Ghost Shrimp Care: Food, Lifespan, Breeding, & Tank Mates

  • by Millie Sheppard
  • Updated: November 25, 2022

We’ve been a big fan of ghost shrimp for a while now, and it goes a little further than the reasons you’ll hear from other freshwater tank owners.

Sure, these little critters are incredibly useful for aquarists who want great tank cleaners or need live feed for other fish. There’s no denying that.

However, we also think they can make very fun pets for the right kind of hobbyist. Their busy nature, unique appearance, and peaceful temperament are all great reasons why you should give ghost shrimp a shot.

This means no matter who you are, as long as you have a freshwater tank you should probably consider getting some.

That’s why we thought it was so important to put together this resource for you. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know when it comes to ghost shrimp, no matter how you’ll be using them!

Table of Contents

What are ghost shrimp, no spam, just cool fish stuff, anatomy breakdown, ghost shrimp size, ghost shrimp lifespan, potential illness and disease, ideal shrimp tank conditions, lighting needs, minimum tank size, what to include in their habitat, water temperature, ph & hardness levels, pollutants to keep an eye on, filtration requirements, what do ghost shrimp eat, general behavior & temperament, ghost shrimp and bettas, ghost shrimp breeding, it’s time to pick some up for yourself.

Ghost shrimp are a unique type of critter to keep in your freshwater aquarium. For many seasoned aquarists, these small shrimp are used as live feed for much larger creatures. However, others choose to keep them as pets due to their distinct looks and surprisingly playful temperament.

Ghost shrimp

These little animals hail from the fresh waters and lakes in North America. Additional information about their origin is not as well-defined as some other freshwater aquarium shrimp . These critters were formally classified all the way back in the early 1800s!

As the aquarium community started to form and grow, they quickly became useful and common creatures to include in freshwater tanks.

Ghost shrimp are incredibly active, good for the health of your tank (because of the algae they eat ), and are easy to breed. Thus, the role that the shrimp play in the world of aquaculture is a big one!

Appearance & Size

Ghost shrimp (palaemonetes paludosus) are sometimes also called Glass Shrimp. Whatever you decide to call them, it’s not hard to see why they received those names. The entire shrimp is transparent.

The reason for this is simple:

Their transparent nature is used as a defense mechanism in the wild. It’s very difficult for most of their natural predators to spot them as they scavenge the bottom of the riverbed.

Even in a fish tank, they can sometimes be hard to spot among decor and plants.

With that being said, there are some slight variations in appearance that you can see. Some subspecies have subtle markings on their backs. These will typically come in the form of colorful dots.

Beyond that, you can always look for their internal organs. Despite the clear exteriors, ghost shrimp have fully visible eyes and digestive tracts.

If you can get close enough to examine your shrimp, you’ll notice a segmented body. The largest portion, called the carapace, is tough. it’s meant to protect all of the important organs underneath, such as the heart, brain, gills.

The tip of the carapace is called the rostrum. It’s a rigid beak-like section that’s often used for rummaging through the sediment. While they’re usually peaceful, this jagged body part can also be used for defense if it’s needed.

Beady little eyes can be found poking out from either side of the rostrum base. Look a little further, and you’ll see two pairs of antennae. One pair is long while the other is short.

The antennae are usually clear like the rest of the body, though you might see some light coloration on a few ghost shrimp.

These thin antennae are very important for your shrimp’s well-being. They act as sensory organs that help them navigate the environment and gather some crucial information about the chemical composition of the water.

Below the shrimp’s head, you’ll find six flexible segments. They’re much softer and more flexible than the tougher carapace. Look closely, and this section may look very familiar to you.

It looks like any other shrimp that you might have eaten, albeit much smaller. The first five sections are attached to the pleopods, which are limbs used for swimming. The final sixth section holds the tail.

In terms of size, ghost shrimp don’t get much larger than one and a half inches. Females might get a bit bigger than that, but most adult shrimp hover around the same average size. 

They’re not that wide either.

Adult shrimp are usually no wider than an eraser on the end of a pencil. They’re much thinner than other freshwater shrimp species, which is one of the many reasons why they’re often the go-to when it comes to live feed.

Ghost Shrimp Care

The great thing about ghost shrimp is that they’re very hardy and easy to care for. In most instances, aquarists won’t have any issues keeping the shrimp healthy.

As with all aquatic life, the key is to keep tank conditions healthy.

Ghost shrimp have a very short lifespan of only one year. During that year, they’ll grow rapidly. Once they outgrow their current exoskeleton, they’ll shed/molt it to grow another one.

This can happen a lot throughout the year, so don’t be surprised if you find several transparent shells around the tank. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about picking them out.

The shells will quickly become a food source for other shrimp. After shedding, your shrimp will probably hide for a bit. This is because the new shell they get is very thin, making them vulnerable.

There are a few diseases that can affect ghost shrimp. They’re rare, but it’s smart to know what they are in case you have to deal with them.

The most common is called Vorticella. It’s a protozoan that can cause your shrimp’s otherwise clear shell to look white and moldy. Vorticella comes from algae and other animals.

Because of the shrimp’s scavenging behavior, they often get it from munching on infected organic matter. Luckily, you can treat it with water changes and salt.

Another issue you might encounter is a bacterial infection. Infections are pretty easy to spot on ghost shrimp because of their clear bodies. It will look like a pinkish swollen spot.

Unfortunately, bacterial infections are almost always fatal. Your best bet would be to remove the affected shrimp and keep an eye on others. The infection can easily be spread to other shrimp.

When you walk into a pet shop, you’ll probably find the ghost shrimp in a simple bare tank with no decorations in it at all. These are shrimp that have been delegated as feeders.

However, if you plan on keeping your shrimp as pets you’re going to want to provide them with a nicer environment to live in.

Fine substrate is best for the bottom of the tank. These creatures are bottom feeders, so they will spend most of their time digging through the sandy bottoms of their environment. There really isn’t a good reason why you should consider alternatives to fine sand.

Tanks with large chunks of gravel are not going to be good for your shrimp. Not only are they impossible for your ghost shrimp to move, but they can actually cut through their exoskeletons and cause harm.

To accompany the sand, fill your tank with plenty of live plants. In the wild, ghost shrimp usually feed on algae and tiny bits of organic matter from the local plant life. Introducing live plants into your tanks will give your shrimp something to clean.

This will also provide them with new places to explore and hide (more on that below). Plants like Java moss and hornwort are best.

Ghost shrimp don’t have any specific lighting requirements like other fish. They stay close to the bottom of the tank and don’t have a clear day/night cycle that you have to worry about.

As a result, standard aquarium lighting is all you need. Just make sure that the lighting doesn’t affect temperatures too much if you plan on leaving it on throughout the day.

At the very least, you should have a 5 gallon tank (larger is better of course). Because the shrimp are so small, they don’t need a ton of room to roam.

For shrimp you want to keep as pets you should aim for a ratio of three to four ghost shrimp per gallon.

While the clear nature of their bodies is great for keeping them hidden, ghost shrimp still need hiding places they can access whenever they’re feeling anxious. If you have other fish in the tank with them, they will need some spots to hide if the fish start to get aggressive.

Plants are the best option. ghost shrimp blend in effortlessly among thick leaves and underwater brush. However, you can also introduce other decorative items.

Rocks, driftwood, and even plastic decorations will do good. Just spread them throughout the bottom of the tank to give your shrimp plenty of places to feel comfortable.

Water Parameters & Quality Needs

When it comes to water quality, ghost shrimp are pretty easy to please. They’re quite hardy and can thrive in most water conditions. Although, we highly recommend sticking with the recommended levels below to ensure that they’re as healthy as possible.

Ghost shrimp prefer warmer waters. Temperatures between 65 degrees and 82 degrees Fahrenheit should do just fine. Some breeders go beyond that wide temperature range and get away with it, but if you’re keeping them as a pet you should live withing these guardrails.

The reason for this is that most breeders are using their shrimp as live fish food. They don’t care much about the well-being of the shrimp and are causing them stress and health issues by choosing to ignore these water temperature limits.

Ghost shrimp prefer a pH balance between 7.0 and 8.0 . The water can also be slightly hard. A hardness rating between 3.72 and 6.75 should do just fine.

