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Caresheet: Cherry Shrimp | Neocaridina davidi

March 30, 2013
Neocaridina davidi

Cherry shrimp (Neocaridina davidi var. red, formerly Neocaridina heteropoda var. ‘Red’) are a type of dwarf shrimp appreciated by many aquarists for their bright colors and easy care. If you’re looking for an aquarium clean up crew, a new breeding project or just a fun addition to a peaceful aquarium, you’ve found it!

Keep reading for everything you need to know about Cherry shrimp care.

Tank size5 gal (18L)
TemperamentPeaceful
DietOmnivore
Temperature57-86°F (14-30°C)
pH6.5-8
Length1 inch (2.5 cm)

Name

Scientific name: Neocaridina davidi var. ‘Red’. Also sometimes still referred to as Neocaridina heteropoda var. ‘Red’.

Common names: Cherry Shrimp, Red Cherry shrimp, Fire Shrimp, Sakura shrimp

Cherry shrimp natural habitat

Where the natural form of the Red Cherry can be found is quite difficult to determine. Most likely Taiwan, China and other parts of Asia.

Some sources report pools and slow moving streams while others state they also occur in faster flowing streams, protecting themselves from the water flow by hiding behind rocks and plants.

Kevin & Gregg's Fishtank 2054

Appearance

Red Cherry Shrimp are a dwarf shrimp variety, which means they stay small. Females can grow to a maximum of around an inch, while males are usually smaller. The red color, which is what makes these shrimp such attractive additions to the aquarium, is also brighter in females than in males.

Not all Cherry Shrimp feature the same level of coloration. Selective breeding for color results in more intensely colored shrimp, while letting a colony breed freely causes their reds to fade. Cherries with more opaque coloration are considered a higher grade and will be more expensive. They’re not “better” than other Cherry Shrimp, though. It’s just a matter of preference.

Cherry shrimp requirements

Cherry shrimp care is relatively easy. Groups of Cherry Shrimp (preferably 5+) can live in a wide variety of environments. Large colonies can thrive in big community tanks that lack bigger, hungrier tankmates, but these shrimp also look great in nano aquascapes. Unlike fish, they can live in small tanks like the beverage dispenser tank!

Be sure to always cycle your tank before introducing any shrimp, as they are extremely sensitive to ammonia and nitrites. Medication that contains copper isn’t a good idea either, as it’s unfortunately deadly to shrimp. Weekly water changes are needed to reduce the amount of nitrates in the water. Be sure to match the new water to the old, both in temperature and water values.

All about Cherry shrimp | Full Neocaridina davidi caresheet!

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Cherry shrimp tankmates

As long as they’re provided with plenty of hiding spaces like coconut hides, patches of Java moss and other plants, Cherry shrimp can be kept in aquariums with larger fish. Even if the occasional shrimp ends up as a snack the colony will likely breed faster than the predators can eat them. Keep in mind that it’s still always a gamble, though. Fish that are very focused on hunting (cichlids, bettas, puffers) might be able to wipe out an entire colony.

If you want your Cherry shrimp to be the centerpiece of the tank or if you want to raise as much fry as possible (to sell or as live food), a dedicated setup with only very peaceful tankmates like Otocinclus (Otocinclus spp.) or Pygmy Cories (Corydoras pygmaeus) is probably the best idea. That way, the shrimp will be able to breed quickly and forage out in the open so you’ll see them more often.

Cherry shrimp diet

Cherry Shrimp are naturally omnivores that feed on biofilm. In the aquarium they will accept almost any types of food they come across, which is why they make a great clean-up crew. In community tanks they can live off leftovers from other fish and tiny particles they find in plants and algae patches. Specialized shrimp food, algae pellets and blanched vegetables can also be given occasionally and will be much appreciated.

In a single species tank it’s a good idea to feed a small amount of food every day. Be sure to remove any pieces of food that aren’t eaten within a few hours, though, as they can cause dangerous ammonia spikes when left in the water for too long.

Cherry shrimp caresheet #aquariums #shrimp

Cherry shrimp behavior

Cherry Shrimp are extremely peaceful. They spend most of their time foraging or searching for food. Pregnant females can also often be observed waving fresh water over their eggs to supply them with oxygen.

During feeding time, the whole colony will often flock to the food and try to eat as much as possible. Quite an interesting sight! After a water change or after an individual molts you might see your Cherry Shrimp ‘dancing’. Don’t worry, they’re not going crazy. The males are chasing the females all over the aquarium in an attempt to breed.

