No, I wouldn’t have worried about the shrimp’s diet if they weren’t babies. After all, I knew what the adult ones like and need. I can’t say the same for babies, as they’re still developing. Now the question is, what should they be fed in the first place?
Algae, biofilm, infusoria, algae wafers, and liquid fry foods are all ideal for baby cherry shrimp. These foods provide the protein, vitamins, and minerals essential for the growth of baby cherry shrimp.
But how exactly are they going to help your young shrimp to grow? And why can’t they eat regular foods like the adult ones? Well, that’s the answer you’re going to get today.
- Algae and biofilm. Infusoria, algae wafers, and liquid fry foods are ideal for cherry shrimp babies.
- Their foods should contain nutrients like protein, vitamins & minerals, digestible carbohydrates, and fatty acids.
- No hard, dense, flavored, large-portioned foods are ideal for baby cherry shrimp.
Required Nutrition For Cherry Shrimp Babies
When picking up food for your cherry shrimp babies, you must first consider the nutrition it offers. If the food primarily offers the following nutrients, you can consider it for the initial feeding.
|Growth, molting, and overall development
|Vitamins & Minerals
|Supporting various physiological functions
|Providing energy for daily activities and growth
|Developing cell membranes and other physiological processes
The need for nutrition in baby cherry shrimp is unskippable as they’re still developing. This means picking up any random food for them is not a good idea.
So, it’s better to fill their diet list with the right foods like –
|Algae and Biofilm
|Natural food sources for shrimp; promote grazing behavior
|Contain diverse range of fiber, protein, minerals
|Assist shrimplet development; cultivate in tank by providing light, nutrients, porous substrates
|Microscopic single-celled organisms
|High in protein and essential nutrients
|Small size makes them easily digestible for newborn shrimp
|Specialized baby shrimp or spirulina powder
|High vitamins, proteins, minerals
|Fine texture makes consumption easy; leads to high survival rates
|Liquid Fry Food
|Blended into water as continuous nutrition source
|Contain proteins, microorganisms, amino acids
|Ideal size for tiny mouths; perfect for development
|Crushed Flake Food
|Provides balanced diet
|Contain proteins, vitamins, minerals
|Suitable for larger shrimplets once hatchlings have grown
|Homemade Gel Foods
|Can add high-quality ingredients
|Provide complete and nutritious diet
|Customize to shrimp needs by including things like leaves, spirulina, veggies
|Baby Brine Shrimp
|Newly hatched brine shrimp
|Full of protein and fatty acids
|Live food option for slightly larger shrimplets
Algae and biofilm are suitable for cherry shrimp no matter which stage of living they’re at. These are the natural food sources that baby cherry shrimp can have in their aquarium. Plus, they promote the grazing behavior of these babies.
One of the plus points of these foods is that they come with a diverse range of nutrition. So, whether you’re asking for fiber, protein, or essential minerals, these have it all.
Particularly, biofilm assists a lot in shrimplet development.
Here are some tips for cultivating algae and biofilm in an aquarium to provide a food source for young shrimp:
- Provide ample lighting. Algae needs light to photosynthesize, so make sure the tank is getting 8-10 hours of light per day from a suitable aquarium light.
- Add nutrients. Algae feeds on nitrates, phosphates, and other nutrients. A small amount of fish food or fertilizer added 2-3 times per week will help fuel algae growth.
- Use a substrate that supports biofilm growth. Gravel, aquarium sand, ceramic media, or seiryu stone all work well. The porous surfaces allow beneficial bacteria and microorganisms to colonize.
- Add botanicals like Indian almond leaves or driftwood. These leach tannins that stain the water and also provide surfaces for algae and biofilm.
- Leave organic debris in the tank. Things like molted exoskeletons, fish food scraps, etc. provide food for microorganisms.
- Be patient. It can take 2-4 weeks for a good algae and biofilm colony to establish. Young shrimp may need supplemental powdered food at first.
- Avoid over-cleaning the tank. Let algae and detritus accumulate to maintain the microbial community.
- Maintain stable water parameters with regular water changes as the algae/biofilm colony grows. This helps young shrimp
The term ‘infusoria’ is used for microscopic organisms, especially single-cell aquatic microorganisms. Thanks to their smaller sizes, they’re good enough to be used for newly hatched cherry shrimp.
