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.

Ghost Shrimp Biology

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 .

Set Up a Breeding Tank

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.

Feeding Your Pregnant Ghost Shrimp

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.

The Birth of Your Baby Ghost Shrimp

will 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.

After Your Ghost Shrimp Gives Birth

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 .

will ghost shrimp have babies

Baby Shrimp Care and Feeding

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Closing Thoughts

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!

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Share this post:

I have a shrimp only tank, set at about 77°. I have ghost, amano,bloody,yellow bumblebee, 2 cherry red and 1 I can’t remember the name of. One of my ghost just gave birth a few weeks ago. We gave away 41 and still see a ton on large all over the tank. And she is carry eggs again. I have done nothing special to the tank but feed them. I have 2 live plants in there feed them 2x a day, that’s it.

My ghost shrimp has an extra leg and I can’t find out why can you help me please.

Thank you for this information! I have two pregnant ghost shrimp in one of my smaller tanks (10 gallon) that have beta and Molly’s in it so I will definitely take them out and get another tank for the pregnant ghost shrimp. I’m excited for the babies! I love watching the ghost shrimp they’re so cute!

I’ve had four go shrimp now for about 14 months, two females and two males I think, both females have become pregnant, and one of the females is now pregnant again, sadly I haven’t seen any baby go shrimps

I have a ghost shrimp whom I thought was pregnant. She has dark eggs and is constantly moving them. However it has been about 3 weeks and no babies. I have tried to get a pic but kinda hard. Any thoughts?

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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!

will ghost shrimp have babies

Hey! I'm Antonio! Betta fish keeper for over 6 years now! Since owning a betta I've also housed all kinds of tropical fish, and have seen all manner of problems and how to look after them! If you need any advice you can always message me or better yet join the Facebook group where a community can answer your questions!

Amano Shrimp Vs Ghost Shrimp (Which Is Best?)

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

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How to Breed Ghost Shrimp

Last Updated: October 23, 2022 Approved

wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 21 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 92% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 318,628 times. Learn more...

Ghost shrimp, also called glass shrimp, are small, transparent shrimp commonly sold as aquarium pets or fish food. While several species are referred to by the same name, they can all be cared for in the same basic way. If the shrimp are kept in a comfortable environment with no predators, they can breed rapidly.

Preparing a Good Breeding Environment

Step 1 Purchase a large fish tank.

  • If you have to keep your shrimp in a tank smaller than 10 gallons (40 L), allow 1.5 gallons (6 L) or more for each shrimp to make up for the small space. [2] X Research source

Step 2 Purchase a second tank for breeding.

  • If your tank is larger than 10 gallons (37.9 L) and contains fish as well as shrimp, you should use a hang-on or canister filter to provide better cleaning. Never use anything besides a sponge filter for the breeding tank.
  • If you don't want to buy a sponge filter, you can cover your filter's water intake with a sponge or a piece of nylon stocking. Alternatively, if your filter intake is too weak to suck in adult shrimp, you can disconnect the filter before the young hatch and replace 10% of the water volume in the tank every day until the young are fully grown and you can turn the filter on again.

Step 4 Install an air pump in each tank.

  • For additional detail in setting up a freshwater aquarium, see this article .

Step 6 Fill the tanks with appropriate water.

  • For best results, give your plants about a month to stabilize the chemical levels in the tank. Sudden changes in nitrogen levels or other chemicals could kill your ghost shrimp.
  • See this article for instructions on planting aquarium plants.
  • Adding plants to the breeding tank in advance is strongly recommended, as plant debris is one of the few foods small enough for the shrimp young to eat. Many people use Java moss in their shrimp breeding tank, which may trap food debris to help the young shrimp eat.

Caring for Adult Shrimp

Step 1 Buy high quality shrimp for pets, and feeder shrimp if you're breeding them as animal food.

  • The seller should know which type of ghost shrimp he sells. You can also guess based on the living conditions: if the shrimp are kept in a cramped space without many plants, they are probably feeder shrimp.

