Cherry Shrimp: Care, Tank Mates, Molting, Breeding & Eggs


Common Name(s)Cherry Shrimp
Scientific NameNeocaridina davidi
OriginTaiwan
Temperature59-84°F (15-29°C)
SizeFemale grow to 1.5 inches (3.8 cm).
Males grow to 1.25 inches (3.2 cm).
Minimum Tank Size2 gallons
Food & DietOmnivorous
Lifespan1-2 years
Water pH6.5 to 8.0
Tank MatesSmall peaceful fish that will not prey on Cherry Shrimps.
BreedingFemale carry eggs in pleopods until they hatch.
DiseaseMay be susceptible to Vorticella, Scutariella Japonica, Ellipsoid, Dinoflagellate, Epibionts parasites and various bacterial infections.
Cherry Shrimp
Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina davidi)

Cherry Shrimp Care

Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina davidi) are amazing beginner aquatic pets that are easy to look after, display interesting behavior, and can survive in small tanks. Cherry Shrimp are a favorite amongst aquarists for their hardy nature and inexpensive care needs. Originating from South- East Asia, these dwarf shrimp can survive in a wide range of water parameters and have no trouble breeding in captivity. Due to selective breeding, Cherry Shrimp come in a variety of bright colors and variations, with intense pigmentation more commonly found in females. Cherry Shrimp are peaceful and will not attack any other species, in fact they often end up as prey due to their lack of defense mechanisms. Cherry Shrimp are very much loved because of their ‘cleaning’ nature, making them useful in planted aquariums.

Cherry Shrimp Temperature

Cherry Shrimp are easily the hardiest breed of dwarf shrimp that are able to tolerate different temperature settings, although it is important to keep them in an environment of 15 °C to 29 °C (59 °F to 84 °F). Cherry Shrimp tend to thrive at precisely 22 °C (72 °F).

Depending on the temperature of your room, sometimes a heater is not even required but a cooler, however, it is easier to keep the temperatures stable should a fish keeper opt to purchase these, especially in rooms with unstable temperatures. Hobbyists should remember that long-term exposure to higher water temperatures provide a stressful effect on Cherry Shrimp. In fact, researchers have highlighted that matured females kept in a temperature above 30 °C (86 °F) lost all their eggs.

Water Parameters for Cherry Shrimp

Cherry Shrimp are able to withstand a broad range of water parameters, though the general rule for keepers is that: the the bigger the water volume, the easier it is to control the parameters. There must never be any chlorine, chloramines, ammonia, and nitrite present in the water, as this is extremely dangerous for all aquatic life, including Cherry Shrimp. Nitrate (NO3-) levels should be at <20 ppm, which are easier to control with the presence of aquatic plants that work to consume any excess nutrients, such as nitrate.

Cherry Shrimp pH

Cherry Shrimp need neutral to slightly alkaline pH water conditions and a pH range of 6.5 to 8.0 allows for the best results. Tanks with aquatic plants require these exact pH specifications, in addition to clean water with no ammonia and nitrite, and low nitrate levels. It is interesting to note that pH levels are one of the factors that affect color intensity in Cherry Shrimp. Fish keepers should be aware that there are many things that can affect pH levels, including: active substrate, driftwood, leaves (photosynthesis), and plant fertilizer. Cherry Shrimp will often display visible signs of stress if the pH levels are not ideal, for instance: black gill disease, molting issues, atypical swimming behavior, high amounts of mucus on the gills, and eye lens scarring. Fish keepers wanting to keep their Cherry Shrimp safe must be vigilant in their pH regulation, as ignoring this part of the hobby could result in sick dwarf shrimp and even death.

Ideal Water Hardness for Cherry Shrimp

Cherry Shrimp do well in medium to hard water, with water hardness best kept in the range of 6 to 10°dGH (total calcium and magnesium content) and 8 to 20 dkh (carbonate hardness). This species needs water containing minerals, which is vital for their overall health, growth, breeding, and coloration.

Cherry Shrimp Size

Cherry Shrimp fry start out as only one millimeter in length, but they then grow to a maximum size of 2 inches (5.1 cm) as adults at around 75 days old. However, Cherry Shrimp that actually grow to this size is rare. On average, Cherry Shrimp grow to 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) for females, and 1.25 inches (3.2 cm) for males.

