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. Like their saltwater cousins, they have a curved body, small legs, and spend most of their time seeking shelter in tank plant life and eating. This article will cover the basics of keeping and breeding cherry shrimp.
The Cherry Shrimp Diet
A great diet of high-quality shrimp food and algae will keep your shrimp healthy. 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. To do this, add small amounts of crushed coral or a filter to the substrate.
Shrimp, well shrimp, are just that! So, they’ll be preyed upon by other fish. According to our rule of thumb, a predator is one that can fit inside its mouth. 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 or moss are great hiding places. When it comes to fish they’re best with more docile species.
Bettas are notorious for going after shrimp.
Cherry Shrimp Color Grades
Cherry shrimp should be a beautiful deep red color. These are a stunning addition to any 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 is a bright, shiny red with nail polish, while the other colors are deeper and more vibrant. The male cherry shrimp will usually be more brightly colored than the female cherry shrimp, which can be identified by her thick, rounded tail and “saddleback”.
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 extremely red while the low grade is less red. This will let you know what to search for when you shop for these little guys. Choose the one that has the best color and not necessarily the same name.
The color will be more vibrant if it is of a higher grade. 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
You might see a Sakura cherry shrimp that has a better color than a Fire Taiwan, which should be of a higher grade. It can become confusing and misleading for customers. Our motto is “Buy what you see, not just what you read.”
No matter the name, you should always buy the shrimp with the best colors. You’ll find a wide range of colors even in one batch, even from the same breeder. You could call them Sakura, Fire Taiwan or Painted Fire Red. Each one is classified under the Latin Neocaridina homopoda name, and includes both the blue-colored and yellow varieties.
But, there are some exceptions to this guideline, and that’s discussed below when it comes to breeding.
Cherry Shrimp Breeding
All colors of cherry shrimp are capable of giving birth to live shrimplets. The females are ‘berried’ with shrimplet eggs underneath their bellies. Keep in mind, though, that the males have slightly less vibrant color than the females. Unless you purchase a female that is already pregnant with eggs, you will need to buy at least one male in order to establish your breeding population.
Macro shot a shrimplet. Babies usually lack color until they are mature.
Now that you have chosen the best cherry shrimp grade with the best color, what can you do to keep that grade going from one generation to the next.
Selective breeding is a way to do this. You can cull shrimplets of a lesser color once your female has given birth. You remove the shrimplets that are not as brightly colored, so you can preserve the good genes. For each new batch, you will need to repeat this process. This allows you to start with lower-grade shrimps and then breed for a better grade.
Cherry shrimp can be easily bred. 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. You will be a successful cherry shrimp breeder and have a large red population.
Looking for a more technical article on breeding these shrimps, then this is the place. You can check out my blog for more information about breeding these shrimp.