9 Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina) Diseases & How To Treat Them?

Cherry Shrimp Diseases

Shrimp keeping is a wonderful hobby. It has its perks, but everything changes when you start to observe random shrimp deaths and sickness due to various diseases.

Some of the common cherry shrimp diseases include:

  • Vorticella
  • Bacterial Infections
  • Scutariella Japonica
  • Leeches
  • Dragonfly Nymphs
  • Muscular Necrosis
  • Fungal Infections
  • Chitinolytic Bacterial Diseases
  • Parasitic dinoflagellates & ellobiopsids

I’ll explain each of these diseases in detail and show you how to prevent and cure them. But first, let’s discuss how the cherry shrimp get infected with diseases in the first place.

How Cherry Shrimps (Neocaridina) Get Sick?

Cherry shrimp can get sick in many ways. Here are some of the common ways the cherry shrimps get infected:

  1. The most common way is buying infected shrimps from the store and releasing them in the tank with other cherry shrimps. From the newly bought infected shrimps, parasites infect the old healthy shrimps and make them sick too.
  2. The same can happen when buying infected aquatic plants from the store. The leaves of aquatic plants can become infected with parasites and their eggs. These eggs hatch when the aquatic plant is planted in a new tank, and then the whole tank becomes infected with parasites.
  3. The shrimp tank can also get infested with diseases if the temperature is too high, there is a lack of minerals in the tank, etc. and so many reasons.

Now that we know how cherry shrimp become infected with diseases, it is time to learn details about each disease and how to combat it.

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1. Vorticella

Vorticella is the name of the parasite. It is not uncommon in cherry shrimp. Vorticella looks like a whitish fungus. It grows over the shell of the cherry shrimp, typically around the nose region.

Though Vorticella looks like a fungus, it is a protozoa consisting of 16 known species. This protozoan is an aquatic parasite mostly found in freshwater bodies. Vorticella attaches itself to a host, such as a plant, driftwood, rocks, other animals, etc.

To survive, Vorticella needs to attach itself to a carrier. They reproduce through binary fission. If left untreated for a long time, Vorticella can even cause the death of the shrimp.

Photo Collected From AquariumCreation


  • White-looking fungus is on the shell of the shrimp, mostly around the tip of the nose.


Method 1: Salt Bath

You need to perform a salt bath on the affected shrimp. Be sure to use Aquarium Salt, not table salt or any other regular salt we use.

Take 1 cup of water from the cherry shrimp tank. Dose 1 teaspoon of the aquarium salt. Mix well.

Place the infected shrimp in the pot and keep it there for about a minute. You may need to repeat the procedure several times until the Vorticella is completely gone. So, during this time, it is recommended to keep the shrimp in a hospital or quarantine tank.

Method 2: ParaGuard

The second method should only be used if the first method doesn’t bring any results. You need to dose the shrimp tank with Seachem ParaGuard. Since ParaGuard is a strong medicine, be careful with the dosage.

Don’t dump the medicine directly into the tank. First, take some tank water in a container and mix the required dosage of ParaGuard in it. Then, throw the tank water into the tank.

You can also use API General Cure which is a good medicine for parasitic treatment.


  • Always keep the tank water fresh and clean
  • Perform regular water changes
  • Use a good filtration system

Need To Talk With A Vet Right Now?

2. Bacterial Infections

This one is dangerous for several reasons. Researchers don’t yet have enough information on bacterial infections in cherry shrimps. Also, there aren’t enough pictures to study these infections. Bacteria are dangerous and they never stop to pose for a good picture.

However, we can guess a bacterial infection if the shrimp’s body is transparent and the inner organs are visible. If the inner translucent body of the cherry shrimp appears inflamed, then the shrimp might be suffering from bacterial infections.

In cherry shrimp, the inner organs are normally dark pinkish. However, if infected with bacterial infections, the color may change.

A cherry shrimp that is infected with bacterial infection can die after 2-4 days of showing the symptoms. Unfortunately, no proper treatment has been found yet for curing bacterial infections in shrimps.

However, you can perform some home remedies to reduce the infection.

