Can Guppies Live With Red Cherry Shrimp?

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Guppies are some of the most colorful fish in our hobby. They come in almost every color under the sun. A tank of brightly colored male guppies always catches the eye. Red Cherry Shrimp are probably the brightest shrimp in the hobby. Together these two species make a wonderful combo. The question is, can guppies and red cherry shrimp live together in the same tank?

Guppies can live with red cherry shrimp, although you have to expect that some of the shrimp will be eaten by the guppies. Provide plenty of cover for the shrimp and food for the guppies to give you the best chance of success.

I have been keeping and breeding guppies for more than 30 years, and I don’t think a single day has passed in all that time when I didn’t have at least one aquarium in my fish room filled with guppies. In more recent times I have been introduced to the fascinating world of Red Cherry Shrimp!

Why Would You Want To Keep Shrimp And Guppies Together?

There may be a few reasons you want to keep guppies and red cherry shrimp together. Firstly, having two such colorful species in the same tank can look awesome. Guppies never stop swimming and they inhabit every inch of your tank. This means you have an aquarium teeming with life.

The red cherry shrimp on the other hand will sit on the substrate, plants, and rocks and give you little pockets of color.

Secondly, guppies can be messy eaters. They are always in a hurry to consume as much food as they can. This often means lots of little bits of uneaten food sink to the bottom of the tank.

Red cherry shrimp make an ideal clean-up crew. They are masters of finding the tiniest bits of food and eating them, preventing the leftover food from spoiling your aquarium water.

Lastly, if you are breeding your guppies for profit, adding the cherry shrimp to your breeding tank will give you an extra income.

Guppy And Shrimp Behaviors

For the most part, guppies and red cherry shrimp leave each other alone. Although guppies will swim around almost every inch of the tank, they don’t tend to want to be right on the bottom. The red cherry shrimp on the other hand prefer to be sitting on the substrate than up in the water column.

Unfortunately, larger guppies, especially larger females, will eat some of the smaller cherry shrimp. The good news is, providing you set your tank up correctly, the shrimp will breed faster than the guppies and eat them.

In my experience, the Red Cherry Shrimp breed so prolifically that they reproduce far quicker than the guppies can eat them.

How Should You Set Up A Guppy And Shrimp Tank?

Your guppy and red cherry shrimp tank should be set up with lots of hiding spots. Make sure you have piles of rocks or pieces of aquarium-safe wood placed together. That way you will have dozens of crevices where your cherry shrimp can live but the guppies can not reach them.

Live plants also provide masses of hiding places. Live plants like java moss, wisteria, and Cryptocoryne’s grow densely, offering lots of cover and line of sight blocks so the guppies can’t see the shrimp. Out of sight is out of mind in a guppy/shrimp tank!

Another consideration when setting up your guppy and shrimp tank is to make sure your filter isn’t sucking up cherry shrimp or baby guppies. If you are using an external filter or a hang-on-back filter, the intake part can suck small shrimp in. use a prefilter sponge to stop shrimp or fry disappearing up the filter pipe.

What Should You Feed Your Guppy/Shrimp Tank?

Guppies will eat just about any fish food available. I feed mine a mix of flake food, mini pellets, and frozen foods such as bloodworm, cyclops, and daphnia. Feeding your guppies a variety of foods is the secret to bright, healthy fish. Red cherry shrimp are also not fussy eaters.

They will consume any food that makes it past the guppies and hits the bottom of the tank. With that said, shrimp aren’t just scavengers, they need to be fed appropriate shrimp food too. I have had great success feeding my cherry shrimp Hikari Shrimp Cuisine.

For more ideas on what to feed your guppies, why not check out my articles titled What do Guppies Eat? and Best Homemade Food for Guppies?

What Other Shrimp Can Live With Guppies?

There are lots of other shrimp species that are compatible with guppies.

Amano shrimp make great companions for guppies. Amano shrimp grow much larger than red cherry shrimp, maybe growing as large as 2 inches. Amano shrimp also eat black beard algae, which can be a benefit to the aquarist.

Blue dream shrimpCrystal shrimp, and King Kong shrimp can also live with guppies. Their requirements would be very similar to the red cherry shrimp. You should however be aware that these shrimp are all a lot more expensive than red cherry shrimp.

Watching your guppy eat a 1 dollar shrimp is bad enough, watching them eat a 20 dollar shrimp will make you feel sick!

What Other Fish Can Live With Cherry Shrimp?

Generally speaking, smaller, peaceful fish will get on better than larger more aggressive fish. Any fish which see shrimp as a major part of their diet should probably be avoided.

Small tetras such as neon tetrasember tetras and cardinal tetras will all be fine as will dwarf gouramis. Most of the pleco species won’t bother your shrimp either.

Bristlenose plecos are a perfect tank mate. Whilst Bristlenose plecos will consume dead shrimp, they don’t tend to actively hunt them down.

Other potential tank mates include:

  • Celestial Pearl Danio
  • Chili Rasbora
  • Pygmy Corydoras
  • Green Neon Tetra
  • Clown Killifish
  • Ember Tetra
  • Otocinlus
  • Borneo Sucker Loach
  • Norman Lampeyed Killifish
  • White Cloud Mountain Minnow

In Conclusion

Guppies and red cherry shrimps make great tank mates. Will you lose a few of the shrimp to the guppies? Yes! However, set your tank up in the right way, actively feed both your guppies and shrimp and make sure you don’t allow the guppy population to spiral out of control.

There are many examples of people breeding both guppies and shrimp in the same tank. I’ve done it myself and it can be very profitable. I can almost guarantee your guppy/shrimp tank will be one of your favorite tanks!

About the Author

I’ve been keeping, breeding, and showing tropical fish for nearly 30 years. Over that time I’ve done it all! I’ve had great success and I’ve made some really foolish mistakes (like the time I bought an Asain Walking Catfish). Read more…
Richard James

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