What are the best Cherry Shrimp tank mates? What shouldn’t you mix with them? Those questions, and more, answered in this extensive guide.
Marked by their bright, red appearance, cherry shrimp are the most popular freshwater shrimp for freshwater aquariums.
Cherry shrimp are bottom feeders, one of the more popular types of fish at all experience levels because of how low maintenance they are. They scour their tank for algae and scraps of food, helping to reduce the amount of cleaning that needs to be done.
Cherry shrimp easily acclimate to most aquarium conditions, making them an excellent choice for fish-keepers of any experience level. One of the only concerns with keeping them is that their small size makes them susceptible to predation. Picking proper cherry shrimp tank mates is important.
But even that concern can be worked around, making keeping these colorful little guys a simple and rewarding experience.
Get to Know the Cherry Shrimp
The cherry shrimp is a dwarf freshwater shrimp native to Taiwan. They have a very peaceful disposition and require very little in the way of upkeep.
They are hardy little bottom feeders that help keep a tank clean by feeding on food scraps that sink to the bottom of the tank. They are also well known for their algae-eating capabilities.
In the wild, they can be found in a variety of colors. However, commercially available cherry shrimp will almost always be a bold red, the result of years of selective breeding.
Care Level: Beginner
Ideal tank size: Though they can be kept in tanks as small as five gallons, ten gallons should be the minimum for keeping them in a community
Temperature range: 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit
PH Range: 6.5 to 8.0
Because of their small size and lack of ability to defend themselves, they need an environment that provides plenty of hiding spaces.
They thrive best in a heavily planted environment. If you watch them, they will spend much of their time grazing on whatever greenery is available to them.
They are highly active and will be out and busy throughout much of the day and night.
Their diminutive size means that they can be kept in tanks of any size. For every one gallon of water, you can accommodate two to five individuals.
Just keep in mind that cherry shrimp can breed rapidly, so if you’re not careful, you can quickly find your community outgrowing the space provided to them.
Finding Ideal Cherry Shrimp Tank Mates
Wild cherry shrimp are vulnerable to predators, and the same is true in a home aquarium. They’re small and can’t defend themselves, only able to mask themselves from predators. And since domesticated cherry shrimp are bred to present a bold red color, they can’t even mask effectively.
As your cherry shrimp are defenseless, some people go so far as recommending that you only keep them with other cherry shrimp.
If that is not practical, though, there are options available to you. Make sure that you only pair them with tank mates who can’t pose a threat.
Some of the best choices include:
Care level: Low
Max Size of fish: Depending on the exact species.
Temperature range: Varies by species, but about 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit on average
PH range: 7.2 to 7.5
Freshwater snails are one of the most common tank mates for cherry shrimp.
Frequently introduced into aquariums as part of the clean-up crew that keeps algae, food scraps, and dead matter in check, small freshwater snails can integrate into a bottom feeder community alongside your cherry shrimp without posing a threat to them.
Common choices include nerite snails, mystery snails, or gold Inca snails.
Snails are well known for being exceedingly easy to care for. Potentially too easy.
Because they are so hardy and can reproduce asexually, it is common for their populations to blossom out of control. It is sometimes recommended to mix some assassin snails into the population.
These snails are known for their ability to keep other snail populations in check, but will still integrate well with your cherry shrimp.
2. Otocinclus Catfish
Care level: Low
Max Size of fish: 1 to 2 inches
Temperature range: 70 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit
PH range: 6.0 to 7.5
Otocinclus Catfish, commonly called dwarf suckers, are docile species of schooling catfish.
Like your cherry shrimp, they are algae feeders and are often deployed as cleaner teams for home aquariums. As a schooling fish, they prefer to keep the company of their own, so you don’t have to worry about them harassing your cherry shrimp.
The minimum tank size for keeping dwarf suckers should be 20 gallons. They are also sensitive to poor water quality, so they require regular water changes to keep them healthy.
