Can Different Types of Shrimp Live Together?
Many aquarium owners are turning to the addition of freshwater dwarf shrimp into their aquarium for a couple of reasons. They are great additions to help keep aquariums clean because they scavenge around and eat waste food, and they are quite partial to eating algae at the same time.
There is one question that faces many tank owners when they want to add more types of shrimp.
Can different types of shrimp live together? Some types of shrimps like different water conditions than others, and this can be different enough to prevent you from keeping these together. However, the main reason some types of shrimp should never be held in the same tank, is because of interbreeding. Shrimp of the same species will breed and can produce shrimp that lack color.
Here, we will look at the Cherry Shrimp as it is the most common in aquariums. You can learn how to tend to this colorful types of shrimp, and which other types of shrimp can be kept in the same tank without interbreeding.
Cherry Shrimp Basics
You can see various names for the Cherry Shrimp, such as Red Cherry Shrimp or RCS, or even the Latin name Neocaridina Heteropoda. RCS are natives of Taiwan and come from the Atyidae family of invertebrates, where there are around 20 other varieties of shrimp.
Like many other shrimp, RCS are very peaceful and great for controlling algae growth in aquariums. Another great benefit is the ease of care these little freshwater types of shrimp requires.
While they are quite hardy against water conditions, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stray too far from the ideal for them to thrive. The life span for freshwater shrimp is between one and two years.
Appearance: Females reach a length of around 1.5 inches in length. Males will be slightly smaller. RCS are graded when sold on their color. Here is the grading:
- Cherry Shrimp: Clear color with patches of red, and are the lowest grade of the Neocaridina Heteropoda.
- Sakura Cherry Shrimp: Still come with translucent body parts yet have more patches of red.
- Fire Red Shrimp: The shrimp are totally red with no clear patches.
- Painted Fire Red Shrimp: The highest grade and comes with a deep red color, including their legs and no clear patches.
Tank Conditions for Cherry Shrimp
Aquariums need to deliver plenty of plants and hiding places in rocks to emulate the native habitat where these shrimp grow. While they feed on algae that may form on driftwood or other parts of your tank, they do feed on plant matter debris, which goes a long way toward their diet.
Tanks should include aquarium moss, if possible. The shrimp use this to hide and for grooming purposes. The ideal substrate is small pebbles, as this is the closest to what their natural habitat delivers. Water temperatures should be in a range of 65 – 85 °F and pH levels should be between 6.5 and 8.0.
One of the most important things to remember is, they should never be introduced to uncycled aquariums as all shrimp are sensitive to nitrites.
When you are considering tank size, then you can add from 2 to 5 shrimp per gallon of water; however, it is worth noting they are swift breeders, and you will need to accommodate new birth with a larger capacity tank.
Cherry Shrimp Feeding Habits
RCS are omnivore scavengers, and because of this, they will eat near enough anything they can. The regular diet can be plant matter with small amounts of meat thrown in.
Although they scavenge, you should still make sure they have their diet, and it is possible to find shrimp pellets that deliver this. Like other freshwater fish, it is possible to supplement their diet with frozen foods and vegetables.
Although they are great algae eaters, they won’t consume as much as some algae eating fish because of their size; however, they can help to maintain clean tank conditions.
Aquarium Shrimp Facts
There are quite a few reasons shrimp have become popular, and are now making their way into more aquariums around the globe.
Here are a few facts about shrimps:
- Shrimp Clean Other Fish Mess: Some species of shrimp will perform a dance and attract fish to them. If the fish is large enough, they can enter their mouth and clean any parasites. Pacific cleaners are renowned for this activity, though it will depend on the size of the fish.
- Shrimp Eat Waste: Shrimp are well-known as scavengers. It is this reason they are included in tanks with other fish. If food is uneaten and falls to the bottom, shrimp will happily make this their task, and begin feeding on this, and thus helping to keep an aquarium clean.
- Shrimp Shred as They Grow: New tank owners may peer into the bottom of their tank and see a dead shrimp. These are not dead and are the exoskeletons of the shrimp. The molting process is vital, and they will go through this process many times throughout their life. It is possible for smaller growing shrimp the shed their exoskeletons once per week.
- Shrimps Carry Their Eggs: While some fish are livebearers, and others spawn eggs. Shrimp carry their eggs around on the underside part of their belly. Berried shrimp is the term, and the female will secrete sexual hormones during breeding time. The male deposits his sperm onto the female, who then pushes the eggs under her tail. The female fans the eggs with her tail until they are ready to hatch. Such action delivers oxygen to the unborn shrimp.
Keeping Shrimp in One Tank and Interbreeding
While the above does tend to favor the Cherry Shrimp, it doesn’t mean they are the only one aquarium owners should go for, or the only one you can have in a tank at one time.
While some do require different water parameters, these don’t usually tend to cause many issues and are an easy fix. The question comes when you have two species of shrimp that will lead to interbreeding.
If this happens, you, unfortunately, end up with shrimp that are known to be ugly, and the color is either brownish, very pale, or more transparent than their parents.
To understand which shrimp you can keep together, you have to learn the Latin or scientific names of each type of shrimp. It may sound hard, but it is straightforward because there are limited types of the genus to choose your shrimp.
To summarize this issue, any shrimp of the same genus and species will interbreed. Here is an overview of the different shrimp genus for some of the more common freshwater shrimp.
|Common Shrimp Name||Species Name|
|Bamboo Shrimp||Atyopsis moluccensis|
|Bee Shrimp||Caridina cf. cantonensis|
|Crystal Red Shrimp||Caridina cf. cantonensis|
|Mano Shrimp||Caridina multidentata|
|Tiger Shrimp||Caridina Sp.|
|Bumble Bee Shrimp||Caridina Sp.|
|Green Shrimp||Caridina Sp.|
|Blue Pearl Shrimp||Neocaridina cf. zhangjiajiensis|
|Snowball Shrimp||Neocaridina cf. zhangjiajiensis|
|Red Cherry Shrimp||Neocaridina heteropoda|
|Yellow Shrimp||Neocaridina heteropoda|
|Ghost/American Glass Shrimp||Palaemonetes paludosus|
You can see from the above table which groups of shrimp can lead to interbreeding. You can see that there are only two species that are suitable to live with every other type without issue, these being the Bamboo Shrimp and the Ghost Shrimp.
If you decide which shrimp you wish to mix in your aquarium, you can reference the above to make sure they are not from the same groups.
After this, all you need to be sure that your water temperatures are suitable for the different kinds of shrimp you desire. With a bit of careful planning, there is no reason not to have any shrimp in your tank. Their bio-impact is next to zero, and they do offer countless benefits to your tank, aside from being exciting things to watch.
Hi, my name is Adam and I’m an aquarium enthusiast! I didn’t discover the joys of being an ‘aquarium fanatic’ (as some of my friends call me!) until I was in my 20’s. When I first started out I found it difficult to find all the information I needed so I started this website to compile all the useful information I can think of. Enjoy!