraping biofilm and microorganisms off rocks. Finally, consider dwarf plecos, like the clown pleco (Panaqolus maccus), that are known for eating algae and wood. While any of these fish may opportunistically snack on a baby shrimp, they generally leave the adult shrimp alone.
Category #3: Peaceful Nano Fish with Tiny Mouths
Not all nano fish are shrimp-safe, but some species are so docile and diminutive that they pose little threat to full-grown cherry shrimp. Small tetras – such as the ember tetra (Hyphessobrycon amandae) and green neon tetra (Paracheirodon simulans) – are known for their brilliant colors and would look splendid with a group of complementary-colored shrimp. The nano rasboras such as the chili rasbora, Boraras brigitae, and neon green-colored rasbora, Microdevario kubotai – are also stunning additions to a planted shrimp aquarium. As for bottom dwellers, dwarf cory catfish like pygmy catfish (Corydoras pygmaeus) are inclined to leave adult shrimp alone.
If you are looking to breed fish for profit and want to maximize your available space, we have successfully kept small livebearers (e.g., guppies and Endler’s livebearers) and cherry shrimp together with a giant mass of java moss in a 20-gallon tank. Any type of dense foliage, such as Pogostemon stellatus ‘octopus’ or water sprite, will do because they serve as hiding spots for the baby shrimp and fry so that the adult fish have a harder time catching them. If you build a good relationship with your local fish store, they may be willing to buy your plants as well, giving you an aquarium setup with three viable products.
Neon, guppies and nerite slugs live with red cherry shrimps.
Tank Mates to Avoid
Since there is no way for us to list every type of animal you can keep with cherry shrimp, let’s go over some general guidelines for fish to avoid. Of course, say no to medium to large-sized fish – like goldfish, cichlids, rainbowfish, and bigger plecos. Also, small fish that are mainly meat eaters like to go after shrimp, so be wary of adding betta fish, dwarf cichlids, dwarf gouramis, and pea puffers. Plus, you may want to steer clear of nano fish that have a reputation for being fast and hungry, such as zebra danios and silver tip tetras. While they might not eat the adult shrimp directly, they will often chase them and try to outcompete them for food.
Cherry shrimp are well-loved for their bright colors and ease of breeding, so we hope you get as much enjoyment out of them as we have. See our article on caring for cherry shrimp.