Cherry Shrimp – The Beginners Freshwater Shrimp

Cherry Shrimp – The Beginners Freshwater Shrimp

Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina David / Heteropoda) are the most popular shrimp in the freshwater shrimp keeping hobby. They are a perfect choice for beginners as they are relatively easy to keep and breed. They also come in a number of colours including red, yellow, blue, orange and many more!

If you are new to keeping shrimp, cherries are the way to go. They are much more forgiving than other types of shrimp. They will also breed in most conditions making them a top choice for aquarium hobbyists. Shrimp are best kept in a species only tanks, however they can be kept with small fish. Rule of thumb is if a fish can fit the shrimp in its mouth, it will. Tetras and Neons are common tank mates for shrimp, however they may still pick off the babies if there are not enough hiding places.

Cherry shrimp originate from wild Neocaridina Davidi/Heteropoda. Breeders were able to selectively breed wild shrimp and isolate the red pigmentation which eventually led to red cherry shrimp. Wild cherry shrimp are a patchy brown colour.

Male and female cherry shrimp have defining traits. Females tend to have a deeper and more solid colour. They are also larger than males. The males underbelly is straight whereas the females are curved, this is where she will carry her eggs.

Female cherry shrimp will develop a yellow ‘saddle’ when they are ready to mate. Once the eggs have been fertilised they will drop to the underbelly (swimmerets) of the shrimp. Female cherries will carry eggs for roughly 30 days before they hatch. You can expect baby shrimp a few days after the eyes are visible in the eggs.

Cherry shrimp can be kept in a wide range of parameters. A pH of 6.2 – 8.0, soft or hard water and temperatures of 16 – 30C. The most important part of keeping cherry shrimp is that the water parameters are stable, fluctuations or extremes in pH, temperature or water hardness can be detrimental to shrimp.

If using a hob or internal filter when setting up a shrimp tank, make sure to cover the filter intake with either fine netting or sponge. This will stop shrimp getting sucked into the filter. Sponge filters are great for shrimp tanks and will provide a large surface area for shrimp to feed on microalgae and bacteria.

Shrimp are not picky eaters, the main part of their diet should be made up of algae from inside the tank. However diet should be subsidised with specialised shrimp food, this will ensure shrimp are getting the right amount of proteins and vitamins. Algae wafers, organic blanched vegetables and fish foods (that do not contain copper) can also be used.

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