Keeping Freshwater Cherry Red Shrimp as Pets

For original article click here

I have a tank of cherry shrimp, and I think they’re a great alternative to fish. I love watching them speed around and explore the tank.

Shimp actually make fun and interesting pets!

Shimp actually make fun and interesting pets!

Emilia Murray, CC BY-SA 2.0, from flickr

Why Freshwater Pet Shrimp?

Why not? They are fun little guys and can be much more active than fish. The most popular types of pet shrimp are cherry, ghost, and blue shrimp.

These little guys are great little cleaners and will spend every waking hour exploring your tank and picking up little bits of leftover food and cleaning up algae. Its also fascinating to watch them breed as it doesn’t take any special care to get them to breed.

I currently have a small cherry shrimp tank setup, and it’s really great fun to watch them speed around the tank with their powerful little legs. It’s a great change from keeping fish.

A nicely planted shrimp tank. Have fun with your aquascaping!

A nicely planted shrimp tank. Have fun with your aquascaping!

What to Know About Keeping Shrimp

Tank Size

The great thing about keeping pet shrimps is that they don’t require huge tanks. You can easily keep a little group of shrimps in a small bowl of around 10–12 liters. If you want to see more activity and breeding, it’s best to go for a tank size of 40 liters or more.

Water Temperature

Many people keep their pet shrimp tanks inside, and usually room temperature will keep the water at a good temperature range. However, in winter the water may drop below the recommended range of between 20–24 degrees Celsius. So it’s best to have a heater handy for the colder months.

Filtration and Aeration

Just like any other aquatic creature, the shrimp requires proper filtration and aeration of the water—especially in large colonies. The most popular filtration setup is either an underground gravel filter or a sponge filter that won’t suck in poor young shrimp.


Shrimp are omnivores, so they will pretty much eat anything from little bits of flake food to pellets, which they break down to size. They can also live happily on little micro-organisms growing inside your tank.

Only feed your shrimp once a day, and feed them as much as they can consume within 2–3 minutes. It’s hard to monitor it, so a little sprinkle of food is usually enough.

Keeping Shrimp With Fish

Generally, it’s best not to keep fish with shrimp. Any fish with a mouth big enough to fit a shrimp is a danger to your little shrimps. The most common tank mates are guppies or endler variety guppies as they are less aggressive and do not grow that big.


There are many shrimp varieties out there to try. They are very compatible with each other, and it’s best to have them in decent-size groups of at least 5 so they can stay close to their friends. The most popular varieties are as follows:

  • Dwarf Shrimp
  • Ghost or Glass Shrimp
  • Cherry Shrimp
  • Blue Shrimp
  • Long-armed Shrimp



Your shrimp don’t really require live plants in the tank unless they are competing for survival with other fish (in which case a moss ball or other live plants will help to keep younger shrimp safe). Shrimp do enjoy a bit of driftwood to claw against.


Breeding shrimp is unbelievably easy—just make sure the water quality is good and they are getting enough to eat, and they will start to breed. You will see when the females are plump with eggs, and if you look closely, you can see the eggs; they’re very visible.


Freshwater shrimp usually don’t get any larger than 3–4 cm long, depending on the type of shrimp, of course. Non-freshwater shrimp can get as huge as 15 cm long.

Tank Lid

It’s a good idea to get a lid for your tank, because a startled or excited shrimp can spring itself out of your tank and start crawling across your carpet. Either get a lid or just fill your tank 3/4 of the way up.

Water Additives

Watch what you add into your tank, such as supplementation for your plants or anything to help kill the diseases of your other fish. Shrimp are very sensitive to copper, and you could end up killing all your shrimp.

Buying and Collecting Shrimp

Shrimp in pet stores usually aren’t that cheap. It’s best to look on classified pet enthusiast websites for people who have bred a lot and are willing to sell them off cheap. The other option is to head down to your local river/stream and try to catch some local shrimp and bring them home for your tank.

Shrimpy Poll

Long-armed shrimp.Long-armed shrimp.Cherry shrimp.

Long-armed shrimp.


D on April 04, 2020:

Is a pet fish easier to keep or a pet shrimp?

Silver Spark on February 05, 2018:

If I have used plant or medications in my tank that contains copper, how long must I wait before I can introduce shrimp safely?

wally on February 01, 2014:

I need to add water to my mini shrimp bowl do I mix salt water with fresh?

someonewhoknows on June 07, 2012:

NIce. I uasually get shrimps and i would feed tham to my alligator gar.Now let me try to keep them.

