Red Cherry Shrimp Overview
The Red Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridin heteropoda), also known as cherry shrimp or RCS, is a freshwater dwarf shrimp native to Taiwan.
It belongs to the invertebrate family Atyidae, of which there are more than 20 other varieties of shrimp.
It is a freshwater shrimp that is incredibly peaceful and known for its ability to eat algae.
Suitable for beginners and experienced aquarists, it is one of the toughest and easiest to keep in the aquarium.
They add color to any aquarium and freshwater they are placed in and are very undemanding, requiring little maintenance.
This invertebrate is very hardy and will survive in almost any freshwater aquarium setting. It will mostly thrive in heavily planted facilities, with plenty of shelter and hiding places for them to use as dens.
You can expect your cherry shrimp to live for one to two years.
They are known for their peaceful, non-aggressive behavior.
If you watch them, you will see that they spend large periods of the day grazing whatever is in your aquarium; plants, moss, substrate etc.
They are very active and will be busy during the day and night.
Red Cherry Shrimp Appearance
Females typically grow to 1.5 cm in length, with males being slightly smaller.
Undoubtedly, the most important part of appearance is color. Red Cherry’s coloration can vary from deeper red to lighter colors with red spots and they are classified according to color variations:
- Common Red Cherry Shrimp: They are known as regular cherry shrimp and are the lowest grade of Heteropoda neocaridin. They tend to be mostly light in color with red spots.
- Sakura Cherry: These are slightly redder but still have light spots on the body.
- Fire Red Shrimp: In this series, the shrimp is completely red.
- Painted Fire Red Shrimp: These are the most expensive and the highest rated. They are solid dark red with no transparent areas. You will also notice that they normally even have red legs.
Regardless of their rank, females will always be more colorful and larger. While the shrimp is young, it is not possible to tell the difference between males and females; however, as females mature, they develop a saddle on their stomach; this can be orange in color and is used to guard your eggs before they are fertilized in the breeding season.
Aquarium habitat and conditions
in nature the Neocaridin heteropoda are from Taiwan. They live in streams and ponds surrounded by densely packed plants and a rocky substrate.
So for your aquarium, try to mimic the natural conditions of their habitat as much as possible.
They do well in densely planted aquariums with lots of crevices and hidden moss; you can also include driftwood in the tank, as they nibble on the algae that grows on them. They also eat leftover organic matter which can form a reasonable part of their diet.
Moss is necessary in the aquarium, as they take care of themselves and hide inside; You can use java moss. Remember that when shrimp feel more secure they will develop better and their colors will be more vibrant!
In terms of substrate, you should use the material that most closely resembles the rocky substrate they are used to in their natural habitat.
For equipment, a heater is usually not needed. If you want to keep the water temperature very stable, you can always add a heater, but as long as the room you keep the aquarium in is warm, it’s usually not necessary.
Now, perhaps about the most controversial equipment when raising shrimp are filters. A common problem with filters is that they are very powerful and your shrimp can get sucked into them. You can avoid this by using a sponge filter. Or, if you are using a more powerful filter, you can cover the inlets with some foam foam to reduce the flow.
Just make sure your filters aren’t sucking in your shrimp!
Aquarium Conditions for Red Cherry Shrimp
Now the ideal water conditions for your Red Cherry Shrimp.
Generally, lower grade shrimp (Common Red Cherry) can tolerate worse water conditions. However, high grade shrimp (Fire Red Pintado) need better water conditions.
The pH level should be between 6.5 and 8.0 and you should maintain a temperature between 20 and 29°C.
An important part about Red Cherry Shrimp is you should not put them in a tank without a cycle because despite being resistant to some water conditions they are very sensitive to nitrites.
What size aquarium do they need?
Cherry shrimp can be kept in small 20 liter aquariums. However, the size you need depends on the number you want to keep.
As a general rule of thumb, you can add 2 to 5 shrimp per gallon (each gallon is 3.8 liters). Keep in mind, though, that they will breed quickly, so make sure you get an aquarium that supports breeding if you’re going to have both males and females.
If you intend to have a shrimp colony, the ideal is to have at least a 75 liter aquarium.
Red Cherry Shrimp Aquarium Companions
Like other shrimp, red cherry shrimp are very peaceful invertebrates. It is safe to say that they will never harm other fish as they have no way of defending themselves in the event of a fight.
That’s why it’s very important to choose your tankmates carefully.
With little or no defense capabilities, your shrimp can quickly turn into food for other fish.
