Why Is My Cherry Shrimp Losing Color?

Many shrimp keepers experience that their cherry shrimps are losing color. Why does this happen? I did some digging to find out.

Cherry shrimp may lose color due to stress, poor water quality, inadequate diet, or illness. Ensuring optimal water parameters, a varied diet, and a stress-free environment can help maintain their vibrant color.

Let’s start with the most common reason:

6 Reasons Cherry Shrimps Lose Color

1. Lighter Substrate

The most common reason for cherry shrimp’s color loss is using a lighter substrate. If your shrimp tank has a lighter substrate, the shrimp will try to blend with it. As a result, they’ll gradually lose color and become more transparent.

Shrimps do this to make themselves hard to spot. In nature, this tactic comes in handy. If the shrimp are hard to detect, then big fish and other prey will not be able to hunt them down easily.

So, if you see your cherry shrimps are losing color, the first thing you need to do is check the substrate. I always recommend using a dark color substrate for a shrimp tank. Dark substrate enhances the color of the shrimp. Also, it looks better.

2. Poor Water Parameters

Poor water parameters can lead to many problems in cherry shrimps. Losing color is one of them.

Shrimps are very delicate creatures. They need their water-friendly. Otherwise, they won’t be able to thrive in the tank.

Poor water parameters can lead to various diseases in the shrimp, poor life quality, poor offspring, and early death. So, not only for enhancing color, you need to ensure proper water parameters to make sure your cherry shrimps can thrive in the tank.

Each type of shrimp requires a specific range of water parameters. For cherry shrimps, the ideal water parameter range is mentioned below:

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

Before even releasing the cherry shrimps to the tank, ensure each of these parameters is in the right range. This will solve hundreds of problems in the future.

So, if your cherry shrimps are losing color, check the water parameters. If any of the parameters is out of range, take the necessary steps.

If you need a test kit for measuring the water parameters, I’ll recommend API Master Test Kit. With this master test kit, you can measure ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH and many other water parameters. It is certainly a worthwhile investment for any shrimp keeper!

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3. Poor Diet

Another key factor influencing cherry shrimp coloration and offspring quality is their diet.

See also  How Big Can Cherry Shrimps Get? [Cherry Shrimp Size]

As Abhisek Mallick, a renowned shrimp expert, advises, while shrimps primarily feed on algae, biofilm, commercial shrimp food, and occasional blanched vegetables, introducing specialized color-enhancing feeds like Teraa Rang and Shrimp King Color can significantly impact their vibrancy.

However, Mallick cautions against expecting immediate results without considering the shrimp’s gene pool strength.

He emphasizes the importance of setting up a proper tank, maintaining optimal water parameters, and sourcing shrimps from reputable breeders with robust gene pools.

Additionally, he notes that shrimps are temperature-sensitive, necessitating vigilant monitoring. This comprehensive approach not only enhances coloration but also ensures the overall health and quality of offspring.

Cherry shrimps mainly require 3 things in their diet:

  • Algae & Biofilm
  • Commercial Shrimp Food
  • Blanched Vegetable

Algae & Biofilm

This is the main source of food for cherry shrimps. There is no need to provide additional algae or biofilm to the tank. Every aquarium grows algae and biofilm naturally.

Your cherry shrimps will graze on these naturally. Though algae and biofilm are the main food source for cherry shrimps, they require something more for proper color and growth.

And this ‘something more’ is a reliable commercial shrimp food.

Commercial Shrimp Food

The purpose of feeding commercial food to shrimps is to give them all the minerals and vitamins that they need. You don’t need to offer this to your cherry shrimps every day.

Just give a pinch of the food every other day or after every 2 days. There are many commercial foods available for shrimps. However, if your shrimps are losing color, I’ll recommend the Bacter AE.

If you ask any experienced shrimp keeper, he’ll instantly recognize this food. Bacter AE is one of the most popular and reliable shrimp foods in the market.

Bacter AE consists of the following ingredients:

  • Polysaccharides
  • Amino Acid
  • glucanase
  • xylanase
  • protease
  • hemicellulase etc.

All of these ingredients ensure the proper growth and color of your cherry shrimps. Though it can be a bit pricey, one pot will last you a long time if you have a normally stocked tank.

Click here to find out the latest price of Bacter AE on Amazon.

Blanched Vegetable

You can offer blanched vegetables to your shrimps more as a treat. Give a piece of vegetable once a week. Cherry shrimp will absolutely love this twist to the diet.

Cucumber is a great choice for this. You can also try it with other vegetables.

Don’t give too much. Overfeeding cherry shrimps can be deadly. Not only it detoriates the water quality, overfeeding can also lead to various problems in cherry shrimps.

yellow cherry shrimp colony
Owner: Kaz Brown

4. Stress

Stress is another factor for color loss. Cherry shrimp can get stressed for many reasons. The most common two are poor water quality and bad tank mates.

See also  What Is The Best Substrate For Cherry Shrimp?

I have already talked about water parameters. Let’s focus on tank mates now.

