Can Ghost Shrimp Live With Cherry Shrimp?

Jul 16, 2021

Can Ghost Shrimp Live With Cherry Shrimp?

It is an exciting thought to mix different shrimp species in a tank. However, such combinations can go haywire if you choose the wrong tank mates for your shrimps. And, of course, the numbers do matter when mixing two breeds of shrimps. You can expect the battle of Thermopylae in your tank if you have an uneven proportion of shrimps. Enough geeking on ancient greek (Yes, the pun was intended) – let’s move unto discussing the query.

Can Ghost Shrimp Live With Cherry Shrimp?

Yes, ghost shrimps can live with cherry shrimp if you have a large tank, and the vegetation is plenty for both breeds of shrimps to graze on. This will ensure lesser encounters and keep your cherry shrimps safe from ghost shrimps. They both thrive in the same water parameters and also eat the same kinds of food.

Let’s dwell further on the similarities and differences of both these shrimps first.

Physical Appearance

A red cherry shrimp can grow up to 1.6 inches in length, whereas the ghost shrimp reaches about 2 inches, making it bigger. This is why your ghost shrimps can overpower cherry shrimps and try to attack them.

Cherry shrimp is red – hence the name. However, you can find them in different shades of red. They are sensitive to the color of the substrate, which will cause them to change their shade accordingly. If the substrate in the tank is bright, then your cherry shrimps will turn pale or translucent. And if the substrate is darker, they will adopt an intense red coloration.

And as for ghost shrimps, their color depends mainly on what they eat. However, most ghost shrimps are transparent with red spots all over their body.

Water Parameters

Both these shrimps can survive in similar water requirements. For cherry shrimps, the water needs to have PH of 6.5 to 8.0 with a temperature of 57 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. 72 degrees Fahrenheit is considered the optimum temperature. 

As for ghost shrimps, the PH value ranges from 7.0 to 8.0, similar to red cherry shrimps. Temperature can be anywhere from 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. These comparison figures suggest cherry shrimps are slightly hardy than ghost shrimps.

Both shrimps are prone to ammonia and nitrite poisoning. So, make sure your tank water has 0 content of both these elements.

Diet

Both ghost and cherry shrimps are omnivores and will devour everything they can fit inside their mouths. They are great at scavenging and will dwell at the bottom to scoop up everything from leftover foods, carcasses, and fish poop to plants, algae, and anything that grows in the tank.

If your aquarium has enough vegetation, you might not even need to feed these shrimps.

Some foods you can give them include algae wafers, pellets, veggies, fruits, and dried feeders.

The sightings of ghost shrimps eating their shrimplets when there’s a shortage of food have been reported. They also consume molts after a couple of days, which is typical in shrimps. However, some hobbyists have also described how these ghost shrimps can sometimes single out other ghost shrimps that have just molted with their exoskeleton exposed, especially when a shrimp is most vulnerable right after shedding.

Cherry shrimps, in retrospect, are not into eating other live shrimps.

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Aggressiveness

Ghost shrimps are aggressive than cherry shrimps. Often, you can see this display of aggression when there is a lack of space in the tank. So, you need to know how many of them can fit in your aquarium. As a rule of thumb, one gallon is required for one ghost shrimp. You can check out my article for more detailed look – How Many Ghost Shrimp per Gallon?

When it comes to calmness, cherry shrimps are your best choice. They are placid and spend most of their time hiding among the plants and scavenging when bigger tank mates aren’t around. So naturally, this increases their chances of survival.

Lifespan

Both ghost shrimp and cherry shrimp can live up to one year if the right conditions are met. You really are walking on eggshells when it comes to a ghost shrimp’s longevity. I have had my ghost shrimps die after just a couple of days too. You cannot be sure how long they will survive.

Breeding

Both these shrimps require freshwater to thrive. I have found that many people think that ghost shrimps need brackish water to breed, but it hasn’t been true with my ghost shrimps. Ghost shrimps are freshwater shrimps, and they do not require salty water for breeding. My ghost shrimps have been reproducing healthy fries in a freshwater tank.

Compared to ghost shrimps, cherry shrimps can reproduce quickly. So you need not worry about their population dwindling. They can promptly proliferate and will restore balance to their numbers. All you need is dense plants for them to hide when a predator is nearby.

Sometimes, the breeding of cherry shrimps can be so rapid that you may have to take them out and put them in a new tank. Or, you can use them as feeders for other fishes.

How To Keep Ghost Shrimp And Cherry Shrimp Together In The Same Tank?

You should keep in mind certain things while keeping both these shrimps in the same tank. Factors like having plenty of plants, choosing the right tankmates, providing plenty of food, and making sure the water parameters are met at all times come into play.

Let’s dive further.

Keep Adequate Aquatic Plants.

Your shrimps are one of the smallest creatures in your tank. So they will need places to hide. You need vegetation for your shrimps to graze on and hide from other tank mates. Even if it’s a shrimp-only tank, you will still need plants as your cherry shrimps will need to hide from ghost shrimps in case your ghost shrimp goes berserk.

Also, your shrimps will feed on algae and moss growing in the tank, and plants help stimulate the growth of algae in your aquarium. Some of the best plants to keep in a shrimp tank are Java Fern, Java Moss, Water Wisteria, Marimo Moss, Dwarf Lilies, Anubias, Bucephalandra, Vallisneria, etc.

Choose Right Tank Mates.

