Care Sheet: Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina davidi)
Species: Neocaridina davidi
Common name: Cherry shrimp
Lifespan: 2 years approx
Diet: Omnivorous; algae, biofilm, blanched/decaying vegetation. Will eat pellet/tablet foods. Large shrimp populations or dedicated shrimp tanks should be fed a wide variety of foods in small amounts on a daily/bi-daily basis.
Appearance: Ranges from clear and speckled, to full body coloration of many hues due to selective breeding, such as red, yellow and blue. Females are larger and more vibrant.
Use in hobby: Ornamental, selectively bred. Clean-up crew.
Note: Neocaridina davidi was once known as neocaridina heteropoda until the species was reclassified. Some people still sometimes refer to the old name, though it is falling out of fashion.
Min tank size: 9L or 2.5 gal
Our recommended size: 56L - 15 gal+ ; they are prolific breeders.
Filtration and flow: Gentle flow, sponge filter or any other filter with intake guards/covers to prevent shrimp death.
Substrate: Inert substrate, gravel, sand.
Decor: Choose decor or plants that provide a lot of hiding spots and high surface area for grazing. This can include mosses, ferns, porous volcanic rock and caves.
Tank Mates: Most fish are not suitable tank mates, shrimp thrive best in species only tanks. Choose small fish that cannot fit shrimp in their mouths, or other invertebrates like snails. Providing lots of decor is important, even small fish may eat young shrimplets.
Temperature: 20-24C, 69-75F
Consistency is important for all dwarf shrimp species/varieties. Aquariums should be matured over two months before introducing shrimp, this includes the nitrogen cycle and growing auflux (biofilm).
Behaviour and Biology
Neocaridina davidi spend much of the time grazing on surfaces. In aquariums with tank mates, they may be more shy to avoid predators. Instead of relying primarily on sight, neocaridina davidi tends to rely on feel with their long antennae to scope its surroundings.
Shrimp grow by molting out of their previous exoskeleton, their outer shells. This is a process that takes seconds at most, though if water parameters are not ideal- such as a lack of minerals, shrimp may become stuck in their molts and die. When shrimp molt, they leave behind a ghost-like exuviae (old exoskeleton) that may be left in the aquarium. The shrimp come back to consume this exuviae to gain minerals. After molting, shrimp may hide while their new exoskeleton hardens.
Dwarf shrimp are sexually dimorphic. Females have a larger “skirt” on their tail end and the appearance of a “saddle” in their carapace. The “skirt” enables females to hold fertilised eggs. The saddle is a mass of developing unfertilised eggs inside her, only visible in less opaque varieties of neocaridina davidi. Males tend to be smaller and less colorful than females, lacking the larger tail- though in some varieties males can be very colorful.
- Neocaridina davidi reach sexual maturity at around 4-6 months. Breeding occurs immediately after the female molts with a “saddle” present. In an aquarium, this can be alluded to when males start swimming about the water column in search of the fertile female.
- The female lays her 20-30 fertilised eggs into the underside of her tail, where they are protected by her “skirt” and kept oxygenated by the waving of her swimmerets.
- After about 30 days, the eggs will hatch as tiny miniatures of the adults. These shrimplets are difficult to see with the naked eye and will grow by molting.
- Female shrimp take about 30 days to develop eggs in her ovaries, and may be ready to breed again soon.
- In a mature aquarium, shrimplets don’t require additional care and are fed through naturally occurring biofilm. In very populated aquariums, additional food may be supplemented in powder form.