How To Easily Setup A Planted Cherry Shrimp Breeding Tank!

The popularity of keeping cherry shrimp is at an all-time high and I wanted to publish this guide going over how you can easily set up a planted cherry shrimp tank to help my readers.

While my primary focus is on cherry shrimp because of their widespread appeal, this tank setup will also work well with other neocaridina shrimp varieties like blue dreams, orange sunkist, yellow goldenbacks, green jade, and rilli shrimp.

A primary benefit of this shrimp tank setup is that it’s suitable for both breeding and displaying cherry shrimp.

This ensures that the majority of people who are interested in building their own shrimp tank will be able to get something out of this article and help you build an environment for your shrimp to thrive in.

Choosing The Right Tank For Your Shrimp Tank!

My Shrimp Tank
My Shrimp Tank

The 5-10 gallon (19-38 liter) capacity of nano tanks makes them one of the better options for dedicated cherry shrimp tanks as they are small enough to fit in most homes while providing plenty of room for a thriving shrimp colony.

The most common nano tank shapes are the standard rectangle (long) tank and the cube tank with both being great options for cherry shrimp.

My table below covers the main advantages of rectangle and cube tanks to help you find the best tank for your needs.

CriteriaRectangle TanksCube Tanks
Space EfficiencyEasily fits on standard shelves and counters due to elongated shape.Ideal for a desktop tank because of its small footprint.
Viewing AreaLarger front viewing area allowing for better display of shrimp and decorations.Equal viewing from all sides, for all-round viewing.
Decoration And PlantingOffers more surface area for decorations and plants, creating varied environments.Allows for taller decorations and plants making it ideal for stem plants to help with water parameters.
MaintenanceIt’s usually easier to reach all parts of a longer tank for cleaning and maintenance.Deeper tanks might pose challenges in reaching the bottom for cleaning or retrieving items.

Personally, I prefer to use cube tanks for my dedicated shrimp tanks as the live plants and hardscape I add increase the surface area of the tank providing plenty of space for my cherry shrimp to graze.

Rectangle tanks can work just as well though so if the area you plan to keep your tank works better with a rectangle tank, go for it.

5 Gallon Tanks

Cherry Shrimp In Their Tank
Cherry Shrimp In Their Tank

Five gallon tanks are the absolute minimum tank size I would recommend for anyone looking to set up a cherry shrimp breeding tank as they are large enough to prevent overcrowding problems once your shrimp start breeding.

This Fluval cube tank is a great all-in-one aquarium for anyone looking to use a cube tank with most generic 5 gallon rectangle tanks working well.

The main advantage of the five-gallon shrimp tank is its size as they are tiny and can easily fit in most areas of your home with the main disadvantage being their price.

For some reason, 5 gallon tanks are often more expensive than 10 gallon tanks like this 10 gallon Aqueon tank that is cheaper than both of our recommended 5 gallon tanks.

If possible, I would highly recommend that you go with a 10 gallon tank if possible as they are usually cheaper and offer far more space for your shrimp to thrive.

10 Gallon Tanks

My 10 Gallon Tank
My 10 Gallon Guppy Tank

The 10 gallon shrimp tank is pretty much the gold standard when it comes to shrimp keeping and it is probably the most popular tank size in the hobby.

It is large enough for you to add plenty of live plants to your tank while still being small enough to easily fit in your home.

As I mentioned in the previous section, 10 gallon tanks are often cheaper than 5 gallon tanks with this 10 gallon Aqueon tank being a great rectangle tank that is dirt cheap!

10 gallon cube tanks can be difficult to find so you may have to settle for the more common 7 gallon cube as this converts to 30 liters which is the most common cube tank size in Europe so manufactures use the same tank size in the US.

Other Tank Sizes

My 29 Gallon Community Tank
My 29 Gallon Community Tank

You can use 3 and 4 gallon tanks as display tanks for a small number of cherry shrimp if needed but they can quickly become overcrowded if used as a breeding tank.

This 3 gallon Tetra tank is a decent option for anyone who is running low on space and wants to make a cherry shrimp display tank for 5-10 high-grade cherry shrimp.

I really wouldn’t recommend that you use tanks over 10 gallons for your shrimp tank unless you are a commercial breeder looking to breed as many shrimp as possible.

Even then, tanks over 10 gallons are often discouraged in case there is a problem in the tank and you lose the full colony to disease or a water leak.

