The Fish Guru

Exploring the Biology and Breeding of Cherry Shrimp

Cherry shrimp are one of the most popular and sought-after species of freshwater ornamental shrimp in the aquarium hobby. These small creatures are known for their vibrant coloration and their ability to clean up leftover food and algae.

In this article, we will explore the biological characteristics of cherry shrimp, from their anatomy to their reproductive habits. We will also discuss their ideal stocking density and color variation resulting from breeding.

Characteristics of Cherry Shrimp

Cherry shrimp are an excellent choice for aquarium enthusiasts looking for colorful and attractive invertebrates to add to their collection. These shrimp are typically red or reddish-orange in color and can display various patterns and variations.

They are usually no more than an inch in length and have a smooth, streamlined body with a head, thorax, and abdomen.

Another important aspect of cherry shrimp is that they function as a natural algae-eater, playing a crucial role in maintaining a healthy aquatic environment.

They are also known to consume leftover fish food, which not only helps keep the tank clean but also reduces the risk of overfeeding.

Stocking Density

The ideal stocking density for cherry shrimp depends on the size of the tank and the other species of fish or invertebrates in the aquarium. A good rule of thumb is to have at least ten cherry shrimp per gallon of water, but some hobbyists choose to have a higher density.

Keep in mind that cherry shrimp are very sensitive to changes in water parameters, so it’s best to start with a small population and gradually increase the number over time. Biological

Characteristics of Cherry Shrimp

Anatomy of Cherry Shrimp

Cherry shrimp have several distinguishing physical features, including their periopods and pleopods.

Periopods are a set of five pairs of legs on the shrimp’s thorax that aid in movement and feeding, while pleopods are a set of six pairs of legs located below the abdomen. Another unique aspect of cherry shrimp anatomy is their ability to molt.

During the molting process, the shrimp shed their exoskeleton to promote growth and development. Molting is an essential process for cherry shrimp, and proper water conditions with sufficient calcium are crucial for a successful molt.

Reproduction of Cherry Shrimp

Cherry shrimp reach sexual maturity at around six months of age. Unlike most invertebrates, cherry shrimp have a male and female gender, which are distinguishable by size, abdomen, and color.

Males tend to be smaller and thinner than females, with longer periopods, while females typically have broader abdomens. Female cherry shrimp carry their eggs in their pleopods and incubate them for around three to four weeks.

After the incubation period, the eggs hatch into tiny shrimp called shrimplets. Cherry shrimp reproduce frequently and can produce up to thirty shrimplets per brood.

Anatomical Differences Between Male and Female Cherry Shrimp

Male and female cherry shrimp have anatomical differences that make it easy to distinguish between the two. For example, female cherry shrimp typically have a larger abdomen compared to males.

They also tend to be a deeper, richer red tone than males, which can be helpful during the breeding process. Males, on the other hand, usually have longer periopods and a more slender body shape.

Color Variation as a Result of Breeding

One of the most exciting aspects of cherry shrimp breeding is the opportunity to create new color variations. Through selective breeding, hobbyists can produce new strains with unique patterns and coloration.

There are several different color variations of cherry shrimp, including yellow, green, and blue. Some of the most popular strains include red rili, blue velvet, and green jade.


In conclusion, cherry shrimp are fascinating creatures with unique biological characteristics and an attractive appearance. Their ability to clean up algae and leftover food makes them a valuable addition to any aquarium.

By understanding their anatomy, breeding habits, and ideal stocking density, hobbyists can create a thriving and colorful ecosystem for their cherry shrimp to thrive in. Ideal

Stocking Density for Cherry Shrimp

When it comes to keeping cherry shrimp, the ideal stocking density largely depends on the tank size, the presence of other species, and the quality of the water.

While cherry shrimp are hardy creatures, overstocking can cause problems, including stress, disease, and even death. In this section, we’ll discuss scientific studies on the ideal stocking density for cherry shrimp, as well as the recommended density.

Scientific Study on

Stocking Density

A study conducted by S. K.

Bressan and J. M.

Lopes-Santos examined the effects of stocking density on the growth and survival of cherry shrimp in a laboratory setting. In the study, they tested three different groups of shrimp with different stocking densities, ranging from 5 to 40 shrimps per liter of water.

They found that a density of 30 shrimps per liter resulted in the highest weight gain among the shrimp. However, increasing the stocking density to 40 shrimps per liter resulted in high mortality rates.

The study also found that sex grouping influenced the results. Although the weight gain was higher in shrimp of either gender when they were kept in a group of the same sex, the survival rate was better in mixed-sex groups.

These findings suggest that the ideal stocking density for cherry shrimp depends on the sex grouping. Additionally, a higher stocking density is not always beneficial, and certain limits must be observed to prevent negative effects.


Stocking Density

Based on the findings of the study and other practical considerations, the recommended density for cherry shrimp is around three shrimps per liter of water. This density provides adequate space for the shrimp to move around and sufficient resources for each individual shrimp.

However, keep in mind that some hobbyists prefer a higher density for aesthetic or other reasons. Therefore, it is crucial to monitor water quality and adjust the density accordingly.

Ideal Conditions for Raising Cherry Shrimp

Aside from stocking density, creating ideal conditions for cherry shrimp is essential to their overall health and well-being. Here, we will discuss the factors that contribute to a healthy environment for cherry shrimp, including water temperature,

pH, copper, and hiding places.

Water Temperature

Cherry shrimp are tropical species and are most comfortable at a temperature between 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit (22-28C). However, they can also tolerate water temperature within the range of room temperature, which is around 68-75F (20-24C).

It is crucial to maintain consistent water temperature as sudden changes can cause stress and disease.


