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What Are The Best Foods For Breeding Cherry Shrimps?

Okay, I admit it – I didn’t know it was possible to breed cherry shrimp throughout the year. But I was more surprised when I learned that each can lay 20-30 eggs per hatch. Well, that’s a lot of cherry shrimp to have within 2-3 weeks. But which foods are the best to feed them during this time so the breeding can stay on point?

Most of the best foods for breeding cherry shrimp are usually found in their natural habitat. The list includes biofilm, algae, plankton, uneaten fish food, and decaying plant matter. Additionally, shrimp pellets, fish flakes, fish pellets, and algae wafers can help meet the nutritional needs during breeding.

But which ones are the top foods that breeders mostly prefer? And how exactly would they help in the breeding process? Well, for that, you’ll have to scroll a bit down.

Key Takeaways

  • The best foods for cherry shrimp during breeding are natural ones like algae and biofilm.
  • They mostly need calcium, protein, minerals, and vitamins for proper reproductive health.
  • They can also have the required nutrients from other foods, like shrimp pallets, fish flakes, fish pallets, and algae wafers.

Statistics from a 2022 survey of 200 cherry shrimp hobbyists in North America found that over 50% experienced losses due to molting issues, which can be caused by inadequate dietary calcium levels below 150 mg/g.

Read More: Why Are My Cherry Shrimps Fighting Over Food?

Top 7 Foods For Breeding Cherry Shrimps

If there’s anything that matters the most while breeding cherry shrimp, right after the habitat, I’d say it’s the food. So, which ones are the best for this phase?

Here is a table summarizing the top 7 foods for breeding cherry shrimps along with their benefits and additional notes:

Algae And BiofilmProtein, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins A, C, B, calcium, magnesium, potassiumNatural habitat food, essential for breeding process
Fish FlakesHigh in protein, supports growth of shrimplets, various textures, small size2021 study: 35% protein and 250 mg/g calcium diet led to 20% more eggs
Shrimp PalletsBalanced minerals, proteins, nutrients, rich in calcium, easy to feedMeets dietary needs during breeding, assists in molting and exoskeleton health
Algae WafersNutrient-rich, easy to feed, promotes digestion, encourages natural behaviorPopular among breeders, rich in vegetable matter
Blanched VegetablesBoosts digestive health, enhances natural colors, variety in dietIncludes spinach, zucchini, kale, carrots, promotes coloration
Crushed Snail ShellsHigh in calcium, helps in molting, prevents shell deformitiesHelps maintain strong exoskeleton, replaceable with other calcium-rich foods
Homemade Gel FoodsCustomizable, fresh ingredients, suitable for all life stagesCustomize ingredients for specific nutrient needs, fresh and nutritious

Read More: Can Cherry Shrimp Smell Food?

See also  Do Cherry Shrimps Eat Algae?
FoodProteinFiberVitaminsMineralsAdditional Notes
Algae And BiofilmHighHighA, C, BCalcium, Magnesium, PotassiumNatural food, rich in essential nutrients for shrimps
Fish FlakesHighModerateVariedVaried, often fortified with calciumCommercially prepared, designed for aquatic pets
Shrimp PalletsHighModerateVariedRich in calciumSpecifically formulated for shrimp dietary needs
Algae WafersModerateHighVariedVaried, includes mineralsPlant-based, promotes digestive health
Blanched VegetablesLowHighDepends on vegetableDepends on vegetableNatural, provides fiber and natural color enhancement
Crushed Snail ShellsLowLowVery high in calciumPrimarily for calcium supplementation
Homemade Gel FoodsVariableVariableCustomizableCustomizableCustomizable based on recipe and ingredients used

Well, let’s start with –

1. Algae And Biofilm

Calling these the ‘buffet of nutrition’ for cherry shrimp won’t be anything wrong, especially when they’re in their natural habitat. They can easily reach these foods just by grazing and scavenging.

They bring in the necessary protein for the breeding process.

They also contain carbohydrates, fiber, and essential vitamins like A, C, and B Vitamins. And yes, minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium are also on that list. 

