9 Cherry Shrimp Food Favorites For A Thriving Shrimp Colony!

Shrimp keeping is more popular than ever and I often see people reaching out for advice on the best cherry shrimp food.

There are a huge range of different options on the market and many of them will work but I wanted to share my own experiences with my readers.

Before I go any further, I want to say that these foods will work with any type of neocaridina shrimp. Most people keep cherry shrimp but my article on types of neocaridina shrimp goes into a lot more detail on the various colors available.

I keep several different colors of Neocaridina shrimp in my tanks, the colors may vary in the video clips below. However, they are all just different color variations of the same species that cherry shrimp belong to.

Snow Flakes

Shrimp Snowflake Food
Shrimp Snowflake Food

Snow flake shrimp food is one of the best products I have tried with my shrimp. It’s cheap, easy to use, and easy to find when ordering online.

Many brands offer similar products, but regardless of the brand, the main ingredient is soy husks. Some products also include brewer’s yeast, but the simplicity of the ingredients list helps keep snowflake shrimp food affordable.

The main drawback of this product is its low protein content. While exact amounts vary by brand, snowflake food is typically around 10% protein.

This can be problematic if you want to breed your shrimp as female shrimp tend to produce more eggs more frequently when their diet includes high amounts of protein.

If I had to choose just two products to feed my shrimp, this would be one of them. The benefits greatly outweigh the drawbacks, and I genuinely believe this is one of the best shrimp foods I have ever used.

Different Types Of Snowflake Shrimp Food
Different Types Of Snowflake Shrimp Food

Another advantage of snowflake shrimp food is the variety of flavors, as shown in my photograph above.

While larger brands offer some flavors within their ranges, I order my flavored snowflake food from Etsy as they have a wider range, and my shrimp love them.

These flavored options are slightly more expensive and don’t significantly increase the protein content. If you’re on a budget the regular flavorless option will work fine.

Serving size is a controversial topic within the shrimp-keeping community but I usually serve 0.2 inch (5mm) of a stick per 20 shrimp.

Unlike most other foods in this article, overfeeding with snowflake food isn’t a major concern. The soy husks take weeks to decay and are less likely to impact your water parameters.

Shrimp Eating Snowflake Food

Fluval Bug Bite Granuels

Fluval Bug Bite Granuels
Fluval Bug Bite Granuels

Fluval Bug Bite Granules are among the best shrimp foods available, and their high protein content makes them ideal for anyone looking to breed shrimp.

There are multiple formulas on the market but I stick to the two shown in my photograph above but there are some differences between them.

The “Bottom Feeder Formula” with the green label uses an insect larvae recipe and uses larger, more consistent granule sizes, making portion control easier to manage.

The “Tropical Formula” with the pale blue label combines insect larvae and salmon meal, offering a broader nutritional profile. However, the granule sizes are inconsistent, making portion control more challenging.

Despite their slightly different ingredient lists, both products contain approximately 45% protein, making them ideal for boosting the protein intake in the diet of your female shrimp.

This helps your female shrimp produce more eggs more frequently and appears to aid in carrying the eggs to term, thereby increasing the shrimp populations in your tanks.

I have found that adding one granule of the Bottom Feeder Formula per 10 shrimp daily helps maintain consistent breeding in my tanks, and I recommend trying a similar feeding amount.

If I had to choose two products to feed my shrimp, this would be the other one. Bug Bites complement snowflake food perfectly, helping to overcome the main drawback of snowflake food, which is its low protein content.

Shrimp Eating Bug Bites Granules

Bloodworm

Bloodworm
Bloodworm

Feeding bloodworms to shrimp is controversial because of their low nutritional value, although cherry shrimp seem to enjoy them.

I don’t use bloodworms as a staple food but as an occasional treat, offering them once or twice a week. Even then, I limit it to one bloodworm per 10 shrimp.

The main benefit of bloodworms is their high protein content, which can potentially help female cherry shrimp with egg production.

Some experienced breeders have anecdotal evidence suggesting that bloodworms contain something beyond just protein that aids in cherry shrimp breeding.

I have seen this with my shrimp having larger breeding yields even when I only feed my cherry shrimp bloodworms once a week.

Bloodworms are available in live, freeze-dried, or frozen forms. I prefer the frozen variety as they are cheap and easy to find in my area. However, I know others who use live or freeze-dried bloodworms without problems.

Shrimp Eating Bloodworm

Algae Wafers

Algae Wafers
Algae Wafers

Algae wafers are a popular food choice for cherry shrimp, but not all algae wafers are of equal quality; some provide minimal nutrition for your shrimp.

It’s important to read the actual ingredients and nutritional information of any algae wafers that you want to feed your shrimp and in most cases, you will be avoiding the cheaper products.

I use Hakari Mini Algae Wafers and my shrimp love them. They have an excellent reputation in the hobby and their smaller size makes it easier to offer suitable amounts for shrimp but they can be pricey.

The protein content is lacking in algae wafers and most products are less than 10% protein so I usually only use them as an alternative to snow flake food and top up their protein with Bug Bites.

I like to offer my shrimp a wide range of foods to keep their diet interesting and offer a wide range of vitamins and minerals.

