Red Cherry Shrimp
Red Cherry Shrimp Information
Photography isn't my strong point, but I have been in the aquarium hobby for about thirty years. The Red Cherry Shrimp has been around for only a few years in the United States and something I have been researching,raising and breeding, for about fourteen months now.
Scientific name: Neocaridina heterpoda red. The average length is about an inch when fully grown. They are not fussy about ph but 6.5 to 8.0 seems to work. I usually keep my tanks at a ph of 7.4 consistent. Consistency being the key. Water temperature needs to be consistent also and I have found 78.F to be a good number for breeding and growth. They are not picky about food either. Flake food will work but I have found that a varied diet yields better shrimp. They do well on an omnivorous diet. Algae is a favorite food for them.
Breeding these freshwater shrimp is not a problem. If you have both sexes in a healthy aquarium, you soon will have baby shrimp. Females develop eggs in their ovaries either green, yellow or orange. They are considered to be saddled when you can see the eggs on the upper back area behind the head. When the female is ready to lay her eggs, she will release a scent to attract a male. After mating the female carries the eggs under her tail held in place by her swimmerettes(small legs). If the female drops her eggs it is a good indication that they were not fertilized. The eggs will hatch in a few weeks and usually you will see a new saddle forming about the time the carried eggs hatch. Now you will have baby shrimp!
Baby shrimp are really tiny and spend the first few weeks hiding in the plants. If possible add some plants such as hornwort or guppy grass. Live plants are best because they help clean the water as well as provide shelter for the shrimp. An established aquarium will have plenty of natural food for the baby shrimp but a little spirulina powder added to the tank every few days will help ensure they get enough food. It only takes about six weeks for the shrimp to become breeding age. You can see how they breed rapidly.
Shrimp Tank Maintenance
Aquarium maintenance is very important for the shrimp to thrive and breed. Copper is deadly in small amounts to these freshwater shrimp. They are more sensitive to ammonia and nitrates than fish are. The best habit to get into is a 20% water change weekly. I like to do a 15% twice a week water change since my shrimp population has grown. I use 10 gallon tanks and at the time of this writing contain about 40 shrimp. Be sure and use a vacuum and lightly suction the gravel. Be careful not to suck up the baby shrimp. I use a two gallon bucket and always have a few baby shrimp to put back into the tank before I empty the dirty water. Use the same temperature water and use a dechlorinator to refill the tank.
Filteration is a must for the shrimp tank. I use sponge filters because they are safe for the babies. I use dual sponge filters and clean one sponge every couple of weeks to prevent new tank syndrome. I have heard of some hobbiest using power filters with a sponge like cover over the filter intake. I'm sure it would work but have never tried that. Sponge filters will work fine as long as you do regular water changes and keep the sponges clean.
I hope this information will be of some help to someone out there. There is a lot more information to write but maybe I covered the basics.
All About Shrimp
Sponge Filter Update
I have indeed tried the pre-filter sponge method since the writing of this article and have had success. Several companies provide sponge pre-filters for various types of power filters or if your an avid DYI kind of person you can make your own. Either way I have found that it works. The pro's are that it becomes a beneficial feeding place for baby shrimp and baby fish, helps filter out larger particles which helps with the filter media life and it protects tiny babies from being sucked into the filter. The con's are that it tends to need cleaning often,depending on the flo rate of your filter and the amount of vacuuming and water changes that are done, and it can be a little tedious to clean. A good thing to do that will help the cleaning process is to have a couple of the pre-filter sponges. Swap them out and clean the dirty one and repeat the cycle as needed. This is helpful if you find its time to clean the sponge but don't have the time right then to do it. I let one float in the tank when not being used because you will get an added biological filter if you allow them to retain the beneficial bacteria. I do recommend this method as an option to safely keep your shrimp or fish babies safe.