Cherry shrimps are very delicate creatures. As they are very small, they are practically defenseless against any prey. That’s why it is extremely important to choose ideal tank mates for cherry shrimp. Even if your adult cherry shrimps seem to be safe with a group of tank mates, the shrimplets might not be. So, give full attention to this article.
The ideal tank mates for cherry shrimp include:
- Otocinclus Catfish
- Corydoras Catfish
- Small-sized tetras
- Small-sized rasboras
- White Mountain Cloud Minnows
- Any fish that is not aggressive, temperamental, territorial or large enough to gulp down the whole shrimp at a single try
When choosing tank mates for cherry shrimps, you need to look at a few different factors of the tank mate. I’ll explain everything you need to know in the rest of the article.
Tank Mates To Avoid
In this section, I’ll write about the tank mates you must avoid and why you should avoid them. I’ll present the whole information in a table so that you can easily understand. First, let me tell you the most important thing when it comes to choosing tank mate for a shrimp tank:
If a fish is large enough to gulp down the whole shrimp in a single instance, then it should be avoided at all cost.
Here are the tank mates you need to avoid for a shrimp tank:
|Tank Mates||Why You Should Avoid|
|Mollie & Swordtails||Both of these can get considerably bigger and more aggressive for the little shrimps.|
|Angelfish||A rule of thumb is, the more decorative and large a fish is, the more it is to nip the little fishes. Angelfish is known for its nipping behavior.|
|Turtles||I don’t think it needs much explaining. Even medium-sized fishes are not safe from turtles, let alone tiny cherry shrimps.|
|Axolotl||Axolotls get considerably bigger and can try to eat the shrimps or hunt them down.|
|Goldfish||Goldfishes are very much territorial and known for their aggressive behavior towards smaller tank mates.|
|Gourami||Same as goldfish. They can get larger and more territorial with time which is a potential threat for cherry shrimps.|
|Oscar||Oscars are very aggressive and temperamental. They are suitable for only a few tank mates.|
|African cichlids||Same as Oscar. African cichlids are known for their aggressive, temperamental and territorial behavior. These should NEVER be your cherry shrimp’s tank mates.|
|Betta Fish||Though betta fish have amazing beauty, they are not very good with roommates. Bettas like to live alone, except for only the time when they breed.|
|Arowana||Well, it doesn’t need any explaining why you shouldn’t keep arowanas with shrimps. Shrimps are actually foods for arowanas in the wild.|
|Discus||Like the Angelfishes, Discus is a very decorative fish with a highly territorial behavior. They don’t do well with smaller tank mates that are ideal for nipping.|
Nano Fish That May Eat Cherry Shrimp
In this section, we’ll look at some of the nano fishes that can be potentially harmful to your cherry shrimps. As these fishes are small like your shrimps, you might think they will be okay as a tank mate.
However, these nano fishes can be quite aggressive and temperamental. That’s why you shouldn’t keep them in a cherry shrimp tank. From the list, some can potentially live with your shrimps, but you’ll have to keep a lot of hiding places, plants, and mosses inside the tank for your cherry shrimps.
Here are the nano fishes that may eat cherry shrimp:
Ember tetras are schooling fish. They can show very aggressive behavior towards shrimplets. If you want to keep a schooling fish in your shrimp tank, neon tetra or phoenix rasbora will be an ideal alternative.
Scarlet Badis can be very aggressive. Though there are very small, they should never be tank mates for cherry shrimp. An ideal alternative will be ruby tetra.
This may come as a surprise, but Amano shrimps can be potentially harmful to cherry shrimps. By harmful, I don’t mean the amanos will try to eat the cherry shrimps. Amanos are known for stealing food and their mean behavior. I’ll not advise keeping amanos with cherry shrimps.
Though Gobies are small, they can be very aggressive and territorial. Not ideal for cherry shrimps or other small tank mates.
Sparkling Gourami is also known as Pygmy Gourami. Though they are a type of Gourami, these gouramies stay relatively small. But that doesn’t mean they get less aggressive or territorial. Even with small size, these gouramies are not ideal tank mates for cherry shrimps.
