Sean Murray from Edinburgh, Scotland, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Cherry shrimp are scientifically referred to as Neocaridina heteropoda. This invertebrate is also popularly referred as Red Cherry Shrimp, and it belongs to the family of Atyidae. It is a freshwater shrimp that originates from Taiwan, Asia. It is a freshwater shrimp that is extremely peaceful, and it is popular due to its outstanding alae eating capabilities, which keeps the tank nice and clean. They are also loved due to their classy looks and fun activities. It is ideal for both beginners and experienced aquarists, and it is one of the hardest and easy to keep. Thye will add color to any tank they are placed into, and they are very undemanding, requiring little upkeep.

One interesting thing about these invertebrates is the fact that in the wild, they come with different vibrant colors, but in captivity, you will mostly find them in red. Thie deep red is a result of years of selective breeding, and that is why they are currently graded depending on the shade and the depth of red. They are hardy, and they will thrive any alamos any kind of freshwater aquarium set up. The ideal setup should be heavily planted with a lot o shelter and hiding spots. Therefore, this guide seeks to give you every detail that you need to know as a beginner or experienced aquarist who seeks to keep Cherry Shrimp in their aquarium.


NameRed Cherry Shrimp
Scientific nameNeocaridina davidi
Color formRed (color grading)
Size1 to 2 inches
Tank size5 to 10 gallons
Temperature72-82 F
PH6.0 TO 8.0
Diet  Omnivores/algae eaters
Life span1 to 2 years


Most beginner aquarists are having a hard time as they try to raise these invertebrates successfully since they seem to be choosing the wrong tank mates for them. These invertebrates are peaceful, and they’re incapable of hurting their tank mates, and they also do not have any mechanism of defending themselves against the predators. Therefore, if you want your Cherry Shrimp to last to the optimal age, you need to put them together with the right tank mates. The survival is that the highly-rated shrimps are the most suitable species in the single species aquarium, but the low-graded shrimps can co-exist with other species in the same tank. You can count on their high breeding rate to compensate for any eventuality that might have some casualties. Some of the suitable tank mates for the cherry shrimp include;

The best way to ensure that your shrimps are safe is making sure that the tank has enough plants as well as hiding places within your aquarium. You should avoid using the cichlids, Arowanas, and Oscars as tank mates. In order to protect your cherry shrimps, you should never put them in the same tank with the larger species or any predatory species.

As an aquarist in case, you feel that you would like to explore the way they relate with other species, you can always go ahead and include the following;

You should note that you should never keep your Cherry Shrimp with other Neocaridina spies s you do not want them to lose their color because of the risk of hybridization.


Stevencaller, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As an aquarist, one of the basic things you should learn to do with much ease is how to differentiate the red Cherry Shrimp from other species. Apart from just distinguishing them from other species, you also need to know how to distinguish a male from a female since it is very crucial. On average, the red shrimp can grow to a maximum length of 1.6 inches at maturity. They have a slim body, and their growth rare is influenced by critical factors such as the diet you give to them, tank conditions, and water parameters. If you provide everything as expected, then the shrimp will grow to this size. The red Cherry Shrimps have different shades of red, which form the basis of their categorization.

Apart from the coloration, they also have sexual dimorphism. This dimorphism is difficult to notice in the young ones, but in the mature ones, there is a noticeable difference between males and females. The female is generally larger than the males. The females have a more intense shade of red, and this depends on the grading category. Once the males are mature, they have a distinguishable feature compared to the males in that they have a noticeable saddle on their stomachs. This saddle is believed to be useful in storing eggs before they are fertilized, and the color ranges from yellow to red.


In an effort to gauge the quality and worth of these shrimps, four-color grades are used to classify each individual. They are as follows;

High Grade; Painted Fire Red Cherry Shrimp- This is the highest graded and the most expensive among them all. They are red all over their bodies, including the legs, which is exclusive to this grade of shrimp.

Medium-High Grade; Fire Rec Cherry Shrimp- They are only red on their bodies.

Medium Grade; Sakura Cherry Shrimp- They are mainly red with scattered clear color spaces on their bodies.

Lowest Grade; Basic Cherry Shrimp- They are the lowest grade and the least expensive. These are mostly clear, and they have a few areas of red on their bodies.

