Cherry Shrimp - Breeding - Planted Tank Mates
Cherry shrimp with eggs.

Cherry Shrimp – Breeding

Overview

The term Cherry shrimp often refers to the specific red color of the Neocaridina species.  They come in many grades including low and high Sakura grade, Fire Red grade, Painted Fire Red grade and Bloody Mary.  Unlike the Caridina species, Neocaridina shrimp are relatively easy to keep and breed.  The general Cherry Shrimp breeding topic can actually apply to most Neocaridina davidi species.  This includes but not limited to: Orange Sunkist Shrimp, Yellow Shrimp, Green Jade Shrimp and Blue Dream Shrimp.

Adult and juvenille bloody mary shrimp colony
Neocaridina – Bloody Mary Shrimp – available on Amazon

Cherry shrimp are very hardy and easy to keep.  Their pop of color and peaceful nature make them a great addition to any tank with nano fish.  Neocaridina species prefer slightly more alkaline waters, but can generally adapt to a wide range from soft to neutral.  A planted tank with lots of hiding space makes a great habitat for shrimp.  It allows them to feel secure when they molt their exoskeleton and give hiding spaces for baby fry.  You can see various Neocaridina species here and compare their parameters.

Breeding

Cherry Shrimp breeding is relatively easy, especially with warmer water temperatures.  If there are healthy male and females in the tank, they will breed.  It typically starts with the female releasing pheromones into the tank.  It creates a phenomenon where a bunch of male shrimp swim wildly around the tank searching for her.  Once they mate, the female will eventually carry eggs (berried) and will fan or shuffle them in her belly. 30-40 days later, you’ll see little white shrimp profiles throughout your tank.

Orange pumpkin neocaridina shrimp with eggs.
Neocaridina – Orange Pumpkin Shrimp – available on Amazon

All shrimp are susceptible to predators, especially baby shrimp.  If it can fit into a fish’s mouth, it can become a snack.  This reiterates the importance of a heavily planted tank with lots of room to hide.  Include a high protein diet which fattens them up and helps with molting.

Molted shrimp shell in planted tank.

Coloring

One of the most common questions when it comes to Cherry Shrimp breeding is, “Can I mix different colors?”  The short answer is, “Yes, Neocaridina species will crossbreed with each other creating hybrid colors.”  The responsible answer is, “Yes, but be intentional.”  Unless you have additional tanks and a specific hybrid in mind, mixing different color shrimp will provide short term gains, not long term goals.  

Red yellow and blue neocaridina shrimp on driftwood
Neocaridina Shrimp – Skittles Multi-Color Colony – available on Amazon

In the wild, Neocaridina shrimp have a brownish to gray hue.  The dull color actually helps them blend into the environment and evade predators.  The vibrant colors you see in local fish stores are actually a result of selective breeding, or culling.  It’s inspiring and tempting to see a “Skittles” tank of shrimp with a variety of blue, yellow, orange, red and green colors together.  If you do this to your one and only tank with no intention of culling, you’ll ultimately get brown and gray Neocaridina Shrimp.  You may start with nice and wild hybrid colors, but ultimately darker and dominant hues will take over. 

If you ever did water coloring as a kid, you may remember mixing different colors to create new ones.  It may look stunning at first, but then you mix more and more and ultimately it turns brown.  This is why many will actually recommend the average shrimp keeper to keep only one strain of Neocaridina Shrimp per tank.  Certain Neocaridina can be mixed and will not breed, like Cherry Shrimp with Amano Shrimp, but avoid mixing the colorful ones.

Now let’s take it a step further.  Say you’re being responsible and keeping only a Red Cherry Shrimp breed in your tank.  You started with 10 shrimp and it’s now flourishing to 50+.  You’ll later start to see some of the shrimp colors fade due to inbreeding, which can also lead to lower survival rates and deformities.  Introducing new Red Cherry Shrimp of the same color strain will help minimize inbreeding and maintain a strong colony.  Although Cherry Shrimp are relatively inexpensive, you can always trade with friends or purchase from local fish stores to add new shrimp.  If overpopulation becomes an issue, relocate some to your nano tanks or give them away to other responsible aquarists.

Adult and juvenile yellow neocaridina shrimp colony.
Yellow Neocaridina Shrimp – available on Amazon

All Things Considered

Cherry Shrimp breeding is relatively easy.  Be intentional when mixing colors to create a hybrid strain.  Avoid mixing colors if you do not have multiple tanks nor do you plan to cull.  It’s best to only keep a single strain per tank.  Remember to add new shrimp of the same strain to keep a strong colony, maintain vibrant colors, and minimize inbreeding.

 

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