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Cherry Shrimp Feeding & Diet [The Ultimate Guide]

how to control cherry shrimp population

If you ask me to choose one thing that beginner shrimp keepers get most confused at, I’ll pick feeding. Though feeding shrimps is very simple and straightforward, many shrimp keepers get super confused about it. Frankly, this is because of the amount of information out there on the internet. It is easy to get overwhelmed.

In this article, I am going to break down everything step by step and show you what to feed cherry shrimps, when to feed them and everything else you need to know about feeding cherry shrimps.

So, let’s not waste any more time and get right to it.

red cherry shrimp overview and facts

Shrimp Feeding & Diet: Infographic

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

4 Categories Of Food

cherry shrimp feeding

For easy understanding, I have divided the diet of cherry shrimps into 4 different categories.

The first category is Algae and Biofilm. Cherry shrimps need those everyday and these form a staple portion of the diet.

The next category is commercial shrimp food which you need to dose 3-5 times a week depending on other factors. This ensures your cherry shrimps are getting all the required minerals and nutrients they need for proper growth.

Vegetables are the next category. They bring a nice change to the cherry shrimp’s diet and also add good nutritional value. I throw in some chopped vegetables to my cherry shrimp tank once or twice a month.

Lastly, treats are the final category. These are the foods you’ll give occasionally to your cherry shrimps. They act like treats. Treats are also great for observing the physical condition of your shrimps.

This is because, when you throw in a treat, all the shrimps in the tank will come forward and go crazy over the food. Consequently, you can observe easily how your shrimps are doing and if they are physically healthy or not.

1. Algae & Biofilm

Algae and biofilm form the staple portion of cherry shrimp’s diet. Both of these are extremely important for cherry shrimp’s health. If you plan to keep cherry shrimps in the tank, there needs to be a decent amount of algae and biofilm.

Fortunately, it’s not difficult to grow algae and biofilm. In most tanks, they grow automatically without any special care from us. Just keep your lights ON 8 to 12 hours a day and you should see a healthy amount of algae.

Now, don’t keep the lights ON for too long. We need a decent amount of algae and biofilm, but too much of that can really ruin the tank and destroy the visual appeal. We should aim for a good balance here.

Algae & biofilm are great for shrimp tanks because both the adult and baby shrimps can enjoy them. So, you don’t have to worry about the baby shrimps.

Here are some tips you can follow to always have abundance of algae and biofilm in the shrimp tank:

Shrimp Tank Maintenance:

  • When cleaning the shrimp tank, only scrape the front glass for viewing.
  • Leave the other three glasses unscraped to promote biofilm and algae growth.
  • This ensures a constant food source for your shrimps.

Plant and Moss Benefits:

  • Increase the number of plants and moss in your tank for better algae and biofilm growth.
  • Moss and fluffy plants attract and accumulate food particles, which cherry shrimps love.
  • Plants with larger leaves are ideal for both baby and adult cherry shrimps as they grow biofilm.
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Sponge Filters:

  • Use sponge filters in your tank.
  • These sponges are excellent for cultivating biofilm and algae.
  • They also trap floating food particles, serving as a food source for cherry shrimps.

Driftwood and Rocks:

  • Include driftwood and rocks in your tank setup.
  • They provide ample surface area for algae and biofilm to flourish.
  • The more you have, the better your tank will be stocked with algae and biofilm.

How To Actively Grow Biofilm In The Tank?

Here are some tips you can follow to grow biofilm in the shrimp tank actively:

  • Large leaves are perfect for growing biofilm, which cherry shrimps adore as a food source.
  • Indian Almond Leaves (Catappa Leaves) are commonly used by shrimp keepers worldwide.
  • For a 20-gallon tank, one Indian Almond Leaf per month is sufficient.
  • Consider checking for deals on Indian Almond Leaves, as 10 packs can last a lifetime.
  • Cholla wood is excellent for biofilm growth and provides hiding spots for baby cherry shrimps.
  • Flip Aquatics offers appealing Cholla Wood options for purchase.
  • Driftwood is also a great choice, and Pacific Driftwood is a favorite among shrimp keepers.
  • Both Indian Almond Leaves and Cholla wood release tannins into the water, so use them in moderation.
  • For a 20-gallon tank, one Indian Almond Leaf and one medium-sized Cholla wood piece should suffice.
  • Some foods like Bacter AE promote biofilm growth in the shrimp tank.

It is not hard to grow algae and biofilm. In fact, it is hard to not grow them! A healthy tank will have a nice amount of algae and biofilm within it. So, there is no need to worry.

