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Do Cherry Shrimp Eat Plants?

You probably have already invested hundreds of dollars in that aquarium and that includes some expensive and beautiful plants too. But is there any chance of your fish ruining them? Well, they probably can, depending on their food habit. But what about cherry shrimp? Do they eat plants too?

Cherry shrimp, especially the red cherry shrimp eat plant along with the other meaty food. along with other decaying plant matter, they prefer having a bite of algae, and biofilm. Eating up these doesn’t cause any threat but surely helps with keeping the tank clean.

But why do they eat plants in the first place? And what kind of plants are good to have in their food chart? Well, we’ve got some answers and they’re waiting for you below.

Key Takeaways

  • Cherry shrimp prefer eating decaying plant matter along with algae, and biofilm.
  • Eating plants is a behavior in cherry shrimp that mostly takes place due to their Omnivores characteristics.
  • The need for additional nutrients, scarcity of food, and tank conditions can influence the plant-eating behavior of cherry shrimp.
  • Plants like Java Moss, Amazon Sword, and Anubis can be harmful to cherry shrimp.
red cherry shrimp overview and facts

Cherry Shrimps typically grow to about 1.5 inches in length with a lifespan of about 1-2 years on average.

Read More: Do Cherry Shrimp Eat Snail Eggs? 

Why Cherry Shrimps Eat Plants?

The behaviors of any arthropod are backed by certain reasons and cherry shrimp eating plants are no exception. But what exactly causes this kind of behavior? Well, we’ve got a list here and it starts with –

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1. Being Omnivores

One of the biggest reasons for cherry shrimp surviving easily is them being omnivores. This means they can stay alive by eating both animal matter and plants. So, eating up some parts of your plants in the aquarium is nothing unusual for them. Even in the wild, they feed on algae along with other plant matter.

2. Additional Nutrients

Who said your shrimp will get all the nutrients in your aquarium they need for survival? Clearly, some might go missing at times and this is where they try getting those additional nutrients from plants that they’re not getting from their regular diet. After all, live plants too come with certain minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients that help them to stay healthy.

3. Availability Of Other Food Sources

When the primary food sources are not enough for Cherry shrimp, they might for live plants to what they’re missing. So, if the tank is filled with enough algae, biofilm, or other organic matter, there’s not much chance left of them eating out your plants in the first place.

4. Plant Species

There are certain plant species that cherry shrimp find more attractive compared to any other random plants. They usually prefer the ones that are software and more delicate, as they’re comparatively easier to consume than tougher or less palatable ones.

Read More: What Are The Best Foods For Breeding Cherry Shrimps?

5. Population Density

You’re probably not planning to keep the shrimp alone in the tank, are you? We guess not. So, when you’re tank is getting densely populated, there surely will be competition for food. Clearly, when the shrimp won’t get its share of food, it’ll go for alternative sources like the plants. 

6. Supplemental Feeding

A bit of a versatile diet can save the plants from the shrimp. But how? Well, when you’re getting them supplemental food such as shrimp pellets or blanched vegetables, they feel less interested in the plants and keep themselves away from counting them as their food.

See also  How To Feed Cherry Shrimp While On Vacation?

7. Tank Conditions

There are tons of factors that can make your shrimp eat up the plants, and one of the most common factors is poor tank condition. Yes, we’re talking about water condition and temperature.

Plus, natural decor and the presence of hiding spots can also play a part in influencing the shrimp’s behavior, and that includes eating plants. So, if you’re maintaining proper tank conditions, there’s less chance of excessive plant nibbling.

8. Lack Of Shelter

Shrimp are tiny creatures, and like any other tiny creatures, they’re concerned about the presence of predators around them. So, they try to find hiding places to keep themselves safe. But when plants are giving them no room to hide, there’s a high chance of them eating plants in order to create a hiding spot or shelter.

9. Loving The Taste

Sometimes the shrimp decide to have a bite just because they love the taste. As curious and exploratory water creatures, they might give different foods food a try and that includes plants. But one of the best things about these arthropods is they don’t harm live plants.

Cherry shrimp come in a variety of colors, including red, yellow, blue, black, and green, due to selective breeding. The red variation is the most common.

Read More: Can Cherry Shrimp Smell Food?

Which Plants in the Aquarium Are Harmful For Cherry Shrimp to Eat?

Well, you already know that cherry shrimp occasionally nibble on aquarium plants. But that doesn’t mean there are no plants that can harm them. So, if you’re putting your shrimp in the aquarium, make sure the aquarium has none of the following plants within.

1. Java Moss

There’s no way to deny that Java Moss is one of the popular plants out there used in aquariums. The bad news is, if your shrimp manages to eat up any of them, there’s a high chance of it causing digestive issues in them. And the good news? Well, that’ll happen only when consumed in large quantities.

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2. Water Sprite

This plant is so common that you probably got it in your aquarium. But eating this one also brings no good outcome for the cherry shrimp. Just like Java Moss, this one too creates digestive issues under large consumption. In some cases, things can go so bad that it might even kill your shrimp.

3. Anubias

When it comes to slow-growing plants for aquariums, Anubias often sticks to the top of the list. They’re usually harmless to aquarium creatures and safe for consumption if consumed in small quantities. However, a large quantity can lead to digestive issues.

4. Amazon Sword

Like the sword, this plant, too, can kill. Lots of water pet enthusiasts prefer keeping them in their aquariums as they’re mostly harmless. Yes, mostly – but if your shrimp decides to eat a big amount of these, their tummy might get upset with digestive issues. And the worst-case scenario? They can die.

5. Cryptocoryne

This slow-growing plant doesn’t pose much of a threat to cherry shrimp. But like all the other plants we’ve mentioned above, this one too can be threatening for these shrimp, under excessive consumption of course. It can trigger digestive issues. But there’s no problem with a lower consumption rate.

Read More: What Should You Feed Cherry Shrimp Babies?

Shrimp Feeding & Diet: Infographic

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

Before We Go…..

Well, you now know the taste of cherry shrimp in plants. But let’s not forget they’re omnivores. So, they surely have a thing for meaty food as well. But what about eggs, especially fish eggs? We’ve got some insights on that and we bet you’ll find our blog “Do Cherry Shrimp Eat Fish Eggs?” quite interesting.

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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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