Photo Collected From AquariumCreation


  • Sudden death of cherry shrimps
  • loss of body parts in the shrimps, such as legs or antenna
  • flesh getting pinkish
  • sudden visible holes on the carapace of the shrimps
  • sudden loss of color


  1. The first home remedy is to perform big water changes every single day. By Big, I mean at least 80% water change on a daily basis.
  2. The second remedy is to dose Hydrogen Peroxide (3 % solution). For every 4 liters of water, dose 1 ml of Hydrogen Peroxide in the tank. You can dose 2 ml if the situation gets more severe. Continue dosing every day for up to 5 days. Hydrogen peroxide also helps kill algae in the tank.
  3. You can also set up a UV light over the shrimp tank. UV light is beneficial against water-borne bacteria.


  • Bacterial infections generally occur when the temperature rises in the summer. In such a case, you can keep the tank lid open to keep the water cool.
  • Replace the evaporated water with new water every day.
  • Perform regular water changes and ensure you have good filtration in the tank.

Be Aware

  • Sometimes, the disease can be parasitic in form, and the infection will only appear as a secondary stage. In such cases, you need to examine the shrimps carefully for parasitic attacks, too.
  • When you can see symptoms in the shrimps like mentioned above, understand that the infection has already reached too far. Expect to have more shrimp deaths in the coming days. However, you can cure the less infected shrimps by performing the remedies mentioned.

3. Scutariella Japonica (Parasites)

Scutariella Japonica is one of the most common parasites for shrimps. It needs immediate actions too. Scutariella is a type of nematode parasite. Though they are classified as flatworms, they behave in a different way.

Scutariella Japonica takes the shrimp as a carrier and lives on the shrimp’s body. It usually lives inside the gills or mantle of the cherry shrimp. The most common infected areas are the shrimp’s rostrum or between the eyes. However, you can see these bacteria on the shrimp’s leg and other body parts on rare occasions.

The parasite also lays eggs inside the shrimp’s gill plate. The eggs are visible in rows behind the shrimp’s gill chamber and appear as white dots. The shrimp can get rid of the parasites when they molt. With the old exoskeleton, the shrimp get rid of Scutariella Japonica. However, if the old exoskeleton is not taken out of the tank, the parasites can host on another living body or shrimp.

Scutariella Japonica is not deadly to the shrimps. Meaning, they will not kill the host or the shrimp unless they get very high in number. When severely infested, they interfere with the shrimp’s breathing and mobility.

Do you know shrimps can face a lot of problems, even death, due to failed molting? Why does molting sometimes fail? How to prevent failed moltings? All the answers are in this article.

scutariella japonica
Photo Collected From AquariumCreation


  • It is easy to identify Scutariella Japonica. You won’t even need any type of special tool. Look for 1-2 mm length white appendages around the cherry shrimp’s head and rostrum area.
  • Scutariella Japonica is often confused with Vorticella. However, they both are visually distinguishable by the color. Vorticella is mostly transparent in color, whereas Scutariella Japonica appears whitish.


Method 1: Salt Bath

  • This is the most common method to treat Scutariella Japonica. First, you need to have aquarium salt. Any other regular table salt will not be suitable for it.
  • Take a glass and put one tablespoon of the freshwater aquarium salt in it. Now fill the glass with tank water and mix well. Make sure all the salt pieces are dissolved well.
  • Now, take out the infected cherry shrimp from the aquarium with a net. Put the shrimp into the glass for 20 seconds. Make sure the shrimp doesn’t jump off the glass.
  • After about 20 seconds, take out the shrimp from the glass and put it back into the tank.
See also  Red Cherry Shrimp Grades Explained [With Pictures]

Sometimes, most of the cherry shrimps in the tank get affected by Scutariella Japonica. In such a case, it is hard to catch the shrimps one by one and give them a salt bath.

In such a case, make a solution of 1 tablespoon of freshwater aquarium salt (for every 5 gallons of water). Now, pour the solution into the shrimp tank. If the infection gets severe, you can increase the dosage. Don’t forget to perform 20-30% weekly water changes.

Dealing with Scutariella Japonica, a common shrimp ailment, requires proactive measures rather than reactive ones, as emphasized by shrimp expert Abhisek Mallick.

He advises, ‘Generally, there is no treatment for shrimps. They give very little time to do any kind of treatment, so it’s better to be proactive than reactive.’

In cases where many shrimps are affected, a solution of 1 tablespoon of freshwater aquarium salt per 5 gallons of water can be used instead of individual salt baths. Pour this solution into the tank, adjusting the dosage if the infection worsens.