Female Cherry Shrimp tend to be bigger in size compared to their male counterparts, mostly because of the added responsibility of carrying their eggs under their bodies that have physically adapted to this task.

Cherry Shrimp Tank Size

Cherry Shrimp are very active and social, with virtually no breeding difficulties, should they be given the ideal habitat to reproduce, which would include a tank, with a minimum size of 2 gallons. If tank mates are added to Cherry Shrimp, the tank size would need to increase accordingly, especially if the shrimp are given the time to maximize their colony. A 5 to 10 gallon tank would be able to safely host a variety of species compatible with Cherry Shrimp, who would need enough space, food sources, and hiding spots to feel safe.

Cherry Shrimp Tank Setup

Hobbyists looking to own Cherry Shrimp will need to have a proper tank set up, as anything outside of what is ideal will compromise the health and safety of these shrimp. A good sized tank with the right amount of water should suit the number of Cherry Shrimp a keeper owns. Cherry Shrimp are not a fickle species, they are easy to keep and added decorations will usually provide an excellent place to rest, hide and socialize in. Pebbles and sand are inert substrate, which should be included in the tank to allow for the Cherry Shrimp to feel more at ease in their surroundings and eat any discarded matter collected on the substrate. There are a variety of aquarium pumps and filters, which will need to be purchased, as these are basic tank accessories and a must-have for the benefit of the Cherry Shrimp. A heater may keep the water temperature from fluctuating, though if the room is already heated, it is not needed. Cherry Shrimp should have plenty of plants available in their surroundings, as this will not only give them more places to hide, but also act as a food source, since edible organic matter tends to drop from aquatic vegetation. Live plants such as Java moss/ferns, Exo Terra water plant, Anubias nana, Water Wisteria, Cryptocoryne, Vallisneria, Bucephalandra, Water Lettuce, and Rotala Rotundifolia provide suitable hiding places, are relatively easy to maintain and offer a nice snack for the Cherry Shrimp to graze on. Driftwood make an excellent addition to any shrimp tank, as moss and algae tend to collect on this, supplying Cherry Shrimp with more things they can eat and groom on. These plants act as filters themselves, lessening the harmful chemicals present in their water, leaving nearby Cherry Shrimp content and in good health. The tank should include moderate to low water flow, easily achieved with air pumps.

Average lighting of the tank encourages growth of biofilm and allows the Cherry Shrimp to develop with little to no problems.

Cherry Shrimp Care and Breeding: Neocaridina Species Profile

What is the ideal Cherry Shrimp habitat?

The perfect Cherry Shrimp habitat will aim to mimic their natural Taiwanese freshwater surroundings, where the water flow is minimal and oxygen levels perfect. Cherry Shrimp favor habitats that are densely vegetated, which provide the best hiding places to conceal themselves from dangerous predators looking to eat them. Their natural substrate is inert and rocky, allowing them to scavenge for food at the bottom of shallow streams and rivers.

How to keep a Cherry Shrimp in an aquarium?

Before adding Cherry Shrimp to any aquarium, the water must be fully cycled and changed to make it safe enough for aquatic life, which is typically done in three to six weeks. Hobbyists must exercise patience and wait for the ammonia and nitrite levels to rise, before falling to zero. Only then can any Cherry Shrimp be added to their aquarium. Acclimating Cherry Shrimp slowly in a bowl for several hours will ensure the best possible chance of their survival in their new environment. Tank water is unlike the natural freshwater Cherry Shrimp are used to. Tank water should be mixed with the water Cherry Shrimp came in, steadily increasing the amount of tank water until a mixture of 1/3 transport and 2/3 tank water is achieved. Juvenile Cherry Shrimp will acclimatize easier, compared to mature ones. Aquarists must keep an eye on the water quality by reading the aquariums’ added monitors, on top of using a master liquid test kit. Cherry Shrimp would rather have planted greenery of the Asian or South America variety in

their aquariums, to mimic this specific biotope. Any grades of Cherry Shrimp may be kept together in an aquarium, however, crossbreeding is likely to take place. This means future Cherry Shrimp offspring will lose their parents’ original color intensity, making it a financial loss, as higher graded shrimp cost more to purchase.

Do Cherry Shrimp need substrate?

