Red Cherry Shrimp Fact-sheet
Cheat Sheet - For those who want to get straight to the numbers
Temperature: 18oC - 30oC Ideally; 22oC - 26oC.
Water type: Freshwater.
PH: 6.5 - 7.8 (Most standard aquarium PH's are fine).
Lighting: Low-High (Any standard Aquarium lighting is good).
Substrate: Prefer a darker colours over brighter substrates.
Tank mates: Most medium to small fish.
Scientific name: Neocaridina Davidi.
Overview - What are Cherry Shrimp?
Red Cherry Shrimp, part of the Neocaridina family, are one of the most popular shrimp in the hobby. Although they are originally from the rivers and lakes in Taiwan, just about all the Cherries you can get are captive bread. This is primarily due to the shrimp being selectively bread for colour. However, due to the abundance and hence solid gene pool of the Red Cherry, it is one of the hardiest shrimp in the hobby, adapting to most water parameters successfully.
Environment - Where should you keep them?
Red Cherries are very adaptable and hardy. They will thrive in most standard aquarium conditions, however a close to neutral PH is ideal, with a temperature around 24oC will be most comfortable for them.
Live plants are a great addition, and are recommended for any aquarium in general. They will encourage beneficial bacteria and algae to grow on their leaves which the shrimp will eat. They will also provide hiding places for the shrimp and much more surface area for grazing. Lighting strong enough for the plants you have to grow is all you need, and the cherries will tolerate high lighting as well, especially if you have good plant cover.
Shrimp tend to like to blend into their environment. Because Neocaridinas are naturally black/green, they will become more coloured with a black substrate, and loose their colour with a white one. Also since they are more visible with a white environment, they may be slightly stressed.
Tank mates - With who can I keep them?
The general rule with keeping fish is "If it fits in their mouth, they will eat it" and this is just as true for what will eat shrimp. Unless you have vegetarian fish such as Otocinclus, any shrimp small enough to fit in a fishes mouth will be hunted, however adult and Juvenile cherries (at about 2cm to 1cm) are large enough to be safe with most freshwater fish. Also, if you have enough hiding places you will usually have enough baby shrimp survive until they are large enough not to be eaten and still propagate your colony.
Feeding - What do they eat?
Cherry shrimp are scavengers, and will mostly feed on the bacteria and algae growing on the surfaces of your aquarium. For a small colony (~5 shrimp for every 10 Litres maximum) they will tend to get enough food from the environment and feeding is not necessary. Ideally give them a dedicated shrimp food pellet or few grains every month, so that they have a good balance of nutrients. For larger colonies feeding weekly is ideal, and in general enough food that will be eaten in 2 hours is a good quantity. This will be a surprisingly small amount, even for a lot of shrimp. Most fish foods will be fine for them to eat, but they tend to prefer algae wafers and similar food for bottom feeders. They will also nibble on blanched zucchini, carrots, peas and spinach but this should not be the only thing you feed them.
If you have fish in the tank, the leftovers from their food will be more than enough for the shrimp as well. They will also help clean up excess food, however this is not an excuse to over-feed your fish!
Shrimp will not eat live animals or pests. Because of this you may get issues with worms and other such parasites in a shrimp-only tank, unless you keep it very clean constantly. For this reason I would personally recommend keeping a few small fish with them, to deal with those pests. An alternative for keepers with multiple tanks; is to drop in a few fish every month for a few days to clean up the tank for you, and take them out especially around the time you see baby shrimp.