As the grade of the Red Cherry increases, the price increases too, as well as the quality of water required. The high-grade cherry shrimps also need more clean water so as to thrive, while the low grades can tolerate poor water quality without getting stressed.


In the wild, these invertebrates originated from Taiwan, Asia. They prefer living in streams and ponds that are densely packed plants and rocky substances, and therefore, as you set up your tank, you should try as much as possible to imitate the natural habitat. They thrive in a densely planted aquarium with many hiding crevices and moss. You can also choose to include some driftwood which can make up a reasonable part of their diet. Moss is very crucial in the aquarium since the shrimp’s sill groom themselves and hides within it. You can also use the java moss. Always keep in mind that whenever Chery Shrimp feels safe, they will present themselves with the brightest coloration. In terms of substrate, you can use some small pebbles to replicate the rocky substate that they are used to in their natural habitat.

For the equipment, it is not a necessity to have a heater, but if you want to maintain n the temperature of the water, you will need one. Another important piece of equipment is the filter. However, there is one common problem with filters, and this is the fact that they are so powerful, and your shrimp can be sucked into them since they are small in size. To prevent this, you can use a soft filter such as a canister, and you can use the inlets with foam to reduce the flow. Just ensure that your filter is snot sucking your shrimps up. If you still want to oxygenate the water and are worried about less filtration, you can always use an air stone.


The Red Sherry Shrimps have a short lifespan. Their living condition mainly influences the lifespan of these species. On average, these small shrimps live for a period of one to two years if all the essential conditions are met. This is mainly influenced by the following factors;


Feeding habits and diet

Tank and environmental conditions

Presence or absence of pests and diseases.

If you desire to see your shrimp lie for long, you should ensure that the tank is always clean and keep out all the organic waste chemicals and supplements.


As said, the Cherry Shrimps are even-tempered, and they are not aggressive. Thye spends most of their time cleaning the algae and biofilm, taking a walk along the substrate, and generally keeping to themselves. Do not fear when you see them once a vivid red shrimp shivered into a foam, a ghostly and slightly translucent shell. The cherries shrimp, just like the rest of the shrimps, shed their skin, and it can be seen floating on the tank like a phantom shrimp. Do not be so fast to clean up because, as uninviting as it sounds, the exoskeleton provides some minerals when ingested by the shrimp. As said, these are low-maintenance invertebrates that can clean up the tank by themselves.

These Cherry Shrimps are very active, and they keep themselves busy through the day and night, but a pregnant female should never feel threatened she could abandon her gees. To ensure she has plant spots to hide.


It is advisable that whenever you are starting a tank, you should have at least 10 Cherry Shrimps because they thrive in larger groups. The amount in the tank should not be less than 5 gallons. You should always have an additional gallon for every three shrimps you add into the tank. These small invertebrates produce small amounts of waste, which makes it difficult to overload the tank. Whole colonies should have at least 20 gallons minimum size of the tank.


The Cherry Shrimp should have numerous amounts of plants inside the tank and a moderate current. The aquatic plants shed edible organic materials that can feed the shrimps. These plants also provide the hiding spots which the shrimps love most. You can also group some driftwood in the tank, and the shrimps will be feeding on any moss or algae on it. The use of plants and moss in the tank is also important in filtering out toxins in the water hence improving the quality as well. The pebbles and rocks are also critical in replicating the natural environment of the shrimps. There is no specific lighting that is needed for these invertebrates, but you can have your tank moderately lit for the purpose of viewing.


 If you decide to go the route of a planted setup, choosing the right substrate is the next big step. Since the plants gets most of the nutrients from the substate in which they are planted on, it is important to choose a substrate that has the ability to hold nutrients. Plain gravel may be fine in the short run, is definitely not the best choice for your plants, and the shrimps are also not great fans of gravel. The ideal substrate that you should consider is the high CEC substrate which means it absorbs and holds nutrients as well.

Note that the substrates that are packed with nutrients often cause a large ammonia spike when firsts added to tanks, and therefore you should ensure that you have monitored the ammonia spikes before adding any shrimp in the tank.

