Cherry shrimp are one of the most popular pet shrimp and for a good reason. They are a stunning red coloration that varies depending on the grade of cherry shrimp you purchase. They are great beginner shrimp that is exceedingly hardy. It can be tricky to find a suitable tank mate for these small shrimps as many fish see them as a natural food source. It is important to find the correct balance between tank mates and your delicate cherry shrimp. Overall, the tank conditions and setup play a major role in the success rate of keeping cherry shrimp with other fish or invertebrates.
Table of contents
- The 10 Best Tank Mates for Cherry Shrimp in 2021
- 1. Neon Tetras (P. innesi) – Best for Community Tanks
- 2. Male Betta Fish (B. Splendens) – Best for Small Tanks
- 3. Freshwater Snails (Apple, Mystery, Ramshorn, Nerite, Bladder Snails)
- 4. Dwarf Gourami (T. Lalius)
- 5. Bristlenose Plecos (Ancistrus sp.)
- 6. Cory Catfish (C. trilineatus)
- 7. Other Shrimp (Amano, Ghost Shrimp)
- 8. Small Rasboras (R. trilineata)
- 9. Fancy Guppies (Poecilia reticulata)
- 10. African Dwarf Frog (Hymenochirus)
- What Makes a Good Tank Mate for Cherry Shrimp?
- Where Do Cherry Shrimp Prefer to Live in the Aquarium?
- Benefits of Having Tank Mates for Cherry Shrimp in Your Aquarium
- How to Successfully Keep Cherry Shrimp with Tank Mates
The 10 Best Tank Mates for Cherry Shrimp in 2021
1. Neon Tetras (P. innesi) – Best for Community Tanks
Neon tetras are small colorful fish that are easily identified by their black and red coloration. They stay relatively small and prefer to live in groups of at least 6 other neons. They are known for being peaceful fish that prefer to hang out at the top level of the aquarium. A planted tank is ideal, and this will also provide hiding spots for your cherry shrimp. Neon tetras will rarely bug shrimp, but they have been known to occasionally nip at cherry shrimp. Fortunately, their small mouth does not do any damage to the shrimp itself. This makes them one of the best fish tank mates for cherry shrimp in a community tank.
2. Male Betta Fish (B. Splendens) – Best for Small Tanks
Male betta fish have long-flowing fins that weigh them down in the water. It is for this reason that they are not very agile or fast swimmers. Bettas can be housed with cherry shrimps if there is a lot of live plant overgrowth for your cherry shrimp to hide in. Bettas will have trouble swimming amongst the plants which will result in the cherry shrimp being able to quickly seek shelter if your betta fish does decide to chase it. Female bettas are sleeker with small fins and can easily chase after shrimp. Therefore, males should only be kept with cherry shrimp and not female bettas.
3. Freshwater Snails (Apple, Mystery, Ramshorn, Nerite, Bladder Snails)
Aquarium snails are a good option as a tank mate for cherry shrimps. They do not actively hunt their food, nor will they attempt to engage with cherry shrimps. Snails keep to themselves and enjoy munching on algae and fish or shrimp waste that is leftover in the tank. If you are looking for a tank mate for cherry shrimps that pose absolutely no risk to your shrimp, a group of snails is your best bet.
4. Dwarf Gourami (T. Lalius)
Most Gouramis are large enough to harass and eat cherry shrimps, however, the dwarf gourami is slightly smaller. These fish should only be kept with cherry shrimp if there is plenty of hiding spots for the shrimps in the form of live plants. You want to ensure the entire bottom of the tank has live plants planted to form a ground cover. This will allow the gourami to swim above the plants, and your cherry shrimp will go about their day amongst the foliage.
5. Bristlenose Plecos (Ancistrus sp.)
Bristlenose Plecostomus is a smaller version of the common pleco which is a popular suckermouth fish. They feed on algae and prefer to suck on surfaces around the tank and do minimal swimming. You can successfully keep baby bristlenose plecos with cherry shrimp but be aware that adults may take an interest in the shrimp. You want to create lots of caves and hiding spots for the shrimps to avoid being seen by the bristlenose pleco. If you provide them with lots of sinking foods, they will typically not seek out your cherry shrimp as food.
6. Cory Catfish (C. trilineatus)
Cory catfish, also known as Corydoras are a grouping species of suckermouth fish that grow relatively small. Their small size means that their mouth is not large enough to swallow shrimp entirely. Cory catfish should be kept in groups of at least 3 and should have plenty of driftwood and hiding places. Creating a dedicated area in the tank with plant overgrowth will shelter your cherry shrimps.