I keep cherry shrimp in my 29-gallon community tank along with several popular community fish and they still breed but most of the baby shrimp end up as food for their tank mates.

Choosing The Right Equipment For A Cherry Shrimp Tank!

Most modern all-in-one kit tanks will come with a filter, heater, and light helping to keep things as simple as possible but it’s usually better to purchase your own tank accessories if possible.

This is due to the accessories in a kit tank often being low-quality and designed for use with fish rather than shrimp.

For example, filters can make or break a cherry shrimp breeding tank and most people really should be using a sponge filter but more on that in the next section.

Stock lights can be a waste of time for cherry shrimp tanks too as they are often too bright for the shrimp while also being too low power to promote healthy tank growth!

Filter

The Filter And Air Pump
The Filter And Air Pump

Sponge filters are perfect for cherry shrimp tanks as they are cheap, easy to use, provide minimal water flow, and offer mechanical and biological filtration for your tank.

I use an AQQA sponge filter that I reviewed in full here with a cheap USB air pump in most of my tanks and would highly recommend the combo for shrimp tanks.

Not only is this setup cheap to purchase but the air pump is only 1 watt making it very cheap to run too.

Technically, the live plant selection that I will recommend later in the article may be enough to remove the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate from your tanks water column but I would still recommend the use of a small sponge filter if possible.

Moving water at the top of the aquarium is important because it prevents oily biofilm from developing on the surface and encourages good gas exchange

aquarium co-op

The bubbles from the sponge filter cause surface agitation that results in gas exchange converting CO2 into oxygen ensuring that your shrimp can breathe.

This may sound basic but many people are unaware of the changes that occur in a planted tank at night.

During the day, aquatic plants absorb CO2, producing O2, and during the night they absorb O2 and produce CO2.

atlas scientific

This is due to photosynthesis temporarily stopping at night due to a lack of light so no CO2 is converted into oxygen while low levels of respiration still occur absorbing oxygen and producing CO2.

As the CO2 levels increase in your tank, it can become difficult for your shrimp to breathe and pH levels can also start to fluctuate but the surface agitation from a sponge filter helps to minimize this.

Heater

The Heater In My Shrimp Tank
The Heater In My Shrimp Tank

Heaters are technically optional in cherry shrimp display tanks but I would class them as essential in cherry shrimp breeding tanks.

This is due to female cherry shrimp producing over 30% more eggs when living in water with a temperature of 79°F (26°C) compared to 68°F (20°C).

Egg development is accelerated with increasing temperature

Research Gate

That same study also found that cherry shrimp egg development is around 12% quicker in water with a temperature of 79°F (26°C) compared to egg development at 68°F (20°C).

Thankfully, most all-in-one tank stock heaters are preset to run at a temperature of 77°F (25°C) so you will get the majority of these benefits with the heater that comes included with your tank.

If you purchase a tank without a heater or want to upgrade the stock heater then I would highly recommend the Fluval T50 as it’s my go-to heater of choice and performs perfectly in my tanks.

Light

My Shrimp Tank Light
My Shrimp Tank Light

I use the stock light that came included with my tank for my own shrimp tank as it is a kit tank specifically designed for use with planted shrimp tanks.

Unfortunately, most kit lights are either designed with fish in mind or just designed to illuminate your tank even if the light is far too bright for fish and shrimp.

With this being a planted cherry shrimp tank build, many cheap kit lights will need to be upgraded to something like a cheap Nicrew light.

As I covered in my article going over if shrimp sleep, bright lights can stress your shrimp out causing them to hide or be inactive during the day.

This is why I usually recommend a 8 hour photoperiod (lights on) for a standard light but something like the Nicrew C10 has a built-in 24/7 light cycle that is perfect for shrimp.

Any decent light with a 24/7 light cycle that has a ramp up/down phase and is suitable for plant growth should work in this type of tank though.

Substrate

The Substrate In My Shrimp Tank
The Substrate In My Shrimp Tank

Cherry shrimp can thrive on a huge range of different substrates with some people even breeding them in bare-bottom tanks and getting great results.

The perfect substrate for your cherry shrimp tank will often come down to your specific goals for the tank.

If you are looking to breed cherry shrimp for a profit and not bothered about the aesthetics of your tank then the bare-bottom approach with some free-floating java moss can be a great option.

Personally, I like to make my tanks look the best they can so I heavily plant them with a range of different live plants so I choose to use a substrate.

