22 Reasons Your Cherry Shrimp Are Dying

There are many reasons why your cherry shrimp are dying, and it is crucial to identify the problem as soon as possible to save your colony.

The most typical reasons Cherry Shrimp die include high ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, chlorine, or other contaminants in the water.

Below are some of the most common causes of death in shrimp: 

1 Your Shrimp Were Not Acclimatized Correctly

If your cherry shrimp are dying, there is a good chance that it’s because they were not acclimatized correctly. It is best to let them drip acclimate to the new water conditions. When drip acclimating, you typically have a setup where the water from the aquarium the shrimp are going to drip in the container with your shrimp still in the water they came in. In this way, the shrimp can acclimate to the new water conditions, literally one drop at a time. 

drip acclimating shrimp
Drip Acclimating Shrimp

2 Overfeeding Your Shrimp

Overfeeding is the most common. When you overfeed your shrimp, they can become overweight, and their organs start to fail. This can lead to organ failure and death. Next to this, the uneaten food can foul the water, which will spike all kinds of water values.

3 Your Tank Is Un-Cycled or Not Mature Enough

Your cherry shrimp may die because your tank is not yet mature enough. It is essential to allow your tank to cycle before adding any shrimp. In addition, if your tank has not been cycled, the ammonia and nitrite levels in the water will be too high for the shrimp to tolerate and die.

4 Buying Shrimp from Risky Sellers, Your Shrimp Were Poor Quality to Start with 

One reason your cherry shrimp may be dying is that they were of poor quality. If the shrimp were not healthy when you bought them, then there is a good chance they will not survive for long in your tank. Make sure you only purchase shrimp from reputable sellers with a good reputation for providing healthy animals.

5 Your Shrimp Failed to Molt Correctly

Your cherry shrimp may be dying because they have failed to molt correctly. Molting is a process that all shrimp go through to grow, and they must do it correctly. If a shrimp molts too early, before it is ready, it can die. Several things can cause a shrimp to shed prematurely, including stress, improper diet, and water quality issues.

If you notice that your cherry shrimp are molting more often than expected, or if they seem smaller than usual, they will likely have molt prematurely. In most cases, there is not much you can do to save the shrimp once it has molted prematurely. However, if you can identify the cause of the problem and correct it, then the shrimp may be able to molt correctly next time.

6 Predators Are Eating Shrimp

Your cherry shrimp may be dying for a variety of reasons. One reason may be that predators are eating them. Larger fish can quickly snatch shrimp, especially in a smaller tank. Fish like Bettas and Goldfish are natural shrimp predators and will eat them if given the opportunity. If you have larger fish in your tank, they may be eating your shrimp

7 Fish Medicines Kill Shrimp

One common cause of death in cherry shrimp is fish medicines. Some medications, such as those used to treat ichthyophthiriasis (ich), can be deadly to shrimp. If your fish are being treated with medication, remove the shrimp from the tank until the treatment is finished.

8 Copper Levels in The Water Are Too High

Cherry shrimp are a delicate and sensitive species of shrimp that can be prone to dying if the levels of copper in the water are too high. The presence of small amounts of copper can also lead to deformities in the shrimp’s body. If you are having trouble keeping your cherry shrimp alive, it is crucial to test your water for copper levels and take corrective measures if necessary. Some fish medicines or a chemical solution to get rid of snails can contain levels of copper that are toxic to your shrimp or other crustaceans.

PondCare Mars Copper Test KitOpens in a new tab.

9 There Are Contaminants in The Water

One possible reason for your shrimp’s death is the presence of contaminants in your water supply. Chloramine is a common contaminant in municipal water supplies and can be deadly to shrimp. If you live in an area with chloramine in the water supply, your only option is to get your water tested and find a source that doesn’t have chloramine.

10 Water Temperature Is Incorrect or Fluctuates

Cherry shrimp need a temperature of around 72-77 degrees Fahrenheit to thrive; if the temperature is incorrect or fluctuates too much, they will die. Studies have shown that higher temperatures shorten a shrimp’s lifespan. So if you want to keep your cherry shrimp healthy and happy, keep the water temperature within that range.

11 Water Parameters Are Incorrect

If you’re finding that your cherry shrimp are dying, there’s a good chance that the water parameters in your tank are incorrect. In particular, the pH and water hardness levels are likely too high or low for shrimp to thrive.

12 Your Cherry Shrimp Have Too Much Stress

There are many reasons why your cherry shrimp may be dying. One of the most common reasons is stress. This can be caused by several things already mentioned, such as changes in the water temperature, pH levels, or water hardness. If there is too much ammonia or nitrite in the water, this can also cause stress and lead to death. Another common reason for shrimp deaths is poor water quality. If the tank is not cleaned regularly and the water is not changed often enough, this can increase levels of harmful toxins and, ultimately, death.

