Pregnant Ghost Shrimp – What to Look for, What to Do

Of all the aquatic creatures you can add to your home aquarium, the ghost shrimp is perhaps one of the most unique.

Close-up of a ghost shrimp on a sandy aquarium bottom

With their fully transparent bodies, they busy themselves along the tank bottom, cleverly blending in as they help clean your tank.

Ghost shrimp are prized by some aquarium keepers for their low biological footprint and their peaceful nature.

Other keepers value the shrimp for their use as feeders for larger fish in the aquarium.

ghost shrimp close-up on a white background

Take a close look at your ghost shrimp, and you will see their internal organs. You can even observe the food they eat as it makes its way through their digestive system.

But what does it mean if you see green dots under the tail of your shrimp? It means your ghost shrimp is a female and is carrying eggs!

Before you start celebrating, read on for information on caring for your pregnant ghost shrimp.

In this article

Ghost Shrimp Biology

Set up a breeding tank, feeding your pregnant ghost shrimp, the birth of your baby ghost shrimp, after your ghost shrimp gives birth, baby shrimp care and feeding, frequently asked questions, closing thoughts.

Female freshwater ghost shrimp not carrying the eggs on the bottom of aquarium

Ghost shrimp (Palaemonetes paludosus) are freshwater shrimp originating in the lakes and rivers of North America’s Atlantic Coastal Plain (extending from southern New Jersey to the tip of Florida).

While found primarily in freshwater, they can also tolerate brackish water of low salinity.

This species prefers the vegetation-dense bottom areas of wetlands and streams with clear water.

In the wild, the shrimp also enjoy waters with aquatic grasses or water hyacinths.

The males grow to an adult size of about 1.5 inches (4 cm) . Females can grow slightly larger, almost 2 inches (5 cm) , in length, and are more rounded in the abdomen.

Their lifespan can range from one to one and a half years .

Indications That Your Ghost Shrimp is Pregnant

Ghost shrimp (Palaemonetes paludosus) carrying green eggs in her belly in aquarium

Male and female ghost shrimp look very similar until they have reached breeding age.

At that point, you will be able to tell the female from the male by the presence of small, round, green eggs under her tail.

Due to the shrimp’s translucent body, these eggs will be easily visible.

Ghost Shrimp Gestation Period

Once you see these eggs, wait a few days to ensure the males fertilize them. After that, the gestation period is from 12 to 14 days .

Group of Ghost shrimp on the bottom of freshwater aquarium

While ghost shrimp do well in a community tank, when it comes to the successful birth and raising of baby shrimp, setting up a separate breeding tank is best.

Otherwise, the young can be eaten by the adult shrimp or other fish in the tank.

A good rule of thumb for how many ghost shrimp in a tank is no more than 10 shrimp per gallon of water in a species only tank.

Plan on keeping the young shrimp in this separate tank until they grow to a suitable size before introducing them to the community tank.

Line the bottom of the tank with a fine substrate . Ghost shrimp scavenge along the bottom and cannot shift larger grained linings to search for food.

Add some live plants as well, such as java moss or hornwort. These plants will serve many purposes.

Not only will these provide food sources for your ghost shrimp (they will snack on algae or organic matter attached to the plants), but they will give areas for your shrimp to find shelter. They will also help keep the water well oxygenated.

In addition to the live plants, consider adding driftwood , rocks , or artificial caves to give your ghost shrimp places to retreat if threatened or to hide after molting .

Ghost shrimp shed their shells frequently as they grow and need a place to hide for a little while to allow their new shells to harden.

Water Parameters

Ghost shrimp can thrive in a wide range of water temperatures and conditions.

For optimum health of your shrimp, maintain the water temperature between 65- and 82-degrees Fahrenheit (18 – 28 degrees C).

Water pH level should be between 7.0 and 8.0 . Keep the water hardness between 3.72 and 6.75 .

Change out a portion of the water (anywhere from 10 to 25% of the tank) each month.

Doing this regularly will help to keep the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels from elevating. You can monitor these levels using test kits (very easy to use).

While adult ghost shrimp are decent swimmers, the newborn and young shrimp are not. As such, there is a danger of them being sucked into the filter if you use a high-powered system.

Install a sponge filter for the breeding tank. In addition to protecting your young shrimp, the gentle current provided by this filter will be more comfortable for the adults.

Adding an air pump , in addition to the live plants, can help keep the water well oxygenated.

Ghost shrimp spend their days on the bottom of the tank and do not require any specific lighting if you have adequate plant cover.

In the wild, ghost shrimp spawn in the months between April and October.

The ideal water temperatures for breeding depend on the area the shrimp inhabit.

They breed in water temperatures between 64.4- and 73.4-degrees Fahrenheit (18 and 23 degrees C) in the northern waters and 78.8- and 82.4-degrees Fahrenheit (26 and 28 degrees C) in the southern waters.

In these warmer waters, shrimp can breed twice per year (something to keep in mind for the shrimp in your aquarium).

There are no special requirements for breeding ghost shrimp. Often, simply having males and females in the tank will result in a pregnant female.

Unfortunately, in a community tank, there are some challenges to keeping the newborn shrimp alive long enough for them to mature.

The best course of action is to separate your pregnant female as soon as you notice the eggs developing within her.

Your pregnant ghost shrimp will not need any special diet in addition to what you are already feeding them.

In the wild, ghost shrimp are omnivorous scavengers . They will eat vegetation (both algae and plants) and some insects and detritus from animals or plants.

In your aquarium, it does not hurt to supplement your shrimp’s diet from time to time with some sinking wafers or high nutrition flakes.

Your ghost shrimp may also enjoy snacking on some soft vegetables as well.

Feed them two times per day and do not overfeed, as they can scavenge on algae and other detritus in the tank.

how do ghost shrimp have babies

A female ghost shrimp can carry anywhere from 8 to 85 eggs in a group near her tail.

Once fertilized, the incubation period is from 12 to 14 days. Afterward, the tiny, delicate larvae are born free swimming.

You want to ensure that your baby ghost shrimp have a chance to grow into adults.

The separate breeding tank you have set up will ensure they do not get eaten by other fish in the community tank.

It will also allow them to get the food they need to grow, as it will not be consumed by other fish. Finally, the lack of predatory fish will allow the baby shrimp to mature and grow large enough to be introduced into the community tank.

Make sure and remove the adult shrimp from the breeding tank after the young are born.

Due to their scavenger nature, there is a good chance the adult ghost shrimp will eat the newly born babies.

Keep the young separate until they have grown large enough to be introduced into the community tank, usually about five weeks .

how do ghost shrimp have babies

The newborn shrimp have tiny mouths and thus require very small-sized food .

For the first week or so, infusoria is a good size and easy enough for them to ingest.

Some breeders found success using java moss mops in the breeding tank to promote algae growth for the baby shrimp to eat.

You can even try liquid fry food .Excellent foods to feed your baby shrimp for the first few weeks include:

  • Algae powder
  • Cultured microworms.

After about a week, as the shrimp grow larger, some breeders recommend using pulverized fry food , such as flakes. As the shrimp grow bigger, introduce:

  • Finely pulverized flakes
  • Baby brine shrimp.

1. How long do ghost shrimp stay pregnant?

Once the eggs are fertilized, ghost shrimp females will carry them for about two weeks (12 to 14 days), fanning them frequently.

After that timeframe, the young are born as live larvae.

2. How many babies do ghost shrimp have?

A female ghost shrimp can give birth from as few as eight to as many as 80 young at a time.

3. How do ghost shrimp give birth?

After about two weeks of gestation, ghost shrimp larvae are born live and free-swimming.

In one to two weeks, they will look like miniature versions of the adult shrimp.

4. How do you take care of a pregnant ghost shrimp?

There is not much to do to care for pregnant ghost shrimp.

The most important things are to set up a separate breeding tank, remove the female shrimp after the young are born, and allow the larvae to grow before they are introduced to the community tank.

5. Will ghost shrimp die after laying eggs?

That question is easy to understand, given that ghost shrimp have a short lifespan of about one year.

However, researchers have seen that the ghost shrimp breed multiple times in warmer waters, so the answer is: no , they do not die directly after laying eggs.

6. Can ghost shrimp breed in a community tank?

Yes, ghost shrimp can breed in a community tank, although it may be more difficult to ensure the young’s survival because they can be eaten by the adult shrimp or other fish in the tank.

To prevent this from happening, it is better to set up a separate breeding tank until the shrimp have grown to a large enough size to introduce to the community tank, typically around five weeks.

Whether you intend your ghost shrimp to be lovely and interesting additions to your aquarium or plan to use them as feeders for your fish, it is helpful to understand how they breed and give birth to increase your odds of having healthy, surviving young.

Luckily, there are not many adjustments required to breed your ghost shrimp, and with so many benefits to your tank in the way of cleaning it and visual interest, it is easy to see why the ghost shrimp is a popular addition to many home aquariums.

Have you had success in breeding your ghost shrimp? What have you found works best for a breeding tank setup?

What food have you found works best for your newborn shrimp?

We would love to hear from you!

You May Also Like

  • Freshwater Stingray: Complete Species Profile
  • Aquarium Catfish: Complete Guide (Popular Types & Care)
  • A Ferocious Jaguar in Your Aquarium
  • Green Star Polyps (GSP) Care: Placement, Diet & Propagation

Betta Care Fish Guide

Pregnant Ghost Shrimp: Signs, Care, Stages And More!

If you’ve always wondered how to care for pregnant ghost shrimp, and the ghost shrimps eggs, then you’ve found the right article!

In this article, you’ll learn about the signs to look for in a pregnant ghost shrimp and how to properly breed them to increase your aquarium’s ghost shrimp population. You’ll learn the ways that you can tell when your ghost shrimp is bearing eggs and what the different stages of pregnancy (or gravidity) look like.

You’ll also learn how to set up a breeding tank, care for your pregnant shrimp and newly hatched ghost shrimp fry. You’ll also learn the common mating behaviors your ghost shrimp may be exhibiting as well as behaviors of a pregnant ghost shrimp.

So get ready to take on the challenges of being a ghost shrimp breeder and watch your aquarium thrive!

Table of Contents

How Can You Tell When Your Ghost Shrimp Is Pregnant?

There are six surefire ways to tell if your ghost shrimp is bearing eggs, and they all rely on your close observation of the gravid shrimp.

Green Specks

Before the eggs are fertilized or even grow large enough to develop, they appear as minute green specks near the abdomen of the female ghost shrimp on a part of her body known as the saddle. However, due to their small size, at this stage they may still be difficult to see.

Leg Fanning

Pregnant ghost shrimp will often fan the legs that have attached eggs to them, presumably to provide oxygen for the developing fry.

Specks Near Her Tail

Once the eggs begin to grow larger, they will migrate toward the tail and rear legs and away from the abdomen. If they are still green, they have not been fertilized; but if they are white, then a male has done his part.

Weight Gain

If the males that cohabitate the female’s tank begin competing for the female’s attention, chances are she’s bearing eggs, and they want to be the first in line to fertilize them.

The addition of 20-30 eggs will make your female ghost shrimp appear larger than previously observed.

Male Attention

Lastly, you may also notice that your females are suddenly getting a lot more attention from the males, which they didn’t have before.

Pregnant Ghost Shrimp Stages

Pregnancy (or gravidity) for ghost shrimp does not last long – only three weeks – but results in a few dozen offspring if successful.

The little green dots will appear on the female ghost shrimp’s saddle near the base of her abdomen. During this week you will notice barely any changes in your ghost shrimp and her behavior

The eggs will lighten in color and move down the legs toward the tail. Fertilization by the males usually occurs during week 2. During this stage you’ll also notice your ghost shrimps eggs are beginning to get bigger as well.

Fertilized eggs will turn white, and the eyes and stomach of the fry will be visible as black specks. By the end of week 3, the fry hatch from the eggs.

How Do You Know When Your Ghost Shrimp Is About to Give Birth?

There are a couple of tell-tale signs given by the appearance of the eggs, as well as the behavior of the female ghost shrimp, which indicate the fries are about to hatch.

Visible Eyes and Stomach

When the fries are ready to hatch, you should be able to distinctly see black specks within the white eggs, which are the developing eyes and stomachs of the ghost shrimp fry.

Female Behavior

The pregnant female ghost shrimp will often swim away from the bottom of the tank and use her forelegs to wipe off the eggs encouraging the hatching fry to exit their embryonic homes.

How Many Babies Do Ghost Shrimp Have?

If you plan on breeding your ghost shrimp, then it’s important to know how many babies you’re going to be dealing with.

Generally, ghost shrimp can have between 8-80 babies at a time. During the course of the year, this can definitely add up and if left unwatched they could end up having 100’s of babies. Fortunately, these can be a nice snack for other fish in your tank.

How To Setup A Breeding Tank For Ghost Shrimp

It’s important to keep a separate breeding tank for ghost shrimp as the newly hatched young can be difficult to keep alive, especially with hungry adult shrimp and fish looking to feast on them. Here are some steps to setting up a breeding tank to give the young ghost shrimp their best chance of survival.

Step 1: Set up tank and filter

Purchase a ten-gallon tank and equip it with a sponge filter for cleaning. You want to avoid using a regular fish tank filter to clean the water because the suction can be too strong for baby shrimp to fight and it may end up killing them.

Step 2: Install an air pump

Ghost shrimp need oxygenated water in order to live , And while a filter may be enough if there’s enough surface agitation, adding an air pump will ensure that your ghost shrimp will be happy.

Step 3: Bottom cover

Use sand or gravel to cover the bottom of the tank. Different colors will affect the shrimp’s appearance, so choose a lighter bottom cover to keep the shrimp transparent or a darker bottom cover to encourage the development of spots.

Step 4: Fill with water

Fill the tank with water and let it sit with the filter and air pump running for a full day before adding shrimp to make sure any unwanted chemicals have been cleaned out.

Make sure the water temperature is optimal for ghost shrimp, keeping it between 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit (or 22 and 28 degrees Celsius). And make sure you’re keeping the pH level in the tank between 7.0- 8.0 as well.

Step 5: Add plants

It is highly recommended to add plants to your breeding tank because the young shrimp will feed on the plant debris. Java moss is especially popular to use because it traps debris, making it easier for young ghost shrimp to access.

As well as this, plants are going to give your ghost shrimp plenty of places to hide! Even if there aren’t any predators in the tank it will still help them to feel safe and secure, reducing their stress levels!

betta care facebook group

How Do You Care for a Pregnant Ghost Shrimp?

Pregnant ghost shrimp are easy to care for as long as you feed them and pay close attention to the stages of their pregnancy.

Feed your pregnant ghost shrimp a diet high in baby shrimp and algae and with more than enough food available to feed multiple adults. Also, make sure there are plants in the breeding tank, as the ghost shrimp will eat any plant debris too.

Keep The Tank Warm Enough

You should also make sure you’re keeping the tank at the warmer end of the temperature scale when your ghost shrimp is pregnant to help simulate her natural environment. So keep the temperature close to 80 degrees farenheit.

Separate the pregnant ghost shrimp from the rest of the adults once the eggs are fertilized (have turned white) to reduce the chance of fry being devoured upon hatching.

Once all of the babies have hatched, also remove the no longer pregnant female shrimp from the vicinity of the fry as she will most likely try to eat them.

Keep The Tank Clean

And of course, you should make sure that you’re keeping the tank clean for your ghost shrimp as well. Once again installing a sponge filter is your best option. However, removing any uneaten food that is beginning to decay and performing small water changes is also essential for the health of your ghost shrimp.

How Do You Care for Ghost Shrimp Fry?

The biggest challenge for keeping ghost shrimp fry alive is getting them to eat and helping them avoid becoming meals themselves. Here are some tips to ensure your ghost shrimp fry will survive to adulthood.

Nursing Tank

Keep the ghost shrimp fry in a nursing tank equipped with a sponge filter separate from adult ghost shrimp to avoid becoming prey to the bigger crustaceans. Make sure there’s a layer of sand or gravel on the bottom and keep the temperature above 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Aquarium Lighting

Baby ghost shrimp tend to be photophilic and can injure themselves by swimming into the glass walls of their nursery tank. Only use an overhead aquarium light and block out any ambient light by covering the sides of the tank with construction paper or fabric.

Without a constant flow of oxygen, ghost shrimp fry will perish. Be sure to install an air pump in the nursing tank. Adding plants will also increase the oxygen supply as well as provide shelter and food.

Do not neglect to feed your baby ghost shrimp, as starvation is the greatest killer of these little critters. Every three hours (yes, even through the night), they require a balanced diet of liquid fry food, microworms, daphnia, and baby brine shrimp.

Keep Your Tank Heavily Planted

You should also make sure you’re keeping the tank heavily planted for your ghost shrimp fry as well. Not only will this add more oxygen to the tank, but all the hiding places will give your shrimp the best chance of survival. And the plant debris in the tank can provide another source of food for your ghost shrimp!

What Is Common Ghost Shrimp Mating Behavior?

Males and females exhibit different types of behavior when it comes time to breed, but both recognize the other’s patterns and baby shrimp are the end result of their courtship.

When females are ready to mate, eggs will develop as small green specks on the saddle near the base of her abdomen. These will eventually move down to her rear legs under her tail, and she will exhibit a fanning behavior to oxygenate the eggs or perhaps make them more apparent to a male.

Males can detect when females are ready to breed, presumably through chemical cues released into the water. Male ghost shrimp will gather around the females and fight each other to compete for her approval to mate with her and fertilize her eggs.

Why Is a Pregnant Ghost Shrimp Curling Up?

The main reason why any ghost shrimp curls up is to clean itself or molt. Pregnant ghost shrimp may also be shedding unwanted eggs or eggs that are hatching.

Pregnant ghost shrimp still clean themselves while gravid and curling up may be a simple sign of cleaning.

Hatching Eggs

Another reason a pregnant ghost shrimp will curl up is if her eggs start to hatch. She may curl up and begin to use her forelegs to wipe off the eggs that are hatching to encourage the babies to be born.

How Long Does It Take for a Ghost Shrimp to Lay Eggs?

Female ghost shrimp will carry their eggs for a total of three weeks before they hatch. This time includes the development of the eggs as well as the fertilization. Most female ghost shrimp will carry 20 to 30 eggs at a time.

Will Ghost Shrimp Breed in a Community Tank?

Ghost shrimp will definitely breed in a community tank as long as the tank is adequately filtered, oxygenated, is the right temperature, and contains an abundance of food. Adding live plants to a community tank will further increase your chances of ghost shrimp breeding by providing additional food and shelter.

Just remember to keep baby ghost shrimp out of the community tank, or they will become quick prey to the adult shrimp and other inhabitants of the aquarium.

Will a Ghost Shrimp Die After Laying Eggs?

As long as a ghost shrimp is properly cared for, fed, and water conditions are optimal, a ghost shrimp should not die after laying eggs. Once their eggs are laid, they are viable to lay another set of eggs and keep cycling through the process until they do eventually die of old age.

Do Ghost Shrimps Lay Eggs or Give Birth?

Ghost shrimps lay eggs – they never carry the eggs inside their bodies and nourish them with yolks or through placental attachments. The eggs are fertilized externally by the male. As such female ghost shrimps bearing eggs are considered gravid, not pregnant.

Can Ghost Shrimp Give Birth in Community Tanks?

A ghost shrimp can hatch her eggs in a community tank. However, this is ill-advised. Newly hatched ghost shrimp are easy prey for adult ghost shrimp and other fish living in a community tank. If they do escape predation, the chances that they will fall victim to other aquarium hazards such as being sucked into the filter or starving to death are highly likely.

If you want your baby ghost shrimp to survive to adulthood, it’s best if they are hatched in a separate nursery tank and then moved to the community tank when they reach adulthood.

Do Ghost Shrimp Eat Their Babies?

Ghost shrimp will eat their babies, especially in cases where they are hungry. As well as this, if you house other fish in your tank, they will also eat your ghost shrimps babies. Providing plenty of hiding places is the best way to increase their chance of survival.

Why Are Your Ghost Shrimps Eggs Turning Black?

If your ghost shrimps eggs are turning black, it means they are starting to mature, and they’ll soon be ready to hatch. This will normally occur in the last phases of pregnancy when the embryos are just about to emerge.

Ghost shrimp are easy to care for and breed as long as you give them the proper attention and environment to thrive. Be sure to set up optimal conditions in their tanks, especially when it comes to oxygenation and food, and they will start breeding in no time.

Watch carefully for the mating behaviors of both males and females and observe how the gravid females progress through the stages of pregnancy. Note how the eggs turn from green to white as they become fertilized, and pay attention to the shedding behaviors of the female once eggs start to hatch.

It’s important to move newly hatched ghost shrimp fry to their own nursery tank in order to ensure they don’t fall prey to adult shrimp. Take extra caution in setting up their environment by eliminating any typical aquarium hazards such as the distraction of ambient light or the strong suction of normal filters.

Most importantly, feed those baby shrimp often as starvation is the number one killer of ghost shrimp fry. You are ready to start breeding your very own ghost shrimp – good luck!

how do ghost shrimp have babies

Hey there! I'm Antonio, the passionate owner and chief editor of Betta Care Fish Guide. With over half a decade of hands-on experience, I've become your go-to expert for all things betta and tropical fish.

Over the past 5 years, I've not only kept bettas and other tropical fish but also connected with a diverse network of hobbyists, seasoned fishkeepers, and even veterinarians.

Now, I want to help other beginner fish keepers who had the same questions as me when they were just starting out! So they can save themselves a ton of time and keep their fish happy and healthy!

Complete Koi Betta Guide (Tank, Breeding, Diet, Care)

What do cherry shrimp eat (top 5 foods included).

