Caresheet: Cherry Shrimp | Neocaridina Davidi




Cherry Shrimp

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Cherry shrimp are a type of dwarf shrimp appreciated by many aquarists for their bright colors and easy care. If you’re looking for a clean-up crew in your planted aquarium, a new breeding project, or just a fun addition to a peaceful community tank, these shrimp make a great choice! 

Keep reading for everything you need to know about cherry shrimp care and breeding in your aquarium.

Minimum tank size5 gal (18L)
Temperature57-86 °F/14-30 °C
Length1″/2.5 cm
Cherry Shrimp Care Guide


Neocaridina davidi was also classified as Neocaridina heteropoda or Neocaridina denticulata sinensis. The red variation of N. davidi is commonly referred to as cherry shrimp or red cherry shrimp but can be categorized as fire shrimp or sakura shrimp, depending on color grade.

Natural habitat

While their exact origin of evolution is unknown, these small freshwater shrimp are mostly found throughout Taiwan in clear running water with lots of foliage. A planted terrain provides protection for both adults and juveniles and cultivates algae and other biofilms. In ideal conditions, cherry shrimp will live up to 2 years but average only the first year in an aquarium setting.

Cherry shrimp can be very valuable in the aquarium hobby depending on the quality of color. They can be yellow, blue, green, violet, chocolate, black, white, transparent (ghost), or red, which is the most sought after variation with especially deep reds being the most valuable. However, in the wild, they will most likely be brown or transparent in order to better blend into surrounding plants and algae.

No matter size, these shrimp have adapted to match their backgrounds and substrates. A light substrate will cause your shrimp to become lighter or fully translucent; a dark substrate will help bring out their brightest colors. The quality of food available, water pH, and temperature also dictate the color you get from these freshwater shrimps. With ideal conditions and proper care, you can determine how red your shrimp will end up being in your tank!


Cherry shrimp are a dwarf shrimp species, which means they stay small. Female cherry shrimp can grow to a maximum size of around 2.5 cm (1 inch) with males staying much smaller. Males also have a less vibrant color than female cherry shrimp and have narrower tails since they do not need to carry eggs.

Not all cherry shrimp have the same degree of coloration. Selective breeding and special care result in deeper colored shrimp. Allowing a colony to breed freely causes their reds to eventually fade. Regardless, female cherry shrimp will always have a more intense color. Cherries that are a more opaque red are considered a higher grade and will be more expensive and less readily available. They’re not “better” than other cherry shrimp, it’s just a matter of preference.

It should be noted that colored varieties of this species are unique to the aquarium hobby with red being the most desired. Wild freshwater shrimp are typically brown with light or clear patches. Shrimp with wild coloring are typically referred to as a “wild type” shrimp. However, this doesn’t mean that the shrimp itself is from the wild – it only refers to the color! 

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Cherry shrimp requirements

Cherry shrimp care is relatively easy as they can live in a wide variety of environments. These freshwater shrimp should be kept in groups of at least 5 in order to prevent conflicts over dominance. A large colony may thrive in a big community tank so long as there are no hungrier fish that can fit a shrimp in its mouth! These small shrimp especially shine in a planted nano aquarium with lots of natural driftwood. Because of their size, it is actually recommended to have a species only tank with just cherry shrimp; their stark red color will really pop against the luscious plants in your aquarium!

Cherry shrimp may be kept in as small as a 5 gallon (19 L) tank, so long as you take care not to overstock it and allow for natural breeding. If you’re stocking cherry shrimp for a larger tank, it’s recommended to get 2 to 5 individuals per gallon (3.5 L) of water. Under ideal conditions, they’ll breed fast. Unlike fish, they can live in a small tank like the beverage dispenser tank!

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

Are cherry shrimp hard to keep?

While easy to care for, all species of cherry shrimp require some special tank modifications. Most importantly, they require a sponge filter so that you are able to maintain a clean tank without having your shrimp sucked up. The filter will not only keep your water quality good, but the sponge will also act as an additional surface area for your shrimp to graze on. Adequate lighting also needs to be considered for your plants to thrive and for your shrimp to display its best red coloring in your tank!

Cherry shrimp tankmates

As long as they’re provided with plenty of hiding spaces like coconut hides, patches of Java moss, and other freshwater 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, but good bets are freshwater snails, catfish, and small tetra species. Fish that are very focused on hunting (cichlids, bettas, puffers) might be able to wipe out an entire colony as well as your plants.

If you want to have a simple freshwater aquarium with lots of plants and bursts of color, then you may also house your cherry shrimp with other types of shrimp. Cherry shrimp may be kept with ghost shrimp, vampire shrimp, or Amano shrimp.

If you want your cherry shrimp to be the centerpiece of the tank or if you want to breed as much fry as possible (to sell to other aquarium hobbyists or to have as live food), a dedicated aquarium with only very peaceful fish 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 without being stressed, so you’ll see them more often.

