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. Similar to their saltwater counterparts, they are characterized by a small body with curved legs and a long life span. We’ll be covering the basics of breeding and keeping cherry shrimp.
The Cherry Shrimp Diet
Keep your shrimp healthy by giving them a great diet, consisting of 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. Since they’re continuously molting and shedding their exoskeleton, you also want to make sure to include calcium in their diet. You can do this by adding small amounts crushed coral to the filter or substrate.
Shrimp are, well, shrimp! So, they’ll be preyed upon by other fish. The rule of thumb is that if it can fit into its mouth, it’s a predator. 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, moss and other hiding places are excellent. When it comes to fish they’re best with more docile species.
Bettas are notorious for going after shrimp.
Cherry Shrimp Color Grades
When it comes to cherry shrimp, you want the most 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 has a shiny, nail-polish red while the other colors have a deeper, more vivid red. 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
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 is very red, and the low grade is not as red. These little guys will help you know what to look out for when shopping.
The higher the grade, the better the color. 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. 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 become confusing and misleading for customers. 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. There are many color options even if you only have one batch of shrimp from one breeder. They could be called Sakura or Fire Taiwan or Painted Fire Red. Each of them are classified under the same Latin name of Neocaridina heteropoda, including the blue and yellow color varieties.
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 buy a female already carrying eggs, you’ll have to buy at least one male to start your breeding population.
Macro shot a shrimplet. Babies usually lack color until they are mature.
You’ve selected the best-quality cherry shrimp, with the most vibrant color. Now, how can you maintain that high quality from generation to generation?
Selective breeding is a way to do this. 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.
It’s easy to breed cherry shrimp! 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. Cull out the lower grade colors and maintain the health of your population with plenty of food and calcium. This will allow you to breed cherry shrimps with beautiful red populations.
You want a more technical article about breeding these shrimps? My blog is more in-depth on breeding these shrimp.