I think there is no doubt that cherry shrimps can be very fascinating creatures. They possess some unique characteristics that set them apart from any other fish in an aquarium.
In this article, I’ll talk about some of the interesting facts regarding cherry shrimps. I have collected all these facts after hours of research and about 7 cups of black coffee. All these facts amazed me and made me love these little creatures even more!
I hope these facts will help you to know more about your cherry shrimps.
Let’s get started!
1. Cherry Shrimps Can Be Cleaners For The Aquarium
Cherry shrimps are mostly kept for their algae cleaning capability. They are excellent algae eaters. In fact, algae fall into the staple diet for cherry shrimps.
So, if you are having a hard time cleaning algae from your aquarium, just throw in a bunch of cherry shrimps. They’ll clean the algae within no time.
Also, cherry shrimps eat different biological substances from the substrate. As a result, these substances don’t decompose and produce ammonia in the aquarium.
Thus cherry shrimps help to keep the aquarium neat & healthy.
2. They Eat (Nearly) Everything
One interesting fact about cherry shrimps is they are omnivorous. It means, they eat everything, including both vegetation and meat. Cherry shrimps are excellent scavengers. They eat uneaten food, different biological substances, fish poops from the substrate.
Also, algae are one of their staple diets. Thus, cherry shrimps keep the tank clean by eating almost everything.
At the larvae stage, the shrimps have to rely on plankton. When matured, they live on algae, dead fishes, snails, plants, etc. So, there is no need to worry about their diet.
3. Unique Reproduction System
Most fishes reproduce by laying eggs. They carry eggs inside their body. However, this is not the case for cherry shrimps. They have a very unique reproduction system.
Cherry shrimps carry their eggs under the body. You can clearly see the eggs. A shrimp that is carrying eggs is known as a berried shrimp.
When ready for breeding, the female releases a type of sex hormone. The males react to this hormone and start the breeding process. When the breeding process is completed, the female deposits the sperm which forms into eggs later.
4. Molting Helps Cherry Shrimps To Grow
If you’ve been keeping cherry shrimps for some time, you’ve definitely seen white shrimp body lying on the substrate. Many beginners mistake those for dead shrimps. But that is not the case.
Actually these are the old exoskeletons of the cherry shrimps. The shrimps get rid of their old exoskeleton and form a new one. It’s like changing a dress. This process is known as molting.
Molting is extremely important for the growth of cherry shrimps. They molt as they grow. This is a completely natural process for them. At the younger stage, cherry shrimps molt almost once a week.
It can be difficult for the beginners to distinguish between a molted skin and dead shrimp. Here’s the way you can identify both. Molted skin will appear whitish in color. They look exactly like a living shrimp.
On the other hand, dead shrimps turn pinkish after a while.
5. Excellent Swimmers (In Backward)
Cherry shrimps are very skilled at swimming. But there’s a catch. They are more adept at swimming backward rather than forward. Yes, you’ve heard me right!
Cherry shrimps have many arthropods in their body. They flex their muscles using the arthropods and the tail to swim backward. By moving the abdomen towards the body, the cherry shrimps can shoot their body backward.
The speed is so fast that it almost happens in an instant. Cherry shrimps use this type of movement to quickly hide from prey.
However, that doesn’t mean that cherry shrimps can’t swim forward. Though the speed is much less, they can swim forward too. For this, cherry shrimps use their limbs underneath the body.
Another interesting fact is, though cherry shrimps are excellent swimmers, their primary mode for moving is walking, not swimming.
6. Their Skin Is Yummy
I’ve already mentioned the molting process of cherry shrimps. Cherry shrimps molt in order to grow. During each molting phase, they leave their old exoskeleton and form a new one.
You should never throw out the old exoskeleton. It contains very important nutrients and minerals for the shrimps. And cherry shrimps love to eat their exoskeleton too.
After each molting phase, the cherry shrimp gets very vulnerable as it has to form a completely new exoskeleton. During this stage, it needs high-grade nutrients and minerals. The old exoskeleton can be an easy source for that.
7. Changing Colors
Do you think lizards are the only animal that is able to change their colors? Well, you are wrong. Cherry shrimps can do that too!
Cherry shrimps can change their color depending on many factors. The quality of the diet, nutrition, water parameters, water quality, etc everything determines the color of the cherry shrimp.
The higher quality the diet is, the color will be more intense and brighter. Also, water parameters like pH take an active role in determining the color of cherry shrimps.
Generally, if the cherry shrimp is living a happy and healthy life, it will show a more intense color.
8. Matching The Substrate
Cherry shrimps are extremely good at camouflaging and blending with the substrate. They do this by changing the color to match the substrate.
If your tank has a light color substrate, then the shrimps will show a lighter shade of red. This helps them to blend in with the substrate and stay safe from predators.
On the other hand, if you are using a dark color substrate, the color of the cherry shrimps will get much darker and intense. That’s why most shrimp keepers advise to use a darker color substrate in the shrimp tank.
By using a darker substrate, your shrimps will show much more intense color and beauty.
9. Very Quick Dress Change
During the molting phase, the cherry shrimps come out of their old exoskeleton and form a new one. Though this process occurs very often, it is extremely hard to observe them doing so.
