How To Choose The Best Substrate For Cherry Shrimp Tank

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A cherry shrimp is so beautiful to look at that sometimes owner of the shrimps forget about adding other decorative items in the aquarium. One such often ignored yet essential aquarium product is the substrate.

A proper tank substrate not only adds beauty in the cherry shrimp tank but also serves as a medium of helpful bacterial growth and fish habitat.

Therefore, you need to know the purpose, types, and how to choose the substrate for cherry shrimp tank.

And today, we are covering everything about the best substrate for cherry shrimp tank.

We will discuss the specific purposes of tank substrates, their types, materials commonly used as the substrate, and factors to consider before choosing a red cherry shrimp substrate.

Also, we will recommend you a few good-quality and reliable substrate for the cherry shrimp tank.

best substrate for cherry shrimp tank

What Is A Substrate?

In simple words, a tank substrate refers to the material people use in the tank bottom. The primary purpose of a substrate is to add intriguing aesthetics to the tank.

However, except for the aesthetical aspects, there are several significance of the substrate also. The substrate, in fact, has a profound effect on the following things –

  • Water chemistry
  • Filtration system
  • The well-being of the cherry shrimp

We will discuss them in the relevant parts of the article. But for now, you need to realize that substrate might vary depending on the tank water- freshwater or saltwater.

Purpose and Significance of Substrates

A substrate in the tank is an integral part of the cherry shrimp tank management. It serves several purposes. Some of them are merely aesthetical, while others are crucial for the health and well-being of the cherry shrimp.

Growth of useful bacteria:

The substrate acts as an active medium to initiate the nitrogen cycle within the shrimp tank. It does so by boosting the growth and colony of the beneficial bacteria.

You may, at this point, ask us whether or not the substrate is the only host of bacterial growth.

Well, the substrate act as a medium and host for bacterial growth out of many hosts within the tank, such as filtration media, plants, decorative pieces, and surroundings.

Also, a significant portion of the bacteria in the tank resides in the substrate.

Supporting live plants:

Besides acting as an active medium for bacterial growth, the substrate is essential for the proper growth of live plants in the tank as well.

Any live plants in the cherry shrimp tank will receive nutrients from the substrate. Also, it is the place where the live plants grow their root. So, without a proper substrate in the aquarium, you will be most likely to fail to grow any live plants in the tank (except floating plants and some moss).

Aquarium decoration:

The substrate is responsible for adding an aesthetic appeal to the cherry shrimp tank. It helps in enhancing the beauty of the cherry shrimp.

So, when the tank bottom has a perfect match with the live plants, driftwoods, rocks, gravels, and other decorative items, it will create an intriguing landscape. It cooperates with the vivid color of the cherry shrimp and makes them even more attractive.

Also, the right color of the substrate will complement the cherry shrimp color and highlight it. That’s why most people use substrate on a cherry shrimp tank merely for aesthetics, and we found it absolutely legitimate.

Health benefits:

Although the substrate has the least effect on cherry shrimp health, it can’t be ignored. Substrate materials influence the tank water chemistry.

For instance, if gravels have a high amount of calcium carbonate or magnesium in it, these will affect the KH and GH of the tank. These have a direct effect on cherry shrimp health.

That’s why it becomes all the more important to select the best substrate for a cherry shrimp tank.

But before you can move on to knowing the most appropriate, reliable, and consumers’ favorite cherry shrimp tank substrate, you should realize the difference between various types of tank substrates.

Types of Tank Substrates

When it comes to the classification of the tank substrate, we find two basic types of the aquarium bottom. The ranking is done from the perspective of how the substrate function and what purposes these will fulfill.

The two types are:

  1. Active substrate
  2. Inert substrate

Now, let’s dive into the depth of these two cherry shrimp substrate.

Active substrate:

The main characteristic of the active substrate is its ability to lower the pH level in the cherry shrimp tank. The active substrate is essential for those shrimp species that prefer residing in a relatively low pH water composition.

These shrimp breeds are:

  • Tiger shrimp
  • Crystal shrimp

These two are the subspecies of Caridina shrimp.

There are several good-quality substrates in the market which are ideal for these shrimp breeds. Our favorites are-

Both have a lovely color presentation and supports bacterial growth. However, the active substrate isn’t the one that your cherry shrimp love in the tank.

To be honest, cherry shrimps thrive in the inert substrate of the aquarium.

So, from now on, we will focus on discussing the substrates suitable for the cherry shrimp tank.

Inert substrate:

As the name suggests, inert substrates are inactive. So, they neither affect the water parameters anyway, nor they increase or decrease the pH level of the water.

The inactivity of the substrate means the water parameters remain stable. Henceforth, these are suitable for the neocaridina shrimps. And our focal point, cherry shrimp, is a subspecies of the same breed.

Thus, inert tank substrate is suitable for:

  • Cherry shrimp
  • Snowball shrimps, etc.