Though a salt bath removes Scutariella from the head and rostrum, it doesn’t work for the eggs inside the gill chamber. To remove those, you’ll have perform the following:

  • Check if the cherry shrimps are molting. When the cherry shrimps molt, the Scutariella along with its eggs fell off with the old exoskeleton. At this stage, if you don’t take out the old exoskeleton, the parasite will again attach itself to a new host (shrimp) and infest the tank again. So, whenever you see any old exoskeleton in the tank, take it out.
  • Take out the old exoskeletons for a couple of week. This way, the parasite doesn’t get any chance to spread throughout the whole tank.

Method 2: Seachem ParaGuard

  1. If the salt method doesn’t treat the cherry shrimps fully, then it is time to dose with Seachem ParaGuard. Seachem ParaGuard is a very strong medicine, and it needs to be used only as a last resort.
  2. Dose as written on the label of the container. For every 10 gallon water, you’ll need to dose 5 ml ParaGuard. If there are baby shrimps in the tank, lower the dosage a bit as it can be quite strong for the babies.
  3. Continue dosing for about a week.


  • Perform regular water changes. Cherry shrimp also get encouraged to molt after a water change. This way, you can take out the old exoskeletons quicker before they can infect any more shrimps.
  • After giving a salt bath, wait for at least a couple of weeks to check if the situation improves. This waiting period is necessary as the salt bath can put a lot of pressure on the shrimp.
  • You can also use API General Cure which is a good medicine for parasitic treatment.
  • Some shrimp keepers have gotten good results by using No Planaria to treat Scutariella Japonica. However, I won’t recommend it if you have snails in the shrimp tank. Also, I think salt baths and ParaGuard are enough to treat these parasites.

4. Leeches (Parasites)

Photo Collected From AquariumCreation

The cure for leeches is pretty much the same as Vorticella. Perform a salt bath for the affected shrimp. Use ParaGuard if the situation gets too severe. Also, remember to perform weekly water changes.

5. Dragonfly Nymphs

Dragonfly Nymphs are more of a type of bug than a disease. However, they are not less lethal than any bacterial infection. A couple of these bugs is enough to kill your baby shrimps and small fish. Even weak adult cherry shrimps are not safe from them.

Fortunately, Dragonfly Nymphs are visible in our eyes. Unfortunately, there is no treatment for them other than catching them with net and throwing out.

6. Muscular Necrosis

When infected with muscular necrosis, cherry shrimps form a whitish coloration on their back. Actually, the muscle tissue on the back part of the shrimp is a whitish color. The white coloration starts from the tail area and eventually moves to the head till it covers the whole rump.

Necrosis is a biological term that refers to the destruction of one or several cells of a living animal. It results in a decomposition or inflammatory reaction of the surrounding cells and tissue.

Eventually, the decomposition of the cells releases a protein, and the whitish part is seen around the tail of the cherry shrimp. Muscular Necrosis mainly occurs due to wrong water parameters, Myxosporidien, or bacterial infection. Also, lack of oxygen, sudden pH swings, and insufficient nutrition can lead to this disease.


  • White coloration on the back of the shrimp. The coloration generally starts from the tail and eventually covers the whole rump including the head area.


  • Muscular necrosis can be infectious. So, you need to isolate the infected cherry shrimp in a separate tank immediately.
  • Perform daily water changes in the quarantine tank. It should solve the problem gradually.
  • If the white coloration reaches the abdomen, it is too late. There is nothing you can do, and the shrimp may die soon.


  • You need to ensure all the water parameters are in the right range for cherry shrimps. PH, GH, KH, nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, etc., every parameter should be in the ideal range for cherry shrimps.

For your convenience, here I am listing a chart showing the ideal water parameters for cherry shrimp:

Temperature70 to 75 Degrees Fahrenheit
pH6.5 to 7.5
GH6-8 ppm
KH1-4 ppm
TDS150-250 ppm

7. Fungal Infections

Though fungal infections are more common in fishes, shrimps can get infected with it too. Fungal infections can’t be avoided as the air and water is filled with fungal spores.

Fungi is an organism that is similar to plants. However, they can’t perform photosynthesis like plants do. Fungal infections are called Mycosis in medical terms.

If the infection is internal, it is likely due to food. If the cherry shrimp is healthy, then its immune system should be able to fight the fungal spores. On the other hand, a weak shrimp can even die due to internal fungal infections. Internal Fungal Infections are very hard to diagnose and require a microscope.

