Do Cherry Shrimp Eat Fish Eggs? (Explained)

I came to discover several forum posts where folks who had only recently started keeping shrimp were encountering a serious problem. They said their Cherry shrimp were devouring eggs of their own and also, in some cases -others.

I have kept cherry shrimps successfully with varieties of fish and fish fries. Let me share my experience with you through this article.

So, Do Cherry Shrimp Eat Fish Eggs? Yes, they do! But only the fish eggs which are rotting or dead. Also, as long as the eggs are attached to the female cherry shrimp, they will not go for their own eggs either.

I’m going to give you an overall idea of shrimps eating eggs and what it might mean for your aquarium. Now, there are a few things you have to keep in mind. Keep reading.

Will Cherry Shrimp Eat Fish Eggs?

Cherry shrimp will not eat healthy fish eggs, plain and simple. They will also not consume the healthy eggs of other species, preferring to devour any fungus that may grow on them.

But if the eggs of other fish or themselves are rotting or decaying, then cherry shrimp will tear them open and devour them as cherry shrimps are scavengers.

Many aquarists who breed a variety of fish and other aquatic organisms employ cherry shrimp and other dwarf shrimp types to look after their breeding pairs’ eggs.

A few cherry shrimp can be placed in a breeder box or a separate breeding tank, where they will turn the eggs and consume any fungus that may grow around the egg clusters.

This fungus can cause problems later in the egg development process (in some fish species, but not all), and by using shrimp as egg nurses, breeders can avoid losing healthy newborn fish. 

Cherry shrimp appear to prefer eating dead or dying stuff at the end of the day.

Do Cherry Shrimp Eat Their Own Eggs?

Usually, cherry shrimp don’t eat their eggs. A cherry shrimp will not consume eggs that are still tied to the mother shrimp and healthily.

However, if the cherry shrimp eggs fall from the mother and start decaying, then other cherry shrimp in the tank might feed on them.

An explanation of the breeding cycle will make it clear for you.

Here’s what happens in the breeding cycle of shrimps:

  1. Eggs that are still in good condition – that is, eggs that aren’t dying or rotting and have been fertilized – will usually remain attached to the female shrimp and develop into tiny little kids.
  1. The eggs or berries on a female shrimp’s body don’t always get fertilized. This could be due to a lack of males in the area who are of breeding age, or it could be related to water parameters or any number of other factors. In their current state, these non-fertilized eggs will simply not develop into baby shrimp.
  1. The shrimp will eventually learn that the eggs aren’t fertilized and will decide to cut its losses and try again. This means she’ll drop her egg clusters, which won’t hatch into shrimp. These dropped eggs are pretty much free food for other cherries.
  1. Other cherry shrimp will happily consume wasted eggs, just as they devour any other debris in your aquarium. The eggs are really nutritious food and a good source of protein for your shrimp, so it’s no surprise they’d want to eat them.

How Do You Protect Fish Eggs?

Protecting the fish eggs means providing them the necessary environment to stay alive and thrive.

Unless we’re not trying to let them grow, there’s no point in protecting them, right? So, how do we do that?

Here’s how:

Step-1. Rescuing the fries: 

You won’t have to worry about the shrimp, but you’ll have a hard time getting any fry to survive unless you capture the eggs and remove them to allow hatching and growth in a separate tank, as the parents might devour any eggs or newly hatched fry they come across. 

Separating the eggs and fry from the adult fish may improve their chances of survival.

Step-2. Catching the Eggs:

Catching their dropped eggs is simple. A tiny jar with a screw-on lid is all you’ll need.

Remove the interior of the lid and replace it with plastic craft canvas (available in the arts and crafts section of Walmart for less than one dollar per sheet). 

Use the water from the original tank when transferring the fry to a new tank. Instead of using a net to relocate the newborn fish, use a cup to scoop them up. 

They will not be injured by the net’s mesh as a result of this.

Step-3. Hatching the Eggs: 

You can hatch the eggs in a transparent cup filled with tank water. There is no need for an air stone.

Place them in a 10-gallon tank as they hatch to allow them to grow until they are about half the size of an adult before moving them to the main tank.

