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

  • by Millie Sheppard
  • Updated: November 25, 2022
  • 12 shares 0 12 0

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, 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

Ghost Shrimp, also called Glass Shrimp are one of the easiest species of freshwater shrimp to keep. They are primarily translucent, small and highly active. Ghost shrimp are extremely popular due to their low price. Ghost shrimp can often be purchased en mass for as little as 20-50 cents each. This price makes them attractive to prospective owners but also as a live feeder for larger carnivorous fish. Ghost Shrimp are scavengers and do an excellent job of cleaning the aquarium of rotting debris and algae. They are effective at actively reducing nitrates within the aquarium and having a very low biomass footprint.

ghost shrimp or glass shrimp

Ghost Shrimp are extremely hardy and condition tolerant when directly compared to other varieties of shrimp such as Crystal Red Shrimp and Red Cherry Shrimp. For this reason they are the best beginner shrimp to trial before moving on to more expensive varieties. They are easy to breed and maintain. Ghost Shrimp will consume almost any type of food. They are also effective scavengers. Ghost shrimp are tolerant but are still sensitive to water fluctuations. Water chemistry should be kept stable when housing Ghost Shrimp. If they begin to look unwell in the aquarium immediately check the water temperature and recent additives.

ghost shrimp hardy

Temperature ~75°F

  • The optimum aquarium temperature for Ghost Shrimp is around 65-85°F (18-29°C). Ghost shrimp can tolerate temperatures as low as 65°F. Ghost shrimp are best kept around 75°F in a tropical aquarium. Higher temperatures will lead to faster growth and reproduction rates. However higher temperatures reduces dissolved oxygen and stocking will need to be lowered. 85°F (30°C) is the upper limit tolerated by Ghost Shrimp. At low temperatures Ghost Shrimp are more susceptible to disease.
  • Ghost Shrimp pH can be variable from 6.5 – 8.0. A neutral range will maximize health, color and hatching rates of Ghost Shrimp eggs. Neutral tap water is perfect for water changes.

ghost shrimp hardy

Nitrite 0ppm

  • Before adding any Ghost Shrimp to the aquarium ensure nitrite is 0. Cycle the tank and check the levels with a test kit. Ghost Shrimp are highly sensitive to nitrite.

ghost shrimp hardy

Ammonia 0ppm

  • Ammonia should always be 0 post cycling. Ghost Shrimp are sensitive to elevated ammonia levels.

ghost shrimp hardy

Nitrate >20ppm

  • Nitrates should be less than 20ppm. It is not a requirement but it is highly encouraged to have nitrate levels of 0ppm. More water changes and plants can help keep nitrates lower.

ghost shrimp hardy

Water Changes 30%

  • The aquarium water should be changed at least 30% every week. Use a spare glass heater to bring the changed water up to the aquariums temperature. This will reduce shock on the Ghost Shrimp during water change.

ghost shrimp

Adding the Ghost Shrimp

  • Ghost Shrimp can be kept in aquariums larger than 5 gallons. It is recommended to keep them in a species only aquarium. Ghost shrimp are small and defenseless, easily harassed and consumed by larger fish. Ensure the aquarium has been chemically tested and it is within the parameters listed above before adding the shrimp.
  • Add the Ghost Shrimp from the plastic bag to a bowl. Use air-line tubing and a rubber band to create a siphon from the aquarium. Kink the tubing by placing the rubber band over a bent section of the tube. Adjust the kink to allow a slow drip of 1 drop of water per second exiting the tube. Let this drip into the bowl for the next 20-30 minutes and monitor carefully.
  • After 20-30 minutes use a soft mesh net to transfer the Ghost Shrimp into the aquarium. Cover the net with one hand when moving the shrimp as they can jump and escape.
  • Ghost Shrimp are hardy but can be affected by poor water quality. If a situation does arise check the water immediately. Perform a water change and try to identify the problem. If you have more than one aquarium move the Ghost Shrimp to a suitable temporary home. Even if the conditions are sub-optimal is often far better than leaving them in a toxic aquarium.
  • Here is a link to a full guide to setting up a shrimp tank . Including setup instructions, cycling and choosing the correct hardscape in much greater detail.

ghost shrimp hardy

Feeding Ghost Shrimp

  • Ghost Shrimp are scavenger feeders and will accept a wide variety of foods. They are omnivorous and will naturally feed on brush algae and fallen food.
  • Ghost Shrimp can be fed processed foods such as flakes & pellets. They are typically unfussy eaters. Ghost shrimp have a unique clear body, the food can be seen making its way through the digestive system. Ghost Shrimp will also eat boiled zucchini and soft vegetables. Vegetables provide the shrimp with necessary nutrients and are a low cost solution.

ghost shrimp hardy

Ghost Shrimp as live feeders

  • Ghost shrimp can be purposefully bred to feed to aquarium fish. Larger freshwater species including Oscars, Arowanas, Cichlids, Angelfish, Discus and Trigger Fish will benefit. Ghost shrimp are high in natural oils and fats, beneficial for coloration and development.
  • Ghost Shrimp have much lower risk of carrying disease than other live feeder species. Feeder fish and blood worms can carry harmful parasites while Ghost shrimp are exempt as invertebrates.
  • A separate aquarium should be set up to breed the Ghost Shrimp. Ghost Shrimp breed readily and can be farmed to be a sustainable weekly meal for the display tank. Further reading regarding breeding can be found below.

ghost shrimp or glass shrimp

Tank mates & Compatibility

  • Ghost Shrimp are best kept in a species only aquarium or with other very small shrimp species. They breed quickly, are fairly hardy and interact well with their own species. They lack proper defenses to be housed with larger fish and are often used as live feeders.
  • Ghost Shrimp must be kept away from fish such as Discus, Oscars, Cichlids, Arowanas and Angel Fish. Tetra's and other smaller fish can pose a risk to younger fry and harass smaller shrimp.
  • Adult varieties are often kept with small fish. They can be extremely productive in the aquarium, reducing nitrates and removing excess algae. It is recommended to have a strong starting population of at least 20 when housed with fish. This is due to a safety in numbers argument. The Ghost Shrimp will have adequate time to feed and rest without being targeted.

ghost shrimp hardy

How Many Ghost Shrimp can be Kept in the Aquarium?

  • Ghost Shrimp have an extremely low biomass and ecological footprint. They produce very little waste and aid in the reduction of nitrates. For this reason there is a soft cap of 10 shrimp per gallon of tank water. Careful note should be taken of temperature and water conditions in highly stocked tanks. High temperatures can increase reproduction rates but will lower the dissolved oxygen content of the water. Plants can aid in oxygenation and shelter.
  • It is recommended to use an air filter with Ghost Shrimp. The young are small and weaker swimmers than the adults. Slower water currents are preferred by all ages of Ghost Shrimp.

ghost shrimp hardy

Breeding Ghost Shrimp

  • Ghost Shrimp are easy to breed. Ensure the tank is stocked with both males and females. Females are much larger than males, usually about 1.5x the length. It is optimal to have twice as many females as males.
  • Choosing specific ratios may not be possible when purchasing. In this case purchase at least 20 to ensure a healthy mix of both male and females.
  • Raise the temperature in the aquarium to around 80°F. Raising the temperature can help simulate warmer months (and therefore wetter months) of the year. Water changes can also help contribute to breeding behavior. Higher temperatures increase metabolism and will help breeding activity in the Ghost Shrimp.
  • It is important to fill your tank with patches of thick plant cover. This will give the Ghost Shrimp piece of mind and safety needed for breeding. Raising the relative hardness of the water can spur breeding. Harder water signals to Ghost Shrimp higher calcium and mineral levels necessary for maturation of eggs. This can be obtained by adding a small bag of limestone chips to the filter.
  • Within one to two weeks females will be noticeable with rows of hundreds of eggs beneath their tails. Ghost shrimp will constantly fan the eggs to ensure they remain oxygenated and healthy. Ensure the tank is using an air filter at this point. Ghost Shrimp fry are small and fragile.
  • Sometimes the Ghost Shrimp become pregnant but there are never any young. In this case check three parameters. The calcium is at appropriate levels in the tank. Too elevated can lead to impermeable shells. Too low can lead to soft development. Ensure the temperature is around 80°F, this is necessary to encourage birth. Relax the Ghost Shrimp with plant and artificial cover.
  • Ghost Shrimp fry are born live from the mother. The eggs will be carried for around 1 to two weeks. Immediately after being born the fry must fend for themselves. It is wise to move them to a fry-only tank. Ghost Shrimp are scavengers and will often eat their own young.

ghost shrimp hardy


ghost shrimp hardy

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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. 

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Ian Sterling

I've been keeping fish for over 30 years and currently have 4 different aquariums – it's an addiction. I'm here to teach you everything there is to know about fishkeeping.

I also use this site as an excuse to spend lots of money on testing and reviewing different aquarium products! You can find my reviews here .

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  • Ghost shrimp (Palaemonetes sp.) care & info

Freshwater ghost shrimp from the Palaemonetes genus, also known as glass shrimp, are hardy shrimp often used as feeders due to their low price. However, they're also easy, fun additions to the aquarium and a great choice for anyone looking to gain some experience in shrimp keeping.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about ghost shrimp care and keeping them in your aquarium!

Table of Contents

Setting up a ghost shrimp aquarium


As mentioned above, these shrimp are not difficult to keep. They don't require a specialized aquarium set-up and a tank of at least 10 gallons (38L) should be large enough to sustain a colony. You can keep around three ghost shrimp per gallon without any issues.

As always, your aquarium should be filtered and fully  cycled before any shrimp are added. Although ghost shrimp can handle a relatively wide temperature range it's a good idea to always use a heater to prevent sudden temperature fluctuations.

Like all shrimp, this species can become skittish if the aquarium lacks hiding places. Palaemonetes shrimp love a heavily planted tank! If you want to see your shrimps' natural (foraging) behavior be sure to use plenty of plants and hides.

Water quality

One of the reasons Palaemonetes shrimp are so popular as feeder shrimp is that they are quite hardy and can handle bad water quality fairly well. This makes it easy to ship and house them in massive amounts; after all, if a few die it's not like a lot of money is lost.

Obviously, things are a little different if you keep these shrimp in your display aquarium. If you want them to live a long and happy life, it's important to keep the water quality high. That means the tank should always be fully cycled (zero ammonia, zero nitrite and nitrates as low as possible).

Overstocking is not much of a worry if you only keep ghost shrimp, as their bioload is very low, but it's something to keep in mind if you're going for a community tank. Room temperature is fine, but as discussed above it's a good idea to still use a heater as backup.

pH: 7.0-7.8

Temperature: 65-82 °F/18-27.5 °C

Water hardness: 3-15 dkh

Because they are a little larger than dwarf shrimp, there is less risk of your Palaemonetes shrimp being eaten by their tankmates. That being said, you should still avoid keeping them with any fish that might have an appetite for shrimp! Peaceful tankmates are a must for any shrimp. If you're interested in actively breeding your ghost shrimp, you might want to consider setting up a single-species tank, as the larvae are very vulnerable.

Keep in mind that ghost shrimp are known to be slightly more aggressive than dwarf shrimp. Fish with long fins, such as Bettas, might be damaged by these opportunistic feeders.

Can ghost shrimp live with red cherry shrimp?

Yes, they can. The species are compatible and won't harm each other. They can't interbreed, though.

Can ghost shrimp live with goldfish?

No, we don't see the possibility of a harmonious co-existence there. Goldfish are omnivorous underwater vacuums that will consume a ghost shrimp if they can.

Ghost shrimp diet

Do ghost shrimp eat algae? Are they a good addition to your aquarium as part of your 'cleaning crew'? Good news: the answer is yes to both!

One of the reasons Palaemonetes shrimp aren't just appreciated as feeders is their diet. These shrimp are omnivorous scavengers that will eat pretty much anything they come across, while maintaining a low bioload. They will consume leftover foods, decaying plant matter, and yes, algae too.

If your aquarium is very clean, your shrimp likely can't find enough to eat by themselves. You can supplement their diet with anything from algae wafers to frozen foods such as mosquito larvae.

Breeding ghost shrimp

Breeding Palaemonetes shrimp is a little different from breeding dwarf shrimp. They don't hatch as miniature versions of their parents like many other shrimp species do. Rather, they pass through a larval stage during which they are very vulnerable and easily (accidentally) damaged or killed.

To breed your shrimp, set up a single-species aquarium with a sponge filter. Make sure your shrimp colony contains both males and females and plant the tank heavily to provide the larvae with a place to hide and feed on infusoria and biofilm. Make sure your water values are perfect and you should soon start seeing females carrying small green eggs between their swimmerets. That's it!

Ghost shrimp eggs hatch in around three weeks. You probably won't see the larvae much at first, but they should come out of hiding once they're large enough to feel safe out in the open.

How to determine ghost shrimp gender

Wondering whether you've actually got both male and female shrimp on your hands? The differences are subtle, but you'll get a feel for it.

Female ghost shrimp are larger than males. They will have a colored fleck behind the head, called a saddle, which are eggs developing in the ovaries. Alternatively, they might carry eggs in their swimmerets.

Frequently asked questions

How long do ghost shrimp live.

Palaemonetes shrimp lifespan isn't quite as long as that of some of the other invertebrates we've discussed here on the blog. They can live for 1-1.5 years, but that's their potential lifespan.

A ghost shrimp kept in a dirty feeder tank may not make it more than a couple of weeks, but there's no guarantee either way.

Do ghost shrimp need a heater?

Usually not. After all, the ideal water temperature for ghost shrimp is between 65-82 °F, which falls within room temperature range. However, we generally still recommend using a heater to prevent temperature swings and to help keep things stable.

Are ghost shrimp aggressive?

That depends: because various species from the Palaemonetes genus are sold in aquarium stores as juveniles, there's a chance your shrimp can end up growing very large and somewhat aggressive. Be sure to ask the pet store if they know what kind of shrimp their ghosts are. Palaemonetes paludosus, the American glass shrimp, is a great, non-aggressive option.

One species to avoid if you're worried about aggressive shrimp is the very similar Macrobrachium lanchesteri, which is unfortunately sold as under the same name sometimes.

How often do ghost shrimp molt?

Molting frequency decreases with age, but even mature shrimp molt around once a month. You might not see your shrimp during shedding time, as they feel vulnerable and tend to hide for a day or two.

Are ghost shrimp nocturnal?

The common American glass shrimp, Palaemonetes paludosus, officially is. Luckily that doesn't mean you won't see yours at all during the day. In the aquarium they're still relatively active when it's light.

Why do my ghost shrimp keep dying?

There are many possible causes. Are you buying low-quality Palaemonetes shrimp meant as feeders? They may have been permanently damaged by low water quality or even be one of the species that lives in brackish water. And speaking of low water quality, have you done a test using a liquid water testing kit yet? Have you checked you're following all the instructions in this care guide?

If you're truly stumped, feel free to leave a comment below describing your situation. We're happy to share any insights we may have.

Why is my ghost shrimp turning white?

These shrimp can turn white when they're about to molt. It may also happen when they're at the end of their lifespan (due to old age) or if they're stressed due to low water quality. Time to whip out your water test kit!

It is normal for a Palaemonetes shrimp to change color, but a normal color change would usually involve more brown appearing, not a milky white appearance.

Where to buy

Palaemonetes shrimp are one of the most common shrimp species in the aquarium hobby and you shouldn't have too much trouble finding them. Because they are often used as feeders, you might be able to find them at your local pet- or aquarium store for a low price. However, keep in mind that these shrimp might not be healthy. They might also be one of the species that actually requires brackish water.

You can also find 100% healthy freshwater ghost shrimp that don't turn into huge monsters (Palaemonetes paludosus) at The Shrimp Farm with live arrival guarantee. Just click here to buy your shrimp!

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Ghost Shrimp Care, Food, Lifespan, Habitat – Video

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Ghost Shrimp, also known as Glass Shrimp, are relatively easy freshwater aquarium shrimp to keep. Ghost Shrimp are almost always available for sale at local pet stores as well as at the larger chain stores. At the pet shop, they are frequently kept in a small tank with other shrimp of their kind. The small tank often has a sponge filter or air stone pumping bubbles. On display, the Ghost Shrimp tank often does not look like something other than a tank of murky water with tons of bubbles.

Ghost Shrimp are relatively inexpensive and are often purchased as “feeders” for larger more aggressive fish. Some Cichlids can eat Ghost Shrimp all day long. But Ghost Shrimp are more than a tasty snack. They are great aquarium cleaners and can be a lot of fun to watch. Many new hobbyists don’t give Ghost Shrimp a second look, but they really can be an interesting invertebrate to keep in their own right.

Ghost Shrimp look good when kept in a tank with black aquarium gravel or substrate. It’s also good to keep them in a tank with a black background. When the shrimp is up against the black gravel or background it makes them easier to see.

Ghost Shrimp Behavior, Upclose: 30 Second Video

More Ghost Shrimp Videos:

Glass Shrimp Eating A Dead Amano Shrimp

Glass Shrimp Feeding Closeup In A Freshwater Tank

Shrimp Tank Mates Are Very Important

Shrimp Eating, And Food Gets Stolen

Ghost Shrimp Pictures Gallery

Water Sprite And Ghost Shrimp

Ghost Shrimp care is relatively easy. They are very active and busy invertebrates tirelessly scouring the tank for food to eat. Always on the go, these shrimp are in their element when kept in an established tank that is not “too clean”. As scavengers, they search the gravel or substrate for little bits of edible material that is otherwise uneaten. To that extent, Ghost Shrimp are decent aquarium cleaners, almost in the same league as Amano Shrimp and Nerite Snails. Ghost Shrimp are small so they may not eat as much as larger invertebrates, but they are constantly picking away at nearly everything they are near.

Tank Size For Ghost Shrimp

Ghost Shrimp can be kept in small tanks like 5 or 10 gallon aquariums and larger. With small aquariums, be mindful of the limitations of the tank in terms of low water volume and limited surface area. So be sure to not accidentally overstock the tank. Ghost Shrimp are small creatures but they contribute to the bio-load of a tank just like other living organisms. Overstocking a small tank with lots of shrimp will cause water quality issues and can create an unhealthy environment. So follow the typical fish stocking rules for community tanks and things should work out fine.

With small tanks like a 10 gallon, try not to add too many Ghost Shrimp. They may get aggressive and nasty toward each other if there are too many living together in a small space.

Ghost Shrimp Habitat & Water Parameters

Ghost Shrimp seem to enjoy establish planted aquariums with a moderate current of continuously moving water . An appropriately sized HOB power filter should do the trick and keep the water circulating properly. Additionally, an air pump with a fine air stone will create a wall of tiny bubbles to help keep water moving as well. With the bubbles, it’s fun to watch the shrimp get drawn up into the current and have to move their hind legs ferociously to swim out of it. Ghost Shrimp are great swimmers.

Ghost Shrimp Like Live Aquarium Plants

Keeping Ghost Shrimp in a tank with hardy live plants can also be a good idea. Aquariums with lots of live plants are never “too clean” as the plants constantly shed plant matter into the water column. Ghost Shrimp seem to enjoy picking through the messiness and feasting on the parts they can eat. Keeping aquarium plants is also a good idea because they provide little places to explore and hide especially near the bottom of the tank. Other hiding places can be created with decorations or rocks built into caves and caverns. Either way, it’s important that Ghost Shrimp have places to sneak away to from time to time.

Water Parameters

As far as water parameters go, Ghost Shrimp seem to be comfortable in the tropical community tank range. Water temperature can be 72 – 82 degrees Fahrenheit, with some suggesting that a slightly wider temperature range is also acceptable. Aquarium pH should be fine anywhere between 7.0 and 8.0 provided there are no sudden shifts, and the water should also be on the hard side. Standard aquarium lighting will do. And as with all freshwater aquarium shrimp, be very careful when treating the tank with medicines. Keep Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates in check. And most importantly, avoid copper as copper can be fatal to aquarium shrimp.

Ghost Shrimp Food, Size & Color Range

Ghost Shrimp food is broad as they will eat almost anything. They are great pickers and will eat like machines. Ghost Shrimp food can include some forms of algae, dead plant latter and detritus. These shrimp love fish or shrimp pellets, fish flakes, algae wafers or bits otherwise uneaten food. And its a good idea to find food supplements with Calcium, as Calcium is necessary for healthy shell growth. Ghost Shrimp food may also include their fallen tank mates, as they will even feed off dead fish or dead shrimp. Of course, it’s important to take dead inhabitants out of the water quickly otherwise there can be an ammonia spike in the tank. It’s fun to watch Ghost Shrimp swim up and pluck bits of food out of the water. And there is a pecking order with feeding as well. Bigger shrimp eat first.

Ghost Shrimp Size, Shape & Appearance

Ghost Shrimp size varies by age, but generally they grow to be about 1 1/2 inches in length. In terms of width, Ghost Shrimp size is generally about the diameter of a pencil eraser when fully grown. Ghost Shrimp tend to be thinner and more streamline as compared to Amano Shrimp. Ghost Shrimp have a little hump midway down the length of their tail. And like other shrimp, they resemble small crayfish. But there are some differences. One big difference is the size of the creature and the pliability of their shell. Glass Shrimp have much softer shells than crayfish.

Ghost Shrimp Antenna

A Ghost Shrimp has a pair of long antenna and a pair of short antenna. Their rostrum is on the top of their head right between their eyes. Behind the rostrum is a carapace area. Its in this carapace area where many of the inner workings of this shrimp can be seen, especially when feeding. The shrimp’s front legs are attached to the underside of the carapace. The legs are long, slender and clear. When the shrimp is feeding on the tank bottom or on hard surfaces, its primary method of movement is to walk with its legs.

Behind the carapace, they have six abdominal segments that form a flexible covering. The area between the third and fourth abdominal segments comes together to form what appears to be a slight pointed area that juts up slightly higher than the other segments. Little clear swimmerets are tucked under the abdominal segments. These swimmerets can be seen fluttering back and forth as the shrimp moves up and down through the water column. And female shrimp keep their eggs safely tucked under the abdominal segments closest to the carapace.

Abdominal Segments

The sixth abdominal segment connects to the tail. The tail is also made up of flexible, moving segments. But these segments are thin and flat. In the middle of the tail is the telson. Under the telson are the four segments of soft shell that make up the uropod. The uropod can expand and contrast slightly to make the tail more broad or more narrow as need be. And on the edges of the uropod segments, the shrimp has very fine filament-like “fringe”. Similar looking “fringe” filaments also appear on the edges of the swimmerets.