Breeding Cherry shrimp

Part of what makes these shrimp such a popular beginner’s choice is how easy it is to breed them. Just provide good water quality as well as plenty of food and females will usually be pregnant all the time, releasing miniature versions of themselves after around 30-40 days of carrying eggs.

The fry is very tiny and usually hard to spot. It takes a while before they develop the typical red color. Because they are so vulnerable and will be eaten by almost all species of fish, hiding places like Java moss are a good idea if you want to make sure they survive.

Buying Cherry Shrimp

When buying shrimp, look for brightly colored specimens that are actively moving around and foraging. If you’re interested in breeding your shrimp be sure to pick up a starter colony of at least 10. You can buy Cherry Shrimp here!



If you have any more questions about Cherry Shrimp care or want to share your own experiences with them, be sure to leave a comment below. Happy fishkeeping!

Cover photo: Sakura by sergio89


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42 Comments

  • ReplyStacyJune 19, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    Hi! I’m getting started on my first larger tank, a 46 gallon, and I’d really like to have some shrimp in there. It’ll be planted and all friendly community fish. Would you recommend ghost shrimp or cherry shrimp?

    • ReplyMariJune 30, 2018 at 1:12 pm

      Hi! Sorry about the slightly late reply. Have you figured something out yet? Both of these shrimp species would work just fine (although if you want the cherry shrimp keep in mind that fry might be eaten – which usually isn’t a problem with how fast they reproduce). You could also try Amano shrimp 🙂

      Good luck, sounds like a fun project!

  • ReplyLaurenMarch 4, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    Hi! I’m a new fish owner and in a few months I’m getting a Betta fish. I want to have some snails and shrimp in with it. The tank is a 20 gallon. What shrimp and snails would you recommend having in there?

    • ReplyMariMarch 4, 2018 at 6:07 pm

      Hi! If you’d like to combine a Betta with shrimp I’d consider going for a relatively large type like Amano shrimp. It’s always a bit of a risk, though – some Bettas will harrass and even kill all shrimp, no matter how big they are. The same thing goes for snails, although the risk seems a little smaller with those. I have an article containing a few snail species you might be interested in here.

      Good luck! 🙂

  • ReplyJonathanFebruary 14, 2018 at 6:28 am

    Planning on having a ten gallon with a gourami, some artificial plants for decoration, a moss ball, and a large-ish decorative bridge for the gourami to do as he wishes with. Would these shrimp work with the gourami? Or ghost shrimp maybe? My local petsmart is rather limited with their shrimp varieties and all I’ve seen are ghost shrimp as of yet. Nonetheless, do you think they’d be fine in the tank?

    • ReplyMariFebruary 14, 2018 at 12:06 pm

      I’d try Amano shrimp (caresheet here) if I were you. They’re less aggressive than ghost shrimp but larger and less vulnerable than cherry shrimp. Please refer to my other comment about the gourami – I really don’t recommend it.

      • ReplyJonathanFebruary 14, 2018 at 4:58 pm

        Would the Amano shrimp work then with the Gourami? I’d love a little clean up crew.

        • ReplyJonathanFebruary 14, 2018 at 5:28 pm

          ^Nevermind that. Not getting a gourami. Sorry.

  • ReplyChristopher Yukio TakagiDecember 6, 2017 at 10:16 pm

    I’m trying to set up a cherry shrimp breeding colony, but im noticing all my shrimp struggle to molt, and subsequently die. is there anything you could recommend?

    • ReplyMariDecember 12, 2017 at 1:04 pm

      Oh dear, I’m sorry to hear that! What are you feeding? I would definitely go for a high-quality shrimp food like this one if you aren’t using something like that already. Have you tested the water extensively (especially GH/KH/TDS)? If there is too much calcium and such in the water their shells can become too hard, if there is too little then their new exoskeleton might not form properly. If the latter seems to be the case you could try using montmorillonite clay, which is popular in the shrimp hobby.

      I hope you’ll be able to figure it out! If things remain the same you could try joining one of the various shrimp keeping groups on FB, lots of experts in there who might be able to help you out.

  • ReplyKatelyn GormanNovember 14, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    Hi I’m planning on buying some cherry shrimp and decided to read up on them before hand. I have a 5.5 gal tank and a goldfish. Would this mean I couldn’t put the shrimp in. I do plan on providing hiding spots that the goldfish couldn’t fit into and lots of moss for the shrimp. I don’t want to harm anything so I wanted to make sure before I did it.

