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, how much 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.
4 Categories Of Food
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:
- Whenever you clean the shrimp tank, only scrape the front glass for viewing purposes. Leave the other 3 glasses unscraped as they’ll grow a healthy amount of biofilm and algae. This will ensure your shrimps will always have enough food stored in the tank.
- The more plants and moss you’ll have in the tank, the better algae and biofilm will grow. Also, fudgy moss and fluffy plants attract food particles and accumulate them in their leaves and roots. Cherry shrimps love to graze on these food particles. Also, plants with larger leaves grow biofilm over them which is an ideal food for the babies as well as adult cherry shrimps.
- Use sponge filters in the tank. The sponges used in the filter are great for growing biofilm and algae over them. They also catch all the floating food particles and store them. These sponges are a wonderful food source for the cherry shrimps.
- Have driftwood and rocks in the tank. These offer a great surface area for algae and biofilm to grow. The more you have these, the better stocked your tank will be with algae & biofilm.
How To Actively Grow Biofilm In The Tank?
Here are some tips you can follow to actively grow biofilm in the shrimp tank:
- Large leaves are excellent for growing biofilm over them. As the leaves start to deteriorate, biofilm begins growing over the surface. Cherry shrimps get crazy for this biofilm. For this purpose, shrimp keepers all over the world use Indian Almond Leaves or Catappa Leaves. You won’t need lots of Indian Almond Leave either. For a 20 gallon tank, one Indian Almond Leave each month is enough.
- If you are looking for a good deal on Indian Almond Leaves, check it out. You’ll get 10 packs of Indian Almond Leaves which will last you a lifetime!
- Cholla woods are awesome for growing biofilm too. They have lots of gaps and holes over the body that acts as an excellent hiding place for the baby cherry shrimps. Flip Aquatics has the most amazing looking cholla woods in their stock. Just have a look at their Cholla Wood and order one for yourself! You’ll be happy and so will your shrimps!
- Driftwoods are also an excellent choice. I like this Pacific Driftwood for hiding places. It is natural, looks extremely good and shrimps love these types of woods too! They grow biofilm over them which is a natural food source for shrimps.
- Do remember that both Indian Almond Leave and Cholla wood release tannin in the water. So, don’t put too much of them in the water. One Indian Almond Leave per 20 gallon tank along with one medium-sized cholla wood is enough.
- Some foods like Bacter AE promotes the growth of biofilm 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
Though algae and biofilm are staple shrimp food, they can’t ensure all the nutrients and minerals that cherry shrimps require for proper growth. For this purpose, we need a commercial food specifically made for shrimps. These types of foods ensure your cherry shrimps will get all the nutrients it requires.
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 shrimps with this food. More than 90% of problems related to shrimp tank are related to overfeeding the shrimps.
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 shrimps like.
However, like many shrimp keepers, I like to feed Bacter AE to my shrimps. 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 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 shrimps.
- Contains all the vital microorganism, enzyme as well as amino acids for the shrimps
- Contains live probiotic bacteria which helps the cherry shrimps to efficiently digest the foods and absorb the nutrients
Now let’s talk about how to feed Bacter AE to your shrimps. Here are the steps:
- First, take a small water container and partially fill it with the tank water.
- Now, pour the required amount of Bacter AE in the container. For a low to moderately stocked tank, 1/2 scoop of food is enough.
- 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 price and other necessary information.
Shrimp King Complete
Shrimp King Complete is a wonderful substitute of 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 shrimps
- 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.
- Suitable for bot caridina and neocaridina shrimps
- Increase the survival rate of the baby shrimps as well as promote better feeding response
- Thickens the exoskeleton for better molting experience
- 100% Raw & Natural ingredients
- Depending on the number of shrimps and algae you have, feed 3-4 times a week
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 shrimps include:
How To Feed?
Many shrimp keepers feed raw vegetables to their shrimps. 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 in giving 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 shrimps 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!
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:
- 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.
- 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.