I also like to add 1.5-2 inches (4-5 cm) of substrate to the bottom of my shrimp tanks as an absolute minimum with a deep substrate bed offering several advantages to your tank but that’s something to cover in a different article.

The vast majority of substrates fall into one of two categories, inert and active.

Inert Substrates

Inert substrates are usually considered the best substrate for cherry shrimp tanks as they don’t have an effect on your tank’s pH level.

Two of the best inert substrates on the market that work well with cherry shrimp are CaribSea Eco-Complete and Seachem Flourite with both being great choices.

Plus, as inert materials, they do not impact the pH, water hardness, or other water parameters in any significant amount.

aquarium co-op

If you don’t want to add live plants to your shrimp tank then you can use a cheap, inert sand substate too.

Inert substrates can be easier for people new to the hobby who don’t want to take any additional actions to counter the substate changing your tank’s pH and water hardness.

You just add the substrate to your tank, plant it, fill it with water, and add your shrimp.

Active Substrates

Fluval Stratum
Fluval Stratum

Active substrates have a buffering effect on your aquarium and will lower your tank’s pH and soften its water hardness.

This can be excellent for anyone looking to keep caridina shrimp as they prefer to live in lower pH water but cherry shrimp usually prefer a pH range of 6.5-8.

These compact, nutrient-rich balls of soil are also known as “active substrates” because they tend to lower pH and soften water hardness.

aquarium co-op

Some people who choose to use an active substrate in their tank will need to use products like API proper pH 7.0 to help counter the buffering effect of their substate.

This is why so many people instantly recommend inert substrates for cherry shrimp tank but people often overlook the fact that many people, including myself live in areas with naturally soft tap water.

If your tap water is naturally soft then it can have a pH as low as 6 meaning you will need to use something to increase its pH level to get it within the recommended range for your cherry shrimp anyway.

This is why I use Fluval Stratum in my own shrimp tanks as the natural pH level of my tap water is actually slightly lower than the substrate will buffer my tank to anyway forcing me to increase my tanks pH either way.

In addition to that, Fluval Stratum is cheap, easy to find, and my live plants thrive in it.

Adding Live Plants To Your Cherry Shrimp Tank!

Live Plants In My Shrimp Tank
Live Plants In My Shrimp Tank

Live plants are optional in a shrimp tank but highly recommended, even a small amount of java moss can go along way when breeding cherry shrimp.

Here are the three main advantages of adding live plants to your cherry shrimp tank:

  1. Hiding Spots
  2. Water Parameters
  3. Food Source

Java moss is probably the single most beneficial plant to add to a cherry shrimp tank as it offers all three of these advantages while most other plants only offer two.

I know a few cherry shrimp breeders who only use java moss in their cherry shrimp tanks and they get great results with very high shrimplet yields.

If you want to build a display tank rather than a breeding tank then integrating various other live plants in addition to the java moss is probably a good idea.

My article going over the best plants for shrimp tanks can help you choose the perfect plants for your tank.

Hiding Spots

Mosses like java moss and Christmas moss are at the top of the list because not only are they dense enough to provide good cover for baby fish and shrimp, but they tend to attract mulm and microorganisms for them to forage on.

aquarium co-op

Wild cherry shrimp are at the bottom of the food chain in their natural habitat so they appreciate having hiding spots in their tanks.

Stressed cherry shrimp will rarely breed and they can have trouble molting resulting in other problems with the shrimp that may eventually cause them to die.

Thankfully, live plants are an excellent source of hiding spots for cherry shrimp with driftwood and rocks both working well too.

Water Parameters

Plants purify the water and substrate,
thereby reducing tank maintenance (water changes, gravel vacuuming, etc).

diana walstad – Small Planted Tanks for Pet Shrimp

All live plants absorb ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate from your tanks water column helping to maintain safe, stable water parameters for your cherry shrimp.

Fast growing stem plants and floating plants usually absorb far larger amounts of these toxins than other plants but all plants play their part.

Some fast-growing stem plants that are perfect for absorbing ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are:

Amazon frogbit and red root floaters are two of the most popular floating plants that work well in shrimp tanks but they both have their own advantages and disadvantages.

My red root floater vs frogbit comparison article goes into this in more detail but I think that red root floaters are slightly better in most tank setups.

Food Source

Algae and biofilm grow on most live plants with both of these being great food sources for your cherry shrimp.

As you may have guessed, good old Java moss is one of the best live plants for growing algae, biofilm, and microorganisms for your cherry shrimp to eat.

