Can Ghost Shrimp Breed With Cherry Shrimp?

I was thinking about what it would be like, breeding some cherry shrimp with ghost shrimp. I was wondering what they would turn out like. So, I researched it and put together this helpful article to explain whether you can breed ghost shrimp and cherry shrimp.

So, can you breed ghost shrimp with cherry shrimp? Ghost shrimp and cherry shrimp are two different species, so they would not produce fertile offspring. This is common in Biology. Most Ghost shrimp types need brackish water to successfully raise larvae, whereas cherry shrimp breed successfully in freshwater.

Therefore, depending on what water your tank is would determine whether you could raise these ghost shrimp or cherry shrimp together. Which is a bit complicated and needs explaining. So, below I will explain it in more detail and give breeding tips for the two species.

female cherry shrimp
Female Cherry Shrimp

Will ghost shrimp and cherry shrimp breed if you put them in the same tank?

It’s a bit complicated to get your head around, so I’ll explain as clearly as possible.

  • Ghost shrimp need brackish water to raise young.
  • Cherry shrimp need fresh water to raise young.

There are rare species of ghost shrimp that can raise their young in brackish water. But, in general, most ghost shrimp you buy aren’t of this type. It is an interesting question because in Biology, there is often the mistaken assumption that two different species will not breed together. 

ghost shrimp with eggs

Most species will only breed with their own species. But, in rare instances they different species will breed. An example is a Liger. Which is the offspring of a tiger and a lion.

Another example is a mule, which is the offspring of a horse and a donkey. Mule’s are infertile, which means that a mule that mates with another mule, a horse, or a donkey won’t get pregnant. 

But, with liger’s, the females are fertile, but the males are not. Getting back to ghost shrimps and cherry shrimps. So far, there haven’t been many studies into what happens to the offspring. 

However, the only way they could mate successfully is to source a rare ghost shrimp species that breed in freshwater. To do this, you would need to contact a specialist shrimp breeder in your region. The best resource would be to search on Google for shrimp breeders in your specific area.

So, ghost shrimp and cherry shrimp will breed in rare cases. But, when they do, the eggs won’t survive.

Can you breed ghost shrimp or cherry shrimp with other species of shrimp?

It is also the case that ghost shrimp, and cherry shrimp that breed with other species won’t produce fertile offspring in the vast majority of cases. If they do, then either the male or female won’t be fertile. 

This means that eventually, the species will revert back to its original species. It is most easily explained using the steps below:

ghost shrimp eating
  1. Ghost shrimp breed with a different species of shrimp
  2. The male or female will be infertile.
  3. Let’s say the male is fertile and breeds with a ghost shrimp again.
  4. Either the male or female will be sterile.
  5. Let’s say the male is fertile and mates with a ghost shrimp.
  6. The resultant shrimp will be a lesser mix of the two species.

So, as you follow the steps of what would happen, you can see that the shrimp species would eventually be watered down to the point where it goes back to its original. This is the case with all species of animals, not just shrimps.

There is, however, what is called selective breeding. This is where certain species of shrimp are selectively bred to produce desirable traits. Selective breeding is how we got so many different colors of neocaridina (cherry) shrimp.

For example, if you wanted to create a ghost shrimp that had enormous antennae as an example. You would attempt to find ghost shrimp with this characteristic and breed them with other ghost shrimp that have this same characteristic.

To do this with shrimp is an enormous undertaking. It could be a fun hobby, especially since you are already interested in shrimps and aquariums. Because of how difficult it is and how rare a shrimp-like this would be, they could be worth a lot of money to shrimp enthusiasts. 

Related questions

Can cherry shrimp and ghost shrimp live with each other?

Cherry Shrimp

Cherry shrimp and ghost shrimp live well together, They have a similar calm temperament. They are not aggressive to each other and interact harmoniously. They also look nice because of their contrasting colors.

How do shrimp breed?

It is generally believed that males and females mate after the female has molted. Males and females are somewhat difficult to tell apart. Both have appendages on their abdomen. The appendages are used to hold the eggs against their body. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, shrimp mate at right angles to each other. 

The male will fertilize the female. After this occurs, the female begins to produce lots of eggs, which she keeps against her belly. The fertilized eggs turn into larvae. 

The larvae hatch and go through a series of transformations for 30 to 50 days. After this time, they become tiny shrimp. Here they continue to grow larger until they turn into adults.

What other creatures can live with ghost shrimp and cherry shrimp?

Ghost shrimp live best with creatures that aren’t aggressive. These include:

  • Mystery snails
  • Cory’s
  • Guppies
  • Ottos
  • Bamboo Shrimp
  • Vampire Shrimp
  • And many others

You can also ask at your local shrimp store which ones they have available.

How long do ghost shrimp and cherry shrimp live?

Ghost shrimp live for about 1 year. During this time, they will molt. Shrimp have a hard outer skeleton. They grow inside it until they are too big, after which time they shed their skin. 

After they shed their skin, their new exoskeleton isn’t very hard. So, the shrimp hide away until it hardens up a bit. When ghost shrimp die, it turns opaque. When cherry shrimp and ghost shrimp die, the other shrimp all gather around them and eat them. It is OK to leave them to do this. This is particularly interesting because ghost shrimp are herbivores meaning they only eat plant matter.

According to Wikipedia: Neocaridina davidi, cherry shrimp live twice as long and have a lifespan of two years, but this is an average. In some cases, they can live up to five.


Ghost shrimp and cherry shrimp can’t breed. This is because the water needs to be brackish for Ghost shrimp. Whereas cherry shrimp need fresh water for their eggs to hatch into larvae. 

If they were to successfully mate, the offspring would not create a new species. This is a known fact of biology. They make great tank mates, however, because they have similar temperaments. 

Shrimp breed when the male shrimp fertilizes the female shrimp. The female then produces the eggs, which are then fertilized. Ghost shrimp live for about one year, and cherry shrimp live for almost two years.

pregnant Amano shrimp
pregnant Amano shrimp

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