Step 2 Introduce the shrimp to the new water slowly.

  • If you keep other fish in the tank, use sinking pellets, since the shrimp will not be able to compete for floating food with larger animals.

Step 4 Change the water...

  • Changing 40-50% of the water every other week may also work, especially if the tank doesn't have many fish or shrimp for its size.

Step 5 Be cautious about adding other fish to the tank.

  • If you have decided not to use a breeding tank, do not include any fish at all in the single tank you have. The adult shrimp will already eat many of the young shrimp; with additional predators, not many young will survive to adulthood.

Hatching and Feeding the Young Shrimp

Step 1 Check that you have both males and females.

  • You don't need equal numbers of each. One male for every two females is plenty.

Step 2 Look for females carrying eggs.

  • Look from the side of the tank for the best view, and get someone with sharp eyesight to help you if the babies are hatching before you see the eggs.

Step 3 After a few days, transfer females carrying eggs to the breeding tank.

  • Don't disturb the female if you see her flicking the young away, as they need to be deposited within an hour in order to feed. She may take a while to do this, since in the wild the young have a better survival rate if she deposits them in different places.

Step 5 Transfer the female back to the main tank.

  • Once the young shrimp are alone and moving about on their own, you may not even be able to see them, as they are extremely tiny when newly hatched. Continue to add food to the breeding tank for three weeks even if you don't see them.

Step 6 Feed them small amounts of specialized tiny food.

  • Storebought "rotifers" food, baby brine shrimp, microworms, or powdered spirulina algae are all suitable for young ghost shrimp. [7] X Research source
  • You can buy "fry food" intended for young fish, but be sure to select powdered fry food suitable for "egg layer" sized animals.
  • Strain small pieces of egg yolk through a fine mesh strainer if you don't want to use storebought food.
  • Java moss may help trap food for young shrimp to eat, but don't add or remove plants while larvae are in the tank, as it could disturb the chemical balance of the water.

Step 7 Feed them the same food as regular shrimp once they've grown legs.

  • If you have a younger batch of eggs or larvae in the breeding tank, move the larger shrimp out after 3 to 4 weeks.


Step 1 Don't transfer the females if it causes the eggs to fail.

  • Remove any fish from the main tank. Since you won't be using your breeding tank after all, you can move them there, altering the plant composition if necessary to suit the species.
  • Turn off or cover the filter. If your filter has a water intake pipe, it will suck in and kill the young shrimp. Cover the intake with a sponge or piece of nylon stocking, or turn it off and clean the water manually by replacing 10% of it every day until the young are grown.
  • Accept that some young shrimp will be eaten by the adults. You can reduce the chance of this happening by using a spacious tank, but it will be difficult to avoid.

Step 2 Keep watching if the young shrimp won't eat.

  • You should never pour the bag of water with the shrimp directly into the tank. See Caring for Adult Shrimp for instructions on introducing your shrimp.
  • You may also want to purchase an aquarium test kit to test the characteristics of your water. See the Tips section below for the correct pH, dH, and chemical levels for ghost shrimp.

Community Q&A

Community Answer

  • Buy the shrimp from the pet store. Don't take them from their natural habitat. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 3
  • If you track pH or acidity levels, keep them between 6.3 and 7.5. dH, a measurement of water hardness, should be between 3 and 10. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0
  • If you keep track of your tank's levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates, keep these as close to zero as possible for better breeding. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 0

Tips from our Readers

  • Copper, even in very small amounts, can be toxic to inverts like shrimp, crayfish, and snails. Read the ingredients on your shrimp food carefully to make sure you don’t poison your shrimp!
  • Make sure your pH levels are consistent. Ghost shrimp are sensitive and may die if there are large fluctuations of pH.
  • You can buy ghost shrimp that already have eggs for a quick cheap start.