And if you’re asking about the nutritional value, they’ve got loads of protein and essential nutrients. These nutrients are highly effective in contributing to the initial stages of shrimplet development. And guess what? They’re perfectly digestible for these little shrimp.
For cherry shrimp babies, the key is providing food of the right size and nutritional value.
As shrimp expert Abhisek Mallick advises, a stable tank with abundant biofilm is essential for baby shrimp. After the initial two weeks, introducing powdered foods like Teraa Tots and Shrimp Kind Baby feed can significantly benefit these young shrimp.
These foods are rich in vital nutrients such as vitamins, proteins, and minerals, supporting healthy growth and molting. The fine texture of these powdered foods also facilitates easier consumption for the tiny shrimp.
A recent study published in 2021 found that feeding baby cherry shrimp a variety of foods high in calcium, such as blanched spinach and baby brine shrimp, led to a survival rate of over 90% through the juvenile stage. This was significantly higher than shrimp fed only fish food or algae wafers.
The key purpose of this type of food is to get blended in the water to become a continuous source of nutrition for baby shrimp.
It contains proteins, microorganisms, and amino acids. So, you can count them as the perfect helping hands for developing your young shrimp. Plus, the tiny size makes it ideal for tiny mouths.
No, I won’t recommend this food for hatchlings, but it is suitable for larger shrimplets. This type of food is known for providing a balanced diet.
When I talk about a balanced diet, it comes with proteins, vitamins, and minerals – exactly what crushed flake food comes with.
Homemade gel foods can be an excellent option, keeping the specific needs of baby shrimp in mind. You can add high-quality ingredients like crushed leaves, spirulina, and finely ground vegetables to these foods. This way, you’ll get a complete and nutritious diet for your baby cherry shrimp.
Napuli, or let’s call it newly hatched brine shrimp, can be a perfect live food option for slightly larger shrimplets. Brine shrimp are full of protein and fatty acids. So, getting a better pace of growth and development should be easy for young cherry shrimp.
Here is a table comparing the nutritional content of baby brine shrimp and powdered food for baby cherry shrimp:
|Baby Brine Shrimp
|Powdered Shrimp Food
|High (60-65% of dry weight)
|Moderate (40-45% of dry weight)
|High (12-15% of dry weight)
|Omega-3 Fatty Acids
|Larger than powder but smaller than adult brine shrimp
|Fine powder, very small particles
|Live vs Powder
|No, just add to water
|May be difficult to culture consistently
|Readily available in stores/online
Appropriate Food Amount vs Different Cherry Shrimp Life Stages
Here is a table showing appropriate foods along with their amount for different cherry shrimp life stages:
|Newly Hatched Larvae
|Infusoria, liquid fry food
|2-3 drops of liquid fry food daily, infusoria available at all times
|Young Shrimplets (2-3 weeks)
|Liquid fry food, powdered baby food, crushed algae wafers
|1-2 drops liquid food daily, light dusting of powder daily, algae wafers available
|Juveniles (3-6 weeks)
|Powdered food, crushed algae wafers, baby brine shrimp
|Light dusting of powder 2x weekly, 5-10 brine shrimp 2x weekly, algae available
|Subadults (6-8 weeks)
|Crushed algae wafers, crushed fish flakes, daphnia
|2-3 pieces of algae/crushed flakes or 5 daphnia 2x weekly
|Young Adults (2-6 months)
|Algae wafers, vegetables, shrimp pellets or flakes
|1 algae wafer or pellet per 5 shrimp 2x weekly, vegetables available
|Shrimp pellets or flakes, algae wafers, vegetables, calcium-rich foods
|1 pellet or wafer per 2-3 shrimp 2x weekly, vegetables available
Weekly feeding schedule for baby cherry shrimp
Here is a sample weekly feeding schedule table for baby cherry shrimp:
|Liquid fry food, infusoria
|Powdered baby food, algae wafers
|Brine shrimp (for juveniles), algae wafers
|Algae wafers, vegetables
Days with no listed food allow babies to graze on natural algae and biofilm
5 Food That Should Not Be Given to Baby Cherry Shrimp
Adult shrimp can easily survive on baby foods. But baby shrimp can only walk on that road if the food meets specific criteria. So, before you drop any food for your young shrimp, make sure it’s nothing like –
The last thing you’d like to give your baby shrimp is something too big for them to eat, such as large pallets or granules. They’ll do nothing but make the shrimp struggle to eat, ultimately leading to inefficient feeding and potential wastage.
