The Cherry Shrimp is a dwarf freshwater shrimp that originated from Taiwan. They are incredibly peaceful, reasonably hard & add a splash of colour to your tank. Most commonly they are found in red, known as red cherry shrimp or RCS, but they are available in a wide variety of colour morphs such as; green, yellow, black, blue, clear, white and many more! 

You should expect to pay more for the more unusual colour morphs, although poorer quality colours (known as colour culls) are sometimes available for a reduced price. The deeper the colour on the shrimp with less white/clear patches makes the shrimp more desirable to breeders and collectors. 

Mixing the colours together will often produce brown shrimp, which are referred to as “wild types”

Tank Requirements

  • Specialist Tank
  • Temperatures between 22°C and 26°C
  • Water between pH 6.0 and pH 8.0
  • Lots of hiding spaces
  • They require only a small tank of 5 gallons upwards
  • Rocks and caves
  • Heavily planted is preferred
Red Cherry Shrimp
Red Cherry Shrimp

Cherry shrimp are peaceful and will generally keep to themselves. If a tankmate dies, they will pick it clean! 

If you have the desire to breed Cherry Shrimp then they need to be kept in a species only tank. Most fish are not considered to be “shrimp safe” as they will eat juveniles and adults, especially if there are not enough hiding places for the shrimp.

Feeding

  • These are omnivores
  • They will graze on algae that grows on rocks, plants, and glass and are generally considered great “clean up crew”
  • They enjoy a mixed diet of bloodworm, daphnia, flaked food, pellets & algae

Male Cherry Shrimp

Male Red Cherry Shrimp
Male Red Cherry Shrimp

Size: Maximum length 2cm

Colour: Generally the males have less colour than the females

Sexing: Males are smaller than the females and have less colour. They become very active in a tank once a female has molted and will free-swim around the tank. 

Female Cherry Shrimp

Red Cherry Shrimp
Female Red Cherry Shrimp

Size: Maximum length 3cm

Colour: Females tend to have more intense colouration than the males with less clear/white patches. This is more obvious in higher grade shrimp.

Sexing: Females are larger than the males and often show better colouration. The females also develop a saddle to hold eggs before they are fertilised, this is most often yellow in colour.

 Personal Review

Once again, I am controversial in my choices. I keep my cherry shrimp in a community tank with a wide variety of fish and snails, the majority of them are not considered to be “shrimp safe”. I added 20 juveniles to my tank, and I still have at least 12 of them, 3 of the dead ones were failed molts which I fished out of the tank on that day. 

My tank has plenty of hiding spaces and is very heavily planted. Although they are not out and about all at once, I can guarantee at any point of looking at the tank I will see at least 2 of them, so contrary to what the whole internet says, they do not spend their entire lives in hiding. 

I love watching them cleaning the tank, they are interesting to watch and if a fish does get too close they dart off so quickly the fish doesn’t even realise what went on. When the females molt, the males become very active, swimming around the tank looking for the female.

Most people want to breed RCS, which is why they can’t be kept in a community tank, however, I didn’t want to breed them, I just wanted to keep them. Because they are so easy to breed, they are attractive to a wide variety of fish keepers, but because everything eats them or their babies a specialist tank would be required to breed successfully and I just don’t have that much interest in breeding them to dedicate another tank to them.