When the shrimp needs to move very quickly, in case of danger, it can be seen becoming very streamline and quickly flapping its uropod under its abdomen. This causes the shrimp to propel itself backwards at very high speeds. Often, one quick thrust backward is sufficient to get out of dangerous situations like conflicts over a piece of food. But it’s not uncommon for them to pump their uropod a couple times in a row to put some real distance between themselves and danger. When this happens, the shrimp can end up retreating to other side of the tank in an instant.

Color Range

Many people describe Ghost Shrimp color as a transparent shrimp, but I think they are more on the translucent side. Their bodies are generally clear with a hint of hazy grey, or sprinkled with green dots. Ghost Shrimp color ranges from translucent light grey to a translucent darker grey, but in either case one can see almost see through the shrimp, and certainly can see inside the shrimp. And that is one of the most fascinating aspects of a Ghost Shrimp: One can see the internal workings of its body when it feeds. It’s really amazing to watch close up. They may also have little green dots on their torso, and orange rings on their feelers and front legs.

Ghost Shrimp Lifespan & Molting

Ghost Shrimp lifespan can be anywhere from a couple of days to 1 year. In some cases under good conditions and with a little luck, a Ghost Shrimp lifespan can be a little longer than a year. But usually not that much more that that.

Ghost Shrimp are at risk of dying soon after they are added to a tank. It’s not uncommon for Ghost Shrimp to die within a day or two of being introduced to an established tank with healthy and stable water. Some will appear dead on the bottom of the tank and others will simply “disappear”. At the same time, other Ghost Shrimp from the same batch acclimate well and thrive in their new environment. Maybe its the stress of being brought home from the store, or maybe they experience stress due to very slight differences in water parameters, but whatever the reason be prepared to lose a few shrimp with each batch.

Another consideration is that because these shrimp are considered “feeders” they may not be treated very well when transported to the store. They are often kept in overstocked, under-filtered tanks with poor water conditions. That may be why some are prone to dying when transported to a home aquarium.

Ghost Shrimp Molting Process

Ghost Shrimp are often kept in groups. It’s difficult to say how often Ghost Shrimp molt because its hard to figure out which of the group has lost its shell. Most commonly a hobbyist will wake up one morning, check out the tank and see a couple of clear white empty shells on the bottom. As long as they shrimp are there, all is good. The important thing to know is that Ghost Shrimp molt as they eat and grow. So as long they are actively feeding and moving about, it’s normal for them to molt often. Molting just means they are healthy and growing larger.

When Ghost Shrimp molt they are very vulnerable until they get acclimated in their new shell. That’s why its important to keep them in a tank with lots of small hiding places. Live aquarium plants are good for this purpose.

After molting occurs, leave the empty shed shell in the tank for a few days. Other shrimp may take turns feeding off it. Re-ingesting the minerals in the old shell helps set up their next molting cycle.

Ghost Shrimp Tank Mates

Ghost Shrimp tank mates can be small non-aggressive community tank fish that are not large enough to eat them. They are not going to last long (meaning a matter of seconds) with Goldfish, Oscars and other cichlids, Frogs, Turtles, crayfish or other aggressive roughens.

Good tank mates for Glass Shrimp can include others of their kind, as well as:  Bamboo Shrimp (aka Wood Shrimp), Vampire Shrimp (aka Viper Shrimp), Amano Shrimp , provided the Amanos are larger, Red Cherry Shrimp , Nerite Snails , Mystery Snails , Malaysian Trumpet Snails , Gold Inca Snails , Ivory Snails , and Ramshorn Snails . Ghost Shrimp can also be tank mates with some calm and peaceful community tank fish especially Cory Catfish and Otocinclus Catfish . As always, check with the clerk at the pet store about potential compatibility issues before purchasing Ghost Shrimp and adding them to a tank.

Berried Ghost Shrimp:  Reproduction

Ghost Shrimp breeding is challenging. I have kept Ghost Shrimp berried, or with eggs, but I have never been successful reaching the stage where I’ve seen live babies. This may be due to the fact that the shrimp have always been in busy tanks with tank mates that could be interested in eating the offspring. That said, they can reproduce in fresh water and can be purchased carrying eggs. So have some fine sponge filters handy to cover power filter intakes in case you see larvae. And it may be a good idea to move the berried shrimp to a separate tank so the baby shrimp do not get eaten by hungry predators when they are first born.

Keeping Glass Shrimp As Feeders:

If Glass Shrimp are going to be used as feeders, its not necessary for to keep them in an elaborate tank. Just about any size tank will do for this purpose. Gravel and live plants are not necessary either. Although some floating Anacharis may be useful in keeping the tank water somewhat healthy. One thing that should be present is a constant flow of air bubbles. Tiny air bubbles are necessary to keep the water moving and the surface area agitated. So a small air stone, a few feet of tubing and a small air pump are needed.

If Glass Shrimp are going to be kept for any length of time, a small sponge filter would also be a good idea. Unfiltered feeder tank water has a tendency to get dingy, cloudy and yellow-looking pretty quickly. A sponge filter will act as a mechanical and biological filter, and the bubbles will keep the water moving. A corner sponge filter with a weighted bottom will work well. A small net should also be on the accessories list. Finally, its probably not necessary to keep the feeder tank heated or covered. But a hood or clear cover may be a good idea to limit splashing from the bubbles aerating the tank.

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The Best Ghost Shrimp Care Guide: How to Care for Ghost Shrimp

Fresh Water Aquarium


No, Ghost Shrimp are not fish. People often ask, is Shrimp a fish? Now you have the answer!

Ghost shrimp, glass shrimp, or eastern glass shrimp is a species of freshwater crustacean. They are often found in the southeastern United States region. Because of their easy care routine, they are quite popular with fish keepers to diversify tropical aquariums containing non-aggressive fish species. Not only this, they are also widely known as inexpensive and easy to keep crustacean. They can be efficient tank cleaners or fodder for large fish. Moreover, they are great hunters who scavenge the gravel for food and leftovers in the tank.

Their body shape completely changes the entire aesthetic of the fish tank. Plus, their activity and active lifestyle make sure th at you always have something pretty to look at. That’s why Ghost Shrimps are a perfect addition to a tropical fish community. 

However, ghost shrimps aren’t for the sentimental folks. Their life span is just 1 year, in which they mature and die. This is also what makes them so affordable. You can easily get a 1.2 inches ghost shrimp for less than a dollar. Bigger 1.5 inches of ghost shrimp cost anywhere from $1.2 (on eBay) to $2.5 (on Amazon). 

Ghost Shrimp Overview 

Best Quality Ghost Shrimp

Originally, ghost shrimps came from North America. First written accounts of their use in home aquariums date as far back as 1850. Generally speaking, ghost shrimp is a common name for different shrimp varieties. Freshwater Ghost Shrimp is the most popular one. It belongs to the Palaemonetes family. In this article, we will be focusing on freshwater Ghost Shrimp. 

While there are several different species of Ghost Shrimp, fish stores use the popular name Ghost Shrimp instead. It is more common and less confusing. 

Today, Ghost Shrimp are available all over the world. Most of their population is farmed as fodder or for home community aquariums . Fishermen commonly use them as bait, but their wild population can cause problems for the fishing industry because of their role as pests in aquaculture. 

Ghost shrimps are an excellent scavengers. They are always on active duty. They work throughout the day, clear up uneaten food and keep the algae levels down. So, they make your life as a caretaker much easier. 

You don’t even need them in a group. A single Ghost Shrimp will work just fine in the aquarium. Just be careful when you purchase one. Make sure you know whether they are bred as fodder or for home aquariums. Feeder Ghost Shrimp get poor treatment. So, they may not survive for a full year.

The Appearance of Ghost Shrimp

Ghost Shrimp Appearance

On their face, they have a pair of antennae – sensory organs that detect information about food and water. Then there is a beak-like extension – known as a rostrum – between the two eyes. Their soft body parts are encased in a hard protective shell called the carapace. Behind the carapace, there are 6 flexible abdominal segments. 

Ghost Shrimp Lifespan and Molting 

As we mentioned earlier, a Ghost Shrimp can live for as long as a year. Their lifespan varies depending on the place of origin and the individual itself. 

Because they’re easy to reproduce and come fairly cheap, breeders keep them in high-density communities with poor filtration mechanisms. That’s why they have poor health and most of them die during transport. It’s fairly common for Ghost Shrimps to die within a few days of starting their new life in a tank, even if the aquarium is healthy. 

Even then, Ghost Shrimp molt frequently. As they grow and become too big for their previous shell, they shed their old shell and develop a new one. However, the development of a new shell takes some time. During this period, they are particularly vulnerable to boisterous fish. Make sure your fish tank has enough plants or crevices for Ghost Shrimp to hide and take refuge. 

Most homeowners panic once they come across a molted shell on the sediment. They assume it for a dead Ghost Shrimp. Take a closer look, and once you see the hollow interior, it will become clear that it’s just a discarded exterior. Your Ghost Shrimp must be hiding somewhere in the plants. 

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Moreover, a molt may be distinguished from a dead shrimp.

A molted shell appears transparent as if it were composed of glass. Because the shell breaks between the cephalothorax and tail, you may only see half of it at times.

A deceased ghost shrimp won’t seem clear anymore. Their skin goes a pale pink tint. It appears like the shrimp has been cooked.

Once you come across a discarded shell, don’t remove it. It is OK to leave a molted shell in the tank.  Nothing is useless in the ecosystem. Other shrimps use the discarded shell as food.

Ghost Shrimp Molting Process 

Ghost Shrimp molting is a rather quick process. It takes nearly 10 to 15 minutes to complete. In the pre-molting stage, they grow very fine skin inside the exoskeleton. It is called the hypodermis. The Shrimp utilizes calcium and other minerals from the skeleton and water to produce hypodermis. Once it has developed enough, it gets visible. 

When you see your Ghost Shrimp changing color from transparent to milky white, it’s the hypodermis that’s slowly transforming into an exoskeleton. At this stage, the Shrimp starts filling up their shell with water. Once it has enough water, the exoskeleton starts to crack from the neck. The Shrimp bends into a U shape and wriggles to remove the old exoskeleton until it completes the molting process. 

Ghost Shrimp Size, Shape & Appearance 

Like every other living species, the size and shape of Ghost Shrimp depend on age. Generally speaking, Shrimps grow to a length of about one and a half inches. As for the width, the size is usually about the diameter of a pencil eraser (i.e. 6 mm) once fully grown. Their appearance is more streamlined and thin in comparison with Amano Shrimps . 

Moreover, they have a little hump in the middle of the length of their tail. Take a cursory look, and they look a lot like a little crayfish. On a closer look, you start seeing the differences. One major difference is the pliability of their outer shell and the size. Their shells are softer than crayfish, and it shows in their appearance.  

Ghost Shrimp Antenna 

As we mentioned earlier, Ghost Shrimp have pairs of long and short antennas. The rostrum of the antenna is right between their eyes. The carapace region lies behind the rostrum. You can see the inner workings of its organs in this carapace area. Their long slender front legs are attached to the bottom of the carapace.

Then there are six abdominal segments behind the carapace. These segments form a sort of flexible covering. The third and fourth abdominal regions form a pointy area together. You can also see the tiny transparent swimmerets under these segments. These swimmerets flutter back and forth as Ghost Shrimp moves through the water. 

A female shrimp keeps its eggs under abdominal segments that lie nearest to the carapace. 

Abdominal Segments 

All six abdominal segments connect to the tail. The tail is made of flexible segments. Unlike abdominal segments, the tail segments are very thin and flat. Telson lies in the middle of the tail. Under it, four segments make up the uropod. It expands and contracts if needed. 

On the edges of the uropod, there are fine filaments called fringes. Fringes also appear across the edge of swimmerets. In case of a dangerous situation, the Shrimp quickly flaps its uropod. This allows the Shrimp to move backward at a very high speed. A single thrust is enough to get it out of danger. 

Color Range 

Ghost Shrimps are transparent in color on a cursory glance. Look closer, and they appear a little on the translucent side. While their body is generally very clear, there’s a hint of grey. Some shrimps are further adorned with little green dots. Overall, their color range is from light greyish to a translucent dark grey. Whatever the case, you can easily see through their body. Their internal organs, especially the digestive system, is pretty easy to spot. And this is one of the most attractive aspects of this organism. Some Ghost Shrimp may also have green dots on their torso and orange rings on their forelegs and feelers. 

Ghost Shrimp Care and Tank Requirements  

Ghost Shrimp Care

Ghost shrimps are a freshwater species. They live in the lakes and rivers. Besides freshwater, these sources have fine sediment and enough crevices to help them hide in case of danger. Therefore, consider this factor when you are designing your aquarium. As they are pretty small, you can keep them in a small space. 5 Gallons is a bare minimum, and you can keep 3 or 4 shrimps per gallon without any problem. 

However, consider the number of other plant and fish species in the tank. We suggest starting with fewer Shrimp and slowly increasing the number. Make sure there is an abundance of live plants such as java-moss, hornwort, and Cabomba. Shrimps even utilize the debris from these plants as an additional resource of food. Just make sure your plants are firm in the base. Otherwise, they won’t survive nibbling from shrimps. 

Tank Size For Ghost Shrimp 

There are no particular requirements when it comes to tank size for ghost shrimp. They can be kept in smaller 5-gallon tanks or larger. If your tank is small, make sure you know all the tank’s limitations, such as limited surface, low water volume , etc. Don’t overstock. Too many Ghost Shrimp in a small area can make them aggressive towards each other.

Shrimps may be smaller, but they do contribute to the biological load of the tank’s ecosystem. Overstocking can also cause bad water and create an unhealthy ecosystem for the organisms. That’s why we suggest following the usual fish stocking rules for community tanks.

Ghost Shrimp Habitat & Water Parameters 

As we already discussed, Ghost shrimps enjoy freshwater. They thrive in aquariums that have a continuous flow of water. Install a moderately sized HOB power filter to keep water continuously circulating. Moreover, some people use an air pump with an airstone to develop a wall of tiny bubbles. When the bubbles move, it keeps the water moving. It’s fascinating to watch the Shrimp get trapped in the current and then use their hind legs fiercely to swim out of it. Don’t worry. Shrimps are excellent swimmers, and they can easily take care of themselves. 

Despite their modest size, mini tanks should not be overcrowded with ghost shrimp.  Ghost shrimp will also add to the bioload in the tank, lowering the water purity and creating an unpleasant atmosphere.

Ghost Shrimp Like Live Aquarium Plants 

Having some hardy live plants in your aquarium can be an excellent idea. However, don’t put too many plants in, as live plants shed their debris and make the water dirty. Ghost shrimps love live plant debris and enjoy snacking through the mess. Keeping some live plants in the aquarium can serve another purpose as well: security. They provide a nice place for shrimps to explore and hide in case of danger. You can also create other hiding places with the help of rocks, caverns, and other decorations. In any case, shrimps must have someplace to sneak away and take refuge once in a while. 

Water Parameters 

Ghost shrimps are most comfortable in tropical community tanks. Water in these tanks has a temperature range of 72 to 82 degrees F. Some experts suggest a slightly wider temperate range than this is also okay for wellbeing. In addition, the pH of the aquarium should be neither too acidic nor basic. It should be anywhere between 7.0 to 8.0. A sudden shift in the pH can disturb the biology of the aquarium. Water should also be slightly on the harder side. As for lighting, any standard lighting setup is fine. Moreover, when treating your aquarium with medicine, be very careful. Freshwater Ghost Shrimp can be very sensitive to the medicine. You should always keep nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia in check. Avoid copper at all costs as it can be fatal for Shrimp. 

Ghost Shrimp Diet and Feeding 

Ghost Shrimp Care Guide

Ghost Shrimps are greedy. They will snack on anything you provide them with. For instance, you can present them with pellets, algae, flakes, or any other food you can easily find in a fish food shop. 

This is what makes them excellent for tank cleaning purposes. They will consume every excess thing they can find, including plant detritus, algae, and fish leftovers. If you have a tall fish tank, use sinking pellets to make their food easily accessible. Sure, watching a shrimp rise to the surface for catching food is hella entertaining. But, sometimes, the mid-water fish make it harder for them to catch it. 

A single algae pellet is enough for multiple shrimps. If you add more pellets, then there’s always the risk of overfeeding. To make sure your shrimps are developing a strong shell, add some calcium to the tank every once in a while. 

Last but not least, keep copper away from the tank. It is very toxic and can be fatal in some cases. 

Ghost Shrimp Tank Mates 

Shrimps are peaceful organisms. They don’t like conflict. But obviously, the same cannot be said about other fish and creatures in the tank. 

Their gentle nature and small stature make them extremely vulnerable to being consumed by other tank mates. Therefore, only add them to a community of non-aggressive small fish. 

Below are some of the fish and creatures that can be excellent tank mates for Ghost Shrimp. 

  • Danios: Slender danios
  • Characins: Can be hatchet or tetras fish
  • Barbs: Ones that look like cherry barbs
  • Loaches: Some peaceful loaches like Kohli and zebras can be excellent companions
  • Catfish: Tiny catfish like the corydoras

As for fish to avoid, there’s a whole range. As a general rule of thumb, avoid adding any fish to the tank with a big enough mouth to eat a shrimp. Territorial fish are also a cause of concern. Bettas – in particular – should be avoided. 

You can also pair ghost shrimp with other shrimp types. For example, cherry shrimp , bamboo shrimp, Amano, and vampire shrimps. You can also use snails to diversify your aquarium. 

Breeding Ghost Shrimp 

Green Ghost Shrimp Eggs

If you provide a healthy environment with no dangers, then you can easily start Ghost shrimp breeding. That’s why they are usually preferred as feeder fish .  

But, you need to get your hands on a breeding tank to grow your shrimp population. Just ensure that there are male as well as female Shrimp in your main tank. Female Ghost Shrimp are easy to spot. Once they mature, they grow to become much larger than male Shrimp. Another sign is that they develop a greenish saddle under their body. 

Female Ghost Shrimp produce eggs every few weeks. These eggs are visible in the form of tiny green dots attached to the legs. When you see these dots, wait a few days for males to fertilize and start the reproduction process. 

After a while, move pregnant ghost shrimp to your fish breeder tank. You have to do it before the eggs hatch. Otherwise, the nascent Shrimp will become fodder for other creatures. When the eggs hatch, move your female shrimps back to their original tank otherwise, they will start eating young ghost shrimps. It usually takes 3 weeks. 

Install a sponge filter in the breeder tank to ensure that none of the young ones gets sucked into the equipment. Other than that, a breeder tank is just like a simple tank with a thin sediment layer at the bottom. You don’t need many hiding areas, though. Keeping a few plants and algae in there is fine. 

Young larvae have tiny mouths. So feed them a small amount of fine particle food. Keep noticing the color of their legs. Once their legs grow to become brown, it’s a sign that they have become mature. Now, you can feed them the same food as the adults. 

Benefits of Keeping a Ghost Shrimp

Many individuals who do not have ghost shrimps don’t probably know that they are valuable to an aquarium in a variety of ways. Ghost shrimps may be utilized for a variety of purposes beyond feeding. Let’s check out the following three main benefits of keeping ghost shrimps.

Keeps the Algae Level Down

Algae are a wide category of aquatic creatures that develop organically in a tank. However, too much of it renders the tank habitat unfit and toxic. Removal of algae is difficult, and maintaining the amount minimal requires constant effort.

Ghost shrimps are well-known for consuming algae, which is their principal source of nutrition. Most of the time, you’ll see them staring at algae. They maintain the algae level in the tank low by regularly consuming algae. Thus, if you keep ghost shrimps, they will help you maintain the algae level lower.

Easily Mixes With Other Species

There have been several reports of new species being attacked by older species after being introduced into the tank. This occurs when the older species get territorial and are unable to accept new species into the tank.

You may put any sort of little species in the tank with ghost shrimps. You don’t have to worry about the other species because they won’t be attacked. Ghost shrimps will readily fit in and gladly coexist with other species.

They Bred So Easily

If you want to build a small shrimp colony, you may generally start with a couple of males and 4 females, and within a month, you’ll most likely have some ghost shrimp eggs!

Shrimp reproduce swiftly enough that a cluster can be established quite quickly and simply. This thing will give a large portion of feed for your fish.

FAQs Related To Ghost Shrimps

Do ghost shrimp shed their skin.

Yes, ghost shrimp shed their skin as they grow. Moreover, the adult shrimp molt every once a month.

How long does ghost shrimp live?

Ghost shrimp can live from a few days to one year.

Do ghost shrimp eat algae?

Ghost shrimp are true omnivores and they enjoy eating algae.

Can betta live with shrimp?

Yes, ghost shrimp live easily with a betta. As well as, they can also be used to feed your bettas.

How many ghost shrimp per gallon?

Ghost shrimp are small. 3 4 ghost shrimps are fine per gallon.

Is the Ghost Shrimp Right For Your Aquarium? 

Of course, Ghost Shrimp can become an excellent addition to your aquarium. They are excellent cleaners and look fantastic as well. Their tiny size and easy reproduction make them pretty economical. You will need a little effort to look after them, though. Ensure there are no predators in the aquarium. 

The shape and colors of Ghost Shrimp can change the entire aesthetic of your tank. What’s more, their active lifestyle is a joy to behold. Your tank will always have activity going on. However, they are not suitable for a tank with big or aggressive fish species. 

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Ghost Shrimp Guide | Care, Breeding, Food & Tank Requirements

Ghost shrimp size small, translucent Shrimp found in both fresh and saltwater. They typically range from 1-2 inches long and make great pets for beginners and experienced aquarists alike. These are very active and entertaining to watch as they dart around in your Tank. They are also very hardy and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions, making them an excellent choice for those just starting with aquaria.

These shrimps are small, translucent Shrimp that inhabits marine and brackish waters. They are often found in the surf zone and can tolerate low salinity levels. They are scavengers and feed on detritus, microalgae, and other tiny organisms. These shrimps are an essential link in the food chain and are prey for larger fish and animals. Moreover, they are popular bait for fishing.

These shrimps are believed to be a descendant of freshwater Shrimp . They were first described in 1853 by the American zoologist James Dwight Dana. These spices are relatively affordable, making them an excellent option for the budget.

If you’re looking for a small, hardy, and affordable shrimp to add to your Tank, ghost shrimp are a great choice!

Types of Ghost Shrimp

There are a few different types of these Shrimps found in the wild. Some of the most popular types of these Shrimp are the

  • Bamboo Shrimp

The Bamboo Shrimp is a type of Ghost/Glass Shrimp usually found in brackish water. This type of Shrimp is usually a light brown or green color and has a long, thin body. The Bamboo Shrimp is a scavenger and will eat almost anything that it can find.

