Hermann Junghans, CC BY-SA 3.0 DE, via Wikimedia Commons

The ghost shrimp, also known as glass shrimp, is an affordable and easy-to-maintain crustacean. It can be kept as a feeder for both larger and more aggressive fish such as cichlids, for instance, which would hunt the shrimp all day long. These aquatic animals are popular cleaners of the aquarium since they scavenge and search for food and any leftovers in the gravel from the rest of the occupants of the habitat. This explains why the tank they are kept into should not be so clean so that they can find something as they scavenge. Despite the fact that the ghost shrimps are small in size, you should be careful not to overcrowd the smaller tanks with the shrimps and the fish since they also contribute to bioload, which will decrease the quality of the water so fast and cause some health problems.

The ghost shrimps look better in aquariums that have a black substrate or that with many live green plants due to their translucency.  There are different varieties of ghost shrimp, and this guide seeks to specifically focus on the freshwater ghost shrimp. We shall also show you why this is the deal choice for you as a beginner equalist.


Wesley Malherek, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Just like the name suggests, the ghost shrimp is clear and transparent in color, and the reason behind all this is to avoid the predators who live in the tanks and natural habitats from chasing them. Also, these animals’ clear appearance to contributes to a fascinating view of how their body works and how they process food. As an aquarist who is looking forward to learning more about the morphology and the physiology of aquatic life, then shrimps are ideal for a start. Apart from their bodies being transparent, the shrimps also have two antennas fitted at their head tops, and they are of varying sizes.  These antennas have sensory functions, and they help these animals to detect any chemical changes in water bodies and food.

Another interesting feature in the general appearance of the shrimps is the rostrum which is a beak-like extension that is found in between the yes and the shrimp’s carapace. The carapace is very vital to the shrimp since it provides a protective outer covering as they swim around.  You will also find the infamous swimming limp just behind the carapace, and it is also known as the pleopods, and it directly connects to the tail. These animals also consist of a tail fan which embodies the exterior part of the uropods, and this gives them their natural identity and appearance.


A fully grown ghost shrimp is not more than 1.5 inches in length. The females are a little larger than the males.  Despite this length, the ghost shrimps are not wide in terms of appearance, and this is the reason why they look sleek and thinner compared to some of the shrimp species, more so the peppermint shrimp.  The fact that these creatures are have a tiny and intangible size is one of the main reasons why they are sometimes offered as live food to some larger species of fish.


In normal conditions, the average lifespan of a ghost shrimp is between 8months to a year. However, this is not the standard since some can live more while others can live for a shorter period, and this depends on the conditions in which they are kept and the feeding. Besides being kept as part of the tank, some aquarists use these shrimps as feeder for the large fish, and in such a situation, their care is not among the top priority, and this is why some die prematurely since they are kept in poor conditions.

It is also worth mentioning the molting process which they undergo. The frequency of molting depends on the quality of food the shrimps are getting and how quickly they switch from their standard size. The shrimp’s mot when they become larger than their shell.


The ghost shrimps are crustaceans that are found in freshwater, and they originate from several lakes in North America.  Despite the fact that aquarist knows that these animals originate from freshwater regions, it is not yet clear about their origin. They were first discovered in the early 1800s, and during these moments, they were fascinating to look at, but their existence became more common later as time went by. The ghost shrimps are rarely used in addition to the community tanks, and in most cases, they are used as a live feed to bigger fish. If you are worried about their nature, these shrimps are timid about their environment.


Contrary to the thinking of the majority, the ghost shrimps are endangered so much while in their natural habitat, especially the rivers and lakes that contain many large fish species.  This, therefore, means that when you are setting up the tank, it is important to ensure that you mimic the backdrop and set up so that these animals can easily adapt to the new home.  Given the fact that these shrimps are very small, you will often find that they fit right in the smaller tank and with the bare minimum in them.

It does not matter whether you are keeping the shrimps alone or in groups; you should always ensure that you fill the tank with enough crevices so that these shrimps do not feel like they are in danger all the time.  This is because such fear r is one of the leading causes of stress and early death among the ghost shrimps.


The minimum size of a tank that is recommended for a ghost shrimp is 5-gallons.  Baring the fact that these animals are very small, one gallon can house three to four shrimps, and therefore, the 5 gallons can host 10 to 15 of them.  It is, however, important to be careful about the type of fish that you are pairing them with I you decide to keep them in a community tank.


On matters to deal with water filtration, you need to integrate a light flow filter that will not generate heavy water current.  You should always ensure that there is a water filter available in the aquarium all the time despite the ghost shrimp liking to do all the cleaning.  If you have a small tank that is about five gallons, the ideal filter is an internal sponge as it will provide an extra source of food.  For the larger tanks, you can go for the external filters since they help change foul water and larger debris.