13 Ammonia, Nitrites, or Nitrates Are Too High

Cherry shrimp can live in various water conditions but quickly die if the water conditions are not suitable or fluctuate too much. One of the most common reasons cherry shrimp die is high levels of ammonia, nitrites, or nitrates in the water. If these levels are too high, the shrimp cannot survive and eventually die.

If you are having trouble keeping your cherry shrimp alive, test your water for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. If any of these levels are too high, take steps to correct them, and this may include doing water changes or adding an aquarium filter to help keep these levels under control.

SJ WAVE 7 in 1 Aquarium Test Kit for Freshwater Aquarium | Fast & Accurate Water Quality Testing Strips for Aquariums & Ponds | Monitors pH, Hardness, Nitrate, Temperature and More (100 Tests)Opens in a new tab.

14 Adding New Plants Directly to The Aquarium

Another reason your cherry shrimp may be dying is that you’re not adding enough plants to the tank. A healthy aquarium requires a certain amount of plants to provide the right environment for your shrimp. If there are not enough plants, your shrimp may become stressed and die.

Adding new plants to the tank can also cause problems if you’re not doing it correctly. When you add new plants, you should always wash them thoroughly. Many shops keep plants in water with chemicals to repel snails; these chemicals that kill snails will also destroy your shrimp. Rinse your plants multiple times under the faucet before adding them to your shrimp tank.

15 Shrimp Are Just Too Old; All Animals Die Eventually

No matter how much you love your cherry shrimp, they will die at some point, which is simply a fact of life. While you can keep your aquarium in the best conditions, the reason might be that your shrimp are getting old. The average lifespan of cherry shrimp is around one to two years, three if you are lucky and with proper care.

16 Tank Setup Mistakes

There are a few key things to avoid when setting up your tank if you want to keep cherry shrimp alive and healthy. One common mistake is overstocking the tank. When there is too much traffic in the tank, it can lead to stress and make the shrimp more susceptible to disease. Another mistake people often make is not providing enough hiding places for the shrimp. Without adequate cover, the shrimp will feel exposed and be more likely to get attacked by other fish in the tank. Finally, another thing to avoid is not keeping the water clean. A dirty tank will quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria and parasites, which can kill your shrimp.

17 Too Big or Too Often Water Changes

Changing too much water at one time can shock the shrimp, and they will die. It’s also vital that the water you use to change the tank is of the same temperature and pH as the tank water. Otherwise, you can also cause shock to your shrimp.

18 Accidental Poisoning or Toxins

When your cherry shrimp die suddenly, it’s often difficult to determine the cause. While there are many potential culprits, accidental poisoning is the most common. This can be caused by toxins on your hands, in the air, or in the water. To protect your shrimp, taking precautions and being aware of the dangers is essential.

One of the most common ways to poison your shrimp is by mistake. Many people don’t realize that household cleaners and other chemicals can kill shrimp. These toxins can easily contaminate the water and cause rapid death. It’s essential to keep all chemicals away from your tank and only use products specifically designed for aquariums.

Another common cause of death is exposure to toxins in the air, which can be caused by smoke, fumes, or bug spray.

19 Pests Are Killing Your Shrimp

Your cherry shrimp may be dying because of pests. Pests can include anything from dragonfly larvae to planaria. If you notice that your shrimp are dying, look at the water and see if any pests are present. If there are, you will need to get rid of them to save your shrimp.

20 Too Many Males in Your Shrimp Colony

When too many males are in the tank, the females can become stressed and eventually die. This is because the males will constantly compete for territory and mates, and the females cannot escape from the stress of this competition. If you have too many males in your tank, you may want to remove some of them to create a more balanced environment.

21 Using Hot Water to Fill the Aquarium

While hot water may be significant in theory for quickly getting your tank up and running, it can be deadly for your shrimp. The extreme change in temperature can shock their system and cause them to die. Using hot water to fill your aquarium will not only shock your shrimp and fish, but hot water will often have a lot more unwanted contaminants than cold water. When I test hot and cold water with a water tester, hot water is three to four times the parts per million that cold water has.

22 Bacterial Infections

Bacterial infections are the leading cause of death for cherry shrimp. These infections can be caused by various bacteria, including Pseudomonas and Aeromonas. Pseudomonas is the most common bacterial infection in shrimp, and it is often introduced through contaminated water or food. Aeromonas is also a common bacterial infection in shrimp, and it can be contracted through exposure to infected water or other animals. Both Pseudomonas and Aeromonas can cause severe tissue damage and lead to death if left untreated.


My name is Jaap, and I am a passionate shrimp and fish enthusiast. I rediscovered my love for this hobby with my son and want to share our knowledge and tips with you on this aquarium blog. We cover topics such as setting up and maintaining an aquarium, feeding and breeding your shrimp and fish, and creating the perfect environment for them to thrive.

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