Pea Puffers are the most dangerous. Though pea puffers have an exceptionally small size, they are not very peaceful, especially with smaller tank mates. Pea puffers can be a dangerous addition to your cherry shrimp tank. Never add any, especially if you want your cherry shrimps to survive.
Ideal Tank Mates For Cherry Shrimp
There are only a few ideal tank mates for a cherry shrimp tank. I’ll try to list them out here one by one.
Keep in mind that, cherry shrimps are never 100% safe with any of the tank mates. That’s why you’ll always need lots of plants, moss and hiding places in the tank for your shrimp’s safety.
Care Level: Minimum
Temperature: 70 to 80 degrees fahrenheit
pH: 7.0 to 7.5
Remarks: Ideal for cherry shrimps. Peaceful and establishes a healthy ecosystem with the shrimp.
Snails are the very most ideal tank mates for cherry shrimps. They are small, peaceful, mind their own business the whole day and establishes a healthy eco-system in the shrimp tank.
Algaes are mainly kept in the tank as a clean-up crew. They eat leftover foods, debris and some are very good algae eaters.
Some of the snails that are ideal for cherry shrimps are:
- mystery/apple snails
- nerite snails
- Assassin snails
- bumblebee snails, etc.
Snails are extremely easy to care for. They basically need nothing. They won’t require any extra special food or specific water parameters. They’ll live by doing their own business peacefully.
However, one disadvantage of having snails is, they can breed and populate very fast. Soon you may find your tank is filled with snails. One way to keep the population in check is by keeping assassin snails in the tank. They can feed on snail babies and keep the number of snails low.
Care Level: low
Size: Not more than 2 inches
Temperature: 70 to 80 degrees fahrenheit
pH: 6.0 to 7.5
Otocinclus catfish, commonly known as Otos, is a type of algae-feeding schooling fish. As they feed on algae, they won’t compete over food with your cherry shrimps.
As a schooling fish, Otos prefer their own companion only. So, they won’t bother the cherry shrimps. I have been keeping otos for many years now. Till now, I’ve never seen them show aggressive behavior towards the tank mates.
For keeping otos, you should get at least a 20 gallon tank. Also, they don’t do well in poor water quality. If you can meet these criteria, otos will be a perfect addition to your cherry shrimp tank.
Care Level: Low
Maximum Size: less than 2.5 inches
Temperature: 68 to 80 degrees fahrenheit
pH: around 7.0
Behavior: relatively peaceful
Tetras are ideal for beginners. Like the rasboras, they are very hardy schooling fishes. Not only tetras are easy to care for, they look extremely beautiful too.
Similar to the rasboras, tetras live in the mid to upper range of the aquarium, leaving the bottom dwellers and shrimps peacefully. However, they need at least a group of 15 members to thrive. Schools with fewer members can make the tetras vulnerable and stressful.
My favorite tetras for a shrimp tank will be:
- Neon Tetra
- Ember Tetra
Tetras are a lot hardier than the rasboras. They don’t have much demand. A 10-gallon started tank will be enough for a small school of tetras. However, if you can get a bigger tank, that will be much better.
Care Level: Moderate
Maximum Size: Reaches about 2 inches
Temperature: 72 to 82 degrees fahrenheit
pH: 6.0 to 7.5
Behavior: Mind their own business
Rasboras are generally schooling fish. They don’t tend to grow very large. The larger ones don’t cross 4 inches.
For cherry shrimps, you need to choose the ones that stay relatively small. Smaller rasboras won’t try to compete with the shrimps over food or anything.
Some of the good choices will be:
- Harlequin Rasbora
- Phoenix Rasbora, etc.
Rasboras should be kept in groups of at least 8-10 members. They are known for their schooling.
Rasboras live in the mid to top portion of the tank. So, they generally don’t go below and try to nip the cherry shrimps. I have seen the smaller rasboras are particularly more peaceful than their larger counterparts.
Rasboras need a little bit of care, good vegetation, clean water and large open space for schooling.