will ghost shrimp have babies

  • Make sure the shrimp are not in cold water as it can freeze them. Thanks Helpful 46 Not Helpful 13

Things You'll Need

  • 2 aquarium tanks or a breeder net
  • Sponge filter or covered intake filter or just put a breeder net on the opposite side of the tank
  • Java moss and other plants
  • Some sort of small food bits

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Take Care of Ghost Shrimp

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About This Article

To breed ghost shrimp, start by making sure you have at least 1 male shrimp for every 2 females in the tank. Once you see bunches of eggs attached to the female’s legs, transfer it to a separate tank with a sponge filter and air pump. Then, expect to wait up to 24 days for the eggs to hatch. After the female has flicked all the hatched eggs from her legs, transfer her back to the main tank so she doesn’t try to eat the young shrimp. Feed the baby shrimp small amounts of spirulina or powdered fish food until they grow legs, then start feeding them regular shrimp food. For tips on how to know when you can return the young shrimp to the main tank, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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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

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will ghost shrimp have babies

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

  • by Millie Sheppard
  • Updated: November 25, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

Table of Contents

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

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

Ghost shrimp

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

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

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

Appearance & Size

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

The reason for this is simple:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They’re not that wide either.

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

Ghost Shrimp Care

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Water Parameters & Quality Needs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good (And Bad) Tank Mates

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

  • Barbs that aren’t too large

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Millie Sheppard

Millie Sheppard

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

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Ghost Shrimp Eggs 101

This article may contain affiliate links ( disclosure policy ).

ghost shrimp eggs header

Fortunately, fertilized Ghost shrimp eggs can be easily spotted once you have a basic understanding of shrimp anatomy.

In any other case, the following post would’ve probably turned into a detailed account on shrimp reproduction, but the transparent body of these shrimp eliminates the need for this.

Here, you’ll find a simplified, yet complete answer, that won’t force you to look up unnecessary scientific terms like gravid.

Furthermore, I’ll show you some clear, easy-to-spot signs which tell when Ghost shrimp eggs are about to hatch.

Let’s dive in.

How to tell if Ghost shrimp eggs are fertilized?

Before I tell you how to find out whether the eggs of your Ghost shrimp ( Palaemonetes paludosus ) are fertilized, I will briefly explain what makes female specimens different from their male counterparts. And there’s a reason for this.

The most noticeable physical difference between male and female Ghost shrimp is the size of their body.

Males have slender bodies that typically reach a size of 1.2 inches, whereas females are more rounded in appearance and grow up to 1.5 inches.

While this doesn’t tell us all that much about their reproduction, females possess one key physical feature that’s not easy to spot for beginners.

female and male ghost shrimp

Female and male Ghost shrimp by Fonske

Many fishkeepers mistakenly believe the lower part of the abdomen to be the saddle, which leads to a lot of confusion when trying to identify whether a female is pregnant.

With that being said, here’s how to know if your Ghost shrimp eggs have been fertilized:

Every 30 to 40 days, female Ghost shrimp produce a clutch of unfertilized green eggs that’s stored in their saddle. When the eggs get fertilized by a male, they travel to the lower part of the female’s body where they get attached to her legs.

comparison of unfertilized and fertilized eggs

Saddled Ghost shrimp by CassCats and Berried Ghost shrimp by Fonske

Despite some common myths floating on the internet, the color of the eggs has no relation to fertilization.

Any female Ghost shrimp carrying eggs below her abdomen is considered pregnant or “berried”, regardless of their color.

Berried is another term used to describe a pregnant shrimp.

In most cases, Ghost shrimp eggs look like tiny green balls, but they might also be orange in color.

comparison of green and orange eggs

Berried Ghost shrimp with green eggs by aboynamedrat and Berried Ghost shrimp with orange eggs by tdoggydo

The only time you should be concerned about the color of the eggs is if they turn entirely black.

This usually indicates that they won’t hatch, but there’s nothing you can do to save the offspring.

