There are many types of plecos and many have different feeding habits that may or may not make them good tankmates for your cherry shrimp or neocaridina shrimp.
Are plecos and cherry shrimp compatible?
Personally, I have kept or currently keep neocaridina shrimp or cherry shrimp in most of my pleco tanks. I keep and have kept a wide variety from bristlenose plecos, l333 king tiger plecos, watermelon plecos, l134 leopard frog plecos, to l397 alenquer tiger plecos.
In all of these pleco tanks, my shrimp colonies have grown and thrived. They also have been healthier than tanks that were dedicated to shrimp.
Personally, I feel plecos are a huge benefit for a shrimp tank. The main reason is that plecos eat food that may be hard for shrimp to eat. When the plecos poop, this food is now easier for shrimp to eat.
I believe the main reason that a shrimp tank fails is due to shrimp starving to death. Having a pleco to break down food and make it easier to digest for shrimp helps them stay full and healthy.
Do plecos eat shrimp pellets?
Yes, plecos do eat shrimp pellets and it is perfectly safe for plecos to eat shrimp pellets.
For many shrimp keepers, this is really annoying because shrimp food tends to be more expensive than other fish food.
In the end, though your shrimp are still getting that food because shrimp eat the poop of the plecos. So you aren’t wasting that food.
With that though I found that unless your shrimp are in a shrimp only tank it isn’t worth buying all that fancy food because other fish eat it and shrimp get more nutrients from the biofilm, leftover fish food, and waste of the other tank mates.
Will plecos eat cherry shrimp or Neocaridina shrimp?
I won’t lie and come out and say plecos won’t eat cherry shrimp or Neocaridina shrimp because if the rare opportunity that a shrimp is right next to their mouth while they are eating they will take it.
That being said plecos are scavenger fish. They are like vultures or hyenas. They will look for easy food that doesn’t fight back or run away.
They will definitely eat other fish and shrimp but usually only if it was dead first. So if you see your pleco chowing down on a shrimp in your tank something else probably killed it or it died of other causes.
Will plecos eat shrimp eggs?
Yes, plecos will eat shrimp eggs but only if the eggs aren’t attached to the shrimp.
Shrimp of all kinds carry their eggs underneath their tails to protect them and to make sure they don’t fungus over by fanning them to get fresh water around them.
Because plecos are scavenger fish they won’t eat the eggs of shrimp unless the mother shrimp has dropped them.
Shrimp only drop their eggs for 2 reasons. The eggs have gone bad. When shrimp eggs go bad there can be a few reasons. They are not fertilized, they have fungus on them, or for some reason, the egg died.
The other reason shrimp mothers drop their eggs is the mother shrimp isn’t strong enough or healthy enough to take care of the eggs.
So the only time you will see your pleco eating shrimp eggs is if the shrimp has dropped them and the eggs are not going to survive anyway.
Will plecos attack cherry or Neocaridina shrimp?
Plecos are nonaggressive fish and don’t attack other fish or shrimp but plecos will defend their territory.
Plecos do claim little territories for themselves. They need a cave or a tight space they can defend to feel safe, especially the males.
While plecos will defend their territory from other fish they won’t attack them. Plecos normally feel no threat from shrimp and their territory.
It isn’t uncommon to see shrimp in the cave with plecos and even clean the pleco’s eggs and eat the fungus off the eggs which helps them survive.
But sometimes plecos are annoyed by shrimp and you will see them shake their tails to keep shrimp out of their cave or off their bodies. This isn’t to harm the shrimp though it is just to get them to go away.
Best plecos for a shrimp tank
Most shrimp tanks are on the smaller size so I generally would only suggest smaller plecos.
Which I will, for the most part, do but not too long ago I accidentally placed a few shrimp in my 75 gallon tank.
It was surprisingly fun to see a large colony of shrimp sprout up in my 75 gallon tank.
So If you have a big enough tank for a large pleco you could keep them together.
So a few large plecos you can put in with your shrimp are l191 Royal or watermelon plecos, l114 leopard cactus pleco, or even a common pleco.
Some smaller plecos you can put in your cherry shrimp and Neocaridina shrimp tanks and my favorites are bristlenose plecos, l134 leopard frog plecos, clown plecos, l333 king tiger plecos, rubber nose plecos, and many more.
Tips for keeping shrimp
When introducing shrimp to a new tank it is a good idea to drip acclimate the shrimp before placing them in the tank. Shrimp are sensitive to changes in water changes
Shrimp eat a lot of microscopic organisms and biofilm so always put them in a fish tank that has been running and had fish in it for at least 6 months.
Make sure that none of the tankmates can fit the shrimp in their mouth because if a shrimp fits in a fish’s mouth it will become food.
Having tank mates for shrimp is beneficial for shrimp because they break down food making it easier for shrimp to eat it.
For shrimp to feel safe it is important to make sure there are some hiding places. They are the natural prey for many predators so they are always worried they will be eaten. Having hiding spaces will help them stress less about being eaten.
Plecos and shrimp are great fish tank companions. Plecos will rarely if ever, eat your cherry shrimp or Neocaridina shrimp. This peaceful fish is one of my favorites and I hope to see it in your tanks with your cherry shrimp and Neocaridina shrimp.
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How do you take care of pleco eggs