Cherry Shrimps reside in South-East Asian fresh waters, with wood and pebbles acting as their natural substrate, thus captive shrimps will need similar replicates to feel right at home in their tank. Inert substrates would be the number one choice for Cherry Shrimps. This type of substrate lasts for a long time and generally does not change the water parameters or lower the pH of the water. Fish keepers can use coarse gravel, pebbles, sand, and Fluorite Black. The pH level in the Cherry Shrimp tank is constantly changing, therefore, it is important to avoid active substrate, as this will lower the pH, making it difficult to maintain high-quality water. Cherry Shrimp are natural scavengers that will root around for vegetation, food and bacteria within the substrate itself. Some hobbyists prefer to keep the substrate clean and keep a glass bowl or plate at the bottom of the tank to put their food. The darker the substrate, the more vibrant the color of the Cherry Shrimp will be, while light substrate cause the shrimp to turn paler, or even completely translucent.

Where do Cherry Shrimp live in the wild?

Cherry Shrimp mainly originated from South-East Asia, specifically Taiwan. However, because of their invasive nature, they now reside in non-native habitats, for example: Southern China, Vietnam, Korea, Japan and Hawaii. While the precise origin of evolution is not known, researchers have observed that these tiny creatures live peacefully in shallow, inactive waters, surrounded by rogue leaves, aquatic verdure and tree roots.

Red cherry shrimp
Red Cherry Shrimp in a Planted Aquarium

Cherry Shrimp Food & Diet

Cherry Shrimp are not picky eaters. They are omnivorous and mainly consume the biofilm growing in their tanks, which can be found in planted ecosystems. They eat practically anything from meiofauna (microorganisms) to dead Cherry Shrimp, to even their own molted exoskeleton. In addition to the natural food sources present in their well-established tank, Cherry Shrimp should ideally be fed small amounts daily (sometimes multiple times, depending) and any leftovers must be manually removed from the tank to prevent it soiling the water and impede the deadly spike in ammonia. Regular cleaning of the filter sponge will stop it from getting clogged with uneaten food. Should a keeper wish to feed their Cherry Shrimp commercial fish/shrimp food, it is incredibly important that they make sure no copper is included on the label, as this is toxic for the shrimp.

Hobbyists will enjoy experimenting with giving their Cherry Shrimp various types of food, including: shrimp pellets/flakes, algae disks/wafers, blanched/decaying vegetables (e.g. zucchini, cauliflower, carrots, peas, kale, spinach, cucumber, red peppers, Brussel sprouts), salad, dried nettle leaves, melon etc. Cherry Shrimp are low-maintenance and should they lack minerals or vitamins, this can easily be substituted with supplements.

Do Cherry Shrimp eat algae?

Cherry Shrimp will eat all types of algae, whether it is the algae that grows in their tank (diatoms), or fish food in the form of compressed algae discs or algae pellets.

Do Cherry Shrimp clean the tank?

Cherry Shrimp are excellent scavengers that keep themselves busy by cleaning their tank of bacteria, plant particles, leftover food, their own molts, and even the carcass of other dead Cherry Shrimp. This natural method of “recycling” is suitable for their small size, as they tend not to consume large amounts of nutriment. Cherry Shrimp make a very small difference in keeping the bottom of their tanks clean.

Cherry Shrimp Lifespan

Cherry Shrimp live one to two years on average, provided that their stress levels are low and proper living conditions are met. It is difficult to pinpoint the exact age of Cherry Shrimp, due to the fact that they tend to live in communities, making it hard to keep track of each individual shrimp. Several factors exist which can cause Cherry Shrimp to die soon, including stress from improper water conditions, shipping, and settling into a new tank

Cherry Shrimp Tank Mates

Wild Cherry Shrimp are very vulnerable, often being preyed upon by other crustaceans and fish, who see them as prospective nourishment. Most fish would not be compatible with Cherry Shrimp, as they are easily attacked and may end up having their limbs torn off or devour shrimp fry whole. High stress can cause Cherry Shrimp to die, therefore, they are best kept in a separate tank all on their own, especially if fish keepers intend to breed them. Cherry Shrimp display no predatory behavior and have practically no way of protecting themselves against assault.

