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. Like their saltwater cousins, they have a curved body, small legs, and spend most of their time seeking shelter in tank plant life and eating. This article will cover the basics of keeping and breeding cherry shrimp.
The 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. You should ensure that they get calcium as part of their daily diet, since they are constantly molting and shedding their exoskeleton. To do this, add small amounts of crushed coral or a filter to the substrate.
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. 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. Cholla wood, moss and other hiding places are excellent. 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. This is what makes them a striking addition for 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. Normally, the female cherry shrimp (identified by her thick rounded tail and “saddle” back) will be brighter in color than male cherry shrimp.
Blue cherry shrimp AKA blue velvet shrimp
We have divided shrimp into two types to make it easier for you to choose the shrimp that you like. The high grade is very red, and the low grade is not as red. You’ll know what to look for when you’re shopping for these little guys – pick the ones that have the best color, not necessarily have the same name to go with them.
The color will be more vibrant if it is of a higher grade. The grade name is only a guide. It’s best to compare these different shrimp colors in an aquarium pet store because it’s difficult to compare them online. The differences in color can be seen in person.
Our high-grade cherry shrimp at Aquarium Co-op
You might see a Sakura cherry shrimp that has a better color than a Fire Taiwan, which should be of a higher grade. It can become confusing and misleading for customers. Our mantra is to “buy what you see, not what you read.”
No matter the name, you should always buy the shrimp with the best colors. There are many color options even if you only have one batch of shrimp from one breeder. They could be called Sakura, Fire Taiwan, or Painted Fire Red. They are all classified under the same Latin Neocaridina heteropoda Latin name, which includes the blue and yellow color variations.
However, there are exceptions to this guideline. We’ll discuss them below in relation to breeding.
Cherry Shrimp Breeding
All the colors of cherry shrimp give birth to live shrimplets. It’s easy to see that the shrimplet eggs are placed under the bellies of the females. Be aware that males tend to have a slightly darker color than females. Unless you purchase a female that is already pregnant with eggs, you will need to buy at least one male in order to establish your breeding population.
Macro shot a shrimplet. Babies usually lack color until they are mature.
Now that you have chosen the best cherry shrimp grade with the best color, what can you do to keep that grade going from one generation to the next.
You do that through selective breeding. You can successfully remove shrimplets with a lower color after your female gives birth. You remove the shrimplets that are not as brightly colored, so you can preserve the good genes. This will be repeated for every new batch. 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. You will be a successful cherry shrimp breeder and have a large red population.
Want a more advanced and technical article on breeding these shrimp? Check out my more detailed blog on breeding these shrimp.