2. Commercial Shrimp Food

Although algae and biofilm form the basis of a shrimp’s diet, they fall short in providing all the necessary nutrients for optimal growth and coloration.

As shrimp expert Abhisek Mallick advises, incorporating commercial foods like Teraa Rang and Shrimp King Color can enhance shrimp coloration and quality offspring, provided the shrimp’s gene pool is strong.

He emphasizes the importance of a well-maintained tank, correct water parameters, and sourcing from reputable breeders to ensure the effectiveness of these color-enhancing feeds.

The good thing is, you won’t need to feed this food everyday to the shrimps. Depending on the amount of algae and biofilm in the tank, I feed them 3 to 5 times a week. If the tank is bare-bottom and there is no rock or driftwood for biofilm to grow, I dose 5 times a week.

On the other hand, in a tank moderately equipped with driftwood and rocks, I dose about 2-3 times a week. The important thing here is not to overfeed your shrimp with this food. More than 90% of problems related to shrimp tanks are related to overfeeding the shrimp.

Now that you know why and how much to feed a commercial shrimp food, it’s time to look at the options. Which one should you choose? Frankly, there are hundreds of shrimp foods in the market, and you can choose the one your shrimp like.

However, like many shrimp keepers, I like to feed Bacter AE to my shrimp. I think this is the greatest shrimp food for many reasons.

I’ll explain in detail why I choose Bacter AE over other foods for my cherry shrimps. I’ll also share some other great choices that you can try out for your shrimps.

Bacter AE

Bacter AE is manufactured by the famous brand Glasgarten. Glasgarten is famous and widely renowned for its awesome collection of shrimp products. Bacter AE is not an exception. Here’s why I feed my shrimps Bacter AE:

  • Ensures all the minerals, nutrients, and vitamins that my cherry shrimps need to grow
  • Helps to grow biofilm in the tank. I already told you how important biofilm is for cherry shrimps, didn’t I?
  • Bacter AE is great for baby shrimps. As the food comes in powdered form, it spreads all over the tank. As a result, babies have a good chance to eat that food and not have to compete with the adults. This drastically increases the survival rate of the baby cherry shrimp.
  • Contains all the vital microorganisms, enzymes as well as amino acids for the shrimp
  • Contains live probiotic bacteria which help the cherry shrimps to digest the foods and absorb the nutrients efficiently
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Now, let’s talk about how to feed Bacter AE to your shrimps. Here are the steps:

  1. First, take a small water container and partially fill it with the tank water.
  2. Now, pour the required amount of Bacter AE into the container. For a low to moderately stocked tank, 1/2 scoop of food is enough.
  3. Mix the food well and dump the water into the tank. This will ensure the food spreads all over the tank, and both the babies and adults can enjoy it.

I hope I have shown you enough reasons why I think Bacter AE is the best shrimp food out there in the market. If you still need some more information, click here. It will take you to the Amazon page, where you can check out the latest prices and other necessary information.

Shrimp King Complete

Shrimp King Complete is a wonderful substitute for the Bacter AE. If, for some reason, you can’t get Bacter AE, try this one! Shrimp King Complete offers a balanced diet to the cherry shrimps that promotes vibrant color and reproduction.

  • made of 100% natural ingredients
  • Natural Carotenoids promote full potential color of the shrimp
  • Contains all the required minerals and nutrients for shrimps, including hight-quality protein as well as amino acid
  • Includes dietary fiber from different types of barks and leaves for improved digestion
  • Comes in a 45-gram jar that will last a very long time
  • For a tank with 20 shrimps, offer one feed pad every day or every other day, depending on the amount of algae & biofilm your tank has

If you want to check out Shrimp King Complete, click here. You’ll get the food directly shipped to your home.

MK-Breed Cheeseburger

  • Suitable for both caridina and neocaridina shrimps
  • Increase the survival rate of the baby shrimps as well as promote better feeding response
  • Thickens the exoskeleton for a better molting experience
  • 100% Raw & Natural ingredients
  • Depending on the number of shrimps and algae you have, feed 3-4 times a week

3. Vegetables

feeding cherry shrimp vegetables

Vegetables bring a wonderful change to the cherry shrimp diet and spice things up. Shrimps hate to eat the same thing every day and love some change once in a while. These vegetables are perfect for this purpose.

Some of the common vegetable choices for cherry shrimp include:

  • Lettuce
  • Zucchini
  • Spinach
  • Carrot
  • Cucumber

How To Feed?

