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Why Are My Cherry Shrimps Fighting Over Food?

It was the first time I saw my aquarium turning into a war zone. I never knew my cherry shrimp, too, could fight like this over food. So, for obvious reasons, the first question popped up in my is – why it’s happening in the first place?

Cherry shrimp mainly compete for food during shortages. Cherry shrimp can also become aggressive because of their territorial nature. Additionally, battles among cherry shrimp can arise from rank disputes in their social hierarchy.

But is there any other reason that can start a fight here? And what are the best ways to stop this from happening? Well, it’ll be easier for you to get closer to the answers with a scroll.

Key Takeaways

  • The primary reasons for cherry shrimp fighting over food are insufficient food and territorial behavior.
  • They do something like this when they’re starving or the social hierarchy comes between them and their food.
  • Providing sufficient food, distributing food evenly, and creating hiding spots can help reduce these fights.

Unlike humans, arthropods usually don’t fight over anything much but food. So, when you’re seeing your shrimps have made your aquarium a battleground over food, there can be a few reasons for this.

6 Reasons For Cherry Shrimp Fighting Over Food

1. Insufficient Food

When the food is insufficient for the shrimp, they might compete for the food and eventually end up in a fight. It mostly happens when insufficient food triggers aggression towards each other, as none of them get enough to eat. Sometimes, these fights can go so bad that they can lead the shrimp to injury or death.

On top of that, lack of food and constant fighting make it stressful for them, which ultimately weakens their immune system.

And once that happens, they become more susceptible to disease and other health issues.

See also  Can Cherry Shrimps Live Without A Filter?

2. Hunger

Hunger during feeding time can influence the level of aggression in cherry shrimp. So, if they somehow miss an adequate and balanced diet, it gives them a feeling of constant starvation and leads them to fight with other shrimp.

In high-stress situations or when food is scarce, cherry shrimps may resort to cannibalism. Ensuring sufficient food and a stress-free environment is crucial to prevent this.

3. Territorial Behavior

Being territorial is nothing new for cherry shrimp. But this behavior can lead to a fight when another shrimp enters their territory during feeding time. This happens more frequently when there’s a food shortage or the shrimp are competing for food.

Cherry shrimps may display mild territorial behavior not only when competing for food but also for hiding spots. Providing enough resources and hiding spots can help reduce this behavior

4. Social Hierarchy

This sounds unusual, but cherry shrimp do have a natural hierarchy within the group. So, when it comes to having access to food, dominants get more priority than the subordinates. But when there’s a food shortage, this hierarchy system can lead to a conflict or fight.

The fight can take place from both sides, even from the shrimp that is monopolizing the food source.

After all, they might become more aggressive while attempting to access the food and improving their social standing simultaneously. By the way, don’t count this anything harmful, as that’s how their social structure works. 

5. Competition With Tank Inhabitants

By the word ‘inhabitants’, I do not mean the cherry shrimp alone. There can be other shrimp and fish species as well, especially in a community tank, which can be tough competition when it comes to food. This can ultimately lead to a fight. Some of the species can even be more aggressive or territorial compared to the cherry shrimp.

6. Poor Feeding Habits

Not feeding the shrimp in the right way can also trigger conflict among them. But how? Well, when you’re putting too much food in one spot, it becomes a common feeding spot for all the shrimp. This will make the spot more crowded and cause a fight.

7. Overcrowding

If the tank is overcrowded, cherry shrimps may become more aggressive. This could be mitigated by reducing the number of shrimps in the tank

See also  How Do Cherry Shrimp Eat?

How To Prevent Cherry Shrimp From Fighting Over Food?

The world of arthropods is designed in a way where they need to fight to survive every day. But I also believe –

“In the shrimp world, food isn’t just sustenance; it’s a battleground for the hungriest stomachs.”

Now the question is, how do you fix this in the first place and prevent your cherry shrimp from getting into a fight over food? Well, you can start with –

1. Providing Sufficient Food

The first thing you can do is provide enough food for all your cherry shrimp. But you need to feed them small amounts of food throughout the day. Some of the aquarium owners prefer feeding them at once.

But this might leave some of the shrimp unfed. So, when you’re feeding them with smaller amounts throughout the day, the aggression and competition will go down as all the shrimp will have access to food. But ensure you’re not overfeeding them, as that messes with the water quality.

2. Distributing Food Evenly

Rather than dropping the food in one place, it’s better to scatter it all over the tank. This will make it easy for the shrimp to have access to food. Not only will this resolve the territorial dispute, but also prevent dominant shrimp from monopolizing the food.

3. Offering a Variety of Foods

Rather than sticking to the same diet, try a variety of foods. You can go for specialized shrimp pellets, blanched vegetables, and even natural food sources, especially biofilm and algae. Not only will this reduce competition among them, but it will also keep their nutrition on point.

4. Creating Hiding Places

The more hiding spots your shrimp has, the less fight you’ll see in your tank. Try adding plants and decorations to create more hiding spots for the reds. This will take down the intensity of confrontations at feeding spots.

Shrimp Feeding & Diet: Infographic

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

do cherry shrimp fight each other?

In a well-maintained aquarium with plenty of space, hiding spots, and adequate food, it is uncommon for cherry shrimp to fight each other.

However, like many creatures, they can exhibit some territorial behavior or competition under certain circumstances, such as:

Overcrowding: If the tank is too small or overpopulated, shrimp may compete for space and resources, which can lead to stress and occasional aggressive interactions.

See also  Do Cherry Shrimps Eat Brine Shrimp? [Safe or Risky]

Competition for Food: If food is scarce, shrimp might compete more aggressively for what is available. This is usually mitigated by ensuring there is enough food for all the shrimp in the tank.

Breeding Behavior: Male shrimp may sometimes be seen chasing females during breeding periods, but this is more about mating behavior than aggression.

Stress: Poor water conditions, sudden changes in the environment, or the presence of aggressive tank mates can stress shrimp, potentially leading to unusual behaviors.

To minimize any potential for conflict, it’s important to maintain good water quality, provide enough space and hiding places, and ensure that the shrimp are well-fed. Additionally, keeping them in a tank with compatible species that do not pose a threat can help in maintaining a peaceful environment.

Increased Aggression of cherry shrimps from Protein Deficiency

When cherry shrimp do not obtain enough protein in their diet, it can trigger increased aggressive behaviors as they search for meatier food sources.

As filter feeders, cherry shrimp rely on algae, biofilm and particles in their tank environment to meet their nutritional needs. However, this may not provide all the protein required, especially for growing juveniles.

Without sufficient protein, cherry shrimp can become stressed and their natural instincts may kick in to seek out meatier foods. They may start to prey on each other, with larger shrimp attacking smaller juveniles for their protein-rich tissues and fluids. Some reports also indicate shrimp may prey on young fish fry or snails when their diet is lacking.

By ensuring cherry shrimp have access to protein-rich commercial foods, fish flakes or live/frozen foods like brine shrimp, their aggression levels stay low as their dietary needs are met. A balanced diet prevents predatory behaviors among tankmates that can arise from protein deficiency stress.

Before We Go…

No matter how much you try, the natural food sources in the tank won’t be enough for your shrimp. So, what you can do is get them something extra, filled with nutrition. I say you better go for Algae wafers. But how’s that going to do? Well, in my blog Do Cherry Shrimps Eat Algae Wafers? I’ve said it all. Just click and get it.

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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