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As the proud new owner of red cherry shrimp, you may be wondering what you should be feeding them. Knowing the answer to this question can help you adjust your aquarium’s ecosystem and ensure that your aquatic pets live their best life in your tank. So, do cherry shrimp eat algae?
The short answer to this is: yes. However, they still have preferences on what type of algae to eat. Suppose you are planning to use your red cherry shrimp as some sort of algae-fighting machine. In that case, you will probably have to invest more in other algae-prevention measures since your red cherry shrimp, despite their appetite, cannot prevent large algae outbreaks all by themselves.
What Are Red Cherry Shrimp?
The red cherry shrimp are non-aggressive, omnivorous freshwater shrimp native to Taiwan. However, contrary to popular belief, their natural color is not actually bright red, as you might find them in stores. These red cherry shrimp or “neocaridina davidi” are naturally green-brown in the wild. The red-colored cherry shrimp that you see most often sold in pet shops result from years of selective breeding.
There are various colors of this shrimp that are sold in pet stores, such as green, violet, yellow, and orange, but the red variant is the most popularly sold. With the right water conditions, including temperature, lighting, plants, and food, these cherry shrimp can live as long as one year or so in your aquarium tank.
What Algae Do Cherry Shrimp Eat?
Like most other shrimps, the red cherry shrimp can eat almost every type of algae that you feed it. However, there are certain types of algae that the red cherry shrimp tend to avoid. Knowing what algae you have to feed your red cherry shrimp is essential to save costs (and keep them alive).
Do Cherry Shrimp Eat Black Beard Algae?
Black beard algae is a fast-growing species of algae that is very difficult to get rid of. It grows on decorations, plants, and yes, on your aquarium tank walls as well.
These algae can invade your aquarium in two ways:
The first is when you decorate your tank with plants that may have been carrying spores of black beard algae. These spores may develop into algae under appropriate conditions and spread throughout your tank quickly.
Secondly, these algae can be carried with a new bag of fish as tiny free-floating strands. Again, given the right conditions, these strands can develop into algae and invade your tank. So, do cherry shrimp eat black beard algae? The answer is yes.
Red cherry shrimp also eat black beard algae as a food source. However, even in groups, these shrimp cannot eat black beard algae quickly enough to get rid of it. Along with your red cherry shrimp, ensure that you use other safe algae removal methods such as disinfecting the rocks and decorations, cleaning your tank, and trimming the plants inside.
Do Cherry Shrimp Eat Brown Algae?
Brown algae, like black beard algae, can grow rather quickly in your aquarium tank. The brown algae will attach itself to any solid surface in your tank, including your rocks, plant surface, and even your tank walls. This bacterial colony in the shape of slimy, brown lumps can take over your tank if left unchecked. These algae thrive in ecosystems that are rich in nutrients such as silicate, nitrates, and phosphates, and if there is very low lighting for your fish tank.
Do cherry shrimp eat brown algae? Yes. They love it, especially on surfaces with growth, including the plastic filtering systems and even your aquarium decorations. You can enjoy watching your groups of red cherry shrimp chomp down on your tank’s brown algae. If a spot is now free of brown algae, your shrimp will move to a new area and gobble the brown algae, so on and so forth.
You should take note, though, that while your red cherry shrimp are vociferous eaters of brown algae, you still have to feed them other nutrient-rich food as well since brown algae is not an excellent food source for your shrimp. Make sure that you provide supplements and other food as instructed.
Do Cherry Shrimp Eat Green Algae?
Green algae are fast-growing algae that look, well, green. They grow on your aquarium walls and plants that grow very slowly. These green algae can grow rather quickly and can invade your fish tank if you don’t address the issue at hand. One way to prevent an outbreak is to ensure that your tank is not in direct sunlight and does not get too much light from different light sources. Furthermore, you will want to monitor your tank’s fertilizer levels and ammonia because these chemicals can easily trigger a green algae outbreak, or worse, green water, which is a green alga reproducing too fast in a very short amount of time so that it renders the water a murky green.
Fortunately, your red cherry shrimp love to gobble up green algae, just as much as they love eating brown algae. So, if you’re wondering, “do cherry shrimp eat green algae?” They absolutely love to eat it.
However, despite the appetite for green algae, you should not make it the shrimp’s sole responsibility to get rid of them. Always practice monitoring the conditions of your aquarium tank to prevent any algae breakouts. These algae can grow fast overnight and may endanger your tank’s ecosystem. It is best to equip your tank with green algae defenses such as Nerite Snails or even simply clean the tank regularly to remove the green lumps of algae.
If the green algae become too much, it is advisable to use a UV Sterilizing machine. If this is too expensive as a remedy, you can opt into having a total blackout for your tank for a week, but this may also negatively impact the well-being of other aquatic life.
What Algae Can’t Cherry Shrimp Eat?
Like we said before, cherry shrimp eat a lot of algae, except for a few kinds. This includes blue-green algae, which is an algae that gives off a distinct smell that even red cherry shrimp do not like. They will avoid this, so you better get rid of this from your tank.
The second algae they won’t eat is the green spot algae, which is different from green algae. This type of algae resembles a spot only on your tank’s surface. It can be challenging to remove this type of algae, so you may want to use razors and scrapers as tools to remove green spot algae from your aquarium.
Conclusion: Do Cherry Shrimp Eat Algae?
Now that you know that, yes, cherry shrimp do eat algae, and what types of algae are suitable for your shrimp, what’s next?
Make sure that your little aquatic creatures can maximize their appetite for the algae growth in your aquarium. You can do this by removing the algae that your shrimp don’t eat, feeding your shrimp less food, improving the water conditions of your tank, and making sure that you have just enough shrimp in your tank — 4 to 5 shrimp for each water gallon.