Should aquarists choose to house Cherry Shrimp with tank mates, they need to consider a few things to make this possible. The tank mates need to be fed properly to avoid any Cherry Shrimp casualties. The tank must be set up with enough ornaments and decor to accommodate the Cherry Shrimp, so that they have plenty of spaces to hide from potential predators. It is advised that fish keepers allow the Cherry Shrimp a few months to reproduce in numbers before any tank mates are added, particularly if they are pricier higher-grades. If the hobbyist is not fussed about decreasing their stock of low-grade Cherry Shrimp, then there are non-aggressive fish options that are are able to co-exist with the shrimp.

Provided that these requirements are met, fully grown Cherry Shrimp may be kept with some peaceful tank mates, which include: Microdevario Kubotai, Harlequin Rasbora, Emerald Dwarf Rasbora, Dwarf Pencilfish, Neon Tetra, Cardinal Tetra, Ember Tetra, Pygmy Corydoras, Dwarf Corydoras, Otocinclus Catfish, Pygmy Gourami, Boraras Brigittae, Platy, Cory Catfish, Celestial Pearl Danios, Coral Red Pencilfish, Purple Pencilfish, Olive Nerite Snail, Chocolate Gourami, smaller species of killifish and other shrimp with similar characteristics. It should be noted that juvenile Cherry Shrimp are likely to be swallowed by all these fish, with the exception of the otocinclus (Dwarf suckers), who would be the absolute best choice as a tank mate.

Cherry Shrimp and Bettas

Cherry Shrimp and bettas can co-exist together, given that the conditions of the water and the tank setup meet the ideal requirements for each species. Fish keepers need to be aware of their bettas temperament, because the more aggressive the betta, the more likely the Cherry Shrimp will be eaten by them. To remedy this, aquatic plants need to be included in the setup, as this will provide both the bettas and Cherry Shrimp decent places to hide. The tank itself must be big enough (minimum 10 gallons/38 L) for both species to reside comfortably in, with good-quality water conditions. Proper feedings with nutritional meals are a must for both the bettas and Cherry Shrimp, especially as this will prevent the betta going after the shrimp.

Cherry Shrimp and Guppies

Cherry Shrimp can live in an aquarium amongst guppy hybrids, such as Endler’s Livebearer. Fish keepers must be aware of guppies and their natural instincts, which will tell them to feed on shrimps, as Cherry Shrimp belong in their food chain. Guppies will realistically eat any Cherry Shrimp within their vicinity, including their fry.

Cherry Shrimp and Goldfish

Goldfish may not be compatible with Cherry Shrimp, as they have an affinity for eating shrimp. Nevertheless, fish keepers may take measures to ensure the goldfish have plenty of

space in the tank, fed a nutritional diet consisting of meals two to three times a day and reside in waters with proper parameters. It is important not to overfeed Cherry Shrimp or Goldfish, as this will decrease the waters quality. Cherry Shrimp need various hiding places, in the form of aquatic plants, special shrimp tubes, and small caves, which lessen the likelihood of being eaten by goldfish.

Are Cherry Shrimp aggressive?

Cherry Shrimp are non-aggressive, bottom-dwelling prey that like to live in big colonies of their own kind, although they can be prone to shyness. This species flourishes best in large groups that typically hide themselves in leaves, bushes or any small gaps that larger aquatic predators will not be able to reach. They are not necessarily seen as hunters, more scavengers and cleaners that search for meals and clear debris from the tank – even their own molts!

How many Cherry Shrimp should be kept together?

Cherry Shrimp feel uncomfortable if they are kept isolated from each other and the larger the colony size, the more secure they feel in their tank. Keeping at least ten to fifteen Cherry Shrimp per tank will prevent any future clashes over dominance and decrease their shyness.

Larger groups also increases the gene pool, allowing for more genetic diversity and breeding potential, which means more shrimp fry in the future.

How many Cherry Shrimps can I keep per gallon?

Cherry Shrimp colonies can expand quickly due to them being prolific breeders, thus it is recommended that aquarists keep two to five shrimp per gallon (3.7 L) of water. It is best to observe the size of each individual Cherry Shrimp and adjust the tank size accordingly, although two gallons should be the absolute minimum because the less space there is, the more it negatively effects the water quality. Cherry Shrimp need superb water conditions, especially if hobbyists wish to increase their population density. However, overstocking should be avoided as rising nitrite levels can be dangerous.