On the other hand, external fungal infections are clearly visible to the naked eye. These infections are called external or superficial mycosis. The most common culprits for external mycosis are Saprolegnia or Achlya. The symptom can be fluffy, whitish cotton growths on the head or abdomen of cherry shrimp.

As healthy shrimps can fight of the fungal infections, it is mostly seen in shrimps that are weak or after it has just molted. Molting is a very hard physiological process for cherry shrimps and they can get very weak after each molting. So, after every molting, cherry shrimps can get infected with fungal diseases and fail to fight it off.

The fungal spores first start attaching themselves in the weaker parts of the shrimp. Soon they start attaching to other dead tissue cells infecting more surrounding tissue.

If the fungal infection is only on the surface of the cherry shrimp’s body, a molt can remove it. Make sure you remove the old exoskeleton from the tank after molting. If the infection is internal, treatment is required.

Photo Collected From AquariumCreation


  • Whitish cotton-like growths around the head or abdomen area.


  • Immediately remove the infected shrimp and place it in a separate quarantine tank.
  • You’ll need to get JBL’s Fungol. Dose the medicine in the quarantine tank following the instructions written on the label. Though JBL’s Fungol doesn’t contain copper, it is not recommended to use for shrimps. So, only use if it is absolutely necessary.
  • You can look for other fungal treatment medicines, but be sure that they don’t contain any copper.


  • Keep the water clean and healthy for the shrimps
  • Ensure the water parameters are ideal for cherry shrimp
  • Have a good filtration system

8. Chitinolytic Bacterial Diseases

Chitinolytic Bacterial Diseases include many diseases such as black spot disease, brown spot disease, shell disease, rust disease, burned spot disease, etc.

Till now, I have talked about mostly internal bacterial infections. But this one is an external infection. These infections are caused by a bacteria called Chitinolytic. Various species are responsible for various types of infections, such as Benekea spp, Vibrio spp, Aeromonas spp, Pseudomonas spp, Flavobacterium spp, and Sprillium spp.

The infection is mostly visible on the exoskeleton as it gets melanized, eroded, or pitted where the infection occurs.

Generally, Chitinolytic Bacterial Diseases occur due to improper water parameters, dirty tank water, too much nitrate, and substrate that has turned bad for using too long.

Photo Collected From AquariumCreation


  • Chitinolysis is generally marked by a black to dark brown pigmentation.
  • As the bacteria destroys tissue cells and muscles, lesions can form on the shrimp’s body.
  • The lesions can cause other secondary infections.
  • The most commonly affected areas are the abdominal muscle, gill, tail area, and gastropods.


Method 1: Big L’s pig and poultry wormer

First, isolate the infected shrimp and place it into a quarantine tank. Also, keep in mind that these bacterial infections can be highly contagious and contaminate everything inside the tank.

You need to dose the quarantine shrimp tank with Big L’s pig and poultry wormer. For every 7 liters of aquarium water, you need to dose 1 ml. If the situation doesn’t improve, repeat the process after 48 hours.

Remove everything from the main tank, including all the ornaments and accessories. Sterilize everything! The best way to sterilize them is by boiling them in water for a few minutes and then drying them off under the sun.

Perform regular water changes. At least one-third of the tank’s water needs to be changed regularly. If you see any dead shrimp, take them out immediately.

Increasing the oxygen flow rate also helps in this situation.

Other Methods

  1. Give the affected shrimp a salt bath for 20-30 seconds. Prepare the solution as mentioned above. Repeat the process if the situation doesn’t improve. Salt bath is effective against bacterial infection as the salinity kills most bacteria.
  2. As most bacteria prefer an acidic environment, you can raise the pH of the water very slowly by 1 point. High pH means the environment will get more alkaline, which most bacteria do not prefer.
  3. As bacteria love high temperatures, slowly lower the temperature of the water. Don’t worry, shrimps love lower temperature too!
  4. Adding lots of plants is a good idea as plants absorb excess nitrate and oxygenate the water.
See also  19 Cherry Shrimp Facts That Will Surely Amaze You!

If you can start the treatment in the early stage before the bacteria starts to erode through the exoskeleton, it is possible to cure the cherry shrimp. I have seen many shrimp keepers curing this disease by simply performing regular water changes and providing better water quality.