Pregnant Ghost Shrimp 101: What to Expect and What to Do

  • by Mollie Newton
  • November 28, 2022
  • 10 minute read

Featured Image - pregnant ghost shrimp

Why are there green and white dots on my ghost shrimp’s abdomen?

In this article...

Seeing spots on your aquatic friend is usually a sign for concern, however, in this case it might mean that your ghost shrimp is pregnant.

Whether you’re breeding ghost shrimp, or just keeping them as tank mates, keep reading for a step-by-step guide to help identify if your ghost shrimp is pregnant, how to care for her, what to feed her, how to separate her from the community tank and how to start caring for your new baby shrimps.

Can ghost shrimp reproduce on their own?

A common misconception is that ghost shrimp are hermaphroditic (an animal that has both female and male sex organs). Hermaphroditic animals are able to reproduce on their own, however, ghost shrimp are a gonochoric species.

Gonochoric species have a female and male sex, both are required for fertilized eggs. Without a male counterpart the female will still produce eggs, however they will not hatch.

FUN FACT It’s incorrect to call ghost shrimps pregnant. All shrimp are egg layers and do not become pregnant (a term generally used for bearers of live-young). Instead female ghost shrimps are gravid with eggs. In this article we’ll mostly use the term pregnant as that’s what most people refer to gravid ghost shrimp as.

How to tell if a ghost shrimp is pregnant?

When deciding if female ghost shrimps are pregnant or not the first thing you will notice is bright green dots along their abdomen. This is an indication that your female is a gravid shrimp and almost ready for fertilization. These dots are actually unfertilized eggs that will stay in the abdomen region for roughly 7 days.

After a week you’ll see the little green eggs beginning to migrate closer to the saddle . At this stage that male ghost shrimp fertilize the eggs, thus turning them white, this generally takes about a week. Fertilized females will carry for 2.5 to 3 weeks, during the last week the mother shrimp will move her clutch of eggs to a lower part of her tail and use her swimmerets or her rear legs to fan the eggs.

NOTE Not sure what the saddle is? Pregnant ghost shrimps have a light green spot high up on their back just behind their head. The little green dots or eggs are held on the underside of their belly and migrate along the belly towards the saddle to be in position for fertilization.

I don’t see tiny green dots, is my female ghost shrimp pregnant?

Other ways to tell if a ghost shrimp is pregnant is an increase in size, appetite, and foraging behavior. Leg fanning , sometimes known as splaying, is thought to be performed for two main reasons;

  • Provide oxygen and aeration to the eggs to regulate temperature
  • Relieve the discomfort of carrying eggs
RECOMMENDATION You can keep an air pump in the tank to help your pregnant shrimps aerate their eggs.

How long do ghost shrimp stay pregnant?

Ghost shrimp can breed every 30-40 days . Keep in mind that the breeding process takes roughly 5 weeks, depending on how long it takes the male shrimp to fertilize the female’s eggs (1 to 3 weeks). Ghost shrimp can be bred at any time during their adult life, or from ages 3-9 months.

The table below shows ghost shrimp pregnancy from the time a female becomes pregnant until the female ghost shrimp lay eggs. This can help you plan for your baby ghost shrimps and make sure you have enough space to properly care for them!

How often can I breed my ghost shrimp?

Something that I am often asked is whether ghost shrimp die because of breeding? The short answer is no, though breeding consistently shortens their lifespan in my experience. Ghost shrimp generally live 1-1.5 years, meaning that once you’ve bred them 3 or 4 times their bodies might not be able to successfully continue laying eggs.

Fertilization/Egg Laying Timeline

How many eggs can ghost shrimp produce.

I have learned that how often ghost shrimp get pregnant greatly depends on the temperature of the tank water. The warmer the water temperature, the better it replicates summer months which is when wild ghost shrimp usually mate. Using a reliable heater is the most effective way to initiate mating.

However, keeping your temperature on the high end of the ghost shrimp tolerance range will decrease their lifespan.

How many eggs can ghost shrimp carry per pregnancy?

During each successful breeding pregnant ghost shrimp can carry 20-30 eggs , but the average number of hatchlings that are successfully released into the aquarium varies.

How many times a year can ghost shrimp get pregnant?

Once they reach breeding age each ghost shrimp can get pregnant 4 to 8x per year. Doing the math that means each ghost shrimp produces 80-240 eggs in a year, but most experts agree that only 5-70 will turn into hatchlings.

Can Ghost Shrimp Breed in a Community Tank?

While ghost shrimp can breed in a community tank that doesn’t necessarily mean they should. Especially, if your community tank contains bad tank mates such as oscars, cichlids, and other aggressive fish.

In fact, as soon as you notice your female ghost shrimp becoming gravid you should move her and the male ghost shrimps into a breeding tank. Some fish keepers claim that you should place 1 female for every 2 males. I’ve never experienced a difference in fertilization times regardless of how many males are in a tank.

Should I separate a pregnant ghost shrimp from the tank?

Once the female lays her eggs it’s suggested that you remove her from the breeding area as well. There’s no danger of the eggs being eaten before they are laid in community tanks, however, it’s much easier to remove the pregnant ghost shrimp than 20-30 eggs that are the size of pinheads.

Another hazard of leaving ghost shrimp larvae in a community tank is that other fish will eat the eggs and ghost shrimp fry. I recommend using a separate breeding tank until the young ghost shrimp are big enough to be introduced to the community tank around 5 weeks of age.

RECOMMENDATION If purchasing your ghost shrimp from a pet store or breeder for breeding yourself it’s recommended that you get at least 20 ghost shrimps to ensure that you have a mix of males and females.

Another option for separating your pregnant ghost shrimp from the members of the community tank is hanging a fine mesh basket from the top of your tank. This will allow the female ghost shrimp to safely lay eggs within the mesh basket without interference from other fish.

The benefit of this method is that you don’t have to cycle or maintain a separate tank. However, this does severely limit the amount of ghost shrimp fry you can have at once.

How big of a tank do I need for hatchlings?

Be sure to plan how many babies will fit in your ghost shrimp breeding tank before the eggs hatch. It’s recommended that you have a minimum tank size of 5 gallons with a maximum of 8-10 ghost shrimp per gallon, in my experience 3-4 ghost shrimp per gallon is a better number and allows plenty of foraging room for all ghost shrimps.

These tank size requirements apply to adult shrimps (2 inches long), or after 3 months of age.

NOTE Note: 5 weeks of age refers to from the time the baby shrimps were free-swimming, not from the time the eggs were laid!

How do I set-up a breeding tank for ghost shrimp?

Before your ghost shrimp emerge from the hatched eggs, you should start cycling the intended breeding tank. We’ve included some of the water parameters in the table below. Cycling a tank for your baby ghost shrimps should be no different than cycling other tanks.

What should I put in the tank?

Ghost shrimp are omnivorous and while you should feed your ghost shrimp according to the schedule we provide in the next two sections they will also forage for algae and other detritus in the water column. Hatchlings can begin foraging as soon as 48 hours after becoming free-swimming.

Therefore, provide live plants, terracotta pots or other decor where algae will collect to allow foraging behavior. Substrates such as sand or fine gravel will also be helpful for hatchlings as it will give them more foraging places and traction along the bottom of the tank.

RECOMMENDATION I suggest using a sponge filter and air pump in the baby shrimp tank.

My tank is set up, now how do I maintain it?

Even more important than the initial set up is the maintenance of the tank, the most common mistake: forgetting to change the water.

It’s important to have high quality water in your tank at all times when dealing with pregnant ghost shrimp and newborn ghost shrimp. You should perform a 20% water change every 1 to 2 weeks to ensure that you are ridding the tank of harmful substances while maintaining the levels of important minerals and elements.

20% water changes every 1 to 2 weeks is a good rule of thumb if your tank is well cycled, however you should monitor water parameters to see if you should do bigger or smaller water changes.

Tank Refill

When refilling your tank after a water change make sure that the new water is close to your tank parameters in regards to temperature, pH, hardness, nitrite, and nitrate levels.

You also want to make sure that you are either using bottled spring water (not distilled!) or tap water that has been dechlorinated. Other neutralizers may be needed depending on your source of water.

RECOMMENDATION How frequently you perform water changes depends on the size of your tank and your bioload. For example, it’s recommended that you have 3-4 adult shrimp per gallon, and the minimum tank size is 5 gallons. If you have 20 adult ghost shrimp (the max amount of biomass) in a 5 gallon tank you are probably going to have to do frequent or large water changes. If you have 20 adult shrimp in a 10 gallon tank you will have to do less frequent or smaller water changes.

Nitrate Level

Help! My ghost shrimp hatchling tank has a nitrate level of 10ppm! How big of a water change should I do??

For this example we’re going to assume that the tank in question is 10 gallons. Nitrate is a dissolved substance which means it’s equally distributed throughout the water column, in other words, 1ppm of nitrate per gallon of water. Nitrate levels are considered high if they are above 5-10ppm. In this tank, we’re going to try to get nitrate levels down to 3ppm.

A change of 7ppm means 7 gallons of the water need to be replaced or a 70% water change. This might seem drastic but a high amount of nitrates in the water can cause ammonium burns and even death. It’s especially important to monitor these levels in your breeding and hatchling tanks because pregnant ghost shrimp and ghost shrimp fry are especially sensitive to these changes.

What do Pregnant Ghost Shrimp Eat?

Pregnant ghost shrimps eat a mix of plant matter, organic matter, and other animals. During pregnancy you should be feeding your pregnant ghost shrimps a variety of algae wafers, small plant matter, microworms, and detritus or debris twice a day. You can also supplement her diet with additional nutrition using sources such as water soluble vitamins, nutrient-rich wafers, or high quality shrimp flakes.

It’s easy to overdose on these supplements and while it won’t necessarily do your ghost shrimp any harm, it’s also not beneficial. Aim to feed additional nutrition sources to your pregnant ghost shrimp no more than once a week.

You should provide live plants in both the community and breeding tank for your pregnant ghost shrimp to provide foraging opportunities during all stages of pregnancy. Ghost shrimps are foragers by nature and will supplement their diet themselves by finding algae or particles in the water column.

TIP Aquatic plants need high levels of dissolved oxygen and good circulation, keeping an air pump in your tank can help keep your plants and ghost shrimp happy!

Remember, you should feed your female shrimps good quality food so they lay good quality eggs!

Baby Ghost Shrimp Care and Feeding

Congratulations! You have 20-30 eggs that are about to hatch, but how are you going to care for them?

Luckily, you’ve already established the tank for your new baby shrimp. The breeding tank you set up and cycled at the beginning of this process can also serve as a nursery for your newborn shrimp. It’s important to note that you will likely need to do more water changes as a nursery tank then you did as a breeding tank as hatchlings make much more waste than eggs.

Feeding your baby shrimp is perhaps the most challenging aspect of care due to their tiny mouths. For the first few days we recommend feeding your babies infusoria. After 48 hours of free-swimming the baby ghost shrimp are able to forage and you can start feeding them algae powder, ground shrimp flakes, or tiny microworms. Other options include liquid fry food, sinking wafers, soft vegetables, or baby brine shrimp.

Transfer to Main Aquarium

After 5 weeks your baby ghost shrimp are ready to be introduced to the main aquarium. Before introduction, make sure to adjust them slowly to the water parameters of your community tank so they aren’t shocked. Then keep an eye on them for 48-72 hours and be ready with nutrient supplements in case they aren’t as efficient at foraging as the adult ghost shrimp in your community tank.

Wrapping up

In this guide we’ve looked at many aspects of pregnant shrimp identification and care. At the end of the day there’s no one way to breed ghost shrimp and it does take some experimentation to find the best set up for you. Closely monitoring your ghost shrimp is the best way to identify fertility and the various stages of pregnancy.

We think you’re ready to start caring for your own ghost shrimp, and wish you luck in your new aquarium adventure! As always let us know what you think about this article and share this post if you found it helpful!

' src=

Mollie Newton

Founder of PetMeTwice. I love all types of animals from fish to fluff-balls! I also enjoy writing short stories and helping train animals 🤩

You May Also Like

Scientifically known as Neocaridina davidi

Blue Pearl Shrimp: Profile and Care Insights (2023)

  • August 22, 2023

Crayfish is also known as Crawdad

What Do Crayfish Eat? In The Wild and Captivity

  • August 27, 2023

Caridina cantonensis

Crystal Red Shrimp 101: Ultimate Care Guide and Insights

  • September 4, 2023

scientific name of ghost shrimp is Palaemonetes paludosus

Ghost Shrimp: Appearance, Tank, Diet, Health, And More

  • September 6, 2023

Also known as Cambarellus

Dwarf Crayfish: Care, Tank, Diet, Breeding, And More

  • August 23, 2023

cardinal sulawesi shrimp profile

Cardinal Sulawesi Shrimp: Ultimate Guide & Care Essentials

  • September 3, 2023

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]

You May Also Like

A Clown Loach swimming toward the glass in the tank

  • 9 minute read

Clown Loach Care: Tank Size, Food, Lifespan, Tank Mates…

  • by Alison Yang
  • Updated: November 17, 2022

Geosesarma dennerle moving sideways

Vampire Crab 101: Care, Habitat Setup, Tank Mates & More

  • Updated: September 5, 2023

How To Breed Ghost Shrimp At Home

how do ghost shrimp have babies

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. 

how do ghost shrimp have babies

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).  

how do ghost shrimp have babies

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.

></center></p><ul><li>Goldfish Tank</li><li>Cory Catfish</li><li>Ghost Shrimps</li></ul><h2>Ghost Shrimp Breed: Unlock 7 Secrets of Successful Breeding</h2><ul><li>May 16, 2023</li></ul><p>Do ghost shrimp breed easily?  Is it something you’ve wanted to try for a long time but have yet to know how to get started and ensure your efforts were successful? If so, then this definitive guide is for you!</p><p>This article explores  the critical steps in breeding ghost shrimp and the key aspects of their biology, nutrition, and environment that must be considered when attempting such a rewarding task.</p><p>With an increased understanding of all these factors, plus plenty of patience and due diligence—you can become a successful breeder of ghost shrimp.</p><p><center><img style=

Read on to learn more about unlocking success with ghost shrimp reproduction.

Table of Contents

Do Ghost Shrimp Breed Easily?

Yes, ghost shrimp, also called glass shrimp or freshwater shrimp, are relatively easy to breed . They are popular in the aquarium hobby due to their small size, peaceful nature, and engaging behavior.

Creating the right environment and conditions makes it easy to see success in breeding ghost shrimps.

What You Must Know About Ghost Shrimp Breeding :

When attempting to breed any species of aquatic life—it’s essential to be aware of their specific needs and requirements for successful reproduction. 

Here are the top essential things to know about ghost shrimp breeding:

  • Temperature:  Ghost shrimp prefer cooler water temperatures, typically between 68-74°F. Maintaining this temperature range with a thermostat or aquarium heater is crucial if needed.
  • Diet:  A varied, nutritious diet is essential for healthy reproduction in any species of aquatic life. Ghost shrimp are no exception! They need a varied diet of algae, zooplankton, detritus, and other organic material.
  • Environment:  Ghost shrimp need plenty of hiding spots in caves, rocks, or driftwood to feel safe and secure. This will also give them places to spawn and produce eggs.
  • Breeding Habits:  Ghost shrimp form monogamous pairs that remain together for an extended period, sometimes even throughout the entire spawning season.
  • Spawning Season:  The best time to breed ghost shrimp is during their natural spawning season, which typically runs from around April-August.

How Many Babies Do Ghost Shrimp Have?

Ghost shrimp typically give birth to between 5 and 70 babies at a time, with the exact number of offspring depending on the individual female’s age, health, and size. On average, a ghost shrimp can produce about 30-50 babies when they reach sexual maturity (age 1-2 months).

Ghost shrimp pregnancy

The young ghost shrimp are released into the water shortly after birth; in terms of care for their young, ghost shrimps do not provide any parental supervision.

Ghost Shrimp Breed: Unlock the Secrets of Successful Raising

Ghost shrimp breeding is an art that requires patience, knowledge, and attention to detail. Following the proper steps and providing the ideal conditions can create an environment where ghost shrimp flourish and reproduce. Let’s delve into the secrets of successful ghost shrimp breeding:

Creating the Ideal Habitats

To kick-start the breeding process, you need to create an ideal habitat for your adult ghost shrimp. Here’s what you need to consider:

  • Water Parameters: Ghost shrimp thrive in freshwater aquariums with a pH level of 7.2 to 8.0 and a temperature range of 71°F to 82°F (22°C to 28°C).
  • Tank Size: Provide enough space for the shrimp to roam and breed comfortably. A breeding tank with a minimum capacity of 10 gallons is recommended.
  • Substrate: Use fine gravel or sand as the substrate, allowing the shrimp to burrow and scavenge for food.
  • Plants and Decorations: Live plants and hiding spots like caves or driftwood provide a sense of security for the shrimp and encourage breeding.

Selecting Healthy Breeding Stock

The success of your glass shrimp breeding venture heavily relies on selecting healthy breeding stock. Follow these guidelines when choosing your shrimp:

  • Gender Identification: Distinguish between male and female shrimp by examining their abdomens. Females have a rounder and larger abdomen compared to males.
  • Vibrant Colors: opt for shrimp with vibrant colors, as it is an indication of their overall health and vitality.
  • Active Behavior: Look for vibrant and lively shrimp. Avoid those that appear lethargic or show signs of illness.
  • Avoiding Inbreeding: Introduce new shrimp from different sources to prevent inbreeding and maintain genetic diversity.

Providing Optimal Nutrition

A well-balanced diet is crucial for adult ghost shrimp’s health and breeding success. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Variety is Key: Offer a diverse diet of high-quality shrimp pellets, algae wafers, blanched vegetables (such as spinach or zucchini), and occasional protein-rich treats like brine shrimp or bloodworms.
  • Feed in Moderation: Ghost shrimp have tiny appetites, so avoid overfeeding. Provide small portions that can be consumed within a few minutes, removing any uneaten food promptly.

Triggering Breeding Behavior

It would help if you created the proper conditions to encourage ghost shrimp to breed. Here are a few techniques to stimulate breeding behavior:

  • Increase Temperature: Gradually raise the water temperature by a few degrees to simulate the onset of the breeding season.
  • Photoperiod Manipulation: Adjust the lighting duration to mimic the changing seasons. Decrease the daily light exposure to 8-10 hours to simulate winter, gradually increasing it to 12-14 hours to mimic spring.

Providing Breeding Accessories

It is essential to provide the right accessories in your ghost shrimp tank. To facilitate successful breeding,

  • Moss or Mesh: Adding moss or a fine mesh can serve as a breeding ground for the shrimp. They will attach their eggs to these surfaces.
  • Breeding Boxes: Utilize breeding boxes or mesh containers to separate pregnant females from the rest of the population, protecting the eggs from potential predation.

Identifying and Caring for Eggs

Once your shrimp successfully breed, it’s essential to identify and care for their eggs:

  • Egg Identification: Ghost shrimp eggs are tiny and greenish . They are usually found attached to the female’s swimmerets.
  • Separating Pregnant Females: Move the  pregnant ghost shrimp  to a separate tank or container to prevent other shrimp species from consuming the eggs.
  • Water Quality Maintenance: Ensure optimal water conditions by performing regular water changes and maintaining proper filtration. High water quality is crucial for the survival of the eggs.

Hatching and Raising the Fry

Watching the eggs hatch and raising the baby ghost shrimp is an exciting part of ghost shrimp breeding. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Hatching Period: Ghost shrimp eggs typically hatch within two to three weeks. During this time, ensure stable water conditions and avoid disturbances in the breeding tank.
  • Feeding the Fry: The shrimp fry will consume microscopic organisms and biofilm in the tank once hatched. Supplement their diet with liquid fry food or powdered shrimp food.
  • Gradual Introductions: When the  baby ghost shrimp  reaches a specific size, you can introduce them back into the main tank, providing ample hiding spots and avoiding larger tank mates that may prey on them.

Feeding Baby Brine Shrimp To Your Pregnant Ghost Shrimp

During pregnancy, mature ghost shrimp should have baby brine shrimp as they are a good source of protein.

The high nutrients are beneficial in their recovery and boost their immunity. Remember, pregnant ghost shrimp should be fed baby shrimp plankton.

Ghost Shrimps in their Natural Habitat

Ghost Shrimp live on fresh and lightly brackish seas throughout the Eastern USA. A simple method is to dive in the water near shorelines and docks and find some of the best ghost shrimps.

The transparent limbs and the cryptic mottled colors offer excellent camouflage in the dark shade caused by tangled aquatic vegetation.

Glass shrimp are generally viewed as opaque, and frequently, the fish feel exposed and stressed. Avoid purchasing shrimps whose color has become white; these shrimp will die within minutes.

The translucent pigments are a signal of healthy living in frogs! Ghost shrimp prefer similar arrangements to an aquarium: full vegetation cover and preferably live plants.

Do Ghost Shrimp Reproduce in Tanks?

Will ghost shrimp breed in an aquarium?  Ghost shrimp breeding in freshwater  aquariums is widespread. They will likely reproduce in your tank if you provide the right conditions and food.

The breeding process can take weeks to two months, depending on the breeding tank size and water conditions. It is vital to provide the right environment, accessories, and food. To ensure successful breeding,

It  is also essential to monitor water quality and temperature levels to ensure optimal conditions for breeding.

How to Breed Ghost Shrimp

Breeding glass shrimp can be a challenging and time-consuming task. With so many changeable to consider, it’s easy to make mistakes that could endanger the health and well-being of your shrimp.

Not only might you be wasting time and resources, but you also risk losing your investment if you don’t breed correctly. That’s why finding reliable information is critical. 

This How To Breed Ghost Shrimp video series provides step-by-step instructions for successful grass shrimp breeding and tips for maintaining healthy shrimp in an aquarium. Get the knowledge and peace of mind knowing that your shrimp will start multiplying in no time!