In addition to staying on top of pH and hardness levels, you should also monitor pollutants. Ghost shrimp don’t have as much biological output as other aquarium creatures. However, a large population of shrimp in a small tank can throw things off balance pretty quickly.

You need to monitor the amount of ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite that’s in your water. Both pollutants have the potential to kill your shrimp. But, they’re also necessary for the growth of aquatic plants, which are needed to keep these shrimp healthy.

It’s a fine balance that you need to monitor regularly. Ammonia and nitrate levels should be kept between 5-10 PPM . You can easily control the levels by performing water changes regularly.

Also, you need to be wary of copper. Copper is found in some fish medications. Unfortunately, it’s fatal to ghost shrimp.

If you need to medicate other fish in the tank, make sure to read the ingredient’s label and steer clear of any copper-based products.

As for filtration, ghost shrimp don’t need much help in this department. They will do a great job contributing to the cleaning process on their own! This means a standard sponge filter will do. 

As we mentioned earlier, these shrimp are natural scavengers. In the wild, they feed on fish and plant waste. They’re so tiny that they usually aren’t able to eat other creatures!

In a tank environment, these shrimp will do pretty much the same thing. They’ll stick to the bottom of the tank and nibble on anything they can get. You’ll often find them feeding off of the plants you have in the tank or catching fallen pellets that your other fish didn’t eat.

If you have a tank that only has ghost shrimp, the feeding process will be a breeze. They’ll eat any standard flake or pellet food. Pellets are best, as they can sink down to the bottom where they hang out.

Remember, they are tiny. They don’t need a ton of food to keep them healthy. Consider a tiny pinch of flakes for a group of shrimp.

Note: Here’s a common new owner mistake to avoid. You can sometimes see the little shrimp swimming up to the top to nab some flakes, which can make it tempting to encourage them to do it again. Be careful though, it’s possible to overfeed ghost shrimp and this is one of the fastest ways to do it.

Ghost shrimp are very peaceful creatures. They don’t bother other fish and will spend most of their time doing their own thing at the bottom of the tank and looking for things to snack on.

To stay safe, they may spend a few days hiding out in the plants, under rocks, or in any other crevice they can find. Because of their clear bodies and shy nature, it can sometimes be hard to locate them in your tank!

Good (And Bad) Tank Mates

The best tank mates for ghost shrimp are any other peaceful small fish. Two of the common choices are:

  • Barbs that aren’t too large

You can also pair them with other peaceful bottom dwellers like Kuhli loaches , freshwater snails , Cory catfish , Cherry Shrimp , and Amano shrimp . These tank mates will mind their own business and let your ghost shrimp do their thing undisturbed.

As for tank mates to avoid, you should avoid pairing them with any aggressive fish no matter what.

As a good rule of thumb, don’t put ghost shrimp in the same tank as larger fish that feed off live food and are big enough to consume the shrimp. They’ll immediately go after your precious shrimp, so keep the tank as peaceful as possible.

One of the most common tank mate questions we hear is in regards to betta fish . This is quite common for almost all the care guides we put together due to the popularity of the fish.

In this case, ghost shrimp and betta fish tend to not good tank mates. This isn’t always the case and the translucent nature of your shrimp might keep them out of trouble if your betta is relatively calm.

However, keeping them apart is the safest move to make.

Breeding ghost shrimp is very quick and easy. One recommended trick is to set up a separate breeding tank for the sake of simplicity later on in the process. Males and females look identical until they reach maturity .

When they are adults, females will start to develop bright green eggs. Of course, you can spot these eggs pretty easily because of the clear body. At this point, the breeding process is ready to start!

The eggs will be laid on the female’s legs. Females will produce upwards of 30 eggs a week, so be prepared for a bit of juggling on your end.

First, when you see these eggs make sure to wait a few days.

This provides ample time for the males to fertilize the eggs. Once this has happened, move her to a separate breeder tank to give the eggs time to hatch. Hatching can take as long as three weeks .

When they’re hatched, move the female back to the regular community tank and let the little baby shrimp grow up a bit. Introducing the babies into the community tank too soon is not a good idea since they might get eaten by the adults.

The breeder tank should have live plants in it as well. The babies are too small for flakes, so they’ll feed off of the plant matter in order to grow.

That’s pretty much it when it comes to breeding! Like everything else when it comes to ghost shrimp, it’s a pretty simple process to learn!         

If you don’t have some already, we hope this guide has helped convince you to go out and get some ghost shrimp for your tank.

The number of benefits they can offer is immense, and the cost of buying them is shockingly low by comparison.

Not only that, but they’re unbelievably easy to take care of. It doesn’t matter if you want them as pets, live feed, or intend on breeding them, ghost shrimp don’t require a lot of extra attention.

These critters are continuing to prove that they’re worthy inclusions in the freshwater tank community, and we don’t see that changing for quite a while.

Millie Sheppard

Millie Sheppard

As an avid Aquarist, Marine Biologist, and PADI Diver, Millie is dedicated to exploring and preserving the wonders of our oceans. She is looking forward to create a career in the field of aquatic ecosystems based on a deep-rooted love for marine life and a commitment to environmental conservation. She is always eager to connect with fellow marine enthusiasts, scientists, conservationists, and publications seeking engaging marine-related content. Feel free to reach out to Millie to: [email protected]

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Ghost Shrimp Care Guide (All You Need to Know)

Ghost Shrimp Care

Ghost shrimp ( Palaemonetes paludosus ) are a great addition to home aquariums for fishkeeping enthusiasts and experts alike.

These crustaceans are omnivores that work overtime to keep your tank clean and have a unique appearance, given that they are almost completely transparent!

While ghost shrimp are relatively easy to care for, you may have a few questions if you’re a beginner. 

You may be wondering what you feed them or who can even be in the same tank as them. To find out how to raise happy, healthy shrimp, keep reading. 

What is a Ghost Shrimp?

About Ghost Shrimp

The ghost shrimp is a dwarf species of freshwater shrimp. They are native to the southeast area of the United States. Another name for ghost shrimp is glass shrimp. 

The names ghost shrimp and glass shrimp come from the fact that these ocean-dwelling invertebrates are almost entirely transparent.

This can make them very hard to spot in certain environments and lighting. However, they can be hauntingly beautiful when you can see them. 

Ghost shrimp can act as ornamental shrimp for your aquarium or as live bait for larger aquarium breeds. 

While they are usually almost completely clear, most ghost fish have slightly greenish or light brown spots.

As a dwarf species, they are very small, only reaching a maximum of 2 inches. On average, most ghost shrimp are usually only about 1.5 inches, with the females often being smaller than the males. 

Compared to other fish species, ghost shrimp have a very short lifespan. On average, they tend to only live for about a year. 

Ghost Shrimp raised for feeding larger tank mates usually don’t live nearly that long because their carnivorous tank mates will eat them before that and because aquarists don’t typically raise them with longevity in mind. 

Ghost Shrimp Molting

Like all shrimp, ghost shrimp go through a molting process when their old carapace gets too small for their growing body. When a shrimp is still young, it will molt about once a week.

Older shrimp will molt about once a month. When your shrimp is ready to shed, the ordinarily transparent body will become slightly more opaque as a new shell builds up beneath the old one.

When your shrimp is ready to molt, it will curl up, and the old shell will split at the joining of the tail and cephalothorax. The shrimp will then pull the front of its body out first before pulling out the rear. 

It can be hard to see which shrimps are molting when they live in larger groups. Because ghost shrimp have a transparent body, a molted shell can look like a ghost shrimp, so much so that you may think that your shrimp is dead if all you see is the old shell.

This is more likely when you consider that newly molted shrimp like to hide for the first couple of days as they are very vulnerable. 

It is easy to tell the difference between a dead shrimp and a leftover shell. An old exoskeleton will be transparent, much like a live ghost shrimp. Meanwhile, a dead ghost shrimp will turn a whitish pink. 

Tank Size For Ghost Shrimp?

Tank size for ghost shrimp

Ghost shrimp are very small, they don’t need much room. If you only keep a single ghost shrimp, you can use something as small as 2 gallons.

If you own a few shrimp, you can use something as small as a 5-gallon tank. In the case of all tanks, it is easier to maintain good water quality with a larger tank.

Also, shrimp are bottom feeders, so they will help keep the tank clean by eating the old food and droppings from other fish. They will even eat their old shell after molting. 