Many shrimp keepers feed raw vegetables to their shrimp. Personally, I don’t recommend this. I like to blanch the vegetable for a couple of minutes until it turns soft. Then I throw in the vegetable.

Suppose you are planning to give a piece of carrot. Take a small cube of carrot and boil it for 2-3 minutes. Then place the carrot on the shrimp feeding dish and place the dish inside the tank. Your shrimp should start to notice the new food within a few minutes.

After about 30 minutes, take out the leftover food; otherwise, it can deteriorate the water quality. The same process goes for every other vegetable.

NB: Remember to peel the skin of the vegetable before feeding it to your shrimps. The skin can contain pesticide which will be harmful for the shrimps.

4. Treat (Feed Occasionally)

Treats are meant to be fed occasionally. Treats are also a great way to observe the physical condition of your shrimps. I generally give treats to my shrimps once or twice a month.

I put the treat in front of the aquarium. So, when all the shrimps come forward to get a piece of the treat, I have the chance to observe them and see how they are doing physically. There are many choices for shrimp treats. I am mentioning the ones that my shrimps love and get crazy for!

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The first one is Shrimp Lollies from GlasGarten. I told you I am a very big fan of GlasGarten. Their lollies are perfect for giving as treats. As the lollies are quite long, the shrimps have to climb on the lollies. One single Lollie can hold up to 50 shrimps at once. This presents a wonderful situation for me to observe the shrimps. You can get Shrimp Lollies from here at a cheap price.

You can also take dried fish flakes and make a powder of them. These powdered flakes can be a great way to treat your cherry shrimps.

Also, frozen foods can be used as treats. Some popular choices are: bloodworms, baby brine shrimp, etc. However the problem with frozen foods is, as it comes in a big piece, the babies don’t get any chance to get a piece of the food. The adults push the babies away.

How Often To Feed Shrimps?

Here are some guidelines on how often to feed shrimps:

  1. If your shrimp tank is bare-bottom, meaning there are no rocks, driftwood or leaves in the tank, then I’ll suggest feeding your shrimps about 4-5 times a week.
  2. If the tank has enough rocks, driftwood and Indian Almond Leaves, feeding 2-3 times a week will be enough.

There is a quick way to check if you are overfeeding your shrimps:

After putting food in the shrimp feeding dish, check back after 1 hour. If the food is completely gone, then it is good. Your feeding schedule is working fine and you are not overfeeding the shrimps.

However, if there is leftover even after a couple of hours, take out the leftover piece and don’t feed the shrimps for next 2 days. This way, you can ensure the shrimps are not overfed.

Feeding Tips From My Experience

  • Never overfeed your shrimps. 90% of the problems occur due to overfeeding
  • You don’t have to maintain stone-written food choices for your shrimps. Just feed your shrimps what they like. Just because I feed Bacter AE to my shrimps doesn’t mean that you’ll have to too. You are completely free to try out other options and see what your shrimps prefer the most.
  • Try giving powdered food to the shrimps as it ensures the babies can get their portion of the food
  • Cherry shrimps like to maintain consistency. That’s why I follow a feeding schedule to feed my cherry shrimps. The schedule helps me to keep track when I’ve fed my shrimps and when I’ll be feeding next. For your convenience, I am showing the feeding schedule below:

My Cherry Shrimp Feeding Schedule

First Week Of The Month

Bacter AE Bacter AE Blanched Vegetable

Second Week Of The Month

Bacter AE Bacter AE Shrimp Lollie

Third Week Of The Month

Bacter AE Bacter AE Blanched Vegetable

Fourth Week Of The Month

Bacter AE Bacter AE Shrimp Lollie

Feel free to give a gap of 2-3 days in between so that there is no chance you are overfeeding the shrimps


So, I hope by now you’ve got a pretty good idea of cherry shrimp feeding & diet. This is the guide I follow to feed my cherry shrimps and thousands of other shrimp breeders follow too.

The number 1 rule to remember while feeding cherry shrimps is, always feed less. Feeding too much is the number 1 mistake shrimp keepers make, even the experienced ones. And overfeeding is the root cause of maximum problems in a shrimp tank. So, whatever you do, don’t overfeed your cherry shrimps.

Lastly, don’t follow a boring diet. Mix it up. Try new things. Don’t feel like you are stuck at a stone-written diet for the rest of your cherry shrimp’s life. Cherry shrimps do appreciate nice surprises in their diet.

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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