Cherry Shrimp: A Beginner’s Guide to Care and Maintenance

Cherry Shrimp, or Neocaridina davidi, are a popular choice for freshwater aquarium enthusiasts. These small, colorful creatures can add a touch of vibrancy to your tank and are easy to care for, making them an ideal addition for both beginners and experienced aquarists.

As a member of the Atyidae family, Cherry Shrimp come in various color grades, ranging from standard cherry shrimp to the highly sought-after painted fire red variety. Throughout this article, we’ll explore their ideal care requirements, tank setup, and how to ensure their general well-being.

So, for those of you looking to enhance your aquarium with these lively, low-maintenance shrimp, let’s get started!

Species Overview

Cherry Shrimp are a popular freshwater shrimp species known for their bright red color and ease of care. They add a beautiful touch of color to your aquarium and are compatible with various tank mates.

Property Information
Scientific name Neocaridina davidi
Common names Cherry Shrimp
Distribution Taiwan
Size 1-1.5 inches (2.5-4 cm)
Lifespan 1-2 years
Diet Detritivore, algae
Temperament Peaceful
Minimum tank size 5 gallons (19 liters)
Temperature 70-80°F (22-27°C)
pH 6.2-7.8
Water hardness 3-15 dKH
Care level Easy
Filtration/Water Flow Low to Medium
Water type Freshwater
Breeding Egg-layer
Breeding difficulty Easy
Compatibility Community

Remember to maintain ideal water parameters and offer a balanced diet for your Cherry Shrimp. Provide hiding spots in your aquarium like rocks and plants, so they can feel secure and display their vibrant colors.

Cherry Shrimp Basics

Origins and Natural Habitat

Cherry shrimp, or Red Cherry shrimp, are small freshwater invertebrates that you can find in the streams and ponds of Taiwan. Their natural habitat consists of rocky streams and ponds with dense vegetation. These shrimp are popular in aquariums because of their low maintenance requirements and their ability to live well in diverse water conditions.

Size and Shape

As an owner of Cherry shrimp, you can expect your shrimp to reach a size of 1 inch for males and up to 1.5 inches for females. They have distinct shrimp-shaped heads and their body shape is suitable for their natural environment.

Color and Markings

You will notice that Cherry shrimp comes in various shades of red. Females are typically larger and more colorful than males. A unique feature of female Cherry shrimp is the presence of an orange “saddle” area, which indicates their readiness for breeding.

Breeders and sellers classify Cherry shrimp into four color grades: High Grade, Medium-High Grade, Medium Grade, and Lowest Grade. Higher-grade shrimp require better water quality and stability, while lower-grade shrimp can tolerate poorer conditions. Selective breeding has also produced various color morphs for Cherry shrimp.


Cherry shrimp are known for their lifespan of around one to two years. They are widely available in pet stores and online, with different grades and prices to choose from. As a Cherry shrimp owner, maintaining proper water conditions and providing a suitable environment can help ensure the health and longevity of your shrimp.

Diet and Feeding

Cherry shrimp are omnivores and can feed on plants and smaller organisms in their natural habitat. In a cycled tank, organisms grow on tank surfaces, providing a food source for your shrimp.

A high-quality pellet mix is recommended as the main food source for your cherry shrimp. To supplement their diet, provide them with boiled and blanched vegetable bits. Consider using vegetables such as:

  • Cucumber
  • Spinach
  • Zucchini
  • Lettuce
  • Carrots

It’s essential to avoid pellets with high levels of copper, as cherry shrimp are sensitive to metals. Always remove excess food from the tank after two hours to prevent poor water conditions. By providing a varied diet, you’ll help ensure your cherry shrimp receive all the necessary nutrients to thrive.

Behavior and Temperament

Cherry shrimp are known for their peaceful and fascinating behaviors. To ensure they feel secure and minimize stress, it’s essential to provide plenty of hiding spaces in your tank, such as dense vegetation, rocks, or small caves. This will help your shrimp feel comfortable and display their brighter colors.

To maintain harmony among your shrimp, try to keep a larger group of at least ten. This helps discourage dominance competition and allows them to express their natural behaviors more openly. You will find that when they feel secure, Cherry shrimp are more enjoyable to observe in your aquarium.

It’s also worth mentioning that Cherry shrimp periodically shed their exoskeletons as they grow. It may be tempting to remove these shells from your tank, but try to resist that urge. Instead, let your shrimp ingest their old exoskeletons, as they will absorb the nutrients left inside, which helps them stay healthy.

Care and Tank Requirements

Tank Size

As a cherry shrimp enthusiast, you’ll want to ensure an appropriate living space for your aquatic pets. A minimum tank size of 10 gallons is recommended to create an ideal environment, allowing them to thrive and reproduce.

Water Parameters

Your shrimp will appreciate a comfortable aquatic environment with slightly soft, acidic, and well-oxygenated water. Keep the pH levels within the range of 6.5-8.0 and maintain a water temperature between 65-85°F. Remember to test the water regularly to avoid harmful levels of chlorines, ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. Cherry shrimp also have a low bioload, which can make regulating water quality a bit easier for you.

Tank Setup and Decorations

To mimic their natural habitat, your cherry shrimp tank should include:

  • Plants: Such as Java moss for hiding spaces, and larger plants like Java fern or Anubias for additional cover.
  • Driftwood & Pebbles: Provide hiding spaces and natural feeding opportunities.
  • Proper Lighting: Tailor your lighting setup for plant growth, but note that it’s not essential for the shrimp’s well-being.

Make sure to spend some time creating a warm and well-established aquarium that offers your shrimp ample plants, crevices, and moss.