Your shrimps will always be the target for bigger tank mates. So, choose tank mates that are friendly and won’t harm your shrimps. Although your shrimps will dwell mainly in the substrates and remain safe from bigger tank mates’ radar, they are still in danger from them. So you must choose suitable tank mates for them.

Here are some of the right and wrong tank mates for your shrimps.

Suitable tankmates: Neon Tetras, Cherry Barb, Pygmy Corydoras Catfish, Endler’s Livebearer, Nerite Snails, Amano Shrimps, and other shrimps.

Wrong tankmates: Angel Fish, Rosy Barbs, Betta Fish, Cichlids, Gouramis, etc.

Know Your Tank Capacity.

Among two, cherry shrimps are the ones that breed rapidly and can multiply overnight. So, while keeping these shrimps, you should always get a bigger tank than an actual recommendation.

Putting them in a congested tank only means trouble. They will start hurting each other by chewing off limbs and antennae.

Also, you should consider the number of shrimps you are going to buy from the pet shop. You shouldn’t buy just a single shrimp and deprive them of their social life. So get a group or troupe of them each and put them in an adequately planted tank.

A larger tank means more space and freedom for your shrimps to scavenge. They will also have more area to hide from the bigger and aggressive tank mates.

Shrimps molt when they are growing, and this is when they are most vulnerable. Slight pokes and bites can also lead to their death. So a large tank housed with plants will provide them hiding space from other tank mates. 

Provide Enough Food For Both Of Them.

Diet is something you should regulate closely for your shrimps. Although they will scavenge and fill their belly with leftovers and algae, you should still monitor their feeding habits. Unfortunately, new tanks do not have enough vegetation to satisfy their appetite. And this causes your ghost shrimps to prey upon the tiny cherry shrimps.

So you should give algae wafers and other commercially available food to satiate their hunger. Along with commercial snacks, feed zucchini, shredded carrot, and other foods. Both these shrimps are omnivores – so they will feed on almost all kinds of food you put in their tank.

Check The Level Of Nitrites And Ammonia In Your Tank.

Nitrites, ammonia, copper, and leads aren’t good for your shrimps. The presence of these elements in the tank causes your shrimps to die in an instant. In addition, fertilizers used for growing aquatic plants contain these elements, so you should be mindful and read the fertilizer contents before putting them in your shrimp tank. This will prevent you from putting your shrimps’ lives in jeopardy unknowingly.

So timely checking of such agents is necessary for healthy shrimp tanks. You can use a water parameter checking kit for this. Here’s what I use for my shrimp tank.

Change Water At Right Interval.

You should clean your tank regularly and reduce the ammonia spikes in the tank. However, do not change them more often than necessary; otherwise, your shrimps will not adapt to the new water, especially when they are molting. Change about 20 to 30% every two weeks.

Another thing to consider is the use of a water conditioner. The tap water in our homes is purified and has chlorine and chloramine in it. Though they work wonders for us, unfortunately, these have adverse effects on our shrimps. So, you should first detox the water with a conditioner and only proceed with changing water.

Here’s one which I use for my tanks.

Acclimating Is A Must Before Putting Them In A Tank.

It is necessary to acclimatize your shrimps before putting them in a tank. This is because the water they come in won’t match with the water parameters of your tank. And these shrimps will not be able to survive the sudden change in water and habitat. So that is why you should first acclimatize and put them in the tank.

Shrimps are delicate and will notice even the slightest of changes in the water. However, sudden changes in the water can cause stress in their bodies and make the internals stop right after putting them in a new habitat.

Here’s how you acclimate your shrimps before putting them in a new tank.

First, put them in a plastic container. Make sure they are submerged, but the water level isn’t too deep. You will then use the dripping method with the help of an airline tube. Leave at least an hour before putting them in the new tank.

You can check out my article on how to acclimate your shrimps before putting them in a new tank.

Will My Ghost Shrimps Eat Cherry Shrimps?

The chances of your cherry shrimps getting eaten by ghost shrimps is high as ghost shrimps will try to devour anything smaller than them. However, adequate food and dense vegetation in the tank will prevent your cherry shrimps from being eaten by the ghost shrimps.

Can Ghost Shrimp And Cherry Shrimp Breed?

Despite being shrimps, ghost shrimps and cherry shrimps cannot breed if put in the same tank as they are two different breeds. But some shrimp keepers have claimed that their cherry shrimp and ghost shrimp mated and produced a hybrid shrimp that was distinct in appearance. However, biology suggests that such cases are an anomaly and occur rarely.

Final Words On Can Ghost Shrimp live With Cherry Shrimp

These shrimps are two beautiful species that clean up your tanks quickly and add diversity to the tank’s ecosystem. Keeping them together won’t be easy as you read in the paper. Their short lifespan, small size, proximity to predators, vulnerable to water parameters makes them require care and attention.

Even more, you have to protect your cherry shrimps from your ghost shrimps too. Have patches of plants in your aquarium that will provide hiding spaces for your cherry shrimp. This will help in protecting your cherry shrimps from ghost shrimps and other predators.

Relevant Readings:

Snowball Shrimp Care Guide | Diet, Habitat, Breeding, Accessories

Do Cherry Shrimps Eat Hair Algae? What About Blue-green And Black Beard Algae?

How Long Do Amano Shrimps Live? Why Is My Amano Dying?

rohit gurung author at urbanfishkeeping

About Rohit Gurung

My never-ending love and fascination with Aquascaping started when I received a red-eared turtle for my 10th birthday.

Apart from researching and writing, I spend hours gazing at my 3 turtles. And yeah, I bask alongside them too.