Will Neon Tetras Eat Cherry Shrimp? - "Neon Tetras - The little blue beauties" by Vee-vee is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.
Will Neon Tetras Eat Cherry Shrimp? - "Neon Tetras - The little blue beauties" by Vee-vee is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.


Aquarium enthusiasts often contemplate the compatibility of different aquatic species when designing their underwater ecosystems. One common question that arises is, “Will neon tetras eat cherry shrimp?” The prospect of housing these two distinct yet captivating species in the same tank can be both intriguing and challenging. Neon tetras, renowned for their vibrant colors and schooling behavior, coexisting with the captivating cherry shrimp, with their bright hues and endearing personalities, presents a unique dynamic in the aquarium world. In this exploration, we will delve into the factors influencing the interaction between neon tetras and cherry shrimp, examining their compatibility and potential impact on the shrimp’s population. Let’s unravel the intricacies of this intriguing question.

About Cherry Shrimp

Cherry shrimp, scientifically known as Neocaridina davidi, are a popular and colorful freshwater shrimp species often kept in aquariums. They are a favorite among aquarists due to their striking appearance, ease of care, and ability to thrive in a wide range of water conditions. Cherry shrimp are native to Taiwan, where they are also commonly referred to as “sakura shrimp.”

Here are some key facts and information about cherry shrimp:

  • Appearance: Cherry shrimp are small in size, typically reaching about 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5 to 3.8 cm) in length. They are named for their bright red coloration, which resembles the color of ripe cherries. However, there are various color variants, including fire red, sakura, and painted fire red, each with slightly different shades of red. These vibrant colors make them a striking addition to any aquarium.
  • Behavior: Cherry shrimp are generally peaceful and social creatures, making them excellent additions to community aquariums. They are known for their intriguing behavior, such as grazing on algae and scavenging for leftover food. Watching them navigate their environment can be quite entertaining.
  • Care and Tank Requirements: Cherry shrimp are relatively low-maintenance, which makes them suitable for both beginners and experienced aquarists. They can thrive in aquariums as small as 5 gallons (20 liters) or in larger setups. To provide them with the best conditions, maintain a stable water temperature between 68-78°F (20-25°C), and a pH level between 6.5 and 7.5. Filtration, as well as regular water changes, is crucial to keep their environment clean and free from toxins.
  • Diet: Cherry shrimp are primarily detritivores, meaning they feed on organic matter, algae, and decaying plant material. They will also eat leftover fish food, so a well-balanced diet is crucial for their health. Many hobbyists supplement their diet with high-quality shrimp pellets or blanched vegetables like zucchini, spinach, or cucumber. They are not picky eaters and will readily consume these foods.
  • Breeding: One of the advantages of keeping cherry shrimp is their prolific breeding. They do not require a lot of encouragement to reproduce, and their young are relatively easy to raise. A single female can produce dozens of offspring in a short period. To create a thriving colony, it’s essential to provide them with hiding places and a stable environment, free from potential predators like larger fish.
  • Compatibility: Cherry shrimp are generally compatible with most peaceful community fish, but it’s essential to choose tankmates carefully. Avoid aggressive or predatory species that may view cherry shrimp as a tasty snack. Popular tankmates for cherry shrimp include small fish like guppies, neon tetras, or otocinclus catfish.

Cherry shrimp are a fantastic addition to a well-maintained aquarium, offering both aesthetic beauty and functional benefits, such as algae control. Their ease of care and fascinating behavior make them a favorite choice among aquarium enthusiasts, and they can be an excellent introduction to the world of freshwater shrimp keeping.

About Neon Tetras

Neon tetras are small, vibrant, and popular freshwater aquarium fish. They are native to the blackwater streams and tributaries of the Amazon River basin in South America, particularly in Peru, Colombia, and Brazil. Neon tetras are renowned for their stunning colors and schooling behavior, making them a beloved choice among hobbyists and aquarists worldwide.

Here are some key facts and information about neon tetras:

  • Appearance: Neon tetras are known for their striking, iridescent colors. They have a bright blue stripe that runs horizontally along their body, from their nose to their tail fin. Below this blue stripe, they display a vivid red stripe that stretches from their mid-body to the base of their tail fin. This combination of colors creates an eye-catching, neon-like effect, giving them their name. They are relatively small, growing to an average size of about 1.5 inches (3.8 cm).
  • Behavior: Neon tetras are peaceful and gregarious fish that thrive in the company of their own kind. They are best known for their schooling behavior, where they swim together in tight groups, creating a visually stunning display in the aquarium. The presence of a school of neon tetras can add a lively and dynamic aspect to any tank.
  • Tank Requirements: To keep neon tetras healthy and happy, it’s essential to provide them with the appropriate tank conditions. A tank size of 10 gallons (40 liters) or larger is recommended to house a school of neon tetras. They prefer soft and slightly acidic water with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0 and a temperature range of 72-78°F (22-26°C). Maintaining stable water parameters and adequate filtration is crucial to their well-being.
  • Diet: Neon tetras are omnivorous and have a varied diet. In the wild, they feed on small invertebrates, worms, and aquatic insects. In captivity, they readily accept high-quality flake or pellet food designed for small tropical fish. To enhance their coloration and overall health, you can supplement their diet with live or frozen foods like brine shrimp, daphnia, or bloodworms.
  • Compatibility: Neon tetras are known for their peaceful nature, making them suitable tankmates for other peaceful community fish. They can coexist with other small, non-aggressive species like guppies, dwarf gouramis, and Corydoras catfish. Avoid keeping them with aggressive or fin-nipping species, as neon tetras have delicate fins.

