What Do Cherry Shrimp Eat? (Top 5 Foods Included)

Last Updated on 2023-05-24

Neocardinia davidi, also known as the Red Cherry shrimp, are beautiful little scavengers that greatly benefit your tank environment. Oddly enough, they do come in different colors such as green, orange, and even violet – but they’ve been specially bred for that amazing red color that we all know and love. So, what do Cherry shrimp eat?

Today we’ll tell you about what these amazing creatures eat in the wild, as well as the best captive food choices for Cherry shrimp of all ages. Finally, we’ll also advise you on their feeding schedules and go into some very specific foods in a FAQ we’ve created just for you!

Let’s find out what’s on the menu for the stunning crimson ‘cleaning machine’ known as the Red Cherry shrimp!

What Do Cherry Shrimp Eat?

Cherry shrimp are omnivores and enjoy a varied diet, though they can actually live on algae alone!. Some owners keep their lights on a little longer to promote algae growth for this reason, but a little variety is always best. Let’s look at what Cherry shrimp like to eat.


Not only do these shrimps love algae, but they eat many different kinds – even Hair algae. Some reports even state that Cherry shrimp will eat more types of algae than even Amano shrimp, though this has not been conclusively confirmed.

Uneaten Fish Food

Fish flakes are a treat for Cheery shrimp, which is quite useful for their keepers when it comes to proper tank maintenance. If the shrimp don’t snatch up the flakes as they fall, they’ll simply get the bits from the bottom of the tank and eat them right up!

Plant Debris

These crimson scavenger shrimps are quite fond of plant debris, with Cholla Wood and Catappa leaves being among their favorites for the delicious bacterium which they produce as they decompose.

Blanched Vegetables

Vegetables are a welcome addition to the Cherry shrimp’s diet. You should boil the veggies for 2-3 minutes to soften them up first, and some of their favorites include spinach, carrots, lettuce, and even zucchini!


Plankton cubes are another great way to supplement their diet. These may be obtained online or through your local aquarium supply shop, and Cheery shrimp absolutely love them!

What’s The Ideal Diet For Cherry Shrimp?

The ideal diet for Cherry shrimp, of course, starts with lots of algae. Leaving the lights on for an extra hour or two can help to stimulate the growth a little if you have a large colony to feed. Their diets should be supplemented with plankton blocks, and dead brine shrimp are also welcome.

Blanched vegetables help to build up vitamins, and calcium-rich foods are also great for building up strong shells. While they will get a little calcium back by nibbling on their old shells after molting, the additional calcium will help them to quickly rebuild their exoskeletons and is highly recommended.

Finally, shrimp and fish pellets will definitely be well-received and are a healthy addition to their diets.

What Do Cherry Shrimp Eat In The Wild?

Originally from Taiwan, Cherry shrimp spend their lives in freshwater ponds, consuming bacterial films, algae, tiny organisms, and dead plant matter. We’ll elaborate a little on each in the sections below to give you a better picture of their diets in the wild.

Bacterial Film

Unlike many shrimps, Cherries are neither diurnal nor nocturnal, grazing happily whenever they like on bacterial film, which grows naturally on the leaves of many freshwater plants. Aside from providing excellent hiding spots, these plants are also a chief source of our next favorite foodstuff for the Cherry shrimp.


Cheery shrimp also graze on algae growing on freshwater vegetation, and while they are omnivores, these algae make up the biggest part of their diets. You’ll be able to see this action once you have some in your tank. These shrimps absolutely love it!

Tiny Organisms

Phytoplankton and copepods are devoured with abandon by hungry Cheery shrimp in the wild. They will nibble on larger animals, provided that they are dead, but beyond this, they stick to only attacking smaller prey which they can easily manage.

Dead Plant Matter

As plants decay naturally in their pond, the Cheery shrimp are ready and waiting to gobble up tiny bits that they find. As decay provides a virtually never-ending supply of dead plant matter, between this and algae, freshwater Cherry shrimp stay quite well-fed throughout their lives.

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What Do Baby Cherry Shrimp Eat?

While a separate breeding tank is a good idea (as your fish may well eat baby Cherries which they catch), if you’ve got moss in your tank and perhaps even some shrimp caves, then you might be able to get away with simply letting them hide out on their own. That said, a separate tank is a very good idea to consider.

So, what do baby shrimp like to eat?

Below you’ll find some of their favorites to get you started.

Biofilm And Algae

Biofilm, along with algae, are going to be the primary food source for your Cherry shrimp fry. While they’ll continue eating this into adulthood, these foods are going to be the easiest for them to consume at this stage of life.  

Commercial Foods

Commercial fry food is available, of course, and powdered spirulina algae is another good option to feed baby Cherries in fine amounts to help them mature. It takes around 60 days for babies to reach the juvenile stage, so having a little commercial food on hand is a good idea.

If you haven’t had a long enough time to prepare the new tank and algae is sparse, this is going to be critical, so be sure to stock up a little to give your tank algae time to grow.


This is a good plant for baby Cherry shrimp, as they can actually nibble on the leaves from these plants and get some necessary nutrients in the process. Check your local aquarium supply well in advance, and you can have it ready and waiting in your breeding tank.

How Often Should You Feed Your Cherry Shrimp?

Depending on your colony size and the number of algae and biofilm in the tank, the feeding frequency could be every day or even every 3 days. Every 3 days is fine if you have a lot of algae present, Watch their behavior, and you can see that when they get hungry, they tend to travel in swarms rather than their usual casual glide-and-graze routine.