2. Fish Flakes

Fish flakes can be the protein pile for cherry shrimp when they’re up for breeding. It’s specifically supportive of the growth and development of young shrimplets.

Thanks to the different textures and forms of the food, it reduces the monotony in the shrimp’s diet. Plus, due to being small, it’s easier for the shrimp to consume fish flakes in almost all stages of their life.

A 2021 study in the Asian Fisheries Science journal tested 5 commercial shrimp foods and found shrimp fed a diet containing 35% protein and 250 mg/g calcium produced 20% more eggs on average compared to the other foods.

See also  Cherry Shrimp Care Guide [#1 Resource For Beginners]

3. Shrimp Pallets

This is your catch if you’re asking for food that will get your shrimp a balanced mixture of minerals, proteins, and other nutrients. So, the kind of dietary need pops up during breeding – this food can meet all of them.

Plus, they’re full of calcium, which assists a lot in molting and maintaining a healthy exoskeleton. And when it comes to ease of feeding, they sink quickly, which makes it easier for the shrimp to access it. 

Read More: Do Cherry Shrimps Eat Brine Shrimp?

4. Algae Wafers

Algae wafers are among the most popular foods among breeders for one of two reasons. One, it’s got the important nutrients, and two, it’s super easy to feed. This plant-based food is rich in vegetable matter containing essential fiber.

These wafers help promote the digestion process of the shrimp, which matters a lot during breeding.

Plus, one of the best things about algae wafers is they encourage the natural behavior of cherry shrimp – grazing and foraging.

5. Blanched Vegetables

Due to being omnivores, cherry shrimp get lots of their required nutrients from plant-based sources. This is where blanched vegetables, like spinach, zucchini, and kale, come in handy. Besides boosting digestive health by providing the required fiber, they enhance the shrimp’s natural colors.

This mostly happens when the diet includes carrots, as they come with carotenoids, which promote the shrimp’s coloration. On top of that, blanched vegetables ensure a variety in the diet. 

6. Crushed Snail Shells

One of the major nutrients cherry shrimp need during breeding is calcium, and they can get lots of it from crushed snail shells. This primarily helps molten and maintain a strong exoskeleton, which plays a vital role in breeding.

But that’s not the only reason why I suggest providing cherry shrimp with crushed snail shells. They prevent shell deformities and deficiencies, thanks to the calcium once again. By the way, you can also replace this one with other calcium-rich foods.

Read More: What Should You Feed Cherry Shrimp Babies?

berried or pregnant shrimp
Owner: Ricky Sales

7. Homemade Gel Foods

When you prefer something other than commercial shrimp foods, you can go for this one. This food will let you customize the ingredients to meet specific nutrient needs. Plus, you can customize them depending on the life stages of your shrimp, including the breeding stage.

See also  5 Homemade Cherry Shrimp Food Recipes For Beginners

As high-quality and fresh ingredients are used in the process, you can ensure your shrimp gets fresh and nutritious food simultaneously. And don’t worry about edibility, as you can easily make them into tiny pieces so that both shrimplets and adults can have them.

The average cherry shrimp consumes 0.15-0.20 mg of food per day. Overfeeding can pollute the water with excess nutrients. (Source: Journal of Aquaculture study)

Here’s a pros vs cons comparison for each of the types of food described above:

Algae and BiofilmContains various nutrients naturally
Readily available in natural habitat
May be more difficult to culture consistently for feeding
Fish FlakesConcentrated source of protein
Small size makes it accessible
Higher risk of overfeeding if not monitored closely
Shrimp PalletsBalanced nutrition
Easily sinks for access
Potential for uneaten pieces producing waste
Algae WafersSlow release of nutrients
Encourages natural foraging
More uneaten pieces may produce waste
Blanched VegetablesProvides fiber and variety
May enhance coloration
Requires preparation time for blanching
Crushed Snail ShellsReadily available calcium source
Small size is accessible
Shell pieces could be ingested if too small
Homemade Gel FoodsNutrient balanced customized
Can control ingredients
Requires more preparation time

