Red Cherry Shrimp Grades Explained [With Pictures]

Red Cherry Shrimp Grades Explained

If you are keeping red cherry shrimps or wish to keep someday, then it is extremely important to know about their grading. Grading is something that can make you quite confused, like me. So, after doing a ton of research, I believe in this article I can explain red cherry shrimp grading simply in layman’s terms.

Grading simply refers to the quality and intensity of red coloration of the shrimp. Red cherry shrimps basically have 6 types of grading. Some include extra 2 types which are not very common.

Along with all the types of grading, I’ll also explain why higher grades are more expensive and if you can keep different grades of red cherry shrimps together.

So, let’s get started!

What Do You Mean By Grading?

Grading basically means the intensity of red coloration on the cherry shrimps. The red cherry shrimps are graded based on different shades of red coloration.

The higher the grade, the more intense the red color is. Also, the highest grade red cherry shrimps can be very expensive and rare in the market. Only experienced shrimp breeders can breed those grades through selective breeding.

Each grade has been given a name with specific characteristics that define that grade. We’ll take a look at all of the red cherry shrimp grades in this article.

red cherry shrimp color grading chart

Things To Remember While Grading Red Cherry Shrimps

Before we dive into the grading of red cherry shrimps, there are some things we need to be aware of. These are mentioned below:

Intensity: The grading is based on how intense the red color is. Higher grade refers to a more intense red color. Also, the amount of redness on the body plays a vital role here.

Opacity: Opacity is also an important factor to look at. The higher grade the shrimp is, the more opaque its body will be. Higher graded shrimps have less transparent patches on their body. There will be a solid red color on their body. On the other hand, lower grade red cherry shrimps have mostly a transparent body with a slight hint of red.

Male vs Female: There are certain differences between a male and female red eared slider. Females are generally larger, brighter in color and have a more intense coloration. So, even if a female red cherry shrimp attains higher grade, its male counterpart can fall into a slightly lower grade of the ladder.

Most Popular Neocaridina Shrimps As Pets: Infographic

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Cherry Shrimp Grade Chart

Cherry Shrimp Grade Chart

6 Types Of Grades For Red Cherry Shrimps

Before I start to describe each grade, let me share that the grading system is not uniformly recognized as 6 types throughout the whole world. You can find lower number of grades explained in another site.

I’ve tried to compile everything in this article. So, I didn’t want to leave any grading category behind. If you know all about these grades, then I believe you’ll have a complete idea of red cherry shrimp grading.

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Now, let’s get into each of the gradings:

Low Grade


Appearance: This is the first step on the ladder. Low grade red cherry shrimps have a mostly transparent body. There are a few patches of reddish-pinkish patches on the body.

Availability: Low grade red cherry shrimps are mostly available in online and local fish stores. They are not hard to breed and extremely easy to care for. So, these shrimps are great for beginners. Also, if you want to just clean the aquarium from algae, this grade will be perfect.

Cost: You can find these shrimps in most local fish stores and online stores. If you are buying online, I’ll recommend FlipAquatics or TheShrimpFarm. Both of them are better.

The price differs from place to place a lot. In general, low grade red cherry shrimps cost about $3 per piece. It’ll be lower if you buy 10-15 shrimps at a time.

Sakura Grade

sakura cherry shrimp

Appearance: Compared to the previous grade, Sakura grade has a lot more redness on the body. Also, the body is more opaque compared to low grade cherry shrimps. However, there are still some blotches in the redness, especially around the bottom area. The legs are mostly transparent.

Availability: Available in most online aquarium shops. It might be a bit difficult to find them in the local fish stores, especially if their collection is poor. Mostly available among local breeders.

If you are looking for something to pop the color of your aquarium a bit, sakura grade shrimps can be a decent choice. However, there are much higher grades suitable for this purpose.

Cost: Sakura grade shrimps can cost between $3 to $3.5 per piece. The price may vary from shop to shop and depending on their availability during the time of the year.

13 Different Cherry Shrimp Types Infographic

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Higher Sakura Grade

higher grade sakura shrimp

In many other websites, the normal sakura grade and the higher sakura grade are merged into one category. However, this can make the category very large in variation. So, we like to divide the sakura grade into two distinct parts.

Appearance: Higher sakura grades have more intense red coloration. Also, the red color starts to get mostly solid with very few blotches. The normal Sakura grade has transparency in the legs, which is not the case for higher grade sakura.

If you want something vibrant red in the aquarium with a limited budget, higher grade sakura will be the perfect choice.

Available: Not very available in the local fish stores. I’ll recommend to buy them from reputable online brands like The Shrimp Farm. You can also check if there are any local breeders in your area.

When the shrimps start to breed, it can be very hard to maintain the higher sakura grade quality in the offspring. Experienced shrimp breeders try to maintain the quality through selective breeding.

Cost: The cost can range between $3 to $4 per piece. You can get a much lower price if you find any local breeder in your area. If you want Higher Grade Sakuras, then prepare to spend a decent amount of money. These grades don’t come cheap.

Click here to buy the best quality Higher Grade Sakura Red cherry Shrimps at the most cost-effective price!

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Fire Red

Red Fire Cherry Shrimp

Appearance: Fire Red grade cherry shrimps have a mostly opaque body. The red coloration is quite eye-catching in them. The intensity is so strong that it can be difficult to spot the eggs and saddle in fire red shrimps.

There are no signs of blotches in the body. Even the legs are evenly colored. Fire Red shrimps are for serious shrimp keepers who want something special in their tank.

Availability: Very hard to find in most online fish stores. Shrimp Breeders that breed fire red shrimps are not common either. Last time I checked the shrimp farm had quite a good collection of Fire Red shrimps.

Cost: The cost of fire red shrimps depends on their availability throughout the year. The cost can range between $3.5 to even $6 per piece. Even if you have the budget to buy Fire Red grade shrimps, it can be difficult to find them.

Click here to buy the best quality Fire Red Shrimps at the most cost-effective price!

Painted Fire Red

Painted Fire Red shrimp

Appearance: Do you know how the Painted Fire Red name came from? These shrimps are so red that it might look like someone has painted deep red color on their body.

The eggs and saddles are completely invisible under the strong opaque red body. However, you can spot them using a strong backlight. Needless to stay, there is not even a single transparent patch over the whole body. The color is significantly darker than all the previous grades.

Availability: Not that much available, even in the online shrimp stores. There are only a few breeders in the United States who successfully breed Painted Fire Red grades.

Last time I checked, AquaticArts was selling them for $5.29 apiece.

Cost: Buying a colony of Painted Fire Reds can be very expensive. A single one can cost between $5 to $8 depending on the availability. The practical way to obtain a colony of Painted Fire Red is through selective grading using the lower grades. However, that needs experienced shrimp breeding skills.

Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary shrimp

Appearance: Bloody Mary is recently added as a grade of red cherry shrimp. That’s why you may not find it in many of the red cherry shrimp grades list. These shrimps are red as blood, hence the name. Even the males have strong red coloration and an opaque body, which was not the case for previous grades.

Another significant characteristic of the Bloody Mary grade is, these shrimps have a considerably shorter rostrum (nose) than other grades.

One Interesting Fact: If you trace back the line of Bloody Mary shrimp, they were originally bred from Chocolate shrimps.

Availability: I don’t think you’ll find bloody mary shrimps that much available anywhere. Only a few shrimp breeders around the world have successfully bred it. However, there is no problem in trying to find one, right?

Currently, Flip Aquatics is selling very high-grade Bloody Mary Shrimps on their site. They aren’t available all time. So, if you want some, ‘NOW’ is the right time to get them.

Cost: Aquatic Arts sells each Bloody Mary at $7 to $7.5. The price may vary depending on which time of the year you are buying.

2 Rare Grades Of Red Cherry Shrimps


Kanoko shrimp

Well, Kanoko is the darkest, reddest of all the grades! But that’s not the most striking characteristic of Kanoko Shrimps. Do you know what Kanoko Means? It’s baby deer.

Baby deers have black spots all over its body. Like the Baby Deers, Kanoko shrimps also have black spots over their body. This is what sets them apart from all other grades.

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The black spots are round in shape and distributed randomly all over the body. Even the eggs of Kanoko shrimps are painted black.

I don’t know about the availability of Kanoko shrimps. They are extremely rare and not introduced for commercialization purposes yet. However, once I saw someone selling them for $9 to $10 apiece. Don’t expect to see a bunch of Kanoko shrimps in your local fish store.

Red Rili Shrimps

red rili shrimp

Rather than a grade, rel rili shrimps are more like a color morph of red cherry shrimps. This type was first developed around in 2010. Red rilis are extremely popular for their unique coloration.

Red rilis have both red and transparent colors over their body. There are intense red colored patches over their body with slightly whitish or transparent patches in between. The females show more intense color than the males.

Rather than a color grading, most shrimp keepers refer to Red Rilis as a pattern grading. I find that more accurate.

Though Red Rilis originated from the Red Cherry Shrimps, they are different in many physiological aspects. Still, Red Rilis are a popular choice as beginner-friendly shrimps.

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Differences Between Bloody Mary & Painted Fire Red Grades

Differences Between Bloody Mary & Painted Fire Red Grades

Many unethical sellers sell Painted Reds in the name of Bloody Mary. As they can be very difficult to set apart, most shrimp keepers get fooled by the sellers.

After hours of research on the Internet, I have found one physical aspect that differs both of these grades. However, it is not the most reliable one and even experts can have a hard time differing the two apart.

According to many shrimp keepers, Painted Fire Reds have a longer rostrum than the Bloody Mary grades. Here by rostrum, I meant the nose of the shrimp.

So, you can keep that in mind in case you need to differentiate between the two in the future.

Can Different Grades Of Cherry Shrimps Live Together?

In terms of safety, there is no problem in keeping different grades of cherry shrimps together. However, there are some problems. Let me explain those:

  • All these grades fall into the same genus: Neocardina. That means, they all can breed with each other and produce offsprings.
  • The different grades of red cherry shrimps aren’t something natural. Shrimp breeders have achieved these grades after years of selective breeding. If you allow breeding between the different grades of shrimps, soon their color will start to disappear and the offsprings will have a wild-shrimp color.

Why Higher Grades Are More Expensive?

Well, that is pretty much self-explanatory. Higher grades are much harder to achieve. So, they are rarer than the lower grades. Also, as higher grades have higher quality, there is more demand for them in the market.

Now, high demand and low supply: where does that put us?

Yes, higher price! That’s why higher grades are much more expensive than the lower ones. In fact, higher grades of red cherry shrimps are harder to find in shops too.


So, I’ve explained literally everything I know about red cherry shrimp grading. I hope after reading this detailed guide, you won’t face any problem regarding the grading of shrimps.

From now on, if someone asks you about shrimp grading, you won’t have to awkwardly nod and pretend you haven’t heard the question!

Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of 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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