Shrimp are a hardy species that don’t require specialized or hypervigilant filtration. 

A standard filter appropriate for the size of your tank will be enough. Try not to get a filter rated for a larger tank, as these small shrimp are likely to be pulled into the intake filter.

If you want to avoid your shrimp getting stuck in the filter, your best option is to use a sponge intake filter or a sponge insert in a standard canister filter. If you have a sponge filter, you will likely see your shrimp on the filter eating the bits of debris that get trapped there. 

Cycling Your Fish Tank

When setting up a new tank for your shrimp, remember to ensure that you have properly cycled it first. 

Cycling your tank encourages beneficial bacteria to grow in your tank so that it can remove harmful ammonia and nitrites. 

The simplest explanation of how this is done is simply adding a few fish flakes to the tank every 12 hours. 

As the fish food breaks down, the process will add ammonia to the water. One kind of bacteria will emerge that turns the ammonia into nitrites. After a little more waiting, the second form of bacteria that turns nitrites into nitrates will appear. Nitrates are not harmless to fish in small doses. 

With this method, the entire cycling process can take anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks. However, if you want to speed up the process, you can either introduce plants, algae wafers, or gravel or a filter from an already established tank. 

Before taking anything from an established tank, ensure that there are no diseases in that tank to avoid cross-contamination. 

Aquarium Lid

One additional factor you should consider for your tank is a lid. Shrimp are excellent jumpers, and they can and will leap out of the tank. If you don’t want to find shrimp on the floor, your best bet is to get a tight-fitting lid with few gaps. 

Ghost shrimp don’t require any specific lighting. They are fine under bright lights or no light at all. Remember that bright lights will severely limit their visibility, thanks to their transparent bodies. 

Hiding Places

To have happy shrimp, however, ensure that you have plenty of places for them to hide, either in decorations or plants. If you are using live plants, choose lighting that is best for your plants rather than worrying about the shrimp. 

Is Sand Substrate Needed

Is Substrate needed for ghost shrimp

No, you do not need sand substrate to keep ghost shrimp, despite it being the floor covering in their natural habitat.

Since ghost shrimp are a hardy species, they don’t need any particular substrate. They will generally be reasonably happy, whether sand, gravel, or anything in between. 

When picking a substrate for your shrimp tank, instead focus on the needs of your other inhabitants. If your plants or tank mates need a particular substrate to flourish, prioritize their needs.

However, one thing you might want to consider for ghost shrimp is the color of the substrate. As ghost shrimp are transparent, they are most challenging to see with light substrates. 

Opt for something dark like black sand or pebbles if you want the most visible tiny shrimps.

Best Food For Ghost Shrimp?

Ghost shrimp are not picky eaters. They will eat just about anything that lands at the bottom of their tank. When a ghost shrimp is feeding, you will often see it sifting through the sand or gravel at the bottom of that tank. 

The very best food for a ghost shrimp is fish flakes, algae, shrimp food, blanched vegetables like romaine or zucchini, blood worms, spirulina, or leaves. 

When feeding a ghost shrimp, you may want to use a glass feeding dish. Since they feed on algae, waste, detritus, plant matter, and microorganisms at the bottom of the tank, their food can get lost in the substrate. 

You should also know that ghost shrimp eat very aggressively. If you are keeping a group of them, it would be good to have a large feeding dish so that all the tiny shrimp have enough room to eat without any fights breaking out. 

Feeding Schedule

Ghost shrimp don’t need to be fed very often. This is particularly true if they are in a tank with other fish. They will simply eat whatever drifts to the bottom of the tank.

As a general rule of thumb, when they are in a tank on their own, they can be fed every 1 to 2 days.

You should see them going after the food right away when you feed them. If they don’t, they are likely not hungry, and you can wait another day. Also, remember to remove any uneaten food in about four hours.

If you have a tank with plenty of plants, you could even go a little longer without feeding them as they will graze on the plants. 


When keeping ghost shrimp as a food source for your larger fish, you still need to pay attention to their nutrition. Feeder fish typically are not treated very well, and as such, do not make a nutritious snack for your larger fish. 

As you prepare your ghost shrimp for another fish to eat, gut loading is your best practice. In this, you keep the ghost shrimp in a separate tank for a few weeks and feed them highly nutritious food. 

You will want to tailor the actual nutrients to what fish will be eating them rather than what is best for the shrimp itself. After those few weeks are up, you will have a healthy shrimp and, more importantly, a nutrient-packed meal for your larger fish. 

Another concern you may have in raising ghost shrimp as feeder fish is parasites. The only parasites that ghost shrimp are known to carry are nematodes. 

Luckily, the nematodes carried by ghost shrimp are harmless to larger fish, making them a safe and fun bottom-feeding tank mate. 

Ghost Shrimp Diseases

Often Ghost Shrimp Diseases

There aren’t many diseases that will affect ghost shrimp. 

For the most part, there are only two main diseases that you should keep an eye out for. Thanks to their transparent bodies, these illnesses are very easy to spot. 

This is the most common illness that you can expect to see in ghost shrimp. It is a protozoan that your ghost shrimp can pick up from algae or other fish. 

If one of your ghost shrimp has vorticella, you’ll notice their usually clear body turning white and moldy. Thankfully vorticella is very easy to treat. All it takes is frequent water changes and salt. No medication is needed. 

Bacterial Infection

Like all living things, shrimp can occasionally pick up an infection from harmful bacteria. The condition will look like a small pink spot on their body. 

When you notice a bacterial spot, you should remove that particular shrimp from the tank. Hopefully, doing so will stop the spread of the infection to other shrimp in the tank. 

It is so important to remove the infected shrimp as soon as possible because a bacterial infection is fatal. If the rest of your shrimp get it, there is a chance that you will lose all of your shrimp to the disease. 

Good And Bad Tank Mates

best ghost shrimp tank mates

Ghost shrimp do best with any peaceful, small fish or fellow bottom feeders. 

Some common fish that you often see at companions are barbs, goldfish, and tetras. If you want to try fellow bottom feeders, you can add other species like red cherry shrimp and Amano shrimp. You can also add freshwater snails, Kuhli loaches, and cory catfish. 

Bad tank mates would include any aggressive fish. This is a wide-ranging list, ranging from the notoriously aggressive cichlids to the territorial Oscar.

As a general rule of thumb, do not pair your ghost shrimp with any fish that would like to eat them. If you do this, you may find that you don’t have ghost shrimp for very long. 

Ghost shrimp and betta fish can sometimes be tank mates. If your betta is big and your shrimp are small, there is a good chance that the betta will try to eat them. 

If, however, you have a smaller betta fish, there is a chance it could work out for them. If you test out compatibility between your ghost shrimp and betta, we recommend introducing just a few at first. Otherwise, you risk losing more than you bargained for. 

Can You Breed Ghost Shrimp in Aquariums?

Breeding Ghost Shrimp

You can breed ghost shrimp, but it’s not for beginners. 

First off, you will need a separate breeding tank for them. Young shrimp are very vulnerable, especially to other fish. The tank can be pretty simple with just a basic sponge filter. A sponge filter will keep the small shrimp from being sucked into the water purification system. 

We highly encourage putting live plants in your tank for the best environment for baby shrimp. Not only do they make a lovely addition to any tank, but they also provide a source of food and a hiding place for your hatchlings. 

If you’d prefer not to deal with live plants, driftwood is another natural option.

Breeding Ghost Shrimp

When a female ghost shrimp is ready to start breeding, it will become berried. This is the process in which the shrimp forms a small collection of eggs on the underside of her tail. The eggs will be green and look something like a collection of berries. Hence the name berried. 

Once the eggs are ready to be fertilized, the female will release pheromones into the water, attracting males to her. The males will then come and fertilize the eggs. 

When trying to breed ghost shrimp, keep an eye out for berried females in your main tank. Once you spot them, leave them in the community tank for a few days. This will ensure that the males have plenty of time to swim over and fertilize those eggs. 

After those few days are up, transfer the berried female into the breeding tank, as this will keep her safe while you’re waiting for those eggs to hatch. 

Caring for Larvae

It may take about a month for the eggs to finally hatch. You’ll know when it’s time because the small green eggs fall off your shrimp’s tail. 

The moment that the eggs hatch, it is highly recommended to transfer the female back to the main tank. 

