Red Cherry Shrimp – Detailed Guide: Care, Diet and Breeding

Red Cherry Shrimp guide

This detailed Red Cherry Shrimp guide will be telling you virtually everything you need to know about how you can successfully care and breed this aquatic creature and make the most out of it. The hobby of keeping Red cherry shrimp has become a popular demand in recent times.

Red cherry shrimp (RCS) is an excellent choice for people who have never kept shrimp before. They accept a variety of food, they are very hardy and can be kept in various kinds of water, breed easily, and are very sociable.

Apart from being lovely and beautiful creatures, aquarists have suddenly gravitated toward this creature for many obvious reasons. So do you feel like taking care of some red cherry shrimps but you do not know where to begin from?

Buy Red Cherry shrimp on Amazon

Overview of Red Cherry Shrimp 

Red cherry shrimpAnother name for the red cherry shrimp is cherry shrimp. It happens to be a dwarf kind of freshwater shrimp that has Taiwan roots. It is grouped in the category of invertebrates known as the Atydae family. That family group comprises over 20 other shrimp species.

This freshwater shrimp is actually loved by many because of its unbelievably peace-loving nature and for the fact that it can eat algae. Since it is one of the simplest shrimps to keep, it is highly preferred by both experienced and beginner aquarists.

Besides the fact that they help to add beauty to any tank they are put in, they are not difficult to maintain considering what they require to stay alive. While the most common species that are found in aquariums are those with red color, they do exist in a variety of colors in the wild.

Red cherry shrimps are not just hardy, but they also have what it takes to survive any freshwater aquarium. Plus, they are equally comfortable staying in tanks where there are so many plants, adequate shelter and hiding places. They can live for up to one or two years.

Quick Notes about Red Cherry Shrimp 

Name Red Cherry shrimp
Scientific Name Neocaridina davidi
Tank size (optimal) 5 – 10 gallons (~40 liters)
Keeping Very Easy
Breeding Very Easy (a high order shrimp).
Size 2.5 – 3 cm (~1 – 1,2 inches)
Optimal Temperature 22 – 28°C  (~72°F – 82°F)
Optimal PH 7.0 – 7.5 (6.0 – 8.0)
Optimal GH 6 – 8 (4 – 14)
Optimal KH 2 – 4 (1 – 8)
Optimal TDS 150 – 200 (80-400)
Nitrate Less than 20 ppm
Diet Algae eater/omnivore
Temperament Peaceful
Life span 1-2 years
Color Form Red (color grading)

Note: Red Cherry Shrimp (RCS)  has been Caridina denticulata sinensis (Kemp 1918), then Neocaridina denticulata sinensis, then Neocaridina heterpoda, and is now Neocaridina denticulata spp davidi (Bouvier 1904).

How They Behave

Red cherry shrimps are mostly famous because of their non-aggressive and peaceful behavior. They love to spend a considerable part of their time trying to graze on moss, Indian Almond Leaves, Alder Cones, substrate, etc. they are also fun to watch as they never stay idle, instead they are always moving around gradually from one spot to another within an aquarium.

How They Appear

Red cherry shrimpRed cherry shrimps are quite easy to spot. The females are generally longer than the males; they could grow as long as 1.5 inches. However, the most unique feature about the appearance of red cherry shrimp is that they are graded. The color grading can be anything from very deep red to pale colors that have red spots.

You can read more about “Red Cherry Shrimp Grading” right here.

You can read more about “How to Enhance Shrimp Color?” right here.

The females are more brightly colored and beautiful even though they exist in a gradation of colors. Another important feature about their appearance is that males and females cannot be clearly distinguished when they are young. But as they begin to mature, the females tend to grow a saddle-looking container on top their stomach; the saddle is usually colored orange and it is necessary for holding eggs before they become fertilized.

You can read more about “Shrimp Gender. Female and Male Difference” right here.

You can read more about “Culling Shrimp. Selective Breeding” right here.

Red Cherry Shrimp Habitat

If you hope to make the best of your cherry shrimps, then you need a little bit of information regarding where they come from. As it was stated earlier, these creatures can be traced back to Taiwan, where they are used to living in ponds and streams that are packed with plants and rocky materials.

Try to make sure your aquarium is close to what their natural habitat is like. So just make sure you stuff your aquarium with lots of plants; crevices for their hiding and moss. For some more fun with algae nibbling, you can add driftwood to your tank.

