The short answer is: Yep, Amano shrimp are good tank mates for cherry shrimp! Amano shrimp thrive in the same parameters as cherry shrimp and help eat leftover food, as well as control algae. Amano shrimp also are quite active and fun to watch. While they can be aggressive around food, they will not cause bodily harm to healthy tank inhabitants.
“Are you sure? I’ve heard people say that Amano shrimp hunt and kill their cherry shrimp.”
Well… there are a couple possible reasons for someone to say that.
First, it’s always possible that their Amano shrimp was a misidentified carnivorous shrimp species like the whisker shrimp. Whisker shrimp are extremely territorial and will happily eat shrimp, small fish, or just about anything that gets close enough. To ensure you are getting Amano shrimp, take a look at the identifying features in the picture below:
The other possibility is that your Amano shrimp is in fact hunting and killing your cherry shrimp.
“You just said Amanos can be kept with cherry shrimp but that they’ll kill them?! How does that make sense??”
Okay, I am being a bit contradictory here. It is true that Amano shrimp are safe to keep with cherry shrimp AND they also might—possibly--attack them. It’s not what you think though! There are two reasons why this might happen:
Your Amano shrimp may not be getting sufficient protein so its survival instinct kicks in and it looks for any source of protein available. This is a pretty rare occurrence, however, because most shrimp and fish foods have plenty of protein.
A far more common situation is where Amano shrimp attack cherry shrimp because the individuals are dying. Keep in mind that Amanos, like many shrimp, are detritivores, meaning they eat dead or dying plants and animals to make nutrients more readily available for other organisms. When something is dying, it gives off specific chemical signals that Amanos are very attuned to. As such, even if a cherry shrimp may look healthy, Amanos can tell if an animal won’t live much longer so attack and eat the unhealthy shrimp. It’s not pretty but it’s the cycle of life.
If you do find them attacking your shrimp, then it’s time to check your water parameters and look for reasons why your cherry shrimp are dying
So to clarify: Amanos will not harm healthy cherry shrimp, or any other healthy animal, unless the Amano itself is starved for protein. They are aggressive food hogs though. If you decide to feed one large chunk of food then an Amano shrimp might guard it like a dog given a steak, thereby preventing your other tank inhabitants from eating enough. This is a pretty rare occurrence, however, because have you ever seen how an amano eats? They stuff themselves like a cartoon character at a feast with bulging cheeks and food flying everywhere. It’s clear that they were not taught proper table manners. Regardless, the mess they leave behind is often plenty for your other shrimp.
If you are concerned about other tank inhabitants not getting enough food, then worry not—We have solutions for you! One option is to give your shrimp heavier food like blanched cucumber and carrot slices that Amano shrimp can’t drag away. Another option is to feed one of the commercially available foods that breaks apart in water, such as GlasGarten Snowflakes, since Amanos can’t possibly hoard ALL the flakes (though they may try).
In conclusion, Amano shrimp are good tank mates for your cherry shrimp and other neocaridina, along with just about any other non-aggressive shrimp.