Cherry shrimp is one of the rapidly increasing shrimp breeds as pets. Its vibrant color and attractive appearance combine with natural caring to make it immensely popular among aquarists. Experts speak that the majority of cherry shrimp caring depends on its diet and feeding.
That often leads to another crucial question,” What do cherry shrimp eat?” Well, researches and cherry shrimp owners’ experience has revealed that cherry shrimps are omnivorous.
Hence, it will eat almost everything, both vegetables and protein items.
This quality being said, you can’t feed the lovely cherry shrimp with anything such as raw meats or large fish flakes. So, what do you feed the cherry shrimp to help it grow bigger and stay healthy?
To know the details on cherry shrimp eating menu and feeding routine, keep reading the article.
The appearance of Cherry Shrimp:
Before we move on to cherry shrimp eating menu and feeding details, let’s know about the appearance of various types of cherry shrimps.
Mostly, we know about the beautiful red cherry shrimp. But do you know that there are other types of cherry shrimp as well, and the name mainly comes from their color and appearance?
If not, then this following list on cherry shrimp types and breeds is going to be a groundbreaking event for you. Also, you need to note that cherry shrimps are about 1.5 inches long, with females being a bit larger than males.
Next, you will be surprised to know that cherry shrimps are graded according to their color and vibrancy.
The cherry shrimp grading widely varies on the presence of red or blue color in its body, and with more shade of redness, it becomes costlier.
- Regular Cherry Shrimp: This type of cherry shrimp basically has no color with a slight shade of redness here and there. It is thus the lowest graded Neocaridina heteropoda and is the least expensive.
- Sakura: The Sakura cherry shrimp contains a little bit of more redness than the regular ones. However, most of its body is transparent and so, aren’t very desirable to shrimp owners.
- Fire Cherry shrimp: As the name suggests, the fire cherry shrimp really take a fire-like appearance with its vibrant red color. It is, thus, also known as red cherry shrimp sometimes.
- Painted Cherry Shrimp: The painted red cherry shrimp is often regarded as the highest grade cherry shrimp. It is mainly because of the explosively red color of the shrimp with no transparent appearance. In fact, the legs of the adult shrimps are red too. Thus, aquarists cherish to have painted fire cherry shrimp to decorate their aquariums. The demand has made it the most expensive cherry shrimp of its class.
Note: Females are more vibrant than the red cherry shrimps and so, more desirable to aquarium owners.
What Do Cherry Shrimp Eat?
Whether it is a regular cherry shrimp or the exquisitely painted fire cherry shrimp, all have developed the same diet habit. You need to understand the eating pattern of the cherry shrimp to maintain a healthy diet for it.
In the wilderness or natural habitat, cherry shrimps, likewise, other species of shrimps are scavengers.
Thus, the omnivorous species will eat almost everything they get close to their housing. However, they have a particular affinity for algae and biofilm.
Since these are omnivorous, feeding them with a variety of food items is straightforward and less effort demanding. Nonetheless, you should select a diet that serves its nutritional necessity with a high amount of protein.
So, when you select a food pallet for cherry shrimps, always prefer a high-quality item. You will get many reliable brands such as Zoo Med who produces a variety of shrimp foods.
The frozen food and vegetables will act as occasional supplements to boost shrimp growth or health. Also, sometimes you can use live food as a surprise treat to the cherry shrimp to make it happy.
There are several vegetables to choose from for cherry shrimps. In fact, they will eat all veggies under the right circumstance. Nonetheless, the most ideal and nutritious vegetables are-
You need to boil and blanch the vegetables before giving it to the shrimps. Well blanched food items are easy to consume that helps shrimp metabolism.
The next favorite food of cherry shrimps is algae that naturally grow in the tank water. They have developed an enormous liking for the algae. Thus, the cherry shrimp is a brilliant tank mate to other fishes that helps to keep the aquarium glass and water clean.
However, you should know that cherry shrimps are a tiny creature. Thus, they won’t be able to gallop as many algae as the large or even the medium fishes will do. Still, with the vibrancy and cleaning capacity, it’s worth a tank mate.
Another two ideal cherry shrimp food items are Cholla Wood and Catappa Leaves. Both help at the growth of useful bacteria within the tank on which the shrimps thrive in. Yes, the bacterial growth boosted by these two food items is beneficial for cherry shrimp health too.
