Neon Tetras and Red Cherry Shrimp?

If you’re considering adding Neon Tetras to your Red CherryOpens in a new tab. Shrimp aquarium, the interaction between the two is largely peaceful. However, Neon Tetras may eat baby shrimpOpens in a new tab. if there isn’t enough cover. Adults are generally safe due to the Neon’s small mouth size and non-aggressive feeding nature.

As a seasoned aquarist, I’ve enjoyed observing countless aquatic species in my tanks over the years. One intriguing combination that’s always caught my eye is that of Neon Tetras and Red Cherry ShrimpOpens in a new tab.. The vibrancy of the Tetras, coupled with the beautiful red hue of the CherryOpens in a new tab. Shrimp, can make for a stunning aquatic display. However, the question of compatibility often arises – will the Tetras pose a threat to the ShrimpOpens in a new tab.?

In my experience, while Neons and Red Cherries can generally coexist, it’s essential to take certain precautions. Tiny, newborn shrimp could potentially become a snack for the Tetras if not given enough cover. By providing plenty of hiding spots with plants like Java Moss and Hornwort, you can create a safe space for your shrimp population to thrive.

In this article, we’ll delve deeper into this topic, discussing Neon Tetra and Red CherryOpens in a new tab. Shrimp compatibility, ideal tank conditions, and other tips for a harmonious aquatic environment.

Understanding the Nature of Neon Tetras and Red Cherry Shrimp

Neon Tetras and Red Cherry Shrimp are two popular choices for aquarium enthusiasts due to their vibrant colors and unique behaviors. However, understanding their individual nature is crucial for maintaining a balanced and harmonious environment in your aquarium.

Neon Tetras are small tropical freshwater fish, renowned for their bright, iridescent blue and red stripes. These fish are social by nature and prefer to live in groups, often referred to as schools. Their diet is omnivorous, which means they eat a variety of foods, including small invertebrates, plant matter, and commercially prepared fish food. Despite their small mouths, they can sometimes eat smaller tank inhabitants, but they are not typically aggressive feeders.

Red Cherry Shrimp, known for their bright red color, are a type of freshwater shrimp. These creatures are peaceful and non-aggressive, making them an excellent choice for community tanks. They are scavengers by nature, feeding on algae, detritus, and leftover food in the tank. Under ideal conditions, Red Cherry Shrimp can reproduce quickly, leading to a sizeable population in a short time. However, their small size, especially when they are young, can make them vulnerable to predation by larger or more aggressive tank mates.

Although Neon Tetras and Red Cherry Shrimp have different dietary habits and behaviors, they can coexist peacefully in the same tank with the right care and attention. Understanding their nature and providing a suitable environment are the first steps towards achieving a vibrant and healthy aquarium.

Ideal Tank Conditions for Neon Tetras and Red Cherry Shrimp

To ensure a harmonious coexistence between Neon Tetras and Red Cherry Shrimp, you need to create an environment that meets both species’ needs.

Neon Tetras prefer a tropical freshwater setup with a temperature between 70 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 27 degrees Celsius). They thrive in slightly acidic water with a pH range of 5.0 to 7.5. Neon Tetras also prefer softer water with a general hardnessOpens in a new tab. (GH) between 1-2 dGH and a carbonate hardness (KH) from 1-2 dKH. They are schooling fish and require ample space to swim, so a larger tank (20 gallons or more) is preferable, especially for keeping a group.

Lighting should be moderate, as Neon Tetras are native to shaded areas in the wild and bright lights can stress them. They also appreciate a tank with plenty of plants for cover, as well as open areas for swimming.

Red Cherry Shrimp need clean water with a temperature range between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 29 degrees Celsius), although they do best at the middle of this range. The pH should be between 6.5 and 8.0, which is slightly acidic to slightly alkaline. As for hardness, they can tolerate a wide range from 3-15 dGH for general hardness and 3-10 dKH for carbonate hardness.

Red Cherry Shrimp are not demanding when it comes to tankOpens in a new tab. size, and a 10-gallon tank can comfortably support a small colony. However, if you’re keeping them with Neon Tetras, a larger tank will be beneficial. They enjoy tanks with plenty of hiding places, such as live plants, rocks, and decorations. This is especially important for baby shrimp, which are vulnerable to predation.

For both species, maintaining excellent water quality is crucial. Regular water changes, proper filtration, and avoiding overfeeding will help keep ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels low, contributing to the overall health of your aquarium inhabitants.

In summary, while Neon Tetras and Red Cherry Shrimp have slightly different preferences, it’s possible to find a balance that suits both. A larger, well-planted tank with clean, slightly acidic to neutral water and moderate lighting can create an ideal environment for these colorful creatures to thrive.

Providing Cover: Essential Plants for Baby Shrimp Safety

In the world of aquariums, providing adequate cover is paramount for the safety and comfort of smaller and more vulnerable inhabitants, such as baby shrimp. Plants serve as excellent natural hiding spots, allowing baby shrimp to evade potential predators, rest, and forage in peace. Here are a few ideal plants that provide great cover for baby shrimp:

1. Java Moss: This is a favorite among aquarists for shrimp tanks. It’s an easy-to-grow plant that forms dense mats, providing numerous hiding spots for baby shrimp. It also serves as a grazing area, as it often collects biofilm that shrimp love to eat.

2. Anubias: With its large, broad leaves, Anubias provides excellent cover and is easy to care for. Its slow growth rate means it won’t quickly overtake your tank.

3. Java Fern: This plant is another slow-growing variety that shrimp adoreOpens in a new tab.. Its long leaves create plenty of shade and hiding spots for baby shrimp.

4. Hornwort: This is a fast-growing, floating plant that provides ample cover for baby shrimp. Its needle-like leaves also serve as a great area for biofilm to grow, providing food for shrimp.

5. Cryptocoryne: This plant comes in various sizes and forms, with some varieties forming dense bushes that offer great cover for shrimp.

6. Marimo Moss Balls: These aren’t technically plants, but colonies of algae that form into soft, green balls. Shrimp love to pick at them for food, and they can also provide some cover.

7. Water Sprite: This plant can be planted in the substrate or left to float. Either way, its finely branched leaves provide excellent cover and foraging areas for baby shrimp.

Remember that while plants provide necessary cover and food sources for shrimp, they also contribute to the overall health of your aquarium by absorbing excess nutrients and producing oxygen. A well-planted tank is visually appealing, healthier, and more comfortable for all your aquarium’s inhabitants.

Observing Neon Tetras and Red Cherry Shrimp Behavior

In a well-balanced aquarium, observing the behavior of Neon Tetras and Red Cherry Shrimp can be a fascinating and enjoyable aspect of pet ownership. Their distinct behaviors provide insight into their health, their environmental comfort, and the overall harmony of your tank.

Neon Tetras are social fish known for their schooling behavior. In a healthy environment, they move around the tank together, exhibiting a coordinated, group swimming pattern. This schooling behavior is not only a survival mechanism, but also a sign of their well-being. If your Neon Tetras are not schooling, it could indicate stress or poor health.

Neon Tetras are generally peaceful, but can sometimes exhibit territorial behaviors, especially during feeding time. Aggressive feeding or chasing each other around the tank might be observed, but outright hostility is rare. If Neon Tetras are displaying aggressive behavior, it’s worth checking the tank conditions as stress, overcrowding, or inappropriate water parameters can be potential causes.

Red Cherry Shrimp are known for their non-aggressive and somewhat solitary nature. They spend most of their time grazing on algae, biofilm, and leftover food in the tank, often using their small front legs to pick food particles off surfaces.