This is because shrimp are scavengers, and they are not picky about what they eat. Yes, that even means their own larvae. 

As the shrimp larvae grow, they do well with a diet of spirulina or infusoria. As mentioned above, they will feed on any live plants, like java moss, as well. 

The shrimp will remain as larvae for about a week. After this point, they will change into shrimplets. The shrimplets can eat the same diet as adult shrimp, though be sure to adjust the amounts of food you are giving them to account for their smaller size. 

You should keep the shrimplets in the breeding tank for about five weeks. After this point, they are large enough to join the rest of the shrimp population. 

As you can see, the ghost shrimp species are super easy to care for, making them a great addition to your tank of other small peaceful fish.

The main takeaways are to keep them away from larger fish that may eat them and invest in a filter that won’t suck them up. 

Screenshot 2023 11 27 at 14.21.55 1

Ian Sterling, founder of, began his aquarium journey over 30 years ago, driven by a deep fascination for fish and their diverse personalities. His website,, is dedicated to making fishkeeping accessible and enjoyable, offering beginner-friendly guidance, expert insights, and a community for aquarists to connect and share experiences.

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></center></p><ul><li>Goldfish Tank</li><li>Cory Catfish</li><li>Ghost Shrimps</li></ul><h2>Care Of Ghost Shrimp 101: A Complete Guide & Breeding Tips</h2><ul><li>May 14, 2023</li></ul><p>Are you thinking about adding a little watery flair to your aquarium?  Ghost shrimps (or glass shrimps) make an excellent choice for first-time fish keepers – and if you’re keeping them, it’s essential to know how to take care of Ghost shrimp properly.</p><p>With so much clashing information on how to care for and breed ghost shrimp, it can often feel impossible to get the facts straight. </p><p>You’ve waded through a mountain of opinions and unhelpful ideas from pet stores that need to be more.</p><p>As a beginner shrimp keeper, you know things could go wrong without accurate advice.</p><p><center><img style=

The bodies of the Shrimp ghost are transparent, making it difficult to see their organs. One can easily spot their antennae and eyes when looking at them from the top view. They have a long, slender body structure with advantages and disadvantages.

The overview is that it allows them to move quickly through tight spaces and narrows, while the disadvantage is they lack protection against predators.

Are Ghost Shrimp Easy to Care for?

The treatment of ghost shrimps is pretty simple. They’re active invertebrates, tirelessly searching for  food sources  in their tank.

These shrimps are always on the move when stored in tanks that are not ‘too dirty’ or dirty. They’ll be doing well as long as their community tank is kept clean.

One of the crucial matters to remember when caring for ghost shrimp is that they are susceptible to water tank quality changes.

They need plenty of oxygen and clean, filtered water to survive. Be sure to check the tank water parameters often and ensure they’re within the recommended ranges.

In addition, it’s important to remember that berried ghost shrimp are sensitive to copper-based medications, so avoid using any copper-based products in their tank.

How to Care for Ghost Shrimp?

How to take care of ghost shrimp? When caring for ghost shrimp, you want to provide them with a healthy and safe tank environment. This means having the proper parameters, like temperature, pH level, and water hardness.

Aside from that, you should also include plenty of hiding spots in the tank for your ghost shrimp to feel safe.

Additionally, it would be best to give them plenty of places to feed, such as submerged vegetation and live foods. Ghost shrimp also love to graze on algae, so that you could give them a rock or driftwood with plenty of algae.

Do Ghost Shrimp Help Clean Tank?

The answer is yes!  Ghost shrimp are scavengers, which will help keep your tank clean.  They feed on detritus and excess food, which helps keep your tank clean and clear. They also help to break down waste materials, further improving the water tank quality in your tank.

In addition to their cleaning duties, ghost shrimp are great at aerating the substrate. They move around a lot and constantly dig through the substrate, aiding in oxygenating and loosening it.

Finally, ghost shrimp may even help with control. They will graze on unwanted algae and keep it in check. They may also help reduce the population of excess pests such as snails, which can benefit their environment.

NOTE:  Did you know that Ghost Shrimp are not picky eaters? They will even devour their fallen tank mates , including dead fish and dead shrimp. Keeping their tank clean and well-maintained is essential to prevent any casualties.

What Do Ghost Shrimp Need to Survive As Pets?

To keep ghost shrimp as pets, you must provide them with the right living environment. This means having a tank large enough for them to swim around and plenty of hiding places and aquatic plants.

You must also ensure your tank water parameters are within the recommended ranges for ghost shrimp.

You should also provide your ghost shrimp with plenty of food. They love to feed on live foods and algae, so that you can give them the occasional treat like freeze-dried bloodworms or brine shrimp.

Ghost shrimp will also appreciate having a variety of plant material in their tank, which helps to keep the diet balanced.

Can You Breed Ghost Shrimp in Aquariums?

You could breed ghost shrimps, although this is not a beginner breed. It is necessary to purchase an enclosure for them. Young prawns are particularly vulnerable to other fishes. The tank is quite simple, with just a straightforward sponge filtering system.

A sponge filter prevents tiny Shrimp from entering the filter. We strongly recommend using a living plant in your tank for optimum conditions for baby shrimp.

They are beautiful additions to any tank but also serve as food and hiding spots in which your hatchlings hide. For people who don’t like live plants, driftwood is a natural alternative. Driftwood is also helpful in maintaining pH levels.

It is also necessary to give them enough food and oxygen as they feed mainly on phytoplankton and algae, providing essential nutrients for the prawns’ growth.

Ghost Shrimp Behavior and Temperament

As much as many other shrimps do, ghost shrimps have a peaceful nature, so it is easy for them to stay quiet. They spend most of their time lying under tanks, stealing food, or hiding from predators.

They hide behind crevasses and caves during ghost shrimp molting to protect against predators. The shell will still have to change and harden from the inside. They do not have a social component in large community tanks and are usually kept away from the other fish species but are generally quiet.

They are an entertaining shrimp species and can offer fun to the hobbyist. Ghost shrimp often give people something exciting to observe in aquariums, especially if they have a custom-made tank for them.

Ghost Shrimp Lifespan

Ghost shrimp generally last about 1-2 years. Nevertheless, it does not represent an average timeframe, as certain species may live less and more based on their environments and the food they are fed.

In addition to being kept in the tank, some aquarists add Ghost shrimps to feed other giant squid. Ghost shrimp care   has never been an aquarist’s priority for most ghost shrimp, and they are deprived of suitable housing and, therefore, prematurely die in the tanks. The molting processes of their lifecycles are also essential for them.

Ghost Shrimp Food: (Feeding and Nutrition)

Ghost shrimp will likely spend most of their day grazing on algae and biofilms growing in tanks. You can find them wandering the surface, constantly looking for things. This can be accomplished by using glass feeding plates. Shrimps eat messy food.

They also consume various food, including brine shrimp, bloodworms, and other aquatic worms. You can also provide them with bits of vegetable matter like spinach or cucumber slices. Regardless of what you feed shrimps, they will surely appreciate it.

Ghost shrimp are scavengers and therefore have an omnivorous diet. They take fish food and are also known to eat algae, biofilms, and uneaten food from other fish. A balanced ghost shrimp diet is essential for their survival in captivity.

It would help if you fed them small amounts of food multiple times a day, providing them with the most nutrition without overfeeding them.

Finally, keeping the water clean and maintaining good water conditions is essential. This will help ensure that your Ghost shrimps enjoy a long, healthy life in your tank.

Note:  A glass feeding dish is recommended when providing sustenance for a ghost shrimp.

Ghost Shrimp Tank & Water Requirements

Any aquarist looking for ghost shrimps should ensure the first substrate ghost shrimp tank remains warm. Temperatures should range from 72-84°F (22 – 29°C). It is also critical to note that ghost shrimps prefer slightly acidic or neutral water, with a pH of 6.5 to 8.5 and hardness levels of 5-20 dGH.

Ghost shrimp enjoy living in tanks with enough hiding spots like driftwood and rocks. They also like to be near the ground, so sand or fine gravel is best for them.

It is important to note that ghost shrimps are very sensitive to water changes, so it is necessary to maintain stable parameters to keep them healthy. You should also ensure that the fish tank is well aerated with plenty of oxygen as they feed mainly on phytoplankton and algae.