What Is the Best Way to Breed Ghost Shrimp?

The best way to breed ghost shrimp is by providing them with suitable living and breeding conditions.  To do this, you must provide the perfect environment in your tank or aquarium, provide proper nutrition, maintain good water quality and temperature levels, and utilize suitable accessories like breeding boxes or mesh containers.

Additionally,  monitoring the tank regularly and performing daily maintenance tasks such as removing uneaten food, cleaning filter media, and performing regular water changes are essential.

By following these main tips, you can ensure your shrimp have the best chance of successful breeding in captivity.

What Is the Hardest Part About Breeding Ghost Shrimps?

The hardest part about breeding shrimp is keeping the young fry alive. This species of freshwater shrimp is very delicate and have a short life span, making it challenging to ensure the survival of their offspring.

The water conditions they breed must be monitored carefully and kept at an optimal temperature and PH level to reproduce successfully.

Additionally,  since these small shrimp species are so small, it can take time to find food sources they can consume easily while still providing them with all the necessary nutrients for growth and development.

Ensuring accurate feeding schedules and avoiding overcrowding during breeding are essential considerations when raising healthy ghost shrimp populations.

What Shrimp Can Ghost Shrimp Breed With?

Ghost shrimp can breed with other freshwater  shrimp species , especially those belonging to the genus Neocaridina.  Specifically, they can produce cherry Shrimp, Amano, and honeycomb/bee shrimp. 

The best way to ensure successful shrimp breeding is to keep a ratio of one male ghost shrimp for every three females per separate aquarium. This will allow each female enough space while avoiding overcrowding and reducing competition among the males.

When creating an aquarium habitat for breeding ghost shrimp, it’s essential to provide plenty of vegetation plus hiding places to reduce stress levels and encourage mating behavior within the group.

Additionally, you must make sure that the tank water temperature is appropriate (typically 68-79° F) and that water chemistry is slightly acidic (pH 6-7). 

Once ready, both sexes will engage in courtship rituals before eventually mating as they release their eggs into open waters.

The female will then carry her fertilized eggs until hatching time arrives – usually within 2-3 weeks, depending on conditions such as temperature and cleanliness – after which she’ll release them into the water column for further development outside her body until adulthood at about eight weeks old. 

How Many Species of Ghost Shrimp Are There?

There are currently three recognized species of ghost shrimp: Palaemonetes paludosus, Palaemonetes kadiakensis, and Palaemonetes juliae. All three species share some similarities in coloration, with most having a translucent white body with black stripes.

However,  they also differ in size and habitat, with P. paludosus typically living in marshes and ponds, while P. kadiakensis inhabits lakes and rivers.

Ghost shrimp are incredibly adaptable creatures that survive in various environments, from brackish water to freshwater streams and even artificial habitats like aquariums and ponds.

They are considered a pest species in some areas due to their ability to reproduce quickly, which can lead to overpopulation in specific habitats if left unchecked.

However, they also serve an important role in the ecosystem as they are natural scavengers and provide an essential food source for larger aquatic creatures such as fish.

How Long Does It Take to Breed Ghost Shrimp?

Ghost shrimps can become pregnant throughout their adult lives, typically between 3 to 9 months. The laying and fertilization process of their eggs usually takes 6 to 8 weeks.

Look for early indications that your female ghost shrimp will begin to lay eggs, visible within days of fertilization.

Once the eggs are visible, they’ll take 10 to 12 days to hatch into  ghost shrimp larvae  and reach adult size within eight weeks.  The total breeding cycle of ghost shrimp takes an average of 2-3 months.

Ghost Shrimp Tank Size & Requirements

Ghost shrimp are small and don’t require a huge tank to survive. If you provide ample room to swim and hide out of sight, they should thrive in tanks as small as 5 gallons.

However,  bigger is always better for any aquarium fish habitat, and a 10-gallon tank is a much more suitable size for a thriving ghost shrimp colony.

When setting up your  ghost shrimp tank , providing plenty of vegetation and hiding places such as rocks, driftwood, and aquarium plants is essential. This will help decrease stress levels and create an environment where they can quickly breed without competition from other species.

You should also provide a fish tank with a sandy substrate or fine gravel, as ghost shrimp are bottom dwellers and feel more secure in these substrates. Additionally, make sure to use an appropriate aquarium filter suitable for your size and type of tank.

Ghost Shrimp and Live Plants

If there is something to choose from the tree, the Ghost Shrimps will be happy with your choice. See our guide to low-light aquariums for easy options for Ghost Shrimp tanks.

Rock, driftwood, or other tank decoration allows ghost shrimp to climb, perch, and explore! Make a creative idea and do as much as you want: the better the security of Ghost Shrimp, the more it stays open.

Feeding Ghost Shrimp

Ghost Shrimps can efficiently scavenge in aquariums. It will eat everything naturally and will not move. Leftover fish food will satisfy your appetite for food.

Because of the transparency of the animal’s gastrointestinal system, it is usually seen that  ghost shrimp eat  more food and have bright colors when fed brightly colored flakes.

They are very competitive, too, and often try to steal the flake and go out rather than share. Ghost shrimp takes bits of water if they are hungry for it.

Ghost Shrimp Care and Tank Set-up

Contrary to what people think, ghost shrimps are highly susceptible to predatory activities, particularly in waterways and lakes that contain many fish.

Therefore, if a person is putting in tanks in a similar environment compared to other tanks, it is critical to adapt to their surroundings quickly and accurately.

The small size of these shrimps can often be found in the smaller fish tank with just enough room inside. This article explains the basic tank configuration for your comfort as a beginner.

Firstly, you need to ensure that the temperature is kept in the 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit range. For this purpose, a heater or temperature regulator is recommended.

For filtration, a sponge filter helps to keep the water clean and clear of any dirt. For the substrate, you could use either sand or fine gravel. The substrate must also be deep enough for your ghost shrimps to burrow and hide.

Finally, add plenty of decorations such as rocks, driftwood, or aquarium plants for your shrimps to explore and hide in. This will help reduce stress levels for the shrimps and create a more secure environment for them to live in and breed.

Ghost Shrimp Breeding Setup

It can be difficult for a ghost shrimp to grow and mature. They can be called lower-order shrimp and have planktonic swimming phases, which begin in the early stages when the adult morphs. Usually, like cherries and bees, shrimp look more like small fish than kids.

When they are born, they are very close to vision and often sighted without glasses. In typical aquariums, glass shrimp rarely develop beyond the first few years.

The Mating Process of Ghost Shrimp

A breeding process is similar to that for a dwarf shrimp. During the breeding phase, the molting takes place. Eventually, her Phenomones train male searchers. It fertilizes the eggs inside the body.

The semen then is held underneath her abdominal cavity on her ovaries, and here the eggs develop. There are no special conditions required for breeding Ghost Shrimps. They can easily be kept in aquariums.

Note:  It’s also another time that adult ghost shrimps may eat larvae and tiny shrimp. So it is wise to isolate the tank and monitor the environment closely.

Best Plants for Ghost Shrimp Tank

As mentioned, fine sand and gravel are suitable materials for building these Ghost shrimp tanks. They have easy access to it but do nothing to damage the shrimp as they go to the bottom of the aquarium to get the food. But relying solely on your substrate will make it much more manageable.

Instead, it would help if you used various aquatic living plants in tanks to replicate the environment in the water and lakes that they live in. Plants such as jasmine or hornwort offer one of the best-growing choices. The  Ursula graminfolia  has been beneficial.

This plant helps reduce algae growth, which is considered a problem for aquariums. They also provide cover for Ghost shrimp and other fish. In addition, a tank with aquatic plants will look and feel natural, helping to create an optimal environment for the shrimp to thrive.

The Behavior and Aggression of Ghost Shrimp

Ghost shrimp are usually found in freshwater in nature. However, some of them are found in little salty waters. Due to predators, their life mode prefers nocturnal.

Aside from being unobserved by large predatory fish, they aren’t hidden within vegetation, so they’re easily spotted anywhere. They are much bolder than those Amano shrimps, which other shrimps of similar size ignore.

Many articles on ghost shrimp claim that American shrimp is mainly aggressive. Some of these are reportedly aggressive.

Ghost Shrimp Lifespan

Ghost shrimp usually have around eight months to two years of life expectancy. It’s not an average period; some are less likely to live than others. Several aquarists also use grass shrimp in the aquarium to be feeder fish for the larger-sized species.

In those situations,  their health does not matter to aquarists as the family has poor lives and thus has to endure a harsh environment resulting in death early on the tank. Another component of their life cycle worth noting is their usual molting processes and molting.

Tank mates for Ghost shrimp

There are some differences. Keep them out of any fish that eats dead shrimp, though. Ghost shrimp should have been kept within a limited tank. However, peace of mind is what works well.

Just be aware ghost shrimps are sometimes more aggressive than most dwarf shrimp, especially when they are a much larger fish and a little more active. Therefore a shrimp should be kept in the same size (or larger) species as the Ghost Shrimp.

Ghost Shrimp Common Diseases and Treatment

Like most invertebrates in tanks, ghost shrimps may carry waterborne disease, of which aquarists are aware. The primary disease affecting the Ghost shrimp is Vorticella. The illness arises through algae eaten by shrimp, making their bodies and shell appear white and moldy.

Other than vorticella bacteria, bacteria can lead to the infection of shrimp. The shrimps are fatigued and show bright pink scaliness in their shells; a lack of water could cause this.

To reduce the possible risk,  it is best to maintain the water’s quality. Regularly replace 10-15 percent of the water with clean aquarium water and examine the tank’s parameters.

Frequently Asked Questions about Ghost Shrimp Reproduction (FAQs )

What kind of shrimp are ghost shrimp.

Shrimp is a freshwater species belonging to the same family as Amani shrimp. They are found in many world sites and are easy to keep in aquariums.

Can Ghost Shrimp Breed in a Community Tank with Other Fish?

Yes, ghost shrimp can breed in a community tank, but it’s essential to provide adequate hiding spots for the shrimp and ensure that tank mates are not aggressive or predatory such as betta fish.

How Many Eggs Can a Female Ghost Shrimp Produce?

A female ghost shrimp can produce hundreds of eggs at a time. Depending on the tank’s conditions, some of these eggs may even hatch and develop into adult ghost shrimp molt once.

How Long Does it Take for the Ghost Shrimp Eggs to Hatch?

Ghost shrimp eggs usually hatch within two to four weeks, depending on the water temperature and other environmental factors.

Do Ghost Shrimp Require a Special Diet During Breeding?

While ghost shrimp have specific dietary needs, their diet during breeding remains similar to their regular diet. A varied and balanced diet is crucial for their overall health and breeding success.

Do Ghost Shrimp Require a Heater for Breeding?

Ghost shrimp prefer stable and warm water conditions, so a heater is recommended to maintain the optimal temperature range for successful breeding.

How Long Does it take for the Ghost Shrimp fry to Reach Maturity?

Ghost shrimp fry proliferates and reaches maturity within a few months, depending on food availability and the overall tank conditions.

Do Ghost shrimp Need Brackish Water?

They don’t require sulfur to grow and reproduce. They could be kept alive in salty water, but it’s different. Eggs from shrimp are unable to develop at 10-20ppm salinity.

Will Ghost Shrimp Reproduce in My Tank?

Yes, ghost shrimp are prolific breeders and can reproduce in most tanks. However, they require optimal conditions such as warm water and stable parameters for successful breeding.

How Fast Do Ghost Shrimp Reproduce?

Ghost shrimp can reproduce quickly under the right conditions. When their needs are met, they can lay hundreds of eggs at a time and reach maturity in just a few months.

Do Ghost Shrimp Reproduce Easily?

Ghost shrimp reproduce when kept in the right conditions. They require clean water, warm temperatures, and a varied diet for successful breeding. With proper care, they breed multiple times in a single year.

What Size Tank is Best for Ghost Shrimp?

Ghost shrimp require space to thrive . A 10-gallon tank offers a good amount of space for them to live and reproduce. However, larger tanks can be beneficial if you keep many ghost shrimp.

Do Ghost Shrimp Need Brackish Water to Breed?

No, ghost shrimp do not require brackish water to breed. They can produce and reproduce in freshwater if the tank water is clean and the temperature is within their preferred range.

Do Ghost Shrimps Molt?

Ghost shrimp will molt every two weeks, mainly if it eats more than it usually would. Glass shrimp body gets bigger as it grows and cannot stay on the skin anymore, and molting is a means for it to shed. It is the period during which the animal undergoes regrowth.

Ghost shrimp breeding is an exciting and rewarding endeavor. By understanding the secrets of successful breeding and providing the right conditions, you can witness the fascinating life cycle of these remarkable creatures. Remember to create an ideal habitat, select healthy breeding stock, provide optimal nutrition, and trigger breeding behavior. With patience and care, you can become a master breeder and enjoy the beauty of your aquarium’s thriving ghost shrimp population. Happy keeping ghost shrimp.

You might also like

  • How Long Do Glass Shrimp Live : (Prolong Their Lifespan)
  • Caring for Ghost Shrimp 101: A Complete Guide & Breeding Tips
  • Pregnant Ghost Shrimp Stages : (5 Successful Breeding Tips)
  • Lifespan of Ghost Shrimp Guide : Excellent Tips You Can’t-Miss
  • Ghost Shrimp Pregnancy : Signs, Care, Stages, And More!
  • What Does Ghost Shrimp Eat : Top 5 Foods For Optimal Health
  • How to Raise Ghost Shrimp : 5 Proven Tips for Maximum Profit!

how do ghost shrimp have babies

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.

Recent Posts

Do Cory Catfish Clean the Tank

Do Cory Catfish Clean the Tank Effectively: (Find Out Now!)

Do Cory Catfish Need a Bubbler

Do Cory Catfish Need a Bubbler: The Dark Secret (Revealed!)

How Often to Feed Cory Catfish

How Often to Feed Cory Catfish: 5 Tips for Explosive Growth!

Stay updated, get outdoor trends, data, new products, and tips delivered to your inbox.. is a for-profit business, and in the spirit of complete transparency, please assumes any link that leads you to a third-party product or service is an affiliate link from which we may receive a commission for referrals and/or purchases that originate from this site. Our commission is at no extra cost to you.

Important Links

Copyright © Infishtank | All Rights Reserved

Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more .

How to Tell if a Ghost Shrimp is Pregnant: 5 Signs

Lindsey Stanton Profile Picture

By Lindsey Stanton

Updated on Sep 20, 2023

ghost shrimp

Ghost shrimp are some curious little creatures indeed. These shrimp are transparent, and you can actually see right through them. If you have male and female ghost shrimp in a tank, they will probably breed. As far as animals in aquariums go, ghost shrimp are easy breed.

The 5 Signs Your Ghost Shrimp Is Pregnant

There are a few telltale signs that your female ghost shrimp is pregnant. Before we get into these signs, we do need to mention one thing, which is that ghost shrimp are never actually pregnant, per say. Only live-bearing animals that give live birth to their young are considered to be pregnant.

Egg layers like ghost shrimp are never actually pregnant. The term used to describe pregnancy in egg layers is “gravid.” So, how can you tell when your female ghost shrimp is gravid?

1. Green Dots

The first sign that you may notice, a strong indication that your shrimp is pregnant or gravid, is if you see small green dots near her abdomen, right by the part known as the saddle. At first, they will look like nothing more than miniature green dots, gut they will get larger and grow over time.

No, they don’t get huge, as ghost shrimp in general are very small, but if your ghost shrimp is gravid, you should see those green specks, which over time grow into very teeny tiny green balls. These are the eggs growing. Technically, this is not actually her stomach or abdomen, but what is known as a saddle. These eggs will be attached to her rear legs.

2. Fanning Her Legs

Another sign that a female ghost shrimp is pregnant or gravid is if she keeps fanning her legs that have the eggs on them.

Exactly why pregnant female ghost shrimp fan their legs is unknown, although it may have something to do with keeping the eggs well oxygenated, or it could be that the eggs are irritating here.

3. Green or White Dots Under Her Tail

Those green eggs, once the male has fertilized them, should turn white in color and they will increase in size just a little bit. If they are white, then you know that they have been fertilized, and as they grow in size, they may move lower down in the saddle at the rear of the rear legs.

4. She’s Gained Some Weight

One clear sign that a female ghost shrimp is pregnant is if she is gaining a bit of weight. The weight gain will be negligible, but having 20 to 30 eggs attached to her will definitely make her seem larger than before.

5. The Males Getting Real Friendly

If your female ghost shrimp is pregnant or gravid, you may notice that there are males all around her. As is the case in the animal kingdom, males will compete for dominance, for the right to fertilize those eggs and pass on their genes.

If you notice that male ghost shrimp are fighting with each other and fighting for the female’s attention, chances are almost 100% that she is pregnant.

Pregnant Ghost Shrimp Stages Explained

At first, the female ghost shrimp will start to produce eggs. Female ghost shrimp will produce eggs every 3 weeks, roughly. You will see those little green dots in her saddle, right by the base of the body, by the swimmerets.

For the first week or so, they will stay right there and will not change much in appearance. After the first week, those eggs will start to grow a little larger and may become slightly lighter in color, going from very dark green to a lighter green.

During the 7- to 14-day mark, you will notice these eggs getting slightly bigger by the day, and they will move further down the saddle, away from her body, and to the legs. By the beginning of the third week, the males should have fertilized the eggs, at which point they should start to turn white. You may even be able to see little black dots inside of the eggs at this point, which are the eyes and stomach of the shrimp fry.

By day 21, those eggs should hatch and the shrimp fry should emerge.

Do Ghost Shrimp Lay Eggs or Live Birth?

Ghost shrimp, as previously noted, are egg layers, which means that they do not give live birth. These animals carry their eggs for a set amount of time, and if the eggs are fertilized by the males, will then hatch and let loose the shrimp fry.

Once again, a pregnant female shrimp that is carrying eggs is referred to as gravid or berried.

How Long do Ghost Shrimp Carry Their Eggs?

On average, a female ghost shrimp will carry her eggs for a total of 3 weeks. These eggs start out in the saddle and slowly move out of the saddle and onto the hind legs over time.

From the time the eggs are first produced to the time when they hatch into shrimp fry, it should take no longer than 21 days or 3 weeks.

How Many Babies do Ghost Shrimp Have?

A female ghost shrimp will on average have 20 to 30 fry every time she produces eggs. They produce eggs every 3 weeks roughly. So, within a single year, a ghost shrimp can potentially have hundreds of babies.

Do Ghost Shrimp Die After Laying Eggs?

No, there is no evidence which would show that ghost shrimp die after laying their eggs. That said, ghost shrimp are very fragile and often die in aquariums due to a number of reasons, including but not limited to improper feeding, bad or fluctuating water conditions, and being eaten by fish.

Ghost shrimp are definitely not the easiest animals to take care of. They’re pretty sensitive to many things, and they make for great fish food too. That said, if you notice that a female is pregnant, get ready because your aquarium is about to have a new influx of inhabitants.

You Might Also Be Interested In:

  • Why is My Ghost Shrimp Turning White? (Causes & Cure)
  • Best Nano Tank For Shrimp: Top 5

Featured Image Credit: Nicholas Toh, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Do Koi Fish Eat Algae? Nutrition Facts & FAQ

Aug 8, 2023 - 4 min read

5 Best Foods for Cardinal Tetras in 2023 – Reviews & Top Picks

May 20, 2023 - 5 min read

How to Set Up a Fish-Only Aquarium: 8 Step Guide (With Pictures)

Jul 28, 2023 - 7 min read

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database

Betta Fish Popeye: Causes, Signs, & Treatment Explained By Our Vet!

Answered by Dr. Luqman Javed, DVM (Vet)

Why You Should Never Buy a One-Gallon Fish Tank: Our Vet Explains

Answered by Dr. Paola Cuevas, MVZ (Vet)

What Size Tank Should I Use for 2 Goldfish? Our Vet Answers

How to Aerate Water Without an Air Pump – Our Vet Explains

How Long To Let Fish Acclimate To a New Tank: Our Vet Explains

Rabies in Dogs: Causes, Signs & Care Guide

Answered by Dr. Iulia Mihai

Cat food recalls

Have a cat? Stay on top of cat food recalls here >

Dog food recalls

Have a dog? Stay on top of dog food recalls here >

Have a question? talk to a vet online for advice >

The Aquarium Guide

Pregnant Ghost Shrimp: Care, Breeding, Feeding & Tank Setup

Adam Edmond Image

  • By Adam Edmond

how do ghost shrimp have babies

 #1 Green Dots

When you notice some green dots on your ghost shrimp, congratulations, she is pregnant. Green dots all over the body are the best sign that your ghost shrimp is pregnant. These dots are small and grow at a slow rate. These are eggs of the shrimp and have a small size. When these eggs grow their size slowly, you will notice that the visible dots also grow along with the eggs. 

#2 Fanning Her Legs

Another sign that the ghost shrimp is pregnant is that she keeps fanning its legs. However, the reason for fanning legs is unknown yet. However, there can be two main indications for doing so. Either the eggs keep irritating her, or she wants to keep her eggs well oxygenated by moving her legs back and forth. 

#3 Green Or White Dots Under Her Tail

One thing must be cleared: green shrimps do not carry their eggs in their bellies. Instead, eggs are attached to their body under their tail with their swimmerets. The green point is visible with naked eyes because it’s transparent. At the very first stage, the dots appear smaller in size. Later they attain bigger size. 

#4 She’s Gained Some Weight

Although the green shrimps (females) are bigger than the males, they become bigger when they are pregnant and gain more weight. It is because the area below their tail is swollen as they carry their eggs below their tail. It is because the area gets bumped out due to the mass of eggs. 

