Saturday, February 16, 2019

How to Set Up an Easy Cherry Shrimp Tank for Breeding

Ready to start breeding cherry shrimp for fun or profit? Here’s a step-by-step tutorial how to set up a simple and easy shrimp tank for making tons of babies! Neocaridina davidi are a great beginner species that come in a variety of bright colors, breed readily like rabbits, and sell for high prices at local fish auctions.



In the past, I’ve kept amano shrimp and crystal red shrimp, but never have I tried to raise neocaridina shrimp for profit. What does it take to set up the ultimate baby-making aquarium that's not necessarily the prettiest aquascape, but is highly functional and easy to clean? Keep reading to find out...

What kind of aquarium do I need for breeding shrimp?

Cherry shrimp can be kept in tanks as small as 2.5 gallons, but most people recommend 10 gallons (38 liters) or more if you're focused on breeding. The larger the tank, the more stable the water quality is, and the happier the shrimp will be. I personally use an aquarium lid as well to minimize evaporation and changes in water parameters.

As for water source, red cherry shrimp are fine in a wide pH range of 6.0-8.0, so I just use tap water with some water conditioner. No need for RODI water and additives with neocaridinia shrimp.

10-gallon aquarium for breeding neocaridina davidi

What equipment does a shrimp tank need?

In terms of electronics, I would recommend getting the following:
  • Sponge filter: They're very gentle, won't suck up the babies, and provide good oxygenation (see my tutorial for more details).
  • Heater: Cherry shrimp like 70-80°F so you'll need a heater if your home gets colder than that (I keep my tank around 75°F).
  • Lighting: Any standard aquarium light on a timer for 6-10 hours should be fine for growing low light plants and cultivating algae on the tank surfaces for the shrimp to eat.

Red cherry shrimp with long poop strand, sitting on sponge filter

How should a shrimp tank be decorated?

  • Substrate: Most people recommend at least a thin coating of dark sand or substrate to color up the shrimp and grow beneficial bacteria. No need to buy a fancy "active substrate," which is used to control pH and other water parameters for other species like Caridinia shrimp.
  • Live Plants: Your shrimp will love you if you include lots of aquatic moss, floating plants, and other fluffy foliage as hiding places and grazing surfaces. They also help keep the water quality high (I aim for nitrates at 20 ppm or below).
  • Grazing Surfaces: Also, add some driftwood like cholla wood and Indian almond leaves, which break down relatively quickly and grow biofilm that the shrimp like to munch on.
  • Crushed Coral: If you have soft water like me, you may need to supplement some calcium using crushed coral or other sources. Generally, cherry shrimp like 2-8° KH and 4-8° GH.

Simple and easy aquarium setup for breeding red cherry shrimp

What tank mates are safe for shrimp?

Honestly, I would recommend keeping a species-only tank if you're truly serious about breeding your shrimp. However, some people keep snails, small rasboras, pygmy corydoras, and other nano fish as tank mates. Just make sure to provide enough cover for the shrimp babies to hide.

Clear baby red cherry shrimp on ludwigia repens

How do I clean a shrimp tank with so many baby shrimp around?

Some people recommend cleaning a shrimp tank less frequently, but I'm of the camp that prefers small, frequent water changes, approximately 10-20% per week. As for my siphon, I just use some 3/8" OD / 1/4" ID flexible tubing (slightly bigger than normal airline tubing), tied to a chopstick on one end for easy maneuverability. The other end of the tubing is clipped to a white bucket to collect the dirty water so that I can easily spot any baby shrimp that accidentally get sucked up.

If you spot any whitish exoskeleton molts on the ground, leave them in the aquarium because the shrimp will eat them for the extra calcium. Also, clean your sponge filter if you notice the flow is reduced, and use an algae scrubber to wipe off the front glass if needed.

Airline tubing for cleaning shrimp breeding tank

Question of the Day

What’s your favorite kind of shrimp? Comment below to share your thoughts, and check out my Breeding for Fun series if you want to see more posts like this. Take time to enjoy your aquariums and I’ll see you next time!


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