Cherry shrimp diet

Cherry Shrimp are naturally omnivores that feed on biofilm and thrive in planted ecosystems. In the aquarium, they will accept almost any type of food they come across, which is why they make a great clean-up crew. In a community tank, 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 by your shrimp.

In a single species tank, it’s a good idea to feed only a small amount of food every day. Take care to remove any pieces of food that aren’t eaten within a few hours, as they can cause dangerous ammonia spikes when left in the tank for too long. It is also a good idea to clean your filter sponge regularly of any debris so it doesn’t get clogged and continues to function properly.

When your shrimp sheds its exoskeleton, it may be tempting to take it out from the tank, but don’t! Cherry shrimp can eat the shed and regain essential nutrients. It is easy to tell a molt from a dead shrimp as the exoskeleton will be a more transparent red than that of the living shrimp.

Cherry shrimp behavior

Cherry shrimp are an extremely peaceful and easy to keep species, making them a great addition to your aquarium. They spend most of their time foraging and searching for food, bringing movement to the bottom of your tank. Pregnant females can also often be observed waving fresh water over their eggs to supply them with oxygen from time to time, but will most likely be hiding under plants or near the back of the tank.

During feeding time, the whole shrimp colony will often flock to the food and try to eat as much as possible. It makes for quite an interesting sight! After a water change or after an individual molt, you might see your cherry shrimp ‘dancing.’ Don’t worry, they’re not going crazy. This phenomenon, while not completely understood, is a natural interaction that happens during breeding periods; the male cherry shrimp chase the females all over the aquarium in an attempt to breed.

Breeding Cherry shrimp

Part of what makes these shrimp such a popular freshwater beginner’s choice is how easy it is to breed them and care for the juveniles in a hobby tank. Just provide good water conditions, plenty of plants, as well as a varied diet, and females will usually be pregnant most of the time. They will release miniature versions of themselves after around 30-40 days of carrying eggs. These shrimp are also able to breed again after just a few days.

The fry is very small and usually difficult to spot. Their signature red color doesn’t come until the later stages of their life and they like to stay in planted areas and safe spots throughout the tank. Because they are so vulnerable and will be eaten by almost any 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 throughout the tank. 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 for your aquarium here!

If you have any more questions about cherry shrimp care or want to share your own experiences with them in your tank, be sure to leave a comment below. Happy aquarium keeping!

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50 thoughts on “Caresheet: Cherry Shrimp | Neocaridina Davidi”

    • Hey Wendy!
      Can you list out your water parameters? How long has the tank been running? How are you acclimating the shrimp?

  1. Hi,
    I was just wondering if Cherry Shrimp would be a good addition to my 200L tank with: 10 guppies, 5 pearl Danios, 5 cochus blue tetra & 6 neon Tetras?

    Just really don’t want to have bristle noses catfish/ flying fox algae eaters anymore.

    • Hi Alisha!
      Your stocking should be compatible with cherry shrimp, but it’s never guaranteed. Maybe prepare by adding more hiding spots and more plants. Also, make sure that your filter intake has a prefilter and that the water current isn’t too strong for them!
      Good luck! Let us know how it goes.

  2. So i was thinking of getting a ghost shrimp but i was thinking if i got a ghost shrimp can i see it i know its a stupid question but im serious also i like this website it must of tooken forever.

    • Yes, you’ll be abe to see it. They’re translucent but still pretty easy to spot! A ghost shrimp caresheet was just published recently, you can find it here if you wasnt to read more about them.

      Glad you like the site, hope it helps you! 🙂

  3. After water changes, I can observe that some or most of my shrimps start dancing as you have mentioned in the article. However some of them start lying on the side, seemingly gasping and struggling. Most of the ones which are struggling eventually get back to the normal routine, but every time I lose one or two of these pets. Any suggestion of what might be happening? My water changes are usually 10%

    • Hi,

      Gosh, sorry to hear you’re having trouble! I’d guess the answer to this issue lies in water chemistry. Do you dechlorinate and temperature match the water before adding it in? Do you add it back in very gradually? Have you tested both your aquarium and tap water using a liquid test kit? There might be a difference in pH for example, which is something aquatic creatures respond very poorly to.

      Whatever it is, it must be relatively intense as cherry shrimp are quite hardy. I’ve dropped them into different tanks with no acclimation and they were fine. So definitely do some investigation using your test kit!

      I hope you can figure it out.

  4. 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?

    • 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!

  5. 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?

    • 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! 🙂

  6. 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?

  7. 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?

    • 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.

  8. 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.

    • 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.

    • 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. 🙂

  9. 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.


    • 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. 🙂

  10. 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.

    • 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. 🙂

  11. 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?


    • 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!

      • 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

  12. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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:
        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!

        • 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.

          • 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.

          • 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 🙂

          • 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.

    • 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.

  13. 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.
    Deven Kolage.

    • 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 🙂

      • 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.

        • 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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