Neocaridina davidi, Keeping and Breeding Cherry Shrimp

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. Similar to their saltwater counterparts, they are a little more curved than their saltwater cousins and have small legs. They spend most of the time in sheltering from tank plants and eating. This article will cover the basics of keeping and breeding cherry shrimp.

Cherry Shrimp Diet

You can keep your shrimp healthy with a high-quality diet that includes 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. You can do this by adding small amounts crushed coral to the filter or substrate.

Shrimps are, well, shrimp. So, they’ll be preyed upon by other fish. According to our rule of thumb, if they can fit it in their mouths then it is a predator. You want them to be safe and not get eaten so make sure they have nothing that could harm them. However, when provided with enough hiding spaces shrimp can co-exist with larger fish, but there will always be a risk. Chollawood and moss can be used as hiding places. When it comes to fish they’re best with more docile species.

Bettas are known for their love of shrimp.

Cherry Shrimp Color Grades

Cherry shrimp should be a beautiful deep red color. It is the reason these shrimp make a great addition to your aquarium. 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. The female cherry shrimp is typically brighter in color than the males. They are identified by their thick, round tail and “saddleback”.

Blue Cherry Shrimp AKA blue velvet shrimp

We’ve divided the shrimp into two groups to make it simpler and easier for you. The high grade is very red, and the low grade is not as red. These little guys will help you know what to look out for when shopping.

The better the grade, the more beautiful the color. But the name is only a guideline. 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. The customer can find it confusing and misleading. Our mantra is to “buy what you see, not what you read.”

No matter what the name of the shrimp, choose the best color. You’ll find a wide range of colors even in one batch, even from the same breeder. You could call them Sakura, Fire Taiwan or Painted Fire Red. Each of them are classified under the same Latin name of Neocaridina heteropoda, including the blue and yellow color varieties.

But, there are some exceptions to this guideline, and that’s discussed below when it comes 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. Be aware that males tend to have a slightly darker color than females. You will need at least one male to begin your breeding population unless you buy an already-breeding female.

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?

That can be done by selective breeding. After your female has given you a baby, you can remove the shrimplets that are less colorful. You remove the shrimplets that are not as brightly colored, so you can preserve the good genes. For each new batch, you will need to repeat this process. In this way, you could effectively start with a lower grade shrimp and breed for a higher grade.

Cherry shrimp can be easily bred. 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. Keep your population healthy by removing lower-quality colors. This will enable you to raise beautiful red cherry shrimps.

Want a more advanced and technical article on breeding these shrimp? Check out my more detailed blog on breeding these shrimp.