Likewise, the active substrate, the market also have multiple high-quality inert substrates.  You can choose ardently any of them depending on your budget and preference, mainly decorative. However, our favorites are-

  • Seachem Flourite
  • Pool filter sand

However, we start discussing the details about cherry shrimp preferred inert substrates; let’s see how to choose the ideal cherry shrimp tank substrate.

How to Choose the Best Cherry Shrimp Substrate?

The substrate of the aquarium has a direct impact on the tank decoration, cherry shrimp well-being, and growth.

So, you must pick the right substrate for the cherry shrimp, unless and until you don’t want to harm the cherry shrimp. This significance being said, you need to consider four main factors before purchasing the materials for the tank bottom.

Size of the particles:

The particle size of the materials for the substrate varies extensively from the tiny sands to the large river rocks or the mid-sized pebbles.

Tanks with large substrate permit the penetration of tank waste and uneaten food of the shrimps to disperse underneath it. Thus, if you don’t clean these substrate-based tanks periodically, it will lead to the build-up of harmful bacteria and toxicity.

On the contrary, small particles for the substrate material form compactness that keeps the residues over the substrate layer. So, these are easy to clean and maintain. However, the trade-off is the lack of oxygen.

Cherry shrimps are small in size, and so, the tiny particles are favorable for them. Otherwise, their molt will get lost in between the large gravels, and everyone knows that cherry shrimp molting is essential to fulfill its nutritional requirements.

Color variety:

You can choose from a variety of colors when it comes to choosing the substrate for the cherry shrimp. The color variation ranges from a natural glow to the neon-based colors. Also, it depends on the personal choice of shrimp owners.

For instance, a light-colored tank substrate makes a tank feel broad and large. Also, slightly brown looking substrate works well to hide the shrimp wastage and tank residue more compared to the white ones.

Another consideration is the color’s ability to highlight the cherry shrimp color. Ideally, a lighter color highlights the dark fishes while darker substrate highlights the bright-colored shrimps. So, make your selection accordingly.

Impact on the shrimp:

You will also have to consider the substrate’s ability to affect the cherry shrimp health and physique. In no conditions, you should choose a substrate that might injure or cause health issues to the shrimp. For instance, glass chips, although look beautiful has sharp edges.

So, it can cut through the shrimps’ fragile body, which can prove to be lethal for them.

Additionally, the lighter tone substrate will spook the cherry shrimp, especially if your tank is close to a brighter light source. It happens because cherry shrimps have a light color that goes well with the darker substrates.

Impact on the water:

We have already discussed that active substrates affect the water parameters and pH levels. So, these aren’t recommended for cherry shrimp tanks.

Cherry shrimps are delicate, and any change in the tank water parameter affects its health mostly. So, we recommend you to go for the inactive or inert substrate for the cherry shrimp tanks. The substrate keeps the water parameters stable and helps the shrimp thriving in the water.

We have focused on these crucial factors for the cherry shrimp tank bottom. Thus, we have picked four good choices for the cherry shrimp tank substrate.

Want to have a look at them?

Then, read-on the next sections of the write-up.

No Substrate: Tanks With Bare Bottom

You might be looking at the screen right now and think that this man, the writer has gone mad, ‘He was talking about the best substrates for cherry shrimp and now talking about no substrate!”

Well, actually, there’s no surprise.

A bare bottom cherry shrimp tank is an alternative if you are lying low with the budget or don’t want to spend much on the tank decoration initially.

However, you still need to do one thing.

Bare bottomed tanks are almost transparent, and it doesn’t complement the light color of the cherry shrimps. So, you need to paint the outer part of the tank bottom to make it darker.

The dark bottom will brighten up the cherry shrimp color and make it even more attractive.

Pool Filter Sand: A Tank Without Any Plants

As you might ardently guess from the title, the pool filter sand is used widely to filter the pool water to keep it healthy for swimmers. The sand comes in the proper grading and adequately dried state.

It is usable for the shrimp aquarium since it won’t affect the water parameters.

The pool filter sand is available in most fish shops and is also a cheap version for aquarium substrates. Nonetheless, the trade-off is noticeable since you can’t grow any big plants on the pool filter based tank bottom.

If you compare the trade-off with the benefits, we must say that the benefits are enormous. Firstly, as we described, it is the cheapest substrate available in the market. Second and most importantly, the sand filter comes with natural filtration capacity.

Henceforth, it keeps algae, dust, hair, and most minor tank residues at bay to keep the tank clean and healthy for cherry shrimp.

Among the many good-quality sands, we have found Aqua Quartz the most beneficial. It is odorless and easy to use too.

You just need to rinse it a few times before applying to the cherry shrimp tank.

Seachem Flourite: Have Some Plants in the Tank

If you want to grow some plants in the cherry shrimp tank but running low with budgets, the Seachem Flourite is your ultimate solution to go for the substrate.

It is relatively inexpensive and supports almost every plants growth-healthy and fast. But the best part of the tank substrate is yet to be revealed.