Filtration and Aeration

Incorporate a strong filter to maintain clean water in your shrimp’s environment, with sponge filters being the safest choice. When introducing your shrimp to their new tank, remember that gradual acclimation is essential to reduce stress. With proper care and a well-maintained tank, your cherry shrimp will flourish and reward you with their fascinating behaviors and beautiful appearance.

Suitable Tank Mates

When choosing tank mates for your cherry shrimp, it’s essential to consider species that will coexist peacefully and won’t pose a threat. Luckily, cherry shrimp can live well with other similar-sized aquarium shrimp since they have little self-defense. Examples of such shrimp species are Amano shrimp, Ghost shrimp, and Vampire shrimp.

When it comes to fish tank mates, smaller and peaceful species will make the best companions. You can opt for small tetras, plecos, and gouramis that will share the space without causing any harm to your cherry shrimp. Another group of suitable tank mates is grazing bottom-feeders like catfish, which can efficiently share the space with your shrimp.

Remember, avoiding large or predatory fish that may harm or devour your cherry shrimp is crucial for a harmonious aquarium. Following these guidelines, you can create a beautiful and diverse aquatic environment that your cherry shrimp will thrive in.


To breed Cherry Shrimp successfully, follow these steps:

  1. Increase comfort and security by adding more plants to the tank for hiding spaces.
  2. Raise the temperature to approximately 83 degrees Fahrenheit, mimicking the summer breeding season.
  3. Provide frequent high-protein meals, especially for sexually immature shrimp.
  4. Your shrimp will become sexually mature at four to six months old and be ready to breed.
  5. Allow up to five months of settling time for shrimp to get comfortable in their new environment before breeding begins.
  6. Observe berried females, which are females with a visible group of eggs under their tails. They will fan their tails frequently to expose the eggs to oxygen.
  7. Hatching will occur after approximately 30 days, with baby shrimp becoming independent soon after.
  8. Make sure to breed and hatch Cherry shrimp in a cycled tank that has experienced multiple water cycles, ensuring the presence of small organisms for newborn shrimp to feed on.

Maintain a friendly environment and follow these steps to encourage your Cherry Shrimp’s successful breeding journey.

Common Diseases and Treatments

Cherry shrimp can encounter a variety of diseases, but don’t worry! We’ve compiled a list of common issues and their treatments to help you keep your shrimp healthy.

Vorticella: This parasite appears as a fungus-like growth on your shrimp’s shell, primarily on their nose. To treat Vorticella, increase tank cleanliness and use a salt bath for affected shrimp.

Bacterial Infections: Cherry shrimp may suffer from bacterial diseases caused by Flavobacterium spp, Aeromonas spp, Vibrio spp, Pseudomonas spp, and Spirillum spp. Improve water quality and provide a healthy diet for prevention. Antibiotics may be necessary for severe infections.

Scutariella Japonica: This parasite causes a white growth on your shrimp’s head and shell. Treat affected shrimp with a salt bath, and maintain a clean tank environment.

Muscular Necrosis: White or hazy muscle tissue indicates this infection. Separate sick shrimp, avoid overstocking your tank, and ensure optimum water quality.

Fungal Infections: To prevent fungal issues, maintain good water quality and remove any decaying matter.

Parasitic dinoflagellates & ellobiopsids: These parasites may cause green or yellow growths on your shrimp’s body. Remove affected shrimp from the tank to prevent spreading.

By keeping an eye on your cherry shrimp and following these treatment suggestions, you’ll provide them a healthy and happy environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do cherry shrimp eat?

Cherry shrimp are omnivorous and have a varied diet. They enjoy eating algae, detritus, leftover fish food, and even tiny organisms like microfauna. You can also supplement their diet with specialized shrimp foods and blanched vegetables like spinach or zucchini.

Are cherry shrimp easy to keep?

Yes, cherry shrimp are relatively easy to keep, especially for beginners. They are hardy creatures that can tolerate a wide range of water parameters, as long as they are kept stable. Just make sure to provide them with a proper environment, with a well-established tank, hiding places, and clean water.

How long do cherry shrimp usually live?

Cherry shrimp have a typical lifespan of around 1-2 years. However, their lifespan can be shorter or longer depending on the care and attention you provide to your shrimp, as well as their tank conditions.

How many cherry shrimp per gallon?

The general rule of thumb for cherry shrimp is to keep 10 shrimp per gallon. This provides enough space for the shrimp to maintain a healthy population and not overpopulate the tank. Of course, always be mindful of water parameters and check for any signs of stress or overcrowding.

Why are cherry shrimp pricey?

Cherry shrimp can be pricier than other shrimp because of their popularity, colorful appearance, and the costs associated with breeding and maintaining high-quality stock. The price may also vary depending on the color grade, with higher grade shrimp generally costing more.

Can cherry shrimp coexist with fish?

Yes, cherry shrimp can coexist with fish in a community tank, but it is essential to choose the right tank mates. Avoid aggressive fish or large fish that might see cherry shrimp as a snack. Good tank mates include small, peaceful fish like rasboras, tetras, or guppies.

What is the average size of a cherry shrimp?

Cherry shrimp usually grow to an average size of about 1-1.5 inches long. Size may vary between individual shrimp, but this is the average range you can expect.

Do cherry shrimps eat algae?

Yes, cherry shrimp are excellent algae eaters. They will happily graze on the algae growing in your tank, helping to keep it clean and maintain a healthy environment. Just remember that a diet consisting only of algae may not provide sufficient nutrition, so supplement with other food sources as needed.