How Big Do Cherry Shrimp Get? (& Growth Tips)

Cherry shrimp are a dwarf species of shrimp and typically do not exceed one and a half inches in length and approximately 25 to 30 grams in weight. In this article, we will disclose the rate of cherry shrimp growth and how you can improve the size and speed of your shrimp’s growth development.

We will also explain how you can tell the difference between male and female cherry shrimp, especially in regards to size, although it can be tricky due to their already small nature. Get ready to jump into taking care of your cherry shrimp so they can be the biggest and fastest-growing shrimp in your tank!

How Big Do Cherry Shrimp Get?

Cherry shrimp typically reach approximately one and a half inches when they attain full size. Be sure to maintain a balanced diet, and you will not have any problems getting your cherry shrimp to maximum size potential. They are scavengers and will eat both animal and plant material; usually, a food pellet designed for crustaceans is sufficient enough.

Cherry shrimp, like most crustaceans, grow through molting or shedding their exoskeleton. Do not remove the exoskeleton from your tank after your shrimp has molted because the shrimp will eat it for extra nutrients. 

How Fast Do Cherry Shrimp Grow?

After a cherry shrimp is hatched and is in the post-larval stage, it will gain approximately 3 to 5 grams in the first two days of its life. After that, cherry shrimp will grow about 25 grams within the first four to five months before reaching adulthood. After that, an adult cherry shrimp will gain approximately two and a half grams per week. 

If your adult cherry shrimp’s growth falls below one gram per week, it may not have a proper diet, be overcrowded by other shrimp, or be living in sub-optimal water conditions. Cherry shrimp usually live about one to two years, so maintaining a healthy growth rate is important to keep your cherry shrimp alive. 

How Can You Improve the Size and Speed of Your Cherry Shrimp’s Growth?

Balanced Diet

A balanced diet with plenty of protein and carbonate sources is important to maximize the size and speed of your cherry shrimp’s growth. Protein is most important for growth, and carbonate strengthens the cherry shrimp’s exoskeleton. 

When the shrimp are young, they can sufficiently feed on algae and biofilms that build up on the tank walls or in the bottom substrate. However, when they attain adulthood, it is advised to feed them foods that will boost growth, such as cucumbers, pears, spinach, shrimp supplements and flakes, and crab and lobster bits. 

Also, remember to let your cherry shrimp eat their exoskeleton molts. These contain needed vitamins and minerals such as calcium that are lost during the molting process. It provides them with that extra boost to help strengthen their new exoskeleton as well as develop it faster to provide much-needed protection. 

Water Quality

Ensuring proper water quality is key to maintaining a healthy environment for cherry shrimp and encouraging fast growth. Allowing some algae and biofilms to accumulate is important because this provides food for the cherry shrimp. But, do not allow your tank to become too overrun, or the shrimp will not be able to eat fast enough to maintain a healthy environment for other cohabitating species. 

Installing a good aquarium filter is also very important because chemicals such as ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite can be harmful to cherry shrimp. Sponge filters are an ideal option because they provide quality filtration while keeping a weaker water suction that is not a threat to smaller shrimp, especially post-larval cherry shrimp. 

The total dissolved solid content for your aquarium should be around 1800 parts per million, while the general and carbonate hardness counts should fall between 65 and 130 parts per million and 60 and 250 parts per million, respectively. 

Be sure to equip your aquarium with lighting and allow seven to eight hours of light within a 24 hour period. The pH should stay fairly neutral around seven to eight.  Acidic water can eat away at the shrimp’s exoskeleton. 

The water temperature needs to be between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (22 and 29 degrees Celsius). Making it slightly warmer (towards the 80-degree mark) may actually speed up growth and improve survival in juvenile cherry shrimp. The one thing to avoid when it comes to temperature is major swings – stability is key when it comes to providing optimal growing conditions for cherry shrimp. 

Oxygenation

Use an oxygenation pump or an air stone in your cherry shrimp tank to allow them to acquire the necessary oxygen for optimal growth. This will reduce any oxygenation stress they may experience without the proper flow of air through the water and allow energy to be devoted to growth instead of survival. 

Adding plants to your aquarium is also a good way to provide extra oxygen for your cherry shrimp and can also have the added benefit of producing shelter and detritus for them to feed on. Some of the best plants to accompany a cherry shrimp tank include cryptos, flame moss, java moss, java ferns, and anubias nana. 

These are low-light plants that are easy to maintain and will not only provide extra oxygen but will also maintain a good nitrogen balance for your cherry shrimp.

Is There a Size Difference Between Males and Females?

Female cherry shrimp are usually larger than male cherry shrimp in order to support their growing eggs when they breed. Although males are smaller than females, it can be hard to tell with the naked eye because this species of shrimp is already so small. 

Full-grown adult cherry shrimp females will also have a signature saddle and curved indentation to their lower torso, while adult male cherry shrimp are more streamlined.

(Find out about 12 great freshwater shrimp you can add to your aquarium.)

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Recap

Adult cherry shrimp reach a maximum length of approximately one and a half inches, with females being slightly larger than males in order to bear and lay eggs. Cherry shrimp do most of their growing in the first four to five months while still maintaining an average weight gain of approximately one and a half grams per week once adulthood is attained. 

In order to maximize the growth rate and size that your cherry shrimp reach, it is important to feed them a well-balanced diet of plant and animal materials rich in protein and carbonate. Allow them to consume their molted exoskeletons for a much-needed boost in calcium and faster development of their new exoskeleton.

Water quality needs to be optimal for the best growth rate, including maintaining proper temperatures, hardness levels, and pH. Nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia should not be present, or they could kill your cherry shrimp, and a good flow of oxygen is essential to promote optimal growth. 

Stability is important when maintaining the water chemistry and temperature in your cherry shrimp’s tank. Too much fluctuation can stress out your cherry shrimp and reduce growth rate, even causing them to lose weight instead of gain it. 

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