Bamboo Shrimp

  • Crystal Shrimp

The Crystal Shrimp is a type of Shrimp usually found in freshwater. This type of Shrimp is usually a light pink or white color and has a short, stocky body. This Shrimp is a filter feeder.

Crystal Shrimp

  • Ghost or Glass Shrimp

It is a type that is usually found in freshwater or brackish water. This type of Shrimp is usually a light brown or green color and has a long, thin body. This Shrimp is a scavenger and will eat almost anything that it can find.

Ghost or Glass Shrimp

Care for Ghost Shrimp

These Shrimp make great additions to freshwater and saltwater aquariums and are relatively easy to care for. This article will provide you with all the information you need to care for these fascinating creatures.

Here’s what you have to do for ghost shrimp care:

Ghost Shrimp

They can be kept in tanks as small as 10 gallons , but they will do best in tanks of 20 gallons or more.

These shrimps can tolerate a wide range of pH levels, but they prefer a 6.5-7.5 pH of water.

Water Temperature:

They can tolerate a wide range of water temperatures, but they prefer a 68-75 degrees F° temperature.

Water Hardness:

These shrimps can tolerate a wide range of water hardness levels, but they prefer a water hardness of 10-20 dGH.

They do not require much light, but they will do best in an aquarium with moderate lighting .

They do not require many decors in their Tank, but they will appreciate some plants and hiding places.

These Shrimp are omnivorous and will eat a wide variety of foods. They should be fed a diet that consists of both meaty and plant-based foods.

They can be bred in the home aquarium, which is relatively easy. The ghost shrimp eggs will hatch in about two weeks, and the fry will be able to fend for themselves after another two weeks.

Read on to get more care information, setting up a Tank for the shrimps, and more.

Ghost/Glass Shrimp Tank Setup

Setting up a ghost shrimp tank is a great way to add color and life to your aquarium. This section will discuss the necessary steps for setting up your shrimp tank.

The first step is to choose a tank. They can thrive in a tank anywhere from 10 to 20 gallons. Moreover, you will also need a filter and heater to keep the water temperature in a suitable range. The ideal ghost shrimp temperature for a tank is 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ghost Shrimp Tank Setup

The next step is to select a substrate. These shrimps like to live in a sandy environment, so a substrate of sand or gravel is ideal. Make sure to add some places for the Shrimp to hide, as they like to be in dark places. You will also need to add some water and then add the Shrimp.

Once you have selected a tank and substrate, you will need to add some decorations. Moreover, these shrimp love to hide in rocks and plants, so be sure to add some decorations to your Tank.

Next, you will need to add water. Be sure to use DE chlorinated water, as chlorine can be harmful to them. Add enough water to cover the substrate, and then add your heater and filter.

Once your Tank is set up, it is time to add the Shrimp. These Shrimp can be purchased at most pet stores. Add the Shrimp to your Tank and observe them as they adjust to their new home.

Be sure to keep your Tank clean and provide plenty of food for your Shrimp. They will eat most types of food, so be sure to experiment to find the food they like best.

You need to keep an eye on the water parameters in the Tank and make sure to keep the pH between 6.5 and 7.5. At the same time, the water hardness remains between 5 and 15 dGH.

You can set up your shrimp tank and enjoy watching these fascinating creatures thrive by following these steps.

Ghost Shrimp Food:

There are a few things to consider when feeding these shrimps.

The first is that Shrimp are scavengers and will eat almost anything. It means you don’t have to worry about ghost shrimp food.

It means that you can feed them various foods, including fish food, algae wafers, and even bits of raw meat. However, you should also give them some supplemental food designed explicitly for Shrimp.

Ghost Shrimp Food

This food is usually in the form of a sinking pellet and is high in protein and other nutrients that these shrimps need to thrive. It is essential to keep in mind that Shrimp and especially ghosts are not very big and will only eat a small amount of food each day. It would be best if you did not overfeed them, leading to health problems.

Tank Mates for Ghost Shrimps

When it comes to choosing tank mates for your shrimps, there are a few things you need to take into account. Ghost shrimp tank mates can include any fish or invertebrate that can peacefully coexist with your Shrimp.

Some good choices include other types of Shrimp, small fish like guppies or tetras, and invertebrates like snails and crabs. Be sure to research the specific needs of any potential tank mates to make sure they will be compatible with your Shrimp and your Tank’s environment.

Tank Mates for Ghost Shrimps

For example, some fish may need a lot of space or be aggressive towards Shrimp, while some invertebrates may eat shrimp eggs or larvae.

First, you need to make sure that the other fish are small enough not to eat your Shrimp. Secondly, you need to make sure that the other fish are compatible with your Tank’s pH and water temperature. Finally, it would help ensure that the other fish are not aggressive or territorial.

Some good tank mates for the Shrimp include:

  • Neon tetras
  • Cardinal tetras
  • Harlequin Rasboras

They are compatible with a wide range of pH and water temperatures so that they can be paired with almost any other type of fish.

However, it is essential to avoid pairing them with aggressive or territorial fish, as they may eat the Shrimp. If you’re not sure whether or not a particular fish or invertebrate will be a good fit for your Tank, ask someone at your local fish store for advice.

Fun Facts about Shrimp

These shrimps are fascinating creatures that offer a lot of insight into the underwater world. They are often overlooked, but they are exciting and provide a lot of benefits for their ecosystem.

Here are some fun facts about glass shrimp:

  • They are scavengers that eat anything they can find. They are accommodating in keeping the water clean and free of debris.
  • They are nocturnal and prefer to stay hidden during the day. These Shrimp come out at night to scavenge for food.
  • Ghost shrimp’s lifespan is up to 2 years.
  • These shrimps are very important in the food chain. They are prey for larger fish and other marine animals.
  • It is an excellent source of food for larger fish. These shrimps are high in protein and low in fat.
  • They are a great addition to any aquarium. The shrimps are very hardy and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions.
  • They are a great way to learn about marine life. They are easy to care for and can be a great introduction to the aquarium hobby.

Breeding Ghost Shrimp

These shrimps, also known as Glass Shrimp, are a popular type of Shrimp in the aquarium trade. They are known for their translucent bodies and are one of the easiest Shrimp to breed in captivity.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to breed them:

  • Choose a healthy, mature pair of shrimp.
  • Place the Shrimp in an aquarium with plenty of hiding places and a good food supply.
  • The male will deposit sperm packets on the underside of the female’s tail.
  • The female will then deposit eggs in a safe place.
  • The eggs will hatch into larvae in about 24 hours.
  • The larvae will feed on plankton until they are ready to molt into juveniles.
  • The juveniles will grow into adults in about two months.

Ghost shrimp breeding is easy and a great way to increase the population of these interesting invertebrates in your Tank.

Ghost Shrimp Dishes

As mentioned above, there are a few different types of Ghost/Glass Shrimp, but they all have one thing in common: they’re all delicious!

Here are a few of the most popular Shrimp dishes:

Garlic Shrimp:

Garlic Shrimp

This dish is simple but packs a lot of flavors. Garlic and Shrimp are a perfect match!

Cajun Shrimp:

Cajun Shrimp

This dish is spicy and flavorful. It’s perfect for any Cajun fan!

Bang Bang Shrimp:

Bang Bang Shrimp

This dish is a favorite among many. It’s made with a spicy sauce and is sure to please your taste buds! -And many more!

Price of Ghost Shrimp

The ghost shrimp price can vary depending on the size, quality, and quantity of the Shrimp. Generally, the price of these Shrimp ranges from $1 to $3 per pound.

They are a very common species of Shrimp that can be found in many different bodies of water. These are also very small Shrimp, which means they do not require much food or space to survive. This also makes them a popular choice for fish keepers looking for inexpensive shrimp that will not take up a lot of room in their Tank.

Some Interesting Facts About Ghost Shrimps

They are a type of small, freshwater Shrimp that often goes unnoticed. They are pale in color and have a translucent body, which is how they get their name. These Shrimp can be found in many parts of the world, including North America, South America, Europe, and Asia.

Despite their small size, these shrimps are essential to the aquatic food chain. These are prey species for much larger fish and are also eaten by birds and other animals.  They are also an essential part of the diet of much larger fish. Aquarium enthusiastic inquire, how fast do ghost shrimp grow? These shrimps grow at a medium to fast rate, reaching full size within six to eight months. The shrimps can reach up to two inches in length.

They are scavengers and omnivores, meaning they eat a variety of things. They will scavenge on the bottom of the Tank for food and will also eat algae and plant matter. These Shrimp are an essential part of the aquatic food chain. They are a prey species for much larger fish and are also eaten by birds and other animals. The shrimps are also an essential part of the diet of much larger fish.

These shrimps are popular bait for fishing. They are often used to catch bass, catfish, and other larger fish. Moreover, they are an excellent source of protein. They are low in fat and high in protein, making them a healthy choice for seafood lovers.

These Shrimp are a popular choice for cooks who want to add a little seafood flavor to their dishes without using expensive ingredients. They are a good choice for dishes like shrimp scampi or shrimp cocktail. Finally, they are a good source of vitamins and minerals. They are a good source of vitamin B12, vitamin D, and selenium.

Ghost Shrimp are relatively easy to keep alive and do not require a lot of expensive equipment or food. They are also quite active and entertaining to watch, making them an excellent choice for anyone who wants a pet that can provide hours of enjoyment.

They are small, translucent Shrimp usually found in the muddy, dark bottoms of freshwater streams, rivers, and lakes. They are scavengers and will eat anything they can find, including dead fish, plants, and other small animals.

These Shrimp are a good food source for larger fish and can also be used as bait. It will be a great idea if you want them in your home aquarium.

Ghost or Glass shrimps can be found in many different habitats, including fresh and saltwater. They can be found in shallow water and the deep sea. Shrimps can also be found in many different climates and even live in cold water.

These Shrimp can live up to 3 years in the wild, but they generally only live for around one year in captivity.

There are a few reasons that these Shrimp are so cheap. They are a common aquarium fish, so there is much supply. They are also small fish, so they don’t require a lot of food or care. Lastly, they are effortless to fish to breed.

There is no definitive answer to this question as it depends on the specific requirements of the Shrimp and the aquarium itself. However, a group of six to eight shrimp should be sufficient as a general rule. If there are not enough Shrimp to form a group, the aquarium may be too small.

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Ghost Shrimp : Complete Care Guide

  • by Tim Priest
  • Freshwater Shrimp
  • February 19, 2023

Ghost Shrimp Guide

Are you ready to add some spooky-cool vibes to your aquarium? Look no further than ghost shrimp ! These translucent creatures are not only unique in appearance, but they’re also relatively low maintenance. In this post, we’ll cover all the nitty-gritty details of ghost shrimp care, so you can be sure your shrimp are ghosting around in style.

Ghost shrimp, also known as glass shrimp or grass shrimp , are a largely inexpensive and easily accessible cleanup crew choice for freshwater aquariums. They possess a unique appearance and relatively low maintenance requirements and in this article, we will discuss the various aspects of ghost shrimp care, including their tank requirements, water parameters , diet, and more.

Ghost shrimp have a transparent body , which is where they get their name. They have a reddish-brown coloration on the tips of their antennae, claws, and legs, which provides a striking contrast to their otherwise clear bodies. Their eyes are also visible through their exoskeleton, giving them a distinctive appearance.

ghost shrimp hardy

The lifespan of ghost shrimp is typically around 1-2 years , although they can live longer in optimal conditions.

Average Size

Ghost shrimp can grow up to 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) in length, although they are typically smaller in captivity.

Tank Size Requirement

Ghost shrimp are relatively small and do not require a large tank. A tank that is at least 10 gallons (38 liters) in size is suitable for a small group of ghost shrimp. However, it is important to note that ghost shrimp are highly sensitive to water quality and require a well-maintained tank.

Water Parameters

Ghost shrimp are freshwater inhabitants and require a pH between 6.5-7.5 , water hardness between 5-15 dGH , and a temperature range between 68-78°F (20-26°C). They also prefer a moderate to high water flow, which can be achieved by using a powerhead or a canister filter . It’s also important to monitor the water quality regularly and make adjustments as necessary.

Ghost shrimp are opportunistic feeders and will consume a variety of food sources, including algae, detritus, and small bits of meat. They are especially fond of sinking pellets, algae wafers and frozen or live foods such as brine shrimp or daphnia .

What to Put in Their Tank

Ghost shrimp are bottom-dwellers and prefer a tank with plenty of hiding places, such as caves, rocks, and plants. They are also very active and require a lot of open space to swim around. A sandy or smooth gravel substrate is recommended as they are sensitive to sharp objects that can damage their delicate exoskeletons.

ghost shrimp hardy

Common Diseases

Ghost shrimp are relatively hardy and are not prone to many diseases. However, they can be susceptible to bacterial infections if the water quality is poor, or if they are injured or stressed. It’s also important to note that ghost shrimp are sensitive to high levels of ammonia , nitrite, and nitrate , which can lead to health problems if not quickly addressed.

Behavior & Temperament

Ghost shrimp are peaceful and do not pose a threat to other tank inhabitants. They are also relatively active and are constantly moving around the tank, searching for food and exploring their surroundings. They are also very social animals and should be kept in small groups. Ghost shrimp tend to be more active during the evening and night, they are considered to be nocturnal animals.

Step 1: Obtain a breeding group of ghost shrimp

The first step to breeding ghost shrimp is to obtain a breeding group. Ghost shrimp are social animals and should be kept in groups of at least 5-6 individuals. It’s important to have a balanced ratio of males to females for successful breeding.

Step 2: Set up the breeding tank (optional)

The next step is to set up a separate breeding tank. If you choose not to and the live among fish in a community tank, you risk a lower yield due to shrimplets being preyed upon by other tank inhabitants (even small ones). The tank should be at least 10 gallons (38 liters) in size and should have a sand or fine gravel substrate.

Step 3: Optimize water conditions

Ghost shrimp prefer a pH between 6.5-7.5, water hardness between 5-15 dGH, and a temperature range between 68-78°F (20-26°C). It’s important to ensure that the water conditions in the breeding tank are optimal for breeding.

Step 4: Feed the shrimp a balanced diet

Ghost shrimp are opportunistic feeders and will consume a variety of food sources. However, they need a balanced diet that includes sinking pellets, algae wafers, and frozen or live foods such as brine shrimp or daphnia. Feeding the shrimp a balanced diet will help ensure that they are in the best condition for breeding.

Step 5: Introduce the breeding group

Once the breeding tank is set up and the water conditions are optimized, it’s time to introduce the breeding group of ghost shrimp. The shrimp should be left in the breeding tank for at least 2-3 weeks to allow them to adjust to their new environment.

Step 6: Watch for mating behavior

Once the shrimp have acclimated to the breeding tank, you should start to see mating behavior. When the females moult, they will release a phermone that indicates to males they are ready to breed. Any active males will seek out the receptive female and mate.

Step 7: Care for the eggs

Once the female has been fertilized, she will be carry the viable eggs on her swimmerets (small appendages on the abdomen that look almost like tiny legs) for 2-3 weeks. Hobbyists frequently call this a “berried female” as the eggs are clearly visible. During this time, it’s important to maintain optimal water conditions and keep the breeding tank free of debris.

ghost shrimp hardy

Step 8: Raise the young

Once the eggs hatch, the young shrimp will be free-swimming. They will be small and transparent, similar to adult ghost shrimp but much smaller. They can be fed small amounts of the same food as the adult shrimp, such as crushed flakes or powdered fish food.

Step 9: Repeat the process

Once the young shrimp have reached maturity, they can be added to the main tank, sold as pets, or used as feeder animals. The breeding process can then be repeated to continue to grow your ghost shrimp population.

History & Origin

The scientific classification of ghost shrimp is Palaemonetes paludosus . They belong to the family Palaemonidae, which includes over 400 species of freshwater and marine shrimp.

Ghost shrimp are found in freshwater habitats such as rivers, streams, and swamps throughout the southeastern United States, specifically in states like Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. Ghost shrimp are known to inhabit areas with slow-moving or still water and are generally found in areas with sandy or silty bottoms.

ghost shrimp hardy

The history of ghost shrimp in the aquarium trade is not well-documented. However, it is believed that ghost shrimp first became popular as an aquarium species in the 1980s. They were relatively unknown to the general public before that. They were mainly used as feeder shrimp for larger fish species, but as the hobby of keeping freshwater shrimp in the aquariums became more popular, ghost shrimp started to be kept as pets. They were mainly used as a cleaning crew in the aquarium, as they would eat algae and other debris in the tank. As their popularity grew, they also started to be kept as ornamental shrimp.

When used as feeder animals, ghost shrimp can provide a natural diet for larger fish such as cichlids and other predatory fish. They are high in protein and mimic the diet that these fish would have in the wild. Ghost shrimp are also relatively easy to breed and can be a cost-effective food option for hobbyists.

When using ghost shrimp as feeder animals, it is important to ensure that they are kept in optimal water conditions the above recommendations. Ghost shrimp are also opportunistic feeders and should be fed a variety of food sources such as sinking pellets or algae wafers to ensure they are in the best condition when used as feeder animals.

It’s also important to note that Ghost shrimp are living creatures and should be handled with care, they should be kept and fed in appropriate conditions and not overfed. Ghost shrimp are also popular among aquarists as ornamental shrimp, therefore it can be important to consider the ethical implications of using them as feeder animals.

Thanks for joining us on this ghostly journey of ghost shrimp care! Whether you’re a seasoned aquarist or a ghost shrimp newbie, we hope you’ve learned something new. Remember, ghost shrimp may be small, but they’re mighty – so give them the care they deserve.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What do ghost shrimp eat? A: Ghost shrimp primarily feed on algae, detritus, and other small bits of organic matter.

Q: How long do ghost shrimp live? A: Ghost shrimp typically live for around 1-2 years.

Q: How big do ghost shrimp get? A: Ghost shrimp can grow to a size of around 2 inches in length.

Q: How many ghost shrimp per gallon? A: A general rule of thumb is to keep around 1-2 ghost shrimp per gallon of water in an aquarium.

Q: How to breed ghost shrimp? A: To breed ghost shrimp, provide them with a suitable environment including hiding spots, adequate food and water conditions, and maintain a temperature between 68F-78F. A male and female will breed and the female will carry eggs for about 2-3 weeks before hatching. Breeding usually occurs after a mature female sheds their exoskeleton and releases a phermone into the water column that signals to nearby males she is ready to mate.

Q: What to feed ghost shrimp? A: Ghost shrimp can be fed a variety of food including algae, blanched vegetables , and commercial shrimp pellets.

Q: Can you eat ghost shrimp? A: Technically yes, ghost shrimp are edible and are sometimes used as a food source, mostly in Asian countries, albeit is still not common.

Q: Can ghost shrimp live with bettas? A: Yes, ghost shrimp can live with bettas as long as the water parameters and conditions are suitable for both species.

Q: Do ghost shrimp shed? A: Ghost shrimp do shed their exoskeleton as they grow.

Q: Do ghost shrimp lay eggs? A: Yes, ghost shrimp are oviparous and lay eggs, although they carry them on their underneath their abdomen and fan them to keep them oxygenated as opposed to dropping them in a place to hatch later.

Q: What are ghost shrimp? A: Ghost shrimp are freshwater invertebrates that are commonly kept in aquariums as a food source for larger fish or as a decorative addition to an aquarium.

Q: Are ghost shrimp freshwater? A: Yes, ghost shrimp are freshwater invertebrates.

Q: How many ghost shrimp in a 10 gallon tank? A: A general rule of thumb is to keep around 1-2 ghost shrimp per gallon of water in an aquarium. Therefore, it is recommended to keep around 10-20 ghost shrimp in a 10 gallon tank.

Q: What do ghost shrimp eggs look like? A: Ghost shrimp eggs are small and translucent, usually a pale orange or pink color, and are carried by the female on her pleopods (swimmerets) until they hatch.

Q: Where to buy ghost shrimp? A: Ghost shrimp can be purchased at pet stores, online retailers, or from local fish breeders.

Q: Why did my ghost shrimp die? A: Ghost shrimp can die due to poor water quality, lack of food, disease, or due to being attacked by other tank inhabitants.

Q: Can ghost shrimp live with cherry shrimp? A: Yes, ghost shrimp can live with cherry shrimp as long as the water parameters and conditions are suitable for both species.

Q: Do bettas eat ghost shrimp? A: Bettas are known to eat small crustaceans such as ghost shrimp, especially if they are not well fed and not given a variety of food options.

Q: Do ghost shrimp molt? A: Yes, ghost shrimp do molt, or shed their exoskeleton, as they grow.

Q: How do ghost shrimp reproduce? A: Ghost shrimp reproduce sexually, a male and female will breed and the female will carry eggs for about 2-3 weeks before hatching.

Q: How many ghost shrimp in a 5 gallon tank? A: A general rule of thumb is to keep around 1-2 ghost shrimp per gallon of water in an aquarium. Therefore, it is recommended to keep around 5-10 ghost shrimp in a 5 gallon tank.

Q: How often do ghost shrimp breed? A: Ghost shrimp can breed year-round under optimal conditions, but the frequency of breeding can vary depending on water conditions and the availability of food.

Q: How to catch ghost shrimp? A: In the wild, in water bodies where ghost shrimp inhabit such as the southeastern United States, they can be caught using a shrimp trap baited with fish or vegetables.

Q: What do you feed ghost shrimp? A: Ghost shrimp can be fed a variety of food including algae, blanched vegetables, and commercial shrimp pellets.

Q: Why are my ghost shrimp dying? A: Ghost shrimp can die due to poor water quality, lack of food, disease, or due to being attacked by other tank inhabitants.

Q: Are ghost shrimp aggressive? A: Ghost shrimp are generally peaceful and not known to be aggressive towards other tank inhabitants. Q: Can ghost shrimp live with other fish species in the same tank? A: Ghost shrimp are generally peaceful and can be kept with other fish species that are also peaceful and are not known to be aggressive towards shrimp. Ghost shrimp are small and can be seen as a food source for larger fish, so it’s best to keep them with fish that are not known to be shrimp-eaters.

Q: Do ghost shrimp need a filter in their tank? A: Ghost shrimp are relatively hardy and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions. However, a filter is still recommended to keep the water clean and maintain good water quality. A filter can help keep the water flow moderate to high, which ghost shrimp prefer. An inexpensive sponge filter would be adequate.

Q: Do ghost shrimp need a heater in their tank? A: Ghost shrimp prefer a temperature range between 68-78°F (20-26°C). If the room temperature is not within this range, a heater may be needed to keep the tank at the proper temperature.

Q: How often should I feed ghost shrimp? A: Ghost shrimp should be fed small amounts of food once or twice a day. Overfeeding can lead to water quality issues and is not recommended.