You can add some rocks at the bottom of the tank before laying the gravel so as to create some hills. The perfect landscape for the shrimps is that which is rolling with lots of variation.


Whenever the Cherry Shrimps are living in a tank condition, they are very flexible. The main need is to ensure that the water conditions remain stable. Ant water fluctuation of the water quality can shorten their lifespan.


The Shrimp water does not necessarily need a heater, but you can have one if you wish. The water temperature should be maintained between 65 to 85 degrees F, which is often the room temperature. If you leap the water at the upper range for long, this can accelerate the reproduction and growth rate of the shrimps.


 The average ph. of the water inside the tank should be between 6.5 to 8.0. You can add peat in the water o natural lower the ph levels if need be.


As mentioned earlier, with the higher-grade shrimps, there is a need to have huh quality water so as o accommodate them. If the tank has lower grade shrimps, this is not a big concern since they can thrive in not-so-clean water. Another point to keep in mind is the fact that the cherry shrimps are very sensitive to ammonia, chlorine, nitrite, and nitrate levels. Before you can place the shrimps in the tank, ensure there are zero nitrites inside. The nitrite levels should be 20 ppm. In order to ensure there is no presence of chlorine in the tank, it is advisable to add a DE chlorinator to the water tank a few days before adding the shrimp to the tank. These levels are easy to maintain in large tanks with more water.


One of the most interesting things about these shrimps is the fact that they have a low bioload which means they do not produce a lot of waste. This is critical since it helps in keeping the water condition and quality high, and it makes it easier for beginners to regulate the condition. Always ensure that you cycle the tank before adding any animal as well. Precautions should be taken when using filtration systems. These animals are so small, and they can be sucked by the filter, and to avoid this, you can use a sponge filter instead.


Whenever you are adding the Chery Shrimps into a new tank, it is important to acclimate them to the new water gradually to reduce stress. This can be achieved by siphoning some drops of the new tank water through the tube into the current shrimp water for at least half an hour. By watching for any signs of stress in the cherry shrimp, problems due to water levels can be prevented.

Sighs of water-related stress in shrimps include;

  • Floating at the water surface
  • Little to no movement

If you notice your Cherry Shrimp has stayed for about 30 minutes with no irregular behaviors, the shrimp can now be moved to the new tank using a net.


 It is recommended you keep the Cherry Shrimps on their own, and the most popular way is to keep them in a species-only aquarium. When keeping them together is recommended that you keep them at least ten, and this will help to limit the dominant behavior. Also, in a large group, they will have more confidence, and you will be able to see their natural behavior. As for stocking your tank, you should keep 2 to 5 shrimps per gallon. You cannot overstock with them as their bioload is almost nonexistent. In terms of the ratio between males ad females, they are fantastic to breed sand; therefore, you do not need to get worried about that so much. Just ensure there are more females than males.


When you set up the tank initially, there are some steps that you need to take before introducing them to the new tank. It is important to always rinse the plant substrate and wash the gravel and pebble before you can place them in the tank. The amount of water should at least be a foot deep in order for the shrimp and the tank mates to live comfortably. As you fill the tank with either a bucket or horse, it is always important to check the ph level.

After you have cycled the water and ensured it is safe for your shrimps, you can get ready to put them in. The tank water should be monitored and checked regularly for any abnormalities. At least 25 percent of water should be changed on a weekly basis.



In the wild, the Cherry Shrimps are more of scavengers, and they will feed on anything they come across. They are omnivores in nature, and therefore they will feed on both the meant and plant matter. This will typically take the form of algae and other organisms. Due to their scavenger nature, it means feeding them is pretty easy since they are not picky. As always, we recommend that the high-quality pellet make up the core of their diet. There are several brands that specifically make food meant for shrimps and invertebrates. In addition to this, you can supplement the diet with frozen food and vegetables.   If you plan to feed your shrimp with vegetables, ensure that they are boiled and blanched first. Some of the best vegetables you can feed them include;






 These animals are very small, and therefore they do not need a lot of food, and it is very easy to overfeed them and end up polluting your tank. As mentioned above, they are scavengers, and they are known to be eaters of algae. They will feed on most of the types of algae that are found in the aquarium, and they will make an excellent cleanup crew. Although they do not consume a lot of algae like the larger fish, they will play a role in ensuring your tank remains clean. When feeding these shrimps, always ensure to remove any excess feed from the tank to maintain your water chemistry. Their feed should be removed within 2 hours after eating.


