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Do Cherry Shrimps Eat Algae?

I know many fish keepers who want to keep cherry shrimps to control algae in their tanks. But the thing is, can cherry shrimps really eat and control algae in the tank? I wanted to find that out. So, I did some research.

Yes, cherry shrimps eat algae. They are excellent natural cleaners, helping to control algae growth in freshwater aquariums by feeding on various types of algae and organic debris.

If you want to control algae in your tank with cherry shrimp, there are many more things you need to know. I’ll discuss these topics in detail so that your algae control mission is successful.

How Do Cherry Shrimps Eat Algae?

Cherry shrimps are extremely effective grazers. They spend hours and hours grazing on the tank wall, filter inlet, decorations, etc. Cherry shrimps mainly love soft algae that grow on the aquarium walls or from other objects inside the aquarium.

Another thing cherry shrimp love is biofilm. It is the greenish, slimy stuff that grows on the aquarium wall, over the decorations, substrate, etc. This is one of the major food sources for cherry shrimp.

When cherry shrimps find a good spot filled with algae, they get really close to it. By close, I mean they can practically attach themselves to the algae. It is one of the advantages of being so tiny and light.

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Here is more of a step by step process on how cherry shrimps eat algae:

  1. At first, the shrimps get really close to the algae and hold their position. The front legs are used for mainly picking off the algae and putting it into the mouth.
  2. When devouring algae, the front legs move pretty fast. In fact, the movement is so fast that it is almost impossible to separate out the legs with naked eyes.
  3. Though one shrimp can alone handle a spot of algae pretty well, they usually graze on algae in a group. The group eats algae targeting a larger and wider area. Most of the time, the group acts peacefully and no conflict occurs between the shrimps.
  4. Once the group finishes eating off algae from a particular spot, they’ll look for new spots with algae and start the feeding process all over.
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cherry shrimp hiding and grazing on tube hideouts
Owner: Sarah Louise Kennedy

Cherry Shrimp Algae Eating Experiment

There is an interesting cherry shrimp algae eating experiment done by TheShrimpFarm.com. Let’s see what the experiment was about.

What they did is, first they took a 5″ PVC pipe. The pipe was initially used in a DIY sponge filter and later left unused in a tank for about several months. Consequently, a good amount of algae grew from the pipe’s surface.

The pipe was taken from the unused tank and placed into a cherry shrimp tank. You can see the below pics for further clarification (I got the pics from TheShrimpFarm and organized them here.)

Day 1: Just 5 minutes after leaving the pipe into the cherry shrimp tank, shrimps started to come near it into groups. Soon, the pipe got almost covered with cherry shrimps. They started grazing on the algae right away.

Day 3: You can see on the picture above, how clean the pipe looks just after 48 hours. Really, it seems amazing how quickly these little creatures can devour such a vast amount of algae!

Not only cherry shrimps, in fact, most aquarium shrimps do a pretty good job eating algae from the aquarium. Some just do better than the others.

What Type Of Algae Do Cherry Shrimps Eat?

Type Of Algae Do cherry shrimps eat it?
Soft AlgaeYes, they love to graze on soft algae.
BiofilmDefinitely. Biofilm is one of the major natural food sources for cherry shrimps.
Spot Algae (ex green spot algae)No.
Hair AlgaeMostly No.
Thread AlgaeMostly No.

Do cherry shrimp eat all algae?

Cherry shrimp are indeed known to consume algae as a significant part of their diet. They are especially fond of biofilm and soft green algae, which naturally accumulate on aquarium surfaces, plants, and decorations.

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However, their ability to eat “all” algae should be understood with some nuances:

Cherry shrimp are effective at grazing on soft algae types, including green algae and biofilms that form on hard surfaces. They may also nibble on brown diatom algae, especially in newer tanks.

gorgeous yellow cherry shrimp grazing on leaves
Owner: Kaz Brown

They are less effective against harder or more stubborn types of algae, such as black beard algae (BBA), blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), or green spot algae, which require specific conditions or treatments to control.

While cherry shrimp can help manage algae levels, relying solely on them for algae control in an aquarium might not be effective, especially in tanks with significant algae issues.

They also require a balanced diet that includes commercial shrimp food, vegetables, and decaying plant matter to ensure optimal health and coloration.

The effectiveness of cherry shrimp in controlling algae also depends on the conditions of the aquarium.

Overfeeding, excessive light, and poor water quality can lead to algae types that cherry shrimp cannot control effectively.

Which shrimp eats the most algae? 3 Best Algae Eating Shrimps

I think the 3 best algae-eating shrimps are:

  • Ghost Shrimp
  • Amano Shrimp (also known as Japanese Algae Eater Shrimp)
  • Red Cherry Shrimp
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Ghost Shrimp

Ghost shrimps are one of the best algae eaters in the aquascaping world. Not only do they eat algae, but they are also famous for scavenging uneaten foods from the substrate. Ghost shrimps also eat dead animal parts, poop, etc.

All in all, ghost shrimps do an awesome job as a cleanup crew for your aquarium. Also, this is one of the easiest shrimps to breed in an aquarium. So, practically, within a few months, you can have a large crew of algae eaters devouring algae in your tank.

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Amano Shrimp

Amano Shrimps are also known as Japanese Algae Eating Shrimp. As the name dictates, these shrimps are practically named for their algae-eating ability. Also, you can guess from the name that originally, these shrimps are from Japan.

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However, these shrimps are now quite common in the United States, too.

Amano shrimps eat almost every type of algae there can be. They are ferocious algae eaters. If your tank needs a very hard cleanup, your best bet will be the Amano Shrimps.

Amano shrimp also devour decaying animal matter, plants, and other things. However, breeding them in an aquarium can be quite difficult.

Red Cherry Shrimp

As I have already mentioned, cherry shrimp are great for controlling the amount of algae in the tank. They eat almost all types of algae. Though not as effective as ghost shrimps, cherry shrimp do a pretty good job cleaning your aquarium, too.

One thing to be noted is that cherry shrimps eat soft algae types. They don’t like hard algae such as green spot algae. So, don’t expect to clean all types of algae from red cherry shrimps.

Conclusion

I hope this article explains well how good cherry shrimp are at eating algae. If you want to control algae in your aquarium, cherry shrimp can be an excellent choice.

However, don’t buy them on a wimp. Do some research and check if your aquarium can be an ideal home for cherry shrimps or not.

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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