Hannah on February 25, 2012:

Wow! I cant wait to getsome shrimp now!! I have a 5 gallon tank with a heater and a filter, is this enough? and im thinking about cherry shrimp! How many will be able to live in my tank?

jack on January 25, 2012:

dunno if u can help i av a few cherry shrimp,and 2 shrimp wot i would call alge shrimp(clear wit small spots slightley larger than the cherry)i bought 3 small crystal shrimp and over the course of a week they all disapeared,and on one occasion the clear shrimp had part of the crystal in its mouth.r they compatible or would they kill smaller shrimp?

Deano on January 10, 2012:

Looking to set up my first shrimp tank, two main drives – feed my bettas and have something that’s just fascinating to watch on my office…. Have shrimp in my main rank and they are great to watch

guydem on January 08, 2012:

i think i own a sick shrimp. was found on its side in the morning but with a poke started to move a bit, not been looking great all day and only been feeding for a short period of time. how do i make my shrimp better?

cloudo9 on December 20, 2011:

i have a 55 litre tank and i was wondering what fish i could have in there with 1 shrimp? Would danios,platies or tetras eat it?

CZCZCZ from Oregon on December 17, 2011:

Interesting tank I like the idea of doing a Shrimp tank would be fun to do some day. So many fun things to put in a tank and watch them grow…need more fish tanks!

min on November 27, 2011:

but what do they eat if they are wild shrimp

BT!!!!! on November 07, 2011:

I have a gold fish and a comet would I be ok to buy some shrimp to go in the tank?

Doug on September 22, 2011:

Hello, good article. I esp. liked the picture of your tank. I was wondering if the plants are real and if so what kind are they?

veronica on September 21, 2011:

good article, do u have any information on osmolarity

jondaley on September 14, 2011:


Read up on the amano shrimp, biggest freshwater shrimp there is grows around 2″ max, for these guys to breed they prefer brackishwater types and it may be the case that they wont breed at all in 100% freshwater. No experience with them myself im afraid

Minty on August 31, 2011:

Hello. I just bought a little tank for my daughter to keep shrimp in. What if you don’t want them to breed???? I have no other fish to feed excess to and don’t like the thought of killing things 🙁

helio on July 23, 2011:

also the size of the tank? Thanks!

helio on July 23, 2011:

wow nice tank! what type of moss on that picture?

Bex on June 06, 2011:

Hi, this is really good info. I want to keep these shrimp but I have a few questions to ask you first:

1. What is a good amount to keep in moderately small cube tank that is the width and length of a average foot (foot as in “a foot” not the measuring “ft”-if you get what i mean.

2. How many babies does a shrimp mother give birth to.

3. What do you recommend at the bottom of the tank? sand, black sand, pebbles, or others?

4. How often do you clean the filter and the tank?

5. How do you clean the filter and the tank?(:

Thanks so much! You have better information then the people who sell these shrimp.

expectus (author) from Land Downunder on March 05, 2011:

Jackie – yep that would be fine for the shrimp, don’t get too many though as they can make a lot of waste, 10-15 would be good for a tank that size

kent – they will survive if you change the water reguarly, but like all creatures they need oxygen so if you don’t use a pump make sure the tank has a good water surface area. they don’t require real plants but they do love them.

they breed very easily don’t have to worry about it too much.

sarah – that should be fine for 4 shrimp but probably not too many more they can breed quite quickly

sarah on February 28, 2011:

is it okay to keep about 4 shrimps in a small bowl? say around 0.9L of water?

kent on February 18, 2011:

im planning to buy a 10 gallon tank with sponge filter.. but our local pet store does not sell real plants.. do these shrimps need real plants and algae ?? or is it ok to put fake plants just for hiding and climbing ?? ill just put some gravel on the rank floor.. will they breed this way ?? im afraid they die and lose all my savings from my allowance.. btw im from the philippines.

kent on February 18, 2011:

i want to have a cherry shrimp on a 1 gallon tank with no filter.. will the shrimps survive ??

Jackie on January 30, 2011:

i had a gold fish (technically feeder fish) for 3 years. lived in a glass 1.5 gallon tank, no filter, no pump, glass rocks on the bottom, changed water roughly every 2 weeks. would this be suitable for shrimp as well? like 1 most likely because im a college student, just looking for something to liven up my room. and will have to be able to transport about once a month.

expectus (author) from Land Downunder on December 11, 2010:

shannon – yes its important to clean the tank every 2-3 weeks or more depending on how much you are feeding them

Chris – i think the goldfish might end up eating all your shrimp if they can catch them. but i doubt the yabby will be able to grab them

Chriz on November 26, 2010:

Would a small yabby be Able to live with a couple ghost shrimp I have a 2 ft tank with an Otto a snail and a 2 mini goldfish and my yabby also how many shrimp can I get if I can get them? P.s how much do they $$ thanks plz reply

shannon on November 21, 2010:

in a tank with just shrimp do you have to clean the tank?

expectus (author) from Land Downunder on October 09, 2010:

silk plants are alright but my shrimp really enjoy my moss and amazon shards. go for real plants if you can , you wont regret it :).

