The Top 12 Tank Mates for 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. You should keep only one species of shrimp in your tank. This will allow you to breed the most shrimp possible. This list contains potential tank mates for adult cherry shrimp. These suggestions cannot be guaranteed as every living creature is capable of making its own decisions. We recommend providing plenty of cover, such as piles of rocks and aquarium plants.
Category #1: Small Invertebrates
Our first idea for shrimp-safe tank mates is to look at other nano invertebrates. The smallest snails, such as the mystery, bladder, nerite and Malaysian trumpet, are scavengers, detritivores, and won’t eat live shrimp. They do like to eat the same types of foods as cherry shrimp though, so you may see fewer shrimp babies if the snail population outbreeds them. Because they eat small particles in the water, larger filter-feeding shrimp like vampire shrimp and bamboo are a great choice. Similarly, Thai micro crabs use their hairy claws and legs to grab little crumbs, but they are quite shy and may be hard to spot in your aquarium.
Vampires or African fan shrimps (Atya Gabonensis).
Cherry shrimp can also be grown with other dwarf shrimp like ghost shrimp and amano, which are approximately the same size as cherry shrimp and require similar care. Crystal shrimp and Caridina shrimp can be difficult to grow together, as they have different water requirements than cherry shrimp. While some hobbyists have kept them together, we often find that one shrimp colony tends to be happier and reproduce more than the other colony. 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. In our experience, they are slower eaters and most likely will not outcompete 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. Consider dwarf plecos like the Panaqolus maccus clown pleco, which are well-known for their ability to eat algae and wood. While any of these fish may opportunistically snack on a baby shrimp, they generally leave the adult shrimp alone.
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. Nano rasboras – like the chili rasbora (Boraras brigittae) and neon green rasbora (Microdevario kubotai) – would also be stunning additions to a planted shrimp tank. 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. While they might not eat the adult shrimp directly, they will often chase them and try to outcompete them for food.
Cherry shrimp are loved for their bright colors, easy breeding, and we hope you have as much fun with them as we did. For more information on how to best care for them, see other our cherry shrimp articles.