Image Credits: Roman Holba under flickr creative common license.
Sakura in Japanese means cherry blossom. So bearing a similar color to cherry blossom, the name for this shrimp was forged. They are one of the popular dwarf shrimps, which fall under the category of cherry shrimp.
Originally traced from Suruga Bay in Japan, sakura shrimp is a must-have ingredient in washoku dishes, a traditional Japanese cuisine. Along with being an absolute delight in the kitchen, they are no less delightful to be kept in an aquarium too. It hasn’t been long since these shrimps have been reared as a hobby.
They might not effectively clean algae off the tank like Amano shrimps (which also hails from Japan). But they do pretty well at keeping the tank clean. Their rapid breeding is one of the reasons why they are hardy and will survive even with predators lurking around.
If you plan to add these Japanese shrimps to your tank, you need to know how to care for them. Let’s begin.
Sakura Shrimp’s Quick Introduction
- Name: Sakura Shrimp
- Scientific Name: Lucensosergia lucens
- Care Level: Easy
- Breeding: Easy
- Water Temperature: 65 degrees Fahrenheit to 80 degrees Fahrenheit
- pH Level: 6.8 to 7.5
- Temperament: Not Aggressive
- Lifespan: 12 – 15 months
- Diet: Omnivores
Sakura Shrimp Appearance
Sakura shrimp has a near translucent body with pink sakura color. In addition, they have red pigments all over their body, concentrated in the lateral carapace, around the mouth and mouth appendage, and in the tail region.
Sakura Shrimp Color
Sakura shrimps have a shade of pale pink, the same as the blossomed sakura flower. However, there are several variants of these shrimps with red and orange colors.
Sakura Shrimp Size
An adult sakura shrimp can reach 4 to 5 centimeters and weigh about 0.4 grams. Their size is similar to that of a red cherry shrimp.
The female sakura shrimps are larger than the males.
How To Tell A Male Sakura Shrimp From A Female?
Like every other freshwater shrimp, the female sakura shrimps have a slight pale-colored saddle under their abdomen. In addition, you will find the females have curved abdomen with an underbelly which they use for carrying eggs. Male sakura shrimps do not have those.
If you notice carefully, the color grade in females is richer than that of the male sakura shrimps.
Sakura Shrimp Lifespan
If all water parameters are kept optimum, then sakura shrimps can live up to 15 months. A juvenile sakura shrimp can reach sexual maturity after three months. Female sakura shrimps will die after 2 to 3 months of spawning. But by the time they die, they will already have multiplied the troupe numbers.
Sakura Shrimp Behavior
Sakura shrimps are known for their shy and peaceful nature. They dwell in the bottom areas of the tank and scavenge whatever food they find on the substrates.
Their reclusive nature from other tank mates can make them anxious when bigger tank mates approach them. As a result, they will hide in the plants or burrow themselves under the substrates when in danger.
In a community of their own, sakura shrimps will have a micro pecking order. The ones with the thickest carapaces and rich colors are regarded as alpha male/female placing them at the top of the hierarchy.
The only time you might see them aggressive is during feeding. They will pounce right off when there’s a shortage in the supply of food. Though most of their time is spent on grazing, they too get into an eating frenzy when you shower them with pellets.
Sakura Shrimp Tankmates
They are peaceful and aren’t blessed with features to defend themselves in a community tank. So pair them with tank mates having similar temperaments. In addition, you can also pair them with other invertebrates, especially other cherry shrimps.
Here are some of the suitable tank mates for sakura shrimps.
- Ruby Tetra
- Small Guppies
- Small Danios
- Otocinclus Catfish
- Cory Catfish
- Zebra Loach
- Hatchet Fish
- Small Barb
- Nerite Snails
- Amano Shrimps
- Other variants of cherry shrimps
Some of the fish mentioned above can prove to be a danger when grown into a full adult, so you have to be selective when choosing suitable tank mates for your sakura shrimps.
Tankmates To Avoid For Sakura Shrimps
- Betta Fish
- Full Grown Danios
Anything bigger than their size can be a danger for your sakura shrimps. You have to keep in mind that they do not have natural defensive features to fend off their predators in a community tank. It will be better if you put them in a shrimp-only tank.
Related: Bloody Mary Shrimp Vs. Cherry Shrimp
Ideal Habitat For Sakura Shrimp
In their original habitat, sakura shrimps are found in coastal areas of Suruga Bay in Japan. These bays are some of the deepest in the world. They can be about 2400m deep. There, these sakura shrimps dwell in about 210 to 360m during the day. And as the day falls, they will eventually reach up to 60m for grazing.
So it can be deduced that sakura shrimps’ preferred habitat is deep coastal waters.
However, our home aquariums are in no way near mimicking their actual habitat, yet they can thrive in a regular aquarium with suitable water parameters.
