Cherry Shrimp: Care, Breeding, Diet, & More

Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina davidi) is probably the most common type of shrimp in the aquarium hobby. They are a dwarf type of shrimp belonging to the neocaridina types of shrimps. In the wild, these shrimps are dull and not as colorful as the ones available in the aquarium hobby. Since their discovery, hobbyists have bred them to become more rend and vibrant. 

In this article, we guide you through all the information you need about Cherry Shrimps.

Cherry Shrimp Overview

Cherry Shrimps are beautiful and hardy species of dwarf shrimps in the neocaridina family. Because cherry shrimps are hardy, there are many local breeders breeding these species around the world. 

After many years of line breeding, these shrimps are now found in very dark shades of red. Usually the darker red they are the more expensive they become. Most pet stores have these shrimps in stock at all times, but the quality and their grade might be slightly low.

Cherry Shrimp is found in large numbers in Taiwan but is also found in nearby countries. Nowadays there are clusters of wild-type cherry shrimps in eastern China, Japan, Hawaii, and other parts of the world. Because of their popularity in the pet trade, they are being kept and bred in most developed countries. 

In the wild, they usually live in small and slow-moving streams and ponds. The wild type of cherry shrimp is less colorful and is not as good-looking as the aquarium varieties. This is because the cherry shrimp have been line bred over many years to become more red.

Unlike Caridina shrimps, cherry shrimps are coming from waterways that have neutral and in some cases slightly hard water. This makes them suitable shrimp for most beginner shrimp enthusiasts. 

Despite being so popular, these shrimps are new to the aquarium trade, and the first known red variety of neocaridina was introduced in the year 2003. They named this new variety of neocaridina davidi or cherry shrimp. Since then, there have been many improvements in the color and overall looks of this tiny shrimp. Now they can be found in different shades of red which defines their grade. 


Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina davidi)

Cherry shrimps are man-made dwarf shrimps that are line bred to become more red. Their wild ancestors are transparent with lines and patches of red on their bodies. Since the introduction of the first cherry shrimp by the breeders, this shrimp has become even more red in recent years. 

Currently, there are many different grades of cherry shrimps in the market. But regardless of their grade, male specimens tend to be less colorful in comparison to females. Males are also smaller and thinner. This makes it easy to distinguish the male and female cherry shrimps. 

These shrimps, like all neocaridina shrimps, have 3 pairs of legs that are used for walking and 2 pairs of legs with claws. They use these tiny claws to handle the food and to eat. 

Cherry Shrimps also have 5 pairs of Pleopods under their stomach. Pleopods are small arms under the belly of shrimps used by females to hold their eggs until they hatch.

They also have whiskers or antennas that are designed to “smell” the water. The antennas are around evolved to be able to sense the hormones and chemicals in the water. By using their antennas, they can locate the food source and feel the food.


Cherry Shrimp’s lifespan is about 1 – 2 years. However, they breed rapidly and in large numbers so your shrimp colony will only grow rather than shrink. They usually start breeding from 3-5 months old and will breed almost every month till the end of their life. 

This only happens if you keep them in pristine water conditions without any fluctuations. Diet is also an important part of their life. When they receive the right diet they might even live longer.  

Note: Cherry shrimps will live longer when you keep them in slightly colder tropical waters.

Adult Size

Cherry Shrimp will grow to about 1 – 1.5 inches in length. This makes them one of the smallest types of shrimps in the aquarium hobby. When you first buy them, they might be at around the 1-inch mark but after a few months, they will grow and become bulkier. 

As mentioned earlier, females are slightly bigger and can grow closer to the 1.5-inch mark while males usually stay at around 1 inch. 

Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina davidi)

Behavior and Temperament

Cherry shrimp are an extremely peaceful species. They do not show any aggression towards fish or any other tank inhabitants. They love to eat and graze for food, to a point that you might see some of them compete or fight over food. But these fights will usually settle down after each shrimp gets a piece of food for itself. 

Cherry shrimps will nonstop graze on the biofilm grown on algae, plants, and any other decoration or surfaces in your tank. Since shrimps are naturally cleaning creatures, they will also go after any uneaten food, dead fish, shrimp, or dead plants. This is probably one of the main reasons most people keep cherry shrimp in their tank. 

Cherry shrimp are also seen feeding on tardigrades, ciliates, nematodes, rotifers, and other microorganisms that can naturally occur in a tank. 

