Koi Angelfish
Koi Angelfish

Koi Angelfish

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Red Cherry Shrimp are classified as neocaridina and are the most common, beginner friendly shrimp you can keep. They are very peaceful and get along with any fish. In an ideal setup, neocaridina shrimp can be put with any tankmate, but sadly that is not true. Unfortunately for neocaridina shrimp; they are very delicious. I believe that like how humans love to eat shrimp, so do fish. So to successfully breed a large colony of neocaridina, they are best kept in a species only tank. Now that does not mean they have to be in a species only tank to breed. Adult neocaridina are big and fast enough to avoid most threats. It is the smaller shrimp you need to worry about. Newly hatched neocaridina spend a few days inactive in a single location, before they are big enough to wander. This leaves them vulnerable to any fish that happens to come nibbling. In a heavily planted aquariums, the young are more likely to survive and reach adulthood. Once you get a sizeable colony going, they become prolific breeders. This is common in well established tanks as the shrimp will forage for leftover scraps and infusoria, otherwise known as all the little creatures that live in your tank.

In the case of feeding neocaridina shrimp, I have found a tank that is well planted and established to be best. This way, they have all the hiding spots and infusoria to eat. For beginners setting up a new tank, their diets would need to be supplemented with sinking foods. They are slow scavengers, so feeding them daily is not recommended for beginners. I feed my colonies daily, but that is only during spring and summer as I do not keep them with a heater. While they can live in colder water temperatures, I found they are more active in temperatures above 70. In any lower water temperatures, their metabolism slows and food that would normally be picked apart in hours, lingers in the tank for days. The reason I do not heat my shrimp tanks is because I believe a more natural cycle helps them breed better. This increases the time between molts and lets the females rest. Once spring and summer hits, the shrimp go into full breeding mode and nearly all the females start carry eggs.

Neocaridina are extremely easy to breed, most shrimp keepers breed them unintentionally. This is especially true when they are being fed often. Males and females can be identified differently in their body shapes. Males are smaller and have a more streamlined abdomen, while females get bigger and have a thicker abdomen. A sudden drop in water temperature triggers breeding behavior for neocaridina. Since neocaridina do not do well in sudden water parameter changes, I recommend longer acclimation times and at most a 20% water change. While the minimum tank size is 5 gallons, beginners should consider a 10 gallon tank to buffer water parameters. When the females molt from their shell, a pheromone is released that attracts all nearby males. The males will start swimming around until they find the newly molted female and they will start breeding. I have not caught a pair of shrimp breeding, but have found many berried females. They tend to be found with eggs cradled under their tail and can be seen fanning the eggs to prevent fungus buildup. When the female is stressed, such as from being moved, they can drop their eggs. While seeing a berried female tends to be a good sign, sometimes it could be a parasite common in shrimp.

A common fungal infection with imported shrimp results in fuzz gathered on a shrimp's abdomen. Usually when this is found, the shrimp cannot be saved. This disease does not spread from a live shrimp to another live shrimp luckily. It only spreads when a sick shrimp succumbs and another shrimp eats it. Luckily this disease is only common when shrimp are imported from outdoor ponds, it is very uncommon to get a trank raised shrimp with this disease. Hence why I recommend asking your local fish store about the source of these shrimp. In my case, my source is from myself or when I get them from a supplier; I extensively look out for specific fungal diseases. A common pest that is harmful to shrimp are Planaria, they are a white worm with a slightly pointed head. These guys can slip in under a shrimp's carapace and eat their flesh. I have found treating them with Ich-X to be the most effective option. You would want to avoid copper for any invertebrate as small amounts are lethal to neocaridina. The reason I found an ich medicine to be effective is because as a fish keeper, I always want to have ich medicine on hand due to how common it can be. Another common pest to avoid is hydra, they are a type of polyp that gathers on plants and glass; extending their tendrils to catch prey. While less harmful to adults, hydra tend to hunt down shrimplets. I have found a 48 hour soak in the suggested dosage of ich-x to be best. Sometimes the dosage is not enough and I have exterminated all my hydra after a second dose. Just remember to increase the water change frequency to get out all the medicine.

So if you are looking to keep neocaridina, I would recommend setting up a planted tank with slow flow. Meaning to get a sponge filter as these guys love to grace on it to eat all the waste it picks up. Use sinking foods to for their main diet, with any infusoria growing in the tank as a supplement. Keep the parameters stable, which is why a bigger tank is highly recommended. Especially since you can keep larger colonies in the hundreds easier. These guys are very peaceful and are great with any fish that does not eat them. Most of all, you can collect the colors like a skittles bag, but do not mixing and matching tends to result in clear or brown shrimp. In the case for Red Cherry Shrimp, they do have grades varying from low cherry grade to high painted red grade. The average grade I sell is in the fire red category, but occasionally a lower grade sneaks in.

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