Finally,  it is essential to remember to always clean your aquarium regularly by doing partial water changes and vacuuming the substrate to keep the environment healthy for your ghost shrimps.

Ghost Shrimp Care and Tank Set-up

Creating a suitable environment is crucial for the well-being of your glass shrimp. Here are vital tips to consider when setting up their aquarium:

  • Tank Size: A 10-gallon tank or larger is recommended, with plenty of hiding spots. Ghost shrimp do best when kept in small tank in groups of at least five or more.
  • Substrate: Use a soft and not abrasive substrate, like fine sand or gravel.
  • Filtration: Filters should be powerful enough to keep the water clean and well-oxygenated.
  • Plants & Décor: Add plenty of hiding areas for your shrimp ghost to hide. This can include live plants, rocks, driftwood, and more.
  • Temperature: The ideal temperature range for ghost shrimps is 72-84°F (22 – 29°C).
  • Lighting: Ghost shrimps need darkness to thrive, so do not overlight the tank.
  • Water Quality: Keep the water clean and good quality.

By following the guidelines above, you can set up an excellent environment for your Shrimp and ensure they have a healthy life in captivity. Furthermore, taking good care of them will give them the best chance of survival.

Ghost Shrimp Tank Size and Placement

A 10-gallon (38 liters) or larger aquarium is recommended for housing ghost shrimp. The larger the fish tank, the more stable the water parameters will be. Place the tank away from direct sunlight and ensure it is on a stable surface to prevent accidents.

Ghost shrimps prefer to stay close to  the bottom of the tank , so it is better to add a soft sand or fine gravel substrate to burrow in. They also like plenty of hiding areas, such as rocks and driftwood; live plants can be added for additional depth.

It is essential not to place the tank too close to other tanks or aquariums, as ghost shrimps are very sensitive to water changes.

If multiple tanks are placed nearby,  they will likely share the same water parameters. This might be harmful and should be avoided to keep your ghost shrimp safe and healthy.

Substrate and Decorations

Choose sand or fine gravel for the substrate, as ghost shrimp love to dig and scavenge for food particles. Adding plants like Java moss, Java fern, or Marimo balls enhances the aesthetic appeal and provides hiding spots and resting places for your ghost shrimp molt.

Filtration and Aeration

A sound filtration system is essential to maintain water quality. A sponge or low-flow sponge filter works well for ghost shrimp tanks , as strong currents can stress them. Additionally, consider adding an air stone or a gentle air pump to provide adequate aeration.

Ghost shrimp prefer subdued lighting conditions. Use low-intensity light or provide them with hiding spots to create a comfortable environment. Avoid intense or direct lighting, as it may cause stress.

Water Parameters and Quality

Maintaining suitable water parameters is crucial for the health and longevity of your ghost shrimp. Here are the ideal water conditions:

  • Temperature: 72-84°F (22 – 29°C)
  • pH Level: 7.2 to 8.0
  • Water Hardness: Soft to medium

Always clean your aquarium regularly by doing partial water changes and vacuuming the substrate to keep the environment healthy for your ghost shrimps.

Ideal Ghost Shrimp Temperature

Ghost shrimp thrive in a temperature range of 70-80°F (21-27°C). Use a dependable aquarium heater to maintain a stable temperature within this range.

Feeding Ghost Shrimp

Ghost shrimp are omnivorous scavengers, so they will happily feed on leftover food from other tank inhabitants, algae wafers, and sinking pellets. Feed them twice daily in small portions that they can finish within a few minutes. Avoid overfeeding your ghost shrimps to prevent water quality issues.

Aim for a slightly alkaline pH level between 7.2 and 8.0. Regularly monitor the pH using a test kit and make necessary adjustments using appropriate pH buffers.

Adjusting Water Hardness

Ghost shrimp prefer moderately hard water with a dGH (degrees of General Hardness) between 6 and 12. Adjust the water hardness using additives if necessary.

Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate Levels

Ghost shrimp are sensitive to ammonia and nitrite. It is important to cycle your aquarium correctly and maintain undetectable levels of these harmful compounds. Regular water changes are essential to control nitrate levels below 20 ppm.

Algae and Vegetables

Provide ghost shrimp with algae-based foods such as spirulina fish flakes or pellets. Blanched vegetables like spinach, zucchini, or kale are also great additions to their diet. Ensure that any vegetables are thoroughly washed and free from pesticides before feeding.

Protein-Rich Foods

Supplement their diet with protein-rich foods like brine shrimp, daphnia, bloodworms, or small pieces of fish or Shrimp. You can offer these as live, frozen, or freeze-dried options.

Feeding Schedule

Feed your shrimp small amounts of food once or twice a day. Be mindful not to overfeed, as excess food can lead to water quality issues. Remove any leftover food after a few hours to maintain water cleanliness.

Ghost Shrimp Behavior and Compatibility

Understanding the behavior and compatibility of ghost shrimp is crucial when creating a harmonious community tank. Here are a few shrimp with some essential points to consider:

Peaceful Nature

Ghost shrimp are generally peaceful and non-aggressive towards other shrimp species and tank mates. However, they may become prey to larger, more aggressive fish or invertebrates like betta fish and cichlids. Therefore, choose tank mates carefully to ensure the safety of your Shrimp.

Schooling Preference

Ghost Shrimp feel more secure and exhibit natural behaviors when kept in groups. A group of at least five to seven shrimps is recommended to create a thriving community.

Suitable Ghost Shrimp Tank Mates

Ghost Shrimp tankmates are small, non-aggressive community tank fish that can’t be eatable. This will last very little with Goldfish, Oscars, Sand cichlids, and Frog Turtles.

Suitable tanks for glass shrimp can also contain others of this kind, including Bamboo Shrimp (alias Wood Shrimp), Vampire Shrimp (alias Vipers Shrimp), Amano Shrimp, which means are more giant, red Cherry Shrimp, Nectar Shrimp,

Molting Behavior

Ghost shrimp undergo regular molting, shedding their exoskeleton as they grow. During this process, they may become more vulnerable to aggression from tank mates. Provide plenty of hiding spots and dense vegetation to offer them a safe retreat during molting.

Breeding Ghost Shrimp Tips

Breeding ghost shrimps in a home aquarium can be a fascinating experience. Here’s an overview of the breeding process:

Male-Female Differentiation

Distinguishing between male and female ghost shrimp can be challenging. However, females tend to have a rounder and giant underbelly, while males appear slightly smaller and slimmer.

Breeding Tank Set-up

Prepare a separate breeding tank with suitable water parameters and ample hiding places. Provide floating plants like Indian Almond leaves or moss to create a conducive environment for the breeding process.

Molting and Mating

Before mating, the female Shrimp will molt, indicating she is ready to breed. The male will fertilize the female’s eggs by depositing sperm packets, which she will carry and fertilize internally.

Larval Stage

After fertilization, the female will release thousands of eggs that will hatch into larvae. The larvae undergo several stages before developing into miniature replicas of adult ghost shrimps. They require specialized care and a separate tank to ensure survival.

Best Plants for Ghost Shrimp Tank

As mentioned above, sand and gravel are the most suitable materials for the glass shrimp tanks. These are easy to dig through but do little harm to keeping ghost shrimp out when they’re looking to eat. But using a substrate is not enough.

In addition, it should be filled with various water-based living plants so that they recreate their habitats in lakes and streams. Plants, including java, grass, and hornwort, form the most attractive living  plant matter  types. 

Lighting your Ghost Shrimp Tank

Why Are Light and Aquarium Important? Fish and Shrimp don’t need light. We can see this in the aquarium, but we don’t have animals that use solar cells to receive the necessary sunlight. Several animals require shade to retreat.

They can feel more relaxed. Shrimp Ghost is good in bright light. Let them hide a bit to hide their shyness and eliminate the light. If there are live plants in your fish tank that size ghost shrimp will like, set up a lighting system based on its requirements. They can go on in both directions.

Ghost Shrimp Common Diseases and Treatment

Like any invertebrate in the aquarium, ghost shrimp live and are vulnerable to some waterborne diseases, which aquarists must be informed about. The most common illness which affects ghost shrimp is vertical.

It’s caused by algae that shrimp eat, making their shells white and moldy in nature and texture. Vorticella bacteria can cause other problems in the Shrimp.

Generally, if your Shrimp appears very fatigued or shows bright pink marks on its shell showing swelling, this indicates poor water conditions.