Mike – sounds like they are scared or just don’t have enough numbers to come out of hiding, I have a couple catfish in a tank with about 40 shrimp, and the shrimp own the tank running around , swimming they never stop going in the day or night.

Mike on October 05, 2010:

Great info!!! I bought a tank for the family about a month ago, we have 3 ghost and 3 cherry, along with a whole bunch of fish. 2 bug-eyed black goldfish, 2 bigger goldfish with a larger tail, 3 “feeder” goldfish, 2 crabs, 3 of these little red/black fish, 3 white with a red nose, 5 of these grey with black stripes that hang out in packs. Unfortunately the shrimp bloody hide all the time!!! They stayed in a hollow sunken pirate ship all the time, I replaced that with a smaller solid ship so we can see them more, but they stay in the plants and only come out when the overhead tank light is off. As soon as I turn it on, maybe 10-15 seconds later they’re gone. It’s a 48gal tank, lots of room, it’s unfortunate we don’t really get to see them. I’d add more if it will make them braver, great info on the pump filter, I’ll check it to make sure no babies are there.

Any ideas on how to make my shrimps more lively would be great. Again great info!!!


John on October 04, 2010:

I have 3 african dwrf frogs in a 5 gallon tank could i get simera cherry shrimp to, and if yes how many…bAlso do they need live plants or silk ones are oi?

expectus (author) from Land Downunder on September 19, 2010:

I think a betta would be fine with adult shrimp but baby shrimp would get eaten up pretty fast , unless they had plants to hide among

Michele on August 30, 2010:

Hi, I was wondering if keeping shrimp with a betta would be ok, or would my betta kill the shrimp for territory?

Mr.PumP on August 04, 2010:

It is greate to know more about shrimps especially RCS, coz i do have pet RCS in 6 gallon tank, i love them xo much i spend a lot of time looking at them, counting them how many baby RCS hatched. hope to catch more tips from this page so that i can improve taking care of my pets coz they’re getting more in number.

expectus (author) from Land Downunder on July 06, 2010:

they should still breed as you have a lot of them, but be prepared for some casualties as the crayfish will probably try to eat them

Albert on June 22, 2010:

I put a crayfish in my cherry red shrimp tank but I don’t if they can breed with him around(even though I have a lot of them). I would appreciate if you send me some info.

expectus (author) from Land Downunder on June 19, 2010:

sounds like you got ghost/glass shrimp and you should cover your filter with a fine mesh so they don’t get sucked into it, it can be very useful when you have some tiny baby shrimps

beca murray on June 18, 2010:

Thanks for this, it really helped when we bought our little shrimp this morning. The woman in the shop was useless! I would like to know the breed of my shrimp however, we have a clear srimp, like the one in your pictures. Is it a problem if they sit on the filter? Any responses here would be much appreciated.

Tash on October 14, 2009:

Thanks so much. I’ll do that. Now my fish can get better.

expectus (author) from Land Downunder on October 13, 2009:

Hi tash, well some of my fish had white spot and I used, a multicure tht has methylene blue, malachite green and arciflavine and my shrimp are still going strong, I did only use a little though.

Increasing the temperature in the tank slightly can help fish get better quicker too

Tash on October 13, 2009:

Sorry i did not let you know before but I had trouble with the internet.

Anyway, all it said was formaldehyde and malachite green.

I looked up some stuff on it and shrimps. It was not much help.

Tash on October 07, 2009:

Thanks, I’ll let you know tomorrow

expectus (author) from Land Downunder on October 06, 2009:

That’s great Paulo, they do breed really quickly cleaned out my canister filter and found about 20 babies in there moved them all to a 2ft tank 🙂

nice range of fish in your community tank

Paulo on October 06, 2009:

I’ve bought about 15 Cherry Red Shrimps and housed them in a 17 gallon cube, heavily planted with swords and with driftwoods covered with mosses, and after a month or so, I started seeing tiny shrimps. Its been 4 months now, and the whole tank is crawling with these cute little critters. Its my first time keeping Cherry Reds and I highly recommend them to any small fish community tanks. I’m currently keeping them with neons, corys, khulis and otos. I’ll be needing a bigger tank soon..

expectus (author) from Land Downunder on October 05, 2009:

Hi , hmm not quite sure it depends on what’s in it. I hear that shrimps dont like copper and that will kill them but I dont think it would be in there.