Cherry Shrimp Care

Cherry Shrimps are one of the easiest types of shrimps to care for. These shrimps are low-maintenance and can live in neutral and even slightly harder waters. They are adaptable and hardy shrimps that can tolerate fewer water changes. However, they are also very vulnerable to fluctuation in the water parameters. 

When keeping these shrimps you will have to make sure your tank has consistent water parameters with little to no fluctuations. When parameters are consistent, you can keep them in almost any kind of tap water as long as your tap water parameters match their ideal range. 

Tank Size

Cherry shrimps can happily live in a 10 gallon aquarium. When you create more surfaces in your tank you can keep a large colony of cherry shrimps in a tank as small as 10 gallons. This is because these shrimps are very small and do not produce a lot of waste. This lets you keep more shrimps in a small place. 

However, if you are planning to keep and breed a large number of cherry shrimps, it is always recommended to have a single large tank rather than multiple small tanks. This is because larger tanks will sustain better water parameters and need fewer water changes. Water changes are the riskiest thing to the shrimps as the water parameters can drastically change if done wrong.

Tank Setup:

The key point in setting up a cherry shrimp tank is to create as much surface as you can. These shrimps are mainly staying on surfaces and eat the biofilm grown on these surfaces. Unlike fish, cherry shrimps are not swimming all the time in the water column so you will have to have more surface if you want them to breed more often. 

By placing lots of decorations and plants, you can give your shrimp natural surfaces that they can graze and explore. Ideally, you should use more plants as they will help with removing toxins from the water and give your shrimps a better living environment. This also means you can extend your water change schedules a little bit longer. 

The best plants for a shrimp tank are Java Moss, Christmas Moss, and Subwassertang. These plants are super hardy and can tolerate low light levels. It is also easy to create beautiful scenes with these plants to make your shrimp tank both beautiful and sustainable.

Wood is also another important component of any shrimp tank. With driftwoods, you can help your tank to balance the pH as well as give your cherry shrimps another natural source of food. The algae film grown on the driftwoods can make your shrimps even happier. While you can use a number of different kinds of driftwoods, we recommend having at least one piece of Cholla wood in your tank. It seems like these shrimps love the biofilm grown on cholla woods and will appreciate you if you give them a few pieces of this wood.

Water Parameters

The wild variety of Cherry shrimps is endemic to tropical regions of Taiwan. In your tank, you will need to recreate a similar environment so your cherry shrimps can thrive. These shrimps don’t like fast-moving waters and prefer to be in slow and steady waters. They also need to be in well-oxygenated waters that are slightly warm. When water is warm they tend to breed faster and grow faster but their lifespan will shorten in colder waters they breed less and live longer.

Below are the ideal tank parameters you can keep your Cherry Shrimp in: 

  • Temperature: 65 – 75 Degrees Fahrenheit 
  • PH: 6.5 – 8.0
  • TDS: 60 – 200 PPM

Water current and movement are also important for cherry shrimps. As mentioned above, Cherry Shrimps do not like fast-moving waters but your tank has to circulate the water to oxygenate it. Using slow-moving filters will help you with this task. More on this in the “Filtration System” section. 


Cherry shrimps seem to enjoy shades in nature, thus, we recommend using a low intense lighting system for your shrimp tanks.

In their natural habitat, these shrimps are often seen in creeks and waterways that are shaded by plants. While there are many mixed opinions about how much light these shrimps need. We recommend recreating the same environment these shrimps have in the wild.

Having low levels of light will help your cherry shrimp to stay less stressed and can work on their daily task of eating algae film. Low levels of light will help your tank to grow just the right amount of algae and biofilm so your shrimps can eat without causing any stress or algae blooms. The plants we recommended in the tank setup section of this guide are also the types of plants that can live in low light levels.

Filtration System:

These shrimps need super clean water so it is important to have a good filtration system in their tank. A sponge filter is the ideal type of filter for these Cherry shrimps. This is because sponge filters will not suck baby shrimps in and at the same time they will not create a lot of currents. 

These shrimps do not produce a lot of waste so it is easy to have large numbers of them in a smaller tank. A sponge filter will easily do the job of keeping your tank in pristine conditions while letting the shrimp fry grow. 

Sponge filters will also aerate the water as well as circulate the water to prevent death zones in your tank. A death zone is an area of the tank where water does not get moved or slightly move. This can be harmful to your shrimps or any other aquarium inhabitants. 