Catappa Leaves is commonly known as Indian Almond Leaves. It helps the shrimp get over minor bacterial or viral infections. Also, it is a brilliant menu for betta fishes as well.
How Much Do You Need to Feed The Cherry Shrimp?
When it comes to cherry shrimp eating capacity, remember the following rule-
Underfeeding is far better than overfeeding.
Yes, it’s a prime rule to pet cherry shrimps since they have a tiny metabolic mechanism. Also, overfeeding might develop serious precautions such as pest snail infestations in the aquarium. It is detrimental for tank inhabitants.
Don’t worry about the underfeeding since all shrimps have developed the capacity of going without food for several days. It came to them as a natural way of survival.
So, now the answer- what is the proper amount of food for cherry shrimps.
However, there’s no definite answer to the questions. Experts suggest that you need to give a minimal amount of supplementary food or manufactured food to the shrimps. Instead, we recommend you to permit the shrimp to fulfill its scavenging role in the aquarium.
It implies that you need to allow the shrimp to eat as much as algae and biofilms in the tank. It will also help to keep the water and tank walls clean.
Another vital thing about cherry shrimp food amount is linked with the protein percentage. Ideally, grown-up cherry shrimps shouldn’t consume more than 40% to 45% of the protein of its total diet. However, during the juvenile and growing stage, you might increase the protein portion for up to 60% to boost fast growth.
When you clean the tank water and walls, increase the supplementary food items amount only slightly for the next couple of days. It is essential since a cleaned or replaced tank water won’t contain any biofilms and algae for scavenging.
How Frequently Do You Need to Feed the Cherry Shrimp?
The cherry shrimp feeding frequency has a direct link with its health and overall well-being. So, you need to maintain a proper frequency while feeding the shrimps ardently.
Nonetheless, there’s no fixed schedule that you can follow. For instance, one of my friends has 15 cherry shrimps in a single tank. He feeds them five times a week with Thursday and Friday being starvation time.
As a good rule, when you bring cherry shrimps direct from the shops, start with 5-6 days feeding schedule a week. Also, you might need to feed the shrimps twice a day.
To be frank, there’s no right or wrong about cherry shrimp feeding frequency. While some provide food to their shrimps 2-3 times per week, some prefer the regular 5 to 6 times schedules a week. It will almost entirely depend on the eating capacity of the shrimps you have in the tank.
Nonetheless, when you provide shrimps with food, don’t let it stay for an extended period within the tank water. Clean it up after two to three hours to keep the tank neat and clean. Until you remove the food item, shrimps will never stop eating.
That’s why I call these creatures a Monster Eater.
Since red cherry shrimp feeding lacks any fixed schedule or frequency, you might need to change your plan anytime. It will depend on the shrimp taste and water parameters too.
For instance, during the post-molting session, cherry shrimp develop an acute appetite for calcium-rich items.
Use Different Technique to Feed Baby Shrimps:
Cherry shrimps are highly territorial and most unlikely to leave space in a large tank. The territorial characteristic is even more acute in the baby shrimps. Under no circumstances, a baby shrimp will leave it’s comfort zone, even for feeding.
So, how do you feed such babies?
Well, it is easy. You can use powdered food supplementary to feed the baby cherry shrimps.
The powdered shrimp food will automatically spread across the tank water, and when it reaches the baby’s mouth, they will feed on it.
What If You Have a Community Tank?
Sometimes, aquarium owners like to keep red cherry shrimp in a community tank. They do so to decorate the aquarium with the cherry shrimp color vibrancy and use its scavenging quality to keep the tank inside clean.
At such a point, you won’t need to provide any external shrimp food supplement to the cherry shrimps. They will happily leave on the leftovers of the large fishes in the community tank.
Nonetheless, sometimes you can feed the shrimps with dead leaves such as Catappa Leaves.
The Quick Recap
So, here is a quick revision of what we learned about what do cherry shrimps eat?
Cherry shrimps are scavengers and so, will live on anything they get around them. Nonetheless, their favorite item is algae and biofilms.
Next, you should maintain a 40% to 50% protein portion in the entire food menu for the shrimp. Also, if you provide homemade food such as vegetables, make sure they are appropriately boiled and blanched. Furthermore, you should feed the shrimps two to four days a week with two days of starvation.
Hence always remember- no overfeeding even though underfeeding is acceptable, in fact desirable.
When you follow these rules to feed cherry shrimp, it is for sure that the species will live happily in the tank with an extended lifetime.