Fixing the water quality and adjusting the salinity can cure vorticella. If the Shrimp’s condition doesn’t improve, remove the infected Shrimp from the tank and quarantine it.

Unlike other live feeder species, such as feeder fish and blood worms that can carry harmful parasites, Glass Shrimp pose a much lower risk of carrying disease. This is because Ghost Shrimp are invertebrates and, therefore, exempt from the potential of being disease carriers. Keep your aquarium safe and healthy by choosing Shrimp as your go-to feeding option.

Common Health Issues and Care Tips

Ensuring optimal health for your Shrimp is vital. Here are some common health issues and  ghost shrimp care  tips:

– Poor Water Quality

Maintain excellent water quality by regularly monitoring and adjusting the water temperature, pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate levels, and water hardness. Perform regular water changes to remove accumulated toxins and maintain a stable environment.

– Molting Problems

Ghost shrimp may occasionally encounter issues during the molting process. Ensure the presence of ample calcium in the water to support the growth of a new exoskeleton. Adding a cuttlebone or crushed coral to the tank can help provide a calcium source.

– Parasitic and Bacterial   Infections

Parasitic infections can affect ghost shrimp, leading to symptoms like lethargy, discoloration, or abnormal behavior. Quarantine new additions before introducing them to the main tank to prevent the spread of diseases. If necessary, consult a veterinarian specializing in aquatic creatures for diagnosis and treatment options.

– Stress Management

Maintaining a stress-free environment is crucial for the well-being of ghost shrimp. Avoid sudden changes in water parameters and temperature or introduce aggressive tank mates. Provide them with ample hiding spots, dense vegetation, and suitable tank mates to

Ghost Shrimp Breeding Tips

If you house adult ghost shrimp to raise them, going overboard is unnecessary. Make sure they stay in the same tank as their species and without predators. This Shrimp will breed naturally in a situation with no predators and no external pressures.

The creation of breeding tanks is crucial if you have a swarm of ghost shrimp in an area. Transfer female and male ghost shrimp to breeding tanks and wait for eggs in their leg area. It produces between 20-30 per batch. The males then take a step toward these males to feed their eggs.

Minimize stress levels. You can also consider adding Utricularia graminifolia , a floating aquatic plant that helps reduce stress in Shrimp and other aquatic creatures. This particular plant is well-known for its ability to create a sanctuary for shrimps and other aquatic creatures.

If you successfully breed ghost shrimp, you should keep the water parameters stable and add some food for them. When raising ghost shrimp, Keep an eye on their growth and health to ensure they are not overcrowded. If you plan on keeping the young ones, provide them with enough swimming space so they can grow and thrive.

How to Care for Pregnant Ghost Shrimp?

When a female Ghost Shrimp is pregnant, she will carry the eggs around for about a week to 10 days before they hatch. During this time, providing her with a clean, safe environment is essential.

Ensure the water parameters and fish tank are in check and that there are no predators or other threats in the tank. Feed her a nutritious diet, and create plenty of hiding places for her to feel secure. Once the eggs hatch, remove them from the tank to prevent other fish from eating them.

Once newcomers are big enough to fend for themselves, the fry should be introduced back into the main tank. With the proper care, your adult shrimp should be able to produce a healthy batch of fry!

Commonly Asked Questions about Caring for Ghost Shrimp (FAQ)

Do ghost shrimps jump out of the tank.

Ghost shrimps dwell on the ground, so you can’t see them swimming in the tank below them. They have meager chances of escaping the tank.

Do Ghost Shrimp Eat Fish Poop?

Ghost shrimp occasionally eat small fish and poop. Nevertheless, they don’t eat anything but watch them or just sniff it up.

Are Ghost Shrimp Freshwater?

Yes, glass shrimp are freshwater animals. They prefer to live clean with a pH range of 65-8 and temperatures between 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit. They might also survive in various temperatures but will not thrive.

Do Ghost Shrimp Need a Filter?

Ghost shrimps don’t need a filter, but it is recommended. A sponge filter can help keep their tanks clean and provide oxygenation to the water. It is also suitable for keeping their environment stable and reducing the amount of ammonia and nitrite in the tank.

Do Ghost Shrimp Need to be in Pairs?

Ghost Shrimp seem happy to be able to live in larger groups if there is enough room for them. The glass shrimp may aggressively fight against each other depending on the group size.

Are Ghost Shrimp Hard to Take Care of?

It is relatively simple to treat ghost crabs. They are highly active and busy insects that constantly seek food. These shrimps are always on their way when they have a tank that could be cleaner.

What Eats Ghost Shrimp?

Predators, such as fish, crabs, and larger fish invertebrates, can eat ghost shrimp. Some familiar tank mates known to eat ghost shrimp include cichlids, crayfish, and certain types of catfish.

In conclusion, taking care of ghost shrimp feeder fish is a rewarding hobby that can be easily enjoyed. Although they are a small and seemingly insignificant crustacean species, these animals have many attractive qualities that make them great additions to any aquarium. Not only do ghost shrimp offer aesthetic benefits in their home environment, but with the proper care and maintenance, they can breed successfully and bring entertainment as well.

However, it’s important to remember that freshwater shrimp require attention and knowledge of their needs to keep them healthy. Researching their habitat parameters is critical to ensure optimal conditions for their well-being. By exercising the proper precautions and taking the time to understand the best methods of care for ghost shrimp on the market today, you can rest assured that your tankmates will thrive under your watchful eye!

You might also like

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  • Ghost Shrimp Pregnancy : Signs, Care, Stages, And More!
  • What Does a Ghost Shrimp Eat : Top 5 Foods For Optimal Health
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are ghost shrimp easy to care for

I am the founder of, a devoted wife and mother, and an avid fish enthusiast. My aim is to assist fellow fish lovers worldwide in understanding how to properly care for and breed their pet fish.

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Ghost Shrimp Care: Complete Guide for Beginners


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Ghost Shrimp Species Profile and Identification

Ghost shrimp, also known as glass shrimp, are small freshwater crustaceans that belong to the family Palaemonidae. They are popular in the aquarium trade due to their transparent bodies, low-maintenance nature, and the benefits they provide in keeping an aquarium clean.

Origin and Size:  Ghost shrimp are native to North America, specifically the southeastern United States. Fully grown, these shrimp typically measure between 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) in length.

Color and Transparency:  Ghost shrimp are mostly transparent, which is why they are called “ghost” or “glass” shrimp. They may have some specks of color (usually orange) on their bodies, but most of their internal organs are visible through their translucent exoskeleton.

Lifespan:  In ideal conditions, ghost shrimp can live up to one year in an aquarium setting. However, their average lifespan is around six months, primarily due to their natural vulnerability to diseases and predation.

Identifying ghost shrimp can be difficult because other similarly sized and colored shrimp species are often sold alongside them. To definitively identify a ghost shrimp, look for the following features:

  • Transparent body with visible internal organs, with occasional specks of color
  • Two pairs of long, thin antennae
  • A long, segmented tail with a distinct fan at the end
  • A large, conspicuous hump on the back of mature females

Remember, acquiring the right species is essential for proper care and successful breeding. Always purchase ghost shrimp from a reputable retailer or breeder, and check for the characteristics mentioned above.

Ghost Shrimp Supplies

When setting up a tank for ghost shrimp, there are several essential supplies you’ll need to ensure a suitable environment. Let’s take a look at the necessary items and why they are crucial for ghost shrimp care.

  • Tank:  A 5-10 gallon aquarium is suitable for a small group of ghost shrimp. These tanks are relatively affordable and provide ample space for the shrimp to swim around and explore.
  • Filter:  A filter is essential to keep the water clean and well aerated. Choose a gentle sponge filter, as this is the perfect type to suit ghost shrimp’s preference for low water flow.
  • Heater:  Ghost shrimp require a consistent water temperature of 72-82°F (22-28°C). An aquarium heater is crucial to maintain this ideal temperature.
  • Lighting:  While ghost shrimp do not require any particular type of lighting, having a light source for the tank is essential if you plan to include live plants.
  • Substrate:  Sand or fine gravel provides a stable base for plants and offers ghost shrimp a place to forage.
  • Aquarium decor:  Incorporating hiding spots and plants is crucial for the mental welfare of your ghost shrimp. You can use driftwood, rocks, and live or artificial plants to provide these necessary spaces.
  • Water conditioner:  Dechlorinating the tap water is vital for ghost shrimp health. A water conditioner will remove harmful chemicals and make the water safe for your shrimp.
  • API Master Test Kit:  Regularly testing the water parameters is essential for your ghost shrimp’s wellbeing. Using an API Master Test Kit will help you monitor the water quality and make any necessary changes.
  • Shrimp food:  Ghost shrimp are omnivores and need a well-balanced diet. An appropriate shrimp pellet, supplemented with occasional vegetable-based snacks, is recommended.