#5 The Males Getting Real Friendly

When a female shrimp is pregnant, she receives much attention from other male ghost shrimps. This phenomenon is natural. Male shrimps hover around female shrimps as they try to fertilize the eggs.

Pregnant Ghost Shrimp Stages 

Now, we will talk about the complete process of ghost shrimp breeding in detail. We will discuss all the essential requirements of a pregnant ghost shrimp such as water parameters, substrate, and much more.  

How To Breed Ghost Shrimp?

It is quite a simple process for the breeding process of Ghost Shrimps. Normally, a female ghost shrimp is larger than a male ghost shrimp. Therefore, you should keep at least two female ghost shrimps per male. It is an ideal ratio for the breeding process. 

Purchase The Tanks 

At least a 10-gallon tank is needed at first. After that, you should buy a tank that is clear and transparent. It would help you keep an eye on your ghost shrimps from outside.  

Install Filters And Air Pumps

Another thing to keep in mind is installing an air pump. Like other living aquatic organisms, they also need oxygenated water to stay alive. Therefore, it is necessary to have an air pump for the baby shrimp. 

Next, you would require a sponge filter for cleaning water. Do not use a regular filter to suck up the baby shrimps. It can also cause many of the baby shrimps to die. If the filter does not suck them up, it can irritate them.

Add Layers Of Substrate 

Next, you would need to take care of the bottom of the tank. It is advised to cover the bottom of the tank using light-colored gravel or sand as it helps the shrimps to be transparent. The color of gravel affects us a lot more than our thoughts. If you want your shrimps to bear some spots, you should use dark bottom colors. 

Correct Water Parameters 

Now, it comes to filling up the tank with water. First, you should ensure that the water is extremely clean and clear. Then, running the filter before adding the shrimps to the tank is advised. It will help to remove any unwanted chemicals and harmful agents. 

Water temperature is another factor to keep in mind. The preferable water temperature ranges from 65-82 degrees Fahrenheit. Water PH level is another factor to consider, which must remain neutral.

Breeding Time 

Now add some live plants to the tank, which would help the shrimps in their breeding process. And the plants also act as a hiding spot. Now, it is about preparing the water. Water should have no salinity as saline water would not allow the shrimps to grow well. 

First, it should not shock them when you are transferring the shrimps into their breeding tanks. Take them out of their usual habitat in a clear plastic bag and float the bag in the breeding tank water for about an hour. Now, replace the water of the old tank with the new one by one-fourth ratio. 

Put it into the new breeding tank when your ghost shrimp gets ready for the new environment. Also, remember to change 20-30 percent of the water every week. Then, everything is good to go when you have mature ones together in a breeding tank. One male per every two females is a good ratio. 

A female produces 20-30 eggs every three weeks and carries them for about two weeks. Now, allow the males to fertilize the eggs. After you notice the female shrimps with fertilized eggs, you can transfer the males back to their original tanks. Eggs take around 24 days to hatch once they are laid by female shrimp. It is advised to remove the eggs from the breeding tank as the adult shrimps can eat their larvae. 

Feeding Your Pregnant Ghost Shrimp

It is quite easy to feed a ghost shrimp. You can feed them with some quality flake food. A pregnant ghost shrimp prefers to have some frozen food occasionally. If there is another fish in the tank, you should be very careful. Their tank mates can eat them due to their slow-moving speed. 

Feeding them with nutrient-rich food is a very good idea. While feeding a pregnant ghost shrimp, sticky food can choke them up. Sinking wafers are a good source of protein and nutrients for a pregnant ghost shrimp.

Caring For Pregnant Ghost Shrimps 

Ghost shrimps are greatly sensitive, especially during pregnancy. Therefore, we should take good care of them while they are pregnant. The first thing is, of course, the environment. It means that the water in the tank must be clean and pure. Matten filter is another good option to have as it has a greater surface area (almost 3-4 times) than a regular filter. 

Another thing to check on is the water pH level of the tank, which must be neutral. The optimal range for the TDS level of water is 150 to 200. Ghost Shrimps are very peaceful organisms. Thus, they would need a hiding space in the tank. Hence, plants would be a must to have. The other important factor to take into consideration is their diet. 

Ghost shrimps can usually live by eating the algae. But during the breeding time (pregnancy), they need special care to lay good quality eggs. Therefore, you should feed your pregnant ghost shrimp with nutrient-rich food to help it lay good quality eggs. 

Caring For Baby Ghost Shrimps 

These babies are also as sensitive as their parents. If you don’t provide them with good care, you can see soon they will start dying. It implies that the baby shrimp can die easily. Therefore, it is advised to take good care of these little creatures to raise them healthy and in a good number. A good stress-free environment is a must, just like adult shrimps need. 

Next, you must take care of water parameters as it would affect the health of babies a lot. Good tankmates are also another factor for the care of babies. Hence you should select their tankmates carefully. Keep in mind that your shrimps do not get eaten by their mates. Even if the baby shrimps get chased by their mates, it will stress them out. 

They are small in size and can be easily caught and swallowed by their bad tank mates. Most importantly, you should keep them in a black background instead of keeping them in a light-colored environment. It makes it easy for them to see with their little eyes.

How To Setup A Breeding Tank For Ghost Shrimp

Step 1: set up tank and filter.

You would require at least 10 gallons of tank space for the breeding process of ghost shrimps. A 10-gallon tank should be filled with pure and clean water. It is advised to use a filter with a greater surface area to clean the water more efficiently. Tanks should contain some aquatic plants as these plants suck up carbon dioxide and keep the water oxygenated by releasing oxygen into the water. 

Step 2: Install An Air Pump

A very important factor to consider is the air pump. It’s crucial to install the air pump in your shrimp tank. With the help of an air pump, your shrimp will have no difficulty breathing. If you think an air pump is a waste of money. So, you are wrong. If your ghost shrimp don’t get a tank with an installed air pump, it will die.

Step 3: Bottom Cover

When you talk about the bottom of a tank, you can add gravel to the bottom of the tank. However, in the case of ghost shrimps, you need to be more careful about the color of the gravel. It is because it affects the transparency of the baby shrimps. Therefore, using light-colored gravel or sand is the best for baby shrimps.

Step 4: Fill With Water

Filling the tank with clean and pure water is a must as it facilitates the good growth of baby shrimps. Also, you should have some pH checking strips ready with you to check the water’s pH level. Make sure you keep the pH level of water near to 7 (neutral) to develop baby shrimps. 

Step 5: Add Plants

Breeding bottom with some plantations is a good idea as it helps create a good breeding environment. In addition, plants provide a good hiding spot for baby ghost shrimps. Finally, as the ghost Shrimps are omnivorous, the plants also act as a good food source for the young ones. 

Young ones can also get a good amount of algae to eat and survive with the help of the plants. Java moss, Anubias, Hygrophila difformis , Coontail, Echinodorus grisebachii, Buce, and Water lettuce are some good plants that you can add to your ghost shrimp breeding tank.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Female ghost shrimp lay around 20-30 eggs at one time. It takes about 21 days to lay the eggs. However, these shrimps carry the eggs for about a week on their body. Then, they carry them under their tail. 

Ghost shrimp has a short life span of about one year. However, they grow at quite a fast rate, and within a few weeks, they grow into a small version of adults. After five weeks, these creatures become fully developed and can be used for breeding. It means they can now give birth to young ones.

Before laying the eggs, the ghost shrimp (female) carries the eggs along with it. First, it keeps fanning its legs to keep the eggs properly oxygenated. Then, a ghost shrimp carries her eggs under her tail until the eggs hatch. The eggs would hatch within three weeks. 

When the new ones come out of the eggs, they start growing faster. However, during their growth phase, they turn white, which is not an issue. It happens due to their processes of shedding their exoskeleton. It is advised to feed them with a boiled cuttle pet bone during this process. Also, some crushed eggshells can be added to the water as a cure to this milky color due to the shedding of the exoskeleton. Finally, you would be able to feed the young ones with liquid fry food and micro worms once they are separated from their mother’s swimmerets.

Wrapping Up

Ghost Shrimps are beautiful creatures to own. Their transparent bodies are eye-catching. The aquarium fills up with joy when these beautiful little creatures are joyfully swirling around into the water. Although these have a life span of one year, these beautiful creatures will leave a great emotional impact on you. When you keep them with non-aggressive small fish, they give the best view.

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

Aquariumbreeder site logo - shrimp, snails, crabs, crayfish, and other invertebrates

Ghost shrimp – Detailed Guide: Care, Diet and Breeding

Ghost shrimp - Palaemonetes paludosus

Ghost shrimp (Palaemonetes paludosus) also have alternative names such as Glass shrimp, Grass Shrimp, and American Freshwater Glass Shrimp. Initially, they were found in North America. Nowadays, besides its popularity in shrimp breeding hobby, they are also sold as cheap food for larger fish species.

Ghost shrimp will be an excellent addition to the aquarium. They are amazingly hardy and can survive under conditions significantly better, compared to most other types of shrimp.

In addition, they are not shy. You will see them crawling around the entire aquarium in search of food, not hiding in the daytime, like most other shrimp. All in all, Ghost shrimp is one of the best options if you just want to get into this hobby.

Ghost shrimp . Lookalikes

Frankly saying, it is hard to find much reliable info on “Ghost shrimp” because many different species seem to come to be commonly referred to as “Ghost” shrimp, mistakenly or not. There is a lot of confusion around the name of this shrimp.

The point is that Ghost shrimp is a collective name. It includes lots of other shrimp species in the Palaemonetes genus. As a result, we have chaos in names.

Also, to make it even more confusing, there are sub-genuses like Palaemonetes sinensis (Far Eastern Freshwater Shrimp), Palaemonetes Varians (Atlantic Ditch shrimp), Palaemonetes Argentines (Argentinean shrimp), Palaemonetes Antennarius (Popcorn shrimp), Palaemonetes kadiakensis (the Mississippi grass shrimp). All of them look very similar to ghost shrimp.

In addition, it can be hard to distinguish Macrobrachium and Palaemonidae family. For example, instead of American Ghost shrimp (Palaemonetes) you can get other types like Macrobrachium ehemals (Indian Ghost shrimp) , Macrobrachium Lanchesteri (Whisker shrimp) , Freshwater river shrimp, and even some brackish water variations.

The problem with all these shrimp is that they can also look the same to the untrained eye. That is why, consider yourself lucky, if you get by mistake, let’s say, a rather peaceful version of Ghost shrimp (Macrobrachium ehemals).

Because, for example , Macrobrachium Lanchesteri are much more aggressive than other species. They can easily hunt down dwarf shrimp (like adult Red cherry shrimp ), small fish, and snails.

Quick Notes about  Ghost shrimp

Note : Some time ago biologists believed that Ghost shrimp belonged to the Caridina species. At some point, they revised it. Now as you can see they do not even share the same family.

Family dwarf shrimp tree

Description and Appearance of Ghost shrimp

Ghost shrimp received its name because they have a semi-transparent body. Depending on the diet, the shrimp may become yellow, orange, beige, or light brown.

The pigment granules in the body give Ghost shrimp the additional ability to camouflage against its background and blend in with the environment. Sometimes it can be hard to see them (although they could be right in front of your eyes) until they start moving.

They have a well-developed “horn” (rostrum) with small teeth along the dorsal and ventral surfaces, with no claws on the third pair of walking legs.  The tail of the shrimp has small specks. On the first 4 pairs of legs, there are tiny claws that help to collect food from the soil.  They are rarely larger than 2″ in size.

Difference Machrobrachium Ghost shrimp vs Palaemonidae Ghost shrimp

Machro means “long”, and brachium means “arm”.

High Death Rate of Ghost Shrimp

It may sound strange, especially after my words that they are hardy and can be hard to kill once established. Let me explain it.

The main reason why the death rate can be high is because of poor care when these shrimp were captured and brought to the big brand pet stores. The thing is that they are usually considered as fish food. So, nobody sees any reason to care for “gonners”.

As a result, these shrimp live under constant stress and without proper food. That stress over time is what is going to kill them. Yes, you can start taking good care of them but (because of that stress from a while back) the damage is already done.

Tip: If you are about to buy Ghost shrimp, pay attention to their color and activity.  Healthy shrimp are almost transparent and hyperdynamic. If they have milky color and lethargic behavior, it means that the water conditions and (or) transportation were unsuitable and very stressful to them. So, if you decide to buy them, be ready for possible quick die-off for some of them if not all.

Practice shows that if you buy 10-20 of them, you will have at least 4-10 of them survive. Actually, this is a surprising number considering the treatment. You need to acclimate any shrimp before putting them in the tank .

Algae and Ghost shrimp

There was a study about Palaemonetes paludosus. The biologists opened up around 300 stomachs of the ghost shrimp and calculated their diet. I quote “Food of grass shrimp consisted primarily of algae, vascular plants, detritus, and aquatic insects. Algae was the major food item comprising 47% of total food ingested and occurring in 83% of the stomachs.

Insects contributed least to the diet, comprising 15,2% of food ingested and occurring in only 36.2% of the stomachs”. (*Life History and Ecology of the Freshwater Caridean Shrimp, Palaemonetes paludosus (Gibbes). J. Thomas Beck and Bruce C. Cowell/ The American Midland Naturalist   Vol. 96, No. 1 (Jul., 1976), pp. 52-65 (14 pages)


As we can see, the results of the experiment are completely different. Of course, they are no match to Amano shrimp . Nonetheless, Ghost shrimp do eat algae. Unfortunately, biologists did not mention what kind of algae is their prime food source.

The Behavior and Aggression of Ghost shrimp

In the wild, Ghost shrimp live mostly in freshwater. Although, sometimes they can be found even in slightly brackish water. By nature, because of predators, they prefer a nocturnal lifestyle .

At the same time, in the absence of big predatory fish, they do not remain hidden among the vegetation and you can see them everywhere anytime. Even compared to Amano shrimp they are bolder and completely ignore fish of their size.

Many articles about ghost shrimp say that the American Ghost Shrimp are usually non-aggressive. However, there have been systematic reports that some of them can become a bit aggressive.

First of all, they are very opportunistic and can eat baby shrimp of any species or even fish fry.  In addition, they are hyper-aggressive to each other during feeding. They wildly try to get all the food for themselves and there is definite violence with their appendages.

Sometimes ghost shrimp can be territorial and fight everybody on their way if the tank is too small and there are too many of them. Note: It is very interesting, ghost shrimp can fight over food between themselves. They can tear apart a worm but I have never seen them damage each other.

Gender difference of Ghost shrimp

When they are young it is hard to determine. The adults of the female and male sex are easier to distinguish.

1.   The females of the ghost shrimp have a greenish saddle on the back that runs along the underside of their belly while males do not. The eggs underbellies also look like glowing green dots. 2.   They differ according to the convexity of the back. The females have a pronounced curved arc along the top end of the tail. 3.   The size of the shrimp. The females are much larger and thicker in the abdomen than the males. The length of the adult female is usually 5 cm, while the males are less than 4 cm. Note: according to the study, I quote “Females greatly outnumbered males in the larger size classes, and males comprised only 6.7% of the shrimp larger than 30mm”.

Unfortunately, ghost shrimp usually do not have any body markings, like Amano shrimp. Thereby, common methods of distinguishing shrimp gender (read more in my article) work only up to some point with ghost shrimp.

Life Span  of Ghost shrimp

Ghost shrimp are meant to be kept as feeder fish (“Those who are about to die salute you, Caesar!”). That is why they do not live very long. Due to conditions, they are in when they arrive at the store. Under good conditions, they can live up to 3 years in the aquarium.

Keeping Ghost Shrimp

A set up similar to a cherry shrimp tank should do fine for them.

Actually, it is quite easy to keep Ghost Shrimp. They prefer water at a temperature of 20 – 27 ° C, with parameters kH 3 – 12 and pH 6.5 – 8. However, they will also feel great in water with parameters that are different from optimal.

Provide them with basic shelter, plants and they will be doing OK.  They are excellent to be kept in both soft and hard water. Apparently, it does not matter much to them.

The only problem is the size of the aquarium. Females can sometimes grow up to 60 mm. Therefore, small aquariums (less than 5 gallons – 20 liters) are not suitable for them.  Growth to maturity (20 mm) takes about 2-3 months when water temperature exceeded 26C (and 4-5 months when the temperature is lower).

In nature, their food menu consisted primarily of algae, vascular plants, detritus, and aquatic insects, in decreasing order of importance.

Tip: Keep in mind and remember that stability of water parameters can play an even more important role in shrimp breeding (keeping) hobby than making them optimal.

Sex Ratio of Ghost Shrimp

According to the study, the sex ratio of 24854 specimens collected between May and April was one female to 0,78 male (P<0.05). Females were abundant in all months of the year. This is especially evident in the summer. Unlike other shrimp, the ideal ratio for ghost shrimp is 1:1.

Read more about it in my article “Male to Female Ratio in Shrimp Tanks”.

Breeding Ghost shrimp

Brackish water confusion.

There is a common misunderstanding that the Ghost shrimp need brackish water in order to breed. I would like to start off by saying that Ghost shrimp do not require brackish water in order to breed.  It is predominantly a freshwater species. In the laboratory experiments , Adult Ghost shrimp could survive at a salinity of 30 ppt (parts per 1000).

Percentage survival of adults Gost shrimp in salinity

Also, there was conclusive evidence that egg hatching and larvae development proceed similarly in 5ppt and 0ppt.

After that (salinity of 10-20 ppt), the survival rate of the eggs drops significantly. The Eggs of ghost shrimp may not have the same osmoregulatory mechanisms as later forms in which tissues are more differentiated.

At the same time, results of the test on larvae indicated that short-term salinity tolerance was as high as that of adults, and that larva could even metamorphose in salinity up to 30ppt. Unlike the closely related freshwater Palaemonetes kadiakensis.

The shorter larval duration may enable Palaemonetes paludosus to reach metamorphosis in higher salinities before dangerous effects are experienced by larvae.

The Mating Process of Ghost Shrimp

Basically, the breeding process is almost the same as with any dwarf shrimp. When the female is ready to breed, she molts . After that, her pheromones make the males start searching for her. They will fertilize the eggs outside of the body. After that, the semen will be held under her abdomen on her ovaries where the eggs will begin to develop.

You do not need any special conditions for breeding Ghost shrimp. It is absolutely possible to breed them in one aquarium.

Note: I will repeat once again that adult ghost shrimp can eat larvae or small shrimplets. That is why the second tank is advisable.

Tip: If you do not want to mess with the second tank but want to breed ghost shrimp, it is crucial to provide lots of plants and other small hiding places in the aquarium for the shrimplets. It will increase their survival chances.

Nonetheless, if you want to be a successful Ghost shrimp breeder, then the females with caviar should be placed in a separate tank.

Preparing Larvae Rearing Tank for Ghost Shrimp

The good thing about the breeding tank is that it can be without any filtration at all if you have a lot of plants there. There is almost zero bioloads from the larvae.

A very slow-running air stone would assist to distribute greenwater in the aquarium. The water movement should not be too strong. Otherwise, larvae will get blown around, so keep it very low and gentle.

What is different?

Their eggs hatch as free-floating larvae, not miniature versions of the ghost shrimp. At this stage, they are too small to catch. That is why it is better to move the female while she is still carrying the eggs.

After the appearance of the young, for the safety sake, put the females back to the main tank.

Ghost shrimp larvae are a little more difficult to raise because of the food requirements. Otherwise, the larvae will apparently starve and die if not properly fed.

How many Eggs do Ghost Shrimp usually have?

Ghost shrimp females’ fecundity ranges from 8-85 eggs and increases with the length of the female. The incubation period in the laboratory conditions was 12-14 days at 26-28C.

Average brood size – 35.9 eggs.

Maturity Size of the Ghost Shrimp

Biologists noticed that all immature females – 12-19 mm long. No females under 20mm carried eggs.

There are two stages of pre-hatching development: 1.   An early-stage where eye pigment was absent 2.   Later stages where eye pigment was present (5 days after the eggs were laid)

Many females carrying eggs also had ripe ovaries. Tip: If you see that the eggs are nearly at the bottom of the swimmeret, they are going to fall off anytime soon.

Hatching of Ghost shrimp larvae

Once hatched they hang under the surface for a few days as they cannot control their movements right away.

In the larval stage, they will require powdered food (Spirulina is a great alga for this), infusoria, Artemia, and zooplankton. Mix the powdered food thoroughly with water and then feed it like the cultured kind. Thus, having an abundance of water born algae would likely be highly beneficial for their survival.

Tip: Feed them twice a day ~50-100 ml. Use a syringe, it is very convenient.

The larvae will metamorphosis into miniature versions of the adults in about 5-10 days depending on temperatures. Big black eyes and sharply bent backs are the most obvious features at this stage.

Once the larvae have reached metamorphosis, they start swimming and act just like adults. After that, they will require no further special care. They will molt frequently. You can do small water changes 5-10% every 10-14 days. Do not forget to cover intake.

Tip : if you have a filter in a rearing tank, cover your filter’s water intake with a sponge or a piece of nylon stocking if you have not done it already. Most filters suck the water in to clean it. They can easily suck in larvae or tiny shrimp and kill them.

Interesting fact: According to another research*. The larvae were reared at room temperatures which varied from 15-31C (59-88F) during the course of the study. The tolerance level is amazing! (*The Larval Development of Palaemonetes paludosus (Gibbes, 1850) (Decapoda, Palaemonidae), Reared in the Laboratory. Sheldon Dobki. Crustaceana. Vol. 6, No. 1 (Aug., 1963), pp. 41-61 (21 pages)

Metamorphosis stages of Ghost shrimp larvae

Ghost shrimp larva stage

The size of the larvae 3.7-3.9 mm. The rostrum is straight with dorsal hump near its base, and usually lacks spines. The carapace and abdomen lack spines. The abdomen has six segments; the last is fused with telson (tail). The eyes are sessile.  The larvae have a yellowish ground color and numerous orange-red pigments mainly at the base of the appendages. The antennule is uniramous. Uniramous pleopod is non-functional.  The first zoea generally molted within 24 hours of being hatched.

