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. The cherry shrimp are a small freshwater crustacean that can grow up to 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. In this article, we’ll talk about the basics of both keeping and breeding 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. This can be done by adding small amounts of crushed coral to the substrate or filter.
Shrimp, well shrimp, are just that! 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
You want cherry shrimp with a 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. 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
We have divided shrimp into two types to make it easier for you to choose the shrimp that you like. The high grade shrimp is more red than the low grade. 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. You can actually see the difference 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. This can be confusing for customers and misleading. Our mantra is to “buy what you see, not what you read.”
No matter the name, you should always buy the shrimp with the best colors. Even in one batch from one breeder, you’ll see quite the array of color options. They could be called Sakura, 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. 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.
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?
You do that through selective breeding. After your female has given birth, you can successfully cull out the shrimplets that have a lesser color. You remove the shrimplets that are not as brightly colored, so you can preserve the good genes. You will have to do this for each new batch of shrimplets. In this way, you could effectively start with a lower grade shrimp and breed for a higher grade.
The good news is, is that cherry shrimp are easy to breed! 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. Reduce the low-quality colors and ensure that your population is well-nourished with calcium and food. This will allow you to breed cherry shrimps with beautiful red populations.
Want a more advanced and technical article on breeding these shrimp? You can check out my blog for more information about breeding these shrimp.