Cherry Shrimp Breeding

Cherry Shrimp are one of the easiest species of freshwater shrimp to breed, even for first time keepers. Sexual maturation begins when they are around four to six months old. Eggs will grow in the female Cherry Shrimp’s ovaries, which are located on both sides of the shrimp.

Once the “saddle” appears, the female will molt and secrete pheromones to attract male shrimp, who then place their sperm into her body. Female Cherry Shrimp lays the eggs, which become fertilized as they pass from the ovaries to the outside. She then attaches them to her pleopods and carries them around, enough time (three weeks to a month) has passed, when they will be ready to hatch without prompt. It is impossible to tell the transparent, newly hatched Cherry Shrimp males and females apart, but as they grow, keepers may spot the physical differences between the sexes. Female Cherry Shrimp tend to be longer and more pigmented with wider tales, compared to their male counterparts. Cherry Shrimp fry are very independent and can feed themselves when they are not preoccupied with hiding. Their color will also become more opaque in time.

What is the breeding cycle of Cherry Shrimps?

Given the proper water conditions and optimal temperature, Cherry Shrimp are able to breed at any point during the year. A breeding cycle may be triggered if temperatures reach 80°F (27°C), as wild Cherry Shrimp typically breed in the summer seasons. After fertilization, the eggs hatch within 20 to 35 days, with shrimp fry needing 60 days to grow into adults. The temperatures should not be tampered with, during the maturation stage of the babies who remain very delicate. Keepers wishing to continue breeding their Cherry Shrimp must provide ideal conditions, which will allow the shrimp to breed again within a few days of hatching the previous batch of eggs. In about two to three months, a new generation of Cherry Shrimp will be

spawned. On the other hand, precautions must be practiced when spiking the Cherry Shrimp’s temperatures, as this will consequently increase their metabolic rate, thus decreasing their life span. To combat this problem, keepers may opt to include additional agitation/aeration, which will make up for the lower quantity of dissolved oxygen.

Why is my Cherry Shrimp dropping eggs?

There are several reasons why Cherry Shrimp females drop their eggs and it is not an uncommon issue, but fortunately there are some solutions available for keepers. One of the more obvious causes comes down to the females Cherry Shrimps lack of experience in carrying their eggs. Female Cherry Shrimp move their eggs around using their pleopods, which guarantees the eggs get enough oxygen and remain clean of bacteria, mold, and other harmful organisms. It may take a few tries until the female shrimp get enough practice fanning their eggs, though this is not unusual. Sometimes a new environment can stress Cherry Shrimp out, which might cause females to drop their eggs and avoid breeding. Water conditions must be of good quality and remain stable – sudden changes are not healthy for Cherry Shrimp. Incomplete fertilization and inadequate attachment of the egg to the mother’s pleopod often end in the eggs being lost. Berried female Cherry Shrimp will be triggered to molt during a big water change, causing them to drop their clutch which were stuck to their outer shells – keepers must avoid doing this! Nearby predators may also cause additional stress for a berried Cherry Shrimp, so tank mates must be picked very carefully.

How long does it take for Cherry Shrimp eggs to hatch?

As a general rule, Cherry Shrimp eggs take two to three weeks to hatch.

Do Cherry Shrimp eggs hatch all at once?

Cherry Shrimp start hatching once the first one comes out, which the rest should generally follow within 24 hours. If there are unhatched eggs that indicates the Cherry Shrimp did not develop properly and nothing can be done to reverse this. Sometimes batching takes place when eggs hatch over a longer period of time, as opposed to all at once.

How many babies do Cherry Shrimp have?

As a general rule, Cherry Shrimp have 20 to 30 eggs, though some might not hatch or survive to mature into adults.

Cherry Shrimp Molting

Molting tends to take place in ten to fifteen minutes, usually after changing the water of the aquaria. It is important not to disturb the water parameters too much as this will cause molting, which puts the Cherry Shrimp at great risk of perishing faster. Female Cherry Shrimp molt before it is time to mate, making their exoskeleton pliable for fertilization to take place.

When the female shrimp wants to mate, they will release pheromones into the water, making it easier for the male shrimp to locate her. Hobbyists can observe the male Cherry Shrimp frantically moving their legs and rushing around the tank in response to this chemical substance, which means the females have just finished molting.

Is molting good for Cherry Shrimp?