Of all the requirements that were stated above, make sure there is an adequate amount of moss because they love to hide themselves in it. Java moss and Water lettuce sound like a brilliant option in this regard. Still on their living conditions, you should never forget that these creatures glow mostly whenever they feel safest.

The formation of crevices are equally important, so if you cannot get the actual rocks, you can use pebbles instead.

Most aquarists who are not comfortable with the level of oxygen in their aquarium do employ the use of air stones to improve the situation.

You can read more about “Driftwood in Shrimp tank” and “Top 5 Plants for Your Shrimp Tank” right here.

Red Cherry Shrimp Tank Conditions

Tank conditions differ for these aquatic invertebrates. As such, you ought to be conversant with this part if you really want to get things right. Shrimps that are in the lower grades have been noted to survive in poor water conditions, while shrimps that are grouped in the high grades can only survive in good water conditions.

Keep your water pH at between 7.0 and 7.5, as you ensure a steady temperature between 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit (22 – 28°C).

Note: red cherry shrimps are supersensitive to nitrites and nitrates so they don’t do well in un-cycled tanks.

Basic Tank Accessories (links to check the price on Amazon)

*Remineralazers for RO/DI water: Salty Shrimp GH/KH+

A Suitable Aquarium Size for Red Cherry Shrimp

Red cherry shrimpThe size you should be using for your shrimps actually depends on the amount of shrimps you are looking forward to. They are capable of staying in an aquarium that has a volume capacity of 5 gallons.

For someone who is a beginner, you could adopt between 1 – 3 shrimp per 1 liter (5 – 10 per shrimp for every single gallon). A piece of noteworthy information here is that these inverts are fond of breeding quickly, so you should be having an aquarium that is slightly bigger and not the other way round.

If you are looking forward to breeding a colony of shrimp, then you should start thinking in the direction of an aquarium that can withhold up to 20 gallons of water.

Tank Mates for Red Cherry Shrimp

Inexperienced aquarists have struggled with raising up their Red cherry shrimps successfully simply because they seem to be putting them together with the wrong tank mates. Red cherry shrimps are incapable of hurting other tank mates and they have no mechanism for defending themselves against predators. Hence, if your cherry shrimps are going to last their entire lifespan, then they have to be together with the right tank mates. So who are their best tank mates?

The survival is that while highly graded shrimps are most suitable inside single species aquariums, the low graded shrimps can exist alongside other tank mates. You can count on their high rate of breeding to compensate for any possible casualties. Hence, tank mates do include: Pygmy Cory Catfish, Borneo Sucker, small plecos, freshwater snails (Mystery snail, Ivory snail, Gold Inca snail, Japanese trapdoor snails, Malaysian Trumpet Snail, Nerite snails, Ramshorn Snails, etc), and Otocinclus catfish.

The best way to ensure the safety of your shrimps is by making sure you have enough plants as well as hiding places in your aquarium. Avoid using these Discus, Cichlids, Arowanas, and Oscars as tank mates.

As a way of ensuring more safety for your shrimps, you should never put them in one tank with a larger species or any predatory fish.

Should you feel like exploring the way they relate with other species, you can always go ahead and include Assassin snails and other shrimps. Try using good shrimps like Amano shrimp, Ghost shrimp, Bamboo shrimp, Snowball shrimp, Vampire shrimpCaridina cf. babaulti, Red Nose shrimp, (check my guides about them).

Tip: If you do not want to lose the color of your shrimp, you should not keep them with other Neocaridina species because of the risk of hybridization.

You can read more about “Сherry Shrimp in a Community Tank. Tips to Make it Successful” right here.

Breeding Red Cherry Shrimp. Density and Ratio.

It is not advisable that you allow Red cherry shrimp to be alone. They are best kept in species only aquariums.

If you are keeping them together, they should be at least 10 of them, as that will help to reduce any dominance that could emerge as a result of their staying together. The more they are in their group, the more confident they will be, leading to more natural behavior.

If you are considering stocking them together, then you should use 5 to 10 shrimp for every gallon of water. Stocking them more than necessary could be counterproductive as they find it difficult to thrive in such conditions.

Try having more females than males in every tank, as that is an excellent way of encouraging breeding in the long run.

You can read more about “Male to Female Ratio in Shrimp Tanks” right here.

What Red Cherry Shrimp Eat

Outside aquariums, shrimps are no better than scavengers because they love to have a go at just about anything that comes on their path. They are categorized as omnivores, meaning they can feed on both dead plants and meat, which could be in algae form as well as small organisms.