Most other mosses can also work well but the longer length of fully grown java moss also acts as a hiding spot while it’s moderate growth rate absorbs a decent amount of ammonia pushing it ahead of other mosses.

Plants I Keep In My Cherry Shrimp Tank

Plants In My Shrimp Tank
Plants In My Shrimp Tank

These are the live plants I keep in my own shrimp tank:

This is far from a comprehensive list of suitable plants for shrimp tanks and there are plenty of great options out there for anyone that wants to try their hand at aquascaping their shrimp tank.

As I covered in my article on anubias melt, in my experience and the experience of some of my friends, anubias is not as beginner-friendly as many people suggest.

In my opinion, the wide range of available cryptocorynes are far more beginner-friendly and I prefer them over anubias in my own tanks and would nudge beginners in their direction over the various types of anubias.

Recommended Plants For Your Shrimp Tank

If I could only choose three live plants for my shrimp tank I wouldn’t actually choose anubias or cryptocorynes and I would go with:

The java moss covers the substrate and hardscape, the limnophilia takes up the verticle space in the tank to increase surface area, and the red root floaters float on the surface providing top cover.

All three offer good hiding spots, they also absorb decent amounts of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate while also having algae and biofilm grow on them for your cherry shrimp to eat.

Using Hardscape In A Cherry Shrimp Tank!

Hardscape is not essential in a cherry shrimp tank and can easily be left out if you are looking to keep things as simple as possible or keep your costs low.

That said, driftwood and rocks increase the surface area of your shrimp tank allowing you to add more java moss to your tank.

As I mentioned in my article on using Gorilla glue in aquariums, you can add a few dots of the glue to your driftwood or rock and then glue your java moss in place.

Your java moss will start to grow within days and after around a month, it will be spreading over the hardscape and increasing the amount of surface area it occupies in your tank.

Driftwood

Driftwood In My Shrimp Tank
Driftwood In My Shrimp Tank

Driftwood is my preferred hardscape of choice for shrimp tanks as its lighter than rocks and comes in shapes that are better suited for small tanks.

Bogwood and spider wood are both popular options that can work well in shrimp tanks with both being relatively cheap.

Bogwood can release tannins that add a yellow/brown tint to your tank water and spider wood can develop a thick biofilm after initially submerged in water.

Neither of these present a danger to your shrimp with the biofilm from spider wood actually being a valid food source but they can put some people off using them in their own tanks.

cholla wood can be an excellent addition to a shrimp tank but it can be a little difficult to find in some areas and its price tag is starting to creep up.

There are some expensive types of wood on the market too such as dragon wood that are primarily designed for advanced aquascapes rather than shrimp tanks so save your money and go with the cheaper options.

I have bogwood in my own shrimp tank as its what I had at hand, it could just have easily been spider wood or cholla wood, just go with whatever is available and cheap in your area.

Rocks

Rocks In My Shrimp Tank
Rocks In My Shrimp Tank

I have a couple of rocks in my shrimp tank but they are essentially just surface area for biofilm and algae to grow on for my shrimp to eat.

Shrimp tanks are usually too small for you to use large, heavy rocks in them so I would usually advise against using anything other than small river rocks unless you are an advanced aquascaper.

The rocks that I have in my own shrimp tank could easily have been left out and replaced with live plants or driftwood.

Adding Water To Your Cherry Shrimp Tank!

Always use a tap water condition on your tap water before you add it to your shrimp tank to neutralize the chlorine, chloramine, and heavy metals.

This step is important as all three of these contaminants in western tap water can cause problems for your cherry shrimp and the beneficial bactera colonies you need to grow in your tank in the next section.

Different tap water conditioner products on the market work in slightly different ways so always follow the specific dosing instructions on the label of the tap water conditioner product you use.

Some products work in as little as five minutes while others take an hour to fully neutralize the contaminants in tap water.

Cycling Your Cherry Shrimp Tank!

Nitrogen Cycle Cheat Cheet for beginners!
Nitrogen Cycle Cheat Cheet For Beginners!

Cycling your new shrimp tank is far more important than most beginners initially realize and it can make or break your tank.

The cycling process gives your beneficial bacteria colonies a chance to build up in your tank so they are able to convert ammonia to nitrite and nitrite to nitrate.

There are two main methods of cycling a tank, the fish-in cycle and the fishless cycle with both having their advantages and disadvantages covered in the table below.