Care Level: Moderate
Temperature: 72 to 78 degrees fahrenheit
Maximum Size: depends on the species
pH: 5.5 to 7.6
When choosing plecos, you need to be aware of the species. Some plecos can grow up to even 12 inches long. Obviously for cherry shrimps, you’ll need the ones that stay small.
I prefer bristlenose plecos for my cherry shrimp tank. They are very peaceful, don’t fight over food and mind their own business.
Care Level: low to moderate
Maximum Size: not more than a couple of inches
Temperature: about 70 to 78 degrees fahrenheit
pH: 7.0 to 7.8
Corydoras Catfishes are commonly known as Cory Cats. Like otos, they are also very peaceful schooling fish.
Cory Cats are very much similar to cherry shrimps. Both are bottom dwellers as well as scavengers. Though both of them share the same space, I haven’t seen them fighting over anything at all. Cory Cats mind their own business and prefer their own company.
Cory cats are extremely easy to care for. They don’t need much care. However, the tank needs to be clean. Otherwise, they can catch various diseases.
Care Level: Low
Temperature: 74 to 82 degrees fahrenheit
Maximum Size: smaller than 2.5 inches
pH: 6.8 to 7.8
Behavior: Medium Peaceful
Guppies are not very peaceful like the other schooling fishes mentioned here. They tend to be a bit aggressive towards the small fishes. However, some of the smaller size guppies can live with shrimps.
But you’ll have to maintain caution. There need to be lots of plants, moss and hiding places for the shrimps. Also, do feed your guppies regularly so they don’t feel encouraged to hunt down the shrimps.
Guppies are very easy to care for don’t require much special attention other than regular feeding.
White Mountain Cloud Minnows
Care Level: low
pH: 6.5 to 8.0
Temperature: 64 to 72 degrees fahrenheit
Maximum Size: not more than 1.5 inches
White Mountain Cloud Minnows are a lot like neon tetras in terms of appearance.
They are peaceful, schooling fish that live in the mid to upper range of the aquarium. So, they won’t bother the bottom dwellers, which are the shrimps. Minnows need at least 6 members for their school. The more, the better.
Minnows prefer a slightly colder water temperature. Other than that, they are relatively pretty easy to take care of.
Keeping Cherry Shrimps In Group
Cherry shrimps are very social. They love to live in groups. You should never keep them lonely. I always recommend getting at least a group of 10 cherry shrimps.
If the cherry shrimps have a large group, they’ll feel relatively safer, and less vulnerable. Also, a large group of cherry shrimps ensures a higher survival rate.
If you plan to have tank mates in your shrimp tank, ensure there are at least enough cherry shrimps in the tank first. Make sure the number of cherry shrimps always stays higher than the number of other tank mates.
What Other Shrimps Can Live With Cherry Shrimps?
Cherry shrimps can pretty much live with any other shrimp, whether it is cardina or neocardinas. However, I’ll not recommend keeping Amano shrimps with cherry shrimps. Amanos can be a bit mean towards other shrimps. They also steal food.
Making The Tank Safer For Cherry Shrimps
If you plan to have tank mates for your cherry shrimps, you should ensure the followings to make sure your cherry shrimps are safe:
- There need to be lots of plants in the tank. The more plants, the better. Plants work as hiding places, food sources, and natural vegetation for shrimps. Every shrimp tank needs plantation.
- Don’t forget about moss. Moss is a great addition for cherry shrimp tank. You can keep any moss you want. Some of the popular choices are java moss, riccia, Christmas moss, flame moss, etc.
- Ensure there are lots of hiding places inside the tank. Put a large driftwood with lots of holes in it. Put rocks and catappa leaves. Cholla wood can also be a great addition. All these make sure there are enough hiding places inside the tank for your cherry shrimps.
- Feed the other tank mates regularly so that they don’t get hungry and try to hunt down the cherry shrimps as a food source.
Well, I’ve tried to explain there is to know about the tank mates of cherry shrimp. Personally, I like to keep my cherry shrimps in a dedicated tank of their own. I don’t mind a few snails, but nothing else.
If you want to keep some tank mates, make sure you follow the guidelines mentioned above for a higher survival rate of your shrimps.