The ghost shrimps are bottom feeders, just like the rest of the shrimps that are kept in home tanks.  Therefore, you will mainly find them navigating at the bottom of the tank in search of food and hiding place from their predators.  It is therefore important to ensure that you fill the bottom of the tank with the fine but dark-colored substrate so that you can spot the transparent-colored ghost shrimp in the tank.  The ideal material to use for a substrate, in this case, is fine sand because these shrimps have a habit of digging into the substrate for food.  Do not use any rough-edged substrate since it will end up injuring the shrimps and make it harder for them to find food to eat.


Both the adults and baby ghost shrimps are very adaptable to the water conditions that you subject them to.  This explains why you do not have to go overboard with the water parameters and maintain the favorable conditions to their lifestyle.  As you set up the tank of a shrimp, you need to take three things into consideration;

The temperature, ph. and water hardness.

The average temperature of water in the tropical areas where these creatures prefer is between 72- and 82-degrees F.  Some of the experts suggest that a slightly wider range in temperature that this okay for their wellbeing. This means that these animals prefer living in warm water conditions, and this means that you need to pair them with a species that prefers living in warm water too. Warm water can accelerate growth and reproduction, while cold one can lower the immunity of ghost shrimp.

  Additionally, the PH value of the water in the aquarium should neither be basic nor acidic.  It should be ranging from 7.0 to 8.0.  A sudden change in the ph. of the aquarium can disturb the biology of the aquarium.  The water in the aquarium should slightly be on the harder side, while for the lighting, one standard lighting set upon okay.   If you dec9ode to treat your aquarium with the medicine, you should be very careful since the freshwater ghost shrimp can be very sensitive to the medicine. Always ensure that you keep the ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites in check. Always ensure that you avoid copper as much as possible since it can be fatal.


The ghost shrimps are like living with many live plants in an environment of moderately moving water. The shrimps can even tell a live plant from a fake one. The live aquarium plants provide a shed matter shrimplike to eat, and this leads to a cleaner aquarium. Also, plants, along with the decoration and the rocks, provide the best location for hiding these ghost shrimps and make them feel more at home.

When you go to buy a ghost shrimp for your home aquarium, you will notice some are often chucked into a plain transparent tank with no hiding place or decoration. Those are supposed to be live feds. If you want to house a ghost shrimp, then that is the last thing you should consider opting for.


As mentioned earlier, fine sand and gravel make the best substrate for the ghost shrimp tank.  This is because they are easy to dig and are soft, therefore not inflicting any injury or pain to the shrimp as they look for food at the bottom of the tank.  Relying on the sand alone may not be enough; you also need some different live plants inside the tank so that to replicate the natural habitat of the ghost shrimp that is found in rivers and lakes. The most preferred plants for this are the java moss and hornwort. Besides these live plants providing a hiding place for the shrimps whenever they feel threatened by predators and any other thing, they also generate the algae that are fed on by the shrimps now and then.


As an aquarist, you should not mind about the live plants and forget how important lighting is to the wellbeing of a ghost shrimp.  However, these animals do not care so much about the lighting, but it is necessary to bear in mind that they are bottom-dweller dwellers in the tank, so they do not have a specific day and night cycle for active or hiding out.  However, it is important to provide a plain LED aquarium light on the top of the tank.


The process of feeding the ghost shrimps is easy since they eat almost anything that is found in the aquarium.  Their diet is made up of algae, dead plant matter, and uneaten food.  You can also feed the shrimp with boiled soft vegetables since they provide the shrimp with many nutrients.  You can also feed the ghost shrimp with some processed foods such as pellets that are designed for small fish or shrimps, fish flakes, or wafers.  In most cases, everything that can be broken into small pieces can make the ideal food. These animals have a clear body, and therefore food can be seen as it passes through the digestive system. They should be fed twice a day depending on the food amount eaten in about one to three minutes.

The ghost shrimps have a broad spectrum of eating habits, and this makes them the ideal aquarium cleaners since they will goggle down the food from the bottom, clear out the algae deposition and make sure that the tank does not have any unnecessary food remains. The shrimps also feed off of plants in case a plant dies on the tank.   The kind of food that you are feeding your ghost shrimps majorly depends on the height of the tank. If your tank is too tall, the probability of these animals coming to the surface to feed on the flakes is very minimal, and in such a case, you can rely on sinking the pellets in order to feed them.

Another thing that you need to note as an aquarist is that these ghost shrimps need a good calcium supplement every now and then. This is because they mold more frequently, and calcium is critical in helping them build stronger shells.  You should ensure you avoid any food that may contain copper components since they are fatal to the ghost shrimps.