  • Replace the substrate after the expiry date.
  • Ensure the water quality is fine and the water parameters are in the correct range for cherry shrimps
  • nitrite, nitrate, ammonia, etc., should be as low as possible
  • offer a diet to the cherry shrimps that ensures nutrition

Natural Remedies For Bacterial Infections

natural home remedies for shrimp bacterial infection

In this section, I’ll be describing some natural remedies that have worked against bacterial infections for some shrimp keepers. These remedies are completely safe for your shrimp tank.

Crack Willow Bark

The bark of crack willow tree has antibacterial property in it. It was widely used for antibacterial treatment in the past. Get some 5 x 2 cm barks (preferably 2-3 pieces). Put the bark inside the shrimp tank and replace after every 2 weeks. Continue the treatment for up to a month.

With this method, the already infected shrimp will not be cured. However, the bark’s antibacterial properties can reduce the spread of bacterial infection.

Make sure the bark is thoroughly cleaned under running water before placing it inside the tank.

Fennel Greens

Fennel leaves work wonderful against bacterial infections. You can either feed your shrimp blanched fennel leaves or dried. This helps to treat internal bacterial infections.

I prefer to blanch the leaves first as it ensures there is no parasite on the leaves.

Green Tea

Tea, especially green tea, is famous for its antibacterial properties and fungicidal tannin. Green tea is preferred as an antibacterial treatment because it contains comparatively lower amounts of caffeine and more polyphenols.

For treatment, we need to take the 2nd or 3rd infusion of the green tea. Dose 1 ml of green tea for every 1 L of shrimp tank water. Perform a 25% water change after a couple of days. Change the amount of tea according to the amount of tank water.

There is another way!

Take a green tea bag and infuse it with hot water in a cup for about 30 seconds. You can either drink or discard the first infusion. After that, take out the tea bag and place it inside the tank. Make sure that the bag’s contents don’t leech into the tank.

Dried Guava/ Banana/ Indian Almond Leaves

Indian Almond Leaves is widely famous among shrimp keepers. Almost all of the shrimp keepers have kept Indian Almond Leaves in their shrimp tank at some point during the shrimp-keeping journey.

Like the Indian Almond Leaves. there are some other highly beneficial leaves for cherry shrimps such as banana leaves, guava leaves etc.

These leaves have antibacterial properties and are suitable for fungicidal treatment. They release essential oils, tannins, and humic acids, which are perfect for treatment purposes.

Use 3 leaves for every 100L tank water. You can keep the leaves until they are totally dissolved or eaten by the shrimp.

Cinnamon Sticks

We need the cinnamon sticks sold for food purposes. Place a 5 to 7 cm long cinnamon stick in the tank for every 20 L tank water. The sticks are completely safe to be left out in the tank even after the treatment is completed.

Alder Cones

Alder Cones are rich in fulvic acid. They have a slight antibacterial as well as fungicidal properties. Alder cones are also known for buffering the pH of the tank water to around 6 to 6.5 range.

Shrimps also love to graze on Alder Cones. Don’t forget to harvest the benefits of these cones if you find them in your area.

Guava Leaf

Guava leaf is widely known for carrying active ingredients that effectively fight against bacteria like Pseudomonas, Clostridium, E. coli, Salmonella, etc.

Shrimp keepers have been using Guava leaf in their shrimp tank for treating facultative anaerobe bacteria, gram-negative bacilli, etc. These bacteria are known as opportunistic pathogens as they mainly attack the shrimps when they are stressed.

Add guava leaf to your shrimp tank just like you add Indian Almond Leaf. It is completely safe for the shrimps.

Banana Leaf

The benefits are similar to guava leaf, however not as popular as guava leaf for using in shrimp tanks.

9. Parasitic dinoflagellates & ellobiopsids

This includes thousands of species, of which most are parasitic. Ellobiopsids and Dinoflagellates are very common parasites for fishes and marine invertebrates.

These parasites internally attack the host. They infest the digestive track, host’s eggs, blood stream, soft tissue, etc. These parasites propagate with their spores.

If you see any shrimp infected with these parasites, immediately take it out to reduce the spread as much as possible. Keep the infected shrimp in a separate quarantine or hospital tank until it is fully treated.