Molting is a natural part of maturing for Cherry Shrimp, who need to strip themselves of their exoskeletons in order to grow. This firm exoskeleton shields their fragile internal organs, however, it does not expand as the shrimp develops, which is the reason this arthropod needs to shed once a month. After this process, Cherry Shrimp will be vulnerable as their soft outer layer need enough time to stiffen. Hobbyists might notice that newly molted Cherry Shrimp have hidden away in their aquatic plants for safety, which is normal behavior. It may be tempting to remove the old carapaces, but it is best to leave it in their tank, as Cherry Shrimp will feed on their old shell to digest the important calcium needed for their health. If the water is not on the proper level of hardness, fish keepers need to provide Cherry Shrimp with calcium supplements that will aid them with the process of firming their new exoskeleton.

How to tell if Cherry Shrimps are molting or dead?

Cherry Shrimp molts are easy to spot as they will be translucent and the same shape of the shrimp. There may even be a couple of Cherry Shrimp feasting on a leftover cuticle.

Cherry Shrimp Disease

Cherry Shrimp disease can be hard to recognize straight away because research on this topic is scarce and without microscopic examination, the human eye won’t generally be able to detect any ailments of that size. It is necessary for hobbyists to grasp the importance of providing superb-quality water, food, and living space for their Cherry Shrimp to remain healthy. Cherry Shrimp are exceptionally allergic to copper, an ingredient that can be traced in plant fertilizer, hot water from the tap, aquarium medications and fish foods. It is vital that keepers check the labels and ingredients on the item. Cherry Shrimp showing signs of being ill include: lack of appetite, inertia, or growing fuzzy white substance on their head. Parasites, bacteria, fungi and viruses are the most common issues that damage a Cherry Shrimp health. Some examples of infectious diseases effecting Cherry Shrimp are: Vorticella, Scutariella Japonica, Ellipsoid, Dinoflagellate, Epibionts parasites and various bacterial infections.

Treatment may include over-the-counter (OTC) medication that are added to the tank’s water.

Why are my Cherry Shrimp dying?

Cherry Shrimp are generally a hardy species that are easy to care for, however, there are several reasons why they might be dying unexpectedly. Cherry Shrimp live up to a year, sometimes longer, but the age of a mature Cherry Shrimp is difficult to determine if a keeper purchased them recently, thus they may have died naturally from old age.

If there are tank mates present alongside Cherry Shrimp, these could be feeding on the shrimp and causing their population to decrease. Even if Cherry Shrimp will not fit into the mouth of a fish, that does not mean they are safe from being eaten or stressed to the point of death.

Otocinclus (Dwarf suckers) are the safest to keep with Cherry Shrimp, and will even leave the shrimp fry alone.

Inactivity in a Cherry Shrimp before death might indicate copper poisoning, which is a common ingredient in various substances, items, plants and hot water. A lack of calcium and iodine in a Cherry Shrimps diet can cause molting issues, which are fatal for this species. To remedy this, hobbyists should consider adding crustacean/shrimp foods (seaweed) and calcium supplements.

High levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) are toxic and Cherry Shrimp can easily suffocate, even if the oxygen levels are high. Dissolved oxygen (DO) must be present in the aquarium water, as Cherry Shrimp absorb this directly into their bloodstream through their gills. Cherry Shrimp will spend a lot of their time nearer to the surface, in the flow of the filter outlet if they have oxygen issues. Surface agitation and aeration need to be adjusted to aid the Cherry Shrimp in breathing. Gas levels must to be checked if a keeper is using pressurized CO2, and though it is generally easier to keep the CO2 level stable, if the levels happen to be too high, the amount being injected must be decreased.

High-quality, clean water is preferred by Cherry Shrimp, who can die if ammonia spikes occur. pH swings are not ideal for Cherry Shrimp, and they will not react positively if the range is outside of what is recommended for this species. If a hobbyist adds more Cherry Shrimp to their stock, it is essential that the amount of water and tank size suits the amount of Cherry Shrimp per tank. Adding new stock to an already populated tank must be accompanied by a filter clean.

Cherry Shrimp, like many other aquatic creatures, may encounter illness, though this is very rare. If conditions are less than ideal for this species, they may face fatality, despite being naturally hardy.

Cherry Shrimp vs Ghost Shrimp: How are they different?