    • ReplyMariNovember 22, 2017 at 11:47 am

      Hello,

      Unfortunately what you should currently be worried about is not whether you can get shrimp, but the fact that you have a goldfish in a 5.5 gallon. Goldfish are not suitable for such a tiny tank in any way and this fish will quickly die in there if you don’t take action now. If it’s a fancy (double tailed) goldfish you need to upgrade to at least a 40 gallon and get it a friend to keep it alive and happy (they need 20 gallons per fish – you can find a full caresheet here). If it’s a common goldfish, you’re out of options unless you have a pond. They need 100 gallons per fish and you need at least 2 goldfish, so commons can’t live in an aquarium and the fish should be rehomed to a pond as soon as possible. Like, yesterday.

      After you have rehomed the goldfish you can definitely keep cherry shrimp in your 5.5 gal (goldfish will 100% eat them). Cherries are actually one of the only options for a 5.5 gallon because it’s an extremely tiny tank and few species are small enough to live in there.

      Good luck! I really hope you take my advice and rehome the goldfish as soon as possible.

  • ReplyVirginia DoranAugust 17, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    Hi! I was wondering if I could feed cherry shrimp hikari cory cat diet? It’s leftover and I’d love to reuse it. If not, that’s fine. Just curious!

    • ReplyMariAugust 22, 2016 at 12:59 pm

      Sure, you can pretty much feed them anything! Just be sure to supplement their diet with some greens because Corydoras food might not contain all the plant matter the shrimp need. 🙂

  • ReplyGregg MartinApril 10, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    Wow, lots of interesting comments. As I’ve said before I think the poorly named least least killifish would do fine in a well planted 5 gallon tank. However, I have a question concerning the RCS. I have a well cycled 2.5 gallon tank that has baby platys rescued from a larger tank, that I’m putting finally in a larger 10 gallon tank. The 2.5 has a plastic plant, covered with algae, in a dense stand of guppy grass, Najas g., with frog bit above. There is no substrate. I use a Jardin mini sponge filter and do a 50 % water change every 3 or 4 days. My ph is 7.6 and ammonia and nitrite is O ppm and Nitrate is 5 ppm. I do not know the hardness, but a triops we had moulted well and lived a long (for them) life. How might this do for the shrimp? Would the maintenance be similar to fish? Hope it is acceptable.

    Gregg

    • ReplyMariApril 10, 2016 at 5:40 pm

      Sounds fine for cherry shrimp, the 5 gallons is just an indication in this case. If you have experience with aquariums and fishkeeping something smaller shouldn’t be a problem, these shrimp have a tiny bioload and won’t cause any cycle swings. 🙂

      • ReplyGregg MartinApril 10, 2016 at 9:14 pm

        Thank you!

        Gregg

  • ReplyLouDecember 3, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    Hi

    Love your fact sheet, I am just about to buy a tank to set up for cherry shrimp. I have seen lots of different information around the set up. Some people recommend using products under the substrate for example borneo wild minerax, bebi and enlive. Do you recommend these products for this type of shrimp as they are a bit expensive?
    Thank you for your advice.
    Lou

    • ReplyMariDecember 3, 2015 at 8:06 pm

      Hi! For simple cherry shrimp, those are definitely not a must. Cherries are very hardy and will do well in almost any type of aquarium. Those products are usually used for the more expensive and less resilient types of shrimp.
      Good luck! I’d love to see your setup when you’re done. 🙂

  • ReplyIlianaNovember 13, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    Will shrimp eat my plants? It would be nice if they trimmed them but if they’re going to completely ravage a plant…well.

    • ReplyMariNovember 15, 2015 at 5:31 pm

      Nope, they won’t touch your plants except to eat algae and aufwuchs stuck to them!

  • ReplyIreneJuly 17, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    Hi, I have 28 litre tank. Have say around 20 shrimp, made up of various ages. Wishing to add fish. Know the limit of fish re, litre of tank, but cannot find answer to this anywhere. Does having shrimp in tank lesson number of fish alowed, and is there a max no of shrimp for my 28 litre tank? .

    Also, my shrimp are only active in the evening. My find who fave me them, is in habit of keeping tank lighrs out for most of day, as he’s at work. Has he turned my shrimp into night shift workers lol?

    Thanks

    • ReplyMariJuly 17, 2015 at 1:34 pm

      Hello!
      Shrimp populations usually kind of manage themselves, but if you think your tank is getting overpopulated you can always try selling/giving them away to other aquarists or your local aquarium store.
      As for fish, in 28 liter tanks you’re very very limited. A single betta fish would be possible, but they are aggressive towards shrimp and it’s a huge gamble as a betta could wipe out the entire shrimp population OR leave the shrimp alone. Other than that, I wouldn’t go for fish at all. Some sources will say it’s fine but most experienced fishkeepers will agree that 28 liters is just a bit too small. However, don’t despair! A pair of dwarf crayfish would probably do wonderfully in there and they should leave cherry shrimp alone. There’s a caresheet for them here!
      As for the evening activity, I’m pretty sure that’s normal. In the wild, the evening would be a safe time for them to forage!
      Good luck with your shrimp!