7. Other Shrimp (Amano, Ghost Shrimp)
You can successfully keep other species of shrimp with cherries. The most common shrimp tank mates are either Amano or ghost shrimp. Shrimp do not fight and will ignore other species in the tank. You do not have to worry about your cherry shrimp being eaten or injured as shrimp will keep to themselves. It is worth noting that crossbreeding can occur between different shrimp species, and you should be prepared to deal with a large amount of shrimp. For this reason, you should ensure the tank is large enough to support the stocking level.
8. Small Rasboras (R. trilineata)
Dwarf rasboras are small and get no larger than 1.5 inches. They enjoy being in a small school and make an excellent community fish when kept with other species of fish on this list and cherry shrimp. They are easy to care for and will generally pay little attention to the cherry shrimp. There is a risk that they can nip at the shrimp because they are fast enough to catch them.
9. Fancy Guppies (Poecilia reticulata)
Guppies are eye-catching fish that come in a variety of patterns and colors. They usually swim near the top level of the aquarium and should not notice the cherry shrimp. Guppies are a great and choice of fish for those wanting to add color and beauty to their cherry shrimp tank.
10. African Dwarf Frog (Hymenochirus)
A great amphibian tank mate is the African dwarf frog. These are small, peaceful frogs that can be housed in smaller types of tanks. They should be housed in pairs or more which means you should have 15 gallons per frog. With the addition of cherry shrimp, African dwarf frogs will take minor interest in them as long as the shrimp have lots of places to hide.
What Makes a Good Tank Mate for Cherry Shrimp?
Small tank mates have a higher success rate when kept with cherry shrimp. Mainly because the shrimp are large enough to not fit in the fish’s mouth. Although certain fish and amphibians can live with cherry shrimp, it is important to note that there is no guarantee that they will not eat or injure your shrimp. Every fish has the potential to take a nibble at the shrimp. It is not uncommon for the adults to survive in the tank, but for the baby shrimp to be eaten by even the smallest fish. Neon tetras, dwarf rasboras, and freshwater snails are a top choice of tank mate for cherry shrimp and are deemed the most compatible.
Where Do Cherry Shrimp Prefer to Live in the Aquarium?
Cherry shrimp primarily hang out at the bottom level of the tank, however, they will climb on plants to reach the top in search of oxygen. They may also decide to rest hanging close to stems in the middle level of the aquarium. If you have a heavily planted tank, it may be hard to see your shrimp clearly except when they are climbing on plants.
Cherry shrimp are quite sensitive to water quality. There is a specific maintenance level that you should keep the parameters in. The overall ammonia and nitrite in the tank should be no more than 0ppm (parts per million) and nitrates should be strictly kept below 10ppm. Anything higher will start to kill off your cherry shrimp. A heater is not necessary if you live in tropical climates, however, they do appreciate a stable temperature that a heater can create.
The KH for cherry shrimps should be between 2 to 4, whereas the GH should be between 7 and 15. Keep the pH between 7.0 to 7.6. This will replicate their natural water system in the wild, which is streams and ponds in Taiwan.
Cherry shrimp are neocaridina which is a smaller species of shrimp. They will typically grow between 1 to 1.5 inches in size. The females are typically larger and have a thicker body due to their egg saddle where they store their eggs. Males are sleeker and have thin bodies which can make them appear smaller.
Cherry shrimp are not aggressive and do not attack any inhabitants in the tank. They are gentle creatures with no means to defend themselves if another fish decides to attack them. Therefore, they are easily eaten or injured by other fish of an aggressive nature. The only way cherry shrimp can escape predators is by their excellent swimming skills and hiding amongst vegetation in the tank.
Benefits of Having Tank Mates for Cherry Shrimp in Your Aquarium
How to Successfully Keep Cherry Shrimp with Tank Mates
Since many fish will only see cherry shrimp as food, you must establish a way to make them cohabitate peacefully. The best form of shelter for cherry shrimp is shrimp tunnels specifically designed to fit shrimp in, but not fish. These tunnels can be bought at large chain fish stores. Growing a large variety of plants like java moss, Vallisneria, and other bushy plants like hornwort make excellent little hiding spaces for cherry shrimp where the fish cannot reach them. Creating a jungle of plants at the bottom of the aquarium provides maximum protection against predators because they will not see them through the foliage.
Keeping shrimp with peaceful and small fish is the best option to establish a peaceful community for all the inhabitants within the tank. Always make sure that you have the correct water conditions according to the species of fish or amphibians you decide to keep with your cherry shrimp. Cherry shrimp can handle both cold and tropical waters, but not fluctuations between the two. For this reason, it is recommended to keep freshwater snails or neon tetra with your shrimp. Interestingly, shrimp thrive when kept with others of their kind, but if you are looking to make the tank more exciting, we hope this article has helped you choose a suitable tank mate for your cherry shrimps.
Featured Image Credit: David Tadevosian, Shutterstock