2.              Second Zoea Stage

The size of the larvae 3.8-4.1 mm. The main difference between the 1 st and 2 nd stages is the separation of the eyes from the carapace and the appearance of the last 3 pairs of pereiopods. In addition, the rostrum has a single dorsal spine. The second zoea generally molted after being in that stage for 2 days.

3.              Third Zoea Stage

The size of the larvae 3.8-4.4 mm. The main difference of this stage is the appearance of uropods. In addition, the rostrum has acquired a second dorsal spine.  The duration of the 3 rd stage was 1 to 4 days depending on the temperature. However, molting occurred most frequently after 2 days.

Some frequently asked questions about Ghost shrimp.

What substrate do ghost shrimp need.

They can live everywhere. However, sand, small gravel, etc can make them happier. In nature, these shrimp can even build burrows to feed. They use the claws of the first and second legs to dig with and legs to draw the sandy mud backward. However, these burrows are not permanent and they do not stay close to them all the time.

Do Ghost shrimp need Brackish Water?

No, they do not need brackish water to live and breed. They can survive in brackish water, but it is not the same. The eggs of Ghost shrimp cannot develop in 10-20ppt salinity.

Ghost Shrimp becomes Whitish (or Pink)

There are two explanations here: 1.   Good one. They change color when molting. When they are about to molt they will turn opaque but it will not be white. 2.   Bad one. –      If they turn opaque and do not move. The molting was unsuccessful. The shrimp stuck in its exoskeleton. –      If they are white/pink for some time, most likely, they are sick and usually die. –      It is a reaction to stress. Check your water parameters and look for possible predators like dragonfly nymphs .

Do Ghost Shrimp eat Cherry shrimp?

It is a very controversial subject. Many shrimp breeders saw Ghost shrimp attack and eat other shrimp. I am not talking about aggressive species like Macrobrachium Lanchesteri. Some people claim that even Palaemontes paludosus are capable to do that. Palaemontes paludosus has very small claws that are not meant for hunting down prey. Nonetheless, it does not mean that they cannot catch a sick or dying animal and eat it.

Do Ghost Shrimp eat Snails?

I have already answered this question here (just scroll down to the bottom). However, considering the fact that Ghost shrimp are bigger than most dwarf shrimp and more aggressive, I would say that it is possible. They can eat including snails that cannot seal themselves in their shells. Sometimes even trapdoors are not enough to stop the ghost shrimp.

Are Ghost Shrimp Plants Safe?

Ghost shrimp are plants safe. However, if they start picking live plants, it indicates that the ghost shrimp do not have enough food. They will not eat plants unless they are really hungry.

That is the main reason why people report that they actually saw them eating the tips of leaves. It usually shows how hungry they are. In the wild, they can eat a small amount of live vascular plants from time to time. In general, the most part would usually be in the form of detritus (dead plant pieces) anyway.

How many ghost shrimp per gallon?

Practice shows us that 1-3 ghost shrimp per gallon is an optimal number. if you do not have anything else in your aquarium. Do not overstock the tank. It stresses shrimp (fish) and makes them aggressive.

Are Ghost shrimp nocturnal?

Yes, Like most crustaceans, Ghost shrimp   tend to be nocturnal scavengers.  For more information, check my article “ Are Shrimp Nocturnal? “.

12 thoughts on “ Ghost shrimp – Detailed Guide: Care, Diet and Breeding ”


Hi TERI HAYNES, Are you sure that they are not whitish? You know, sometimes dirt and light can play a trick. In this case, it is a sign that the shrimp is ready to molt. In other cases, it can be genetics. Best regards, Michael

So I was wondering where on the chart the Australian Glass shrimp are? Their scientific name is Paratya Australiensis. Is that an atyidae or a palaemonidae or a completely different type?

What about Australatya striolata, the australian riffle shrimp?

Are ghost shrimp more popular than Cherry shrimp

Hi Jefferson lawrence, No, they don’t. Best regards, Michael

Hi Michael,

Thank you for a really well informed article. It is good to read about these shrimp from someone who knows them.

Our Glass Shrimp is currently living the life of a batchelor as he has outlived his tank mates by some margin. He is now 7 years old and has lived his own for around 5 years since his weather loach friend died.

He is still going strong and seems content with life.

God bless you,

Hi Tilly Taylor, Thank you! 7 years… just Wow! He is a true fighter 🙂 Best regards, Michael

Hi Michael, I really liked all the information you shared. I am planning to have a small aquarium (10 gallons) with some shrimp, so I wonder if I can get your email. I would like to contact you directly.

Hi Ivan, Sure, I have sent you the message. Check your email. Best regards, Michael

why are ghost shrimp so hard to find in pet stores right now? I am looking for “feeder shrimp”. Is there anything else I can use?

Hi Sheila, Hello, it’s hard to say, perhaps it’s just normal fluctuations – there might be few now and then more later. Are you referring to live food ? If so, it may depend on the size and species of the fish you’re buying them for. Best regards, Michael

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name and email in this browser for the next time I comment.

Recent Content

Science of Substrate Siphoning in Aquaria. Siphon or Not?

Siphoning involves the removal of debris or sediment from the substrate using a specialized tool such as a hose. At first glance, it seems like siphoning the substrate is an absolutely normal...

What Do Pet Scorpions Eat and How to Feed Them

Feeding your pet scorpion is one of the most important parts of keeping them happy and healthy. So, if you are looking to keep them as pets, it is important to do research on how to take...

Aquarium Care Basics Header 01

Aquarium Care Basics

For Freshwater Tanks

Anacharis Plant Growth Provides Cover For Ghost Shrimp

Home » Shrimp » Ghost Shrimp

Ghost Shrimp Care, Food, Lifespan, Habitat – Video

Share on Google+

Share on Facebook

Pinit on Pinterest

Share on Twitter

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel

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.

how do ghost shrimp have babies

  • List of Aquarium Guides

how do ghost shrimp have babies

  • Freshwater Beginner's Corner
  • Setting up the Aquarium
  • Cycling the Tank
  • Cloudy Aquarium Water
  • Choosing Fish

how do ghost shrimp have babies

  • The Planted Tank
  • Planted guide
  • Lights and Ferts
  • How to Plant
  • Trimming and Maitenance

how do ghost shrimp have babies

  • Freshwater Aquascaping Basics
  • A Guide to Aquascaping
  • The Lighting
  • The Substrate
  • C02, Carbon Dioxide
  • Liquid Fertilizers
  • Ornaments (wood, rock)
  • Maitenance/Trimming

how do ghost shrimp have babies

  • Freshwater Fish
  • Introduction
  • Compatibility Chart
  • Arowana's / Saratogas
  • Livebearer's

how do ghost shrimp have babies

  • Volume Calculator

how do ghost shrimp have babies

  • Do It Yourself Articles
  • DIY C02 Recipes
  • DIY Moonlights

how do ghost shrimp have babies

  • Freshwater Shrimp
  • Shrimp Tank Setup
  • Red Cherry Shrimp
  • Amano Shrimp
  • Crystal Red Shrimp
  • Ghost Shrimp
  • Making Money with CRS

how do ghost shrimp have babies

  • Aquarium Photography

how do ghost shrimp have babies

  • Freshwater Snails

how do ghost shrimp have babies

  • Water Quality

how do ghost shrimp have babies

  • Setting up the Aquarium - Basic FOWLR setup

how do ghost shrimp have babies

  • Keeping Betta's

how do ghost shrimp have babies

  • About & Contact

how do ghost shrimp have babies

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.

how do ghost shrimp have babies

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.

how do ghost shrimp have babies

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.

how do ghost shrimp have babies

Ammonia 0ppm

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

how do ghost shrimp have babies

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.

how do ghost shrimp have babies

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.

how do ghost shrimp have babies

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.

how do ghost shrimp have babies

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.

how do ghost shrimp have babies

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.

how do ghost shrimp have babies

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.

how do ghost shrimp have babies


how do ghost shrimp have babies

© FishLab 2021 - All right Reserved

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. 

More topics

' src=

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 .

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Be notified about new blog posts

Sign up with your email for our newsletter and be notified when we publish new blog posts. Don’t miss valuable advices.

How to Care for Pregnant Ghost Shrimp (the Right Way)?

Pregnant Ghost Shrimp

When pregnancy comes knocking down your home aquarium, it’s your sole duty to take care of your pet.

Similarly, if your female ghost shrimp is pregnant, you must keep them in the safest tank environment.

But why so?

Female ghost shrimps are known to reproduce more often than any other aquatic pet.

So, why give special attention every time they get pregnant?

Ghost shrimp is a sensitive species that require good care and maintenance for proper breeding.

This extra care is why shrimp keepers get nervous as soon as they discover their ghost shrimps pregnancy.

But then this leads to silly mistakes by trying too many things at once.

But the secret essence here is to follow the basics.

So, keeping this in mind, I’ll use this post to share only the basics you should follow.

Can Cherry Shrimp and Ghost Shrimp Live Together?

Can Betta Live With Cherry Shrimp?

How can I tell if my ghost shrimp is pregnant?

These 3 signs scream – Your Ghost Shrimp is pregnant. If you’re still confused, here’s the complete explanation behind these pregnancy signs.

White or Light Green Dots Under the Tail

You can identify female Ghost Shrimp bearing a nest of hatching eggs by the presence of white dots underneath the fin.

When your Ghost Shrimp develops during her pregnancy, you’ll notice the white dots on her abdomen increasing significantly and becoming more opaque.

As the female Ghost Shrimp has a thin shell, you can see her eggs at a glance. It’s one of the many fascinating things you see when observing pregnant Ghost Shrimp.

Consistent Leg Fanning or Splaying

A competent Fishkeeper always notices every little change in their pet, including how pregnant Ghost Shrimp stretch their legs. This action is believed to ferment the eggs and maintain constant heat.

Some aquarium owners assume pregnant Ghost Shrimps are uncomfortable, leading them to stretch their legs to lighten the load of the eggs forming within their bodies.

Obvious Weight Gain

Female Ghost Shrimps reach maturity at a fractionally bigger than male ghost shrimps. Even so,  they will probably mature more significantly.

Like an increased hunger and hunting activity, this is a solid that confirms your ghost shrimp’s pregnancy.

Can Cherry Shrimp and Ghost Shrimp Coexist Peacefully?

What does a pregnant ghost shrimp look like?

Here’s what a pregnant ghost looks like:

What does a pregnant ghost shrimp look like?

How Many Babies Do Ghost Shrimp Have?

On average, a female Ghost Shrimp can carry 8-85 eggs beneath her tail.

On average, a female Ghost Shrimp can carry 8-85 eggs beneath her tail. Here, the chances of making it through fertilization, pregnancy, and delivery drop drastically.

Typically, 5-75 shrimp juveniles are discharged into your fish tank yearly.

A female Ghost Shrimp can lay anywhere from 8-30 fertilized eggs on a relatively smaller scale. Then, after every  30–40 days, a female ghost shrimp lays another nest of eggs to be fertilized.

A young Ghost Shrimp has to fight off its mother’s breastfeeding urges for a while to get the nutrition it needs to mature.

How to Care for Pregnant Ghost Shrimp?

Keeping a suitable environment .

First, make sure there is adequate housing for pregnant ghost shrimp.

The health of male and female ghost shrimp must be of utmost importance as the shrimp they produce depends significantly on the conditions in which they live.

A sustainable setting involves much more than providing a clear home aquarium.

Prerequisites for a comfortable setting include keeping in mind the following:

Balanced Water Parameters And Temperature

Ghost shrimps require specific water heat conditions and chemistry, especially pregnant ghost shrimp. The entire ecosystem could collapse if the tank’s temperature or other conditions aren’t maintained properly.

When tank parameters deviate from their optimal levels, the habitat becomes extremely undesirable for expected ghost shrimps. At this point, they become anxious and fearful. They are distracted and unable to focus on reproducing. Keeping the perfect temperature and other variables constant at this hour is vital.

Ghost shrimp thrive under the following Parameters and temperatures:


Ghost shrimp thrive between 68 and 82 °F. Nonetheless, 70–80 °F seems to bring out their greatest activity levels.

I strongly recommend an aquarium thermostat to measure your home aquarium’s temperature accurately. It’s inexpensive and incredibly dependable. In addition, the digital display makes it easy to monitor the tank’s condition at any time.

pH, or potential for hydrogen, is your home aquarium’s unit of acidity/basicity. If the pH value is below 7, the substance is acidic; above 7, it’s at the base. 

And the recommended range to keep a pregnant Ghost shrimp is somewhere between 7 to 8.

I suggest using an EASYTEST Aquarium Test Strip  if you require to test the pH level. This test comes with 6-in-1 testing of your shrimp tank:

Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, and many other water qualities are all quantifiable with this comprehensive test kit. As a result, the purchase is guaranteed to be beneficial for aquarists.

Besides, if you’re struggling, here’s how you can maintain the pH of your home aquarium .

General hardness, abbreviated GH, refers to water’s dissolved magnesium and calcium. The GH level must be between 5 and 8 ppm to maintain an environment conducive to ghost shrimp.

Carbonate alkalinity is often abbreviated as “KH.” This value represents the rate at which the pH can decrease or increase. For best results, keep the KH concentration in the water where your ghost shrimp are between 5 and 8 parts per million.

You can check your shrimp tank water’s GH and KH levels with EASYTEST Aquarium Test Strips . You don’t need to purchase a second test kit.

TDS is an abbreviation for “total dissolved solids,” which describes the number of solutes in a solution. Ghost shrimp can thrive in a TDS range of 150–200 ppm.

Pregnant shrimp thrive and feel their best when environmental conditions are kept within ideal parameters. If you can’t achieve perfection in balancing the definitive limits, at least strive to keep the limit ranges stable.

Good Tank Mates for Pregnant Ghost Shrimp

Maintaining a healthy habitat for pregnant ghost shrimp requires suitable tank mates. So, when keeping them alongside ghost shrimp or pistol shrimps , pregnant ghost shrimps will never get threatened. Pregnant ghost shrimps in the tank tend to avoid company and stay in the shadows.

Numerous reports exist claiming large fish pursuing and devouring ghost shrimp. Pregnant shrimps worry the most about being assaulted if their tankmates aren’t tranquil and dependable. If you’ve placed them with the worst tank mates , there will be no haven for them to raise their young in peace.

Pregnant ghost shrimps shouldn’t be exposed to conditions like this. It’s also clear that having compatible tank mates is crucial for maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Ghost shrimps are more at ease in an aquarium with other shrimp of a similar size and disposition.

In my experience, you should keep them for their maximum activity.  The good thing is neither one has ever attacked or hurt the other.

But if you want only peaceful community fish in a community tank , I’ve compiled a list of recommended and undesirable tank mates for ghost shrimps.

Here’s the complete list:

Heavily Planted Tank

Plants in an aquarium play an essential part in maintaining the tank atmosphere properly. Plants recycle the waste products of the fish species, such as CO2 and ammonia, into usable oxygen. Furthermore, it establishes a balanced ecology within the aquarium that also aids in sustaining a positive and enjoyable atmosphere for the fish.

When keeping live plants in a shrimp tank, you can use them to regulate the Parameters of the water. And once your fish tank is in your control, pregnant ghost shrimps find good places to reproduce.

Furthermore, if you’re confused about which plants to add, here’s a list of the 10 best aquarium plants for new aquariums .

Baby Shrimp Care and Feeding

Because of their narrow jaws, baby shrimp must eat very delicate foods.

Infusoria are a close fit and easier to digest for the first week or two.

Some shrimp farmers have had better luck by placing java moss mops in the shrimp tank, where they enhance the growth of algae that the shrimp larvae can eat.

Try some liquid fried food for a change.

These are some of the best meals to give your baby shrimp during their first week:

Frequently Asked Questions

Why would you do that? It would be best never to do this with your pregnant grass/ghost shrimps.

TBF, there are multiple factors in play. However, the common causes behind their sudden death include imbalance, frequent water changes, overfeeding, etc.

It would be best if you always kept them in at least a 10-gallon shrimp tank with a separate sponge filter. And also, make sure to keep the tank temperature above 70 °F.

Once fertilization is complete, you should wait another 3 weeks for the female ghost shrimp’s pregnancy.

I assume that pregnant shrimp becomes much less active than usual, as their natural inclination is to fan their eggs constantly, which oxygenates them and prevents them from dying.

Parting Thoughts

If you’re handling your ghost shrimp’s pregnancy for the very 1st time, it’s okay to panic.

However, instead of rushing things down on taking care of pregnant ghost shrimps, take a long breath and follow the basics as mentioned in this post.

That’s all for now.

Despite taking care of your pregnant ghost shrimps, if you need help, feel free to contact us via the comments below.

  • EXPLORE Tech Help Pro About Us Random Article Quizzes Request a New Article Community Dashboard This Or That Game Popular Categories Arts and Entertainment Artwork Books Movies Computers and Electronics Computers Phone Skills Technology Hacks Health Men's Health Mental Health Women's Health Relationships Dating Love Relationship Issues Hobbies and Crafts Crafts Drawing Games Education & Communication Communication Skills Personal Development Studying Personal Care and Style Fashion Hair Care Personal Hygiene Youth Personal Care School Stuff Dating All Categories Arts and Entertainment Finance and Business Home and Garden Relationship Quizzes Cars & Other Vehicles Food and Entertaining Personal Care and Style Sports and Fitness Computers and Electronics Health Pets and Animals Travel Education & Communication Hobbies and Crafts Philosophy and Religion Work World Family Life Holidays and Traditions Relationships Youth
  • EDIT Edit this Article
  • PRO Courses Guides New Tech Help Pro Expert Videos About wikiHow Pro Upgrade Sign In
  • Browse Articles
  • Learn Something New
  • Quizzes Hot
  • This Or That Game New
  • Train Your Brain
  • Explore More
  • Support wikiHow
  • About wikiHow
  • Log in / Sign up
  • Pets and Animals
  • Crustaceans

How to Take Care of Ghost Shrimp

Last Updated: January 20, 2023 Approved

This article was co-authored by Marshall Stephens . Marshall Stephens is an Aquarium Expert at Private Oceans Aquariums in West Palm Beach, Florida. Marshall has over 20 years of experience in the aquarium industry and focuses on captive-bred animals. They specialize in tropical and marine aquariums and are a contributor to the Loggerhead Marine life center in Jupiter Florida. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 32 testimonials and 100% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 391,322 times.

Ghost shrimp are interesting, low-maintenance aquatic pets. Also known as glass shrimp, translucency is their most recognizable trait. They’re fairly hardy, and you’ll just need to ensure the water’s temperature, chemical, pH, and oxygen levels are within healthy ranges. While they only live about a year, they tend to breed rapidly, so you establishing a long-term colony is super easy!

Setting up the Tank

Step 1 Keep your shrimp...

  • Shop for tanks for aquatic pets online or at a pet store. Go with a tank that has a secure lid. Believe it or not, ghost shrimp can jump out of the water and escape!
  • If you have an existing aquarium and want to add shrimp to it, keep in mind shrimp don’t do well with most fish species. Unless you’re raising the shrimp to feed your fish, keep them in a tank with other shrimp, snails, and docile fish, such as Cory catfish.

Step 2 Install a sponge filter or use a filter with a covered intake.

  • For a larger tank, go with an external aquarium filter with a sponge cover over the intake. That way, shrimp won’t accidentally get sucked into the filter.
  • If you go with an external filter for a larger tank, choose one that changes 3 to 5 times the amount of water in your tank per hour. If you're not sure which product to buy, head to the pet store and ask an employee for recommendations. [2] X Research source

Step 3 Use an air pump to add oxygen to the water.

  • Keeping live plants in the tank can also help oxygenate the water.

Step 4 Line the tank with 1 to 2 in (2.5 to 5.1 cm) of gravel and sand.

  • Ghost shrimp are sensitive to chemicals, dust, and debris, so be sure to rinse away any impurities before lining the tank.
  • Add the gravel to the tank gently to avoid damaging the glass.

Step 5 Add aquatic plants...

  • You could also put a cave or other decorative hiding spots in your aquarium. In addition to leafy aquatic plants, consider adding moss to the tank. Moss is low maintenance and will provide food for your shrimp.

Step 6 Place a heater in the tank to keep the temperature around 75 °F (24 °C).

  • Look online or at your local pet store for an aquarium heater and thermometer. The right heater depends on the size of your tank. A 50-watt heater should do the trick for a 10 gallon (38 L) tank. For other sizes, use this calculator to determine the wattage your heater needs: .

Adding Your Shrimp to the Tank

Step 1 Cycle the tank...

  • Then, after 1 to 2 weeks, test for nitrites. Look for nitrite levels to spike, then drop after a few days to 0 ppm. When nitrite levels drop, nitrate levels should increase. After 2 to 8 weeks, ammonia and nitrite levels should stabilize at 0 ppm, and nitrate levels should be under 2 ppm.
  • Cycling the tank encourages healthy bacteria to grow. These bacteria consume ammonia and nitrite, which are toxic to ghost shrimp and other aquatic pets.

Step 2 Place the shrimp and the water from the pet store bag in a bowl.

  • After adding the shrimp and water to the bowl, it should only be about half full. There needs to be enough room to add more water, so choose a large enough bowl.

Step 3 Siphon water from the tank into the bowl.

  • Gravity will siphon water through the tube from the tank into the bowl. Monitor the water flow and, if necessary, tighten the rubber band to slow the drip. Allow water to drip into the bowl for about 30 minutes to slowly acclimate the shrimp to their new water's chemistry.