Photo Collected From AquariumCreation


  • The Ellobiopsids fungal infection appears as yellowish-green to green vegetation. The appearance is similar to a mold.
  • The most common infected area is the area between the swimmerettes and the swimming legs of the cherry shrimps.


  • Isolate the infected shrimp as soon as possible and keep it in a quarantine tank.
  • Some shrimp keepers have reported that they got a good result from dipping the shrimp in a formalin solution. However, I won’t recommend it because I have no personal experience with this disease. You can consult with a vet and see what he has to advise.
  • You can also use API General Cure which is a good medicine for parasitic treatment.

What Are White Spots On Cherry Shrimp?

While you must be mesmerized by the bright red coloration of cherry shrimp, shrimp owners worry about white spots on them. However, white spots can appear on cherry shrimp for several reasons.

Such as muscular necrosis, bacterial infection, high alkalinity in water, etc. In the case of muscular necrosis, you may notice white lesions on the tail side of your cherry shrimp.

Let’s check out the most probable reason for white spots on cherry shrimp.

White Spot Syndrome

White spot syndrome is a contagious disease that causes numerous tiny white spots inside the shell of cherry shrimp. The most prominent sign of this disease is your cherry shrimp having white spots, around 0.53 mm in diameter.

It’s a viral disease that is caused by White Spot Syndrome Virus. According to the researchers, White Spot Syndrome disease can kill your affected shrimp within 72 hours.

If your cherry shrimp are affected by White Spot Syndrome, these affected crustaceans will have loose carapace. Your sick cherry shrimp will show an unusual swimming pattern. Besides, their gills may have heavy fouling.

White spot syndrome-affected cherry shrimp will try to come up to the tank’s water surface. Besides, your cherry shrimp will show lethargy and loss of appetite.

If you are looking for a suitable treatment procedure for white spot disease on cherry shrimp, you may follow heat treatments to kill bacteria. Otherwise, the vet may suggest some antibiotics. However, there is no specific treatment for white spot syndrome disease on cherry shrimp.

How To Treat Green Fungus On Shrimp?

If you do not immediately treat your shrimp, the green fungus can kill the affected shrimp. However, you must be persistent in curing green fungus.

There are several popular methods to treat green fungus on shrimp. Let’s check out the following procedures.

1. Aquarium Salt Treatment

Firstly, you should take a separate tank or bowl. A tank of 1 liter can be sufficient for this process. In 1 liter of water, you have to add 10 teaspoons of aquarium salt.

Do not make the mistake of adding table salt to your shrimp. Afterward, you should stir the water with a stick. Then, you need to let the water sit for 10-15 minutes.

If you identify the sick shrimp, you should quarantine them first. Then, you should place the sick shrimp in the prepared water.

But you can not keep your affected shrimp in salt water for a long time. If your shrimp is too weak, this treatment process can also kill your shrimp. Hence, you should dip the affected shrimp for only 10-15 seconds.

Afterward, you should take back the affected shrimp to its tank. You need to repeat the process for 1 week. Generally, this process can cure green fungus in 2-3 days. If your shrimp aren’t healthy, they can take a longer time to be cured.

2. Hydrogen Peroxide Treatment

Another promising remedy for green fungus in shrimp is the Hydrogen PerOxide treatment. According to the water amount of the tank, you should apply 1.5 ml of Hydrogen Peroxide per 1 gallon. Keep in mind that overdosing can kill your affected shrimp. 

3. Tannin Treatment

You will require some almond leaves to continue this treatment. Firstly, you should quarantine the sick shrimp with green fungus.

Keep the affected shrimp in a small bowl with sufficient water. Then, you should add 3-4 almond leaves. You can also add a few Adler cones.

Almond leaves and Alder cones add tannic acid and tannin to the water. These components are beneficial for shrimp to cure green fungus. After all, these almond leaves and Adler cones have anti-fungal properties.

Meanwhile, you should make a 50% water change daily. Within 2 weeks, your affected shrimp must get cured of green fungus.

See also  Cherry Shrimp Molting Problems: How To Deal With Those?

How To Treat Milk Shrimp Disease?

if your shrimp have an opaque whitish area under the carapace, your shrimp may suffer from milk shrimp disease. This disease happens due to parasite infection. The abdominal muscle of shrimp gets affected by milk shrimp disease.

As a result, the discoloration on the outside of the shrimp’s body shows a cottony appearance. That’s why this disease is also popular as cotton shrimp disease.