CriteriaFish-in CycleFishless Cycle
Advantages– Can start with shrimp immediately.
– Cycle often stabilizes faster with living organisms present.
– No risk to shrimp during the cycling process.
– Allows for precise control and measurement of ammonia levels.
Disadvantages– Shrimp are exposed to potentially harmful levels of ammonia and nitrite.
– Requires close monitoring and possible daily water changes to protect shrimp.
– Takes longer as there are no living organisms to start the nitrogen cycle.
– Requires the addition of an ammonia source for bacteria to develop.

I recently shared my experiences with the fish-in cycle for my community tank but shrimp are usually more sensitive to their water parameters than fish.

Fish-In Cycle Method

When shrimp pond ammonia levels go beyond the tolerance limits, it inhibits chitinase expression, moulting, growth, phenoloxidase and haemolymph antimicrobial activity, thereby attenuating shrimp innate immune response.

research gate

I actually used the fish-in cycle method with my shrimp tank but most people usually recommend that you use the fishless cycle.

It is true that ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels can be harmful to your shrimp but fast-growing plants can turn those toxins into new leaves and plant growth rather than leave them to cause problems in your shrimp tank.

I used Java Moss, Red Root Floater, and Limnophila Sessiliflora to absorb the toxins when cycling my shrimp tank and they performed well with ammonia and nitrite levels remaining low throughout the cycling process.

The basics of the fish-in cycle method for shrimp is to get your tank ready, include fast-growing stem and floating plants, and then add a small number of shrimp, usually less than 10.

Feed your shrimp sparingly for the first week and check your water parameters daily.

If your ammonia or nitrite levels ever get to 0.25 ppm, do a 30-50% partial water change and repeat this process every day until your ammonia and nitrite levels are consistently at 0 ppm without fluctuating.

Then you can add another 10 cherry shrimp to your tank and repeat the process or wait for your cherry shrimp to breed and naturally increase their numbers.

There will be little to no algae or biofilm in your shrimp tank during the fish-in cycle method so you will have to feed your shrimp small amounts of food every other day until the algae and biofilm levels increase.

The Fishless Cycle Method

A fishless cycle is safer but takes longer with most people recommending this method of cycling your tank when setting up a shrimp tank.

To cycle your shrimp tank with the fishless cycle, set your tank up, add your plants, and add a source of ammonia to your tank.

Some people add fish food to their shrimp tank as the organic matter will break down into ammonia but a pure source of ammonia like Dr Tim’s Aquatics Ammonium is probably the better option as you can control the amount of ammonia in your tank.

It is usually best to add enough ammonia until your water test kit reads 2 ppm of ammonia as this will be enough to jump-start your beneficial bacteria growth as fast as possible.

Nitrifying bacteria grow slowly. Under optimal conditions, it takes 15 hours for a colony to double in size!

Duke UNIVERSITY

The fishless cycle is slow so patience will be key!

Check your water parameters every day and fill in the chart included with Dr Tim’s Aquatics Ammonium and follow the dosing instructions depending on the changes in your ammonia and nitrite levels.

Stick to the dosing system on the table that comes with the ammonium as you may need to re-dose your tank depending on the readings from your water parameter test kit.

If you have live plants in your tank you may find that you can cycle your tank in as little as seven days when using this method but it will usually take far longer.

Most people like to do a 25% partial water change when their ammonia and nitrite levels both read 0 ppm and then add their shrimp.

Adding Your Cherry Shrimp To Your Tank!

My drop acclimatization
My drop acclimatization

There are two main ways to add your cherry shrimp to your aquarium with these being the plop and drop method and the drip acclimatization method.

Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages but most people recommend that you use the drip acclimatization method with shrimp.

Shocking your shrimp or fish with methods like the “plop and drop” method can put them at risk of experiencing instant health problems and potentially dying. For that reason, the best acclimation procedure for new shrimp and other sensitive fauna is the drip method.

buce plant

The plop and drop method has you open the container or bag your shrimp were shipped in and then put your shrimp into your shrimp tank.

It’s that fast but there are several risks to your shrimp due to the rapid change in water parameters.

The drip acclimatization method takes a little longer and needs you to have a bucket and drip line but it is far safer for your shrimp.

Note – You can use some siphon or airline tube with a knot in it but a drip line is far easier and only costs a couple of dollars making it a great addition to your fish/shrimp-keeping accessories.

