Red Cherry Shrimp “Neocardinia davidi”, Breeding – Detailed Version
Over the past few years, there has been a great deal of interest in keeping dwarf shrimp in the home, usually planted, aquarium. Keeping dwarf shrimp is fun, rewarding, and beneficial to the planted tank; but a word of warning – once you get hooked on these interesting creatures it is hard not to want to explore the more exotic and usual varieties. One of the most popular, relatively inexpensive, and colorful varieties for the beginner is the Red Cherry Shrimp, Neocardinia davidi var. red.
Red Cherry Shrimp Characteristics
Red Cherry Shrimp can reach a length of 4 cm (1.6 inches). They prefer clean water with a ph of 6.5-8.0, and a rough temperature of 14-30 degrees C (57-86), most comfortable at a moderate room temperature of about 72 degrees. They are omnivores, and live up to 1-2 years in optimal conditions. Make sure you keep copper-containing food, supplements, and chemicals out your shrimp tank.
Fortunately, Red Cherry shrimp adapt to a wide variety of conditions in the hobby aquarium. They can be kept in a desktop aquarium with as little as 2 gallons, but 8-12 gallons will allow for a more active colony, more breeding, and a livelier population. They love plants and hiding places, so it is important that you include frill plants to allow them to rest, groom, and feel secure. This is especially important after molting when shrimp are most vulnerable. Shrimp are also fond of the micro-organisms and algae that forms on plant leaves. They spend hours grooming their favorite shrimp. Shrimps love to hide and groom themselves in mosses.
Grades of Red Cherry Shrimp
There are various grades of Red Cherry Shrimp, from deep dark red to paler colors. The most vibrant and colorful females are sensitive to background and substrate colors. If they are kept in tanks with light substrate they can become transparent or pale. In a tank with darker substrate, they take on a fuller, redder, coloration. The quality of the food and water pH, as well as temperature and quality, will affect how intense the color will appear.
Great for planted tanks
Dwarf shrimp are a huge fan of planted tanks. They love the hiding space, they love the food plants engender, and they love what plants do for water chemistry. However, it is crucial to decide your ultimate goal with Red Cherry Shrimp. Do your goal be to raise just one colony or to breed more shrimp? There are many nano fish that will coexist with adult shrimp, but will also eat newly hatched babies. Even smaller danios, rasbora or tetras might eat babies. For this reason, it is vital to have mosses and other hiding places; or even some of the cute bamboo shrimp hotels that can easily be covered with moss. The shrimp tank can also be home to smaller snails, such as nerites, which help remove any debris and are safe for the shrimp. The best rule for fish is to keep only fish that get no larger than about 3/4 ” as adults (chili rasboras, etc.) Or none.
Red Cherry Shrimp are non-aggressive and active during both the day and night. You can often see them eating algae and grazing on gravel. They also mate with other shrimp, and they move from one plant to the next during the day. Periodically, the shrimp will shed its exoskeleton, leaving a husk of itself drifting around the plant. This husk is vitally important as the shrimp will eat it and replenish their minerals. Red Cherry Shrimp females will hide in darkness when they get close to spawning and may abandon their eggs if provoked. The more hiding places and the safer the shrimp feels, the more likely they will lay a full clutch of eggs. The size and color of Red Cherry Shrimps can help you determine their gender. Males are usually smaller and more colorful. The yellowish saddles on the backs of females are eggs in development. It is almost impossible for Juvenile Red Cherry Shrimp to have sex with until they grow larger and are able to show color.
Breeding Red Cherry Shrimp
It is actually fairly simple to breed Red Cherry Shrimp in the home aquarium if one pays attention to three major steps: 1) Inducing breeding, 2) Ensuring health and comfort while carrying the eggs, and 3) Raising the young. It is possible to induce breeding by keeping the water conditions stable. Shrimp need a regular food source, with higher protein foods (Repashy, Shrimp Cuisine, Fish poo, etc.) fed regularly, but at a small amount. It takes shrimp about 3-5 month to start breeding. The males are most attracted to the female after molting. She then hides and releases pheromones into the water that call males to her. After a bred female, she will carry the eggs under her, moving them around to keep them clean and oxygenated for approximately 30 days. The baby shrimp are tiny, exact replicas of adults but much smaller. You need to make sure that there aren’t any predators in your tank as they will easily eat a newborn shrimp. Shrimp caves, live moss, and shrimp caves can help baby shrimp hide from predators. They also provide microfauna for their growth.
Red Cherry Shrimps:
Easy to feed Red Cherry Shrimp. They love variety, just like many omnivores. They will eat most any aquarium food but love shrimp pellets, algae wafers, blanched vegetables (zucchini, carrots, etc. You can also try some of the more exotic food options. You can also use Zoo Med Plankton Banquettet blocks in your tank. This helps keep the shrimp active and supplies spirulina and other essential minerals, particularly calcium.
Cholla Wood and Catappa leaves can be great food sources. The bacteria breaks down the Catappa leaves, allowing shrimp to eat the bacteria. Some shrimp enthusiasts claim that adding a little natural bee honey weekly to their breeding system improves the quality of their eggs. Others love the Repashy Foods which is 45% protein and a great meal for shrimp, crab, crayfish, and snails. MODERATION is key to feeding shrimp. It’s easy to overfeed shrimp. This can lead to a very unhealthy environment. Remember, shrimp are tiny, and don’t need too much per day. Some shrimp keepers recommend that you only feed your shrimp every other day or that you at most put no food in the tank for one week. Depending on the amount of shrimp and snails you have, some recommend that you remove any food left behind after two to three hours.
There are many varieties and types of dwarf shrimp. Due to interbreeding, not all of the dwarf shrimp can be placed in one tank. It is easy to watch these tiny creatures go about their daily lives, hunting for food and tending to “their” plant gardens if you just follow a few steps.