Step 4 Transfer the shrimp to the tank with a soft mesh net.

  • Don’t just dump the water from the bowl into your tank, especially if you’re adding the shrimp to an existing aquarium. Water from the pet store may contain parasites and bacteria that could contaminate your tank.

Keeping Your Shrimp Healthy

Step 1 Offer store-bought pellets or small bits of boiled vegetables.

  • Ghost shrimp will also munch on waste, algae, and other matter in the tank.

Step 2 Feed your ghost shrimp a small amount of food twice a day.

  • If you feed your shrimp store-bought pellets, check the instructions for the recommended amount to feed your pets.
  • Watch your shrimp as they eat. Since their bodies are translucent, you’ll be able to see food make its way through their digestive systems!

Step 3 Change...

  • Make sure the water temperature is around 75 °F (24 °C). If you’re only keeping shrimp in the tank, you shouldn’t need to do much more maintenance than water changes. However, if there are larger fish in the tank, periodically remove waste with a siphon vacuum or brush.
  • Test your tap water before adding it to the tank. It should be free of heavy metals and chlorine, and ammonia and nitrite levels should be 0 ppm. If necessary, treat your water with a dechlorinator, which you can buy at the pet store, or use bottled or filtered water.

Step 4 Choose other shrimp species, snails, or small, docile fish for tank mates.

  • Unless you’re using your shrimp as food, fish species you should definitely avoid include oscars, arowanas, cichlids, angelfish, discus, and Triggerfish.
  • If you want to add shrimp to your existing aquarium and don’t care if some get eaten, add at least 20 to the tank. The shrimp will be more resilient if their numbers are stronger.
  • If you’re using the shrimp as food, it’s wise to establish a colony in a separate tank to replenish the population in the main aquarium. [13] X Research source

Step 5 Test the water’s...

  • The water’s pH, or acidity level, should be neutral. If the pH isn’t between 6.0 and 8.5, purchase an aquarium tank amendment at the pet store. Treat the water according to your product’s instructions.
  • If the ammonia or nitrite levels are over 0 ppm, do a 30% water change, remove any visible waste, and consider applying ammonia neutralizing drops to the water. If you have a friend who owns a healthy aquarium, you could also add gravel from their tank to yours to introduce beneficial bacteria.

Community Q&A

Community Answer

Video . By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube.

  • Shrimp spawn rapidly and are easy to breed. To promote breeding, purchase at least 20 ghost shrimp to ensure a healthy mix of males and females. Eggs and baby shrimp are fragile, so keep plenty of plants and other cover to offer protection. [14] X Research source Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • With the right conditions, ghost shrimp can live for a year or more. [15] X Research source Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
  • Your shrimp will be easier to spot if the bottom of the tank is filled with darker material. Thanks Helpful 2 Not Helpful 0

how do ghost shrimp have babies

  • Ghost shrimp can jump out of their tanks if the water is too high or the tank is lidless. Thanks Helpful 11 Not Helpful 1
  • If you’re not raising shrimp for food, buy ghost shrimp sold specifically as pets. Shrimp sold for feeding aren’t typically kept in good conditions, may not be healthy specimens, and may not live as long as shrimp sold to be kept as pets. Thanks Helpful 10 Not Helpful 1
  • Wash your hands with soap and hot water after maintaining the tank or feeding your shrimp. Thanks Helpful 9 Not Helpful 1

You Might Also Like

Set up a Five Gallon Fish Tank

Expert Interview

how do ghost shrimp have babies

Thanks for reading our article! If you'd like to learn more about aquariums, check out our in-depth interview with Marshall Stephens .

  • ↑
  • ↑
  • ↑
  • ↑
  • ↑
  • ↑

About This Article

Marshall Stephens

To take care of ghost shrimp, feed them a small amount of store-bought shrimp pellets twice a day. Or, you can feed your ghost shrimp small bits of boiled vegetables, like zucchini or spinach. Also, make sure you keep the temperature in their tank around 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If you want to add other aquatic animals to the tank with your ghost shrimp, stick with other shrimp species, snails, or small, docile fish. To learn how to set up a tank for ghost shrimp, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

  • Send fan mail to authors

Reader Success Stories

Mike Powell

Mike Powell

Sep 11, 2016

Did this article help you?

Mike Powell

Jan 29, 2017

Brenda Morris

Brenda Morris

Feb 9, 2017

Robin Raiford

Robin Raiford

Jun 6, 2016

K. Teters

Sep 25, 2017

Am I a Narcissist or an Empath Quiz

Featured Articles

How to See iPhone Call History: 3 Step-by-Step Methods to Try

Trending Articles

What Type of Witch Am I Quiz

Watch Articles

Apply False Eyelashes

  • Terms of Use
  • Privacy Policy
  • Do Not Sell or Share My Info
  • Not Selling Info

wikiHow Tech Help Pro:

Level up your tech skills and stay ahead of the curve

Fishkeeping World logo

Resources » Aquarium Pets » Ghost Shrimp

Ghost Shrimp Care Guide & Species Profile

Ghost Shrimp Complete Care Guide, How to Breed and More Banner

The ghost shrimp is a freshwater shrimp of the Palaemonetes family. This species is small and primarily clear in color, which is why it got its name.

These shrimp are popular among aquarists because the shrimp are easy to care for and act as tank cleaners.

Ghost shrimp make the perfect addition to any tropical community consisting of other small non-aggressive fish.


Ghost shrimp facts & overview, appearance & behavior, ghost shrimp tank & water requirements, care & diet, lifespan and molting, should you get a ghost shrimp for your aquarium, ghost shrimp faqs.

Ghost shrimp swimming near wood in decorated tank

Although ghost shrimp fossils suggest this crustacean’s existence in the Cretaceous and Jurassic periods, these tiny crustaceans were first described in North America in the 1850s.

Ghost shrimp can frequently be seen on sand beaches and coastal regions around the Pacific Ocean.

Adult Size & Life Expectancy

Adult ghost shrimp grow up to 1.5 inches long. Females can grow up to 2 inches long.

Please enable JavaScript

A lifespan of only one year means these small shrimp aren’t known for their longevity.


Ghost shrimp are available at most pet stores, especially stores specializing in aquatic creatures. They typically cost $0.50–$3 per shrimp.

You can buy this freshwater species at AquariumFis h or .

Ghost shrimp body diagram

The ghost shrimp’s transparent body gives it a quirky appearance — especially since the clear body allows others to see what the shrimp have eaten that day.

This species’ peaceful and shy nature makes the ghost shrimp an ideal tank companion for other peaceful species.

Colors, Patterns, and Size

Ghost shrimp are transparent. This unique physical characteristic helps these shrimp avoid predators and makes the species attractive in any aquarium. This species doesn’t vary in color, but some ghost shrimp have colored spots on their back. ​​Females develop green markings on their sides when approaching puberty.

Ghost shrimp are small. Females grow up to 2 inches long, but males only grow 1.5 inches. Unlike fish, ghost shrimp don’t have fins and use their tails to move.

This species molts regularly, as it grows too large to fit its shell. When these small shrimp shed their shells, they’re especially vulnerable until the new shell grows. During this time, keep your ghost shrimp away from any boisterous fish to avoid injury.

Typical Behavior

Ghost shrimp are known for being passive and peaceful, making them the ideal tank mates for busy tanks with many other species.

These shrimp can be found swimming around the middle of the tank or cleaning leftover food and algae from the bottom. They tend to stay active and busy during the day and occasionally burrow in the sand.

While this tranquil species enjoys being in a group, a single shrimp will survive happily on its own.

Any aquarist hoping to house a ghost shrimp should ensure the shrimp’s tank is consistently warm and has a capacity of at least 5 gallons.

Habitat and Tank Requirements

Ghost shrimp enjoy decorations such as driftwood, rocks, and sand. Only use rounded rocks in the tank, as sharp rocks can injure the shrimp’s exoskeleton.

Avoid nitrates accumulating in the tank. To remove nitrates from the tank’s water, introduce fast-growing floating and root-feeder plants to the tank.

Avoid plants with sensitive roots, as the shrimp’s burrowing habits may damage them.

Water Conditions

The ideal tank conditions for a ghost shrimp should be as follows:

The tank conditions for a ghost shrimp should mimic the shrimp’s natural habitat — warm freshwater, with a layer of sand at the bottom and a range of plants to enjoy.

Ghost shrimp don’t require excessive filtration — purchasing a filter to match the size of your tank is sufficient, and a sponge filter is ideal. The shrimp enjoy swimming in the bubbles created by an air pump .

Avoid creating a current that’s too strong, inhibiting your shrimp’s ability to swim.

Ghost shrimp resting near rocky substrate

Caring for a ghost shrimp is relatively easy. These shrimp enjoy a varied diet, including algae off the side of their tank.

Ghost shrimp’s delicate exoskeleton increases their risk of injury, so keep your shrimp’s tank free of sharp decorations.

Diet and Feeding

Feed your ghost shrimp a diet consisting mainly of algae, aquatic plants, larvae, weeds, and pellet foods. It’s also worth feeding ghost shrimp calcium supplements to help them form a hard shell.

Due to the shrimp’s small size, these crustaceans only require small amounts of food, most of which they can acquire from their tank mates’ leftovers. If you keep your ghost shrimp alone or just with tank mates of the same species, you’ll need to give them their own food.

The amount of food the shrimp require depends on how much algae is in the tank. The more algae there is, the less you’ll need to feed them.

A group of four shrimp needs feeding once every other day, and just one ghost shrimp only requires food once every few days. This species’ scavenging nature means you don’t need to be too strict with its feeding routine.

General Care

Caring for ghost shrimp is straightforward because of their lack of stringent feeding needs, relatively small tank size requirement, and peaceful nature.

Supplement your ghost shrimp’s food and water with calcium to keep their shell strong. Bright lights and access to hiding places within the tank will keep this species entertained.

Common Problems

Ghost shrimp react negatively to improper water conditions, such as pH outside of the 7–8 range, or the presence of ammonia in the tank. The shrimp are also particularly susceptible to the vorticella parasite and several bacterial infections.

Vorticella is a parasite that appears as a white fungus on the ghost shrimp’s tail and the tip of their nose. This parasite may cause a loss of appetite and energy in ghost shrimp and can be treated with aquarium salt and a good filter.

Bacterial infections will appear as a pink, swollen spot on a ghost shrimp’s body. Unfortunately, bacterial infections are usually fatal for ghost shrimp, so the best course of action is to separate the infected shrimp from their tank mates to stop the infection from spreading.

Is a Ghost Shrimp Dangerous?

Ghost shrimp are not considered dangerous. However, aquarists should avoid keeping too many of these shrimp in a tank together, because the species can become aggressive and attack its tank mates when it has to fight for space.

Ghost shrimp make ideal tank mates for small, calm, bottom-dwelling fish, due to both species’ shy and non-aggressive natures.

These tiny crustaceans’ size makes them vulnerable to being eaten, so avoid pairing them with large predators.

Ideal tank mates for ghost shrimp include:

  • Cherry shrimp
  • Amano shrimp
  • Kuhli loaches
  • Freshwater snails
  • Cory catfish
  • Vampire shrimp

Ghost shrimp up close

Ghost shrimp live for around a year, but this can vary depending on the individual and the place of origin.

Because they are so cheap and easy to breed, these shrimp are often used as feeder fish for larger species in the home aquarium, and as a result, are often kept in high densities with poor filtration.

This makes them more likely to die during transport and increases their mortality rate. It is common for some individuals to die a few days into life in their new tank, even if the tank is perfectly healthy.

Although their lives are short, ghost shrimp molt regularly as they eat and grow, becoming too large for their previous shell. This can become fairly frequent. It all depends on how much they eat and how fast they grow.

Once ghost shrimp have shed their old shell, they will be particularly vulnerable until their new shell hardens. While you don’t need to worry too much during this time, don’t be surprised if your ghost shrimp takes damage through rough behavior from boisterous fish.

Ensure that your tank has crevices and plants for molting shrimp to hide in.

When you see a molted shell sitting on the sediment, it’s natural to panic and assume it’s a dead shrimp. However, upon closer inspection, the hollow interior of the husk should clearly identify it as a discarded exterior.

When your ghost shrimp sheds its shell, you don’t need to remove it from the aquarium immediately because it will usually become food for other shrimp in the tank.

Ghost shrimp are easy to breed provided they’re kept in a healthy environment without predators. For an optimal chance of breeding, stock the tank with twice as many females as males. You can establish which shrimp are female by their larger size and green saddle, located under their bodies.

To simulate the shrimps’ warmer mating months and encourage breeding, raise the tank’s temperature to around 80°F. After a few weeks, the females will produce eggs, which will appear as green dots around their legs.

Allow a few days for the males to fertilize them. Having high levels of calcium in the tank will improve the chance of these eggs maturing.

Once the eggs are fertilized, move the females to a different tank to allow the young to hatch, as ghost shrimp have been known to eat their own young.

The babies’ environment should match the main tank, with a thin layer of sand and some smooth decorations. Adding a robust sponge filter to the tank will ensure none of the young get sucked into the aquarium’s equipment. Feed the baby shrimp small amounts of particle food until they grow legs, at which point you can feed them the same diet as an adult ghost shrimp.

Shrimp are fully grown at five weeks old, at which point you can move them back to the main tank with their parents.

If you’re looking for a crustacean with a unique appearance and peaceful nature, a ghost shrimp is ideal. These tiny shrimp will not only entertain you with their energetic antics, but they’ll also keep the tank clean and free from algae.

The ghost shrimp’s small size and ability to get along with tank mates make this crustacean a fascinating addition to any aquarist’s tank.

  • 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?
  • Can ghost shrimp live alone?
  • Why is my shrimp dying?
  • Is my ghost shrimp dead or molting?
  • Is it ok to leave dead shrimp in the tank?
  • Is my ghost shrimp male or female?
  • Can ghost shrimp live without a heater?
  • Why do ghost shrimp jump out of water?
  • Why do ghost shrimp turn white?
  • Why are my ghost shrimp dying?
  • How long do ghost shrimp live for?
  • Should I remove dead ghost shrimp?
  • What conditions do ghost shrimp need?
  • Will ghost shrimp clean my tank?

Related Articles

vampire shrimp

The Complete Guide to Vampire Shrimp Care

how do ghost shrimp have babies

Harlequin Shrimp: The Ultimate Care Guide

sexy shrimp

The Complete Guide to Sexy Shrimp Care

how do ghost shrimp have babies

Bamboo Shrimp Care & Species Overview

blood shrimp

Blood Shrimp Care Guide & Species Profile

whisker shrimp

The Complete Guide to Whisker Shrimp Care


I have some questions about keeping ghost shrimp. I started a small tank, in anticipation of housing a betta, but I have not done so yet. i established a zebra snail, tiger snail, and three ghost shrimp to cycle the tank. I ended up with two female shrimp who had eggs and one small male to start. I can see the two females and they have since lost their eggs, but the male has been hard to find. I did a water change today and I’m not sure if I have a shed (stuck to a live plant) or a dead male. I can see the two females. At this point I’m more interested in making sure that my water quality is good before I even think about adding a betta. I’m also worried about the shrimp. I’ve done water changes and checks. I had some teak wood in the the tank that I hoped would lower the hardness, but it lowered it way more than I thought, even after doing water changes. I took the teak out, but I’m not sure where to go from here. I’ve been testing the water and my water is still too acidic. I’ve been working on going through the cycle of the tank, but in every test, my nitrate and nitrite level is low. Chlorine is zero. I don’t really know where to go from here. Right now, I’m looking at making sure I can take care of ghost shrimp before I even introduce a betta. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong with cycling the water. Any advice/help would be appreciated. Thank you!

Hi Sarah, Thanks for your message. We always recommend that you do fishless cycle (including other aquarium animals too). It may take slightly longer but it is always safest for all the fish/invertebrates involved. Since you have already cycled your tank with shrimp and snails, all I can do is advice you from here, but if you ever happen to cycle a tank again, don’t put any creatures into it. You can read more about setting up your first tank in our article here: Great that your chlorine levels are at 0. Your nitrite levels need to be at zero too, and your nitrate levels should be low (you carry out water changes to keep these low). Just wait until your nitrite levels are down. You tank needs to build up a specific bacteria which converts the ammonia to nitrites. Once this has been established, you’ll see the nitrite levels coming down. With regards to the acidity problem, have you checked your regular tap water? While it’s unusual for tap water to be acidic, this does happen from time to time. If you’re sure it’s the wood you’ve put in (some wood can alter the pH of the water), you can boil it to remove the toxins. In the meantime, there are plenty of products you can buy to raise the pH, just make sure you do it really slowly to stop your current inhabitants getting stressed. Keep an eye of the shrimp on the plant, and just take it out in a few days if you’re sure it’s dead (or just the shed exoskeleton). Robert

When the ghost shrimp dies, it usually takes on a peach colour, I have found this out by breeding and online.

oh wow. today I found a clear shrimp shed, but at the time I thought it was a dead shrimp. I was freaked about until I saw a page about ghost shrimp molting. thanks for the description though! should be helpful.

Don’t do water changes, Toncontrary believe water changes aren’t good for your tank. Keep the water you have for an extended time, get a pleco in there as well as some Cory cats, there a dirtier fish but they will help you get your water right, there also very hard to hurt or kill as they adapt quickly to there New tank.

Absolutely wrong…

Hi, I’ve recently lost a ghost shrimp that had difficulty molting, what can I do to prevent this in the future. I’d like to breed them with minimal loss.

Common causes of that impact molting are GH, KH and TDS. Check that your water parameters are all at the levels they’re supposed to be at. Robert

I am wondering- how many babies can a ghost shrimp have at a time? I have tried google, but it says everything BUT what I searched for.

They usually carry 20-30 eggs at any one time. Thanks Robert

Are ghost shrimp okay to keep with guppies?

Hi Anna, yes ghost shrimp are fine to keep with guppies. You can read more about keeping guppies on our care guide here: Thanks, Robert

Are ghost shrimp okay with goldfish?

Hi Ella, they might be OK being kept with slower fancy goldfish varieties? Which goldfish do you have? Thanks, Robert

I just purchased 3 ghost shrimp and in less than an hour my 2, 3 inch koi fish gobbled them up. The 3 smaller gold fish seamed to be less interested. I am going to buy more shrimp tomorrow because I feel they should be able to survive in my aquarium because there are plenty of rocks and plant to hide in and around. I did a lot of rearranging and stirring up in the process and they were possibly struggling to maintain a safe shelter.

I had a Betta in a 1/2 gallon ‘betta tank’ for two weeks until I did some research on why he was lethargic and found out they need more! And filtration and airation… So I set up a little 3.5 gallon bio bubble…horrible little tank, has a wicked current and it’s an absolute pain to do water changes or anything else you need to do. So I bought a new 10gallon tank with all the fixings (whoever said betta’s are a cheap fish don’t do it right!), Did the cycle, added the Betta and a snail I had got the the 3.5g, a week later added 3 Cory catfish and a week later added 3 ghost shrimp (the store said they went well together). The Betta has left everyone alone though and seems happy in his tank with the others. I’m wondering if I could get a few more shrimp and if so should I stick to the ghost shrimp or could I get others? My water is hard GH 180 KH 180 PH 7.5 NO2 0 NO3 0

Hi Jennifer, the reason ghost shrimp work so well with Bettas is that they are see-through and so don’t attract too much attention. You could keep other shrimp with them with caution such as cherry shrimp ( ) or amano shrimp ( ). Thanks, Robert

My beta killed ghost shrimp and snails

I have two pregnant ghost shrimp and I’m wondering how the process of having the babies will be if I do not separate them into an isolation tank. How many are likely to survive and how long until they are big enough to see so that I can clean the tank without killing those that survive?

Hi Trisha, I wouldn’t recommend keeping them in a community tank, or even with the mother once they’re born as they’re extremely likely to be eaten. Thanks, Robert

There are these small clear things attached to one of our fake plants that have been there about 2 weeks. They appear to be growing but they’re still so small it’s hard to tell. We had a berried female ghost shrimp so could these be her babies? They’re not swimming or floating around; they’re just attached to the plant and too small to make out any features although they are clear. How fast do the babies grow?

Hi Emily, The eggs normally stay attached to the mother until they are ready to hatch (around 21 days), she will then flick them off so it is possible that what you’re seeing are tiny shrimp. They’re barely even visible for the first few weeks. If your tank is well established there will probably be enough algae in there for them to eat, if not you’ll need to add some power based feeds such as spirulina. They should be fully grown within 5 weeks. Thanks, Robert

So I have a small 5 gallon tank, I did a creatureless cycle then added my snail and ghost shrimp, about 2 monthsater (4 days ago) I added one more ghost shrimp and a few small chili rasbora. As was well, unfortunately now I cant find my shrimp! My 4 year old and I have been searching in the tank. I do have a few plants and a little wood for them to hide but it’s been two days with no shrimp.sightings. is this normal? I feel like this is a dumb question but how could my little shrimp just disappear?

Hi Erika, do you have many hiding places in there? It’s very likely that he is hidden away! Thanks, Robert

I’m shocked to read that the lifespan is around a year. My little guy had been with us for at least 3 years now! The neighborhood kids have named him Mr. Professor and love trying to find him. When they can’t, they say he’s gone to his laboratory in the “basement” of the tank. Haha. How lucky are we to have had him for so long?!!!

