Top 12 Tank Mates to Keep with 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. If your goal is to breed as many shrimp as possible, your best course of action is to keep a species-only tank with no other types of animals living in it. However, if you primarily want to keep adult cherry shrimp as pets with a few surviving offspring, then keep reading this list of potential tank mates. Since every living creature is unique, none of these suggestions can be trusted. Therefore, we recommend that you provide plenty of cover for your shrimp, including piles of rocks, aquarium plants and shrimp caves.
Category #1: Small Invertebrates
We first look at other nanoinvertebrates as potential shrimp-safe tank mates. For example, little snails – like nerite, mystery, bladder, and Malaysian trumpet snails – are mostly scavengers and detritivores that won’t eat living shrimp. Although they eat the same food as cherry shrimp, you might see fewer shrimp babies if there is a shortage of them. Larger filter-feeding shrimp, such as bamboo and vampire shrimp, are also a good choice because they predominantly eat tiny particles floating in the water. Thai micro crabs, which are similar to Thai shrimp, use their long, hairy claws to grab tiny crumbs. However, they can be difficult to spot in an aquarium due to their shy nature.
Vampire or African fan shrimp (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 gebies are another kind of nano aufwuchs grimmer with a suction-cup-like mouth designed to remove biofilm and microorganisms from rocks. The dwarf plecos such as the Panaqolus Maccus (Clown pleco) are also known to eat wood and algae. 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. A planted shrimp tank would be complete with nano rasboras, such as the Chili rasbora and Neon Green rasboras (Boraras brigitae). 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. They may not eat the adult shrimp outright, but they have the tendency to outcompete them for food and may cause stress by chasing them relentlessly.
The bright colors and ease in breeding cherry shrimp are well-loved. We hope that you enjoy them as much as we do. See our article on caring for cherry shrimp.