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Hi Everyone, I have been attempting to keep cherry shrimp in my planted tank for the passed few months without much success. Until recently, I have not checked the GH or KH of the water since I didn't have those test kits, but I finally bought and checked those parameters. Without further delay, here is some background on the tank in question. 


Tank size: 50 gallon cube w/ 15 gallon sump

Substrate: ADA Aqua Soil Amazonia

Fertilization: Running EI regime

Co2: I don't know the exact ppm but my drop checker turns light green but not yellow by the end of the photo period. 

Ammonia: 0

Nitrite: 0

Nitrate: less than 5ppm

PH: 6.2--when co2 is degassed...can't get a reading when the co2 is on because it's too low

KH: 1 drop gets my water to react with the API test 

GH: 2 drops to get my water to react with API

Water changes: weekly 50% 

Temperature: room temp which varies from  72-75 F


The tank in question has been set up for 10 months and has been pretty stable. I have had many spawns of dwarf pencilfish occur in the tank, and the fry from earlier batches are adult size now. Unfortunately, the cherry shrimp have not fared as well. I added 15 a couple months ago, and they all seemed to do well initially, but I started to get deaths after the 2nd week. Shrimp would one by one start to act lethargic and swim erratically. They seemed to lie prone before kicking up and moving before lying prone again. All shrimp displaying these symptoms later died, and I am down to my last 3 or 4 shrimp--it's hard to tell exactly because the tank has dense plant mass. 

My question regarding shrimp and next steps is two fold. Are my water parameters the cause of the shrimp fatalities? If they are, what are some steps I can take to help change that situation, and what shrimp are best suited to my tank conditions? Would tiger or crystal shrimp be appropriate given my low ph, kh and gh?

Thanks for any input. 

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I would be willing to bet that your ferts & Co2 are the most likely candidates for your deaths.  shrimp like stability and that doesnt happen when the Co2 is on and off and when you dose your ferts as well as making the 50% water changes.  Probably more than the little guys can handle.  Cherry shrimp are the hardiest around and if they cant handle it then I wouldnt bet on tigers or crystals to fare any better.  Most shrimpers keep easy to grow plants with their shrimp so that they dont have to dose ferts & c02.


I recommend to master shrimp keeping and master high tech planted tanks seperately from each other before combining them together.


fyi gh is really low & kh is low for cherry shrimp keeping.  I do kh= 3-4  & gh= 6-7

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Do you think that the GH and KH levels played a large role in the Cherries not doing well? Would it be worth attempting CRS since they like lower gh and kh? Unfortunately, I only have the one tank so I can't do a shrimp only tank right now. 



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My thoughts are you should really master the hardier shrimp like cherries before jumping in to more sensitive shrimp like CRS.  Yes I think your GH & KH played a role, but also your ferts and co2 dosing play a role too.  your shrimp need stable water parameters to do well.

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Seconding chappy.

Making shrimp work in your tank probably isn’t going to be as simple as just throwing a bunch of shrimp against the wall to see what sticks. If you are tolerant to the financial loss, feel free to get some CRS (they can be had for not too much) but be prepared for deaths over the next couple weeks.


If you cannot or do not want to modify your CO2 and fert routine, most shrimp will have a very hard time in your tank.

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