Just like other cherry shrimps, you need to house sakura shrimps in at least a 5-gallon tank. In addition, your shrimps need to be kept in a troupe which usually means at least a group of 5 shrimps. So make sure the ratio is one shrimp per gallon.
Sakura shrimps can breed in a typical home tank, so it won’t be long before you see their numbers multiply rapidly. As their numbers grow, your 5-gallon tank won’t be enough to house the additional population. That is why you will need a bigger tank for their colony expansion. So I advise you to get at least a 10-gallon tank for your sakura shrimps.
After you get the appropriately sized tank, you also need plants in the aquarium. These plants will serve both as a hideout and grazing pasture for your shrimps. If there are other tank mates, then your sakura shrimps will hide in between these plants for cover.
Tank Requirements And Equipment For Sakura Shrimp
It is recommended to get a 10-gallon tank to have a thriving sakura shrimp colony. Although your shrimps will be scavenging and cleaning up the tank, it doesn’t mean that you don’t need a filter for the tank.
If you are making it a shrimp-only tank, then a sponge filter works best for your shrimps. Sakura shrimps are small, and there is always the danger of them being sucked up by regular filters. However, using a sponge filter will prevent the sucking up of shrimps and baby shrimps.
Like every other aquatic pet, you will also need a tank heater to maintain the temperature of your shrimp tank.
Below I have attached links to some equipment for you to start shrimping.
Recommended Sponge Filter For Sakura Shrimp Tank:
Recommended Air Pump For Sakura Shrimp Tank
Substrates for Sakura Shrimps
Sakura shrimps will require inert substrates. Unlike active substrates, the inert substrates don’t lower down the pH value of your tank water.
The thickness of the substrate layer can range from 1 to 1.5 inches in depth. A thick substrate layer will help the roots of your tank’s plant to hold a firm standing.
In terms of color, the darker, the better. Sakura shrimps are known to dwell in deep coastal areas where there’s minimum light. So you might want to use darker shades for substrates.
Plants for Sakura Shrimps
The benefit of having plants in a sakura shrimp tank is that it will provide a sanctuary for your shrimp in a community tank. Your shrimps will be able to graze on the leaves and trunks of these plants. If you are a beginner shrimp hobbyist, I recommend that you only get those plants that are easy to maintain in a shrimp tank.
I have listed some of the plants that are beneficial for sakura shrimps.
- Java Fern
- Java Moss
- Dwarf Lilies
- Water Lettuce
- Rotala Rotundifoila
- Water Wisteria
Along with these plants, you can also add decors like driftwoods and live rocks in your sakura shrimp tank. These decors are not only aesthetically pleasing but also provide places to hide and rest for your shrimps.
Water Parameters for Sakura Shrimp
- Optimum Temperature: 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 29.5 degrees Celsius)
- pH Level: 6.8 to 7.5
- General Hardness (GH): 4 to 14
- Carbonate Hardness (Dkh): 0 to 10
- Nitrite Level: <20 ppm
Sakura shrimps are the toughest of shrimps and can withstand a wide range of water parameters. However, they are sensitive to ammonia and nitrites. So use a testing kit every once in a while to ensure they are getting optimal water parameters.
If you have been using tap waters for your shrimp tank, then it’s time you stop using it or start dechlorinating. Waters in our homes are chlorinated to make them free from any harmful bacteria. But your sakura shrimp will have a hard time acclimating to chlorinated water as it can harm them.
Also, you need to acclimatize your sakura shrimps before introducing them to a new tank. Use the dripping method, which is one of the reliable methods for acclimating shrimps and other aquatics to a new tank.
Acclimating helps your shrimp to adapt to the water change in their surroundings gradually.
There’s always confusion on how often you should change your shrimp tank’s water. The first thing you should know is that you shouldn’t completely change your tank water. Instead, you need to change it partially once every week to keep it fresh alongside habitable.
Feeding Sakura Shrimps
Sakura shrimps are omnivores like most freshwater shrimps. In their habitat, they survive on algae, biofilm, and other aquatic animal waste.
But as we don’t want our tank to be filled by either of them, we should plan a nutritious diet for their thriving colony.
A nutritious diet is necessary to keep the mortality rate minimum. Also, a proper diet helps in easing the molting process for your shrimps.
Some of the nutritious foods you can feed your sakura shrimps are:
- Algae Wafers and Discs
- Sinking pellets
- Blanched vegetables (Zucchini, Spinach, Cabbage, etc.)
- Fish Flakes
If you have a heavily planted tank, you might want to limit their diet. Your shrimps will be able to get their foods from the organic matter of the plants. Also, if you have a community tank, then the sunken fish pellets will also be food for your shrimp.
As for how much you need to feed them, it is better to provide them with food which they can finish within an hour or two. Any more than that, you will have to deal with a dirty tank.