Their scavenging habits have become an advantage to aquarists because you would not need to work so hard before you can have them fed.

Based on what many experts advise, high-quality pellets should make the bulk of their food. There are a lot of pellets that have been made for shrimps and other inverts at large, so you shouldn’t have any trouble getting them.

You can equally have their diet supplemented with vegetables and frozen foods. Nevertheless, ensure you boil or blanch your vegetables before feeding your shrimps with it. Excellent vegetable options include Zucchini, Cucumber, Lettuce, Carrots, and Spinach. You mustn’t, however, forget that these creatures aren’t so large so they would not need too much feeding before they will be satisfied. So never get bent on overfeeding them lest you end up polluting your tank.

Note:  Overfeeding and pollution can cause parasites infestation, such as PlanariaVorticellaScutariella Japonica, Ellobiopsidae or Cladogonium ogishimae, Hydra.
You can also read “How Often and How Much to Feed Shrimp”.

Shrimps are very effective when it comes to cleaning up your tank from algae. Although they do not eat up much algae, like Amano shrimp or Nerite snails, they will always keep your aquarium tank clean.

Your shrimps are assured of a much healthier life when you form the habit of taking any excess feed away from the tank, latest 2 hours after they are done eating. Doing that will help to ensure balanced water chemistry.

Calcium plays a huge role for the shrimp. Therefore. I highly recommend reading my article “How to Supplement Shrimp and Snails with Calcium”.

The Breeding Procedures

Have you made up your mind on breeding Red cherry shrimps? If your answer is yes, then you are in for a big surprise, as this shrimp species happens to be an extremely easy type to breed. Breeding is assured with these cherry shrimps, on the basis that they are properly looked after. The breeding process can be sub-divided into 3 easy stages:

Pre-breeding, breeding, and hatching.

The pre-breeding process comprises everything that you need to do to prepare the aquarium so that the shrimps can be breeding ready. To do this, your aquarium ought to be well-stuffed with plants; lots of them. That is necessary to provide the shrimp with comfort and security. After that, have them fed with foods that consist of high proteins. Now that you have them partly ready, the next thing you should do is increase the water’s temperature. They love to breed during the summer; so when the water temperature is increased, they get the impression that it is summer, which puts them in the breeding mood.

Shrimps can be deemed sexually mature when they are between 3 to 4 months old. It is very easy to know when mating has occurred because you would notice string of eggs along their tail. Aquarists use the term “berried” to describe the process of egg-carrying by the females. The females fan their tails a lot when they are carrying eggs because they want the eggs to receive adequate oxygen.

It takes around 30 days for hatching to occur. After that, within a few days, females are ready to mate and breed again.

The little shrimps are closely identical to the parents when they are born although they look smaller. The baby shrimps require mature aquariums to thrive in since such aquariums contain smaller organisms that they can feed on. But if you ever feel bothered about what the baby shrimps will feed on, you could have plants grown within, so they can feed on algae or biofilm

You can read more about “Breeding and Life Cycle of Red Cherry shrimp” right here.

Special Tips for Red Cherry Shrimp

Red cherry shrimps are very sensitive to copper. Copper is present in fish feeds and several medications. Hence you need to verify their labels before use.

As part of their life cycle, red cherry shrimps do shed their exoskeleton. When that happens, leave the shed skeletons in the aquarium because they will need it for replenishing basic nutrients in their bodies.

The one last thing you probably need to consider in this regard is the ammonia spikes. To this end, it will be absolutely relevant that your water temperature, pH and other parameters are kept at a fairly constant level. The more water you have in your aquarium tank the higher your chances of keeping these parameters constant.


You’ve seen it all. There is nothing extra-special about catering for a set of red cherry shrimps. From their dieting to how they breed to how they can be protected, these are pretty straightforward steps that can be handled by anybody, and that includes you. So what are you waiting for?

Buy Red Cherry shrimp on Amazon

18 thoughts on “Red Cherry Shrimp – Detailed Guide: Care, Diet and Breeding

  1. I have to ask – my rcs are becoming very aggressive with each other, most notably when I’ve fed them late. I *know* everything online states that they are friendly, non-aggressive animals that won’t hurt each other or fight, but I have absolutely seen them “gang up” on some of the weaker shrimp and dragged them to the bottom of the tank and began to eat them, usually whilst they’re alive still, unless they are lucky and manage to escape. In which case the rcs ganging up give up the chase and do something else. I am absolutely certain it isn’t just a molted shell and is a live shrimp 100% of the time it occurs. And I’m very sure it is happening as my partner noticed the same thing without my prompting because honestly I didn’t mention it because I thought I was going mad and info all over online says that just doesn’t happen. But it does.