      • ReplyIreneJuly 17, 2015 at 1:41 pm

        Thanks, for quick reply and info. They’re amazing when they’re all out and about, and right enough, I’m only at friends house in evening. Do fancy cray fish, so will look into that. Thanks again

  • ReplyAlvin YaoSeptember 27, 2014 at 10:20 am

    Could I keep a breeding population of cherry shrimp in an unheated community tank? I have read that the shrimp stop breeding at below 20 degrees C, and the tank’s temperature drops quite low in Winter, to about 16 degrees C. In Summer the water temperature would be higher than 20 degrees C, maybe even around 30 degrees C. I would be keeping dwarf crayfish and fish similar in personality and size of white cloud mountain minnows. The tank is 56cm*36cm*26cm.

    • ReplyMariSeptember 27, 2014 at 12:06 pm

      I think it would be possible to keep cherry shrimp in an unheated tank and have them breed, although breeding may slow down a lot during winter. Keeping them with fish isn’t the best idea if you want the baby shrimp to survive, though, almost all fish will try to eat them! I personally also think your tank is too small to actually keep fish like white clouds or danio (which are similar) in. Both species are very active swimmers and would be better suited to a least a 20 gallon long.
      Good luck! This sounds like a fun project.

      • ReplyAlvin YaoSeptember 27, 2014 at 1:37 pm

        Thanks!
        If I can’t keep white clouds, then what other possibilities of fish are there, my main focus is the fish, not the shrimp, and the tank will be heavily planted. There is also a moderate current at the surface of my tank. I thought white clouds were much smaller than danios. My local fish store keeps many active white cloud sized fish in a much smaller tank than I have, and they seemed to be doing fine with no health problems I could see. There are many sites that say a white clouds minimum tank size in a small school of 5 would be 5 gallons, or 19L. I am planning to keep a small school of 5 in a 15 gallon or 56L, which is my one and only tank I think I am allowed. It is currently a dirt bottomed tank. The filtration is an overhead sump filter and a small DIY 350ml bottle filter, which you is based upon this filter the KIng of DIY built,copy the the link below to whatch the video:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROkhHGIPwj4
        I also have an airstone and will heat the tank in winter to keep the temperature at 16 degrees C, I forgot to mention that.
        Again thanks for any advice and replying to my comment!

        • ReplyMariSeptember 27, 2014 at 2:07 pm

          I am aware many sources say white clouds can be kept in very small setups. Whether you do this is your own choice, but I personally think it’s not humane to keep such active fish in a small tank. The housing in pet stores is temporary so that’s not something to base your own stock off! Keeping your white clouds in a very small setup like a 5 gal won’t immediately cause health issues, but I can imagine it’s quite stressful for them. You may be able to fit a smaller school into your own tank if it’s well-planted, it’s kind of on the edge of what works in my opinion.

          • Alvin YaoSeptember 27, 2014 at 3:30 pm

            Thanks again, but
            What other fish can I buy then? I used to believe what my fishkeeping guide book says, but it seems that it is outdated. 🙁 It says goldfish grow to the size of the tank, I know that is kind of true, but the organs of the goldfish will keep growing, and the goldfish will become stunted. I’m not trusting that book again. Nor my LFS’s staff. They recommended a loach to eat my hundreds of baby pond snails in my not even cycled aquarium!!!! What fish are small enough to be happily kept in an unheated 15 gallon long aquarium for most of the year? I want some top-mid dwellers, they don’t have to be schooling, but I would love to have some as well. It seems that the only aquarium I have is too small to house any fish. :'( But for my whole life I had been in love with fish!! From the day I knew what they were!!! My first drawings were of fish, i seemed obsessed with fish and even today I am still obsessed. I can’t just let the tank size become a huge problem!!! I NEED fish, I want them to be healthy, not crammed into a tank too small for them, I thought white clouds were perfect, turns out they’re not. What other mid to top dwelling fish can be kept in my aquarium?
            Thank you again for any further advice, I hope this isn’t bothering you too much, I hope I am not becoming annoying, If i am please tell me to stop, I just can’t help it, sorry, just so much clashing info in the net, don’t even know what’s right any more.