This is because cherry shrimps complete the molting process very quickly. By quickly, I mean within less than a few seconds.
Though we can take hours to change dress, for cherry shrimps, it is like a few seconds.
Quite interesting, right?
10. Where Are The Larvae?
This is a very distinguishing characteristic of the cherry shrimps. Most fishes, including many other species of shrimps, have a larvae stage. During the reproduction, the eggs hatch into larvae and the larvae grow into baby fishes later on.
However, in the case of cherry shrimps, there is no larvae stage. That means, the eggs hatch into tiny shrimp babies, which look exactly like the miniature version of adult cherry shrimps.
At the initial stage, the shrimp babies hide among rocks and plants and live on biofilm mainly. Soon they turn into adult shrimps.
11. Taking Care Of The Eggs
The female cherry shrimps are very careful about their eggs. They take care of it until the eggs are hatched into shrimp babies.
As I’ve said earlier, the female cherry shrimps carry their eggs underneath the body. During this stage, the female constantly fans the eggs using its tail.
Just like the shrimps, their eggs also need oxygen. Fanning does exactly that. It provides oxygen to the eggs and keeps them healthy. Thus female cherry shrimps take care of their eggs until hatching.
12. Protective Body Cream
As we use different body creams to protect our body, cherry shrimps also have a protective body cream of their own.
The cream is nothing but a mucus secreted from the body of cherry shrimps. This mucus acts like a protective cream and keeps the cherry shrimps safe from different parasites as well as infections.
There is another function of this slimy mucus. It helps the shrimps to swim faster through the water.
13. Females Are Brighter
In the case of cherry shrimps, the females are larger and brighter in color. Often the female cherry shrimps have much intense coloration than the male counterparts.
Also, when developing eggs, the females form a saddle spot on their backs. This way, you can easily identify the females from the males (Of course when they are sexually matured).
14. Tail Is The Propeller
Like other fishes, cherry shrimps don’t have any fins. They swim through the water with the help of their tail. The tail works as a propeller in this case.
It helps the shrimps to propel forward or backward. Also, the arthropods play a vital role during swimming.
15. Cherry Shrimps Are Social
Unlike most other fish species, cherry shrimps are very social. In fact, they thrive well in a group of at least 10 shrimps. Without being in a group, the shrimps don’t do well individually.
The cherry shrimps also feel safer when they are in part of a large group. They are also very peaceful in nature. In my whole shrimp keeping experience, I have seen cherry shrimps fight with each other only a couple of times.
So, if you are planning to keep cherry shrimps, I’ll highly encourage to buy at least 10 of them. It will ensure there is a balanced ratio of males and females in the group. As a result, soon you’ll start to see baby shrimps roaming around in the tank.
16. It Can Be Difficult To Stop Reproduction
Once you’ve set up a decent shrimp tank and your cherry shrimps are living peacefully there, soon you’ll observe breeding. Once cherry shrimps start to breed, it is really difficult to control their population.
Cherry shrimps can breed like crazy. Within a few months, your tank can have 2nd or even 3rd generation of cherry shrimps.
17. Can Observe Different Directions At The Same Time
This is another fact about cherry shrimps that really shocked me! Do you know that cherry shrimps can move around their eyestalks?
Yes, I am not joking! This means, they can see different directions at the same time. So, like us, cherry shrimps don’t have to move around their neck to see the surrounding. Their eyestalks do all the moving around for them!
18. Subtle Yet A Deadly Enemy
Can you guess who is the most dangerous enemy for cherry shrimps? If your answer is large predators, then I am sorry. You’re wrong. Yes, predators can be deadly to cherry shrimps, but it is not the deadliest one.
The major problem why most cherry shrimps die in an aquarium is due to rapid change in the pH. Yes, it can be that deadly to shrimps.
pH is a measuring standard that measures how much acidic or alkaline the water is. Cherry shrimps prefer a specific pH range in the water. If the pH changes drastically within a very short period of time, the shrimps can’t take that.
You’ll need to ensure the tank water has a stable pH. Many shrimp keepers put cholla wood or almond leaves in the tank for that purpose.
19. Temperature Can Affect Them
Temperature of the water plays a vital role in many aspects of cherry shrimp’s life. If the temperature is higher or lower than a standard value, then the shrimps will be affected in various ways.
Let me explain.
|Higher Temperature||Lower Temperature|
|Shorter lifespan||Longer lifespan|
|Eats more often||Eats less|
|Molts more frequently||Molts less frequently|
|Breeds quicker||Breeds slowly|
|Lower offspring quality||Higher offspring quality|
The ideal temperature range for cherry shrimps is between 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is higher than that, then the shrimps will molt more often and grow much quicker.
However, as the shrimps will molt often, it will often suffer from fatigue and loss of energy. Ultimately, at higher temperatures, though the shrimps will breed more, the offspring will not be of higher quality.
On the other hand, if the temperature is cooler, the reverse will happen. The shrimps will molt less, grow much slower, breed slowly and have higher-quality offspring.
It is better to maintain a balance and aim for the ideal temperature range.
I hope you liked reading these facts as much as I did. After learning about these interesting cherry shrimp facts, I started to love these little creatures even more. I wish these facts will inspire you to learn more about shrimps.
Happy Shrimp Keeping.