Can Cherry Shrimp and Neon Tetras Live Together?

Jaime Douglas
Jaime Douglas

Writer at The Aquarium Keeper

Cherry shrimp (Neocaridina davidi) are amazing small invertebrates, that bread easily and do not require a lot of care. These little creatures mainly don’t bother any other aquatic species and hang out at the bottom of the tank, eating leftover foods, and all sorts of algae.

Neon tetras (Paracheirodon innesi) are small nano fish, that portray amazing schooling behavior. Their looks really bring any aquarium to life: the blue and green stripe of neons can be seen from very far away, and the red color on their bodies stands out very much. But can cherry shrimp and neon tetras live together? Read this article to find out!

Table of Contents

Cherry Shrimp and Neon Tetra Compatibility

The short answer is yes, cherry shrimp and neon tetras can peacefully live together in the same aquarium. Neon tetras are small nano fish, that is very peaceful and in most cases do not harm any other living beings in the aquarium. They have very small mouths, which means neocaridina shrimp would not fit in their mouth.

red cherry shrimp on a plant close up

Sometimes neon tetras can be known for fin-nipping other bigger fish. They do not do well with betta fish, and angelfish, but with cherry shrimp, neon tetras would be just fine. It is an excellent combination since neons rarely go to the bottom of the tank to feed, they mainly wait for food to drop from the surface, while cherry shrimp are bottom feeders, that eat leftover food. These two species don’t get in each other’s way.

Tank Conditions

Both species thrive best in almost the same water parameters. If you want to keep your neon tetras and cherry shrimp, be sure to ensure these water parameters:

  • Water Temperature: 22–26°C (72–79 °F)
  • pH: 6.5 – 7
  • Tank Setup: Your aquarium must have a filter and heater. Neon tetras produce a certain amount of waste, that has to be filtered. A heater is needed to keep your aquarium water temperature stable. Lightning can be low or moderate, depending on your chosen plants (if they need a lot of lightning to survive). 
  • Diet: Both species can eat pellets, fish flakes, and frozen blood worms. We highly suggest feeding sinking pellets, so it would be way easier to feed both species at the same time. Whatever neons would not eat, cherry shrimp would happily consume at the bottom of the tank.

We highly recommend housing these species if you have at least 15 gallons of water in volume in your aquarium. Neon tetras are fast swimmers and like a lot of space in school, that is why you need a bigger tank. Cherry shrimp alone could live in a 5-gallon tank, but they do better in higher water volumes.

Will Neon Tetras Eat Cherry Shrimp?

Neon tetras will definitely not eat adult cherry shrimp. They might fight over food, but neons do not pose any certain harm to cherry shrimp. 

To make these species even more compatible, include a lot of live plants and hiding places in your aquarium. Both species like to hide when they feel threatened, that is why plants are good in this case. Also, aquarium plants help clean the water, which makes your pets even healthier.

Read this article if you want to find out more compatible species with cherry shrimp: 5 Best and Worst Tank Mates for Your Cherry Shrimp.

Will Neon Tetras Eat Cherry Shrimp Fry?

If the tank conditions are right, cherry shrimp will breed like crazy, which will create a lot of small shrimp babies. Unfortunately, cherry shrimp fry can fit in neon tetra mouth, which means neons will definitely eat cherry shrimp fry if they have the chance.

To minimize the number of baby cherry shrimps that might get eaten, have a lot of hiding places and live plants in your aquarium. Also, be sure to include rocks, driftwood, and other decorations. Plants and hiding places will give the opportunity for your cherry shrimp fry to hide when needed, also it will be way harder for neon tetras to spot them.

If you are keeping cherry shrimp for breeding, do not house them with neon tetras. You should set up a separate breeding tank, that is only created for cherry shrimp. That way all the shrimp fry will stay safe and eventually be able to reach adulthood.

Writer's Thoughts

Cherry Shrimp and neon tetras are very compatible and an amazing combination, that would make your aquarium look brilliant. Personally, I believe that shrimp is one of the most interesting creatures in the aquarium hobby, and combined with neon tetras, these species can look excellent in almost any aquarium.

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