Hard and dense foods are tough for shrimplets to break down and eat. If you plan on giving them any sinking pallets that might need more chewing, just drop the idea.
There’s no way to deny that shrimplets need protein more than anything for growth. But that doesn’t mean they can jump any food with high protein, especially the ones with larger particles. So, while giving them protein-based food, ensure you’re crushing them into finer pieces.
Some of the shrimp foods out there come with added flavors, enhancers, and spices. But these can be tough for the delicate digestive system of the baby shrimp. So, pick something that is free of flavors, spices, or other strong additives.
Indeed, giving shrimplets algae wafers can significantly assist in their growth. But they’re too large to eat; the shrimplets won’t benefit from them anyway. So, it’s better to break the wafers into smaller pieces.
In 2020, a large commercial shrimp farm in Thailand reported losses of over $100,000 due to molting issues in young cherry shrimp. They have since revised their baby shrimp diet to include more calcium-rich vegetables like kale and collard greens in addition to commercial foods.
Shrimp Feeding & Diet: Infographic
If you want a printable version of this infographic, click here!
What do you feed newly hatched cherry shrimp?
Newly hatched cherry shrimp, often called shrimplettes, have very small mouths and require fine, easily accessible food. Here are some common feeding options for them:
Powdered Foods: Commercially available powdered shrimp foods are excellent for shrimplettes. These foods are specifically formulated to be nutritionally complete and are fine enough for the tiny shrimp to eat.
Bacter AE or Similar Products: These products promote the growth of biofilm, which is a natural food source for shrimps. Biofilm contains bacteria, algae, and microorganisms that are ideal for the nutritional needs of baby shrimp.
Crushed Pellets or Flakes: If you are already feeding adult shrimp with pellets or flakes, you can crush these into a fine powder. This makes it easier for the shrimplettes to eat.
Boiled Vegetables: Finely grated or boiled until very soft, vegetables like zucchini, spinach, or cucumber can be a good food source. Ensure they are organic or free from pesticides.
Infusoria: These are tiny aquatic creatures that are often used to feed fish fry but can also be suitable for baby shrimp. They can be cultured at home or purchased.
Natural Tank Algae and Biofilm: A well-established aquarium often has enough natural biofilm and algae to sustain baby shrimp. However, this may not be sufficient if you have a large number of shrimplettes.
It’s crucial to feed in small quantities to avoid overfeeding, which can lead to poor water quality.
At the 2020 American Shrimp Farmer’s Association conference, feeding trials were presented that showed baby brine shrimp to be the most effective live food for maximizing juvenile cherry shrimp survival through the first two molts, a critical growth period.
Do cherry shrimp take care of their babies?
Cherry shrimp, like most shrimp species, do not exhibit parental care after their eggs hatch. The life cycle of cherry shrimp is quite straightforward and lacks the parental involvement seen in many other animal species.
Here’s how it typically works:
Female cherry shrimp carry their eggs under their tails, where they are constantly fanned and oxygenated by the shrimp’s swimming movements. This is the extent of their “care” — ensuring the eggs are well-oxygenated and protected until they hatch.
Once the eggs hatch, the shrimplettes are on their own. They are fully formed miniature versions of adult shrimp and are capable of fending for themselves from the moment they emerge from the eggs.
Cherry shrimp rely on a strategy of producing a large number of offspring to ensure that some survive to adulthood. The lack of parental care is offset by the sheer number of young produced.
The baby shrimp immediately begin foraging for food and hiding from potential predators. They are generally very good at taking care of themselves and will eat the same foods as the adults, albeit in smaller sizes.
From birth, cherry shrimp are equipped with the instincts to hide from danger and find food.
A well-established aquarium with plenty of hiding spots and a natural supply of biofilm and algae can be an ideal habitat for them to grow and thrive.
Is Glasgarten good for baby cherry shrimps?
Yes, Glasgarten products are generally considered very good for baby cherry shrimp. Glasgarten is a well-regarded brand in the aquarist community, known for producing high-quality foods that cater specifically to the needs of shrimp. Their products are often recommended for both adult and baby shrimp due to their nutritional content and suitability for shrimp of all ages.
Clearly, you want your cherry shrimp to have all the foods they need, whether they’re adult or babies. But what if you see them fight over food out of the blue? Well, check out my blog – Why Are My Cherry Shrimps Fighting Over Food? and you’ll know how to handle that in the first place.
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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