We may earn a commission if you buy something through the affiliate text links or affiliate image links on Aquarium Blueprints.

How to setup a cheap Red Cherry Shrimp tank

A Red Cherry Shrimp tank is extremely rewarding as you can see a colony grow and thrive. If you are on a tight budget, then you can check out this guide at Aquarium Blueprints to see how you can set up a cheap Red Cherry Shrimp tank.

Tank Size

When it comes to the tank size, we recommend going with whatever fits in your situation.

Red Cherry Shrimps are very small and produce very little bioload. Therefore, you can easily put several of them per gallon without suffering from any water quality or spacing issues.

We have well over 100 shrimps in our 20-gallon tank and there is still plenty of room to accommodate for more.

In general, the bigger the tank is, the more margin of error you will have when it comes to water quality. If you don’t have a lot of money, however, then you should get one that you can put on a drawer or shelf. Keep in mind that one gallon of water weighs around eight pounds; thus, you need to make sure you have something that is strong enough to hold the water weight.


While not completely necessary, having a substrate should give your shrimps a better grip when they are maneuvering the bottom of the tank. A substrate also provides a lot of surface area for beneficial bacteria to grow on.

If you decide to add a substrate to your fish tank, then we suggest going with aquarium sand since this type is usually cheaper and won’t be as harmful to the RCS. Small rocks with sharp edges could damage the shrimp’s arms, legs and other extremities.

Live Plants

While also optional, we highly recommend that you add some live plants to your shrimp tank. Plants will help with the biological filtration as they will consume the ammonia and nitrates produced by the shrimps. Not to mention that the vegetation also provides surface area for the beneficial bacteria colonies that will take care of any additional ammonia and nitrites from the water column.

Java Moss works great for a cheap shrimp tank as it doesn’t need any dedicated fish tank lighting or any fertilizer. Instead, this plant will easily grow on the organic wastes by the shrimps.


A must have equipment you should add to a shrimp tank is a filter, which helps keep your aquarium clean in addition to providing some aeration to the water column.

Your shrimps can easily get sucked into a hang-on-back power filter or canister filter. Therefore, we suggest picking up a sponge filter and air pump instead.

We used the combination of AQUANEAT Bio Sponge Filter and Tetra Whisper Air Pump for the filtration. Our Neocaridinas always hang out on the sponge filter, picking at any potential food that gets trapped; as a result, we don’t really clean the sponge as our pets do the work for us.

Aquarium Heater

Depending on how cold your room gets, you may also need to get a heater. We found that the Red Cherry Shrimps, as well as other variants from the Neocaridina species, strive between a range of 68°F to 79°F (or 20°C to 26°C). Outside of this range, they are more likely to suffer from health and/or breeding issues.

So, if your room gets colder than 68°F (or 20°C), then you should add a heater in your tank.


To summarize, you only really need a small tank, sponge filter and maybe a heater in order to keep Red Cherry Shrimps. Adding a substrate and live plants can be quite beneficial as well, especially when it comes to maintaining pristine water quality.

Once you get all the necessary equipment, you need to cycle the tank first before adding your shrimps.