As a general rule of thumb, the best quality shrimp should be placed in a single-species aquarium (more on that later). Whereas lower grade shrimp, it can be placed with other tank mates.
They usually breed fast enough to make up for occasional casualties.
Ideal tank mates include:
- freshwater snails
- Catfish (Corydoras and Otocinclus)
- Small Plecos
- small tetras
Remember, even with the fish mentioned above, occasionally your red cherry can be mistaken for food. To provide more security for your shrimp, make sure your aquarium has plenty of plants and hiding places.
As for fish, you should avoid them;
As a rule, do not put predatory fish or large species in the same tank as the shrimp will become fish food.
Keeping the Red Cherry together
It is not recommended to keep one of these shrimp alone, the most popular way to raise them is in a species-only aquarium or with other shrimp.
When keeping them together, it is recommended that you keep at least 10, this will help limit dominant behavior. Also, the larger the group, the more trust they will have and you will see their more natural behavior as they are more active and less hidden.
In terms of the ratio between males and females there is no specific ratio, they are very good for breeding in an aquarium, you don’t have to worry too much about it, just guarantee more females than males.
If you want to add some variety to your tank, you can also add other shrimp and snails. freshwater shrimp like Ghost Shrimp, or Amano will be a good combination.
Shrimp diet and feeding
In the wild, Cameroon are scavengers and will eat just about anything they come across.
They are omnivores, so they will eat both meat and plant matter. They will usually look for algae, food scraps, organic matter, mosses, etc.
It is recommended that you also always use good quality feed specific for shrimp, in pellets or flakes. You will find several brands that produce feed specifically for shrimp and invertebrates.
Also, you can supplement your diet with frozen or boiled foods and vegetables.
If you plan on feeding them vegetables, make sure they are boiled and well-cooked first. Ideal vegetables include: Spinach, Carrots, Lettuce, Cucumbers and Zucchini. Remember that they are small and don’t need a lot of food; it’s very easy to overfeed them and pollute your tank.
Now, as mentioned above, they are scavengers and have a reputation for being algae eaters. They are even great cleaning staff.
They eat most types of algae found in an aquarium and make an excellent cleaning crew. They will play an important role in keeping your aquarium glass clean.
Red Cherry Shrimp Special Care
As mentioned earlier, this invertebrate is generally very undemanding in terms of its requirements and care.
However, one thing you should be aware of is that they are incredibly sensitive to copper. Copper can be found in many medications and fish food, so always check the label.
Also periodically, as they grow, they shed and shed their exoskeleton. It is important that you leave this exoskeleton inside the tank as they will consume it to replenish essential minerals.
Finally, the last thing you need to know about caring for them is that they are also very sensitive to spikes in ammonia and nitrites. Therefore, you must ensure that the water parameters remain stable at all times. The bigger your aquarium, the easier it will be for you to maintain this.
Red Cherry Shrimp Breeding and Breeding
If you want to start breeding Red Cherry Shrimp, you’re in luck. They are one of the easiest shrimp species to breed and find.
As long as they are well taken care of, they will breed. You can break the build process into three simple steps:
Let’s go one at a time:
The first step is to prepare the aquarium for them so they can breed. You can do this by making sure the aquarium is heavily planted; this will provide safety and comfort for the shrimp to take shelter.
Next, you need to ensure that they are regularly fed protein-rich foods. Finally, you should raise the water temperature to 28º C (this will simulate the beginning of summer; their breeding season).
You can expect sexually mature shrimp (4-6 months of age) to start breeding only when they are 100% comfortable and established in the aquarium; this normally takes 3 to 5 months.
After they mate it will be obvious because when you look at the female you will see a lot of eggs underneath her. When she is carrying eggs, she is called “berried”. You’ll see her wagging her tail during this time to make sure the eggs get oxygen. It will take about 30 days for the eggs to hatch.
You will see that the shrimp are almost identical to their parents, except much smaller!
They should be kept in a matured aquarium, as a freshly cycled aquarium will not contain the tiny organisms that baby shrimp can eat. If you’re worried that they don’t have enough to eat, you can plant something with leaves that they can eat; Anacharis / Elodea are a good example.
You will also notice that adult shrimp are not good parents. They will let the baby shrimp fend for itself if necessary.
Is Red Cherry Shrimp suitable for your aquarium? (Summary)
We hope you found this guide helpful in getting started with creating Red Cherry Shrimps.
The Red Cherry is a fantastic shrimp that will add color and interest to any freshwater aquarium.
Their hardy nature makes them ideal for beginners looking to start shrimp farming or populate their first planted tank!.