Do Cherry Shrimps Eat Brown Algae? The Dirty Truth.

One of the most common shrimp pets for aquarium owners is cherry shrimps. They’re enjoyable to watch and they will try to consume just about anything!

As far as we know, cherry shrimps do consume algae, but what about brown algae?

“Do cherry shrimps eat brown algae? Is brown algae even safe for cherry shrimps to consume?”

We know that cherry shrimps will eat almost anything, which means that they’ll likely consume brown algae as well. While knowing this tiny piece of information can cure your curiosity, there is more to it than you think.

In this article “Do Cherry Shrimps Eat Brown Algae,” you will learn:

  • The formation of brown algae.
  • A brief summary of cherry shrimps.
  • Whether cherry shrimps really consume brown algae or not.

For new cherry shrimp owners, my recommendation is to read this article from beginning to end. For people in a rush, you can use the table of content right below to navigate to specific topics.

Remembering The Reason Why Aquarium Owners Love Cherry Shrimps

Keeping aquatic creatures can be an incredibly joyful experience, especially when you can have a variety of them, and one of them is cherry shrimp.

do cherry shrimps eat brown algae
Photo by Tran Mau Tri Tam on Unsplash

There’s a high chance that you can get carried away by making your cherry shrimps’ home spending time adding tiny decorations and such.

You can watch them for hours in their habitat and lose track of time because it can be captivating to watch them love living and reacting to the ecosystem you created.

However, while it is a rather fun hobby, let’s not forget the not so happy element of keeping shrimps: the dreadful brown algae and other aquarium wastes.

It immediately dirties your entire hard work making your tank look like it hasn’t been cleaned for days. But every problem has a solution. I break down everything from what brown algae are, how they are formed to how these cherry shrimp eat them.

Learning About The Cherry Shrimp

So let’s talk about these shrimps. The cherry shrimp also called “Red Cherry Shrimp” or ‘RCS,’ is a freshwater shrimp aboriginal from Taiwan.

Did you know? 💡 These are a freshwater shrimp that are extraordinarily peaceful and distinguished for their algae-eating tendencies.

Adequate for both novices and experienced aquarists, they are one of the easiest to keep shrimp, and they enhance color into any tank they’re placed in and are extraordinarily undemanding.

In the wild, they come in a variation of colors, yet in the aquarium business, you will commonly only discover them in red.

how many shrimp does it take to start a colony
Photo by Hans on Pixabay

These shrimp are relatively robust and can easily survive in all freshwater aquarium arrangements.

They will prosper in densely planted setups with ample shelter and hiding spots and have a lifespan of between one or two years.

What Is Brown Algae And How Is It Formed?

It all happens in the blink of an eye. One second your fish tank is stunning and clean, but the next moment it is splattered with slimy and disgusting brown material that can instantly take over your fish tank if ignored.

do cherry shrimps eat brown algae
Photo by Wild0ne on Pixabay

Well, what to do about it? Let’s dive into everything it encompasses. 

Did you know? 💡 Brown algae is primarily a small varmint called a diatom. This creature is extremely tiny that it cannot be glimpsed at without a microscope.

Now you are probably speculating if it is so small then why can I see it so clearly in my tank?

Answer: Well, that is because brown algae are entirely made up of billions of little interlocked diatoms.

So to get technical, the brown alga is a bacterial colony, and it takes over your tank. This algae shapes in soft brown and thick clumpy patches.

Where do algae spread? It is a disastrous swimmer and prefers to latch itself on to the solid surfaces in your tanks like the glass wall, substrate, or the decor and plants.

The sluggish, slimy pattern can easily be extracted by lightly wiping it with your finger.

How Do Algae Invade An Aquarium Tank?

do cherry shrimps eat brown algae
Photo by makamuki0 on Pixabay

Here’s how this highly unappealing substance invades your fish tank. It’s almost like the apocalypse!

Silicates In Water

Silicates are deemed to be the number one reason for brown algae invasion. Put merely; silicates are diatom’s beloved food.

They find it tasty and will merrily grow and cultivate in any tank that is high in silicates.

Likely origins of silicate are:

  • Tap and well water
  • Salt compound 
  • Live rocks and sand

However, different silica-based sand mixes also prompt silicates to seep into the water.


Another factor of the spread of algae is nitrates, and they are caused by: 

  • Plant fertilizers
  • Fish food
  • Fish excrement
  • Decaying plants


Another common source of phosphates appears from wastes being broken down in the aquarium such as: 

  • Uneaten fish food and decay
  • Dead algae
  • Deceased fish
  • KH and pH Covers 

Brown algae don’t differ between fresh or saltwater, if your aquarium has a reasonable amount of these nutrients then you are practically laying out an invitation for this algae.

Lighting Issues

Another reason is that reduced light levels can partake in brown algae eruption. Because brown algae is a diatom, lighting is also believed to be a primary participating component to its arrival.

vivarium cost
Photo by Free-Photos on Pixabay

However, as long as the water contains silicates, so whether the light is dim or bright, algae will be happy to be there.

Do Cherry Shrimps Eat Brown Algae?

Now we’re here at the exciting part. Do these shrimp eat brown algae? 

Well yes! Not only do they eat soft, brown algae, but red cherry shrimps also love it. They seem to like consuming these algae accumulating on hard surfaces in the tank—for example, the plastic filter system or even the decorations.

These shrimp are very active and energetic inhabitants of a tank. They are skilled enough to get into areas to hunt for algae that most of the larger shrimp cannot even dare think of.

They are tremendous swimmers and can also stand on the side of the aquarium as they chew brown algae off it.

Did you know? 💡 Red cherry shrimps can spend up hours on end consuming the algae to their heart’s content.

How Do Cherry Shrimps Eat?

Once shrimp keep themselves in the stance, they use their front legs to grab at the algae and put it in their mouth. One shrimp alone can gobble an entire spot of algae all on its own.

It is not unusual for shrimp to forage in small or large groups, consuming algae developing in larger areas. Big groups of shrimp feed in broader areas peacefully without any dispute or hostility.

Once a specific spot of brown algae is eaten up, the shrimp move to a different place and start the process all over again.

However, you cannot simply let your shrimp snack on that algae only; you must provide proper food to them. They should also be fed supplements of other foods as instructed.

What do you think?

From VivariumTips,

So if you plan on getting these shrimp then yes rest assured that they most definitely do enjoy eating brown algae off of every surface possible.

Feed them properly: Note that you should be very careful that you provide for them appropriately and not leave them to only pick the slimy, brown substance. 

While it is most definitely a blessing that they can fix your algae problem and help keep the habitat clean, you must care for them properly as well as keeping their tank clean and maintained.

If you enjoyed “Do Cherry Shrimps Eat Brown Algae,” you might also like:

If you have any questions related to red cherry shrimps and the consumption of algae, feel free to comment below.

You can support VivariumTips by sharing this cherry shrimp article with a friend or community! 🙂