But those are the only caveats to keeping them, and their peaceful nature makes them great tank mates for your cherry shrimp.
3. Corydoras Catfish
Care level: Low
Max Size of fish: About 1.5 to 2 inches
Temperature range: 72 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit
PH range: 7.0 to 7.8
Corydoras Catfish, usually shortened to cory cats, are another genus of peaceful, schooling catfish.
Cory cats are bottom dwellers like your cherry shrimp and scavengers like your cherry shrimp. But despite sharing the same space with them, the docile cory cats tend not to harass cherry shrimp.
They do well in tanks of any size, and many beginners keep them successfully in a ten-gallon starter tank. While they can survive alone, they are social fish and thrive in groups of at least two or three individuals.
Like dwarf suckers and much other small fish, they are sensitive to low water quality and become susceptible to disease if the tank is not kept clean.
But aside from that concern, they are easy to care for and make a harmonious addition to a community.
4. Small-Sized Rasboras
Care level: Intermediate
Max Size of fish: 1.75 inches
Temperature range: 73 to 82 Fahrenheit
PH range: 6.0 to 7.5
Rasboras are a genus of peaceful fish, none of which normally grow very large. The biggest only get to be about four inches long at the most.
That’s probably a larger fish than you should have sharing space with cherry shrimp. Instead, opt for one of the smaller species.
Harlequin rasboras are a popular choice, for example. So named for their shimmering red color, these schooling fish can brighten up your aquarium.
They are a shoaling fish and should be kept in groups of eight to ten members at the minimum. Their bright coloration and high activity levels make them a very popular fish to keep, as a large school of harlequins darting through clear water is an endearing sight.
They dwell in the top to mid areas of the tank, keeping them well out the area your cherry shrimp would inhabit. But even if they met, rasboras are peaceful and are not known for nipping at or antagonizing other fish.
They are reasonably tolerant fish but require a bit of extra care. They require clean water, areas with ample vegetation, and an open area large enough for them to swim through.
They’re usually recommended to owners who already have some experience.
5. Small-Sized Tetras
Care level: Low
Max Size of fish: 2.5 inches
Temperature range: 68 to 79 Fahrenheit
PH range: 7
Similar to rasboras, tetras are a genus of small, peaceful schooling fish. They are hardy and easy to care for, making them a popular fish for beginners.
Like the rasboras, tetras will spend most of their time in the middle of the tank and can be relied on to avoid your cherry shrimp altogether.
Tetras should be kept in schools of around 15 individuals. Smaller groups can leave tetras feeling vulnerable, causing stress.
However, as many species of tetra exhibit bold, shimmering colors, you could view this as a perk to keeping them.
They are also far less sensitive than rasboras, adapting easily to most environments. You can keep a basic school of them in a ten-gallon starter tank.
6. White Mountain Cloud Minnows
Care level: Low
Max Size of fish: 1.5 inches
Temperature range: 64 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit
PH range: 6.0 to 8.0
White Mountain Cloud Minnows are a small, colorful fish that somewhat resembles a neon tetra.
Like other schooling fish, they gravitate towards the middle and top of the tank. They should be kept in schools of at least six members and are peaceful and even sociable towards other similarly disposed species.
Like the tetra, they are hardy and well-suited to beginners. The only caveat is that they prefer colder temperatures, which may limit the number of other potential tank mates.
Building a Happy, Safe Community
These vibrant, active shrimp can add a burst of color to your aquarium environment. But as a responsible fish-keeper, ensure that all of your fish are kept in a safe environment where they can thrive.
Cherry shrimp can live as long as two years and breed prodigiously. A well-kept community can keep an aquarium colorful indefinitely. But to do that, you must make sure you stock their environment with safe cherry shrimp tank mates.
Because of their attractive features and low-maintenance, cherry shrimp are often chosen by first-time aquarium keepers. If this is your first time setting up a tank and could use some help getting started, check out our guide on setting up a ten-gallon planted tank.