Why Is My Cherry Shrimp Turning Black?

There can be a few reasons responsible for cherry shrimp turning black. Let’s check out the following causes that may be liable to turn your cherry shrimp black.

1. Genetic Anomaly

Aging is a natural process in the lives of all creatures. If you notice your adult cherry shrimp turning black, it must be due to old age. Genetic anomalies are another reason behind the turning black of your cherry shrimp.

Nobody can predict which cherry shrimp will face such a genetic exception. Due to such an anomaly, your cherry shrimp may have black patches and spots all over their body.

2. Bacterial Disease

Sometimes, opportunistic bacteria invade cherry shrimp due to environmental inconveniences. As a result, your cherry shrimp are affected by bacterial diseases. 

These bacterial diseases cause lesions in the internal organs of cherry shrimp. It causes your cherry shrimp to turn black.

3. Poor Water Quality

Cherry shrimp are sensitive to water parameters. These shrimp require a specific pH range, temperature, and other parameters to thrive in the water.

An improper filtration system is also responsible for the shrimp tank’s poor water quality. Moreover, the water quality will not remain up to the mark when the cherry shrimp tank is overcrowded.

If the water quality degrades, your cherry shrimp will be stressed, which will lead to their discoloration.

Moreover, poor water quality invites bacteria and other harmful microorganisms into the tank. In such poor environmental conditions, your cherry shrimp may turn black.

4. Stress

Cherry shrimp can turn black due to stress. Your shrimp can become stressed for several reasons.

Such as low oxygen levels in the water, aggressive tank mates, unbalanced ammonia and nitrate levels, massive water change, etc. These activities work as stressors for cherry shrimp.

Such stressors are harmful stimuli that show physiological effects on cherry shrimp. Aside from turning black, your cherry shrimp will show a loss of appetite, lethargy, and other unusual behavior.

5. Improper Diet

Diet has a huge effect on the pigmentation of cherry shrimp. Shrimp require a nutritious diet in an accurate quantity. If you do not feed quality food to your cherry shrimp in the right amount, it may cause them stress.

Besides, lacking nutrition causes duller coloration in cherry shrimp. On the contrary, you must not overfeed your cherry shrimp. The leftovers cause an ammonia spike, which leads to your cherry shrimp turning black.

6. Toxic Food Buildup

Generally, cherry shrimp are voracious eaters. Due to being scavengers, cherry shrimp eat anything they find at the tank bottom. When these shrimp get full, they leave the extra food.

If you do not clean the leftovers, the excess food will decay in the water. Decaying foods will increase the ammonia and nitrite levels in the tank water. These spikes of ammonia and nitrite cause your cherry shrimp to turn black.

7. Death

In most cases, the dead shrimp appear pink or white. But, there are a few exceptions where dead cherry shrimp turn black.

Does Bacter AE Kill Shrimp?

Bacter AE is used for the growth of biofilm in shrimp tanks. Besides, this product adds the required microorganisms to the tank water. As a result, the experts suggest using Bacter AE to improve the health of shrimp.

Instead of using shrimp health, Bacter AE can kill your shrimp too. It happens when you overdose on Bacter AE in the shrimp tank. Besides, using expired Bacter AE can take the lives of your pet shrimp.

To keep your shrimp safe, you should know the correct dose of Bacter AE. If you make the mistake of overdosing Bacter AE, you should make a large water change.

Besides, aeration may help rectify the overdose of Bacter AE. In addition, you must check the expiration date of Bacter AE before purchasing the product.

How To Get Rid Of Leeches In An Aquarium?

Nobody wants the bloodsucker leeches in their aquarium. To save your shrimp or fish from leeches, you should apply suitable methods to remove them.

The easiest way is to remove the leeches manually. If you notice any leeches in the aquarium, you can remove them with a tweezer. Make sure not to hurt your shrimp or fish.

To remove the leeches from the aquarium, you can vacuum or siphon the gravel. You can also use salt in high concentrations. Before using salt, you must remove the shrimp, fish, plants, and other items from the aquarium.

People also try copper mixed chemical preparation and bleach to kill leeches. No matter what preparations you are using, you must keep the health of your shrimp as your priority.

However, you must take your veterinarian’s suggestion before trying any methods.

Why Does My Shrimp Have White Stuff On It?