Q: Can ghost shrimp live alone? A: Ghost shrimp are social animals and should be kept in groups of at least 5-6 individuals. They are less active and might not be as healthy when kept alone.

Q: How can I tell the difference between male and female ghost shrimp? A: Male ghost shrimp typically have larger claws and longer antennae than female ghost shrimp. Female ghost shrimp also have a yellow or green saddle-like structure on the top side of their abdomens behind the head, which is used to carry eggs.

Q: Can ghost shrimp be kept in a cold water tank? A: Ghost shrimp prefer a temperature range between 68-78°F (20-26°C). If the water temperature is too cold, it can negatively impact their health and survival.

Q: How can I tell if my ghost shrimp are healthy? A: Healthy ghost shrimp should have clear and transparent bodies, with no signs of discoloration or deformities. They should also be active and moving around the tank.

Tim Priest, author of

Tim Priest , a renowned aquarium expert with over 15 years of experience in aquatic gardening and fish education, is dedicated to helping enthusiasts create stunning and thriving aquatic environments. As the founder of , Tim shares his wealth of knowledge, passion, and expertise through engaging articles, educational resources, and personalized advice.

Discover the secrets to creating captivating underwater landscapes and maintaining healthy aquatic ecosystems. Join Tim on an exciting journey and let your aquarium adventure begin !

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How to Care for Ghost Shrimp: A Complete Fact Sheet, Breeding, Behavior, and Care Guide

how to care for ghost shrimp

When it comes to fascinating aquatic creatures, ghost shrimp rival many commonly available to home aquarium keepers.

They make an ideal pet in a shrimp tank by themselves, but Ghost Shrimp can also be placed in community tanks with some tropical fish such as neon tetras and other small fish.

Both males and females have the classic shrimp shape. Healthy ghost shrimp of both genders have transparent or translucent bodies. If you watch carefully, you will be able to see their organs working.

Female shrimp will develop green markings on their side and a hump on their back as they approach puberty.

Males will not change color and will also stay smaller.

For species that originate in the United States , both genders may have pink markings on their legs or red dots on their tails. These guys that originate in Thailand or India will not have red dots on their tail.

They may also be a bit larger and darker.

These shrimp can climb around on rocks and other surfaces using their legs. They can also swim (albeit backwards) by moving their tails. 

Many people keep Ghost Shrimp because they eat algae and leftover food in the tank. Since they have a very small bioload, they can be put in just about any fish tank.

Author Note: Depending on the species, some ghost shrimp can be aggressive. It is best to keep them in a separate tank until you are certain of their temperament.



Natural Habitat, Identification, and Where to Buy

Even though it may be difficult to tell them apart, there are many species labeled and sold as ghost shrimp. Some originate in North America or the southeastern United States while others may have originated around India and Asia.

While their water chemistry needs are the same; the temperaments of different species may vary considerably.

Here is our top choice for buying Ghost Shrimp on Amazon:

  • 12 Ghost Shrimp (originating in Florida) – See Today’s Price on Amazon

Ghost Shrimp are usually classified as miniature shrimp species.

As such, they are often compared to Red Cherry Shrimp , Bamboo , Vampire , Crystal, Bumblebee, Amano Shrimp , and Snowball Shrimp .

This article is dedicated exclusively to the Palamonetes and Macrobrachium species of Ghost Shrimp.

Optimal Water Conditions For Ghost Shrimp

It is very useful to keep a log book of the water chemistry values each time you make adjustments. If the shrimp seem sluggish or stop eating, you will have an easier time isolating pH and hardness problems.

For many fish, nitrates are far less toxic than ammonia and nitrates. In these cases, you do not need to worry as much about them accumulating, especially if you have enough plants in the tank.

This is not the case with Ghost Shrimp.

It is important to test the water in their tank weekly to make sure nitrates stay below 20 ppm.

With regard to water changes , it is still best to use plants, nitrate absorbing pads, sensible stocking, and proper feeding guidelines.

Author Note: If you have to do emergency or partial water changes more than twice in a six month period, it may be best to move some animals out of the tank.

Creating the Landscape


Ghost shrimp move in slow moving waters that have plenty of algae and drift wood. They love to dig in sand while they are looking for bits of food.

Physiological Considerations

Insofar as bioload, you can put several ghost shrimp in a small tank and not have any problems.

Unfortunately, close quarters can cause both males and females to become aggressive. Ghost shrimp will attack each other as well as other species of smaller shrimp under these circumstances.

In larger tanks, they may also become aggressive if the temperature is on the higher side of their comfort range.

It is very difficult to keep a stable ratio of males to females because of short lifespans and rapid breeding.

At most, you can start off with 10 – 12 Ghost Shrimp and then watch to see how they grow into adulthood. From there, you may need to isolate breeding pairs or others for aggression management.

Author Note: As long as conditions are right, Ghost Shrimp will either stay by themselves or ignore others in the tank. They will be shy of most fish and are not likely to bother them.

Larger fish, however, may decide Ghost Shrimp will make a good meal. It is best to keep Ghost Shrimp in a species specific tank, or one with other shrimp that are about the same size as them.

When it comes to signs of aggression, Ghost Shrimp may show a number of behaviors. This may include chasing other shrimp out of their territory.

Ghost Shrimp may also sit very still and simply wait for a target to get close enough to attack. As such, you may need to watch them closely when they sit still for an unusually long time.

Author Note: If something edible looking comes along, don’t be surprised if the Ghost Shrimp attacks it.

Here are some ways to manage Ghost Shrimp Aggression:

  • Lower the tank temperature. Higher temperatures can trigger both breeding behaviors and aggression. Simply lowering the temperature to the lower end of the optimal range may be of some help.
  • Make sure Ghost Shrimp have enough to eat. You can also try adding different things to their diet, as boredom may drive them to look for something else that is edible.
  • Make sure there are plenty of hiding places in the tank. Since Ghost Shrimp are not as peaceful as other species of miniature shrimp, it is best to give them as many choices as possible when it comes to avoiding each other.
  • Watch to see if other species are making the shrimp feel nervous. If there are other fish or shrimp in the tank, Ghost Shrimp may feel threatened. They may attack species smaller than themselves or anything else that presents an opportunity to work out their frustrations on.
  • Move aggressive fish into their own tank or separate partition.

Gender, Breeding, and Reproductive Considerations

Ghost shrimp with eggs

As with several other species of miniature shrimp, Ghost Shrimp have relatively short lifespans. If you are planning to keep shrimp for a long period of time, it will be necessary to ensure they can reproduce.

Right now, there are dozens of species of shrimp sold as “Ghost Shrimp”. Some may be hybrids, and will not be able to produce a viable future generations.

If you purchase ghost shrimp from different sellers and put them in the same tank, you may also wind up with the same hybrid problem after one or two generations.

Top Tip: When choosing Ghost Shrimp for your home aquarium, it is very important to choose a reliable seller that do their own breeding for home aquariums . Try to avoid purchasing feeder shrimp, as they may not be as healthy.

The easiest way to recognize breeding pairs of Ghost Shrimp is to look and see if the females have eggs under their belly. You will see 20 – 30 greenish round eggs once the female releases them.

Once you see eggs, it will be a good idea to isolate the female and one male. Some aquarists recommend moving the shrimp into a breeding tank , however this can cause the female to get stressed out and drop the eggs.

It is much easier to partition them off from the rest of the tank. This will also eliminate water chemistry complications. If at all possible, try to use the part of the tank where the female has her territory, since she will be more comfortable.

Put a nylon stocking over the filter inlets so that the fry do not get caught up in it.

Unless you watch the shrimp around the clock, you may not see the male fertilize the eggs. After about a week, the eggs will either show signs of fungal infection because they are not fertilized, or they will look smooth and healthy.

You can move the male back to the other side of the tank at this point, since it is likely the eggs are fertilized.

Ghost shrimp usually hatch within 24 days of fertilization. Once they are ready to be separated from the mother, she will shake them off her legs.

After she completes that task, move the mother back to the other side of the partition. If you leave her in the tank after the eggs hatch, she will eat the fry.

At this point, the fry no longer need help from their parents. They do, however, need food small enough for them to consume. Commercial food for egg layers, spirulina powder, or infusorans will all work fine.

It will take about 3 weeks before you can see the fry easily. During that time, it is important to keep adding suitable food, even if you don’t see any activity. Just be careful not to foul the water.

You may need to add nitrite/nitrate absorbing pillows and zeolites to the filter to assist with breaking preventing ammonia and nitrite spikes.

Avoid water changes in the entire tank as much as possible, as even slight changes in the water chemistry can kill off baby shrimp.

Nutritional Needs


Ghost Shrimp are like any other creature in the sense that they do best when they have foods that closely match what they would eat in a wild setting.

No matter whether each species of Ghost Shrimp originate, they all eat algae and scraps of animal/fish flesh.

Finicky Fish Management: There are a number of reasons why Ghost Shrimp may stop eating. Not all those reasons have to do with the actual food you are providing for them.

Here are some of the most common problems and how to address them.

Wrong Water Chemistry

An increase in nitrates, ammonia, or nitrites may cause Ghost Shrimp to stop eating. You should also check the pH and hardness to make sure they are still within optimal parameters.

Since water chemistry can shift, consult your log book to what the values were the week before.

If the shrimp were eating well at that point, go back to those values if they are different from the current values.

Aggressive Individuals in the Tank

It does not matter if the aggression is coming from other species in the tank or other ghost shrimp. Watch carefully to see if the ghost shrimp are hiding more, or if other inhabitants of the tank are going after them when they try to eat.

You will either need to move the aggressive individuals out of the tank or partition them off.

Internal parasites, fungal infections, and bacterial infections can all cause Ghost Shrimp to stop eating. Unfortunately, diseases in miniature shrimp are very hard to treat.

You can try giving them a salt bath, or antibiotics that are safe for invertebrates. Sadly, if the shrimp stopped eating because of an infection, it is very likely they will die.

Food Selection Issues

If no other factors are causing food avoidance, you can try changing the staple food. Adding some thawed frozen food or freeze dried foods may also help.

Common Diseases and How to Avoid and Treat Them


These shrimp are susceptible to the same diseases that can kill other miniature shrimp. Since Ghost Shrimp are invertebrates, there are very few antibiotics that can be used safely with them.

In most cases, your only option will be to give the shrimp a salt water bath several times a day.

The basic steps are as follows:

  • Take a cup of water from the main tank and dissolve 1 teaspoon of aquarium salt into the cup.
  • Put the shrimp in the salt water. Use a timer to mark 30 seconds to 1 minute. 
  • After 30 seconds to 1 minute, immediately remove the shrimp from the salt water and return them to the community tank (or hospital tank if you decided to isolate them).
  • You may need to repeat this process in a few hours or several times over a few days to get rid of the infection.

 Here are the most common diseases you are likely to come across:

  • Vorticella – this parasitic infection shows itself as a white crust around the shrimp’s mouth. If left untreated, it will eventually cover the Ghost Shrimp’s shell and cause death. Timed salt baths can help get rid of this infection if you catch it early enough. 
  • Fungal Infections – these usually look like white cotton candy sticking to the shrimp’s shell. If the shrimp is close to molting, the infection may be shed right along with the exoskeleton. You can still do one or two salt baths to limit the possibility of the pathogen digging through the shell and causing more problems. 
  • Internal Bacterial Infections – these will be easy to spot, but just about impossible to treat in Ghost Shrimp. All you have to do is look at the internal organs to see if they are pink or swollen. Ghost Shrimp may also turn opaque white . If you can get a medicated food that is safe for invertebrates, that may be your best option. In most cases, Ghost Shrimp will not survive internal bacterial infections. To help avoid this problem, keep tannins in the water, as they kill off bacteria. Almond leaves may also be of some help in this capacity.
  • External Bacterial Infections – these usually attack the shrimp’s shell and cause pits, holes, and ulcers. Use timed salt water baths as soon as you see pits developing. You can also add calcium supplements if you suspect a dietary deficiency.

3 Fascinating Facts About Ghost Shrimp

  • These shrimp may come to the surface and turn upside down while waiting for food.
  • They can see in front and to their rear at the same time by rotating their eyestalks.
  • Ghost Shrimp may hide and become less active when they shed their exoskeleton and grow a new one.

Many people today buy Ghost Shrimp because they scavenge both algae and uneaten food. They also make interesting pets that will show the most personality when they are in a species specific tank.

While they can be challenging to keep at times, they are worth the effort!

Ghost Shrimp FAQs

Can ghost shrimp live alone.

Ghost shrimps are capable of living on their in a tank. They don’t need to live in a group to be healthy and happy.

However, even when living by themselves, they need to have plenty of water. The minimum sized tank for this type of shrimp is a five-gallon tank.

Ideally, you want to keep multiple Ghost Shrimp together. If you have more shrimp, you can have 3-5 shrimp in a 20-gallon tank.

How do you tell the difference between male and female ghost shrimp?

One of the easiest ways to tell the difference is size. Male ghost shrimp tend to be smaller, reaching only 1.2 inches in length, whereas the females reach upwards of 1.5 inches.

The female has a distinct green saddle that colors their stomach; this is the shrimp’s ovary.

In addition, the female shrimp have a much more pronounced back curve to compensate for their abdomens.

If the shrimp has a longer antenna, then it’s a good chance it is a male shrimp.

How Long do Ghost Shrimp Live for?

The average lifetime you can expect your ghost shrimp to live for is about one year. So compared to their invertebrate cousins, they have a much shorter life expectancy.

It is essential to keep in mind that the life expectancy of your shrimp depends on how you care for them and how the quality of the tank you keep.

If your tank has poor water, then the shrimp may only live for a few days, but if you keep conditions perfect, it’s not unheard of for these shrimp to live two years.

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I notice that often that the bigger ghost shrimp seem to be attacking and holding onto smaller ones. Is this breeding, or are the bigger ones aggressively attacking the smaller ones?

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  • Freshwater Fish
  • Freshwater Invertebrates

Ghost Shrimp

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The Ghost Shrimp is a cool little freshwater shrimp that you may be interested in keeping if you have the right tank setup. Ghost Shrimp are sometimes called the Glass Shrimp because they have a semi-translucent body. This is a very inexpensive shrimp to purchase and should live for a year or two and sometimes even longer.

palaemonetes ghost shrimp

They are frequently used by fishermen as fish bait and they are considered pests by clam farmers who spend lots of money trying to eradicate them from their clam farms. For hobbyists, they can provide an interesting addition to a tank stocked with smaller, less aggressive fish species. Larger fish may find them irresistible and will just love eating them.

Ghost Shrimp need to build a borrow to feel secure so you will need to provide a sand or very small sized gravel substrate that will allow them to create a shelter for themselves. You may be able to keep multiples provided that you have a tank large enough to support multiples. You may see some aggressive behavior amongst them around breeding time.

The Ghost Shrimp is a somewhat decent scavenger and will go after all fish food placed into the tank. Make sure they are getting enough to eat by dropping in a sinking shrimp pellet or algae wafer every once in a while.

If you have your ghosties in a tank with fishes that need treatment for diseases you will need to remove the shrimps to a separate tank while medicating. Beware especially of any medications containing copper .

Run activated carbon through the aquarium filter and make sure you remove all of the medications before introducing them back into the tank.

palaemonetes ghost shrimp

Ghost Shrimp Care

Scientific Name : Palaemonetes sp.

Common Names : Glass Shrimp, Grass Shrimp

Care Level : Easy

Size : 1 - 2 inches (3 - 5 cm)

Life span : 1 - 2 years, sometimes longer

pH : 6.5 - 8

Temperature : 65°F - 80°F (18°C - 27°C)

Origin / Habitat : Found in multiple places throughout North America, mostly farm raised for the pet fish trade

Temperament / Behavior : Sometimes will eat baby fish, they are usually food for other fish, sometimes will fight among themselves if the tank is too small and there are too many of them.

Breeding : If you put several Ghost Shrimp in your tank then they will mate and the female will carry small shrimp eggs in her belly which you can see. Happens without you doing anything. If you want to raise the young then you need to move the female to a separate tank before she has her babies and add the appropriate amount of aquarium salt.

Aquarium Size : 5 gallons (19 liters)

Tank Mates : Use caution when selecting tank mates for your Ghost Shrimp if you want to keep them. Larger fish may find them irresistible and eat them. Smaller, peaceful fish species may be able to co-exist with them.

Fish Disease : Freshwater Fish Disease They are not very susceptible to disease but are susceptible to chemicals that treat fish diseases. Look for warnings stating "not good for invertebrates on the bottle". Stay away from using any copper based medications in a tank with ghost shrimps.

Diet / Foods : Omnivorous - will eat almost anything you feed it and also a good bottom feeder. This is not an effective algae eater.

Tank Region : Usually stays close to its burrow in the sand or gravel.

Gender : Hard to determine, no noticeable external differences between males and females. Females will carry the eggs.

Photo Credit : Photos copyright

Site References : Wikipedia

Ghost Shrimp Comments and Tips

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Ghost shrimp breeding—how to care for your breeding shrimp, eggs, fry.

By Eddie Waithaka @aquariawise

Ghost Shrimp Breeding—How to Care for Your Breeding Shrimp, Eggs, Fry

Palaemonetes paludosus, commonly called glass shrimp, ghost shrimp or eastern grass shrimp is a species of freshwater shrimp from the southeastern United States sold for use in freshwater aquariums.

Ghost shrimp make ideal additions to community tanks as they are peaceful and easy to care for, and an excellent food source for many large, more aggressive fishes kept in aquariums.

For both of these reasons, aquarium owners want to learn how to breed ghost shrimp. Which is not hard, as long as you keep them in a healthy environment, with zero predators and limited stressors.

Read on to find out how to breed ghost shrimp in a home aquarium including caring for your pregnant females, eggs and fry.

Ghost Shrimp Overview

  • Name : Palaemonetes paludosus, ghost shrimp, glass shrimp, eastern grass shrimp
  • Color : Clear
  • Size : 1 to 1.5 inches
  • Lifespan : 1 year
  • Minimum Tank Size : less than 5 gallons
  • Temperament : Peaceful
  • Care level : Easy
  • Diet : Omnivorous
  • Tank Conditions : 72°F to 82°F, ph 6.5 to 8.2, hardness 3 to 12dGH

Ghost shrimp is a name that can loosely refer to three types of shrimp, but only the Palaemonetes species is popular in the aquarium trade, both as aquarium pets and cheap food for larger fish.

They are native to North America, but presently, they are widely spread across the globe because of their popularity among fish keepers.

The shrimp are amazingly hardy and can survive in conditions other freshwater dwarf shrimp species can’t.

When setting up a dedicated ghost shrimp aquarium, it best to have at least 5 to 10-gallons of aquarium space, with the water temperature anywhere from 72°F to 82°F and a ph of 6.5 to 8.2. Add a gallon of water for every extra inch of shrimp you put in the tank.

You can also introduce your group of shrimp into a community aquarium with other shrimp or shrimp friendly fish like pygmy cories. However, on average, they only reach an adult length of 1.5 inches, so any fish that can fit them in its mouth should be avoided.

About their behavior, glass shrimp (like all other species) love to pick at the gravel, sifting through small substate grains looking for bits of organic matter and other foods.

One important thing to note is there are many different types of shrimp that look like American ghost shrimp and can be confusing to the untrained eye, therefore, make sure you get the right species from your local pet store.

Ghost Shrimp Breeding Tank Setup

Ghost shrimp, like most aquarium species prefer a bigger breeding tank relative to their small size, more so if you plan on breeding more than a pair. Ideally, aim for each of your shrimp to have at least a gallon of water.

That said, regardless of the number of ghost shrimp you are breeding, a 10-gallon breeding tank will make an adequate size .

You will also need an extra tank to raise your fry away from their parents because adult often devour their babies.

The fry aquarium need not be the same size as the breeding tank, though a reasonably sized set up will give the young shrimp the best chance of survival.

Maintain a healthy breeding tank, plus keep the water pristine for both your adult shrimp and fry by adding a slow flow sponge filter, that won’t cause a lot of water movement or suck in tiny ghost shrimp babies.

If a sponge filter is not enough for your setup, maybe because you have other fish in the tank, you can still use a Hang-on-back or canister filter, but cover the intake with a sponge or pantyhose.

Power filters are not recommended because the working mechanism involves sucking in aquarium water to clean it, which often drags tiny ghost shrimp along.

Some aquarist opt to disconnect their filtration system completely before the eggs hatch and replace 10 percent of the water in the tank every day until the fry grow.

Away from the filter, you also must consider an air pump to ensure there is enough oxygen supply in the tank, while still ensuring any currents created by the system don’t disturb your breeding shrimp, especially because they occupy the lower tank level.

Ghost shrimp prefer a sandy substrate or light gravel, with darker alternatives better, to help the shrimp develop specks and become more visible, though any substrate color will do.

Concerning the water to use in your breeder, ghost shrimp are fine in tap water as long as you treat it with de-chlorinator or chloramine to make it safe.

Alternatively, wait for 24 hours for the chlorine to evaporate from the water before adding your ghost shrimp in the tank, albeit this is not a guaranteed-to-work solution.

(As I mentioned) ghost shrimp are hardy aquarium pets that can tolerate temperatures as low as 65°F and as high as 82°F. However, to breed them successfully, maintain your aquarium temperature between 72°F and 78°F.

Moreover, you will need a heater and thermometer for your fish tank to make sure the temperature is stable within the appropriate range, and the heat is well distributed.

A heater that is anywhere from 25 to 75 watts should be good enough for breeding ghost shrimp in a 10-gallon tank .

A thick cover of plants inside your tank will give your ghost shrimps a sense of calmness and safety during breeding process.

Use thin leaves plants that the shrimp can feed on and a couple of small flower pots and other containers to provide hiding spots. Place the pots and caves up-side-down with openings only the shrimp can enter.

Good plants for breeding ghost shrimp include Java moss, hornwort , cabomba , and milfoil.

Java moss is especially useful not only in a typical shrimp aquariums but also in the breeding tank because it traps food debris better than other aquatic plants, hence a good food source for young shrimp fry.

Moreover, the plant can be used in the place of spawning mops for your breeding ghost shrimp.

Will Ghost Shrimp Breed in a Community Tank?

If you keep your ghost shrimp in a safe aquarium, with shrimp-friendly fish, there is a chance they will breed in a community aquarium . However, it’s not feasible to raise the fry in a tank with other fish because they are a prey species and among the most widely used food for larger fish .

Besides, even mature ghost shrimp are known to snack on their own when housed in the same aquarium.

