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 tiny freshwater crustaceans can reach 1.5 inches in length. They are similar to their saltwater cousins in that they have a curvy body and small legs. They spend their time looking for shelter in tanks and eating. In this article, we’ll talk about the basics of both 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. This can be done by adding small amounts of crushed coral to the substrate or filter.
Shrimp are, well, shrimp! So, they’ll be preyed upon by other fish. According to our rule of thumb, a predator is one that can fit inside its mouth. To ensure that they don’t get eaten, make sure there is nothing in the tank that will chase them. However, when provided with enough hiding spaces shrimp can co-exist with larger fish, but there will always be a risk. Cholla wood and moss make great hiding spots. 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’s really what makes these a striking addition to your tank. 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 is a bright, shiny red with nail polish, while the other colors are deeper and more vibrant. The male cherry shrimp will usually be more brightly colored than the female cherry shrimp, which can be identified by her thick, rounded tail and “saddleback”.
Blue cherry shrimp (AKA blue velvet shrimp)
To simplify things and make it easier on you to select the shrimp you want, we split them into two categories: high grade or low grade. The high grade shrimp is more red than the low grade. These little guys will help you know what to look out for when shopping.
The higher the grade, the better the color. However, the name itself has little to do with the actual grade. 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. It can honestly get both confusing and misleading for the customer. Our mantra is to “buy what you see, not what you read.”
No matter what the name of the shrimp, choose the shrimp with the best color. You’ll find a wide range of colors even in one batch, even from the same breeder. They could be called Sakura, Fire Taiwan, or Painted Fire Red. Each one is classified under the Latin Neocaridina homopoda name, and includes both the blue-colored and yellow varieties.
However, there are exceptions to this guideline. We’ll discuss them below in relation to breeding.
Cherry Shrimp Breeding
All colors of cherry shrimp are capable of giving birth to live shrimplets. You’ll notice that the females get ‘berried’ up with shrimplet eggs under their bellies. Keep in mind, though, that the males have slightly less vibrant color than the females. Unless you buy a female already carrying eggs, you’ll have to buy at least one male to start your breeding population.
Macro shot of a shrimplet; babies normally lack color until they mature
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?
Selective breeding is a way to do this. After your female has given birth, you can successfully cull out the shrimplets that have a lesser color. You take out the ones that are less red, thus preserving those good bright red genes for the next generation to pass on. You will have to do this for each new batch of shrimplets. You could start with a lower quality shrimp and breed to a higher-grade one.
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. That will make you a successful cherry shrimp breeder with a beautiful red population.
Looking for a more technical article on breeding these shrimps, then this is the place. You can check out my blog for more information about breeding these shrimp.