How Many Shrimps Does It Take To Start a Colony?

For shrimp enthusiasts, you might be wondering how many shrimp does it take to start a colony? Well, it can be as many as three and it can be more depending on the type of shrimp you’re planning to raise.

Whether it’s ghost shrimps or red cherry shrimps, the amounts of shrimp to starting a colony can vary. This article will cover mainly red cherry shrimp since it’s one of the most popular types of shrimp vivarium owners breed.

Before we move on, here’s a little fun fact below about shrimp species. 🙂

shrimp species
Aquarium owner: Posted in Discord by Caudata#9949 in Ecosphere Community.

Did you know? There are more than 2,000 shrimp species. These species live in a variety of habitats. They can live in rivers, lakes, and to the bottom of the floor of an ocean. 😮 Check out the awesome shrimp own by Discord user Caudata#9949 in the above image.

how many shrimp does it take to start a colony
Are you going to become a shrimp breeder?

There are thousands of owners of vivariums around the world breeding red cherry shrimps. These shrimps can live in different types of vivariums which include paludarium, aquarium, and even riparium. So how many shrimp exactly does it take to start a colony? I’m about to show you some helpful and fun information that I discovered with a few red cherry shrimp experts.

Before we get started, keep in mind that there might be some affiliate links.  Are you ready? Let’s jump right in and give you all the information you need about starting a shrimp colony! 

The Number of Shrimp You Need To Start a Colony

starting a colony with red cherry shrimp

Red Cherry Shrimp: If you didn’t know, red cherry shrimps live in mainly freshwater, which can be a great addition to a freshwater aquarium. Without a doubt, the red bright color of the cherry shrimp can certainly add beauty to your aquarium.

How many does it take to start a colony? After browsing several notable forums related to vivariums, there was one user that asked “how many shrimp do you really need to start a colony?” One user mentioned how he started with three red cherry shrimps and it increased to 100 in a short span of time. But truly, all you need is one female and one male.

After reviewing all the comments, the majority of shrimp owners recommended that the best number is 10 shrimps, which mainly consists of females and a few males.

According to many shrimp owners, it’s best to have more if you want to build a faster colony. It’s also recommended to have more female shrimps than males. One question that comes to mind is telling the difference between a male and female, but how do you do that?

How do you tell the difference between a male or female red cherry shrimp?

  • Female Red Cherry Shrimp – Most of the time, female red cherry shrimps have a yellow “saddle” and you can see eggs developing in her ovaries.
  • Male Red Cherry Shrimp – As for male red cherry shrimps, they are often less colorful and aren’t as big as the females. Male cherry shrimps are usually smaller in size.
  • Baby Shrimp Gender – For baby red cherry shrimps, their gender is almost impossible to tell. You will have to wait for maturity when it comes to baby shrimps.

Buying Red Cherry Shrimps: When you’re buying red cherry shrimps regardless if it’s online, you are never guaranteed mixed genders. If you want to get personal help when you’re in the process of buying your shrimps, visit a local pet store and tell pet owners what you want.

buying red cherry shrimp
You can buy red cherry shrimp at your local pet store or order on Amazon.

If you’re buying them online, it’s best to remember that it’s better to buy more. That way, you will have a better chance of getting both genders. You could also buy red cherry shrimps on Amazon too and maybe contact the supplier to help you out if possible.  Read the reviews to see what you might get.

Similar to heating a dart frog, here is what you need for your shrimp tank according to This article comes with all the information you need to start breeding red cherry shrimps.

Keeping Shrimp, Breeding Shrimp – Expert Advice

how many shrimp does it take to start a colony? red cherry shrimp
Cherry Shrimp Care Tips

When it comes to red cherry shrimps, they can be easy-to-manage especially when it comes to the fact that they’re conditioned tolerant. This type of shrimp is great for beginner breeders. Since most people raise their shrimps in an aquarium, here is a guide for what you need to set-up your shrimp tank.

Done setting up your tank? Great! Take notes below.

Before writing this article, I reached out to many shrimp experts including local pet shop owners. After doing in-depth research and receiving expert advice from shrimp breeders, here are the helpful tips and advice that I found useful:

  1. Maintaining the right temperature: Before owning a tank with red cherry shrimps, it’s best to set your temperature ranging from 77-81°F. In that case, it’s 25-27°C. You can purchase an aquarium water heater for your tank and thermostat to maintain it at the right temperature for your colony. One of the shrimp experts also told me that the higher the temperature (temperature shrimp can withstand), the better the shrimps are when it comes to reproduction and growth rate.
  2. Maintaining pH levels: Now this tip is about the acidic pH level for your shrimp colony. The range should be from 6.2 to 7.3 for pH level because it’ll help the shrimp reach its potential into maximizing its color, health, and the rate of eggs hatching. You can find products to test pH levels online or a pet store nearby if that’s more convenient.
  3. The less nitrate, the better: Before you plan on adding any living things to your tank, remember to make sure that nitrate at 0ppm. You can prevent the elevation of nitrate by NOT doing several things. Don’t overstock your tank, remove dying plants, and watch out for fish matter. Shrimps are really sensitive when it comes to nitrate. The more nitrate, the more problems it can cause for red cherry shrimps. It’s best to have a nitrate test kit because it’ll come in hand.
  4. Keeping ammonia at zero: Another expert advice is keeping ammonia at 0ppm. Not only are cherry shrimps sensitive to nitrate, but they’re also sensitive to ammonia.
  5. Nitrate ppm to remember: When you’re checking the nitrate, make sure that the ppm level is less than 20ppm.
  6. Changing 30% of water: It’s recommended that you change at least 30% of your aquarium water once a week. Remember to have a dechlorinated solution (known as chlorine neutralizer) because it helps the shrimps. Remember that red cherry shrimps are sensitive to things like heavy metals and chlorine.
shrimp colony tutorial
Discord user Caudata#9949

From VivariumTips,


How many shrimp it takes to start a colony all depends on how many shrimps you’re planning to invest. The gender of the majority of your shrimps should mainly be female. You can start your colony with one female and one male or start off with the recommended number: 10 shrimps.

Pet owners mainly keep shrimps in aquariums, but there are other types of vivariums too that might surprise you too. The cost and size of vivariums depend on what you want.

Recently, I published a list of resources that could provide more information and knowledge for you when it comes to maintaining a vivarium. If you have questions or suggestions for improving this article, don’t hesitate to comment below and I’ll happily answer it. Thanks for reading!

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