If you are going to have even the slightest success breeding your shrimp in a community aquarium, add live plants well in advance before you start the breeding process. Plus add caves and broken pots to provide hiding areas for the adult shrimp, and spawning mops or carpet plants for the shrimp eggs and fry.

Make sure the water conditions in your community aquarium is appropriate and safe for your ghost shrimp to breed as well.

Overall, it’s important to appreciate that even if you successfully breed ghost shrimp in a community tank, chances are you won’t get many (if any) babies growing to adult size. One way or the other, they will end up dead, either as a quick snack or from general aquarium perils .

Caring for Your Pregnant (Spawning) Ghost Shrimp

The first step to caring for breeding adult ghost shrimp is to feed them a high-quality diet, with a lot of algae. The balanced diet is especially good for conditioning the fish for breeding and encourages spawning.

Offer them a daily amount of fish food, with a single crushed pellet a day enough to sustain six adult shrimp. Use sinking pellets because they live at the bottom of the tank.

Also, remember shrimp will thrive on algae and plant debris, so add plants that trap foods on tender leaves for your animals to scavenge on.

When it’s time to introduce your ghost shrimp to the breeding tank, ensure your water settings mimic what the shrimps are used to. Moreover, acclimate them slowly to make sure they don’t succumb to temperature or ph shock.

Usually, floating a bag with your shrimp inside at the top of your aquarium for 20 minutes before starting the acclimation process ensures your shrimp are properly adjusted to the aquarium temperature.

Perfom water changes in your fish tank once every week after that and constantly check the ph, temperature, and chemical levels to avoid a dangerous spike.

Remove 20 to 30 percent of the water with every change for best results, though 40 to 50 percent changes every other week will also work, especially if you have few or no fish with the shrimp.

In a large aquarium, only add small fish with your breeding ghost shrimp (if you must) because almost all medium and large-sized fish will snack on your shrimp.

Lastly, remember feeder shrimp are bred to produce high numbers of young but tend to be fragile, with a short lifespan. So, if you want shrimp for pets, it best to purchase a healthy breeding lot more than anything. Look for shrimp raised in a clean fish tank with plenty of live plants and space.

Ghost Shrimp Eggs- Spawning and Hatching

Assuming you have both male and female ghost shrimp in your fish tank, you should have them producing eggs every few weeks given the right conditions.

Ghost shrimp spawn bunches of 20 to 30 tiny green-grey eggs that are usually attached to the female.

Naturally, the eggs are positioned on the rare legs, which are also called swimmerets. They are short limbs attached to the lower part of the female’s body and make it seem like the eggs are attached to the belly.

Having said that, it is advisable to move your ghost shrimp eggs into a fry tank before they hatch to keep your adult shrimp from eating their young.

Ideally, use a net to move the female carrying the eggs first if you don’t intend on having her spawn in the main aquarium. Try not to stress the shrimp while you move her as they are known to drop eggs prematurely when rattled.

After spawning, it should take your ghost shrimp eggs 21 to 24 days to hatch.

During that period, watch your female shrimp to make sure she is in top conditions and inspect her eggs for progress. If you have a keen or expert eye, you will notice them develop tiny black dots which often is a sign they are ready to hatch.

Usually, the eggs will hatch while still attached to the female shrimp legs, then she will swim upwards and wipe them off her legs a few at a time.

The process should take a few hours, then you can feed your shrimp fry. At this point, you may also want to move the female back to the main aquarium or move the fry into a nursing tank if you have the means.

Note that one of the biggest challenges of breeding ghost shrimp is the tendency for the eggs to hatch free-floating larvae, meaning they do not turn into miniature versions of the adult until after a week.

For this reason, new ghost fish fry are difficult to sight, and you may lose a huge number if you are not careful.

Therefore, when you shrimp eggs hatch, provide them with powder algae such as spirulina to keep them nourished until they mature enough to look like their parents.

How to Care for Your Ghost Shrimp Fry

A 5 to 10-gallon aquarium is a suitable tank for ghost shrimp fry. To keep them comfortable, add a layer of gravel at the bottom and use a sponge filter to keep the water clean and safe for the newborns.

I mostly recommended using an established nursing aquarium, cycled 2 to 8 weeks before adding the fry, and layered with an inch or two of gravel.

A heater is also important to make sure your fish tank remains between 72°F and 80°F. However, ghost shrimp are quite tolerant, and a heater can be foregone if your aquarium room temperature does not go below 70°F.

Add floating plants like anacharis, duckweed, and hornwort to provide shade for your ghost shrimp fry, and a small driftwood for shelter and aesthetics.

Shrimp fry tend to swim toward the light and can injure themselves if they accidentally run into obstacles like aquarium walls. Therefore, use an overhead aquarium light 24 hours a day and cover the sides with construction paper to keep out ambient light.

Moreover, baby shrimp get sucked into filter intake and vacuum kits when cleaning the substrate . So only use a sponge filter and avoid vacuuming your aquarium sand or gravel until the fry attain a reasonable body size, usually when they look like adult ghost shrimp.

A crucial equipment you should also not fail to add is an air pump, which you can buy online or from your local pet store. An air pump is important because of ghost shrimp’s high oxygen demand when breeding and molting. Normally, shrimp molt every two months.

Live plants also supplement oxygen in the tank and provide shelter for shrimp when molting as well.

When purchasing products for your shrimp fry nursing tank, avoid any items with any form of chemicals or dye because shrimp, like snails, are overly sensitive to reagents, dust, and debris. Also, rinse any items you plan on putting in your fry aquarium before adding them.

Lastly, feed your ghost shrimp babies liquid fry food, daphnia, newborn brine shrimp, and microworms in three hours interval, 24 hours a day.

Gender Difference of Ghost Shrimp

While you’ll need to stock your fish tank with both male and female ghost fish for them to breed, young individuals are hard to determine their gender. However, mature shrimp are a little easier to sex.

Usually, females are much larger, with the size difference quite significant (1.5 times longer) when fully grown. Moreover, female ghost shrimp have a greenish saddle on the back that runs along to the underside of their belly, while in males it’s conspicuously absent.

The other signs that a ghost shrimp is female are the much larger abdomen that carries the eggs and a more pronounced ridge along the top end of the tail.

That said, you do not need an equal number of male and female in your aquarium for your ghost shrimp to breed, one male can have two females. It’s actually better to have twice as many females as males.

However, when you go out to purchase ghost shrimp, don’t put too much emphasis on the ratio, get at least 20 individuals to increases the chance of having both genders, and healthy once for that matter.

That’s all!

If you are located in the USA (more so Florida) and are looking to buy tropical (freshwater ) mentioned in this or any other post (and more), check out Consolidated Fish Farms Inc . Also Consider using Aquariawise Coupon Code for a 10 percent discount on eligible purchase. They are a great source for healthy aquarium fish, plus we get a small commission with no extra cost to you .

Have fun with your lady betta.

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></center></p><ul><li>Goldfish Tank</li><li>Cory Catfish</li><li>Ghost Shrimps</li></ul><h2>Ghost Shrimp Water Parameters: The 7 Keys to Shrimp Success</h2><ul><li>August 8, 2023</li></ul><p>Ghost shrimp are among the most popular freshwater aquarium shrimp, and for a good reason. They are hardy, easy to care for, and relatively inexpensive. However, there are a few key  ghost shrimp water parameters  that you need to keep in mind to keep your ghost shrimp healthy and thriving.</p><p>This complete blog post will discuss the most important  water parameters for ghost shrimp :</p><p>pH, temperature, hardness, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and dissolved oxygen. We will also provide tips on testing and maintaining these parameters in your aquarium.</p><p><center><img style=

So whether you are a new or experienced aquarist, read on to learn everything you need about  ghost shrimp water requirements !

Table of Contents

The 7 Key Ghost Shrimp Water Parameters

  • pH:  Ghost shrimp prefer a neutral to slightly alkaline pH, between 6.5 and 8.0.
  • Temperature:  Ghost shrimp can tolerate a wide range of temperatures but prefer water between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Hardness:  Ghost shrimp need water that has a moderate amount of hardness, with a GH of 3 to 10 dGH.
  • Ammonia:  Ammonia is a poisonous substance that can quickly kill shrimp. It is important to test your aquarium water regularly and to perform water changes as needed to keep ammonia levels at 0 ppm.
  • Nitrite:  Nitrite is another toxic substance that can harm shrimp. A  bacterial infection  produces it as they break down ammonia. Nitrites should be kept at 0 ppm as well.
  • Nitrate:  Nitrate is less toxic than ammonia or nitrite but can still build up in aquarium water and harm shrimp. Nitrate levels must be kept below 20 ppm.
  • Dissolved Oxygen:  Dissolved oxygen is essential for all aquatic life, including shrimp. Ensure your aquarium has adequate aeration to provide your shrimp with enough oxygen.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your ghost shrimp have the water parameters they need to thrive in your aquarium.

Ghost Shrimp Care: Nurturing a Delicate Balance

Maintaining optimal  ghost shrimp water conditions  is crucial for the health and vitality of your ghost shrimp. These creatures hail from various freshwater habitats, so replicating their natural environment in your aquarium is essential. Here are the seven crucial keys to creating the perfect home for your ghost shrimp:

– Water Parameters

Pay close attention to the water parameters to create a suitable habitat for your ghost shrimp. They survive in temperatures ranging from 72 to 83 degrees Fahrenheit and a pH level of 6.5 to 7.5. Ensuring that the ammonia and nitrite levels remain at zero is vital, as ghost shrimp are particularly sensitive to poor water quality.

– Water Quality

Maintaining high water quality is non-negotiable. Perform regular water changes, approximately 20-30% every two weeks, to remove accumulated waste and prevent harmful buildup. A reliable water conditioner will help neutralize chlorine and chloramine, ensuring your ghost shrimp enjoy a safe and healthy environment.

– Tank Setup

Creating a well-planted environment is visually appealing and crucial for your ghost shrimp’s well-being. Live aquatic plants such as Java fern, Java Moss, Anubias, and Amazon Sword provide hiding spots, promote natural behavior, and help maintain water quality by absorbing excess nutrients.

– Tank Mates

Selecting compatible tank mates is essential to prevent stress and aggression. Ghost shrimp generally coexist peacefully with small, non-aggressive fish like neon tetras, guppies, and danios. However, monitoring their interactions and ensuring the shrimp have sufficient hiding places is essential.

– Breeding Conditions

Create a separate breeding tank if you’re interested in breeding ghost shrimp. Maintain slightly warmer water temperatures (around 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit) and provide ample hiding spots, such as marbles or dense plants, for the female shrimp to deposit her eggs.

– Feeding and Nutrition

Ghost shrimp are omnivores and will eat both plant matter and small organisms. Offer a balanced diet that includes high-quality sinking pellets, algae wafers, occasional treats like blanched vegetables, and live or freeze-dried foods such as brine shrimp.

– Monitoring and Observation

Regularly observing your ghost shrimp will help you identify signs of stress, disease, or molting. Healthy ghost shrimp will exhibit active and constant movement, and females with eggs appear more rounded in the abdomen. When Ghost Shrimp molt, they are unsafe until they acclimate to their new shell.

How Long Do Ghost Shrimp Live?

Ghost shrimp, or glass shrimp, are popular with aquarium fanatics due to their unique appearance and interesting behavior. When it comes to the lifespan of ghost shrimp , they typically live for about one to two years.

However, they can sometimes live for up to three years with proper care and ideal living conditions . Ghost shrimp are effortless to care for, making them a perfect shrimp to keep for beginners.

How to Tell If Ghost Shrimp Eggs Are Fertilized

They are omnivorous creatures and will eat both live and decaying vegetation and small invertebrates. It is important to provide them with a well-maintained tank, adequate filtration, and regular tank water changes to ensure their longevity and overall well-being.

What Factors Can Change The Water Parameters?

Many factors can change the water parameters in a shrimp tank, including:

  • Water changes:  Adding new water to your tank will bring in a new set of water parameters. This is why it’s important to use water similar in temperature, pH, and other parameters to the water already in your tank.
  • Livestock:  The livestock in your tank will also produce waste, which can change the water parameters. For example, fish produce more ammonia than shrimp, so you must do more frequent water changes if you have fish in your tank.
  • Plants:  Plants can also affect water parameters. Some plants, such as water lilies, can release tannins, lowering the pH. Other plants, such as Java moss, can absorb nitrates, which can help to keep the water cleaner.
  • Decor:  The decor in your tank can also affect water parameters. For example, driftwood can release tannins into the water, and rocks can leach minerals. It’s important to choose decor that is compatible with the type of shrimp you are keeping.
  • Filter:  The filter in your tank can also affect water parameters. Some filters, such as canister filters, can remove nitrates from the water. Other filters, such as sponge filters, are less effective at removing nitrates.
  • Tap water:  The tap water in your area may have different water parameters than the water you need for your  freshwater shrimp  tank. If you are using tap water, you must test it and adjust the pH and other  water parameters needed for ghost shrimp .

Since Ghost shrimp are small  and sensitive to water changes, it’s important to be gradual when changing the water parameters in their tank.

A good rule of thumb is to change only 10-20% of the water. You should also test the water parameters before and after each change to ensure that the changes are gradual and within the acceptable range for ghost shrimp.

Here are some tips for keeping the  tank water  parameters in your ghost shrimp tank stable:

  • Do regular water changes. Changing 10-20% of the water every week is a good idea.
  • Use a water conditioner to remove chlorine and chloramine from the tap water.
  • Add a water filter to your tank. This will help to remove waste and keep the water clean.
  • Test the water parameters regularly. This will help you to identify any problems early on.
  • Be gradual when making changes to the water parameters. Ghost shrimp are sensitive to sudden changes.
  • Choose the right livestock for your tank. Some livestock, such as fish, produce more waste than shrimp. This can make it difficult to keep the water parameters stable.
  • Use the right decor. Some decor can release tannins or leach minerals into the water. This can change the water parameters.

By following these tips, you can help to keep the water parameters in your ghost shrimp tank stable and healthy.

Why Is The Balance Of Water Parameters So Important?

The balance of water parameters is crucial when keeping ghost shrimp, especially if you want to breed them successfully. Ghost shrimp require specific water conditions to thrive and reproduce.

They need clean water with the proper ghost shrimp temperature , pH, and nutrient balance. If the water parameters are not balanced correctly, it can lead to stress, disease, and even death for the ghost shrimp. Also, maintaining  good water parameters for ghost shrimp  is essential for breeding.

Female shrimp need stable and suitable conditions to successfully carry and hatch their eggs. Furthermore, the water parameters’ balance also affects the ghost shrimp’s overall health and compatibility with any tank mates.

Therefore, it is crucial to regularly monitor and adjust the water parameters to provide the best possible environment for ghost shrimp.

Breeding Ghost Shrimp

The balance of water parameters is crucial for the well-being and survival of aquatic organisms, including ghost shrimp. Water parameters refer to temperature, pH, ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels. Ghost shrimp need specific water conditions to thrive and reproduce successfully. 

Glass shrimp are easy to breed in a freshwater aquarium. Here are the steps on how to breed ghost shrimp :

  • Set up a breeding tank. The breeding tank must be at least 10 gallons in size and have a sponge filter or other gentle filter. The water tank temperature should be between 71 and 81 degrees Fahrenheit, and the pH should be between 6.5 and 7.5.
  • Add live plants to the breeding tank. Live plants will provide hiding spots for the female ghost shrimp and her eggs.
  • Add a small group of adult ghost shrimp to the breeding tank. The ratio of males to females should be about 1:2.
  • Feed the ghost shrimp a high-quality diet. Ghost shrimp are omnivores and will eat a variety of food sources, including algae, plant matter, and small insects.
  • Monitor the female ghost shrimp. After a few weeks, the female ghost shrimp will become pregnant. She will develop a saddle-shaped pouch under her abdomen containing the eggs.
  • Transfer the  pregnant ghost shrimp  to a separate breeding tank. This will help to protect the eggs from being eaten by other shrimp or fish.
  • The female ghost shrimp will carry the eggs for 21-24 days. During this time, she will fan the eggs to keep them oxygenated.
  • After 21-24 days, the eggs will hatch. The baby shrimp will be very small and transparent.
  • Feed the baby shrimp a diet of newly hatched brine shrimp or powdered fish food.
  • The baby shrimp will grow rapidly and be ready to be added to the main aquarium in about six weeks.

Here are some additional tips for breeding ghost shrimp:

  • Avoid adding new fish or shrimp to the breeding tank for at least 6 weeks after the eggs hatch. This will help to prevent the baby shrimp from being eaten.
  • Make sure to do regular water changes in the breeding tank. This will help to keep the water quality high and prevent the baby shrimp from getting sick.
  • If you need help caring for baby ghost shrimp, you can always ask for help from a local aquarium store.

You can easily breed ghost shrimp in your aquarium with a little care and attention.

Who Are Suitable Ghost Shrimp Tank Mates?

 When finding suitable tank mates for ghost shrimp, it is important to consider their peaceful nature and small  tank size . Ghost shrimp can coexist peacefully with other freshwater fish and invertebrates.

One popular choice is introducing glass shrimp as tank mates for ghost shrimp. They are similar in size and temperament to ghost shrimp, making them compatible companions.

Another compatible tank mate option is the amano shrimp, known for its ability to clean up algae in the tank. They are larger than ghost shrimp but peaceful enough to live harmoniously. Red cherry shrimp and cherry shrimp are also popular tank mates for ghost shrimp due to their delicate nature and similar care requirements.

Overall, choosing peaceful and similar-sized tank mates is important to ensure a harmonious and stress-free environment for your ghost shrimp.

Feeding Ghost Shrimp

Feeding ghost shrimp is an important aspect of their care. To feed your ghost shrimp, it is recommended to provide them with various foods. Ghost shrimp need a balanced diet consisting of pellets and live or frozen foods to thrive.

They are omnivorous creatures and will eat algae, small insects, and decaying plants. It is essential to ensure regular feeding to maintain their health. Ghost shrimp will also scavenge for food in the aquarium, eating any leftover fish or dead shrimp. 

However, monitoring the amount of food given is crucial, as overfeeding can lead to water quality issues. Providing a well-balanced diet and cleaning excess food will help maintain a healthy shrimp tank and prevent potential problems. 

Ghost shrimp are omnivorous scavengers, meaning they will eat various food items. They would eat algae, detritus, small size invertebrates, and even fish eggs in their natural habitat. In a shrimp tank, you can feed them a variety of foods, including:

  • Flake food: This is a good staple food for ghost shrimp. It should be made from high-quality ingredients and sink to the bottom of the tank, where ghost shrimp can easily eat it.
  • Brine shrimp: Brine shrimp are a good  food source  of protein and other nutrients for ghost shrimp. You can buy them live or frozen.
  • Bloodworms: Blood worms are another good source of protein for ghost shrimp. They can be bought live or frozen.
  • Vegetable matter: Ghost shrimp will also eat some vegetable matter, such as spirulina flakes, algae wafers, and blanched vegetables.
  • Occasional treats: You can also give your ghost shrimp occasional treats, such as cooked fish, shrimp, or crab meat.

It is important to vary your ghost shrimp’s diet to ensure they get all the nutrients they need. After a few hours, remove any leftover food from the shrimp tank to prevent it from decaying and polluting the water.

Here are some additional tips for feeding ghost shrimp:

  • Feed them once or twice a day, in small amounts.
  • Feed them in a quiet part of the tank so they don’t feel threatened.
  • If you have a large tank, you may need to feed them more frequently.
  • Monitor their food staffing and adjust the amount you provide them accordingly.
  • If you see any uneaten food, remove it from the tank immediately.

With proper care, ghost shrimp are relatively easy to feed and will thrive in your tank.

Commonly Asked Questions about Ghost Shrimp Tank (FAQs)

What is the lifespan of a ghost shrimp.

Ghost shrimp typically have a lifespan of about 1 to 1.5 years in optimal conditions.

Can ghost shrimp adapt to different water conditions?

Ghost shrimp are adaptable and can tolerate various water conditions, but maintaining stable parameters is essential for their well-being. 

How do I breed ghost shrimp?

To breed ghost shrimp, create a separate breeding tank with warmer water current and hiding spots for the female to lay her eggs.

Can ghost shrimp be kept with other shrimp species? 

While ghost shrimp can coexist with other peaceful shrimp species, it’s important to consider their specific requirements and temperaments.

What do ghost shrimp eat?

Ghost shrimp are omnivores who consume sinking pellets, algae wafers, and live or frozen foods.

How to tell if my ghost shrimp is pregnant?

Pregnant female ghost shrimp will have a rounded abdomen and may appear slightly larger than usual.

What are the key water parameters for keeping ghost shrimp?

The seven key water parameters for keeping ghost shrimp are temperature, pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, dissolved oxygen, and salinity.

Can ghost shrimp be kept with other tank mates?

Yes, ghost shrimp can be kept with other peaceful and non-aggressive tank mates, such as small fish, snails, and temperate shrimp species.

Are ghost shrimp also called glass shrimp?

Ghost shrimp are also called glass shrimp due to their transparent and see-through appearance.

How often do ghost shrimp molt?

Ghost shrimp molt regularly , shedding their exoskeleton to grow. The frequency of the molting process may vary, but it usually occurs every few weeks.

How often should water changes be done for ghost shrimp?

Regular water changes should be done for ghost shrimp aquariums to maintain water quality. It is recommended to perform a 25-50% water change every 1-2 weeks.

What is the natural habitat of ghost shrimp?

Ghost shrimp are native to freshwater habitats such as rivers, streams, and ponds in Southeast Asia and North America.

What is the average lifespan of ghost shrimp?

Ghost shrimp have a relatively short lifespan, typically living about 1-2 years in captivity.

Can ghost shrimp be kept as feeder fish?

Yes, ghost shrimp are commonly used as feeder fish for  larger fish  species that can eat live prey.

Can ghost shrimp be kept in a freshwater aquarium?

Yes, ghost shrimp are freshwater shrimp and can be kept in freshwater aquariums.

Are ghost shrimp suitable for adding to your aquarium?

Ghost shrimp are generally a great addition to home aquariums as they are good scavengers, are peaceful, and help maintain a clean environment.

Creating an ideal environment for your ghost shrimp involves more than just providing water and a tank. By understanding and maintaining the seven essential keys to shrimp success, you can ensure that your ghost shrimp thrive and contribute to the vibrant beauty of your aquarium. From  ghost shrimp water parameters  to tank mates and breeding conditions, each aspect plays a vital role in the overall well-being of these captivating creatures. With proper care, your ghost shrimp will flourish, displaying their unique behaviors and adding a touch of enchantment to your aquatic world.