These supplies form the basics for a healthy and thriving ghost shrimp habitat. By providing the right equipment and conditions, you’ll create an environment where your shrimp can thrive.

Ghost Shrimp Tank Setup

Creating the perfect tank setup for your ghost shrimp is essential in ensuring a healthy and stress-free environment. Often referred to as the “clean-up crew,” these small and transparent crustaceans remove algae and leftover food, keeping the tank clean and tidy.

Start with at least a  5-gallon tank  to provide ample space for your shrimp to roam and explore. If you are planning to house multiple ghost shrimp or keep them with other tank mates, consider a larger tank of 10 gallons or more.

  • Prepare the  substrate  by adding an inch or two of sand or fine gravel to the tank’s bottom. This will not only aid in the shrimp’s movement but also serve as a surface for beneficial bacteria to live.
  • Add  plants, rocks, and decorations  to the tank, providing hiding spots for the shrimp and fostering a more natural environment. Live plants such as java moss, java fern, and water wisteria are perfect choices for ghost shrimp tanks.
  • Equip the tank with a  filter  to ensure proper water circulation and filtration. Sponge filters are ideal for ghost shrimp since they prevent the shrimp from being sucked into the filter while maintaining optimal water quality.
  • Install a  heater  to maintain a stable water temperature between 68-80°F (20-27°C). A stable temperature is essential for the shrimp’s wellbeing, as drastic changes can put them under stress.

Remember to  cycle the tank  for at least a few weeks before introducing your ghost shrimp. Cycling allows beneficial bacteria to establish themselves, helps maintain water quality, and prevents harmful ammonia and nitrite spikes.

Ghost Shrimp Water Requirements

Ghost shrimp, like any other aquatic creatures, require proper water conditions to thrive and stay healthy. In this section, we’ll talk about the essential factors of water requirements for these amazing transparent crustaceans.

Temperature Range : Ghost shrimp are quite adaptable and can survive in a wide range of temperatures. However, the ideal range for them is between 65°F and 80°F (18°C – 27°C).

pH Level : The pH level determines how acidic or alkaline the water is. Ghost shrimp prefer a pH range of 7.0 to 7.8, which is considered slightly alkaline.

  • Regularly monitor the pH level in the tank
  • Use pH-testing kits available at aquarium stores to check the water condition

Water Hardness : Ghost shrimp require a moderate level of water hardness, between 3 and 15 dGH.

  • To maintain optimal water hardness, you can use crushed coral or calcium-rich rocks as a substrate

Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate Levels : Ghost shrimp, being sensitive to water parameters, need a tank with stable water conditions. High levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate can be harmful for them.

  • Aim for 0 ppm ammonia and nitrite levels
  • Keep nitrates levels less than 20 ppm by performing regular water changes

Here are the keys to the ideal water requirements for ghost shrimp:

Stick to these parameters, and ensure regular monitoring and maintenance to keep your ghost shrimp happy and healthy in their aquatic home.

Ghost Shrimp Diet and Feeding

Feeding your ghost shrimp a well-balanced diet is essential to keep them healthy and active. These tiny creatures are opportunistic feeders and eat a variety of food, making it easy to keep them satisfied.

  • Primary Food Source : Ghost shrimps are scavengers by nature and should be provided with a mix of sinking pellets, flakes, and algae wafers, catering to their diverse tastes. It’s equally important to provide enough of this staple diet collectively to avoid competition and aggression.
  • Supplemental Food : To ensure good health, supplement their diet with a variety of fresh, frozen, and live food such as blanched vegetables (like zucchini and spinach), white worms, bloodworms, and daphnia. Providing these treats once or twice a week will make a huge difference.
  • Natural Algae : Additionally, ghost shrimps love munching on the natural algae present in the tank which helps to keep the tank clean. However, ensure the algae growth is well balanced and doesn’t overrun the tank. You can clean excessive algae from the tank walls manually or by using special algae-eating fish.

Always remember,  overfeeding  can be an issue, leading to deteriorating water quality and shrimp health. To prevent this, remove any uneaten food from the tank after 24 hours. It’s essential to  regularly monitor  your ghost shrimp’s eating habits and adjust the amount of food provided accordingly.

A well-planned diet with various options, a mix of sinking pellets, algae wafers, flakes, and supplemental live foods can keep your ghost shrimps happy and healthy. Keep an eye on their eating habits, and be prepared to make adjustments to maintain optimal water quality and shrimp health.

Ghost Shrimp Care Schedule

To ensure the well-being of your ghost shrimp, it’s essential to follow a consistent care schedule. This routine will help you maintain a healthy environment for your pet and prevent potential issues.

  • Daily chores : Check on your ghost shrimp every day to look for any signs of stress or health issues. Regularly observe their behavior, as unusual activity can indicate potential problems.
  • Feeding : Feed your ghost shrimp once or twice a day, based on their needs. Provide a balanced diet consisting of pellets, flakes, and occasional live or frozen foods like brine shrimp, daphnia, or bloodworms.
  • Weekly chores : Perform a partial water change (around 20-30%) every week to maintain water quality. Test the water parameters like pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels to ensure they are within the recommended range.
  • Monthly tasks : Give your tank a thorough cleaning every month. Focus on removing any accumulated debris, algae, and detritus. Clean the filter system and replace or rinse filter media, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Trimming plants and decorations : Keep an eye on the growth of plants in your tank and trim them back as needed. This will help maintain an ideal environment for your ghost shrimp by preventing plants from overtaking their space.

Following this care schedule will keep your ghost shrimp healthy and happy. Always be attentive to your pet’s needs and adjust the schedule if needed, based on their behavior and overall well-being.

Ghost Shrimp Health Problems

Ghost shrimp, while generally hardy, can face a few health problems. These mainly occur due to poor water quality, stress, or incorrect care.

Molting Issues:  Molting is a normal process for ghost shrimp, but it can occasionally lead to health problems. Signs of molting issues include incomplete shedding or a white and cloudy appearance after molting. To avoid these issues, make sure to:

  • Maintain proper water quality and parameters.
  • Provide a calcium-rich diet to support healthy shell development.

Bacterial Infections:  Poor water quality can lead to bacterial infections in ghost shrimp. Common symptoms of bacterial infections include lethargy, cloudy eyes, and red or white spots on the body. To prevent bacterial infections:

  • Keep the tank clean and maintain appropriate water parameters.
  • Don’t overcrowd the tank, which can cause stress and lead to illness.

Parasites:  Parasites might attach themselves to the shrimp’s body, causing discomfort and potentially stressing the shrimp. Some common parasites found in ghost shrimp include:

  • Scutariella japonica: Appears as tiny white worms on the shrimp’s head.
  • Vorticella: Small, white, and hair-like growths on the body.

To prevent parasites:

  • Quarantine new shrimp before introduction to the tank.
  • Maintain a clean tank with appropriate water parameters.

Keeping an eye on your ghost shrimp’s health and maintaining proper care is crucial. Prevention is always better than cure, so always be diligent in maintaining water quality and observing your shrimp for any signs of distress or illness.

Ghost Shrimp Tank Mates

Ghost shrimp are peaceful and social creatures that can get along well with various other tank mates. However, it’s essential to select the right tank mates for your ghost shrimp to ensure a harmonious and thriving aquatic environment. Here are some suitable tank mates for your ghost shrimp:

  • Small and peaceful fish species:  Ghost shrimp can safely share their tank with small, non-aggressive fish such as neon tetras, guppies, and mollies. These fish will not harm your ghost shrimp and are likely to get along well.
  • Snails:  Snails are a natural addition to a ghost shrimp tank, as they clean algae and do not harm the shrimp. Examples include nerite snails and mystery snails.
  • Shrimp species:  Other small and non-aggressive shrimp species can be great tank mates too. Amano shrimp and cherry shrimp are popular choices, as they share similar water requirements with ghost shrimp.