Sometimes, it’s a matter of worry when there is white stuff on your shrimp. Let’s check out the following probable reasons that can cause white stuff on your shrimp.

1. Vorticella

Vorticella causes a parasitic attack on shrimp. When your shrimp gets affected by vorticella, this infection develops white fuzzy stuff on its body.

Your shrimp will have several white cotton-like spots on the tip of its nose. It gets lethal when the shrimp gills are damaged by a vorticella attack.

2. White Spot Syndrome

Due to this viral infection, your shrimp may have white spots on their body. A virus named WSSV (White Spot Syndrome Virus) is responsible for White Spot Syndrome. Your shrimp will face discoloration after being affected by this infection.

3. White Glaze Melting Off

In commercial uses, white glazes are used over shrimp that retain moisture. The white stuff will be on your shrimp when the white glaze melts off.

4. Freezer Burn

It can be freezer burn if your shrimp has white fuzzes or discoloration. Freezer burn happens due to improper preservation.

What are the most common cherry shrimp parasites?

Cherry shrimp can be susceptible to various parasites, including Vorticella, Scutariella, Hydra, Anchor Worm, and Planaria. These parasites can cause skin irritation, inflammation, and damage to the shrimp’s tissues and gills. 

What are the most common aquarium shrimp diseases?

The most common aquarium shrimp diseases are bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infections. Bacterial infections can cause symptoms such as lethargy, loss of appetite, and discoloration of the shrimp’s body.

Fungal infections can cause white or gray patches on the shrimp’s body and fins, and can also lead to lethargy and loss of appetite. Parasitic infections can cause skin irritation, inflammation, and damage to the shrimp’s tissues and gills.

How do you know if cherry shrimp are sick?

There are several signs that cherry shrimp may exhibit if they are sick. These include lethargy, loss of appetite, abnormal behavior, discoloration of the body or limbs, and physical abnormalities such as missing or deformed limbs. They may also exhibit signs of stress, such as rapid breathing or hiding in the aquarium.

What is luminous bacterial disease in shrimp?

Luminous bacterial disease, or Vibrio infection, is a common bacterial disease affecting shrimp and other aquatic animals. It is caused by the bacteria Vibrio harveyi and Vibrio parahaemolyticus, which are found naturally in marine and freshwater environments.

The disease is characterized by the appearance of luminescent or glowing spots on the shrimp’s body caused by the bacteria emitting light.

Is antifungal safe for shrimp?

Antifungal medications can be safe for shrimp when used correctly and in the recommended dosage. However, it’s important to note that some antifungal medications can be harmful to shrimp and other aquatic animals, especially if used improperly or in excessive amounts.

Before using any antifungal medication in an aquarium with shrimp, it’s important to read the instructions carefully and consult with a veterinarian or aquatic specialist to ensure that the medication is safe for your shrimp and won’t harm the other inhabitants of the aquarium.

What causes red disease in shrimp?

Red disease in shrimp, also known as Acute Hepatopancreatic Necrosis Disease (AHPND), is caused by a strain of Vibrio parahaemolyticus bacteria that produces a toxin called PirAB.

This toxin causes damage to the hepatopancreas, leading to symptoms such as empty midgut, pale and floppy hepatopancreas, and reddish discoloration of the body.

What is yellow gill disease in shrimp?

Yellow gill disease in shrimp is a viral infection caused by yellow head virus (YHV), gill-associated virus (GAV), and six other closely related viral strains.

The disease is characterized by yellow to pink coloration of the gills, emaciation, and biofouling with exoparasites. Microscopic pathological signs include lymphoid organ necrosis. 

Is methylene blue safe for aquarium shrimp?

The use of methylene blue in aquariums with shrimp is a topic of debate among shrimp keepers. While some sources suggest that methylene blue can harm shrimp, others claim that it can be used safely at low doses and for short periods.

Methylene blue may mess with the biological balance in the tank, and shrimp are extremely sensitive, so even if fish do fine, shrimp may actually die one by one.


So, this is my comprehensive guide on different cherry shrimp diseases and how to cure them. Remember to bookmark this page, as you can come anytime when you face an emergency.

Please remember that I am not a vet and that you should always consult with an appropriate vet before applying anything to your pets. What I have mentioned here are the things that worked for me and many other shrimp keepers.

I hope your cherry shrimp will be happy and healthy forever!

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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