You actually do not need to often keep feeding the ghost shrimps since they constantly graze on the stuff that is in the tank. If you have fish inside the tank, they will happily feed on any flake food that drops at the bottom area of the tank.  However, if you have a large colony of these shrimps, feeding them every day is okay but always ensure that the ghost shrimps feed on all of it within 4 hours and remove any uneaten food. If you realize that they are leaving a lot of food uneaten, you can reduce the amount you are feeding them at a time, or you can switch feeding every other day.

If you have a few shrimps, you do not need to feed them every day, maybe four times a week, more so if the tank is heavily planted and they are grazing the whole day. The shrimp should actively go after the food within 10 minutes or so after being dropped in the tank, and if you find out that they are not going for it, it means they are not hungry, and you should give them some time.


Just like the rest of the shrimp species, the ghost shrimp are very peaceful, and they like keeping to themselves.  Most of the time, whether day or night, you will find them at the bottom of the tank digging for food or hiding from the predators.  During and after molting, you will find these invertebrates hiding away in the crevices and caves in a bid to protect themselves from the predators in the tank.  This will continue until the full shell reforms and harden on the exterior. Besides their general nature, they are not so societal in large tanks with many different species of fish, and they like keeping to themselves mostly.  You will find them swimming in the tank now and then, but it is easy to lose their insight as a result of their clear body.


As an aquarist, if you are keeping the ghost shrimps for breeding, you will not have to go out of your way to do anything in excess.  All you need to ensure is that they are kept in a tank with the same species and with no predators in sight. When there are no predators or any external threat, the breeding process becomes very easy and natural for the shrimps.  However, if you have a ghost shrimp that is living in a community tank and you want to breed, it will be important to set up a breeding tank away from the community one. You should transfer the male and female into the breeding tank and give them time to produce eggs around their egg region.  They can produce 20 to 30 eggs at a time, and then the males will approach the female in order to fertilize the eggs.

During this period, you should keep a close eye on these animals and remove the male immediately after the eggs have been fertilized. Let the pregnant ghost shrimp remain in the breeding tank alone until the eggs hatch.  Once the eggs have hatched, the female should also be transferred back to the community tank since they lack the maternal instinct, and they can end up feeding on their young ones. You should also ensure that you fit a good quality sponge filtering to the breeder tank to keep a steady water flow without the small shrimp getting sucked into the machine by mistake.

 You want to feed the hatched shrimps with the littlest amount of food and supplements to nurture them to grow and become mature since they have tiny bodies and mouths. Once they have grown into mature adult shrimps, you can embark on feeding them on normal food that you would feed on any other adult ghost shrimp.


The ghost shrimps perform best in one species aquarium or the other small shrimp species, such as the crystal red shrimp and the red cherry. They are pretty social animals, and they interact well with these species.  However, if you are planning on keeping the ghost shrimps on their own, you should know that too many can get aggressive against each other.  They can be placed with other small fish or snails such as betta splendens, but it always depends on the beta since their mood are prone to sudden changes. Some of the observations made by aquarists are that some bettas could constantly chase the shrimp or start hunting it suddenly after a long while; they did not care about it.

Whenever you are placing a fish and shrimp together, the best action to take is to start with a well-established population of shrimp since the safety in numbers will decrease the chances of ghost shrimp being eaten. You should always remember that the larger fish will always harass the shrimp, and therefore you should consider placing them with small fish. Young glass shrimps should only be kept with other shrimps since they are more vulnerable than adults.


Just like any other invertebrates in the tank, the ghost shrimp Have The capability to get affected by the water-borne diseases that every equalist should always be aware of. One of the common diseases that Affect these shrimps is the vorticella nod; it comes from the algae which these shrimps feed on, and it makes their body and shell look white and moldy in texture and nature.

Another thing that affects the ghost shrimps is the bacteria infection which is so common.  I you find your ghost shrimp fatigued or showing some bright pink spots on the shell with swelling, that is a bacterial infection that is caused by poor water conditions. The best way to treat both diseases is to maintain a clean tank with low levels of ammonia AND NITRATE IN THEM. If you do not clean your tank every week or after two weeks using saltwater, then expect your shrimps to suffer these diseases.

If you realize that your ghost shrimp has been affected by a bacteria infection, it is advisable to immediately separate it from the rest so as to prevent the rest from contracting the infection.


The ghost shrimps are generally ideal for a beginner aquarist since they are small in size and they need less effort to take care of them. Thye is also extremely cheap, and this means you can afford a number of them without having to pay much. All you need to do is put a little effort into taking care of them, and at the end of it all, you enjoy the beautiful nature and appearance of these creatures.


Being inexpensive and easy to take care of, the ghost shrimps are the best creatures you should consider having as an equalist. They are also useful in reducing nitrates and algae, and they have a very small biological effect.  They just need a little monitoring, and they will live for up to 2 years.  This guide has given you all the information you need to know about the ghost shrimps, and we hope that it was useful.

Leave a Reply