You can also use hang-on back filters but you must place a sponge on the intake of the filter to prevent shrimps and baby shrimps from getting sucked in.  

Common Diseases and Prevention

Cherry shrimp are at risk of getting the most common aquarium diseases. These shrimps are also very sensitive to water changes and might develop stress-related diseases. You should handle your aquarium with care and never introduce any fish, plants, or shrimps without properly quarantining them.

Copper is also another element you need to prevent from going to your tank at all costs. Copper can easily kill your entire colony of cherry shrimps. Never place any object that has copper in its ingredients in your tank. Some medications used for fish also have traces of copper, make sure to check the ingredients before treating your tank with any medications. 

Diet and Feeding Requirements

Cherry shrimp eat almost anything that you give them. Cherry shrimps can even live off naturally grown algae and biofilm in your tank. However, depending on the size of the tank and the number of cherry shrimps you are keeping, the algae and biofilm might not be sufficient. 

You can feed your shrimps with the most commercially prepared fish foods available in pet stores. Most of these fish foods have enough nutrition to sustain a colony of shrimps but it’s always good to mix a few types of fish food to make sure your shrimps get all the nutrients they need. When feeding your cherry shrimp make sure to give them more plant-based foods than high protein ones. These shrimps can eat both but they mainly eat plant matter in the wild. 

Calcium for Cherry Shrimps

The shell that covers the cherry shrimp’s body is made of calcium. Cherry shrimps constantly molt and grow new shells so they need a lot of calcium in their diet. Most fish foods have low amounts of calcium in them but it is not enough for shrimps. So you will have to supplement their tank with calcium separately. 

Fortunately providing calcium for your cherry shrimps is easy and simple to feed. While there are many commercially produced calcium supplements for shrimps, we usually go the more affordable route in our own tanks. 

The most simple and cost-friendly way of adding calcium to your shrimp tank is to crush or powder empty egg shells and feed your shrimp. Egg shells are made of calcium and can be a great source of calcium for shrimps. 

Placing a Cuttlebone in your cherry tank will also help your shrimps to have the calcium they need. Cuttlebone will slowly release calcium into the water column and your shrimps will filter it out to build their shell.  

Gender Differences

Identifying cherry shrimp’s gender is very easy and simple. Females are usually larger and more round and develop deeper red colors. Males, on the other hand, are usually less colorful and smaller in size. They are also thinner in comparison to the females. 

When selecting your cherry shrimp group, make sure to consider all the above-mentioned points as some males or females might develop one or 2 of the characteristics of the other gender. 


To breed cherry shrimps you will first need to follow all the key points we mentioned in the tank setup and water parameters sections of this article. Once those conditions are made you can proceed and select your breeding males and females. It is ideal to have a larger group and a good mix of males and females to start breeding. While you can start with just a pair, we recommend having at least 10 – 20 shrimps in your breeding tank. 

Once they settle the females will develop eggs and will call the males to breed by releasing hormones in the tank. These hormones will excite the males to find the female so you might see the males are swimming super fast in the tank. 

Once the mating ritual finishes the female will hold the newly laid eggs under her belly and fan them for the next 20-35 days until they hatch. Tank temperature affects the time it takes for the eggs to hatch, warmer water will make the eggs hatch faster.  

After hatching your shrimplets will keep molting and growing for the next 3 – 4 months until they become fully mature and start breeding themselves. Younger shrimps tend to lay lower numbers of eggs and can take one or two tries until females learn how to hold the eggs under their bellies. 

With the right food and tank parameters, the females will start another breeding cycle right after their eggs hatch. 

Tank Mates

Cherry Shrimp are very small creatures with no defensive organs. This makes them an easy source of food for most fish. Especially at smaller stages of life, the shrimplets can be a great snack for smaller fish that can not earth the adult cherry shrimps. So we do not recommend keeping any fish in the tank with your shrimps.

To keep your tank clean you can keep other types of invertebrates with your shrimps. Here are our top tank mate choices for your cherry shrimp:

Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina davidi)


The Cherry Shrimps are small and beautiful red shrimps. They are one of the hardiest freshwater shrimps that can be entry-level shrimps for those who want to start keeping shrimps. With the information available in this guide, we believe you can confidently care after your cherry shrimps. If you have any questions you can always reach out to us via email or on our Instagram page.