Neon tetras are a favorite choice for aquarists due to their stunning colors, peaceful nature, and captivating schooling behavior. Their unique appearance and behavior make them an excellent addition to a community aquarium, adding both beauty and charm to the underwater landscape.

Will Neon Tetras Eat Cherry Shrimp?

So, will your neon tetras eat cherry shrimp in your tank? Neon tetras are generally not considered a significant threat to adult cherry shrimp. These fish are small and peaceful, and their primary diet consists of small aquatic invertebrates, zooplankton, and small insects. They are not typically aggressive hunters of shrimp, especially when it comes to adult shrimp.

However, neon tetras might occasionally nibble on cherry shrimp fry, which are tiny and resemble other small aquatic organisms. Shrimp fry are more vulnerable to predation due to their size, so if you are keeping both neon tetras and cherry shrimp together, it’s a good idea to provide ample hiding places for the shrimp fry to increase their chances of survival.

In general, neon tetras and adult cherry shrimp can coexist in a well-maintained aquarium without significant issues. Keep in mind that individual fish may exhibit slightly different behaviors, so it’s essential to monitor their interactions and provide suitable shelter and hiding spots for the shrimp if you have concerns about fry survival.

Will Neon Tetras Eat Cherry Shrimp? - "Neon Tetras - The little blue beauties" by Vee-vee is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.
Will Neon Tetras Eat Cherry Shrimp? – “Neon Tetras – The little blue beauties” by Vee-vee is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

Aquarium Setup

Setting up an aquarium for both neon tetras and cherry shrimp requires careful planning to ensure the comfort and safety of both species. Here’s how you can create a suitable environment:

  • Tank Size: A 10-gallon (40 liter) tank or larger is recommended to provide enough space for a school of neon tetras and a population of cherry shrimp.
  • Substrate: Use a fine-grained substrate like sand or small-grain gravel. Cherry shrimp enjoy foraging in the substrate, and a finer substrate is less likely to damage their delicate appendages.
  • Filtration: Install a gentle filtration system with a sponge filter or a filter with a pre-filter sponge to prevent shrimp from getting sucked into the filter. Neon tetras prefer slow to moderate water flow, so adjust the filter accordingly.
  • Water Parameters: Maintain stable water conditions with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0 and a temperature of 72-78°F (22-26°C). Ensure the water is free from ammonia and nitrites, as both neon tetras and cherry shrimp are sensitive to poor water quality.
  • Live Plants: Live plants like java moss, java fern, and Anubias can serve as hiding places for cherry shrimp and their fry. They also help maintain water quality and provide cover for the neon tetras.
  • Dense Plantings: Create densely planted areas or use artificial decorations like caves, driftwood, or PVC pipe sections to offer hiding spots for the shrimp and their young.
  • Lighting: Use moderate lighting to promote plant growth while not stressing the neon tetras or the shrimp. A natural day-night lighting cycle of around 8-10 hours is suitable.
  • Diet: Provide a varied diet for both the neon tetras and the cherry shrimp. Neon tetras will accept high-quality flake or pellet food, while the cherry shrimp will graze on algae and detritus. Make sure there’s ample food for both species.
  • Compatibility: Neon tetras are generally peaceful and compatible with cherry shrimp. However, as mentioned earlier, they may occasionally nibble on shrimp fry. Providing plenty of hiding spots and plants can help protect the shrimp fry.
  • Maintenance: Regular water changes and water parameter monitoring are essential. Ensure that the water quality remains stable, as both neon tetras and cherry shrimp are sensitive to changes in their environment.

By setting up your aquarium with these considerations in mind, you can create a harmonious environment for both neon tetras and cherry shrimp. The combination of colorful fish and the busy antics of shrimp can make for a visually captivating and enjoyable aquarium.


In the world of aquarium-keeping, the question, “Will neon tetras eat cherry shrimp?” has been carefully considered, and the answer, for the most part, leans towards a peaceful coexistence. While it is possible that neon tetras may occasionally snack on cherry shrimp fry due to their small size, in a well-planned and adequately decorated aquarium, these two species can thrive side by side. The key lies in providing the appropriate tank setup, including ample hiding places for the shrimp and their offspring. Neon tetras, with their dazzling colors and graceful schooling behavior, can complement the vibrant world of cherry shrimp. By creating a harmonious environment, aquarists can enjoy the unique beauty and charm that both of these species bring to the aquatic tableau, turning their tanks into captivating underwater landscapes.