Do Cherry Shrimp Eat Snails

Cherry Shrimp in tank with snails

Cherry shrimp are a popular and fascinating aquarium additions. These tiny creatures come in a variety of colors and sizes and can be kept with other peaceful tank mates. That said, one question I often hear is whether or not cherry shrimps will eat snails.

Some years ago, when I introduced snails into my shrimp tank, I had the same apprehensions. After much research and experimenting, I have found that cherry shrimps do not eat live snails; in fact, they tend to avoid them entirely. With this understanding, I am happy to share my experience to answer the important questions, do Cherry Shrimp eat Snails. 

Cherry Shrimp sitting on white rock in tank

Cherry shrimps are mostly scavengers and feed on particles present in the aquarium substrate as well as leftover foods, dead plants, and animal remains. Since they feed mostly on this kind of food sources rather than living organisms like snails, any fear of having to replace lost snails due to your cherry shrimp’s predation should be allayed.

All things considered, you should be able to keep cherry shrimp along with fish or snail tank-mates without worry or additional care requirements.

Do Cherry Shrimp Eat Snails?

Cherry shrimp are fairly popular invertebrates that make great additions to any aquarium. As they are omnivores they will eat anything, meaning there is a variety of food items like algae, pellets and flakes that can be offered. Plant material is essential for their diet to provide essential vitamins such as minerals and vitamins.

As larvae, shrimps are often swept away by the current, leading them to consume whatever may be found suspended in the water such as plankton and other microscopic organisms. Additionally, as shrimps mature they feed on a more diverse range of sources including algae, worms, snails, fish remains and even other shrimps to survive.

Therefore it is often recommended to overfeed your tank if housing shrimp; they will typically consume any extra food that has settled at the bottom of your aquarium which helps keep things clean.

When researching what to feed shrimp in an aquarium, most people focus solely on buying specialized foods or supplements- but don’t forget that these creatures will naturally consume pretty much anything in their environment! 

Algae wafers provide an excellent food source for these shrimp. In addition, you should supplement the diet with pieces of blanched vegetables such as spinach or cucumber, which is a necessary part of their diet. Live foods such as black worms and bloodworms should also be added occasionally as this encourages activity in the tank.

Importance of Snail in a Cherry Shrimp Tank

Close up of cherry shrimp making its way to the snail

Snails play an important role in any ecosystem with cherry shrimp present because they are excellent scavengers and help keep your tank clean. The snails also act as a source of food for the shrimp when things slow down on the algage front or if other live foods sources become depleted.

The presence of snails in the tank also helps to break down uneaten food which turns into nitrate, helping to complete the nitrogen cycle within your aquarium – this has the added advantage of aiding with water quality too!

Stabilize new tanks with snails

In newly established tanks, even if shrimp are present, the environment can be unstable and deadly for them. Snails offer an alternative to adding fish while allowing your tank to become relatively healthy before any other residents come in. They consume debris, remove excessive algae, and recycle waste material like uneaten food or fish excrement.

Mystery Snail eating algae on tank floor

Another benefit of adding snails to a tank with cherry shrimps is that they can provide supplemental nutrition in form of algae coating rocks and plants. Invertebrates search for their food more actively than fish do, especially when it contain hard elements such as calcium carbonate contained in limestone-based rocks.

Snails move around more often than shrimps and thus reach places otherwise not accessible by them, which results in increased consumption of varied diet elements combined with beneficial nutrients from algae build-up on surfaces inside areas where shrimps would normally avoid entering.

Cherry Shrimp Personality

Cherry shrimp and snails are both peaceful creatures and usually do not bother each other. Unlike more aggressive fish and invertebrates, there is no indication that cherry shrimp will attack snails or vice versa, unless there is an unhealthy snail with weakened defenses. In the absence of a feeble target, these species happily co-exist in the same tank due to their mild temperament.

Even if a conflict does arise between a cherry shrimp and a snail, it’s unlikely to have dire consequences because these animals don’t have the capacity to harm one another. It would be incredibly difficult for a cherry shrimp to bully or even eat a healthy snail, as their lack of weaponry precludes such behaviors from occurring in nature. All this means that cherries and snails can enjoy many peaceful days together without fear of conflict or injury on either side.

Meal Time for both Creatures – Its can be a race!

The feeding habits of cherry shrimp and snails may seem similar at first glance, as the two creatures consume algae and edible plant matter. However, the competition for food between them is quite striking. When food gets scarce, cherry shrimp are able to out-compete snails for it due to their mobility and swiftness in movement. Snails on the other hand tend to be much slower and unable to swim, which puts them at a disadvantage when competing with shrimp for food in a neglected tank.

To prevent the snails from starving, careful attention must be given to their diet by providing them with ample amounts of greens or algae wafers. Aquarists can also fulfil this need by limiting or removing some of the seafood found in majority artificial tanks, such as flake food. The main idea is that all creatures should get enough food without having to compete with each other; this will ensure that both snails and cherrry shrimp are healthy and able to thrive without any adverse effects.

Considerations – Do Cherry Shrimp Eat Snails?

It is true that some fish, such as cherry shrimp, will eat snails. It is difficult to go out and buy cherry shrimp with the expectation that they alone will reduce your snail population. However, what many people don’t remember or consider is the fact that while cherry shrimp are scavengers who will eat anything that won’t fight back, they do not typically eat living healthy snails. This means that in order for them to get their meals, you would need to take active steps first.

The exception here is when a snail becomes sick or injured due to other factors aside from the shrimp before they can adapt to different conditions within an aquarium. In cases like these where a snail is more vulnerable due to health reasons, then there is a chance the cherry shrimp may feed on it.

There have also been reports of some cherry shrimp eating dead snails when presented with one in their environment as another form of scavenging food source. Keeping this information in mind it proves helpful if you plan on petting any types of scavenger fish in your aquarium.

Snail are good for Cherry Shrimp 

As snails produce their own waste, however, many people don’t realize that their poop could actually be extremely beneficial to the health of some tank inhabitants.

Shrimp, in particular, are scavengers and will readily feed on snail poop in hopes of getting the good bacteria within that can aid with digestion. Careful consideration should be given to which snail species is added to a tank since all species differ in the kinds of wastes produced from their meals.

Infusoria snails are perfect for retrieving the most nutritional value from waste items. These small critters will helpfully break down food particles and other organic matter into easy-to-consume “infusoria” which shrimp eagerly consume as a sort of nutritious snack! With a combination of both cleansers and healthy bacterial sources like snails introducing these beneficial digestive bacteria into the tank environment, everybody wins!

Cherry Shrimp and Snail Tank Size

Available room in your tank is a critical factor when considering the housing of multiple creatures in an aquarium. This is due to the fact that the more creatures living inside, the more excrement will be produced, ultimately leading to an increase in dangerous levels of ammonia, thus affecting the water quality. To avoid this, it is important to ensure there is sufficient space within the tank so that overcrowding does not occur and all inhabitants can acquire their own area without feeling cramped.

Close up of a red cherry shrimp face

A good rule of thumb when determining suitable sizes for multiple inhabitants is 1-2 gallons of water for each inch of length for small fish species such as guppies or neon tetras. Anything larger than this could potentially result in clashes between inhabitants and even lead to fatalities if certain fish are overly territorial or aggressive. Therefore, adequate living space must be taken into account when setting up a multi-creature aquarium.

Further reading

I have many more topics covering these amazing creatures, see my shrimp section here.

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