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Do Cherry Shrimp Eat Fish Eggs?

Eating their own offspring – does it sound horrible to you? Well, it’s nothing unusual in the world of arthropods. Lots of them eat their own species too, and some of them consume the eggs of other fish as well. But what about cherry shrimp? Do they eat fish eggs, as they’re among arthropods too?

Cherry Shrimp usually don’t eat healthy fish eggs, and even if they’re seen eating those, that’s probably because the eggs were dead or started to rot. Not only eggs of other fishes, but they’ll also eat their own eggs once they see them rotting or decaying.

Now the question is, why would these shrimps eat fish eggs in the first place? And is there any chance of them eating their own egg even if the eggs are perfectly okay? Well, let’s find that out.

black caviar fish egg

Key Takeaways

  • Cherry Shrimp don’t eat healthy fish eggs and eat only the ones that are dead or started to rott.
  • Cherry shrimp are protective of their eggs and protect the babies even after hatching.
  • They can eat eggs accidentally or from the urge to feed themselves, but that’s a rare case.
  • Unfavorable water health and lack of food can make them eat eggs of their own and other fish too.
Owner: Lynne Calvin

Why Does Cherry Shrimp Eat Fish Eggs?

There are tons of reasons that make cherry shrimp have a bite of fish eggs. But the most common ones are the shrimp’s scavenging nature and dietary preferences. We know an answer without digging a bit more isn’t something you’re asking for. So, let’s start with –

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1. Nutritional Needs

Opportunistic feeders – this name is probably more than accurate for arthropods like cherry shrimp. They actually take in different types of food in order to fulfill their nutritional needs and the list includes fish eggs as well. After all, they’re filled with nutrients and a perfect source of a substantial amount of protein for the shrimp.

2. Scavenging Behavior

Being natural scavengers is nothing new for cherry shrimp. So, what they do is foraging for food all the time in their surrounding. But when they come in touch with fish eggs, they count them as another ‘easy to grab’ food as they usually stay unprotected.

3. Unavailability Of Food

Like any other creature out there, cherry shrimp will take anything edible into consideration as food when the sources of food are limited. And yes, they’ll go for fish eggs too in such situations to fill up their tummy. But that doesn’t mean their dietary habits can’t be flexible, especially when there’s availability of food around.

4. Instinct

Creatures like shrimps rely a lot on their instinct and natural behavior. So, expecting conscious decisions from them can prove you wrong, at least when it comes to eating the eggs of other fishes. So, when they get closer to fish eggs, their instinct to feed themselves might kick in, which leads the shrimp to consume them like any other food.

5. Accidental Consumption

It’s not that cherry shrimps eat everything out of intention, especially fish eggs. They’re used to foraging for food and sometimes they inadvertently come across fish eggs and accidentally consume them. This mostly happens when the eggs get mixed with some of their other regular foods.

berried orange shrimp with eggs
Owner: Ricky Sales

Do Cherry Shrimp Eat Their Own Eggs?

Unlike some of the arthropods, cherry shrimps don’t consume their own eggs. But that doesn’t mean there can’t be exceptions at all. The good thing is they usually do that when they find the eggs are not viable or are infertile. Let’s call it just a way of them getting rid of non-viable eggs, as this helps them to keep their breeding disease-free.

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Now the question is – is there any chance of them eating their eggs? Well, yes, they might do it when they’re stressed or facing issues like lack of food or nutrients. This mostly happens in aquariums with poor water conditions and don’t have enough food for the shrimp.

But in most cases, cherry shrimp are extremely protective of their eggs and tend them whenever they can. As a part of the care, they even clean their eggs up and use their pleopods for fanning in order to keep them well-oxygenated.

The care part doesn’t just end there. Even after the eggs are hatched, the cherry shrimp will keep taking care of their young while ensuring their food and protection.

Still, if you see your cherry shrimp eating up their eggs, then probably there’s something wrong with the water quality. So, fry fixing that up along with ensuring enough food and nutrients. To keep the water quality on point you can try the following solutions, under professional advice of course.

Aquarium saltHelps in promoting osmoregulation. Plus, it’s helpful in preventing diseaseUse as per the instruction on the package; typically 1 tablespoon for every 5 gallons of water
Seachem PrimeGood at removing chlorine, chloramine, and ammonia. Plus, it assists in detoxifying nitrite and nitrate5 mL for every 50 gallons of water
API Stress CoatGets rid of chlorine and chloramine. Promotes healing and reduces stress by adding aloe vera.5 mL for every 10 gallons of water
Seachem StabilityComes with live bacteria for establishing and maintaining the nitrogen cycle5 mL for every 10 gallons of water
API AlgaeFixPrevents and controls algae growthUse as per the instruction on the package; typically 1 mL for every 10 gallons of water
Fluval Biological EnhancerComes with live bacteria that help in establishing and maintaining the nitrogen cycleUse 5 mL for every 10 gallons of water

Shrimp Feeding & Diet: Infographic

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

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How To Save Fish Eggs From Cherry Shrimp?

The good news is, you probably won’t be seeing your cherry shrimp having a bite of healthy fish eggs. But still, staying a little cautious doesn’t hurt. So, in case you see, your shrimp suddenly taking an interest in fish eggs, you can try the following things.

1. Monitor the Eggs Closely

It’s common for cherry shrimp to eat dead eggs and ones that have started to rott. But if you still don’t like your shrimp eat eggs, you can keep a close eye on the eggs and remove those that are dead or have started to decay.

2. Remove The Eggs

Another thing you can do is separate the eggs once they’re laid. You can use a pipette or a turkey baster to remove them. Do the suction carefully and put them in a separate container that is filled with aged aquarium water.

3. Use Appropriate Water Parameters

Keeping the water health okay is a must here. Yes, we’re talking about ensuring the water parameters in the aquarium are appropriate. We’ve already given you some suggestions above about how to do this.

4. Provide Oxygenation

Ensure proper oxygenation to the eggs, so that they stay healthy and don’t turn into the food of the shrimp. Try using an air stone or sponge filter to get the job done.

Before We Go…

Okay, now it’s clear that cherry shrimps don’t like healthy fish eggs on their menu, whether it’s of their own or other fishes. But not giving them the right food might make them change their mind. So, you need to ensure that in the first place. But what should you feed them? Well, feel free to find that answer in our blog Cherry Shrimp Feeding & Diet.

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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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