You might also like

  • Ghost Shrimp vs Amano Shrimp : A Comprehensive Comparison
  • How to Breed Ghost Shrimp : 5 Proven Tips for Maximum Profits
  • Can Ghost Shrimp Live Without a Filter : (The Shocking Truth)
  • Where Do Ghost Shrimp Lay Eggs : (5 Surprising Locations!)
  • How Often Do Ghost Shrimp Molt : (A Comprehensive Guide)
  • Are Ghost Shrimp Caridina : Ghost Shrimp vs Cherry Shrimp

ghost shrimp hardy

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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How To Breed Ghost Shrimp At Home

ghost shrimp hardy

Thinking about breeding ghost shrimp? This guide will walk you through everything you need to raise ghost shrimp successfully.

In this guide you’ll learn:

Is it hard to breed ghost shrimp?

  • Are ghost shrimp a good fit for your aquarium?
  • What equipment is needed?
  • How to breed ghost shrimp and how to care for them

Featured image card showing a small ghost shrimp

Ghost or glass shrimp, known for their translucent or clear appearance, are easy to care for, popular additions to tropical community tanks with small, non-aggressive fish. They are a useful addition to tanks because of the added benefit of being great detritus feeders, helping keep the tank clean. They are active little creatures that are either free-floating, eating, or cleaning so they ensure that there’s always something interesting to look at in your tank. 

What's In This Guide?

Is It Hard To Breed Ghost Shrimp?

No, ghost shrimp are relatively easy to breed in a healthy environment with limited stress. They are not too sensitive to tank conditions and only require a separate breeding tank or a net. If you want to grow a considerable population, then a separate breeding tank is better. 

They undergo reproductive cycles once in about every 2-3 months (females produce eggs every few weeks, fertilization takes place in a few days, and incubation takes about 20 days). 

Are Ghost Shrimp A Good Fit For Your Aquarium?

As long as there are no large, hostile, and territorial fish in your community aquarium then your ghost shrimp will be a perfect fit. They do not require extensive care or very specific tank conditions (a general tropical aquarium set up is enough). 

They do best with similar sized tank mates such as small fish (tetras and barbs) that are non-aggressive, snails, and similar sized shrimp. A tank with fine grained substrate is best with carpeting plants such as moss and plenty of small crevices to hide in. 

Ghost shrimp are great tank cleaners so they are always a nice addition to most aquariums. 

What Are Ghost Shrimp? Overview

Ghost or glass shrimp is the common name for different varieties of the transparent freshwater shrimp commonly sold as feeders. They are geographically diverse and were first described in 1850. The ghost or glass shrimp commonly kept in freshwater aquaria belong to the Palaemonetes family. They are great scavengers that help keep the tank clean by eating excess algae, uneaten food, and plant overgrowth. 

ghost shrimp hardy

Physical characteristics

These tiny shrimp that grow to about an inch and a half evolved to be clear or translucent to evade predators. Their clear appearance allows you to view their digestive and other inner body processes which makes them an attractive addition to tanks. Species differ by different colored dots on their back. Females grow larger than males.

They have two antennas (one long and one short) used as sensory organs to detect food, movement, or chemicals in the water. 

A rostrum, similar to a beak, rests between their eyes. They have a hard protective shell called a carapace to encase their soft insides.

They have 6 flexible abdominal segments after the carapace, with a pair of swimming legs (swimmerets) or pleopods on 5 of the segments. The sixth connects to a tail with another segment called a telson after which the tail fan is attached (called the uropod).  

ghost shrimp hardy

Ghost shrimp live for about a year but their lifespan does depend on the individual’s health, their origin, and how they were kept and bred. Well kept ghost shrimp, especially those bred as pets can live up to 2 years.

Since they are cheap and fairly easy to breed, they are often bred for feeders and as bait and are kept in tanks with poor filtration and living conditions. This leads to unhealthy individuals. If you are planning to keep ghost shrimp as a pet, make sure you get them from a store that breeds them for that purpose.

Throughout their short lifespan, these creatures continue to molt regularly as they grow. The frequency depends on how fast they grow and how much they eat. 

Don’t panic if you see a non-moving shell in your tank, it may just be from a ghost shrimp that just finished molting. These discarded shells need not be cleared from your tank as they can become food for other shrimp and tank inhabitants.

Make sure your tank has enough hiding places and small crevices for molting ghost shrimp to hide in so aggressive fishes or other tank mates cannot bother them during this time. After molting, their body will be very vulnerable before their shell hardens again.

What Do You Need To Breed Ghost Shrimp At Home?

Materials needed:

  • 5-10 gallon main tank
  • Breeding tank 
  • Breeding net (alternative to a breeding tank)
  • Sponge filter or fine mesh net to cover your filter (for the breeder tank)
  • Sand/gravel
  • Tank furniture/decoration: plants, rocks, and small spaces to hide in
  • Dechlorinated or treated water

Main tank Your main tank should be between 5-10 gallons. Though ghost shrimp are tiny, they do need at least 1 gallon of water per shrimp to thrive. You can compensate for smaller tanks with an additional half-gallon of water per shrimp. Keep any possible stressors such as aggressive or bigger fish in your main tank to a minimum and provide ample plants and hiding spaces for your ghost shrimp.

Breeding tank or breeding net A breeding tank with a sponge filter is the best way to keep young shrimp alive. Allowing the eggs to hatch in the main tank is risky since the larvae will be eaten by adults. The sponge filter will keep the larvae and young shrimp from getting sucked into the filter. This breeding tank need not be as large or as well equipped as your main tank, just basic substrate and a few plants will do. However, a more spacious tank does help with the proper growth of young ghost shrimp. 

A breeding net for your main tank can be an alternative if you do not have a separate breeding tank.

Air pump All aquariums will need an air pump to keep a good supply of oxygen in the water. Ghost shrimp benefit well from this since they are naturally found in freshwater systems with flowing water. It’s best to have an air pump for both your main tank and breeding tank.

Filter Use a typical canister filter, box filter, or power filter in your main tank to help clean your water. However, use a sponge filter for your breeding tank to keep your young shrimp safe from being sucked into the filtration system. Filters usually intake water to clean them and young shrimp and larvae can get sucked along with the intake. An alternative would be to cover your filter intake with a small piece of sponge or a nylon stocking to protect your ghost shrimp babies.

If you do not have a second filter for your breeding tank, make partial water changes (about 10% of the volume) every day until your ghost shrimp are fully grown and you can place them back in the main tank.

Sand or gravel Sand or fine-grained gravel is best for ghost shrimp. These are available in light or dark colors. Dark gravel sometimes causes ghost shrimp to develop some visible specks. Fill both your main and breeding tank with a light layer of sand or gravel to make your ghost shrimp more comfortable. Since they are bottom dwellers and detritus feeders, they will spend most of their time at the bottom of your tank as adults. 

Tank furniture/decoration (plants, rocks, and small crevices) Live plants and some rocks that form small crevices are perfect for ghost shrimp to hide in especially during molting as adults. Plants also provide food for ghost shrimp since they feed on fallen plant debris and other tank waste. Choose plants that have thinner and more delicate leaves such as hornwort, milfoil, and cabomba so the leaves cannot injure your ghost shrimp. Carpeting plants are also perfect for ghost shrimp.

For young shrimp, live plants such as Java moss will help trap food debris to help them feed so it is a highly recommended addition to your breeding tank. 

When adding live plants, it’s best to give them time to acclimate and stabilize in your tanks (about a month). Especially in breeding tanks where younger shrimp are more sensitive to water chemistry and water parameter changes. Adding plants in breeding tanks should definitely be done ahead of adding your hatchlings. 

Treated water Aquarium keeping requires treated or dechlorinated water especially if it comes from the tap. These water conditioners are easily bought in pet or aquarium stores (always check that they are copper free). At the very least, leave your tap water in a separate bucket for 24 hours, preferably with an aerator to allow the chlorine to evaporate.

How To Breed Ghost Shrimp

1. take good care of your adult shrimp.

Proper care is the first step to breeding ghost shrimp. Build a proper tank setup and feed your ghost shrimp well (but not too much). You should make sure to get high-quality starter adult shrimp from your breeder since these will be healthier and have longer lifespans. Ask your breeder or check the conditions the ghost shrimp are kept in. If they are cramped and are in an unkempt tank then those are most likely bred as feeders or bait.

Transfer new shrimp into your main tank carefully. You can place the bag they come in from the store directly into your tank for a few hours then carefully start to replace the water in the bag with water from your tank every couple of hours.

2. Check if you have both female and male adult shrimps

Once you have your ghost shrimp community acclimatized and happy, check if you have female and male adult shrimps. Female ghost shrimps are noticeably larger than male ones and can develop a green saddle on their bellies. You don’t need to have an equal number of males and females. One male is enough for up to 3 female ghost shrimps. 

3. Spot females carrying eggs

If your tank conditions are right, your female ghost shrimps should bear eggs every few weeks. Watch out for bunches of greenish-grey eggs attached to the female’s legs or swimmerets. Spotting females with eggs can be quite challenging as it requires really sharp eyesight. Setting a background for your tank using colored paper or viewing from the side may help.

4. Allow the male to fertilize the eggs for a few days

Once you spot females with eggs, male ghost shrimp need a couple to a few days to fertilize them.

5. Transfer your female to the breeding tank carefully

After a few days, use a net or maybe a small basin to transfer the female ghost shrimp extremely carefully into your breeding tank. Stress from the transfer can cause females to drop their eggs. It’s good to have the main tank and the breeding tank near each other to make the process quicker.

6. Wait for the eggs to hatch

The eggs hatch after about 21-24 days. Frequently check on your female to check her progress. Tiny black dots may start to develop within each egg which eventually become the ghost shrimp’s eyes. As the eggs begin to hatch, the female shrimp will swim to the surface and flick the young off her legs a few at a time. During this process, do not disturb your female as the hatchlings should be deposited as quickly as possible for them to start feeding. 

7. Transfer the female back to the main tank after

After the female completes the process of depositing her young, move her back into the main tank as she will try to eat the newly formed shrimp larvae. The tiny hatchlings or shrimp larvae will be hard to spot but you should keep adding food into the breeding tank from this point onwards.

8. Feed the young shrimp tiny food

At this point, your breeding tank is most likely well equipped to support the young ghost shrimp. It may have java moss to help trap debris for the baby shrimp to eat as well as other plants to add to their food (plant debris). 

However, their diet should still be supplemented with very small amounts of special food such as microworms, “rotifer” food, baby brine shrimp, or powdered spirulina algae. You may also opt to strain small amounts of egg yolk through a fine mesh to serve as their food. 

9. Transition the young shrimp to regular food as they grow

In about 3-4 weeks, the larvae will have grown some legs and will look like tinier versions of the adult ghost shrimp. These juvenile ghost shrimp can then be fed the regular fish food you give to the adults. Just make sure these are small enough for them to eat. 

10. Transfer the grown shrimp to your main tank

In about 5 weeks, your ghost shrimp should be ready to transfer back into your main tank. If you have several batches of eggs and larvae in your breeding tank, you may have to move your juvenile ghost shrimp after 3-4 weeks into the main tank.

Breeding tips:

  • Observe the young shrimp if they are feeding well, otherwise switch to a different type of food immediately since they can starve pretty quickly.
  • If the female drops her eggs before they hatch due to the stress of the transfer to the breeding tank, double-check your tank conditions or transfer her a bit more carefully. You may have to prepare to breed them in your main tank as a last resort. Transfer other tank mates (such as fishes) into the breeding tank if this is the case.
  • Transition your young shrimp back into the main tank slowly if you notice them dying after being transferred. Use the plastic bag technique usually done for new fish. 

How To Care For Ghost Shrimp

Diet & feeding.

Ghost shrimp will eat most anything which is what makes them great tank cleaners. In addition to the waste, uneaten food, algae, and plant detritus in your tank; they will also eat flakes, pellets, and algae wafers available in most pet stores. Fry food also works.

Usually, one algae pellet is enough for up to 10-20 shrimp in a tank. Overfeeding can be a risk so it’s best to keep feeding to a minimum. Sinking pellets are best so they can eat some before the fish in the tank consume all of them. Additional calcium supplements will also ensure their good shell development.

Warning: do not use any medication with copper content in your tank that has shrimp or snails as copper is toxic to them

Tank Requirements

In their natural habitat, ghost shrimp live in rivers with flowing freshwater, fine sediments, and lots of cracks and crevices in river rocks to hide in. Their tank requirements should try to closely resemble these conditions to promote good health.

Since they are quite small, a minimum of 5 gallons is enough to house ghost shrimp, with about 3-4 shrimp per gallon. However, if you are keeping a community, you have to bear in mind the size requirements of your other tank inhabitants.

It’s good to keep plants such as java moss in with ghost shrimp as these plants provide places to hide in (especially during molting) and additional food for a varied diet. Choose relatively hardy plants that will survive nibbling from ghost shrimp.

Ghost shrimp are bottom dwellers and will do best in fine gravel or sand as substrate. These fine-grained substrates will not damage their antennae as they burrow. It will also keep the waste and uneaten food from getting buried too deep in the sediment allowing your ghost shrimp to clean up your tank even more effectively.

As for water quality parameters, ghost shrimp do well in general tropical aquarium setups with a temperature between 65-82°F and a pH between 7-8. All toxic substances such as ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite should be monitored and kept low. Regular water changes and a good filter will help with tank maintenance. 

Ghost shrimp are not particularly sensitive to the water quality of your tank for as long as these are kept consistent. Any sudden changes in the tank parameters such as pH, for example, should be avoided since these are bad for most tank inhabitants. 

Compatibility With Other Fish

Which fish are most compatible with ghost shrimp.

Ghost shrimp will do well with most creatures since they are quite docile and peaceful. However, since they are quite small, they are easy prey for large fish or aggressive tank mates. 

The best fish you can house with your ghost shrimp would be small, non-aggressive fishes such as tetras, hatchetfish, small barbs (cherry barb), Danio , zebra and kuhli loaches, and Corydoras (small catfish).

Which Types Of Fish Should I Avoid?

In general, any fish that have mouths large enough to eat your ghost shrimp should be avoided. Certain fishes like bettas can also be territorial and aggressive and so should not be placed in a tank with ghost shrimp.

Other Compatible Tank Mates

Ghost shrimps will also do well with other shrimp species of similar sizes such as bamboo shrimp, red cherry shrimp, amano shrimp, or vampire shrimp. Snails will also make good ghost shrimp tank mates. 

No, ghost shrimp are easy to breed in a dedicated breeding tank with the correct water parameters such as clean, flowing water. There should also be no stressors such as predators in the tank to enforce an optimum breeding environment for your ghost shrimp.

How quickly do ghost shrimp breed?

Females produce 20-30 eggs every few weeks which look like little green dots attached to their legs or swimmerets. Their swimmerets paddle to provide oxygen to the eggs which should hatch in about 3 weeks. Males take about 3 days to fertilize the eggs. 

Do ghost shrimp need brackish water to breed?

No, though ghost shrimp will survive brackish water, their eggs will not develop in water with a salinity between 10-20 ppt.

Do ghost shrimp eat their babies?

Yes, especially during the larval stages. A separate rearing tank can be kept for developing young ghost shrimp or a good moss cover can be provided as substrate for them to hide in. Larger tanks can also help avoid this. 

How long should it take for ghost shrimp eggs to get fertilized?

Males will take anywhere from an hour to a couple of days to fertilize the egg after which the incubation is 12-14 days until they hatch. If the eggs move down further on the female’s belly then it may be a sign that they are fertilized.

Do I need to put ghost shrimp in a breeder net after birth?

If you do not have a separate breeding tank then a breeder net is a good alternative. Make sure you place it far from your filter intake to keep the larvae safe. 

Should I remove the mother glass shrimp after she is done having eggs?

Yes, replace the mother back into the original tank or separate them from their young with a breeder net as they tend to eat the larvae shrimp after giving birth. 

Can I keep ghost shrimp with other kinds of shrimp, like crystal red shrimp?

Yes, ghost shrimp grow to be about 1.5 inches while crystal red shrimp grow to about 1.2 inches and both are generally docile creatures so they won’t have a problem in the same tank. However, crystal red shrimp can be quite sensitive to tank conditions.

Breeding ghost shrimp is quite easy with minimal equipment needed and a relatively high turnaround. A new batch of hatchlings can emerge in about 2-3 months and females can produce eggs every few weeks. An extra breeding tank and a sponge filter is all that’s really needed apart from the usual proper tropical aquarium set up. Ghost shrimp can be bred as beautiful and active pets that help keep your tank clean and can also be used as feeders for bigger fish. 

Further Reading

Ghost shrimp quick care guide: Ghost Shrimp | Care & Breeding – AqauriumInfo

Field guide for Grass/Glass/Ghost Shrimp Mississippi Grass Shrimp Glass Shrimp; Ghost Shrimp | MDC Discover Nature General article on the different species of dwarf freshwater shrimp: Palaemonetes – Family of Ghost Shrimp Palaemonetes paludosus – common Glass Shrimp in America

Compatibility chart for dwarf shrimp: Dwarf Shrimp Compatibility Chart – Tool

Recommended Reading

How to tell if your aquarium snail is dead or sleeping, how to lower the ph in your freshwater aquarium.

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Frequently Asked Questions & Answers by Our Experts

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FAQ » What conditions do ghost shrimp need?

What conditions do ghost shrimp need?

Ghost shrimp need these conditions to thrive:

  • A minimum of 5 gallons of space, though you can keep four ghost shrimp per gallon
  • Fine substrates, such as sand and fine gravel
  • Warm water temperature of around 65°–80°F (18.3°–26.6°C)
  • Flowing water with a weak current
  • A habitat with plenty of live plants and crevices to hide in
  • Monitored water quality, with no ammonia and nitrite and >20ppm of nitrate
  • 30% water change once a week

Ghost shrimp are generally hardy creatures, but if you want your ghost shrimp to thrive, make sure to maintain tank cleanliness and water quality. Suboptimal water parameters often result in a weakened immune system, excessive molting, infections, and death.

Related Questions

  • Can ghost shrimp live with neon tetras?
  • How do you keep ghost shrimp alive?
  • Can ghost shrimp live with guppies?
  • Can a ghost shrimp live with a betta?
  • How many ghost shrimp can I put in a 10-gallon tank?

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ghost shrimp hardy

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3 Most Hardy Dwarf Shrimp For Beginners

3 Most Hardy Freshwater Dwarf shrimp For Beginners

I need to start off by pointing out that, there is no difference between beginner shrimp and hardy shrimp. Personally, what I classify, as beginner shrimp is a shrimp that is suitable for beginners and that is also extremely hardy. A hardy shrimp in the aquarium is going to be more likely to take abuse or improper conditions or improper water parameters in the home aquarium. Therefore, all beginner aquarists should start with the hardy shrimp to build skills, knowledge base, and get some experience. So, what are some good (most hardy) beginner dwarf shrimp?

For beginners, I would suggest the following species: Red cherry shrimp, Amano shrimp, and Ghost shrimp.

If you are a beginner shrimp keeper, please, be patient! Obviously, you saw some beautiful shrimp in online stores. Of course, your local pet store has many kinds of amazing shrimp. The temptation is real!

However, keep in mind that you will make A LOT of mistakes. That is why you need such species, which can survive in your learning curve. Once you have raised them and kept for some time, you can go for more expensive shrimp.

You can also read my article “Top 5 Exotic and Hardy Aquarium Shrimp” .

1. Red Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina davidi)

Red Cherry Shrimp guide

Red cherry shrimp are excellent shrimp for people who have never kept shrimp before. They are very easy to care for. They accept a variety of food, can be kept in various kinds of water, breed easily, and are resilient and sociable.

Red cherry shrimp can tolerate a wide range of hardness, pH, and temperature. I have heard stories that some beginners put their Cherry shrimp in a tank even before the nitrogen cycle was over and they survived! Frankly saying, they got lucky at that time. I would not add anything in the tank while it is cycling. Nonetheless, once again, it simply shows that they are not too fussy about water parameters. They are a real die-hard.

Although, Neocaridina davidi species is initially native to inland waterbodies in East Asia. Nowadays Red cherry shrimp have been found even in thermally polluted waters in Europe ( Germany and Poland ). Once established, the red cherry shrimp is a highly productive species. They are omnivorous and well adapted to different freshwater parameters. For example, biologists found some individuals in 11.8 °C (53 F) water!

Some more interesting facts about Red cherry shrimp:

Biologists noticed that I quote “Starvation did not hinder the hatched juveniles’ capacity to molt , nor the time necessary to reach the first molt… The high resistance to starvation showed by Neocaridina davidi gives the species a high potential to its aquaculture for the ornamental not only shrimp trade but also is a characteristic of a viable invader in the Neotropical region”.

Red cherry shrimp will be a great choice for peaceful community tanks . Planted, with dark places for them to hide, especially for the female when carrying eggs. Java moss is particularly good as a cover for baby shrimp. Darker gravel will bring out deeper reds in them.

You can read more about Red cherry shrimp in my detailed guide about them.

2. Amano shrimp (Caridina multidentata)

amano shrimp

They are also one of the most adaptable shrimp in the hobby. Amano Shrimp can adjust to almost any kind of freshwater, with a moderately basic or acid pH, and a very wide range of GH and KH values. Well, pretty much we can say that they can live in nearly every water condition. They can even tolerate different levels of salinity. Hardy things indeed!

Regarding the temperature, it is possible to keep them in any water temperature between 18 and 28°C. The same as Cherry shrimp, Amano shrimp do well in unheated tanks. The only limitation I can see is for the tanks with very soft water. It can cause molting problems .

Amano shrimp are peaceful and can live side by side with other dwarf shrimp species. Utility-wise, they are ravenous algae eaters. Nobody can compare with them. Not even close!

In addition, it is also one of the largest dwarf shrimp species in the hobby. Unlike most dwarf shrimp species, fully-grown Amano reaches between 4 – 6 cm (1,5 – 2 inches) in length and are therefore a good addition to community tanks even with bigger fish.

Another good thing about Amano shrimp is that they live much longer than other shrimp (except Bamboo fan shrimp and Cameroon fan shrimp). They are very easily accessible at any local fish store. The only downside of Amano shrimp is that it is really hard to breed them. They only breed in certain specific conditions of brackish water.

Overall, this is an excellent species, and perfect for any beginner. They are true survivors!

You can read more about “Amano Shrimp – Detailed Guide: Care, Diet and Breeding” right here.

3. Ghost shrimp (Palaemonetes paludosus)

ghost shrimp hardy

Well, let me explain.

Ghost shrimp are dirty cheap and often sold as live food for larger fish. And because of this, their care is rather poor ugly from the very beginning under the assumption they are not going to live long anyway. However, they still keep living even in these terrible conditions.

