Can Ghost Shrimp Breed With Cherry Shrimp?

I was thinking about what it would be like, to breed 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 and cherry shrimp are different species, so they would not produce fertile offspring. This is common in Biology. Ghost shrimp types need brackish water to raise larvae, whereas cherry shrimp breed successfully in freshwater.

Therefore, depending on your tank’s water 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 species. But, in rare instances, different species will breed. An example is a Liger. Which is the offspring of a tiger and a lion.

Another example is a mule, the offspring of a horse and a donkey. Mules 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 must contact a specialist shrimp breeder in your region. The best resource would be searching on Google for shrimp breeders in your 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?

In most cases, ghost shrimp and cherry shrimp that breed with other species won’t produce fertile offspring. If they do, the male or female will not be fertile. 

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

ghost shrimp eating
  1. Ghost shrimp breed with different species of shrimp
  2. The male or female will be infertile.
  3. 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 shrimp species are selectively bred to produce desirable traits. Selective breeding is how we got so many different neocaridina (cherry) shrimp colors.

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 with this 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 produces lots of eggs, which she keeps against her belly. The fertilized eggs turn into larvae. 

The larvae hatch and undergo 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 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 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 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.

Will Ghost Shrimp Breed in Your Aquarium

There are many different types of shrimp sold under the name ghost shrimp. They all have similar appearances in clear bodies but can have various living habits. Some freshwater ghost shrimp need brackish water for their larvae to develop, like Amano shrimp. Other ghost shrimp species will happily breed in freshwater. Generally, the ghost shrimp that need fresh water for their larvae or shrimplets will happily breed in your aquarium if the conditions are right.


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 mate successfully, 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.


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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