If you are on a budget, you can skip algae wafers in your shrimp’s diet. They will feed on the fresh algae growth in your tank, which provides a similar nutritional profile to the algae wafers.

Shrimp Eating And Algae Wafer

Shrimp Molts

A Shrimp Molt In My Tank
Shrimp Molt

Shrimp molts are an underrated food source for shrimp; they are free, high in calcium, and contain other trace minerals.

Many people remove molts from their tank, but this is a mistake. It typically takes a day or two for the bacteria in your tank to soften the molt, allowing your shrimp to consume it.

Calcium is essential for shrimp to maintain a healthy carapace, but it is often lacking in the diet of pet shrimp.

Shrimp molts don’t provide enough calcium to be the sole source for your shrimp, but they can help supplement the trace amounts of calcium from other foods, contributing to your shrimp’s overall health and safety.

Beginners will be surprised by how quickly a shrimp colony can eat their molts.

Brown Diatom Algae

Brown Diatom Algae
Brown Diatom Algae

Brown diatom algae often grows in aquariums, particularly during the first 1-3 months after setup, and cherry shrimp love to eat this type of algae.

While some experienced shrimp keepers claim that Neocaridina shrimp don’t eat algae, my experience has been quite the opposite.

I frequently see my cherry shrimp consuming various types of algae in their tank. Additionally, a study by Tropica found that cherry shrimp are the second-best algae eaters relative to their size.

Many people remove brown diatom algae from their tanks, but I prefer to leave it as a food source for my shrimp. It typically takes 1-2 weeks for my cherry shrimp to consume the existing brown diatom algae, after which they feed on the fresh growth.

A friend of mine frequently transfers brown diatom algae from his fish tanks to his shrimp tanks to use as a natural, free food source.

Once the initial algae growth in your tank has subsided, switching to snowflake food or algae wafers will be a better option for the majority of your shrimp’s diet. However, real, natural, and free algae growth remains an underrated food source for your shrimp.

Shrimp Eating Brown Diatom Algae

Soft Green Algae

Soft Green Algae
Soft Green Algae

Soft green algae is a natural, free food source that cherry shrimp love to graze on.

Though this type of algae is less common than brown diatom algae in my tanks, my cherry shrimp love to eat it whenever they get the chance.

Unlike brown diatom algae which is a specific type of algae, soft green algae is a generic term for several different algae types.

I regularly see my cherry shrimp eating Green Spot Algae and Green Dust Algae, but there are other types of soft green algae that they may not consume.

If your cherry shrimp haven’t significantly reduced the green algae in their tank after two weeks, you might have a type they don’t like to eat, and it would be best to remove it manually.

A Shrimp Eating Soft Green Algae

Mulberry Leaves

Mulberry Leaves
Mulberry Leaves

Leaves can be an excellent food source for cherry shrimp, but shrimp tend to prefer certain types of leaves over others.

I have tried a wide range of different leaves with my shrimp but Mulberry leaves are consistently popular with my colonies.

Other popular choices include loquat leaves, guava leaves, banana stems, catappa leaves, and Indian almond leaves.

When foraging for leaves in your local area, it’s important to be cautious as they may contain pesticides or other harmful chemicals. To avoid this risk, I purchase my leaves online.

Different colonies do seem to have their own taste preferences when it comes to leaves too. My friend gave me some Indian almond leaves that his shrimp colonies love to graze on but my colonies wouldn’t touch them.

Taking the time to grow algae and biofilm on your leaves prior to adding them to your shrimp tank can be a great way to increase the nutritional value of the food.

Mulberry Leaves In A Drown Bin
Mulberry Leaves In A Drown Jar

I like to make a “Drown Jar” as shown in my photograph above. It’s nothing fancy, just a mason jar filled with water and some leaves dropped in it.

The jar is then placed near one of my larger aquariums so the aquarium light can help biofilm and algae grow on the leaves.

Another advantage of using some type of drown jar is that the leaves lose their buoyancy and sink as soon as you add them to your shrimp tank.

Hikari First Bites

Hikari First Bites
Hikari First Bites

Hikari First Bites can be an excellent food for baby shrimplets as it is tiny, lightweight, and easily disperses throughout your tank.

This ensures your shrimplets have a consistent food source no matter where they are in the tank. The small particle size and wide dispersal area also reduce competition among the baby shrimp during feeding.

You can skip this type of food if you aren’t focusing on breeding your shrimp and getting the maximum yields possible but this is a cheap, nutrient-rich food that is ready to use right out of the bag.

Fluval Bug Bite Flakes

Fluval Bug Bite Flakes
Fluval Bug Bite Flakes

Some flake foods can be a great option for shrimp, but it’s important to choose products with high-quality ingredients, as many flake foods offer minimal nutrition.

The flake food from the Bug Bites range is packed with high-quality ingredients while also offering plenty of protein to help your female shrimp produce healthy, viable eggs.

One advantage of the flake-based formula over the granule-based formula is that it can be easily crushed into small particles, making it ideal for feeding baby shrimp in your tank.

This allows you to use a single food product for both adult and baby shrimp. However, I have successfully bred hundreds of shrimp in my tanks using Bug Bites granules, snowflake food, and bloodworms.