I’ve been wanting to get some shrimps for weeks now to deal with dead plant matters (lots of new moss but isn’t doing too well probably cuz of algae) and was shocked that no one in the big fish club have any Cherries. I found some rare blue but shipping is outrageous when it should be free. Finally, with the mosses getting worse, I just had to grab some shrimps and the Ghost are the only option/color at PetsMart. Was surprised at them being only 39¢ and I grabbed all 8 that they had. Now they are in the tank with no problem so far with my sweet Betta. He isn’t bothering them. I’ve saw one went face to face with him and he was totally chill. Another rode on his back, lmao!!! Hope it doesn’t take long to see results for them to eat the dead/decaying brown stuff of the mosses.

I read that you could put shrimp with Betas so I did. I don’t know how many I’ve put in there total but I’ll say this, only 3 ghost shrimp have survived and 0 colored shrimp survived. The colored shrimp seem to disappear within 1-2 days. I finally have a shrimp only tank now with 1 pregnant female and I think I just got 2 more females. But I need more tanks cause I want to separate all the colors so I don’t end up with brown or grey shrimp. I also am concerned about moving my pregnant female because I’m afraid it’ll stress her out too much and because I don’t like the idea of having her in a breeder box for weeks. I had her in this tank by herself for weeks hoping she would have them before I got any more shrimp but I gave up thinking she was ever going to have them. But I know I’m an impatient person so maybe it just hasn’t been long enough. Hopefully I can get another tank set up before she has them so she doesn’t have to go in a breeder box! Just thought I’d share my experience with shrimp and Betas. Btw, my Beta didn’t start eating them until I put the colored ones in there with him.

I have a pair of ghost shrimps I noticed she was carrying eggs in her belly I put her in a tank on her own waited for her dropping the eggs but I cant find them what am I doing wrong thanks

Hi Helen, did you allow time for the male to fertilize the eggs before moving her? Thanks, Robert

I bought three ghost shrimp for my African dwarf frog to eat. He hasn’t eaten them yet, but I noticed that one of them was pregnant a few days ago. Now there is a cluster of semi see through things. They are piled up on the bottom of the tank and they each have little black eyes but they do not move at all. There has to be at least 30 of them. Is this the baby ghost shrimp?

Hi Angelle, when you say she looked pregnant, what did you see? Shrimps carry their eggs and in this species, they’ll be a greenish color and will be attached to the shrimps legs. Thanks, Robert

I dont know if anyone is still keeping up on this page, I just bought 48 ghost shrimp to breed and start feeding my Gold, turquoise, green, Severums. Plus one Oscar. They are in a separate tank and hopefully when the mother gets eggs I’ll move them to another separate tank with a sponge filter, so the little ones survive! This article was really helpful, anymore tips for breeding in large amounts such as the 48 I got.

We have two yellow belly sliding turtles that we would like to get some ghost shrimp to help with upkeep of the tank. Do you have any advice on how to clean the tank once we introduce the shrimp? We have to change their water currently about once a week, every two weeks at most. I’m hoping this will extend the time unless this is the norm? As novice aquatic pet keepers, any information you can help with would be greatly appreciated!!

I have a few ghost shrimps in my guppie tank. One of my shrimps has turned a beige color. I read that she is having issues with molting and that I need to add Iodine to my water. Is this true?

I have an online friend who claims to have a 6 yr old ghost shrimp. Is this some kind of record for longevity?

I’ve been keeping Ghost Shrimp in my 65g community as cleaners and critters of interest. I have a well planted tank with lots of hides for both fish and invertebrates. This morning, I spied two tiny sets of antennae belonging to two 1/2 centimeter juvenile shrimp! Against all odds, they are maintaining numbers. And, I have a renewable and constant food source for my fish, namely my Peacock Gudgeon Gobies :-)>

Hi Leigh Ann, as a turtle keeper myself, all my life, I would like to know size of tank, diet etc. I would think ghost shrimp would be eaten as soon as they could catch them. You should have a basking place with a uvb/uva light bulb. An overturned clay flowerpot with a flat Rock works well if your turtles are still small. A clamp lamp with a reptile bulb directed at the basking rock works and is cheap. There are internal filters made for turtles, but I use a powerfilter that hangs on the top of the tank, because I have my water level a few inches from the top of the tank. I also have a full hood with a long turtle bulb. You can feed dark lettuces, crickets, earthworms etc. I cut up fish and raw shrimp in bite-sized pieces, and put reptile vitamins on it. I freeze it in snack size bags, in meal size portions, or amt you can use in a couple days, if you have little guys. A couple feeder goldfish are good clean-up buddies until the turtle gets them. Vary the diet, keep them warm, (submersible heater a must) scoop out leftover food,if you don’t have goldfish, and they should live many years. Hope this helps!

I would advise leaving the molts in the take, as the shrimp will often eat them to regain some minerals they lose

can you change their colors?

Hello. I have some ghost shrimps in my aquarium, some of them are peaceful , some of them are not. They went after my guppies… Is this behavior natural for the shrimp?

Do Ghost Shrimp go well with Black Neon Tetras

Will my clown loaches eat my ghost shrimp if I put them in the same tank?

I have had a ghost shrimp for about 8 months and I just got a new betta fish in my tank to replace my other that had died. Twice now I have found the ghost shrimp up on the side of the tank out of the water. I have managed to get it back into the water and it seems like it is fine. Is the poor thing completely traumatized by the betta fish. It got along (seemingly) with the other betta fish. Any suggestions? Thanks!

Do ghost and cherry shrimp make noise? I have been noticing a cicada like noise coming from my tank and wonder if it’s them.

I got a 30 gal tank,I started with 12 wild caught ghost shrimp, 3 crawfish, and 2 turtles, (one red ear slider and one yellow belly slider), all plants and rocks are from the wild, nothing store bought except food. I now have too many shrimp and 7 crawfish. Still got the turtles also. Plenty of hiding spots and bigger river stones make great crevices for them to hide. I think the turtles enjoy the shrimp cleaning there shells. The shrimp are just as cool to watch as the turtles are. Thanks for the tips about the Ph,

Info good and helpful, however, not so fast to give bettas bad wrap please. I have a solo male Koi in 10 gallon w/10+ ghost and solo female Koi in 2.6 gallon w/several ghost. Everyone gets along just fine. When I approach tank to feed male, the shrimp and betta rise to the top for food and all done peacefully together. It’s fun to watch while I can rest my tank kept clean and nitrites low to none. My advice: research the temperament of your betta especially if male. Like people, bettas have unique personalities too. My understanding Koi most docile.

Hey everyone..I have a question…I have 2 tanks for my shrimp bc one has the two moms n one dad n the other is all my beautiful but still very micro sized shrimp babies…the parents tank is fine but my babies tank is super cloudy. I have a few plants in the babies tank but I can’t figure out why it looks so cloudy or “dirty”. I checked my levels and only thing that’s reading a bit higher than usual is the nitrites…any ideas how to safely reduce that? I have quite a few babies and don’t wanna lose any if possible! (They are pets not food) also if anyone can recommend a good filter for the babies tank n where to look that be great! I had to make a filter to go over the intake so my babies didn’t get sucked in bc I can’t find any anywhere near me…Thank you so much for your time!

I had a berried ghost shrimp about a month ago. The eggs hatched in the tank with other fish because I didn’t want babies and didn’t separate them. After about a week, I saw the larvae floating around and a week later, I saw about 3 babies crawling on the gravel. They were big enough to not be eaten. Then, they dissapeared and I haven’t found them since a few days ago. Where could they have gone?

I have a 55 gallon tank with a large cascade filter and 2 underwater gravel filters. A grate underneath the gravel, usual old time setup. Just seemed an offbeat, not the usual tank set-up these days. I have kuhli loaches, bristlenose plecos, bronze corydoras and just added 10 small mystery snails. I want to add some more fish, I am thinking about getting more fish (several months ago I lost my almost foot long goldfish, some loaches, some corydoras and some bristlenose – I believe the filter medium wasn’t properly neutralized and had traces of bleach…..everything is now fine)the corydoras are spawning and laying eggs like crazy since the goldfish are gone. The fish I am looking to add are tetras (cardinal and super blue emperor) chinese algae eaters (lost him too) tiger barbs and some ghost shrimp. They, according to the charts should all get along. I used to find my plecos trying to suck the slime coat off the goldfish. I also HAD 2 turtles (at different times, found as hatchlings) which I found near dead and nursed back. They were always harassing the mystery snails, and I found him eating one that he finally got to come out of his shell. I live in Florida on the west coast gulf area, we have all kinds of free pets, you don’t even have to look…

My ghost shrimp are 3 years old. I got them for black fungus in my 55 gallon molly tank (which they took care of in a couple of months). My last 4 mollies recently died at 2.5 years old. The shrimp live in a very mature tank. For the last 1.5 years, I have only added water due to evaporation and do not need to remove any because of the good health of my aquarium. There is a little salt; when I used to do water changes in the past I would add 4 tbsp. for 20% water removal. I thought I would take the shrimp to the pet store but I don’t want to give the pet store old shrimp that will die soon. I don’t think these shrimp are decedents of my original shrimp for two reasons: 1. the mollies would eat tiny shrimp fry and/or 2. the filter would suck them in. Everything online says ghost shrimp would only live around a year or so, maybe up to 2 under very good conditions. Should I take them to the pet store or just wait until they die? I admit, they are very interesting if you can observe them closely, but it’s very hard to see details unless they get near the glass. I don’t plan on getting any other fish. I only had the mollies because my mother couldn’t keep caring for them. It’s been a long 6 years with molly babies and more babies and more babies…thank goodness for the nearby fish store that would trade young mollies. I finally lucked out when these last four mollies never had babies. I just thought of this: what if the ghost shrimp successfully breed now that the mollies are gone?

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Fishkeeping World is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and any other affiliated sites.

Copyright © 2022 - Fishkeeping World - All Rights Reserved

how do ghost shrimp have babies

  • Sign in / Sign up

Pregnant ghost shrimp

How long are ghost shrimp pregnant or how long do they hold onto the babies before they separate from the mom

Zushikikato1276 avatar

You'll find it very difficult to get much accurate info on the 'net...I already tried. Here's what I have learned from breeding and raising my own ghost shrimp. Once you see the eggs (green to start), you have about 21 days until they are released into the tank. The eggs will get bigger and turn greenish/brown along the way. During the last couple of days, the eggs will be clear, except for some black dots where the eggs used to be. These are hatched ghost shrimp (still attached to mom). The black dots are their stomachs full of food.

When you notice the eggs get big and brownish in color, put the mom in a breeding net with some plants (about day 18 or so). Do not put the shrimp in with your fry, they will eat them. Keep an eye on the mom. Once you notice that she no longer has anything "in her belly" (they are actually on her legs), take her out. Do not get discouraged if you cannot see the baby shrimp. When born, they are so small that they are the size of the tip of a needle, and very hard to see. I thought I had only one, and everyday, I found more and more. After about a week, you will be able to see them a little better. If you turn out the lights in your room and the aquarium and then shine a flashlight into the breeding net, you will see small red eyes. These are the shrimp. If your plant is well established with live plants and fish, the shrimp will live off the micro-organisms living in the water for the first few days. After that, use the baby fry food in liquid form. Shake the bottle well, and only use one drop for about 20 baby shrimp. You can mix in baby brine shrimp for food as well after a week.

Also, to clarify, adult shrimp will eat baby fry, and week old fry will eat baby shrimp WHAT THEY COULD EAT: They will eat anything, but if they are babies, then the smaller the food, the better. Newborn ghost shrimp will eat the microorganisms that are present in all established tanks. After about a week, they will need liquid fry food that you would feed to baby fish, and also a diet of baby brine shrimp. As they grow to adults, they will compete for the food that you feed your fish. You can buy this at petsmart

Myboimydudemyfish avatar

One question: how does one remove the mother without accidentally taking any fry with you? Like don't they get stuck to the net?


I used a medicine cup, the kind that comes with liquid otc meds to remove the mother after she had given birth.

Those may interest you:

Breeding & raising ghost shrimp, possible treatments for horsehair worm in ghost shrimp, can ghost shrimp, cherry shrimp and blue velvet shrimp live together, should i put my pregnant ghost shrimp in a breeding net, can ghost shrimp live with any other type of shrimp i am going to get more..., how to hatch ghost shrimp eggs, my ghost shrimp is holding onto alot of little green eggs, any advice on crystal shrimp or ghost shrimp i lost 3 ghost the day i pur..., ghost shrimp, can ghost shrimp kill fish, wild ghost shrimp selective breeding rack, if i have a pregnant ghost shrimp and she lays eggs do i need to completely..., will ghost shrimp eat snail eggs i have some pond snails in my 10 gallon b..., ghost shrimp or macro thought i had purchased ghost shrimp a few days ago ..., what are the differences between amano shrimp and ghost shrimp, could eating dead ghost shrimp be bad for betta, how many ghost shrimp can i add to a betta tank, will female ghost shrimp lay eggs without a male.

  • Contributors
  • Ask a question
  • Site support

how do ghost shrimp have babies

FluffyDude is reader-supported. This means that, at zero cost to you, we will earn an affiliate commission if you purchase through the link.

  • Uncategorized

Baby Ghost Shrimp Care 101


  • Last Updated On March 19, 2022

Baby Ghost Shrimp Care 101 FluffyDude

The baby ghost shrimp is one of the most fascinating creatures in our environment. Baby Ghost Shrimp inhabit a wide variety of aquatic habitats, from the ocean to freshwater rivers and lakes.

They are an important part of the food web, feeding on detritus and microscopic algae. These tiny creatures are highly social animals.

They live in colonies that can number in the thousands! Each colony has a hierarchy, with a single dominant male at the top. When males hit sexual maturity, they will fight to ascend in rank and become the dominant male of a colony.

They are tiny, but they have a lot to offer! Here are some things you ought to know – their social structure, hunting habits, long-distance migration patterns, and more!

What Do Baby Ghost Shrimp Look Like?

What Do Baby Ghost Shrimp Look Like

Baby Ghost shrimp look a lot like adult ghost shrimp but they are smaller. They have a tail and two feelers on their head.

They also have a black stripe down the middle of their body. Baby ghost shrimp eat things that sink to the bottom of the water like algae and bits of dead plants or animals.

When they get bigger, ghost shrimp eat things like fish food and small insects. Ghost shrimp come from eggs which come from another ghost shrimp or another animal that lives in the water and has eggs.

Ghost shrimp live in salt water or fresh water, but they need to live in the ocean when they are little.

Baby ghost shrimp are born in the ocean and when they are big enough, they move to lakes.

Ghost shrimp can live for a long time. Some Ghost Shrimp have been known to live for up to three years .

Baby Ghost Shrimp 101 Care:

Ghost Shrimp 101 Care

Ghost shrimp are a great addition to any aquarium , but they do require some special care. we’ll go over the basics of how to take care of your ghost shrimp.

The most important thing to remember when caring for ghost shrimp is to keep their aquarium tank clean.

Make sure to remove any uneaten food or waste products from the tank on a regular basis. You should also change the water in the tank every week or two, depending on how often you feed your shrimp.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that ghost shrimp need plenty of oxygen in order to survive.

Make sure to keep the tank well aerated and free of clutter which can obstruct airflow. Finally, be sure to provide your shrimp with a good source of food.

They will eat most types of aquarium food, but they prefer live food such as brine shrimp or bloodworms.

With these basic tips in mind, you should be able to care for your ghost shrimp successfully.

How To Breed Ghost Shrimp?

How To Breed Ghost Shrimp

Breeding ghost shrimp is not difficult . For some shrimp, it may be necessary to introduce a mated pair of the same species in order to get breeding behavior. If you are not sure if your shrimp are ready to breed, look for the following signs:

  • Female shrimp’s eggs are distributed evenly over its body.
  • The last pair of swimming legs will often be modified into brooding claws.
  • The abdomen of the female shrimp will be inflated with eggs.
  • Breeder males will have enlarged abdominal segments used for storing sperm.

Once you have determined that your shrimp are ready to breed, there are a few things you need to do in order to facilitate breeding.

The first step is to set up a breeding tank . The tank should be at least 10 gallons in size and filled with aged water that has a pH of 6.5 – 7.5 and a water hardness of 5 – 15 dGH.

You can also use a breeding net or breeder trap to separate the breeding shrimp from the rest of the colony.

Once you have set up the breeding tank, it is time to add the shrimp. Add the female first and then the male a few minutes later.

If spawning does not occur within a few hours, you can try adding a mated pair of the same species.

Ghost shrimp will usually lay their eggs on plants or rocks in the tank. Once the eggs have been laid, it is important to remove the parents from the tank so they do not eat the eggs.

The eggs will hatch in 2 – 3 weeks and the baby shrimp can be moved to a fry tank once they have reached a size of 1 – 2 mm.

That’s it! You have now successfully bred ghost shrimp. Good luck!

What To Feed Baby Ghost Shrimp?

When it comes to feeding baby ghost shrimp, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. For one, they can eat a wide variety of foods, including flake food, brine shrimp, bloodworms, and tubifex worms.

You can also give them algae wafers or blanched vegetables. As with any other type of shrimp, it’s important to make sure that they have access to clean water at all times .

One thing you need to avoid feeding baby ghost shrimp is any sort of meat. They simply cannot digest meat and it will end up rotting in their tanks.

If your babies die, try changing out 90% of their water and then check the tank for decaying matter before completely cleaning it out. The decaying matter can cause problems with future batches of shrimp.


In this blog, you have learned how to care for baby ghost shrimp. These tiny creatures are a lot of work and require constant attention, but if they’re cared for properly, their tank will be clean and thriving in no time.

It’s important that your water parameters stay within the range needed by baby ghost shrimp so, make sure to use natural materials like sand or gravel because some chemicals can potentially harm small animals like baby ghost shrimp.

Acuario Pets Logo

How To Take Care Of Ghost Shrimp Babies?

Last Update:

how to take care of baby ghost shrimps

This site does not constitute pet medical advice, please consult a licensed veterinarian in your area for pet medical advice.

Sharing is caring!

Ghost shrimps, also known as Glass shrimps, are very sensitive and delicate species. Their babies are even more sensitive and delicate than them. This is why taking good care of the baby ghost shrimps is very important if you want to keep them alive and increase the number of ghost shrimps in your tank. 

If you don’t take care of the baby ghost shrimps, soon you will see them dying. The survival rate of the baby ghost shrimps can decrease for many reasons. This is why, you have to know what factors you should maintain for taking good care of the baby ghost shrimps. 

The care of ghost shrimp babies is easy and the same as the adult ghost shrimps . For taking care of the baby shrimps all you have to do is maintain some factors. So, in this article, I will describe every factor in detail so that you get a clear and detailed idea for proper care & maintenance. 

So, let’snot talk any further and jump into the details! 

A Stress- Free Environment

Ghost shrimps generally need a stress-free environment to survive in the tank properly. And for baby ghost shrimps a stress-free environment is very necessary. 

Now, there are many things that can lead the baby shrimps to stress. But, the most common reason is an unsuitable environment and bad tank mates . They feel very uncomfortable and insecure if the environment is not suitable and the tank mates are aggressive and big.

A suitable environment can be easily maintained if you keep the water clean and the water parameters properly balanced. You need to maintain every other thing that makes the tank environment suitable for them. An unsuitable tank can lead them to so much stress and they will try to jump off the tank and seem less active.  

Good tank mates are important for keeping the environment suitable and for keeping them stress-free as well. A shrimp only tank is always recommended for ghost shrimps. It keeps them safe and they are seen as the most active . However, if you keep them with other species make sure you are choosing the right ones. 

If you don’t choose the right ones you cannot keep them alive for a long time. They can get chased and attacked which can give them stress. In extreme cases, they can get eaten up as well. As you already know baby shrimps are very small in size , eating them up in one try is very easy. 

I am listing good and bad tank mates for ghost shrimps in a table below: 

Always choose the fishes that are small and have a peaceful nature. There are some types that are small but very aggressive. These types can be harmful to the baby ghost shrimps. So keep these details in your mind before choosing any tank mates for a ghost shrimp tank.

Balanced Water Parameters

Balancing the water parameters is very important for the proper growth and the survival of ghost shrimps and mostly the baby shrimps. If the water parameters are not right, the baby shrimps feel stressed, the environment does feel comfortable to them.

It also hampers their growth rate and survival of both the adult and baby ghost shrimps. If the parameters are not controlled properly and change rapidly, the babies can die anytime.

So,balancingthe water parameters is very important. Now let’s take a look at what should be the water parameter ranges for the baby ghost shrimps:

The temperature is the first and most important thing to look at and maintain. Adult ghost shrimps can withstand a wide range of temperatures, but it is not in the case of baby shrimps. They prefer the temperature range between 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit which is the optimal range. Maintaining the temperature is very important for the proper growth of the baby shrimps. 

If you want to get the correct temperature reading of your shrimp tank, I’ll highly suggest this digital aquarium thermometer . It is cheap yet very reliable! It will show you the temperature in digital reading so that you know exactly what is going on in the tank!

After temperature, the pH is what you should be concerned about the water. As you can see in the table that the ideal pH range for baby ghost shrimps is 6.5 to 7.5. If you don’t know what pH is, pH is a measurement that indicates how much acidic the tank water is. It is measured on a scale from 0 to 14. 7 is the neutral value, less than 7 indicates acidic, and greater than 7 indicates a base. 

If you need a test kit for measuring the pH, I’ll recommend API Master Test Kit . With this master test kit, you can measure ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH and many other water parameters. It is certainly a worthwhile investment for any shrimp keeper!

After pH, you need to tackle GH and KH. GH stands for General Hardness and KH stands for Carbonate Hardness. GH mainly measures the amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium in the water. Whereas, KH indicates the stability of the pH in the water. Maintaining the optimal range of these two is highly recommended if you have ghost shrimp babies in the tank. 

With this GH & KH Test Kit , you can measure both the GH & KH of your shrimp tank water. There is no need to buy two separate test kits. Certainly a handy test kit that will help you a long way!