Avoid adding the following tank mates to your ghost shrimp aquarium:

  • Large or aggressive fish species:  Large fish like goldfish, cichlids, or angelfish may see your ghost shrimp as food, which is not ideal for your shrimp’s survival.
  • Predatory species:  Likewise, avoid adding predatory species like crayfish or assassin snails to your tank, as they might hunt and eat your ghost shrimp.

It’s important to carefully observe the interaction between your ghost shrimp and the other inhabitants of your tank. If you notice any signs of aggression or harm, do not hesitate to separate the incompatible tank mates. By choosing the right tank mates, you can help ensure a healthy and happy living environment for your ghost shrimp and their aquatic friends.

Ghost Shrimp Breeding

Breeding ghost shrimp can be a fun and rewarding process. If you’re interested in increasing the population of your tank, you’ll need to understand the proper steps to ensure success.

Preparing the Tank

First, ensure your tank is suitable for breeding. This includes having plenty of hiding places, optimal water parameters, and a stable environment. To get your ghost shrimp ready for breeding, try the following steps:

  • Provide  plenty of hiding spots  with plants, rocks, or decor.
  • Maintain the  water temperature  at around 72-82°F.
  • Ensure  optimal tank conditions  such as a pH of 7-8 and well-oxygenated water.

Assessing Mating Behavior

Ghost shrimp usually mate after they molt, as the female needs to be soft-shelled to mate. Once a female molts, the male will initiate the mating process, which involves grabbing her while he deposits sperm.

This process can be fast, so you may not notice it at first. However, you can check if a female is carrying eggs by observing her belly, where fertilized eggs, called  berried eggs , will be visible.

Raising Ghost Shrimp Fry

After about two to three weeks, the eggs will hatch into larvae. At this stage, it’s a good idea to:

  • Separate the larvae  from the tank mates as they can be seen as prey. Set up a separate tank with similar conditions to the main tank for optimal growth.
  • Feed the larvae a  nutritious diet , including infusoria, baby brine shrimp, or powdered fry food, to enhance their survival rate.
  • Maintain  optimal water quality  through regular water changes and monitoring the conditions.

Lastly, be patient when breeding ghost shrimp. It may take some time before you notice any significant growth in the population. However, with proper care and tank maintenance, you can enjoy the rewarding experience of breeding ghost shrimp!

Caring for ghost shrimp can be a fun and rewarding experience, as long as you follow the guidelines outlined in this complete guide. With the proper supplies, tank setup, and attention to their dietary and care needs, your ghost shrimp will thrive in your aquarium. We encourage you to leave a comment below and share your thoughts or experiences with ghost shrimp care.

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Aquarium advice

Ghost Shrimp Care Guide (Diet, Tank & Breeding)

Ghost Shrimp , also commonly known as Glass Shrimp , are a class of decapods crustaceans, swimming crustaceans commonly seen in freshwater aquariums .

Their easy availability means that they are a common addition to many tanks. They generally have two positions, one as feeders to larger fish and the second as highly effective tank cleaners.

Easily overlooked by most enthusiasts, the Ghost Shrimp is an interesting and active addition to a small freshwater aquarium.

Ghost Shrimp are a small invertebrate, growing to a maximum of 1.5 – 3 inches in length. They are transparent, with a yellow to orange spot in the center of the tail. They have 10 legs and their body is segmented.

Females are larger than males, have a green saddle that runs underneath their body (absent in males) and a ridge on top of their tails that is very pronounced.

Article Contents

Ghost Shrimp Origin

The earliest dated shrimp fossils found are from the Lower Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. Ghost Shrimps originate from North America and have been in the hobby aquarium ever since people began creating aquaria in the 1850s .

Palaemonetes paludosus is the Latin name and they are common in the southern states, east of the Appalachian Mountains. They are bred in captivity throughout the world and have generally been used as feeders for larger, more aggressive fish.

Ghost Shrimp Diet

Known as pests to clam farmers who spend a fortune clearing them from their clam farms, Ghost Shrimp are omnivores which will eat just about anything left in the tank. 

They will feed on leftover food, parts of live plants that shed and even on dead tank mates. It’s important to remove dead fish from the tank as soon as possible though, as they may cause an ammonia spike in the tank.

They will also eat flake foods and sinking pellets, even ones intended for other fish.

Algae is another source of nutrition for them. One algae pellet per day ( we love the sinking algae wafers by API ) will feed a tank with lots of shrimp, but take care not to put them in a tank with much smaller fish as they will occasionally attack and eat them.

These shrimp are scavengers and they can often be seen swimming upside down at the top of the tank waiting to feed on food flakes.

How To House Ghost Shrimp

Ghost Shrimp

These small invertebrates are best kept in a small tropical aquarium environment. The ideal PH is 7.2 and the ideal temperature is 75 Fahrenheit.

The water should be fairly hard and certainly within the range of 3-15 DKH (degrees of carbonate hardness).

Although the shrimp can survive in lower temperatures they become less active the lower the temperature. In this environment their peaceful nature can lead to them being attacked.

They certainly thrive in slightly warmer temperatures, but they have been known to become more active in warmer climates, resulting in them attacking other species within the tank. It’s therefore important to attain the right balance of temperature to ensure the ecology system of the tank.

The aquarium should contain live plants and some hiding places for the shrimp to escape to from time to time. They burrow so they need some sand or gravel to give them a place to hide.

Ghost Shrimp molt and when their shell is regenerating they are very vulnerable to other tank mates. So they need a space to hide during the molting process.

Ghost Shrimp are best kept with similar species, such as the Amano Shrimp (as long as it’s larger than the Ghost Shrimp), Bamboo Shrimp, Vampire Shrimp, Nerite Snails, Gold Inca Snails and Ivory Snails.

Any larger fish will feed on them so it’s important to keep them in a separate aquarium.

Ghost Shrimp Behaviour

Ghost Shrimp

Shrimp are burrowers and they use this technique to feel safe within the tank and to feed. Their 10 legs are used for different purposes, always keeping them busy and on the move.

The claws of the first and second set of legs are used to help them dig their burrow. When they create their burrows of about 2 – 3 feet in length, they use another set of legs to hold the sandy mud.

Whenever they reach the capacity that they can carry, they turn around and exit the burrow, depositing the sand outside.

They continue this until they have created a collection of burrows with at least two openings. These burrows are only temporary and the Ghost Shrimp will create new burrows in a never ending cycle.

The remaining legs are either used for grooming or bracing the shrimp whilst it’s burrowing.

Ghost Shrimp Lifespan

As these shrimp are mainly used as bait, it’s likely that the environment they have been kept in when being transported to pet shops and aquarium supply shops is not optimal for their survival.

Even when they arrive at the shop they are often kept in over stocked tanks where the environment is not completely accurate to ensure their survival.

When being transferred into your aquarium environment the likelihood of some of them dying within the first couple of days is high.

If the shrimp survive the first few days they can live up to one year or slightly more.

Ghost Shrimps go through a molting stage in their lifespan. This is the process where their outer shell drops off as they eat and grow.

During this period the shrimp is very vulnerable, so it is very important that they have somewhere to burrow during this time, preferably live plants or somewhere with lots of little hiding places.

It’s an amazing transition to watch live, if you can catch it. Have a look at this video to see exactly how they do it…

Breeding Ghost Shrimp

These shrimps are difficult to breed, simply because their eggs hatch as free floating larvae. They do not metamorphose into miniature versions of the adults until at least a week and therefore it’s difficult to keep an eye on them.

When the eggs are hatched, they need a good powdered algae such as Spirulina, and they should be kept in a separate tank until they have reached the stage where they look like their parents.

Important Information

As with all shrimp, it’s very important to ensure no copper is introduced to the water system. Copper is toxic to Ghost Shrimp and is contained within many fish medication. If you need to medicate other species make sure you remove your Ghost Shrimp to another tank to ensure their survival.

Logan Price

I created this website to help fellow fishkeepers get accurate and helpful information at the click of a few buttons. I've always loved caring for fish and their aquariums, but I've certainly made mistakes along the way. So I'm hoping to help people avoid common fishkeeping mistakes so they can enjoy this satisfying hobby alongside me!

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