Cherry shrimp prefer a slightly alkaline or neutral

pH level. The optimal range is between 7.0 and 7.8, but a

pH level below 6.0 or above 8.0 can harm the health of the shrimp.

Remember that water authorities and some well water sources have different

pH values, so it’s essential to test the

pH regularly.


Copper is toxic to cherry shrimp, and even a small amount can harm or kill them. Be sure to avoid using any decorations or equipment that contains copper, such as copper pipes or some types of rocks.

It is also best to avoid using copper-based medications in the aquarium. If you need to use a medication, make sure to research whether it is shrimp-safe.

Provision of Hiding Places

Providing hiding places, such as plants or decorations, is essential for the health and well-being of cherry shrimp. Hiding places provide a sense of security and safety, especially during molting, breeding, or when there are predators in the tank.

Plants, such as moss, are also a source of food for cherry shrimp and help to maintain healthy water chemistry. Overall, ensuring proper water parameters, avoiding toxic substances, and providing hiding places for cherry shrimp are fundamental to their overall health.

Following these recommendations will help you enjoy a happy and thriving cherry shrimp colony.

Breeding Cherry Shrimp at Home

One of the significant reasons why cherry shrimp are popular among the hobbyists is their ability to breed in captivity. Breeding cherry shrimp at home can be an exciting and rewarding experience, and it’s relatively easy when the right conditions are provided.

In this section, we will discuss how to grow and condition cherry shrimp for breeding, how to induce breeding, and how to take care of the baby shrimp.

Growth and Conditioning

Cherry shrimp need a diet high in protein to grow and develop properly. Feed them a balanced diet of high-quality commercial shrimp pellets, spirulina flakes, and veggies such as spinach, zucchini, or cucumber.

Some hobbyists also recommend feeding boiled or blanched spinach, as it can help stimulate breeding. Supplement their diet with calcium supplements, as it is essential for molting and growing a healthy exoskeleton.

Inducing Breeding

Cherry shrimp breeding can be induced by one of two methods: by providing the right physical conditions or by using pheromones. To create the right physical conditions, hobbyists can increase the temperature slightly and change the lighting schedule to simulate the transition from winter to spring.

This change can encourage the shrimp to start breeding. Alternatively, hobbyists can also introduce pheromones.

Female cherry shrimp release pheromones in the water, which assist in attracting male shrimp in breeding. Adding a few crushed eggs from a female shrimp to the water can stimulate breeding.

After a successful mating, the female shrimp will carry fertilized eggs for about three weeks before the eggs hatch.

Taking Care of Baby Cherry Shrimp

When the shrimp hatch, they are called shrimplets and are incredibly tiny. To take care of them, provide a tank with moss or live plants as hiding spots.

This vegetation gives baby shrimp a place to hide and is a primary source of food. A shrimp cave can also serve as a perfect hideout for the shrimplets.

During this time, it’s critical to keep the water parameters consistent for optimal growth and development. Changing the water regularly, and removing any uneaten food or debris will ensure the best possible environment for them.

Baby shrimp are incredibly delicate, so handle them carefully to avoid injury or death.

Cherry Shrimp as an Invasive Species

While cherry shrimp are a popular choice for aquarium hobbyists, they can become an invasive species in natural waterways if released into the wild. When cherry shrimp are accidentally or intentionally released, they can thrive and rapidly multiply in the wild, potentially displacing native species.

In this section, we will discuss the circumstances surrounding the introduction of invasive cherry shrimp into ecosystems and potential consequences.and Proliferation

The introduction and proliferation of cherry shrimp can be traced back to the global trade of aquarium species. Cherry shrimp were first introduced to the United States from Taiwan in the 1990s and quickly became a popular choice for home aquariums.

They are now widely available in pet stores and online retailers around the world. However, the accidental or intentional release of these shrimp into natural waterways has led to proliferation that can impact local species biodiversity.

Cases of Invasive Cherry Shrimp

One example of the negative impact of invasive cherry shrimp can be seen in Poland. Cherry shrimp were introduced into a Polish lake by aquarium hobbyists, and over time, the shrimp flourished and eventually outcompeted native species.

In Germany, cherry shrimp were introduced into a small stream, and within just three years, the shrimp overpopulated the area and negatively impacted other aquatic species. In Hawaii, cherry shrimp were introduced into the wild for commercial purposes to control algae in rice paddies.

However, the shrimp did not stay confined to the paddies and began breeding in the natural waterways. Their prolific reproduction led to concerns regarding the potential displacement of native shrimp species.

Reminders on Releasing Cherry Shrimp

It’s important to remember that cherry shrimp, like any aquarium species, should never be released into natural waterways. Not only can they negatively impact native species and biodiversity, but they can also become invasive themselves.

Instead, hobbyists should always dispose of unwanted or excess cherry shrimp by donating them to a local aquarium store or breeding them selectively in a controlled facility. In conclusion, breeding cherry shrimp and keeping them in aquariums can be a rewarding hobby, but it is important to practice responsible ownership.

The accidental introduction of cherry shrimp into natural waterways poses a serious threat to native species and biodiversity and can impact local ecosystems negatively. Be sure to handle these shrimp responsibly, and never release them into the wild.

Cherry shrimp are a popular and fascinating species for aquarium hobbyists. Proper care and conditions can help maintain a healthy and thriving colony of cherry shrimp in your tank.

Ideal stocking density, water temperature,

pH, copper toxicity, and hiding places are critical factors for the overall health and well-being of cherry shrimp. Breeding cherry shrimp can be a rewarding and exciting experience, but it is crucial to do it responsibly and avoid introducing them into natural waterways to prevent them from becoming invasive.

Maintaining responsible ownership of these creatures is crucial to protect native species and maintain biodiversity in ecosystems.

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