    They often will eat the dead shrimp that have died from starvation, water issues or just plain old age, and I have so many of them that they’ll clean the body before I have a chance to notice the dead one and remove it. We had an issue about 3 years ago where all but about 7 shrimp died in the tank due to bad water management, but since then they’ve bred beyond what we can manage actually and forced us to get another tank, which is now already full and made us consider a third.

    I’m not sure if it’s silly believing that maybe these later generations have simply survived due to learning this aggression, or if they have “the taste for blood” or something from years of cleaning up dead ones and seen weaker ones as a source of food.

    But any advice or knowledge on this would be very appreciated, as this is the most detailed guide I’ve seen for them and you might’ve come across this phenomenon.

    1. Hi Alison,
      What is their diet? What do you feed your cherry shrimp?
      For example, in one of my articles “Dwarf shrimp and Molting problems. The White Ring of Death“, I mentioned that shrimp can turn cannibalistic if they do not get enough nutrients (especially protein). They need a lot of protein!

      In general, dwarf shrimp are peaceful, their Chela (“claws”) are too slender and ill-suited for the attack. However, they will use whatever they can to get more food, when they are hungry.

      Another possible reason is the density. Although they are not territorial, If you have way too many it can affect their behavior.
      Nonetheless, my bet is feeding.

      Best regards,

  2. It sounds like they are starving. Give them good quality food every day.

  3. Thank you so much!! I learned so much from your post! I’m new to breeding shrimp and just started a small tank with cherry shrimps. I’m still having difficulty figuring out which ones are males and which ones are females. For some of my shrimp it’s super easy for me to tell, but I have a few that’s in between. Can you help me determine the sex of my shrimps. Please email me so I can show you some pictures.

    1. Hi Monica,
      Sure, send me the pictures.
      I have just sent you my email.
      Best regards,

  4. This is a great and super detailed article!
    Is this info true for all cherry shrimp? I’m particularly interested in getting some blue cherry shrimp rather than the red ones.

  5. Wow. Thank you for all the information. I’m a newbie. Xx

    1. Hi Colette Karley,
      You are welcome 🙂
      Best regards,

  6. i’m getting a tank full of them soon we had about 8 and they kept dying and they had that white ring of death thing some of them died for no reason they were only about 1cm can you help?

    1. Hi Joel,
      Triops are omnivorous and will eat pretty much anything if it fits their mouth.
      Therefore, I would not recommend keeping them with shrimp. They will definitely catch some of your baby shrimp.
      Best regards,

  7. Hello Michael!

    I’ve recently started my shrimps tank with a few bloody mary. I made sure to have plenty of plants and algae by the time I got them, to make sure they have something to eat. I also feed them Shrimp Cuisine every day.

    I have a problem with some of them. When I first got them they were completely red. Within a day or so some of them turned almost completly white, it looks like it was spreading from their back and down the sides. They changed quickly, and been looking like that for about 3-4 weeks now.


    1. Hi Bob P,
      What color are your substrate and background? Do you feed them anything else besides Shrimp Cuisine? What are your water parameters?
      – stress
      – nutrition
      – environment
      These are the main factors that affect the coloration of the shrimp. 3-4 weeks is enough to acclimate, therefore, it should not be shipment stress. Unless there is something else that can stress them (aggressive tankmates?). Substrate and nutrition also play a huge role. I wrote about it in my article “How to Enhance Shrimp Color?”
      Best regards,

  8. I was wondering about the outcomes of breeding different grades of the same color of neocardinia. If, say, I had neon yellow and golden backs as tank mates and they interbred, would the offspring be 1) healthy and 2) some shade of yellow? Thanks very much for all the work you share–this site is a treasure trove!

    1. Hi D,
      >would the offspring be healthy and
      Yes, the color pattern does not affect their health at all.
      >would the offspring be some shade of yellow?
      Nobody will guarantee anything but I believe that in the first generations you will have yellow colors. However, there is a very high chance that it
      will get dodgy and unstable later on.
      Check out my article “Crossbreeding: Can You Mix Different Color Shrimp?
      Best regards,

  9. Is a swing of pH that goes from 7 to 7.6 ok for Cherry shrimp?


    1. The pH goes from 7.6 to 7 when the CO2 kicks on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Content