Top 12 Tank Mates You Should Keep With Cherry Shrimp

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. The best way to breed shrimp is to keep it in a tank that only has one species. If you want to keep cherry shrimp as pets and a few of their offspring, this list will help you choose the right tank mates. None of these suggestions are 100% guaranteed since every living creature has a mind of its own, so we recommend adding lots of cover (e.g., piles of rocks, aquarium plants, and shrimp caves) to give the shrimp places to hide if needed.

Category #1: Small Invertebrates

Our first idea for shrimp-safe tank mates is to look at other nano invertebrates. Little snails like the mystery, bladder and nerite are mostly scavengers that don’t eat shrimp. Although they eat the same food as cherry shrimp, you might see fewer shrimp babies if there is a shortage of them. They prefer to eat tiny particles suspended in water and are therefore a better choice than larger shrimp. Thai micro crabs are similar in that they use their hairy claws as well as their legs to grab tiny crumbs. But, they are very shy so it may be difficult for them to be identified in your aquarium.

Vampire or African fan shrimp (Atya gabonensis)

Amano and ghost shrimp are also dwarf shrimp that can be used with cherry shrimp. They are about the same size and have the same care requirements. However, crystal shrimp and other Caridina shrimp may not be a good fit because they often prefer drastically different water parameters than cherry shrimp. Some hobbyists keep them together but we have found that one colony is more happy and produces more shrimp than the other. 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. Our experience shows that they are slower eaters than your shrimp. Stiphodon gobies, another type of nano aufwuchs-grazer, have a suction cup mouth that is designed for scraping microorganisms and biofilm off rocks. A dwarf pleco such as Panaqolus macrocus is another species that is known to be fond of eating wood and algae. While any of these fish may opportunistically snack on a baby shrimp, they generally leave the adult shrimp alone.

Otocinclus catfish

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. These nano rasboras would look great in a planted shrimp tank. They include the Boraras brigitae chili rasbora or Microdevario Kubotai neon green rasbora. 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. They may not eat the adult shrimp outright, but they have the tendency to outcompete them for food and may cause stress by chasing them relentlessly.

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. Check out our articles on cherry shrimp care.