Cherry shrimps love the Seachem Flourite tank substrate and thrive in such kinds of the aquarium.

Want to know why cherry shrimps love it so much?

Well, the substrate material is porous clay-based gravel. Thus it enhances the natural inhabitant characteristics of the cherry shrimp.

Also, the gravel has a darker tone that expresses the exact color of the shrimps with more vividness that you will love to see.

Another benefit of the substrate that we liked most was its ability to work as a single gravel-based substrate in the tank. So, you won’t have to spend additionally to modify or add additives in the gravel. Yet, you can use a variety of gravels if you wish- just for the sake of your mental peace.

Just make sure you pour the water on the tank after you have placed the gravels on the fish tank. It is essential because pouring stream too fast can create a cloudy atmosphere in the tank that needs time to getaway.

Oh yes, did I tell you that the gravel substrate is free of chemicals and so won’t cause any changes in the pH level?

A perfect deal for your favorite cherry shrimp, right?

Eco-Complete Planted Aquarium Substrate

Carib Sea manufactures the substrate. It has a secret recipe (the manufacturer didn’t reveal it to date) that boosts the plant growth as well as its health in the shrimp tank.

Nonetheless, we love the tank bottom material for two specific reasons. These are:

  1. It is an ideal inert substrate that doesn’t alter any water parameters. So, it perfect for cherry shrimps.
  2. From the low-demanding to the absolutely high-profile plants, the substrate is ideal for the growth of nearly every aquarium plants.

It helps the plant growth such immensely because it is manufactured from volcanic basaltic soil. It has the following elements.

  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Sulfur
  • Potassium

Also, it has at least 25 abundant soil elements that supply all essential nutrients for plant growth.

Now that we have thoroughly talked about the four underlying substrates suitable for the cherry shrimp tank let’s have a quick recap on it.

Substrate Name Budget Characteristics
No SubstrateNo budget necessary1. Bare tank bottom

2. Needs darker paint in the tank bottom

Pool Filter SandCheap1. Natural filtration

2. Moderate help for plant growth

Seachem FlouriteMid-range1. Ideal for plant growth

2. Complements shrimp color

Eco-Complete Planted Aquarium SubstrateA bit expensive1. Best for aquarium plants

2. Minimal filtration

Preparing the Tank Substrate for Adding It to Shrimp Tank

  1. You need to clean the substrate at first. It can be a messy or tricky task. So, do it in a place where you can clean the surface quickly.
  2. After that, you need to rinse off the substrate. For it, you need to place the materials in a bucket full of water and start washing it.
  3. You might need to repeat the rinsing process two to three times. It will depend on the messiness of the substrate.
  4. Some substrates come pre-washed. For them, you need to perform one rinsing only.
  5. Some substrate may come up with live bacteria such as the Eco-Complete Planted Aquarium Substrate. You don’t need to heavily wash or rinse it. Just unpack and put it on the tank bottom.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much substrate is essential for the cherry shrimp tank?

Well, it is a tricky question to answer. During our lengthy discussions with shrimp owners and breeders, we found that none follows a strict rule for the amount of substrate in the fish tank. Nonetheless,  we revealed from the discussion that about 1-inch to 1.5-inches of tank bottom needs to be filled with substrate. It is sufficient for plant growth without adding much weight to the tank.

2. Is darker color substrate suitable for a cherry shrimp tank?

No, darker substrates aren’t suitable for a shrimp tank. Instead, they are the only alternative and best for the cherry shrimp tank. The darker substrate highlights the true color of the cherry shrimp. So, it enhances the aesthetics of the container.

3. Do cherry likes gravel and sand?

Cherry shrimps like both gravel and sands. The only thing that they care about the elements needed to cling on it.  You can use gravels smaller than 3mm for the shrimp tank.

4. How long will the Seachem Flourite last?

The Seachem Flourite is heavier than most standard soil substrates and is stable too. It is an inert substrate that doesn’t interact with water parameters. Hence, it will survive a pretty long time, approximately 8-10 years, in the shrimp aquarium.

5. Are Seachem Fluorites safe for cherry shrimp?

Yes, Seachem Flourite is perfectly safe for cherry shrimp and other shrimp species as well. It contains a minute amount of natural copper, which is essential for shrimp health.

The Bottom Line

I sincerely and prominently hope that you now have a clear idea about the best substrate for a cherry shrimp tank. Yet, here’s a quick recap of the entire article to boost your memory lane.

  • Cherry shrimps need an inert substrate that doesn’t react with the tank water.
  • You can go bare bottom or use the cheap pool filter sand for the tank bottom. However, the best alternative is to choose the Seachem Flourite.

We understand that some people don’t like spending much or even nothing on the cherry shrimp tank substrate. But it’s not an encouraging sight.

You need to use a substrate to keep the shrimp in a healthy state and boost plant growth. Also, the aesthetics it brings isn’t negligible either.

So, pick a goof-quality substrate and see the difference it brings.

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