Lastly, you have to maintain the TDS which stands for total dissolved solids. It measures the dissolved molecules in the water except for H20 molecules. The ideal TDS range for baby ghost shrimps is 150 to 200 ppm.

Proper Food 

Normally ghost shrimps can feed on algae and normal food bits. But baby shrimps should be fed food that has nutrients and vitamins because these are essential for their proper growth. 

As I have ghost shrimps, my personal favorite shrimp food which is best for ghost shrimp babies mainly is the Bacter AE . This comes in powdered form and spreads fast in the water. So baby ghost shrimps can easily get a fast feast. This shrimp food ensures in increasing the survival rate of ghost shrimp babies. 

There are a lot of foods that will promise you that it contains vitamins & nutrients and offer a good growth rate for the baby shrimps. But not every food will provide these so you have to be very careful while choosing a good food. So, make sure you are getting an authentic food for the shrimps.

Never rush and do a good amount of research before buying one for your shrimps. Also, take suggestions from shrimp keepers and go through online reviews.

Feeding The Right Amount Of Food

Feeding the right amount of food is very necessary for both the adult and baby ghost shrimps as it helps in their physical growth. Normally ghost shrimps, mainly the babies live on algae and biofilm. But, as I already mentioned, besides algae and biofilm a good shrimp food for the baby shrimps is very important as it helps in their proper growth.  

However, no matter what you choose to feed, never overfeed your ghost shrimps. Do not have this misconception that if you overfeed the babies they will grow faster or it will be healthy for them. Overfeeding can cause many unwanted problems and diseases to your shrimp.

Make a combination of the food you want to feed, then feed the shrimps twice a week if you have enough algae and biofilm in your tank. Feed a powdered shrimp food for the baby shrimps and feed a good amount. 

A properly balanced diet helps in keeping the shrimps, mainly the shrimp babies healthy. It ensures their proper growth as well. So maintaining a diet is very important with feeding the right amount of food. 

Presence Of Algae And Biofilm

Baby ghost shrimps mainly live on algae and biofilm that naturally grows in the tank. Ghost shrimps love algae and most of the time gaze around it. This is their primary source of food thus your tank should have a decent amount of algae and biofilm in the tank. 

As you cannot make algae or biofilm, make sure you are keeping the tank in a way so that algae and biofilm can naturally grow. Don’t clean the tank too much and don’t change the tank water more often. While cleaning the tank leave one or two glasses with algae. 

Add stones, objects, plants in the tank in a decent amount as biofilm grows over the surfaces of these things. While cleaning the tank don’t clean the surfaces fully. 

Highly Planted Tank With Moss 

Ghost shrimps like to hide themselves during their breeding and molting process, and they like to be alone. This is why a heavily planted tank is important because it makes enough hiding spots for the ghost shrimps. 

Besides that, when baby ghost shrimps are born they also need to hide themselves for the first few days. And for hiding, nothing can be better than bush of live plants and moss . Hiding makes both the adult and the baby ghost shrimps feel safe and stress-free. If you have other tank mates in your tank then plants and moss are a must.

Additionally, plants and moss play a big role in growing algae and biofilm. As ghost shrimp babies live on algae and biofilm, growing these plants and moss are important. Furthermore, plants keep the whole tank environment ecologically balanced.

Plants help in controlling the water parameters and helps in keeping the environment suitable for the ghost shrimps. It also plays a great role in producing oxygen and absorbing the carbon dioxide and ammonia that the species generate. 

Maintain The Bioload 

Maintaining the bioload is very important for keeping the tank environment suitable for the ghost shrimps and other species. If you don’t know what bioload is, it is the amount of livestock you should have in per gallon water. No matter what do not keep high bioload in your shrimp tank.

Higher bioload makes the tank water dirty too fast. It also makes the whole tank environment unsuitable. In higher bioload, the water parameters change so rapidly and it gets very difficult to control it. Furthermore, it reduces the oxygen in the water thus the existing species cannot take in oxygen the amount they need. 

Ghost shrimps and mainly the babies cannot survive for long if the tank environment is not suitable. They stress out, get sick easily and get many diseases including fungal infection. The babies don’t get a healthy environment so they don’t get the proper growth. Also, too many species around them can make both the adults and baby shrimps unsafe and uncomfortable. 

You can keep 3-4 ghost shrimps in one-gallon water . If you have other species in the tank keep that number in mind before putting new species in the tank water and strictly maintain the bioload. 

Some Other Basic Maintenance 

Always try to keep the tank water clean. Change 30% of the water once a week and add the same amount of freshwater in it. This helps to keep the tank water purified. If the water is clean and purified you can easily control the tank environment. 

The parameters rapidly change if the tank water is dirty. Also, dirty water is full of toxins which is very harmful mainly for the shrimp babies. So never let the tank water get dirty fast and don’t keep it dirty for too long. 

Never use any kind of chemicals for cleaning the tank. Chemicals can be very harmful to the shrimp babies. Normal cleaning and changing the tank water with freshwater is good enough. 

A filter is highly recommended for a shrimp tank as it helps to keep the water purified. Besides that, filters are a great source of food for ghost shrimps and the babies.

If you have baby ghost shrimps a filter is highly recommended but you have to take some cautions. If you are using a sponge filter then there is nothing you can do but if you are using a HOB filter make sure you cover the inlet pipe. Baby shrimps can get stuck into that pipe so covering is necessary. 

I think matten filters are the best choice for a shrimp only tank. However, matten filters are rare and you can’t find them on many fish stores. Fortunately, FlipAquatics sell top-notch quality matten filters according to various tank sizes. They are the ones to go if you want professional-grade Matten Filter for your baby shrimps!


Ghost shrimps are vulnerable and their babies are even more. So, taking good care of the baby ghost shrimps is very important if you want them to survive properly and ensure a healthy adulthood.  

I mentioned almost everything you should do for taking the right care of your ghost shrimp babies. Following these, you can easily ensure the ghost shrimp babies a suitable and healthy environment to live in. If everything is maintained in the right way, soon you will see the ghost shrimp babies growing and they will have a healthy adulthood for sure.

Happy shrimp keeping! 

About Muntaseer Rahman

' src=

Muntaseer Rahman

I have been keeping exotic pets such as shrimps, snails, crabs, crayfish, etc. for many years now. I’ve fallen in love with these pets. I really believe that these pets deserve more care and attention from us. It is very important that people know how to take care of them properly. That’s why I’ve created this website to share my knowledge with you.

Latest posts

How Long Can Cherry Shrimp Go Without Food?

How Long Can Cherry Shrimp Go Without Food?

It was a long day, and it took hours for me to get back to my aquarium. I rushed to it as my fish were starving for a long time. Though my fish showed desperation when I dropped their food in there, the cherry shrimp somehow showed no response. Maybe they weren’t hungry at all.…

Is Selling Pet Supplies Profitable? [Statistics Revealed]

Is Selling Pet Supplies Profitable? [Statistics Revealed]

Most dog leashes/collars online are listed at $5 (minimum). But do you know how much profit the seller makes? Reportedly, the wholesale price per leash is less than 50 cents. That’s around 8 to 9 times less than the listed price tag. No doubt, the number of pet-supplies store is increasing rapidly in the United…

Ultimate Guide To Starting A Pet Business Online [Secret Blueprint]

Ultimate Guide To Starting A Pet Business Online [Secret Blueprint]

The pet market has grown over 200% in the last decade. No doubt, so many online businesses target this industry. But there’s one major problem. Reportedly, only 10% of dropshipping stores turn out to be successful. So, what blueprint should you follow to position your online pet business among that 10%? Dropshipping is one of…

Urban Fishkeeping

What To Feed Baby Ghost Shrimp? 8 Great Options!

By Author Rohit

Posted on Last updated: December 16, 2022

Categories Shrimp

What To Feed Baby Ghost Shrimp? 8 Great Options!

At most, ghost shrimps grow up to 2 inches. Their babies? You can hardly spot them in a community tank. So, can they fit adult food into their mouths? If you’re wondering what to feed baby ghost shrimp, you’ve come to the right place.

What To Feed Baby Ghost Shrimp?

You can give your ghost shrimp fry the same food as adults. However, you’ve to crumble down it into smaller bits first. They can eat anything from algae and biofilm to pellets and flakes. If you want to give readymade baby shrimp food, brands like Mosura and Shirakura carry them.

There’s a notion that meeting the dietary requirements of anything other than a fish is difficult. But most aquatic creatures share more or less the same diet needs and patterns.

Here are a few food options that you need to give your baby ghost shrimps:

how do ghost shrimp have babies

  • Baby Shrimp Food

how do ghost shrimp have babies

  • Shrimp Pellet Foods

how do ghost shrimp have babies

  • Fish Flakes

how do ghost shrimp have babies

  • Brine Shrimp

how do ghost shrimp have babies

  • Homemade Fish Food
  • Mosquito Larvae

So, as you can see, they can eat pretty much anything an adult shrimp or fish does. Just make sure you break down the food into small bits. Otherwise, they’ll starve easily, which will compromise their development and survival rate.

However, it’s not all a cakewalk. Now that you know what to feed baby ghost shrimp, let’s look at the top five things you should know to make no room for errors.

You might also like to read:

Do Amano Shrimp Bury Themselves? Suicidal Fun?

Are Ghost Shrimp Nocturnal? The Secret Dark Knight

Will Ghost Shrimp Eat Fish? Are They Scavengers of Predators?

5 Things To Consider When Feeding Baby Ghost Shrimps

Paying heed to certain factors when feeding baby shrimps can go a long way. You need to set up the right filtration system so that leftover food is filtered out. Likewise, you need to understand their pecking order and feed accordingly and add plants and biofilm to supplement diets.

A Proper Filtration System

As we have already established above, baby shrimps need crumbled-down food. And this food gets diluted in the water super easily—contaminating the water’s environment. Thus, you need to ensure an efficient filtration system that can get out of the impurities quickly before tainting the water.

Proper water parameters are integral for a baby ghost shrimps development. When young, shrimps molt once every 1-2 weeks and absorb a good amount of water to form new shells. So, as an owner, it’s your responsibility to maintain healthy water parameters at all times.

Ghost Shrimps Have Pecking Order

The biggest or senior shrimp will always be the first one to eat when food is available. That’s because a pecking order exists among these creatures. And if your baby shrimps live in the same tank as adults, probably, they won’t get to have enough food.

To begin with, it’s best not to keep baby ghost shrimps together with adults because these creatures prefer infanticide. Even the mother will eat her baby shrimps rights away if given a chance.

If you cannot raise the shrimps in a separate tank which is the ideal thing to do, you have two options left.

You can either keep them in a heavily planted tank so they have better chances of survival or use a breeding box where they’ll remain safe.

Calcium And Protein-rich Food For Ghost Shrimps

As ghost shrimps have short lifespans, they mature swiftly in successive stages. To grow, they’ll molt and get rid of the old exoskeleton and develop a new one. They need to consume calcium-dense food, which will boost the shell’s growing process. Likewise, protein is essential for overall development.

To fulfill the calcium requirement, you can mix their food with a bit of calcium powder. From what I’ve seen, many fish keepers use shells from chicken eggs and crush them into powder.

Biofilm For Baby Shrimps

In the wild, algae form a considerable part of a ghost shrimp’s diet. It’s rich in nutrients—especially protein—which can make up to 70% of the algae’s nutritional content. Thus, biofilm is a great food choice. It’s cheap, it’s readily available, and your baby shrimps will love it.

The right nutrition can profusely heighten a ghost shrimp fry’s survival rate. If you want to raise a thriving colony, you need to deliver the proper diet as well.

Add Plants For Baby Ghost Shrimps

Since there’s a pecking order among ghost shrimps, the babies can not always get their fair share of food. Adding plants to the tank is a great way to replenish the food supply so that your baby shrimps can have a go whenever they want.

I’d recommend you to go with plants that grow on the substrate because ghost shrimps tend at the base. Several fish keepers have reported that their baby ghost shrimps love to nibble on and play with Java Moss.

This aesthetically pleasing plant can also amp up any aquarium’s look. So, that’s a win-win for everyone.

I have shared everything you need to know about what to feed baby ghost shrimp. But now delve into another important topic. Let’s find out who’ll eat baby ghost shrimps.

Who Eats Baby Ghost Shrimps?

Ghost shrimps are feeder shrimps and make good snacks for most aquarium fish. Thus, naturally, baby ghost shrimps do too. Most omnivore and carnivore fish will readily gobble up ghost shrimp fry. To name a few, angelfish, bettas, guppies, mollies, Oscars, and angelfish will eat baby ghost shrimps.

Adding more to their woes, even adult ghost shrimps will eat the fry of their species. This practice is known as infanticide and is quite common in the aquatic world.

Thus, if you’re looking to build a ghost shrimp colony, it’s imperative to keep the baby ghost shrimps far and safe from predators.

For this, you have three options:

  • Keep baby ghost shrimps in a separate tank
  • Use a breeding box within the tank
  • Add several hiding places and plants in the tank

Conclusion: What To Feed Baby Ghost Shrimp

In this article, I’ve shared everything I know about feeding baby ghost shrimps. And I hope that you found it helpful.

To sum it up, you can feed baby ghost shrimps anything you would provide an adult. It can be algae, pellets, flakes, larvae, fruits, veggies—anything. Crumble down the food into smaller bits, so they fit into a baby ghost shrimp’s extremely tiny mouth.

It’s best if you give your baby shrimps food rich in nutrients like calcium and protein that help them grow fast and better.

And don’t forget to consider the five factors to consider when feeding baby ghost shrimps that I shared above to avoid making rookie mistakes!

Relevant Readings:

Will Ghost Shrimp Eat Fry? Are They Cannibal?

How Many Ghost Shrimp per Gallon?

Do Ghost Shrimp Eat Fish Poop? Do They Like It?


  1. Ghost Shrimp Starting to Give Birth 8 of 8

    how do ghost shrimp have babies

  2. Ghost Shrimp Starting to Give Birth 1 of 8

    how do ghost shrimp have babies

  3. Ghost Shrimp Babies

    how do ghost shrimp have babies

  4. Ghost Shrimp having babies!! RARELY seen!!

    how do ghost shrimp have babies

  5. Ghost Shrimp Care, Diet, Breeding & More {Guide 2019}

    how do ghost shrimp have babies

  6. Ghost Shrimp babies

    how do ghost shrimp have babies


  1. Tiny Baby Shrimp!!!

  2. Huge Ghost Shrimp

  3. Ghost shrimp burying on beach

  4. Ghost shrimp on beach

  5. Do Shrimps Have Hearts? [Why It’s in the Head?]

  6. Can you spot the baby shrimp? 🧐


  1. How to Breed Ghost Shrimp (with Pictures)

    Part 1 Preparing a Good Breeding Environment Download Article 1 Purchase a large fish tank. Your fish tank should hold about 1 gallon (4 L) of water for each shrimp. [1] No matter how many you have, ghost shrimp will be most comfortable in at least 10 gallons (40 L) of water.

  2. Pregnant Ghost Shrimp

    Set Up a Breeding Tank Breeding Feeding Your Pregnant Ghost Shrimp The Birth of Your Baby Ghost Shrimp After Your Ghost Shrimp Gives Birth Baby Shrimp Care and Feeding Frequently Asked Questions Closing Thoughts Ghost Shrimp Biology Female of ghost shrimp - not berried yet

  3. Pregnant Ghost Shrimp: Signs, Care, Stages And More!

    By Antonio Tourino If you've always wondered how to care for pregnant ghost shrimp, and the ghost shrimps eggs, then you've found the right article! In this article, you'll learn about the signs to look for in a pregnant ghost shrimp and how to properly breed them to increase your aquarium's ghost shrimp population.

  4. Pregnant Ghost Shrimp 101: What to Expect and What to Do

    FUN FACT It's incorrect to call ghost shrimps pregnant. All shrimp are egg layers and do not become pregnant (a term generally used for bearers of live-young). Instead female ghost shrimps are gravid with eggs. In this article we'll mostly use the term pregnant as that's what most people refer to gravid ghost shrimp as.

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

    by Millie Sheppard Updated: November 25, 2022 71.1K views 12 shares 12 12 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.

  6. How To Breed Ghost Shrimp At Home

    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.

  7. Ghost Shrimp Breed: 7 Secrets of Successful Raising Unlocked

    How Many Babies Do Ghost Shrimp Have? Ghost Shrimp Breed: Unlock the Secrets of Successful Raising Ghost Shrimps in their Natural Habitat Do Ghost Shrimp Reproduce in Tanks? How to Breed Ghost Shrimp Ghost Shrimp Tank Size & Requirements Ghost Shrimp Care and Tank Set-up Ghost Shrimp Breeding Setup The Mating Process of Ghost Shrimp

  8. How to Tell if a Ghost Shrimp is Pregnant: 5 Signs

    1. Green Dots The first sign that you may notice, a strong indication that your shrimp is pregnant or gravid, is if you see small green dots near her abdomen, right by the part known as the saddle. At first, they will look like nothing more than miniature green dots, gut they will get larger and grow over time.

  9. Pregnant Ghost Shrimp: Care, Breeding, Feeding & Tank Setup

    Table of Contents How Do You Know When A Ghost Shrimp Is About To Give Birth? #1 Green Dots #2 Fanning Her Legs #3 Green Or White Dots Under Her Tail #4 She's Gained Some Weight #5 The Males Getting Real Friendly Pregnant Ghost Shrimp Stages How To Breed Ghost Shrimp? Purchase The Tanks Install Filters And Air Pumps Add Layers Of Substrate

  10. Ghost shrimp

    How many Eggs do Ghost Shrimp usually have? Ghost shrimp females' fecundity ranges from 8-85 eggs and increases with the length of the female. The incubation period in the laboratory conditions was 12-14 days at 26-28C. Average brood size - 35.9 eggs. Maturity Size of the Ghost Shrimp. Biologists noticed that all immature females - 12-19 ...

  11. Ghost Shrimp Care, Food, Lifespan, Habitat

    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. ... 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 ...

  12. The Care, Feeding and Breeding of Ghost Shrimp

    Ghost Shrimp - The Care, Feeding and Breeding of Ghost Shrimp. June 21, 2014 by Robert Brand 28 Comments. Ghost Shrimp Stats. Minimum Tank Size: 5 Gallons. Care Level: Easy. Water Conditions: 6.5-7.5 (Soft to Hard) Temperature: 18-28 °C (65-82 °F) Maximum Size: 1.5 inches (4 centimetres) The name ghost shrimp applies to dozens of different ...

  13. Ghost Shrimp

    pH ~7 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. 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.

  14. Ghost Shrimp Care Guide (All You Need to Know)

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

  15. How to Care for Pregnant Ghost Shrimp (the Right Way)?

    Some shrimp farmers have had better luck by placing java moss mops in the shrimp tank, where they enhance the growth of algae that the shrimp larvae can eat. Try some liquid fried food for a change. These are some of the best meals to give your baby shrimp during their first week: Algae powder. Cultured microworms.

  16. 3 Ways to Take Care of Ghost Shrimp

    3. Siphon water from the tank into the bowl. Place the bowl with the shrimp next to the tank. Dip a flexible tube into the tank, and twist a rubber band tightly around the other end. Lower the end with the rubber band over the bowl with the shrimp, and allow water to slowly drip into the bowl.

  17. Ghost Shrimp Care Guide & Species Profile

    Origin Although ghost shrimp fossils suggest this crustacean's existence in the Cretaceous and Jurassic periods, these tiny crustaceans were first described in North America in the 1850s. Ghost shrimp can frequently be seen on sand beaches and coastal regions around the Pacific Ocean. Adult Size & Life Expectancy

  18. Pregnant Ghost Shrimp

    Newborn ghost shrimp will eat the microorganisms that are present in all established tanks. After about a week, they will need liquid fry food that you would feed to baby fish, and also a diet of baby brine shrimp. As they grow to adults, they will compete for the food that you feed your fish. You can buy this at petsmart.

  19. Baby Ghost Shrimp Guide

    Beginner's Guide Fish Breed&pr; Guppy Guide Betta Guide Catfish Goldfish Cichlids Minnow Tetras Mollies Glofish Rainbow Sharks Barbs Discus Saltwater Fish&pr; Anemones Shrimp Clownfish Tangs Starfish Coral Snail Turtle Crab Frog Baby Ghost Shrimp Guide - Don't Make These Feeding Mistakes By Author Rohit

  20. How To Take Care Of Pregnant Ghost Shrimps?

    Water change helps to keep the tank water clean and toxin-free. You should change 30% of the water once a week and add the same amount of freshwater in the tank. Also, use a filter for the tank as it keeps the water clean and purified. Filters are a must for a shrimp tank.

  21. Baby Ghost Shrimp Care 101

    Last Updated On March 19, 2022 The baby ghost shrimp is one of the most fascinating creatures in our environment. Baby Ghost Shrimp inhabit a wide variety of aquatic habitats, from the ocean to freshwater rivers and lakes. They are an important part of the food web, feeding on detritus and microscopic algae.

  22. How To Take Care Of Ghost Shrimp Babies?

    Proper Food Feeding The Right Amount Of Food Presence Of Algae And Biofilm Highly Planted Tank With Moss Maintain The Bioload Some Other Basic Maintenance Conclusion A Stress- Free Environment Ghost shrimps generally need a stress-free environment to survive in the tank properly.

  23. What To Feed Baby Ghost Shrimp? 8 Great Options!

    To sum it up, you can feed baby ghost shrimps anything you would provide an adult. It can be algae, pellets, flakes, larvae, fruits, veggies—anything. Crumble down the food into smaller bits, so they fit into a baby ghost shrimp's extremely tiny mouth. It's best if you give your baby shrimps food rich in nutrients like calcium and protein ...