The Drip Acclimatization Method

This is how you drip acclimatize your cherry shrimp when adding them to a new tank.

Open the bag or container your cherry shrimp came in and pour the water and shrimp into a clean bucket.

Secure the “in” end of your drip line to the aquarium you want to add your cherry shrimp to and the “out” end to the bucket that currently has your cherry shrimp in.

Squeeze the suction section of your drip line to start the siphoning process and let the water slowly move through your drip line.

Adjust the roller on your drip line until you are getting 1-2 drops per second coming out of your drip line into the bucket with your cherry shrimp in it.

This will slowly adjust the pH, GH, KH, and other water parameters in the bucket to match those of the aquarium you are about to add your cherry shrimp to.

Leave the drip acclimatization rig as it is for three hours or until the amount of water in your bucket has doubled in volume.

Some people like to remove half of the water from their bucket and then wait another three hours or let the water volume in their bucket double again but this is optional.

Gently net your shrimp while they are in the bucket and gently place them into their new tank.

Monitor the behavior of your shrimp for the next few hours but it is normal for shrimp to find a hiding place and hide for the first few days they are in a new tank.

Water Parameters For Your Cherry Shrimp Tank!

Tank Water Parameters
Tank Water Parameters

Cherry shrimp water parameters are pretty straight forward and easy to maintain in most tank setups.

Yes, as I mentioned earlier in the article, it can be a little difficult to balance the tank pH if you use an active substrate but something like API proper pH 7.0 can easily fix this.

If you live in an area with hard water then my article going over how to lower pH in your shrimp tank can help you lower your pH but it is very rare to have tap water with a pH over 8.

My table below goes over my recommended water parameters for a cherry shrimp breeding tank.

Water Temperature79°F (26°C)
Water FlowStill-Low
pH6.5-8
GH6-8 dGH
KH2-8 dKH
TDS250-300
Ammonia0 ppm
Nitrite0 ppm
Nitrate<10ppm
Cherry Shrimp Breeding Water Parameters

If you are creating a cherry shrimp display tank then you can use a water temperature range of 57-86°F (14-30°C) but female cherry shrimp will produce more eggs when kept in a water temperature of 79°F (26°C).

Feeding The Cherry Shrimp In Your Tank!

Food For Cherry Shrimp
Food For Cherry Shrimp

There’s a wide range of food options available for cherry shrimp on the market and the ideal food for your cherry shrimp will depend on your goals for your aquarium.

For example, as I mentioned in my article on breeding cherry shrimp, high-protein foods such as bloodworms can drastically improve the egg production rates of female cherry shrimp making this a great food source when breeding shrimp.

There are commercial shrimp foods on the market that are specifically designed to enhance the color of your cherry shrimp making these a great option for people who are building display tanks for their cherry shrimp.

I would guess that the majority of my readers will be perfectly fine letting their cherry shrimp graze on the algae and biofilm that builds up in their tank and add treat food every now and then.

They will graze on algae, biofilms, and dead plants and animals on the bottoms of rivers.

Univercity Of Florida

This is the exact approach I take with my tanks as it mimics their natural diet and so far, its working very well.

My cherry shrimp spend the majority of the day grazing on whatever is growing on the plants or driftwood in their tank and then come down for their bug bites pellet when they feel like it.

How Often Should I Feed My Cherry Shrimp?

Here is the shrimp feeding schedule I use in my own cherry shrimp tank.

DayMain FoodTreat Food
MondayAlgae And BiofilmBug Bites
TuesdayAlgae And BiofilmNone
WednesdayAlgae And BiofilmBug Bites
ThursdayAlgae And BiofilmNone
FridayAlgae And BiofilmBug Bites
SaturdayAlgae And BiofilmNone
SundayAlgae And BiofilmNone

The algae and biofilm grow in the shrimp tank for free helping to keep your costs as low as possible.

Treat foods are optional but highly recommended if you are looking to breed your cherry shrimp as they help increase the protein intake resulting in higher egg production.

Here is a breakdown of the core foods I have tried with my own cherry shrimp.

Algae And Biofilm

Algae and biofilm make up the bulk of my cherry shrimp’s diet, and they spend most of their time feeding on it across the various surfaces in their tank.

Not only is algae and biofilm a natural part of the diet of cherry shrimp in the wild but they also grow in your tank for free!

I recently published an article on how I removed algae from my java moss and my cherry shrimp were my secret weapon.