Many species of shrimp are sold under the name of Ghost Shrimp, however, the North American Ghost Shrimp (Palaemonetes paludosus) is not actually related to the Cherry Shrimp. While both possess similarities in diet, affordability and temperament, they differ when it comes to breeding and life expectancy. Cherry Shrimp require freshwater to raise their larvae properly, in comparison to Ghost Shrimp that need brackish water (slightly salty). It is extremely rare that Cherry Shrimp and Ghost Shrimp breed together, given their different preferences in water characteristics. If both species do breed with each other, their eggs will not survive. Ghost Shrimp are very fertile and can produce over 50 eggs, while Cherry Shrimp tend to spawn between 20 to 30. Cherry Shrimp may live longer than Ghost Shrimp, however, Ghost Shrimp typically perish within a year. There exists a variation of Cherry Shrimp that do not possess any pigment, making them appear translucent and are also sold as “Ghost” shrimp, but these are not to be confused with the North American Ghost Shrimp.

Cherry Shrimp vs Amano Shrimp: How are they different?

Cherry Shrimp and Amano Shrimp differ when it comes to their lifespan, physical appearance, and water preferences. Cherry Shrimp live one to two years, but Amano Shrimp possess a lifespan of two to three years – if faultless conditions are met for both species. Both species come in a variety of colorations, though Cherry Shrimp are recognizable for their red colors, compared to Amano Shrimp who tend to be a transparent grey shade. Amano Shrimp are larger than Cherry Shrimp, averaging a maximum size of 2 inches (5cm). Both species would make good tank mates due to their peaceful disposition, However, their water preferences make this somewhat impossible, as Cherry Shrimp are more inclined towards fresh water, while Amano Shrimp are partial to brackish water.

Cherry Shrimp Price

Cherry Shrimp are relatively affordable and easy to care for, making them an inexpensive species to keep as a hobby. Prices of Cherry Shrimp are entirely down to their grading (color variations), that are achieved easily with selective breeding. Despite the diverse body coloration, all the shrimp of this species possess collective traits and behaviors. Cherry Shrimp are a popular arthropod, make them easy to purchase, especially the red morphs. Online stores tend to keep Cherry Shrimp in stock, but it is best to try and buy them from a local shop instead, as transporting live animals gives them high levels of stress. The higher the grade of the Cherry Shrimp, the higher the price. A Cherry Shrimp with a high grade may be priced two to three times more compared to a base Cherry Shrimp. Base Cherry Shrimp cost $1.50 to $3.00 per individual, while higher grades have a fee of $3.00 to $8.00 per individual.

Cherry Shrimp Varieties

There are many mixtures and varieties of Cherry Shrimp that all come down to the range of available colors, which have been bought about by keepers who utilized the process of selective breeding. Red Cherry Shrimp remain the most popular choice to purchase. The coloration come down to chromatophores, which are a cells responsible for generating the bright hues of Cherry Shrimp, as well as other ectothermic organisms.

Cherry Shrimp Colors

Cherry Shrimp colors may range from transparent and marbling/speckled, to full body coloration of assorted shades that do not even exist in the wild. Cherry Shrimp color examples may include: red (the most popular), yellow, orange, purple, blue, brown, black and even transparent. Wild Cherry Shrimp tend to have a semi-transparent brown/tan appearance with a noticeable tan line on their back. Generally, all female Cherry Shrimp tend to be brighter

in color and appearance compared to the males. It is also natural for Cherry Shrimp become less pigmented during shipping, but as soon as they have adapted to their new tank, their previous coloring will return. Cherry Shrimp will interact with the color of their tank’s background and substrate. A paler, translucent color will be acquired if the Cherry Shrimp’s substrate is more light-colored. On darker substrate, Cherry Shrimp will be fully pigmented, with their outer shells displaying full colors.

Cherry Shrimp Grades

Cherry Shrimp come in divisions of high grade and low grade, names given to specify the shrimps color pigmentation. The higher the grade, the more intense the color of the Cherry Shrimp remains – this ‘grading’ system is purely aesthetic. Selective breeding has offered keepers the opportunity to purchase brightly colored Cherry Shrimp in shades that do not exist in the wild.

Fish Laboratory

With decades of collective fishkeeping experience, we are happy to share the fish care tips that we've picked up along the way. Our goal at Fish Laboratory is to keep publishing accurate content to help fishkeepers keep their fish and aquarium healthy.

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