The Cherry Shrimp

Macro lens shot of Cherry shrimp. Tarzan1104. Shutterstock.

The Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina davidi) is a common freshwater aquarium shrimp known for its bright red coloration. They are generally easy to care for and can greatly add to a community tank.


These shrimps derive their name from their bright red color reminiscent of cherries. The scientific name for Cherry Shrimp is Neocaridina davidi. French naturalist E.L. Bouvier first described it in 1904.

Natural Habitat

Cherry Shrimp are native to parts of Taiwan and China. They are found in various freshwater habitats, including streams, rivers, and reservoirs. In their natural habitat, Cherry Shrimp live among aquatic plants and other aquatic life, and they can often be found foraging for food in the substrate. 

They are also known to feed on the biofilm that grows on surfaces in the water, which is made up of bacteria and other microorganisms. They are generally found in areas with moderate to slow-moving water and prefer fine sand or mud substrate.


Wild Cherry Shrimp tend to be more greenish brown. The bright red coloration of specimens sold in the hobby results from selective breeding. They have a semi-transparent body and are generally small, with an adult size ranging from about 1-2 inches or 2.5-5 cm in length.

They have a streamlined, elongated bodies with a pair of antennae on their head and mandibles for feeding. They have 10 legs, with the front pair modified into pincers or claws. Their exoskeleton is rigid and protects their body, but it also limits their growth and requires them to molt periodically to grow.

Neocaridina davidi varieties

Depending on their genetics, they can exhibit a range of colorations, from deep red to pale pink. The deeper their red coloration is, the more expensive they tend to be. They can also have white or yellow markings on their body and tail.

Aquarium set up

Keep the water clean and well-oxygenated. Use a good quality filter and perform regular water changes. Cherry Shrimp are timid creatures and will appreciate plenty of places to hide. Use live plants, PVC pipes, and other aquarium decors to create such an environment.

Ideal water parameters for the Cherry shrimps:

  • Temperature: 57°F-86°F (14°C-30°C)
  • pH: 6.5 – 8.0
  • Hardness: 6-12 dGH, 3-15 dKH


Cherry shrimp eating a homemade paste. Gonzalo Jara.

In an aquarium setting, Cherry Shrimp can be fed a variety of foods to ensure that they are getting a balanced diet. Some options include:

  • Algae – that grows naturally in the tank supplemented with algae wafers.
  • Blanched vegetables – such as spinach, zucchini, and lettuce.
  • High-quality shrimp pellets – specially formulated for shrimp.
  • Frozen or freeze-dried foods – brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms.

Cherry shrimp are tiny and will only eat a small amount 2-3 times a day.

A Cherry shrimp hitchhiking on a Nerite snail

Cherry Shrimp are peaceful and docile creatures that make a great addition to a community tank. They are timid by nature and tend to stay out of sight.

These shrimps are small and may risk being eaten by larger tank mates. It is important to choose tank mates carefully and avoid keeping them with larger, more aggressive species.

Some good options for tank mates include:


Berried Cherry Shrimp
Berried Cherry shrimp

These shrimps are generally easy to breed and can produce offspring quickly. Start by maintaining proper and stable water conditions. A varied diet further promotes breeding. Keep a small group of at least a dozen. 

Provide plenty of hiding spots and a substrate of fine sand or mud. They will also benefit from the presence of live plants. Water should be harder than usual.

Cherry Shrimp are known to breed year-round in optimal conditions. Look for signs of breeding such as a female molting and the presence of eggs on the underside of her tail. She will carry the eggs there until they hatch.

If maximum fry survivability is needed, the fry should be separated into a nursery tank as soon as they are born.


Cherry shrimp are relatively hardy. The heavily bred, fancier varieties can be more susceptible to diseases. These shrimps generally get sick because of poor water quality or the presence of infectious microbes transmitted by sick fish.

Most diseases can be avoided by keeping the aquarium clean and quarantining new additions.

Common Cherry shrimp diseases include:

  • Bacterial infections – results in lethargy and abnormal molting. It can be treated with a large water change, followed by using aquarium medication that is safe for shrimps.
  • Fungal infections result in whitish cotton-like growths and can be treated with aquarium anti-fungal medication free of copper.
  • Muscular Necrosis causes the back of the shrimp to turn white. Isolation and daily water change can cure it.
  • Parasites – are generally visible physically and can be treated with a salt bath and significant water change.

Conclusion (Summary)

Cherry Shrimp are famous in the aquarium hobby for multiple reasons. They have attractive looks, are easy to care for, breed quickly, and do well in a community setting and a planted tank. They are seen as great pets because of their compelling and low-maintenance nature.

Common NameCherry Shrimp
Scientific NameNeocaridina davidi
Care LevelEasy
TankmatesNeon tetras, guppies, Ender’s livebearers, rasboras, pygmy Corydoras, nerite snails, mystery snails, Amano shrimp
DietAlgae, blanched vegetables, high-quality shrimp pellets, frozen or freeze-dried foods
Size1-2 inches or 2.5-5 cm
Lifespan1-2 years

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