Cherry shrimp are freshwater shrimp and belong to a group called ‘dwarf shrimp’. They have become popular as pets, because they are colorful, which makes for a great contrast with the surroundings in the aquarium. Scroll down to know more about these beautiful creatures.
The scientific name of cherry shrimp is Neocaridina heteropoda. They were originally found in Taiwan, in freshwater, and are now commonly kept in aquariums. The natural color of the shrimp is green-brown, but it is the red morph that is more in demand. They are also found in blue, brown, and gray colors. Some of these morphs can also be transparent. They grow up to a length of about 4 cm, or 1.5 inches. They survive well in fresh and clean water, and hence make for good aquarium animals. If you are a hobbyist, then you will realize that breeding them is very easy when compared to other morphs.
Taking Care of Cherry Shrimp
Aquarium maintenance is an important part of having cherry shrimp as pets.The temperature of water should ideally be set to 22° Celsius, which is said to be the ideal temperature for them. If you plan to bring this shrimp to keep in your home freshwater aquarium, then you can certainly go ahead, as they are easy to care for. However, you will have to ensure that there are some aquatic plants in the aquarium for the shrimp to sit on and hide for protection, especially so after molting. If you wonder which are the appropriate aquarium plants for these crustaceans, they are moss and fern, as these plants give the shrimp just the environment they need and prefer. Make sure there are no predators in the aquarium before you release the shrimp in the tank.
There is an interesting fact about cherry shrimp. They are known to respond to their background color and substrate. If you keep them in a light-colored substrate, they tend to become paler to some extent, and may even become transparent/translucent. On the other hand, when they are kept in darker substrate, they will take on their full red color.
These shrimp are not aggressive, and can be kept with other aquatic creatures without causing any harm to them. You will notice, though, that they are active throughout the day. They may be seen grazing on algae, aquarium plants and decor or the sides of the tank, or in some cases mating. After periodic intervals, you will see them shedding. It is advisable to keep the shed white covering in the aquarium, as over a period of time, the shrimp will eat it to recover the value minerals it contains.
If you have both male and female cherry shrimp in the aquarium and you give them a conducive environment, they will breed. You can differentiate a female shrimp from a male shrimp, female shrimp are larger in size and much more colorful, as compared to the males. They also have clear coloration red spots on them as well. When the females come of age, they will sport a saddle, which contains the eggs developing in the ovaries.
If you notice that the female shrimp is hiding in the dark, it can be a sign that she is pregnant and is hiding from her enemies. When they are threatened by the enemies, they simply abandon their eggs. An interesting sight is the female shrimp circulating water over the eggs with her legs to make sure that the wards are in good health.
They feed on a film of algae and micro-organisms that is formed on plant leaves, without causing much damage to the leaves. It is not very difficult to find the right food for these morphs, as they are predominantly algae eaters. More often than not, you can feed them fish food found at the pet shop. Zucchini, baby carrots, green peas, spinach―all blanched―can also be given to these morphs. The vegetables are only supplemental food and should not be given to the pets regularly. Make sure you remove the uneaten food from the aquarium, as the food tends to decompose in water and may cause problems to the morphs. Once in a while, they can also be given a worm treat. If you are going to feed them commercially available fish food, you will have to take care that the food does not contain copper, as it can prove to be harmful to your pet.
An important point to remember is that you ensure that there are no copper traces in the water, as it is dangerous for the morphs. It is also recommended that you do not medicate the aquarium, as the medicines are often the cause of copper in the aquarium.