How Often Should You Feed Baby Cherry Shrimp?

Baby Cherries don’t need a lot of food. If you have biofilm and algae present, then small amounts of supplemental food fed to them every other day can help to ensure that they have all of the vitamins that they need to grow. Just keep the amounts small because a little goes a very long way with Cherry shrimp fry.

What Does It Mean If Your Cherry Shrimp Isn’t Eating?

Provided that they have been slowly acclimated to your tank (with the drip method being among the best techniques), it generally boils down to two main reasons why your Cherries aren’t eating the additional foods you are providing. Usually, it means that that the water is off or they are already quite full!

Check Their Ph And Other Important Water Variables

The ideal PH levels for your Cherry shrimp are going to be between 6.5 and 8.0, so this is what we’ll want to check first. As far as temperature, these guys are pretty comfortable in a wide range, specifically 57 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

They Might Simply Be Full

Aside from algae and biofilm, these tiny shrimps also feast on a number of Aufwuchs, which are tiny surface organisms that you and I can’t easily see but that your Cherry shrimp can spot and gobble up in a heartbeat. Between these and the available algae and fish-flake fragments, your Cherry shrimp might simply be full.

Try changing the frequency of feeding and see if this makes a difference. Keep in mind that you can also host 2-5 Cherry shrimp per gallon of water, and if your algae are growing too fast, this can help to arrest it and invoke a little interest in additional foodstuff on the part of the competing shrimps.

How Can You Encourage Your Cherry Shrimp To Eat?

If your water is fine and your Cherry shrimp don’t seem to be interested in the new foods which you have provided, then the best thing to do is to experiment with a few different food types to see if you can find some favorites. Below you’ll find some known favorites for Cherry shrimp colonies which should be well-received.

Shrimp Pellets

Shrimp pellets are always a favorite and after you toss one in, watch it for a few seconds, and you can see for yourself. Cherry shrimp sometimes seem to materialize from nowhere as they exit their current hidey-hole to grab and consume these tasty pellets.

Blanched Vegetables

Blanched vegetables are a great source of vitamins, and they’re also cheap and easy to obtain and prepare. Remember to boil the veggies for 2-3 minutes first before adding tiny pieces into the tank for your Cherries.

Plankton Blocks

Plankton blocks are another favorite that you can easily get online or at your local aquarium supply. This gives them a little variety, and it’s quite easy to use; simply add the block into your tank, and in a little time, your Cherry shrimp will investigate and enjoy a little feast.

Dead Brine shrimp

Cherry shrimp will eat Brine shrimp, but they prefer that you put dead ones in rather than live. So be sure to add a few from time to time just to keep your Cherry’s interested whenever it’s feeding time.


As promised, below, you’ll find some of the most common questions that we receive when it comes to Cherry shrimp and their diets. These will help to paint a better picture of their eating habits so that you can build them up a nice and rounded diet. Let’s take a look!  

Do Cherry Shrimp Eat Poop?

No. While you’ll see them pick up pieces on occasion, Cherry shrimp do NOT actually eat poop. When you see one find a piece, it is generally followed by said piece being violently spat out. They have plenty of other, tastier options, which they definitely prefer, and so poop is off of the menu.

Do Cherry Shrimp Eat Algae?

Yes. Algae make up the lion’s share of a Cherry shrimp’s diet, and they’ll graze upon just about any type available. The only types they generally avoid are blue-green, green spot, and staghorn algae.

Do Cherry Shrimp Eat Hair Algae?

Yes. Cherry shrimp are quite fond of Hair algae, even though many other types of shrimp will have nothing to do with it. Cherries don’t mind and are happen to have it to themselves.

Do Cherry Shrimp Eat Brown Algae?

Yes. Soft Brown algae are delicious to Cherry shrimp, and they’ll readily eat it up from the hard surfaces where it likes to grow. If you have Cherries and you are still seeing a lot of brown algae, remember that you can host 2 -5 per gallon and consider adding more shrimp if you have the volume to support them.

Do Cherry Shrimp Eat Snails?

While large snails are too big for them to eat, they will certainly eat their eggs. Cherry shrimp will also dine on dead snails, and they might eat the slimy coating that you find on healthy snails. While they don’t always do this, it is a possibility to keep in mind as this may sicken the snails.

Do Cherry Shrimp Eat Algae Wafers?

Yes. Cherry shrimp love algae wafers. Just be sure to break them up into little bits for easier consumption, and your Cherry shrimp will be sure to partake of them.

Do Cherry Shrimp Eat Each Other?

No. You might think that they are going cannibalistic, but live Cherries will not eat each other. If one dies, however, then all bets are off, and the other Cherries will dispose of the dead shrimp in their bellies.

Do Cherry Shrimp Eat Bloodworms?

Yes! Adding bloodworms to your shrimps’ diet once or twice a week is easy to do and a great way to give your growing shrimp a protein super-boost. For best results, defrost the cube for about 10 minutes before adding it to the tank so that you don’t end up with lots of worms lying around the bottom and mucking up your water balance.


In this article, we’ve explored in detail some of the various dietary options which you may provide for your captive Cherry shrimps. While they are happy to live on algae alone, it’s best to provide a variety in the form of blanched vegetables, dead brine shrimp, plankton cubes, and even the occasional bloodworms.

Cherry shrimp enjoy a variety, so if they are ignoring your current offerings, then just do a little experimentation. With a little time and patience, they’ll always come rushing to see what you’ve brought them each day!

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