Neocaridina davidi, or the cherry shrimp, have been experiencing an explosion in popularity since their introduction to the hobby in the 1990s, and the recent uptick of hobbyists keeping tiny, densely planted tanks has contributed to this a lot. This species of dwarf shrimp is a great species to keep in tiny tanks, maybe even as small as a single gallon! The term “black chocolate” is referring to a color pattern that has been developed over many generations, and is a beautiful deep, deep brown/black color throughout their entire shell. Even the antenna and legs on these shrimp appear jet black! Originally found in Taiwan, the wild variant is a camouflaged brown to grey, and sometimes a dull rusty red. After a few generations, more and more color gets bred in as breeders choose the most colorful few to produce the next generation. These days, you can expect these shrimp to make more for you that are largely the same exact color, as long as you keep your tank suitable for them.
In the wild, they would be found in clearwater streams which have some amount of leaves and branches that are rotting in the water, which the cherry shrimp will both eat as well as hide in. It is important to include some of these in the water, as biofilm from things that are rotting in the water is the chief diet of the cherry shrimp, as well as some soft algaes, and even sometimes fish or other invertebrate corpses, making them a vital part of the decomposers which keep the streams clean. The water in these streams is moving constantly, so make sure that your filter is working well and is seasoned in order to not allow the water to foul. Ensure that you have cultured enough bacteria to not allow an ammonia or nitrite spike, as either of these will immediately begin to kill shrimp, and this becomes far more critical in a smaller aquarium. It is always recommended to keep a bigger tank, since this is more stable for water parameters, but cherry shrimp themselves do not contribute highly to the bioload of the tank, and so it actually is possible to keep them in bowls and tiny tanks, which may be a great option for an office or bookshelf!
These shrimp breed completely in freshwater, and their babies do not experience a free-floating nauplii stage, so if you keep some cherry shrimp you can expect them to reproduce. The amount of babies you will retain, however, is variable, since when they hatch they are very small, and seem to be a favorite food for other aquarium inhabitants, so keeping these shrimp with any fish at all will definitely reduce the amount of young you might get. This can be mitigated with dense plants and hardscape, which the shrimp can hide in and graze upon without needing to expose themselves to predation. However, this does not by any means stop you from keeping these shrimp in a peaceful community tank, since they will help eat any uneaten food as well as be a colorful eye catcher that crawls around, taking up a different space than the fish. These shrimp do not ship individually bagged.
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