RED CHERRY SHRIMP
Red Cherry shrimp are a breed of shrimp known as Neocaridina denticulata sinensis. They come in all different colours in the wild but in the aquarium red is the most popular due to the way it stands out. Cherry shrimp are extremely hardy compared to any other variety of shrimp, if they are dying in your tank something is definitely not right, it will usually be temperature or added chemicals.
Let’s look at the basic needs
- Temperature – the optimum is around 25-27 the higher the temperature the faster they grow and reproduce. 30 is the limit but at this point the water needs to be aerated and the tank cannot be overstocked.
- They will survive at lower temperatures but they won’t breed and they will not be at their maximum health.
- PH – the optimum PH is slightly acidic from 6.2 – 7.3 If you have high PH water from the tap, the best way to bring this down is with peat in the filter (beware of discoloured water!) or using a commercial substrate like ADA Amazonia.
- Nitrites and ammonia should always be 0, if they are not forget adding shrimp or even fish for that matter, make sure your water is PERFECT before you go throwing money down the drain.
- Nitrates do not need to be 0 but it is preferable. If you have plants in the tank and do the constant water changes there should be no problems.
- You will need to change the water about 30% every week, you will definitely need to use a de-chlorinator so get used to it, it is also good to let the water “age” for a few days with the de-chloriantor before it goes into the tank, this is to ensure any poisonous compounds like chlorine have naturally been removed.
Cherry shrimp like many fish will become stressed if the water quality is not good, usually they are incredibly active but if something is wrong they will not move, or they will swim up to the surface and then freeze. Check the water immediately before it’s too late to help them, finding the problem before it unfolds is lucky, always make sure to check the tank.
You will need to constantly feed your shrimp in hope of them breeding and remaining happy. A balanced diet is recommended of Fresh vegetables such as boiled zucchini, spinach etc but also some processed foods like flakes, pellets and specialized food for shrimp. If there is excess food in the tank from the last feeding do not add any more food.
Shrimp and planted tanks seem to be perfect for each other but, well.... there not. CO2 injection is probably the biggest killer when it comes to shrimp, the shrimp cannot handle the swing in PH nor the lack of oxygen. If you are going to use both make sure you do so carefully and cut back with the CO2. I have heard too many people forgetting to reset there light timers, and then in the morning when the lights don’t come on but the CO2 starts, not only is there a giant PH swing but the plants are not consuming any of it and BAM there all dead!. Also fertilizers need to be watched, certainly NO copper additives and heavy metals should also be avoided. Aside from this the moss and plants will provide a small source of food which will promote their health. Planted tanks are also great for their offspring; in fact even with fish in the tank these usually breed fast enough to outnumber them, as long as there is cover.
For tank mates you do not want anything even remotely aggressive. In fact i would not recommend any tank mates if you were planning on breeding these. Small fish such as tetra’s may still try to eat shrimplets but if your population is quite large it will be impossible for them to hunt all of the shrimp down.
When stocking these shrimp it is important to remember they have almost no bio-load. Even if you had 1000 in the tank it would be fine on the filter but feeding them would disrupt a volcano and push your ammonia to the roof. So even though technically you could stock unlimited it is wise to have 2-3 per gallon of water, still that’s a lot of shrimp!
Breeding Red Cherry Shrimp:
These are very simple to breed, if you keep the water temperature at around 27 degrees with a lot of plant cover, harder water and maintain water changes, you are sure to have berried shrimp (eggs under her tail) and soon after baby shrimplets!. If you find your shrimp are becoming pregnant but you never see any young, make sure the temperature is still up and be sure to check filter intakes are covered by a stocking or foam or something to prevent the babies being sucked inside. The babies will be born straight into miniature versions of the adults, how cool is that! When they grow into adults you can tell their sex, the males are a lighter and less red colouration to the females. You would want at least 10 shrimp to start out with, to provide ratios and a good chance of both sexes.