Caring for fish or shrimp requires giving them proper nutrition.
Choosing the right foods ensures optimal health, a longer life, and a lower risk of ailments.
I’ve also found that good nutrition brings out the colors in certain species.
Most people know that tropical fish can live off flakes of fish food, but what do cherry shrimp eat?
They can eat almost anything.
However, if you want to nourish the health of your shrimp, here is what you need to know.
What Do Cherry Shrimp Eat?
Cherry shrimp are considered omnivores, which means that they consume both vegetation and meat.
They can consume almost anything found in the tank, including the standard fish flakes and pellets that you may feed to tropical fish.
Other options include algae wafers and plant debris.
What Kinds of Foods Do Cherry Shrimp Eat Naturally?
Cherry shrimp are scavengers and eat almost anything that they come across.
They tend to graze on all types of leaf litter and plant debris.
They also consume algae, dead fish, and other types of decaying animal matter.
Types of Cherry Shrimp Food
The most common types of food recommended for cherry shrimp include:
- Commercial Fish Food (Fish Flakes and Pellets)
- Homemade Food
- Frozen Food
- Live Food
Commercial Fish Food
Commercial fish food for red cherry shrimp includes standard tropical fish flakes and fish pellets.
Some manufacturers make fish flakes and pellets specifically formulated for shrimp.
Algae wafers are also a common choice for cherry shrimp.
Each wafer contains beneficial algae, which is the main source of nutrition for shrimp in the wild.
You can prepare homemade shrimp food using a variety of ingredients, including blanched vegetables and baby fry that you raise in a separate tank.
Some aquarists grow algae in separate tanks and harvest it to prepare DIY algae wafers.
Homemade shrimp food requires more time to prepare but may save money in the long run.
Frozen fish foods typically contain whole ingredients.
These foods often contain a high protein count, as they are often made from other freshwater species, such as:
- Brine shrimp
- Blood worms
- Cyclops and daphnia
Frozen foods are convenient to use.
You simply drop one serving in the aquarium, and it thaws within minutes.
However, aquarists mostly use frozen food as treats and supplements, as they may contain too much protein and lack adequate fiber.
Live food includes many of the same options found in frozen fish food products, such as brine shrimp.
Live food may contain a higher concentration of beneficial nutrients compared to frozen options.
However, live foods also tend to cost more and require proper storage and handling.
Can a Cherry Shrimp Eat Human Food?
Cherry shrimp should not eat red meats, including beef heart.
Red meat contains fats that can increase the risk of blockage and the growth of fatty deposits.
Processed foods are also bad for the health of your shrimp.
What Kinds of Human Food Can a Cherry Shrimp Eat?
Cherry shrimp can eat certain types of vegetables, such as:
- Carrots and Zucchini: Carrots and zucchini are good sources of fiber but need to be blanched in boiling water before cutting into tiny pieces and serving.
- Leafy, Green Vegetables: Bring lettuce, cabbage, or spinach to a boil in a pot and allow to cool before cutting into small pieces. These foods contain fiber that can help offset a protein-rich diet of live food or frozen food.
- Bananas, Apples, and Pears: You can add small chunks of fresh fruit to your tank. Unlike vegetables, you do not need to blanch the fruit before adding it to the tank.
What is the Best Type of Food for Cherry Shrimp?
The best types of food include algae wafers and other commercial fish products formulated specifically for cherry shrimp.
These foods contain the optimal balance of nutrients.
Live food, frozen food, and vegetables contain beneficial vitamins and minerals but are not a complete source of nutrition on their own.
Shrimp need a balanced diet, which is easier to achieve with commercial fish food.
How to Feed a Cherry Shrimp
Feeding cherry shrimp does not require any special equipment.
You simply drop the food in the tank and allow it to sink.
Shrimp are scavengers and will eventually feed off whatever you drop in the tank.
Here are the typical steps involved in feeding a cherry shrimp:
- Choose your preferred food. Consider using commercial fish food as a primary food source with live food or frozen food as a supplement.
- Drop a small amount at the top of the tank. Allow the food to settle. Unlike tropical fish, cherry shrimp will not rush to eat the food immediately after you drop it in the tank.
- Monitor the tank for bacterial growth. The condition of the tank can help you determine whether you are overfeeding. Check the tank each day before feeding.
- Increase or decrease feeding as needed. If you notice extra algae growth, you are likely overfeeding. If the tank is clear with no food debris, you may feed your shrimp a little more.
How Often Do You Feed a Cherry Shrimp?
Shrimp typically need feeding once every one to three days.
Some people wait up to five days between feedings.
The frequency depends on whether the tank has a sufficient quantity of healthy algae and biofilm for the shrimp to eat.
How Long Can Cherry Shrimp Go Without Eating?
Depending on the size of the algae growth in the tank, cherry shrimp may survive without any additional food.
Without adequate algae present, shrimp may last about a week.
Can You Overfeed a Cherry Shrimp?
You can overfeed cherry shrimp.
As with overfeeding tropical fish, adding too much food can lead to cloudy water and unhealthy bacterial growth.
The excess food creates the buildup of toxic materials that gradually poison the occupants of the tank, including shrimp.
Help, My Cherry Shrimp Isn’t Eating
Cherry shrimp may refuse to eat the food that you place in the tank for a variety of reasons.
If the shrimp are not eating, you should avoid adding more food until you can determine the reason.
Reasons Why a Cherry Shrimp Isn’t eating
The most common reason for shrimp to stop eating is that they have enough food inside the tank.
Cherry shrimp can survive off the natural algae and biofilm that grow in fish tanks.
After eating the algae, they may not need more food.
Cherry shrimp may also stop eating if there is a threat nearby, such as larger fish. Separate the shrimp from any potential predators.
What to Do if a Cherry Shrimp Isn’t Eating
If a shrimp is not eating, stop adding more food and monitor the conditions of the tank.
Cloudy water and the presence of green algae and film on the sides of the tank and decorations can indicate that the shrimp has enough food.
You can also try cleaning the tank to remove a portion of the biofilm and algae.
Limiting access to natural foods may lead your shrimp to try the prepared food.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Cherry Shrimp Survive on Just Algae?
Cherry shrimp can survive solely on algae, as algae are often their primary food source.
However, cherry shrimp benefit from a more well-balanced diet that includes other sources of nutrition, such as fish food.
What Meat Can Cherry Shrimp Eat?
Cherry shrimp prefer to eat meat that comes from dead sources rather than live ones.
Cherry shrimp may eat meat from other fish, crabs, and other crustaceans.
A shrimp will eat just about anything, but non-aquatic meat sources, such as beef and pork, may not work as well with their systems.
Caring for cherry shrimp requires proper feeding.
So, what do cherry shrimp eat?
They eat just about anything that you place in the tank but mostly survive off algae and biofilm.
You can also feed them commercial fish food, live food, and frozen food.
No matter what you decide to feed your shrimp, avoid overfeeding.
Overfeeding is one of the most frequent causes of imbalances in aquariums that can lead to unhealthy living conditions for your shrimp and any fish in the tank.