It shows us that once they get accustomed to their new surroundings, they become amazingly hardy and can survive under conditions significantly better, compared to most other types of shrimp.

The same as Amano shrimp, Ghost shrimp are predominantly a freshwater species. However, in the wild, biologists also found them in brackish and salt waters. Some biologists observed survival at a salinity of 30 ppm in the laboratory. Water temperatures (in their natural habitats) can range from 13 – 33 C (55 – 90F). Palaemonetes paludosus fed heavily on algae, this is a great bonus for any tank. They have a semi-translucent body and can grow up to 6 cm (2 inches).

In general, Ghost shrimp are a great option if you are just getting started. They are pretty hardy shrimp. Therefore, if you are a beginner shrimp keeper, Ghost shrimp is a good choice to sharpen your skills.

Important : There are multiple species that are referred to as Ghost shrimp and can be easily confused. Especially, when they are small. The problem is that some of them (for example, Machrobrachium Lanchesteri (Whisker shrimp) ) are predatory. Therefore, you should never put them with other dwarf shrimp, snails, and even small fish.

You can read more about how to distinguish them in my article “Ghost shrimp – Detailed Guide: Care, Diet, and Breeding” right here.

Some of you might wonder about the 4 th , 5 th , etc, places. This is just a matter of preferences. Let me put it this way.

There are many varieties of Neocaridina (Cherry, Sakura, Fire Red, Neon Yellow, Blue Velvet, Sapphire, Blue Diamond, Black Diamond, Black Rose, Orange Sakura, Green Jade, Rili Shrimp, Snowball shrimp , etc.). What is more important for us, they are comparably durable as well! They can be a great alternative to Cherry shrimp. Why? Because they all belong to Neocaridina genus and can interbreed.

However, Red cherry shrimp is the cheapest out of all.

In addition, I have seen that some aquarists recommend Bamboo shrimp as beginner-friendly shrimp. Frankly saying, I am very surprised to see that. I love Bamboo shrimp, they are super cool creatures. Nonetheless, they are completely unsuitable for Nano-tanks. Bamboo shrimp need a rather larger tank due to their unique feeding behavior. They also require high oxygen water. This is a big no-go, if you are a beginner.

Final Tips for Beginner Shrimp Keepers

1. do not test their limits.

Red cherry shrimp, Amano shrimp, and Ghost shrimp are pretty hardy shrimp and good for a beginner. They can tolerate a wide range of conditions and can forgive you some mistakes. However, it does not mean that they like it. Extreme conditions will lower their life span and decrease their ability to breed.

It is very important to do some research on the species of shrimp you would like to keep prior to bringing them into your home.

What kind of environment do they need to thrive in? What are the ideal water parameters for them ( PH , GH , KH , TDS )?

Learn more about the nitrogen cycle.

2. Acclimation

When you are introducing shrimp to their new home, you should definitely go for drip acclimation . Stress from shipping is one of the main factors that kill shrimp. Do yourself a favor, do not skip this step and the survival rate will be even higher.

3. Overfeeding

Shrimp are scavengers. They are easy to feed. However, overfeeding is another major cause of shrimp loss. This is the most popular rookie mistake.

By giving your shrimp a lot of food, you are killing them! Eventually, leftovers will lead to the buildup of toxic compounds. Even worse, it can also cause an outbreak of infection. Scutariella Japonica ,  Planaria ,  Vorticella ,  Hydra, and  Ellobiopsidae or Green fungus can become a very serious problem for you and your shrimp.

In Conclusion

Beginner shrimp keepers need to keep beginner shrimp. This is a fact. Of course, there are a lot of shrimp species out there to keep, but there are certain species that are more fitted for beginners.

With all due respect, but if you are new to this hobby, and decide to go for, let’s say Crystal red shrimp, Cardinal shrimp, Bamboo shrimp, etc., you are more likely to fail than succeed. They are beautiful and absolutely stunning shrimp but they are not great for a beginner. Because they require a higher care level than Beginner.

Related articles:

Top 5 Exotic and Hardy Aquarium Shrimp

6 thoughts on “ 3 Most Hardy Dwarf Shrimp For Beginners ”

Thank you for this great information. But a couple of the links in this article are not available any longer. The link to the “drip acclimation” is one, the other was about the Snowball species of shrimp. I am definitely a beginner and am interested in the Red Cherry but was just wanting to see what a Snowball looked like. I am definitely doing my research. I want to make sure that they are healthy and happy in their new forever home.

Hi Tammy, I fixed the interlinks, thanks to you! Best regards, Michael

Hi, greetings from down under Australia Perth.

Thank you for the shrimp intro. I am interested in the Chameleon Shrimp . Is it a hardy shrimp like the top 3 you have mentioned. It is not in your shrimp list either. Can you provide some care facts, food, water parameters , temperature, for chameleon shrimp known as Praunus flexuosus ……. please. Lastly are Chameleon shrimp the same with Ninja Shrimp? Appreciate your comments and advise. Thanks .Simon

Hi Simon, – Are Chameleon shrimp the same with Ninja Shrimp? No. these are different species.

Praunus flexuosus is a very rare species. I do not know anybody who kept it in the tanks. I only read about it in the literature. Praunus flexuosus has the ability to change color in response to variations in light intensity and alterations in the background. This is brackish-marine species – not freshwater! They can tolerate a salinity range of 2–33‰. These shrimp also prefer cold water. In their natural habitats, the differences between minimum and maximum natural temperature in summer and winter are 14-21C (57-69F) respectively. This species needs pH of around 8.0. Praunus flexuosus is omnivorous but mostly prey on copepods and other zooplankton. Artemia gives the best results as a diet. This is a pretty hardy species. According to the experiments, Praunus was able to adjust to a new salinity within 6 h of transfer. Best regards, Michael

Thanks for your online shrimp and fish encyclopedia!

I’m want to get a tank with dwarf shrimp, as soon as I can negotiate it with my better half.

I’ve been spending hours every day for the last couple of weeks reading everything I can find and watching hours on YouTube. I raised a lot of livebearing tropic fish when I was in high school, but that was 1970. As you know, the hobby has changed so much since then.

I’ve seen several shrimp breeder and dealers online who sell Tangerine Tiger Caridinas who’ve been raised in water with Neocaridina parameters. I have spoken with 1 person who got some of those and he is happy after so far, but its only been a couple of months. What are your thoughts on those for a beginning shrimp keeper?

My tap water is not good, so I’m going to have to use remineralized RO water whatever I do, but I’m certainly not ready to jump fully in to Caridinas and messing with active substrate.

Thanks again for your articles.

Hi Thomas H Saunders, You have just touched upon the topic I wrote about in my article “ The Ideal Water Parameters for Fish and Shrimp Keeping “. In it, I explained why shrimps can sometimes die in seemingly ideal conditions and thrive in seemingly unfavorable ones. The reason is a very long (several generations) adaptation to different conditions. That is why I strongly recommend always finding out the water parameters from those who breed shrimps and trying to be as close to them as possible. If this is not possible (or if they are resellers), it is better to stick to the parameters that are closest to their natural habitat. You are also correct, it is better to start with the shrimp species that are the most adaptable. Later, if you become interested in this hobby, you will decide where to develop. Best regards, Michael

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25 Ghost Shrimp Tank Mates


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Ember Tetra

Ember Tetras are small, beautiful, and peaceful fish that easily stand out despite their tiny size. Primarily flame orange in color, they bring a bright pop to your tank.

ember tetra

  • Compatibility:  5/5. Perfect for a community tank with Ghost Shrimps.
  • Tank Size: Minimum 10 gal (37.85 liters). Room to swim will make them happy.
  • Temperature Range:  73-84°F (23-29°C). They prefer warm waters.
  • Care Level:  Easy. Perfect for beginners.
  • Temperament:  Peaceful. Great for cohabiting with other tranquil species.
  • Diet & Feeding:  Omnivorous. They enjoy brine shrimp, daphnia, and high-quality flaked food.
  • Adult Size:  0.8 inches (2 cm). A petite size that fits well with Ghost Shrimp.

Their small size, peaceful nature, and easy care makes Ember Tetra an excellent choice as a tank mate for Ghost Shrimp.

Cherry Shrimp

Famous for its fiery red color, the Cherry Shrimp is another excellent tank mate for ghost shrimp.

Cherry Barb

  • Compatibility:  5/5
  • Tank Size:  Minimum 10 gal (38 liter)
  • Temperature Range:  72-80°F (22-27°C)
  • Care Level:  Easy
  • Temperament:  Peaceful
  • Diet & Feeding:  Omnivorous, requires Both animal and vegetable-based foods
  • Adult Size:  1.5 inches (3.8 cm)

As both species are small, non-aggressive, and share similar environmental needs, they coexist peacefully. Remember to feed Cherry Shrimp a variety of nutritional food such as vegetable flakes, algae wafers, or blanched vegetables to keep them healthy. Providing plenty of hiding spots with plants and rocks also helps in making them feel secure and reducing stress.

Amano Shrimp

The Amano Shrimp is an excellent tank mate option for your ghost shrimp given they share a friendly nature.

Amano Shrimp

  • Compatibility:  4/5. Though they are larger, Amano Shrimp do fine with Ghost Shrimp. They aren’t overly competitive.
  • Tank Size:  Minimum 10 gallons (38 liters)
  • Temperature Range:  70-80°F (21-27°C)
  • Care Level:  Easy. They’re hardy and adaptable making them beginner-friendly.
  • Temperament:  Peaceful. They coexist calmly with others.
  • Diet & Feeding:  Omnivorous. They feed on algae, plant debris and leftover fish food.
  • Adult Size:  2 inches (5 cm)

Remember, these shrimps are escape artists due to their climbing tendency. Ensure the tank is well covered. Their gentle demeanor and easy maintenance make them a joy to have in a communal tank.

Ghost Catfish

Ghost Catfish, also known as Glass Catfish, can share a tank with your Ghost Shrimp as they are peaceful and quite sociable. However, they need to live in a group of at least 5 individuals.

Glass Catfish (Ghost Fish)

  • Compatibility: 4 out of 5
  • Tank Size: 20 gal (75 liters)
  • Temperature Range: 72-82°F (22-28°C)
  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Diet & Feeding: Omnivorous; feed them flake food, and occasionally, brine shrimp or bloodworms
  • Adult Size: 3 inches (7.6 cm)

Remember, Ghost Catfish are mid to top level swimmers, so provide ample swimming space at the higher levels of the tank.

Otocinclus Catfish

Alongside your ghost shrimps, introducing an Otocinclus Catfish can bring a semblance of balance. They are peaceful, hardy, and enjoy working round the clock to clean your tank. Being bottom dwellers, they won’t compete for space with your ghost shrimp.

Otocinclus Catfish

  • Compatibility: 5 out of 5
  • Tank Size: min 20 gallons (75 liters)
  • Temperature Range: 72-79°F (22-26°C)
  • Diet & Feeding: Herbivore – algae and plant matter
  • Adult Size: 2 inches (5 cm)

Remember to provide them with adequate plant coverage and avoid pairing with aggressive or large fish species, which can intimidate or prey on them.

Neon Tetras are vibrant additions to your Ghost Shrimp tank. They are peaceful creatures and hence excellent tank mates for shrimps.

Neon Tetra

  • Temperature Range:  72-78°F (22-25°C)
  • Care Level:  Easy, making them suitable for beginners.
  • Temperament:  Peaceful; they prefer school of 6 or more to be most comfortable.
  • Diet & Feeding:  Omnivorous; both high-quality flake foods or pellets and brine shrimp or blood worm.

This small size and non-aggressive demeanor make Neon Tetras a fantastic choice. Just remember to keep them in a group and maintain water parameters, and they will thrive together with your Ghost Shrimps.

Fancy Guppy

Fancy Guppies are not only lively and colorful but also great roommates for your Ghost Shrimp. They share a peaceful yet playful demeanor which is an added plus aside from the aesthetic appeal.

fancy guppy

  • Compatibility:  4/5
  • Tank Size:  10 gal (37.85 liters) minimum
  • Temperature Range:  72-82°F (22-28°C)
  • Care Level:  Easy. Guppies are hardy and adaptable, making them suitable for beginners.
  • Temperament:  Peaceful. Fancy Guppies are sociable creatures who prefer living in small groups of at least 3.
  • Diet & Feeding:  Omnivorous. They relish a varied diet from flakes, frozen food to plant matter.
  • Adult Size:  2.5 inches (6 cm) long. Even with their small size, their vibrant colors make them stand out.

It’s worth mentioning that, while they’re compatible, keep an eye on their behavior to ensure a harmonious tank.

Threadfin Rainbowfish

The Threadfin Rainbowfish, named for its distinctive long threads, is an elegant companion for your ghost shrimp. Its beauty is in its colorful body and intricately patterned fins.

threadfin rainbowfish

  • Compatibility:  5/5 – They are peaceful and pose no threat to ghost shrimp.
  • Tank Size:  20 gallons (75 liters) – Their swimming style needs ample space.
  • Temperature Range:  75-80°F (24-27°C) – A tropical water temperature is ideal.
  • Care Level:  Easy – They are hardy and can tolerate a range of conditions.
  • Temperament:  Peaceful – They are social and interact well with other species.
  • Diet & Feeding:  Omnivore – They eat both plant-based food and small aquatic animals.
  • Adult Size:  2 inches (5 cm) – They stay small, making them ideal tank companions for ghost shrimp.

A tank full of Threadfin Rainbowfish adds vibrancy and movement, while maintaining a peaceful co-existence with ghost shrimp.

Chili Rasbora

Chili Rasbora is a spunky, micro fish species that can add a splash of vibrant red to your aquarium. Despite their small stature, these creatures are excellent survivors. Here’s a quick rundown on what you need to consider if you’re thinking of making them tank mates for your ghost shrimp.

chili rasbora

  • Compatibility: 5/5
  • Tank Size: 10 gal (37.85 liter)
  • Temperature Range: 74-82°F (23-28°C)
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceable
  • Diet & Feeding: Omnivores, prefer live and frozen foods but will take flakes and pellets.
  • Adult Size: Up to 0.8 inches (2 cm)

Chili Rasbora are tiny, allowing a large number of them to comfortably coexist in the same tank, even one as small as 10 gallons. They’re hearty eaters that add a burst of color and life to your underwater world.

Black Neon Tetra

The Black Neon Tetra is a peaceful schooling fish compatible with Ghost Shrimp. They are very calm and love to explore the entire aquarium.

Black Neon Tetra

  • Tank Size: 20 gallons (76 liters) or more
  • Temperature Range: 72-80°F (22-27°C)
  • Diet & Feeding: Omnivorous, they appreciate a diverse diet of flake, freeze-dried and live foods
  • Adult Size: 1.4 inches (3.5 cm)

Known for their unique black and neon coloration, these Tetras offer a spectacle of vibrant hues. They are ideal for beginners due to their uncomplicated care needs. Plus, they enrich the aquarium environment manifesting ghost shrimp to thrive.

Pygmy Corydoras

Meet the Pygmy Corydoras, an adorable and peaceful option for your ghost shrimp tank. This friendly fish species is perfect for a serene setup.

pygmy corydoras

  • Compatibility:  5/5. Pygmy Corydoras get along excellently well with ghost shrimps.
  • Tank Size:  Minimum 10 gallons (38 liters). Providing a bigger space enables more swimming area.
  • Temperature Range:  72-79°F (22-26°C). Maintaining an optimal range is crucial for their health.
  • Care Level:  Moderate. They demand clean tank water, and periodic maintenance is required.
  • Temperament:  Peaceful. It’s their quiet demeanor that makes them an ideal tank mate.
  • Diet & Feeding:  Omnivorous. They appreciate a diet of pellets, flakes, and they’ll even help clean up leftover food.
  • Adult Size:  1.5 inches (3.8 cm). Their small size adds to their charm and compatibility with ghost shrimps.

Bristlenose Pleco

The Bristlenose Pleco is a peaceful fish species that shares an excellent compatibility level with Ghost Shrimps.

bristlenose pleco

  • Tank Size: 25 gallons (94.6 liters)
  • Temperature Range: 60-80°F (15-27°C)
  • Diet & Feeding: Omnivorous, thrives on a diet of algae, vegetables, and sinking wafers.
  • Adult Size: 4-6 inches (10-15 cm)

Their hardy nature and unique appearance make them a delightful addition to your aquarium. Bristlenose Plecos are not aggressive or territorial, making them a perfect tank mate for Ghost Shrimps.

They stay relatively small, making them suitable for a range of tank sizes. Add some hiding spots and a variety of food, and they’ll cohabit peacefully in your ghost shrimp tank.

Rummy Nose Tetra

Rummy Nose Tetra is a beautiful fish species to consider as a ghost shrimp tank mate. It’s characterized by a bright red nose and stunning silver body.

rummy nose tetras

  • Compatibility: 4/5
  • Tank Size: Minimum 20 gallons (75.7 liters)
  • Care Level: Easy to moderate
  • Diet & Feeding: Omnivore; prefers a mix of flakes, granules, and invertebrate-based foods
  • Adult Size: Up to 2 inches (5 cm)

This species is famously peaceful, making it an excellent companion for your ghost shrimp. They enjoy swimming in schools, so having a group of them can add a vibrant touch to your aquarium.

Kuhli Loach

Kuhli Loach is a fascinating species to consider as a ghost shrimp mate. They are nocturnal, making them interesting to watch during your tank’s dusk. 

Kuhli Loach

  • Compatibility:  4/5. They are peaceful and can cohabitate well with ghost shrimps.
  • Tank Size:  Minimum 20 gal (75.7 liters). Larger tanks are always better for these creatures.
  • Temperature Range:  75-85°F (24-29.5°C). Adjust your tank heater to their needs.
  • Care Level:  Moderate. They need hiding spots in the tank like caves or thick plants.
  • Temperament:  Peaceful. They can sometimes be shy.
  • Diet & Feeding:  Omnivorous. Supply them with sinking pellet foods and the occasional live or frozen food.
  • Adult Size:  4 inches (10.16 cm). They are not a big fish, making them a great option for smaller tanks.

Celestial Pearl Danio

Celestial Pearl Danio, also known as ‘Galaxy Rasbora’, adds a dash of colour and sparkle to your tank.

celestial pearl danio

  • Compatibility:  3 out of 5 – They enjoy peaceful settings. Aggression can cause stress.
  • Tank Size:  10 gallons (approx 38 liters) – They love room to swim.
  • Temperature Range:  73-79°F (approx 23-26°C) – They prefer slightly warm water.
  • Care Level:  Easy – They are hardy creatures.
  • Temperament:  Peaceful – They coexist well with others.
  • Diet & Feeding:  Omnivore – They do well on flake food and like the occasional treat.
  • Adult Size:  1 inch (approx 2.5 cm) – Small but brightly colored, you can’t miss them.

Keep in mind to provide sufficient hiding spots and densely planted areas in the tank for them. This ensures their safety and boosts their comfort level. Celestial Pearl Danios can make radiant additions to your Ghost shrimp tank.

Glowlight Tetra

Glowlight Tetra is a colorful, peaceful species that you’ll like to have as Ghost Shrimp tank mates. Originating from South America, they enhance the tank’s vibrancy, yet won’t pose a threat to your shrimp.

glowlight tetra

  • Tank Size: Minimum 20 gallons (75 liters)
  • Temperature Range: 75-82°F (24-28°C)
  • Diet & Feeding: Omnivore, ease with flaked fish foods or frozen ones.
  • Adult Size: Up to 2.5 inches (6.35 cm)

Their low-maintenance nature and peaceful demeanor make them a perfect match for your Ghost Shrimp tank. A tank decorated with dense vegetation and dim lights will recreate their natural habitat, contributing to their overall health and well-being.

Harlequin Rasbora

The Harlequin Rasbora is a delightful addition to any Ghost Shrimp tank. With its vibrant colors and playful antics, this fish is sure to bring joy and vitality to your aquatic environment.

harlequin rasbora

  • Tank Size: 10 gal (38 liters)
  • Temperature Range: 72-81°F (22-27°C)
  • Diet & Feeding: Omnivorous, gladly accepts a wide assortment of foods.
  • Adult Size: Around 2 inches (5 cm)

Although they are active swimmers, Harlequin Rasboras aren’t aggressive, creating a relaxing and congenial habitat for your Ghost Shrimp. Their shared preference for mild water temperatures and their compatibility mean you can peacefully cohabitate these lovely creatures in your aquarium.

Zebra Danio

Zebra Danios, with their signature horizontal stripes, make a striking addition to any aquarium. Originally from South Asia, they are amicable and adapt well to new environments.

golden zebra danio

Compatibility:  5 out of 5 Tank Size:  10 gal (40 liters) Temperature Range:  64-77°F (18-25°C) Care Level:  Easy Temperament:  Peaceful Diet & Feeding:  Omnivore. Regular feedings with a mixture of dry and fresh foods. Adult Size:  2 in (5 cm)

They bring movement and color to any tank, living harmoniously with other peaceful species, including ghost shrimps. Don’t let their energetic behavior fool you; Zebras are easy to care for and breed. They like slightly acidic to neutral water. Remember to feed them a diverse diet to keep them healthy and thriving.

Endler’s Livebearers

Endler’s Livebearers, with a Compatibility rating of 4 out of 5, are known for their peaceful behavior and harmonious nature, hence, they often make an excellent choice as tank mates for Ghost Shrimp.

endler guppy tank mates

  • Compatibility: 4/5 
  • Temperature Range: 72-78°F (22-26°C)
  • Diet & Feeding: Omnivore. They require a balanced mix of plants and small crustaceans for diet.
  • Adult Size:  1.8 inches (4.5 cm)

Despite their small size, they are active, vibrant, and full of personality. Their eye-catching colors would enrich the diversity and beauty of your tank. However, their feeding habits need to be observed carefully. They should not be overfed, as it may lead to obesity and possible health issues.

White Cloud Minnow

The White Cloud Minnow, a peaceful fish species, is an excellent tank mate for your Ghost Shrimp. This species is known for its low aggression and compatibility with other tank mates.

white cloud minnow

  • Tank Size: 10-20 gallons (38-75 liters)
  • Temperature Range: 64-72F (18-22C)
  • Diet & Feeding: Omnivorous; The White Cloud Minnow will consume a variety of foods, including flakes, pellets, and live or frozen foods.
  • Adult Size: 1.5 inches (3.8 cm)

Known for their small size, these minnows are as non-threatening to your shrimp as they come! With simple care needs and a friendly temperament, they’re a breeze to look after alongside your Ghost Shrimp.