I once used a multicure solution in my shrimp tank to help some sick fishes and my shrimp seemed ok. let me know what ingredients are in it see if its the same as my multicure stuff i used.

Tash on October 05, 2009:

Hi, it’s me again. I got some new water plants to go in my fish and they spread a white spot sickness to my fish. I have brought white spot stuff to make it go away but the info on it said nothing about it being safe to my shrimps. Do you think it would be safe?

expectus (author) from Land Downunder on September 28, 2009:

yep snails and shrimps get along fine:) keeping lots of shrimp with snails at the moment.

getting some tiny cherry shrimps as swell they are miniature

Tamarind on September 28, 2009:

I like these shrimp. I would like to try raising some. I wonder if they would go along good with snails in the tank.

expectus (author) from Land Downunder on August 31, 2009:

Yep hopefully they are the same breed otherwise they might not breed, its impossible to get cherry red shrimp to breed with ghost shrimp

Tash on August 31, 2009:

Last night I cought a shrimp in my yabbie net. It’s a little smaller than the last but to big for the redfin to eat.It looks like a female so hopefully they will breed.

expectus (author) from Land Downunder on August 30, 2009:

Should be ok if your very gentle and don’t hold them for too long 🙂 they are quite hard to get a hold of and they are very jumpy

Tash on August 30, 2009:

I forgot to ask if it is O.K to hold my pet shrimp?

Jess on August 30, 2009:


expectus (author) from Land Downunder on August 30, 2009:

I know of people keeping them in tanks as small as 10 liters, I keep mine in a 1ft tank holds about 30-40 liters of water.

The bigger you get the better 🙂 means more breeding more shrimp

Jess on August 30, 2009:

What is a good size for a shrimp tank?

expectus (author) from Land Downunder on August 30, 2009:

yea probably best to move the redfin, mine are breeding a lot lately found a few more babies today floating around the canister filter 🙂

Tash on August 30, 2009:

Thanks. I think my shrimp is a male then. If i get another shrimp small enough for the redfin to eat, the redfin will be moving to my other tank.

expectus (author) from Land Downunder on August 26, 2009:

Hi Tash, usually the females are a darker color and with cherry shrimp you will see the darkest red shrimp is the dominant female, the ones with lighter color some sort of a dirty orange color are usually males.

They should breed quite easily if you have both males and females, should be alright aslong as the redfin doesn’t eat the shrimp

Tash on August 26, 2009:

I have a freshwater shrip that is about 4cm long. I would like to breed it but how do you tell the difference from a male and female freshwater shrimp? He or she lives with a redfin the same size as him in a large fish tank. Is there a problem with that?

expectus (author) from Land Downunder on August 12, 2009:

Lexie, hehe that sounds great shrimp are lots of fun to watch especially because they have those little speedy legs peddling around the tank 🙂 you should get a male and female so they breed.

They breed really easily so its great for building a little colony or feeding the spares as fish food if you have the heart 🙂

expectus (author) from Land Downunder on August 12, 2009:

There may be fresh water shrimp if your lucky probably the glass/clear type shrimp. You can just catch them with a big net and some bait.

Or you can build a shrimp catcher , its just like a wasp catcher its easy for them to get in but awkward to get out weigh it down with a rock and fill with fish food/pet food and you should be able to catch some.

good luck it will great if you can get some free shrimp from the strem 🙂

Chris on August 11, 2009:

This is a good article! I’m actually looking to get some shrimp! I have a large stream running through my backyard but I live in PA. Do you think there will be shrimp in it? And if so how do I go about finding and catching them?

Thanks for the article though! It was great!

Lexie on August 10, 2009:

I just got my first pet shrimp today. A small ghost shrimp. He’s so much fun to watch. I have him housed in a 2 gallon tank with two small mollies. They all get along great so far and seem happy. Right now my lone shrimp is hanging out in his pineapple house.

expectus (author) from Land Downunder on July 15, 2009:

thanks solokoyote , rosy red minnows are nice I think i can allow get white cloud mountain minnows. and yes shrimp are heaps of fun:)

its great to watch them run around and breed and you can feed the excess to your bigger fish , i feel a bit mean doing that though:)

Greg Spinks from northwestern Pennsylvania on July 15, 2009:

Good artcile, enjoyed reading it. I raise rosy red minnows in a ten gallon aquarium. They too are a lot of fun, but the shrimp idea is a fascinating different hobby.

expectus (author) from Land Downunder on July 12, 2009:

thanks for the comment, what’s the point? strange question the point was to make an article about keeping pet shrimp which I love doing, this type of hub is not likely to make much at all:P

eways from London U.K on July 12, 2009:

Very interseting but somewhat strange subject

For original article click here


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