The Amano shrimp in their tank did help but the cherry shrimp were grazing on the algae 24/7 until it was all gone and then they moved onto the various other surfaces in their tank to feed too.

Amano shrimp definitely seem to eat a wider range of algae but I really do think cherry shrimp are an underrated algae eater when it comes to soft green algae and soft brown algae.

I do know a few people who only feed their cherry shrimp algae and biofilm with Indian Almond Leaves being a great addition to this type of shrimp tank as they are the perfect surface for culturing algae, biofilm, and microorganisms to ensure your shrimp have plenty of food.

Bug Bites

Bug Bites For Cherry Shrimp
Bug Bites For Cherry Shrimp

My shrimp really enjoy Bug Bites granules and I use them as a treat food for my cherry shrimp every other day.

I have tried a few products from the Bug Bites range with my cherry shrimp and the Tropical Formula definitely seems to be their favorite.

Bug Bites are high in protein too making them a great food option for anyone looking to breed their cherry shrimp and increase the number of eggs their females products.

I used to use bloodworms for this but my cherry shrimp would move around the tank with the bloodworm making it difficult to remove the remains resulting in problems with the tanks ammonia levels.

This doesn’t seem to be an issue with Bug Bites (full review here) though as my cherry shrimp just climb on top of the granule and start grazing so it’s easy to clean up any leftovers.

Repashy Gel Food

Repashy For Cherry Shrimp
Repashy For Cherry Shrimp

Rephashy gel food seems to be a big hit with some cherry shrimp while others really don’t seem to keen on it.

I have tried the grub pie and solient green formulas with my own cherry shrimp and they definitely prefer the solient green formula.

Even then though, both of my cherry shrimp colonies seem to prefer Bug Bites as their treat food with algae and biofilm as their main food source.

Shrimp Pellets

Shrimp King Complete For Cherry Shrimp
Shrimp King Complete For Cherry Shrimp

Shrimp pellets seem to be all the rage right now with Shrimp King currently being the dominant brand on the market.

I published a dedicated Shrimp King review that you may find helpful but here in the UK, Shrimp King pellets are more than double the price than in the USA putting many British shrimp keepers off them.

Still, if you can find Shrimp King pellets for a fair price in your area give them a try.

They were hit and miss with my cherry shrimp but some people think very highly of them and use them as the primary food source for their cherry shrimp.

Calcium And Magnesium Blocks

Calcium Cubes
Calcium Cubes

Cherry shrimp will require external sources of calcium and magnesium with many people choosing to supplement this in their shrimp’s diet.

The problem is, too much calcium and magnesium can be bad for a cherry shrimp with this often being overlooked.

I used to supplement calcium and magnesium with my own cherry shrimp until one of my friends who breeds shrimp for a hefty profit told me they never supplement minerals with their shrimp as the calcium and magnesium levels in their tap water are perfect for their shrimp.

Drinking water sources available to North Americans may contain high levels of Ca2+, Mg2+, and Na+ and may provide clinically important portions of the recommended dietary intake of these minerals.

National Library Of Medicine

After a little digging, I found a few studies that found the levels of calcium and magnesium in tap water in most Western countries are well within the required ranges for cherry shrimp.

Since then, I have stopped supplementing calcium and magnesium with my shrimp and I havent ran into any problems.

My shrimp molt and breed without issue but the tap water in your area may be low in these minerals requiring you to supplement them to keep your shrimp healthy.

On-Going Maintenance For A Cherry Shrimp Tank!

gravel vacuum
My Gravel Vacuum

The two main maintenance tasks for your cherry shrimp tank will be checking water parameters and implementing any required partial water changes.

This is usually more important for the first six to twelve months of your tank’s existence but after that, you usually get a feel for the tank and can reduce the frequency of your water parameter checks.

If you have added fast-growing stem plants and floating plants to your cherry shrimp tank then you may only have to do water top-ups to counter evaporation as the nitrogen cycle can be handled by your live plants due to the bioload of cherry shrimp being so low.

Final Thoughts

A well-balanced diet and consistent water parameters are paramount when building a thriving cherry shrimp tank.

Algae and biofilm, being natural and cost-effective, form the bedrock of the nutrition of your cherry shrimp, while treat foods like Bug Bites enhance protein intake for breeding.

It’s also crucial to consider the specific water mineral content in your region, potentially foregoing unnecessary supplements.

Adopting these best practices will ensure a vibrant, healthy ecosystem for your cherry shrimp.