Step-4. Keeping the eggs with Caretaking Adults:

Some adult fish provide care and safety for the young ones. In that case, you might be able to keep the parents in the same tank if you notice a fish guarding its nest against other fish. 

Step-5. Set the Environment:

Make a comfortable environment for the fry. Because young fish are more susceptible to illness and sickness than adult fish, it’s very important to keep their tanks clean.

Before introducing the fry, you should properly cycle the tank and test the water.

Step-6. Control the Aeration System:

Last but not least, if your aeration system is powerful, you may need to turn it down in the fry tank.

Excessive agitation of the water can injure the small fish. You really don’t want the fry to be sucked into the filter by a high current.

Is It Okay To Keep Shrimp In a Breeding Tank?

It’s okay to keep shrimps in a breeding tank. Most freshwater aquarium shrimps are scavengers. They usually don’t touch healthy fish eggs.

Also, shrimps help in removing fungal growth on eggs which increases the chances of hatching fish eggs.

I have kept red cherry shrimps in several breeding tanks in the past and actually never had any issues with them. But, many aquarists don’t recommend keeping shrimps in breeding tanks just to play it safe.

Related Questions:

Do Cherry Shrimp Eat Baby Fish?

Cherry shrimps don’t eat baby fish. However, they will not hesitate to eat dead fries as they are omnivorous scavengers.

Many aquarists encounter problems like cherry shrimps eating fish fries. But in my experience of keeping cherry shrimp, I have never faced such problems.

From what I have seen, cherry shrimp will scavenge on dead fish fries. But they won’t touch fries that are alive.

Will Snails Eat Fish Eggs?

Yes, most species of snails will eat fish eggs as they are a good source of protein, and snails are omnivores. Snails will eat eggs of any kind, including fish eggs, other snail eggs, and even hard-boiled chicken eggs if placed in the aquarium.

Here’s a list of different species of snails that won’t hesitate to eat your fish eggs:

  • Mystery Snails
  • Apple Snails
  • Nerite Snails
  • Assassin Snails

I am not sure about other types of snails, but the ones I have mentioned will definitely eat fish eggs if they get a chance.

Let alone fish eggs, I have seen big apple snails consume entire fish. After seeing that, I have never kept snails in a breeding tank.

Recommended Article: Do Cherry Shrimp Eat Snails? Here’s The Truth

Will Shrimp Eat Pleco Eggs?

No, at least not when the eggs are in good condition! Shrimp will only eat eggs that have started to rot after they have died. So, if you have shrimps in the same tank you are breeding your plecos, there is nothing to worry about it.

But just to be safe, make sure the shrimps are well fed. I usually don’t keep anything in a breeding tank. If you are serious about breeding plecos, make sure you don’t keep them in a shrimp tank.

Keeping the pleco eggs in a separate tank or removing shrimps and other fishes from the tank is probably the best idea. Do you want to know why? It’s not a good idea to keep fish eggs with anything else. Everything might try to eat your fish eggs.

Will Amano Shrimp Eat Fish Eggs?

Amano shrimps usually don’t eat fish eggs. But if you don’t keep them well fed, they will definitely eat fish eggs.

There is a saying, “Everything eats fish eggs.” So, Amano shrimps might eat fish eggs as well. Let me tell you again if you are not serious about breeding, it’s fine to keep fish eggs and Amano shrimp in the same tank. Just make sure the shrimps are well fed.

However, there is always a but. If you want all your fish eggs to survive, it’s wise to remove the shrimps until the eggs hatch and the fries grow a little bigger.

Final Thoughts:

Eggs are quite tempting for the creatures of the water. They are good food, emotions aside!

But the cherry shrimp may eat the eggs only if they are damaged. Being a species that feeds decomposing organisms in the water, this fits nicely with their description. 

It’s also a positive thing. The water will be contaminated by the decomposing eggs.

The cherry shrimp keeps its aquatic habitat clean by eating them. If the cherry shrimp are hungry, you can’t count on them to behave. Cherry shrimp, like fish, will eat anything if they are super hungry.

Thanks for reading! If you have a minute, check out this article: Do Cherry Shrimp Need A Heater?

Sifatul Shohan

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