Choosing appropriate tank mates is extremely important for cherry shrimp. As they are very small, if you don’t choose the right tank mate, your shrimp will always be in pursuit.

Any fish that has a big enough mouth to fit the shrimp will be a bad choice as a tank mate. Needless to say, you can’t choose fishes that are aggressive, territorial, and temperamental.

Personally, I don’t like to keep any fish in my shrimp tank. I just keep a few snails, and that’s it. Bad tank mates can cause many problems for your shrimp, so you need to be very careful about this.

Good Tank Mates Bad Tank Mates
Other shrimp speciesDiscuss
Dwarf suckersCichlids
Small rasborasDiscus
Small TetrasAngelfish
SnailsFishes with a large mouth to gulp the shrimp in a single instance

5. Lower Grade Cherry Shrimps

There are various grades of cherry shrimp available in the market. If your cherry shrimps are not that red, that means they are of a lower grade. The higher the grade, the redder the shrimp will be. Also, higher grades cost much more.

The main grades of cherry shrimp are:

  • Normal Cherry Shrimp
  • Sakura
  • Higher Quality Sakura
  • Fire Red
  • Painted Fire Red
  • Bloody Mary
  • Kanoko

Normal cherry shrimps are mostly transparent, with only a few patches of red dots here and there. On the other hand, Painted Fire Reds have a solid, intense red color.

If you are doing everything the right way and your shrimps are still losing color, then they might be of a lower grade.

6. Molting Time

Molting is a very natural process in shrimp’s life. They grow in size by molting.

Molting simply means leaving the old exoskeleton and growing a new one. Every time your shrimp molts, it passes a very hard time. During this time, it is natural for your shrimp to lose a bit of color.

red cherry shrimp color grading chart

How To Enhance The Color Of Cherry Shrimps?

Now that we know what causes color loss in cherry shrimps, let’s find out what can you do to enhance the color of your cherry shrimps:

Great Environment

The first thing you need to do is provide a great environment for your cherry shrimps. Here’s how you can do that:

  • Ensure proper water parameters. This is by far the first thing you need to do.
  • Planted tanks are ideal for shrimp. The tank doesn’t need to be heavily planted; just a few plants will be a great addition to your shrimp tank.
  • Keep moss in your shrimp tank. Shrimps absolutely go crazy for moss.
  • Put a darker substrate in the tank. The darker the substrate, the better it will enhance the color of your cherry shrimp.
  • Run a good filter in the tank. The filter should be able to cope with the bioload of the tank. For a shrimp-only tank, there won’t be a heavy bioload. For shrimp tanks, I love large sponge filters or HOBs. If you are using a HOB, make sure to cover the intake tube of the filter with a filter media or sponge. This will prevent your shrimp from getting sucked up by the filter.
  • Regular water changes are absolutely necessary for any aquarium. For shrimp tanks, I like to do a partial water change every week, which also helps to stabilize water parameters.
See also  Do Cherry Shrimp Eat Mosquito Larvae?


No matter how great the environment is, your cherry shrimps won’t get redder than the genetics allow. One way to ensure higher genetics is by selective breeding.

Selective breeding is a pretty advanced topic, and only experienced breeders should try it. If you are new to shrimp keeping, don’t think about it too much.

Just know that cherry shrimps can get red coloration only up to a certain value. You can’t do anything to increase that threshold.

frequently asked questions

Why Is My Cherry Shrimp Turning White?

Cherry Shrimp typically turn white when they are molting, a natural process in which they shed their exoskeleton. However, whitening among Cherry Shrimp could also be due to inappropriate water parameters, including temperature, pH, copper, and toxins.

In some cases, the creature merely grew old.

Why Is My Cherry Shrimp Turning Clear?

Cherry Shrimp may turn clear for several reasons. One of the most common is molting, a natural process where the shrimp sheds its exoskeleton. Another reason could be stress, which can be caused by inappropriate water parameters, such as temperature, pH, and toxins.

Clearing could also be a sign of bacterial or parasitic infection. In some cases, it could be due to genetic factors or selective breeding.

Why Is My Blue Shrimp Losing Color?

Blue shrimp could lose their color due to several reasons. One of the most common reasons is stress, which can be caused by inappropriate water parameters, such as temperature, pH, and toxins.

Another reason could be due to a lack of proper nutrition, including a deficiency in minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients. In some cases, it could be due to bacterial or parasitic infection, which can cause discoloration and other symptoms. 

When Do Baby Shrimp Get Their Color?

Baby shrimp are born clear or translucent, and it takes them some time to start developing their color. The time it takes for baby shrimp to get their color varies depending on the species and the individual shrimp.

Generally, it takes around 2 to 3 weeks for baby shrimp to develop their color fully. During this time, the shrimp gradually start to develop specks and hues on their body, which eventually become more pronounced and vibrant as they mature.


So, if your cherry shrimps are losing color, I hope this article will help you pinpoint the exact reason. After you find out the reason, try to take the necessary steps as quickly as you can.

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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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