Nutrition-wise, your shrimps require foods that are rich in calcium. Calcium is necessary for the shrimplets to grow strong exoskeletons. In addition, they often molt and have to grow exoskeleton throughout their life. So make sure your sakura shrimps are getting enough calcium-rich diets.
Here are some food recommendations to keep your sakura shrimps blossoming.
Breeding Sakura Shrimps
Sakura shrimps are easy to breed indoors. They can breed in most water parameters, and even better, they breed frequently.
For breeding, you need to get at least a troupe consisting of 8 to 10 sakura shrimps, so there’s a high possibility of mating and bearing baby shrimps in their cozy tank.
Once reaching the adult stage, the female shrimps will release pheromones in the water, calling males to approach her. After mating, the female shrimps will carry the eggs under her abdomen for about 30 days. A sakura shrimp can carry 30 to 50 eggs at a time. When released into water, these baby shrimps can feed and can take of themselves right away.
Baby sakura shrimps look just like the miniature version of adult shrimps.
Provide them with calcium and protein-rich diets, and you will find them sexually matured within three months. Some hobbyists have claimed that their sakura shrimps of 10 went to become 1000 shrimps in 8 months!
Preparing The Breeding Tank
Unlike other shrimps like ghost shrimps or Amano shrimps, you don’t need to quarantine your sakura shrimps for breeding. So unless you are keeping them with predator fish in a community tank, you need not worry about putting them in a separate tank.
You need to make sure that you have corrected the basics in your aquarium. When you first notice your shrimp getting pregnant, you have to check the water parameters using a water testing kit.
Once you have gotten that correct, check for the water filters and temperature.
Taking Care Of Pregnant Female Shrimps
Next, ensure whether your shrimps are getting a proper diet. Females often call out for breeding when they have just molted. This is a fragile stage for your shrimps as they need calcium to regrow their exoskeleton. Feed them calcium for regrowing exoskeleton and protein for strength to carry the eggs safely.
Using Sakura Shrimps As Feeder
Sakura shrimps are one of the rapid breeders among shrimps. So a handful of shrimps can turn into 1000s in a year. Furthermore, these shrimps are neither poisonous nor venomous. So you can use them as a protein infilled diet source for your other aquatic pals.
Can You Eat Sakura Shrimp?
Sakura shrimps one of the tastiest delicacies placing it on the list of most flavorful seafood. The “sakura shrimp tempura” is a popular dish all over Japan. Every year thousands of people flock to Suruga Bay to taste the traditional dishes “washoku” and “chawan-mushi.” It has now become a crunchy sakura shrimp eating hub.
Sakura Shrimp Diseases
Like every other aquatic pet, your sakura shrimps are also prone to illness. They mainly suffer from parasites and bacterial infections. Most of these illnesses can be related to water parameters. They can suffer from Vorticella, Scutariella Japonica, Leeches, Dragonfly Nymphs, Muscular Necrosis, Fungal Infections, Chitinolytic Bacterial Diseases, etc.
Sakura shrimps can get sick primarily due to these reasons:
Your shrimps could already be infected before you brought them. Retailers have every sort of shrimps in their stores, and with the sheer volume of imported shrimps, it is bound to have few infected shrimps.
And when you put the affected shrimp with your healthy shrimps, there is a high chance that that disease could spread in your aquarium.
When the tank’s temperature is too high, it provides a suitable habitat for bacteria to flourish. In return, these bacteria will attach themselves to your shrimps and cause illness when your shrimps are most vulnerable. Shrimps that have just molted will not have enough immunity to recover from these microbial attacks.
So you need to maintain optimal temperature and prevent any bacterial growth in the tank.
Also, scoop the leftovers time and again to stop parasites’ proliferation.
Recommended Readings: Can Cherry Shrimp Get ICH? Treatment And Control
Buying Sakura Shrimps
While buying sakura shrimps, make sure you get them from a reliable seller. Now and then, people in shrimp forums complain about not getting the exact breed of shrimps from the sellers.
If you are getting them online, make sure that you are not buying from someone who is too far from you. The longer it takes for shipping, the more are the chances of getting exhausted shrimps. These shrimps will then have low immunity and less capability to acclimate in a new tank and eventually die.
Before buying them from a local pet shop, look out for parasites and diseases prevailing on the shrimp tank.
Here’s a helpful video on common shrimp diseases you might see in a pet shop.
Final Words On Sakura Shrimp Care Guide
By now, you might have realized how easy it is to care for sakura shrimps in your home. Some sakura shrimps are dark red, whereas some are pale pink. Shrimps under the cherry category can interbreed and reproduce a new breed of shrimps. And you need to know that cherry shrimps are the easiest to take care of in the shrimp family.
Maintain basic water parameters, and you will have an army full of sakura shrimps in your tank within months.
You Might Also Like To Read: