Do Cherry Shrimp Lay Eggs?
Disclosure: I may earn a commission when you purchase through my affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. – read more
Cherry shrimp are adored in the aquarium business thanks to their easy-going behavior and tank cleaning capabilities.
They are also notoriously easy to breed, provided you ensure optimal environmental conditions.
Today, we’ll discuss cherry shrimp breeding, looking to get into a topic that tends to confuse novice shrimp keepers. We’re talking about the shrimp’s means of reproduction.
Do these invertebrates lay eggs or give birth to live babies? The reason for said confusion will surprise you.
Do Cherry Shrimp Give Birth or Lay Eggs?
Shrimps lay eggs. One cherry shrimp female can produce around 20-30 eggs inside its body and lay them during the mating season.
So, what’s the reason for confusion here? The reason is that the eggs are nowhere to be seen.
That’s because the female shrimp collects them with the help of its pleopods and suspects them under its abdomen until they hatch.
Miss the egg-laying process, and you’ll experience quite the confusion once the female doesn’t appear to be gravid anymore.
Pleopods (pleon – abdomen, pods – legs) are tiny abdominal legs that the shrimp uses to aid in swimming. Their true purpose, though, is to constrict around the eggs and keep them safe until they hatch.
This allows the female to move freely through the tank while keeping the eggs secure with the help of the pleopods.
How to Tell if Cherry Shrimp is Pregnant?
Unlike fish or other aquatic or non-aquatic creatures, shrimps don’t display an inflated abdomen when pregnant.
This can cause you to miss the shrimp’s pregnancy if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
The clearest indicator that the cherry shrimp female is pregnant is via its color change. We’re talking about the so-called saddle which is nothing more than a yellow patch visible on the female’s back and abdominal area.
This golden patch is actually the refraction of the color of the eggs inside the shrimp’s body.
An even clearer indicator is visible once the female has already laid its eggs.
You may not observe the egg-laying process, but you will observe the eggs themselves trapped under the female’s abdomen.
This is a sign that the eggs are fertilized, and the female has stored them under its pleopods, waiting for them to hatch.
How Long do Cherry Shrimp Carry Their Eggs?
The shrimp female may carry the eggs for 2-3 weeks until they hatch. The hatching time varies significantly, though, depending on the environmental conditions and temperature.
You can actually assess the progression by analyzing the eggs’ coloring. Shrimp eggs are completely yellow at first and get darker as time goes on.
You can even observe the tiny shrimplets’ eyes as they’re getting ready to hatch.
How Often do Cherry Shrimp Lay Eggs?
Cherry shrimp only lay eggs once every 3-5 months, depending on the environmental conditions and the female’s reproductive prowess.
This may sound like a long time between the breeding sessions, but the baby shrimps’ survival rate makes up for everything.
Most or even all baby shrimps should survive with optimal housing parameters, food, and water conditions.
If you want to keep the baby shrimp, consider investing in a nursing tank for more personalized care and a safer and calmer setting.
The nursing tank is that much more necessary if you keep your shrimp in a community tank with fish that could eat the babies.
How Many Eggs do Cherry Shrimp Lay?
Cherry shrimps lay between 20 and 30 eggs and they care for them until they hatch. This may not sound impressive, but the fact that the female cares for the eggs will increase their survival rates dramatically.
Especially in shrimp-only tanks where there are no other aquatic animals that could hunt for them.
Do Cherry Shrimp Care for Babies?
No, they do not. The shrimps’ parental role ends as soon as the eggs hatch. This means that the tiny shrimp need to look out for themselves, which can get tricky.
Newborn shrimps are more vulnerable due to them lacking a hardened exoskeleton.
So, they rely on their environment to survive. I recommend keeping your shrimps in a plant-rich environment with a variety of hiding areas for the small shrimp to use as cover.
Many larger aquarium fish eat invertebrates, and newborn shrimp fit their meal plant perfectly.
Cherry shrimps are hardy and adaptable aquarium cleaners with a more-than-decent breeding rate.
They can multiply relatively fast under ideal conditions, so always have a backup plan if you intend on breeding them.
To prevent overcrowding, either invest in a larger aquarium, get more than one tank, or consider selling the resulting shrimp soon after birth.