Golden Pencilfish

Notable for their striking, sleek bodies, Golden Pencilfish (Nannostomus beckfordi) make excellent tank mates for Ghost Shrimp. Their calming temperament and non-aggressive behavior foster a peaceful environment.

golden pencilfish nannostomus beckfordi

  • Tank Size: Requires at least a 20-gallon (approx 75-litre) aquarium
  • Temperature Range: Thrives best in the range of 74-82 degrees F (23-28 degrees C)
  • Care Level: Requires moderate care, suitable for intermediate aquarium keepers
  • Temperament: Peaceful and non-aggressive, they prefer to swim in schools
  • Diet & Feeding: Obligate omnivores; they enjoy a balanced diet of flakes, pellets, and small live foods
  • Adult Size: Approximately 2-2.5 inches long (5-6 cm)

Remember, their preference for a densely planted tank and their tranquil demeanor makes Golden Pencilfish a great choice as a Ghost Shrimp companion.

Glowlight Rasbora

The Glowlight Rasbora is a vibrant species, known for its shimmering golden stripe. For your Ghost Shrimp, this fish is an ideal companion.

glowlight rasbora

  • Tank Size: 10-20 gallons (38-76 liters)
  • Temperature Range: 72-82°F (22-29°C)
  • Care Level: Intermediate
  • Diet & Feeding: Omnivorous, accepts most flake foods
  • Adult Size: 1.2 inches (3 cm)

It’s crucial to pair your Ghost Shrimp with peaceful tank mates, and the Glowlight Rasbora fits the bill. They are middle-swimming fish, giving ample space for your shrimps. The optimum tank size for Glowlight Rasboras ranges from 10 to 20 gallons, providing enough area for both the shrimp and the fish.

They prefer a temperature of 72-82°F, which is also suitable for Ghost Shrimps. Although slightly tricky to care for, their peaceful nature and compatibility make them worth it.

Japanese Ricefish

Japanese Ricefish, also known as medaka, are delicate, petite fish that hail from Rice paddies, shallow ponds, and streams in East Asia. Their peaceful temperament and modest size make them suitable companions for Ghost Shrimp.

japanese rice fish oryzias latipes

  • Tank Size:  Minimum 10 gallons (approx. 38 liters)
  • Temperature Range:  64-82 °F (approx. 18-28 °C)
  • Care Level:  Easy to moderate
  • Diet & Feeding:  Omnivorous — provide them a balanced diet of commercially prepared flake foods and live or frozen invertebrates.
  • Adult Size:  1.6 inches (approx. 4 cm)

With their resilience and low maintenance, Japanese Ricefish can brighten up your Ghost Shrimp tank, adding both color and activity.

Dwarf Pencilfish

Dwarf Pencilfish, referred to scientifically as ‘Nannostomus marginatus’, are excellent companions for your Ghost Shrimp. These petite and colorful fish don’t intimidate or threaten the Ghost Shrimp, ensuring a peaceful tank environment.

dwarf pencilfish

Dwarf Pencilfish Photo by Mobile Gnome CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

  • Tank Size: 10 gallons (37.85 liters)
  • Temperature Range: 73-81°F (22.8-27.2°C)
  • Diet & Feeding: Omnivore; readily accepts flakes, pellets, and brine shrimp

The Dwarf Pencilfish remains mostly in the middle and top parts of the tank, decreasing the chance for conflicts over territory. It’s simplicity in care, diverse diet, and friendly nature make it a perfect tank mate for Ghost Shrimp.

Cardinal Tetra

The Cardinal Tetra is a vibrantly colored fish species that can liven up any community tank.

cardinal tetras

  • Compatibility: 5/5 – Cardinal Tetras are peaceful and blend well with Ghost Shrimps.
  • Tank size: 15 gal (57 liters) – They appreciate plenty of swimming space.
  • Temperature range: 73-81°F (23-27°C) – Cardinal Tetras thrive best in warm waters.
  • Care Level: Easy – They pose nominal challenges for aquarists.
  • Temperament: Peaceful – They coexist harmoniously with other peaceful species.
  • Diet & Feeding: Omnivore – They enjoy a diet of flakes, pellets, or live food.
  • Adult Size: 2 inches (5 cm) – They are small and non-threatening to Ghost Shrimps.

In the world of aquarium hobbyists, Ghost Shrimp are truly remarkable and unique creatures that bring a splash of mystery and beauty to any tank. Choosing the right tank mates for your Ghost Shrimp ensures harmony in your aquarium and a higher chance for a thriving community.

We’d love to hear from you – feel free to leave a comment sharing your Ghost Shrimp tank mates’ experiences!

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Modest Fish

Ghost Shrimp: Expert Care Guide For Beginners

Katherine Morgan

  • August 9, 2023
  • Care Guides , Invertebrates

Ghost shrimp (also known as Glass shrimp), are easy to care for, cheap, and entertaining to watch.

Making them a great addition to most freshwater aquariums.

Often used a feeders, cleaners, or just for a bundle of fun, in this guide, I’ll discuss everything you need to know about housing these critters.

The Overview: What Are Ghost Shrimp?

Ghost shrimp are dwarf freshwater shrimp native to the Southeastern United States. They’re also called glass shrimp or grass shrimp.

There are several species sold under the name ghost shrimp, but most in the aquarium trade are Palaemonetes paludosus .

They’re bred as live food for larger aquarium fish or as an ornamental species for home aquariums.

What do Ghost Shrimp Look Like?

Ghost shrimp parts

Ghost shrimp got their name because…well…they look like little transparent ghosts swimming around the tank.

This is going to sound weird, but the name and the way they swim always makes me think of the little ghosts that chase you around in Pac-Man.

Their bodies are so clear that it can be really hard to see them against some backgrounds.

Which is kind of the point. It makes them harder for predators to see them.

This is a good thing for the ghost shrimp. I’m sure fish find ghost shrimp just as tasty as humans do their bigger Gulf shrimp cousins.

Let’s break down their different parts:

Ghost shrimp have four antennae, one pair is longer than the other.

Just like other insects, fish and crustaceans, they use their antennae to navigate around objects, find food, communicate with each other and sense water conditions.

2. Body Segments

Ghost shrimp anatomy is very similar to other shrimp species.

Their bodies can be divided into two main parts, the cephalothorax and the abdomen.

The cephalothorax is the large, front section of the body. And don’t be intimidated by the word. All cephalothorax just means, “head chest.”

The front of the cephalothorax comes to a point, called the rostrum. This gives the head the distinctive look you usually associate with shrimp, lobsters and crayfish.

An eyestalk comes off either side of the rostrum. Ghost shrimp can actually move the eyestalks around so they can see their surroundings without moving their bodies.

That way, they can keep an eye on predators lurking around without moving and giving their positions away.

Behind the eyes is the carapace, a big section of shell that covers the rest of the cephalothorax.

Most of the shrimp’s organs, like the heart, stomach and gills, are found there.

The carapace is so transparent that you can actually see food as it’s eaten and moves through the digestive system.

Kind of gross, and yet, somehow fascinating.

On the bottom of the carapace are five pairs of walking legs, called periopods. Shrimp use these to walk along the bottom or climb on rocks and plants.

Two pairs of periopods also have tiny claws, like a lobster or crab, that the shrimp uses to put food in its mouth.

The next segment is the abdomen. This section is mostly taken up by the big muscles that work the tail. The reproductive organs and the intestine are also in this segment.

The abdomen is covered by seven overlapping plates of shell. The overlapping plates allow the abdomen to be flexible so the shrimp can curl its tail.

Underneath the abdomen are five pairs of swimming legs, or pleopods, that the shrimp can use to scoot around in open water.

Female shrimp carry their eggs on the bottom of their abdomens and constantly fan them with the pleopods to give them oxygen.

The last abdominal plate comes to a sharp point, called a telson. Four pieces of shell called uropods fan out from either side of it, forming the tail.

Shrimp use their tails to evade predators. The tail curls rapidly and the shrimp can hurl itself backwards to get away.

3. Color Range

Ghost shrimp don’t really have much of a color range. Their bodies are always almost completely clear.

If you look closely, they are covered with little dark speckles, some greenish, others more brown.

How Big Are Ghost Shrimp?

Ghost shrimp stay pretty darn small, adults are usually only 1.5 inches long. The absolute biggest are 2 inches long.

Females tend to be a bit bigger than males.

How Long Do Ghost Shrimp Live?

These little guys do not have a very long lifespan. They usually only live for about a year.

If you buy ones that were meant for feeding large fish, they may not live long at all.

Most are wild caught and have a rough time in transport. Feeder animals are generally not handled and housed as well as animals meant to be pets.

It’s a sad fact, but it’s true.

If you’re buying feeder shrimp to keep and raise, it’s a good idea to get a large group. That way, you hopefully get some tough enough to survive and breed.

Ghost Shrimp Molting

All shrimp molt . Once their outer shell hardens, it can’t actually get bigger.

As the rest of the shrimp grows, the shell becomes too small. They have to shed this old one so a new, larger one can replace it.

Most young dwarf shrimp molt almost weekly . Adults might go a month or more between molts. It all depends on how much they are feeding and growing.

It’s difficult to tell how often individual ghost shrimp molt since they’re usually kept in big groups.

So it’s hard to tell which ones have molted and which ones haven’t.

But molting is always a good sign. It means your shrimp are healthy and growing.

The Molting Process

A day or two before the molt, you might notice that the shrimp looks a little more opaque than usual.

This happens because the new layer of shell is forming underneath the old one.

When the big day arrives, the shrimp will curl its tail under its body again and again, trying to loosen the old shell.

You might also see the shrimp moving its legs a bunch, trying to loosen those up, too.

The shell will split where the tail meets the cephalothorax. The ghost shrimp will usually pull it’s front half out of the old shell and then flick backwards really quick to get its tail free.

Sometimes, they’ll do this so quickly that you’ll miss it completely.

Molted or Dead? How to Tell?

One thing about molting though, sometimes it can freak you out because the molted shell looks like a dead shrimp in the tank.

And just to add to your worry, you might count ghost shrimp and find that one’s missing.

That’s because shrimp are really vulnerable after a molt. Their new shell is soft for a few days. They do everything they can to hide themselves during this time.

Luckily, it’s easy to tell a molt from a dead shrimp.

A molted shell still looks clear, like it’s made of glass. Sometimes, you see only half of the shell because the shell splits between the cephalothorax and tail.

A dead ghost shrimp won’t look clear anymore. Their body turns a whitish pink color. It almost looks like the shrimp has been cooked .

If you find a molted shell, it’s fine to leave it in the tank. Shrimp will often eat the old shell, which has minerals in it that are really good for them.

Ghost Shrimp Care & Tank Requirements

Now you know a bit more about Ghost shrimp, let’s run through the steps needed to set up an aquarium.

What Tank Size is Best for Ghost Shrimp?

Since ghost shrimp are so tiny, they don’t need a huge tank. You could keep a single shrimp in something as small as a 2 gallon.

But if you’re wanting to keep a group (which I would recommend), it’s better to put them in a 5 gallon or larger.

Keep in mind, the bigger the tank, the easier it is to control your water quality.

Filtrations for Ghost Shrimp

Ghost shrimp are actually pretty tough, or they wouldn’t be able to survive the conditions of being caught and then shipped all over the world.

So you don’t need to go completely over the top with your filtration. You can just use a filter that’s rated to handle your size tank.

Ghost shrimp aren’t crazy about a really strong current in the water. They can have a hard time swimming against it.

So don’t add a filter meant for a 40 gallon on a little 10 gallon tank. The poor ghost shrimp would be plastered to the floor of the aquarium.

Hands down, the best kind of filter to have in a shrimp tank is a sponge filter . They don’t create a lot of crazy flow and they’re great mechanical and biological filters.

Plus, shrimp can’t get stuck on/in them. You’ll even see that the shrimp will graze along the sponge all the time.

You can use a standard hang on the back or canister filter if that’s what you already have.

But, shrimp can get sucked into filter intakes that are really powerful. Many, many people have opened up their filter to clean it and found shrimp inside, munching on filter gunk.

You can add a sponge pre-filter onto the intake of your existing filter that will keep shrimp (especially babies!) safe.

A Special Mention for Lids

It’s best to have a tight-fitting lid that has as few gaps as possible.

Shrimp are really good jumpers and have been known to end up on the carpet.

So make sure to close up any gaps in your lids as much as possible in case your shrimp decide to go on a walkabout.

Lighting your Ghost Shrimp Tank

Here’s the thing about lighting and aquariums: it’s more for us than it is for the critters we keep.

Fish and shrimp really don’t have “lighting requirements.”

The lights are there so we can see the tank, not because our livestock has some kind of solar receptors.

If anything, a lot of species need shady areas that they can retreat to. That helps them feel less stressed.

Ghost shrimp will do fine under bright lights or dim ones. Just give them some little hidey holes so they can get away from the light if they feel shy.

If you’ve got live plants in the tank (which the shrimp will LOVE), base your lighting on what the plants need. The shrimp will just hang out either way.

Plants and Decorations

Like I said before, shrimp like lots of places to hide. Being in a bare tank can be really stressful for them. Especially when they’re molting.

Make sure to give them lots of options for hiding places. Rocks, fake plants, driftwood, decorations with little caves, however you want to do it.

Ghost shrimp will really appreciate a heavily planted tank. This gives them lots of places to hide.

And they will happily munch on plant material as it breaks down.

Plus, live plants help keep down nitrates in the tank, so they make the environment healthier.

Ghost shrimp don’t actually require any kind of special substrate. Gravel, sand or planted aquarium substrate will be just fine.

You should pick your substrate based off of the plants you pick .

But, you can see them better against a dark substrate.

A Special Mention: The Nitrogen Cycle

You want to make sure that you don’t add ghost shrimp unless your tank has been properly cycled.

If you’re new to all this, maybe you think you just add water and then drop fish in.

Sorry, but it’s a little more complicated than that.

As fish and shrimp eat, they put off waste.

All that pee and poop starts to break down in the tank and put off ammonia (NH3 ). This is bad news because ammonia can build up and quickly stress or kill fish/invertebrates.

Luckily, there are beneficial bacteria that colonize a tank’s filters and substrate. One kind turns ammonia into nitrite (NO2 -1), which is still really toxic. But then another kind takes nitrite and turns it into the much less toxic nitrate (NO3- ).

But the bacteria don’t just show up overnight. It can take weeks for the beneficial bacteria to move in and start doing business.

This can mean that any critters in the tank are exposed to toxic ammonia and nitrite. This can easily stress and kill fish and invertebrates.

Ghost shrimp aren’t terribly delicate. They can adapt to all sorts of conditions.

But at the same, that doesn’t mean that they’re going to do well in a tank while it’s being cycled.

Make sure that your aquarium is fully cycled before adding ghost shrimp.

You can see our full guide on cycling your tank here.

Pro Tip: Taking the time to do a fishless cycle before you add livestock to a tank will give you better results. Patience will pay off with healthy, happy fish.

Ideal Water Parameters for Ghost Shrimp

  • Ammonia and Nitrite: 0
  • Nitrate: <20 ppm
  • Temp: 65°-75°F (18.3°-23.8°C) ghost shrimp can survive in temps as high as 80°F, but higher temperatures can cause molting issues and an increased chance of bacterial infection.
  • GH: 3-10 dGH (50-166.7 ppm)
  • KH: 3-15 dKH (53.6-268 ppm)
  • pH: 7.0-8.0

Pro Tip: Most shrimp experts don’t even use heaters in their tanks. They just let the water acclimate to the room temperature. Subtle temperature swings between day and night actually mimic the shrimps’ natural habitat.

Ghost shrimp can adapt to many different water conditions. But shrimp, and other invertebrates, need a source of calcium in order to form their shells.

It’s important to maintain a healthy GH so the shrimp always have a source of calcium to form their shells.

Pro Tip: If you have soft water, you can add minerals with a supplement like Seachem Equilibrium or Weco Wonder Shells. Offering calcium rich foods like blanched spinach is also a big help.

Tank Mates for Ghost Shrimp

Ghost shrimp with a snail

Here’s the thing, ghost shrimp are small and…tasty.

Fish have a simple rule when it comes to roommates: if he fits in my mouth, he must be food.

Large, aggressive fish will definitely eat these guys.

Even smaller fish may harass a shrimp to death by picking at it.

And you can’t know for sure how it’s going to go.

For example, bettas are way too small to eat an adult ghost shrimp in one go. But they might keep nipping at a ghost shrimp until it dies.

It’s also been reported that assasin snails might kill and eat shrimp.

Species you might mix with ghost shrimp:

  • Otoclinus catfish
  • Nerite snails
  • Mystery snails

Just remember, even small fish can be a threat to larval ghost shrimp.

It’s also not a good idea to mix ghost shrimp with other kinds of shrimp. They have been known to kill red cherry shrimp and other smaller species.

Ghost Shrimp Diet & Feeding

Ghost shrimp will spend much of their day grazing on the algae and biofilm that grows in the tank.

You’ll see them constantly walking around, sifting through the substrate.

It’s a good idea to use a glass feeding dish for these guys. Shrimp are messy eaters. Putting their food in a dish keeps little pieces from breaking off and sinking into the substrate.

Ghost shrimp can be snappish with each other when it comes to food. It’s better to use a larger feeding dish so less aggressive shrimp have room to eat.

What do Ghost Shrimp Eat?

Ghost shrimp are omnivores so they will eat just about anything. Some good foods include:

  • Shrimp food pellets
  • Globs of algae
  • Blanched vegetables like spinach, romaine, cucumber or zucchini
  • Algae wafers
  • Blood worms
  • Leaves (Indian almond leaves are a favorite)

Related Post: What Do Freshwater Shrimp Eat?

How Often Should I Feed Ghost Shrimp

Because ghost shrimp constantly graze on stuff in the tank, you don’t actually have to feed them a whole lot.

If you have fish in the tank, they’ll happily eat any flake food that sinks to the bottom.

If you have a large colony of ghost shrimp, feeding every day is OK. Just make sure that the shrimp eat it all within 4 hours and remove uneaten food.

If they’re leaving a lot of food, give them less at a time. Or you can switch to feeding every other day.

If you only have a few shrimp, you probably only need to feed them four times a week. Especially in a heavily planted tank where they can graze all day.

You should always see the shrimp actively go after food within 10 minutes or so of it being dropped in the tank.

If they’re not immediately going for it, they’re not really hungry. Remove the food and give them a day or two to get hungry.

Ghost Shrimp as Feeder Fish

Ghost shrimp do make a tasty treat for large fish, like Oscars or Jack Dempseys .

But there’s a catch.

They’re really not that nutritious. Most ghost shrimp are wild caught and generally just not treated very well.

Feeder fish are really only as nutritious as the diet they’ve been eating. So if they’ve been jostled around from place to place and fed a crummy diet, they’re not that great of a food source.

The good news is, you can change that by gut loading.

Gut Loading

Hold the shrimp for several weeks in a separate tank and feed them a nutrient-rich diet. This can greatly increase their value as a food for fish.

Since ghost shrimp will eat just about anything, give them food that has all the nutrients your fish need.

After a few weeks of fattening them up, drop them in the tank and watch your fish go to town.

I always enjoy watching my fish go after live foods. They just get so excited about it.

Concerns About Parasites

You might be worried about your fish picking up parasites from live foods. This is a legitimate concern, especially if you feed things like feeder goldfish or minnows.

Ghost shrimp can carry nematodes in their guts.

But the good news is that the nematodes that infect ghost shrimp do not appear to be able to affect fish.

There are parasitic nematodes (Camallanus) that can infect fish. But they use copepods, tiny crustaceans, as their intermediate hosts . Not shrimp.

How to Breed Ghost Shrimp

Breeding ghost shrimp can be tricky. When they hatch from their eggs, they are free-swimming larvae that are very vulnerable to fish and other shrimp.

It’s best to have a separate breeding tank. The breeding tank doesn’t need to be fancy, a simple sponge filter is great. The sponge filter won’t suck up any tiny shrimp larvae.

If you can swing it, live plants in the breeding tank are great because they provide a food source for larval shrimp. But they’re not absolutely necessary.

Female ghost shrimp will develop a green “saddle” on the underside of their tails. This is a cluster of eggs that the female will constantly fan with her swimming legs.

The term for a female carrying eggs is “berried” since the little eggs look like little round fruit.

They’ve always looked more like grapes to me, but I wasn’t consulted when the hobby decided on the term.

Berried females put out pheromones that let the males know they’re ready. Males will zoom around until they find her and fertilize her eggs.

A few days after you see the female become berried, remove her from the main tank. Keep her in the breeding tank until the eggs hatch, usually a month.

You can tell the eggs have hatched because they’ll no longer be clustered under her abdomen.

Then take the female out of the breeding tank and put her back in the main tank. That way she won’t eat the babies.

Shrimp larvae can be fed finely powdered spirulina or infusoria.

Pro Tip: You can culture your own infusoria. It’s really simple and a fun science project to do with kids. You can watch a video here.

Shrimp larvae will metamorphosize into tiny shrimplets after about a week. They can then be fed just like adult shrimp. Be careful not to overfeed.

After 5 weeks or so, shrimplets should be big enough to put in the main tank.

Final Thoughts On Ghost Shrimp Care

Ghost shrimp really are interesting creatures. I love their see-through bodies and nonstop antics.

They’re active, constantly skimming the substrate or grazing along plants and driftwood. There’s always something to watch with them in the aquarium.

They make a great addition to the cleaning crew in your tank or can even star as the main attraction.

You don’t need a huge tank or an elaborate setup to enjoy these guys. A 5 gallon with a simple sponge filter will do the trick.

Raising ghost shrimp is a great way to always have live foods on hand for predatory fish.

With a little effort, and the right setup, these guys can breed like crazy. Then you can have a constant supply of yummy treats for your large fish.

Whether for pets or feeders, or both, I highly recommend these crazy little critters.

Related Posts:

  • Red Cherry Shrimp: Aquarist’s Care & Anatomy Guide
  • Aquarist’s Guide To Amano Shrimp: Care, Lifespan, Feeding, And Tank Mates
  • The 16 Best Freshwater Algae Eaters (Clean-Up Crew) To Control Algae Growth
  • 13 Best And Worst Types Of Bottom Feeder Fish For Your Aquarium

Katherine Morgan

  • Katherine Morgan

Hey, there! I'm Katherine from Northwest Florida. An aquarium specialist, I've kept tanks for over two decades, enjoy experimenting with low-tech planted setups and an avid South American cichlid enthusiast.

Well done. Thanks.

I’ve had lots of planted and not planted aquariums, just started my first planted with lots of shrimp! And love it. Your article was nicely written, quick and easy to read and still I still learned! Thanks

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