Sexing the Cherry shrimps is quite easy since the males are lighter in color with the red striping. Also, the tail of the males is narrower compared to that of the females. Another means of differentiating the two is where the ovaries of the female can be seen in the saddle, which is draped across their upper shoulders. On average, a red Cherry shrimp will breed at around the age of 5 to 6 months, and there is little that is required to encourage breeding beyond normal feeding, water conditions, and a male and female shrimp. That is said, it is advisable to breed them in a separate breeding tank as the young ones are mainly preyed d up by the fish. To set up a breeding tank for the Chery Shrimp, it should be at least 5 gallons and fully cycled. A sponge filter should be used to avoid the sucking of hatchlings up to their death in the filter intake. It is also important to have a substate in the breeding tank, and it should be planted, and this means you need to choose one that is appropriate for planting.

The eggs can be seen developing in the females’ body, and when she is ready to mate, she will release pheromones in the water. When this occurs, the male will search for the aquarium until it finds the female. Once the male finds the female, they will mate, and the make will deposit the sperm into the body of the female. The female will proceed to lay eggs and attach them to her swimmerets. The females carrying the eggs are often called berried. The female species becomes shy and reclusive during pregnancy and they are known to abandon eggs whenever they are stressed. It is, therefore, crucial to provide them with plenty of cover and hiding spots if you want them to reproduce. Plants, ornaments, driftwoods all make excellent hiding places for the Red Cherry Shrimps.

On average, a female lays between 10 to 30 eggs which usually take around 30 days to hatch. The eggs are clearly visible on a pregnant Red Cherry Shrimp, and you will often see the female using its swimmerets to circulate water over the eggs to keep them healthy. It is possible to see a hatchling develop in the eggs, and near the end of gestation, their eyes become visible as tiny black dots. One of the main reasons why the Cherry Shrimps have a higher survival rate in the home aquarium than other shrimps is because they have no larval stage. They hatch fully formed, and they can feed on the same food as the parents. Due to this, avoid starvation which claims the lives f most of the shrimps in the aquarium.


 Mainly the Red Cherry Shrimp will breed without any special treatment or changes. However, there are a few things you can do to encourage breeding.

Raise the temperatures to 80 to 81 degrees F; Doing these tricks the shrimp into thinking it is summer.

Provide a lot of plants and hiding places; Most of the species are likely to breed when they feel comfortable, and these shrimps are not an exception. Providing a ton of plants and hiding places makes your shrimp feel safe and comfortable, and this encourages reproduction.

Feed often in small amounts; By feeding you shrimps with high-quality food, you can drastically increase the size of a healthy colony. However, after feeding them, you should ensure that you remove any uneaten food immediately.


The red Cherry shrimp are sensitive to copper, which is present in the fish feeds. You therefore need to verify these feeds before feeding them. You also need to be careful full-on the ammonia spikes since they may have severe consequences. It is also crucial to ensure the temperature and ph of your water are kept constant. The more water you add to the tank, the more the chances of keeping these parameters constant.


Are the Red Cherry shrimps freshwater invertebrates?

Yes, the red cherries are freshwater invertebrates that originate from Taiwan. They prefer living in-stream and ponds that have heavy vegetation.

Are the Red Cherries Aggressive?

No, the red cherries are peaceful, and they do not harm their tank mates at any point. You also need to ensure you provide peaceful tank mates that will not harass them.


Taking care of the Red Cherry Shrimps is very simple. They are colorful, peaceful, and exotic species to have in your aquarium. They do not add just colors. They also ensure the tank is clean by feeding on the algae. They are also flexible with the tank environment due to their hardy nature. They can also cope with different tank mates peacefully, and they do not pose any threat to them. It is also simple to breed them; all you need is to make proper preparation. Therefore, as a beginner, if you are looking for shrimp to keep in your tank and with less effort to take care of. The Red Cherry Shrimp is the ideal choice. We hope this guide has been very helpful in equipping you with the necessary knowledge to take care of and maintain a Red Cherry Shrimp.

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