One fascinating aspect of Red Cherry Shrimp behavior is their molting process, during which they shed their exoskeleton to grow. After molting, shrimp often hide until their new shell hardens. You might observe your shrimp less active or hidden during this time, which is entirely normal.

Red Cherry Shrimp also have a unique mating behavior. After a female molts, she releases pheromones into the water to signal her availability to males, leading to a frenzy of activity as males search for the female.

It’s essential to remember that the behavior of both Neon Tetras and Red Cherry Shrimp can be influenced by various factors, including water quality, tank conditions, diet, and the presence of other tank inhabitants. Regular observation and understanding of their normal behaviors can help you detect any issues early, ensuring a healthy and vibrant aquarium.

Unusual Observations: Territorial Neons and Predatory Ghost Shrimp

While Neon Tetras and Ghost Shrimp are generally peaceful creatures, under certain circumstances, you might observe some unusual behaviors such as territoriality and predation.

Territorial Neons

Neon Tetras are known for their peaceful and schooling behavior, making them ideal for community tanks. However, under certain conditions, they may exhibit territorial behaviors. A Neon Tetra might chase other fish away from a particular spot, especially during feeding times. This behavior is typically not harmful and is often a way of establishing a pecking order within the school.

However, if the territorial behavior becomes aggressive, resulting in harm to other fish, it could indicate stress due to factors like overcrowding, insufficient food, or poor water conditions. In such cases, it’s crucial to reassess your tank conditions and address any issues promptly.

Predatory Ghost Shrimp

Ghost Shrimp are usually seen as peaceful scavengers, but they can occasionally display predatory behavior. They are opportunistic feeders and will eat almost anything they come across. If a small fish is weak, sick, or dying, a Ghost Shrimp might take the opportunity to feed on it. However, this behavior is relatively rare, and Ghost Shrimp are typically unable to harm healthy fish.

While Ghost Shrimp are unlikely to actively hunt healthy Neon Tetras or Cherry Shrimp, they have been known to eat small, vulnerable creatures like baby shrimp if the opportunity arises. To prevent this, ensure that there are ample hiding spots for baby shrimp and that the Ghost Shrimp are well-fed.

It’s important to note that all aquarium inhabitants have unique behaviors and may not always act as expected. Regular observation and understanding of their behaviors can help maintain a peaceful and balanced aquarium. Providing a suitable environment and meeting their dietary needs will go a long way in ensuring the well-being of your aquarium pets.


In conclusion, Neon Tetras and Red Cherry Shrimp can indeed share an aquarium, provided the conditions are right. By understanding their behaviors and meeting their specific needs, you can create a vibrant and safe environment for both species. While there may be occasional predatory behavior, especially towards newborn shrimp, providing ample cover and maintaining a healthy, balanced ecosystem can mitigate these risks. Your aquarium can be a peaceful home for these fascinating creatures with careful planning and consideration.


Q: Can Neon Tetras eat adult Red CherryOpens in a new tab. Shrimp? A: Neon Tetras have small mouths and are not particularly aggressive feeders, making it unlikely for them to eat adult Red Cherry Shrimp​1Opens in a new tab.​.

Q: Will Neon Tetras eat baby Red Cherry Shrimp? A: Neon Tetras may eat baby Red Cherry Shrimp if there isn’t enough cover. Providing plenty of hiding spots can help keep the baby shrimp safe​1Opens in a new tab.​.

Q: Are Ghost Shrimp safe with Neon Tetras? A: Ghost Shrimp are generally peaceful with Neon Tetras and unlikely to attack them unless the Tetra is already deceased. However, larger Ghost Shrimp have been observed to harm smaller Neon Tetras​1Opens in a new tab.​.

Q: Can Neon Tetras and Red Cherry Shrimp coexist in the same tank? A: Yes, they can coexist in the same tank. It’s important to provide enough hiding spots and monitor their behavior closely to ensure a safe environment​1Opens in a new tab.​.


Mark has been passionate about aquariums for over 40 years.

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