Can Cherry Barbs Live With Shrimp?

Unlike some fish species in the cyprinidae family, cherry barbs can live peacefully with shrimp in the same tank. While cherry barbs might occasionally eat baby shrimp, these fish generally leave the juveniles and adults alone. Shrimp do not pose any problems for cherry barbs either.

Cherry barbs are stunning little fish that are suitable for community tanks, and they will happily live in an aquarium with shrimp. There are, however, some factors to be aware of when one keeps cherry barbs and shrimp in the same tank.

Cherry Barbs Can Live With Shrimp

Cherry barbs are ideal fish for aquariums due to their beauty, hardiness, and peaceful dispositions. These tropical freshwater fish are omnivorous and highly active but usually won’t harm or hassle their tank mates.

The social nature of cherry barbs means they can live with shrimp. Cherry barbs generally leave the shrimp in their tank alone.

While cherry barbs generally leave adult shrimp alone, they might occasionally eat baby shrimp. Keep this possibility in mind if you want to support a shrimp colony.

It is also worth noting that some aquarium enthusiasts disagree about the wisdom of keeping them in the same tank.

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Contradictory Advice About Keeping Cherry Barbs And Shrimp

Some aquarium hobbyists who advise against having cherry barbs in a tank with shrimp.

This advice follows a precautionary approach inferred from the fact that many species in the cyprinidae family enjoy eating shrimp (including babies and adults). Tiger and odessa barbs are prime examples of this tendency.

Tiger barbs are large and will probably devour all the shrimp in the tank. Odessa barbs are smaller (like cherry barbs), but they also consume shrimp with the same enthusiasm as tigers.

Despite the shrimp-eating propensity of these cyprinidae species, most people who keep cherry barbs agree that these fish won’t consume shrimp.

Why Is It Okay To Keep Cherry Barbs With Shrimp

It is okay to have cherry barbs in the same tank as shrimp because of the size and behavior of these pretty tropical freshwater fish.

Cherry barbs are social fish with tranquil temperaments, which makes these fish well-suited to sharing a tank with other aquatic creatures, including shrimp.

Cherry barbs are diminutive fish that grow to roughly 2 inches in length at maturity. Their mouths are tiny, so the fish cannot comfortably fit most adult shrimp.

Cherry barbs also control their feeding behavior, so they are unlikely to eat shrimp when properly fed.

Reasons Why Cherry Barbs Might Harm Shrimp

Cherry barbs only pose a potential threat to baby shrimp but may harm mature shrimp when the fish are not kept in a sufficiently large group. Lonely cherry barbs might experience stress and unhappiness which might cause them to harass or nip shrimp and other small fish in the tank.

Having too many male cherry barbs can also lead the fish to act aggressively toward shrimp and other tank mates. The recommendation is to have two or three females for every male in the aquarium.

Best Shrimp Tank Mates For Cherry Barbs

Cherry barbs can live with virtually any of the commonly-kept shrimp species. Nevertheless, choosing larger shrimp of comparable size to the cherry barbs is probably the best strategy for ensuring peaceful cohabitation between these fish and crustaceans.

To ensure the shrimp population’s health and safety, provide ample plants, rocks, and other features where the shrimp can hide. Hiding places are especially crucial when the shrimp are molting and temporarily lose their hardened carapace (outer shell-like layer).

Here are three examples of shrimp that are ideal tank mates for cherry barbs.

Amano Shrimp

Amano shrimp are excellent for cherry barbs. These translucent shrimps grow to 2 to 3 inches in length, which is too big for cherry barbs to consume.

Amano shrimp larvae require brackish water to develop. This means there is no risk of baby amano shrimp growing in a freshwater tank and getting eaten by cherry barbs.

Indian Whisker Shrimp

Indian whisker shrimp are compatible tank mates for cherry barbs. Adult indian whisker shrimp are 2 to 3 inches long, which is not small enough for cherry barbs to eat.

Like amanos, indian whisker shrimp need salty water for their eggs to hatch and progress through their larval stage. Aquarium hobbyists need not worry about cherry barbs eating baby Indian whisker shrimp.

Bamboo Shrimp

Bamboo shrimp (also called wood shrimp) resemble tiny lobsters and are an excellent pairing for cherry barbs.

It is most unlikely that cherry barbs will harm bamboo shrimp because these freshwater crustaceans grow to an average length of 2 to 3 inches.

What Fish Can Cherry Barbs Live With?

Choosing compatible fish to live with cherry barbs is slightly more challenging than selecting appropriate shrimp species. Unlike shrimp, some fish species might bully or try to eat the cherry barbs.

Large and aggressive fish species are not favorable tank mates for little, tranquil cherry barbs. For this reason, it is highly advisable to choose fish that have a similar disposition and size to cherry barbs.

The fish must also prefer similar water conditions as cherry barbs to qualify as suitable tank mates.

With these criteria in mind, here are three varieties of fish that cherry barbs can live with successfully.


Platys are a favorite variety of tropical freshwater aquarium hobbyists and are ideal tank mates for cherry barbs.

Platys are social fish with a schooling habit and peaceful character. These delightfully colorful fish are comparable in size to cherry barbs, growing to roughly 2 to 3 inches long.


Cherry barbs can live with mollies in the same tank.

Mollies are slightly larger than cherry barbs but are unlikely to trouble them. Males average about 3.2 inches in length, while females grow to roughly 4.8 inches.

Mollies have peaceful temperaments. While male mollies might occasionally show low-level aggression, this behavior is rare and usually not expressed toward other fish species (like cherry barbs).

Dwarf Gouramis

Dwarf gouramis are shy little fish that cherry barbs can share their tank with.

With an average length of 3.5 inches at maturity, dwarf gouramis do not pose a physical threat to cherry barbs.

Unlike many common gourami species, dwarf gouramis are equally as peaceful as cherry barbs. Aquarium enthusiasts can rest easy knowing that dwarf gouramis will not bother or try to devour cherry barbs.


Cherry barbs are excellent fish for community tanks and will live harmoniously with shrimp and most other fish species.

Though cherry barbs are energetic and include meat in their diets, they are peaceful fish that stick to their schools and do not harass or eat shrimp. The only caveat is that cherry barbs might consume tiny, immature shrimp if the fish are bored or underfed.