          • MariSeptember 27, 2014 at 5:36 pm

            Don’t worry, I know how frustrating the conflicting info on the internet can be! I get a lot of almost desperate mails/comments from fishkeepers all the time because they just don’t understand what to do anymore. Seriously Fish is one of the better places to start if you’re looking for info on specific fish. They seem to agree with me that your aquarium is just at the edge of what can or won’t work.

            My personal favorite for cooler aquariums is Rhinogobius duospilus, but they’re not schooling fish nor are they mid-/top-dwellers. They’re also carnivores that will happily snack on cherry shrimp, but I still wanted to mention them because they’re very very interesting fish to keep.
            You could go for the white clouds instead if you really want schooling fish. I guess it’s a personal choice! I personally find species like gobies much more interesting.

            Good luck! I’m sorry I can’t be of more help, the choices are pretty limited for smaller coldwater tanks. It’s still possible to make a beautiful setup out of this though, be sure to check out the latest article which coincidentally happens to be about coldwater aquarium plants 🙂

          • Alvin YaoSeptember 29, 2014 at 3:20 am

            Thank you for your advice, I really appreciate it.

          • Alvin YaoSeptember 27, 2014 at 3:49 pm

            I just read that the ideal tank base dimensions for them on the website “Seriously fish” were 60cm*30cm.
            My tank base dimensions are 56cm*36cm.

  • ReplyCarlyJune 19, 2014 at 8:57 am

    Would I be able to keep 5 shrimp in a 5.5 gallon tank with a betta? Or would that be too much?

    • ReplyMariJune 19, 2014 at 3:30 pm

      No, that sounds fine to me! Dwarf shrimp have a very low bioload. Whether it will work is another thing – some bettas are more aggressive than others and there is a possibility they’ll attack and kill smaller shrimp like cherries. Larger shrimp are unfortunately not an option for this size tank.

      • ReplyCarlyJune 19, 2014 at 5:48 pm

        Thanks for the response! And I’ve heard some horror-stories about bettas eating shrimp. What would you recommend using for little hiding spots?

        • ReplyMariJune 19, 2014 at 5:56 pm

          I always use shrimp flats! You can get them online or in most aquarium stores. Good luck!

          • Alvin YaoSeptember 27, 2014 at 1:39 pm

            what’s a shrimp flat?

          • MariSeptember 27, 2014 at 2:11 pm

            A shrimp flat is a hiding place for shrimp built up of ceramic tubes. Most inverts appreciate it. You can buy it at most aquarium stores and online 🙂

  • ReplyDeven KolageApril 24, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    Hi,
    Recently started with plantation, and have few Guppies in my tank along with few Red Cherry Shrimps and non CO2 required plants. Few days later I was advised to add a Snail Eater (unaware of scientific name) that helps to control wild snails and algae in tanks. Soon I observed that Red cherry shrimps counts started decreasing, I am not too sure whether the snail eater is the reason but I am not able to sight the dead shrimps either. Would Snail Eater be the core reason behind this? Can you suggest me some tank mates who are friendly to shrimps and shrimplets as I would love seeing the multiplying.
    Thanks,
    Deven Kolage.

    • ReplyMariApril 26, 2014 at 9:54 am

      I’m not exactly sure what you mean by Snail Eater, is it a clown loach (Chromobotia macracanthus), dwarf puffer (Carinotetraodon travancoricus) or Assassin snail (Clea helena)? If it’s one of the first two, I’m not surprised by your shrimp dying. They are not really suitable for calm community tanks and I would suggest rehoming them. Good tankmates for cherry shrimp would be Pygmy corydoras, otocinclus catfish, mosquito rasbora etc., provided your tank is suitable for them.
      Hope that helps! Good luck 🙂

      • ReplyDeven KolageApril 27, 2014 at 6:12 am

        Thank you, It’s Assassin snail (Clea helena). I have purchased Java Moss as it is categorized in Non CO2 required list. Also would like to confirm whether all Mosses are categorized in Non CO2 required list ? If Not which Moss except Java Moss can be introduced ?
        Your suggestion on Non CO2 required plants would be appreciated.

        • ReplyMariApril 27, 2014 at 5:12 pm

          In that case I do think there may be some damage to the shrimplets from the assassin snail. They probably can’t catch adult shrimp, but I’m not sure about young ones. Not all mosses are non CO2 required I think, but I’m unfortunately not an expert. Practical Fishkeeping can help you out here.
          As for more non CO2 required plants, check out 8 Easy Aquarium Plants!

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