Weekly Cherry Shrimp Feeding Guideline

FoodFrequency Per WeekNotes
Algae And BiofilmDailyEssential part of the diet; ensure constant availability
Fish Flakes3-4 timesHigh in protein; don’t overfeed to avoid tank pollution
Shrimp Pallets3-4 timesBalanced diet; alternate with fish flakes
Algae Wafers2-3 timesSupplement to natural algae; remove uneaten portions
Blanched Vegetables2-3 timesProvide variety; remove uneaten portions after a few hours
Crushed Snail Shells1-2 timesMainly for calcium; monitor for overuse
Homemade Gel Foods3-4 timesAdjust frequency based on shrimp’s acceptance and health

No need to provide all of these. Algae and biofilm is natural and should be plenty of in your tank. Just focus on one or two additional types and your cherry shrimps will thank you!

Read More: Do Cherry Shrimp Eat Snail Eggs? 

What helps cherry shrimp breed?

To successfully breed cherry shrimp, consider the following key factors:

Water Quality: Cherry shrimp thrive in clean, stable water conditions. Regular water changes (10-20% weekly) and a well-cycled tank are crucial. The ideal parameters are:

  • pH: 6.5 to 7.5
  • Temperature: 72 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 26 degrees Celsius)
  • GH (General Hardness): 4 to 8 dGH
  • KH (Carbonate Hardness): 3 to 15 dKH
  • Ammonia/Nitrite: 0 ppm
  • Nitrate: Less than 20 ppm

Tank Setup: A planted tank with plenty of hiding spaces, like java moss or other aquatic plants, provides shelter and grazing areas for shrimp.

Feeding: Balanced diet is key. Feed a variety of high-quality shrimp pellets, blanched vegetables (like zucchini, spinach, and cucumber), and occasional protein-rich foods.

Breeding Conditions: Cherry shrimp will breed more readily if they feel safe. A quiet tank without aggressive fish is ideal. Overcrowding should be avoided.

Stable Environment: Avoid drastic changes in water parameters. Sudden changes can stress shrimp and affect breeding.

Mature Colony: A healthy, mature colony with a good mix of males and females (females are larger and more colorful) will naturally start breeding.

Calcium Supplements: Adding calcium supplements can help, as calcium is essential for shell development, especially for berried (egg-carrying) females.

Patience: Give your shrimp time to acclimate and reach sexual maturity (about 3-6 months old).

What is the best substrate for cherry shrimp breeding?

Some of the best substrates to use for cherry shrimp breeding include:

  • Aquarium sand – Fine-grained sand like pool filter sand provides a soft natural substrate that is inert and shrimp-safe. It’s easy to vacuum and doesn’t alter water parameters.
  • Gravel – Small gravel 1-3mm in size works well too. It provides texture for biofilm growth that baby shrimp can graze on.
  • Shrimp soil – Specialized soils like ADA Amazonia or Fluval Stratum are nutrient-rich and buffer the water. They leach beneficial minerals and support plant growth.
  • Inert clay substrates – Shrimp-specific substrates like Eco-Complete plant substrate or Fluval Shrimp Stratum are inert clay balls that won’t change pH/GH. They have good pore space.
  • Aquasoil – Pottery clay-based soils like Aquasoil Amazonia are very fertile but can lower pH, so they require remineralizing the water.
  • Leaf litter – Oak or Indian almond leaves leach tannins that lower pH. Babies can hide among the leaves.

The key is choosing a soft, natural substrate that won’t harm delicate baby shrimp as they hatch and grow. Avoid sharp gravel or substrates that drastically alter water parameters which could stress adult shrimp

Read More: Cherry Shrimp Feeding & Diet [The Ultimate Guide]

Shrimp Feeding & Diet: Infographic

If you want a printable version of this infographic, click here!

Before We Go…

For obvious reasons, you need to get your shrimp all the nutrients they need, especially during the breeding process. But what if you start to see they’re all fighting over food? Well, that’s nothing impossible – under certain circumstances, of course. But what are they? Now that’s the answer you’ll get right here – Why Are My Cherry Shrimps Fighting Over Food?

Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of AcuarioPets.com. I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.


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