How long do the eggs of a Ghost shrimp take to hatch?

Each time before pregnancy a female Ghost shrimp would molt and lose her old exoskeleton . Not every shrimp that molts is preparing to get pregnant, but every shrimp that becomes pregnant has recently molted.

From there on, pregnant Ghost shrimp go through two main stages.

In the first stage, she produces a fresh clutch of eggs in her saddle and releases a pheromone that draws the attention of male Ghost shrimp.

If a male manages to fertilize her eggs, the female enters a two-week gestation period.

During this time, she will occasionally fan her legs to supply the eggs with sufficient amounts of oxygen.

The first signs of hatching start to appear in the second week. During this time, each egg starts to develop eyes which can be seen as two tiny black specks.

shrimp eggs with eyes

by Gorgulax21

Meanwhile, the mother also starts to flick the eggs with her legs in an attempt to drop the fry.

Here’s a video of a pregnant Ghost shrimp that’s laying her eggs and trying to do just that:

will ghost shrimp have babies

It typically takes about 14 days for the fertilized eggs to hatch. If we take this and add the number of days a female needs to produce a batch of unfertilized eggs, then we can estimate that the entire process lasts between 44 and 54 days.

This means you can expect your Ghost shrimp to breed roughly six times a year.

The eggs have gone missing!

Even though Ghost shrimp typically carry between 20 and 30 eggs, only a small fraction of their babies make it into adulthood.

This usually happens because, while in their larval stage, the shrimplets either get sucked in by the water filter or get eaten by predatory fish.

In these cases, many fish keepers are left confused because the eggs of their Ghost shrimp have suddenly gone missing. If you can’t locate the eggs anymore it is likely that something in your aquarium into a quick meal.

The list of potential predators includes the mother Ghost shrimp.

However, you can increase the chances of survival of your Ghost shrimplets by following some simple precautions.

How to take care of Ghost shrimp babies?

The best way to ensure your baby Ghost shrimp live to see more than just a single day is to move their mother into a separate spawning tank.

This will not only save the newly hatched shrimplets from turning into fish food, but it will also minimize the risk of a miscarriage as a result of stress.

Author’s note: On some rare occasions, female Ghost shrimp might molt during pregnancy and prematurely drop their eggs.

The bottom of the spawning tank should be covered with a fine-grade substrate such as sand or soil. I recommend covering it with a fine-grade substrate such as black diamond blasting sand .

This type of sand will also make the otherwise plain physical features of your Ghost shrimp stand out.

After you’ve covered the spawning tank, you should fill it with dechlorinated water at a temperature between 70 °F and 80 °F with a pH level of roughly 7.0.

In terms of equipment, you’ll need the following:

  • Sponge filter
  • Aquarium lights

By adding an air pump, you will satisfy the high oxygen needs of the newborn shrimp. You can also add some small live plants like java moss to further increase the available oxygen in the water.

As an added benefit, the plants will also serve as food for the baby shrimp.

ghost shrimp babies

Unlike hang-on and canister filters , sponge filters don’t create a strong water current. This makes them perfect for baby shrimp as they’ll clean the water of debris, without posing a risk to them.

Furthermore, the sponge filter will also help maintain the spawning tank free of ammonia . In case you’re not willing to buy a sponge filter, you can simply perform daily water changes until the newborns are ready to be moved.

If you choose to go down this route, you should replace 10% of the water in the spawning tank with dechlorinated water.

After the mother has finished giving birth, you should immediately remove her from the tank.

If you fail to do so, there’s a high chance she’ll try to eat the baby shrimp.

Ghost shrimp are not like other dwarf shrimp species and will try to feed on their own shrimplets.

Once you’ve done this, you should cover the walls of the spawning tank with paper.

Newborn Ghost shrimp are drawn to light and might injure themselves by bumping into the glass.

Once the baby larvae hatch, they will be barely discernible due to their minuscule size.

They haven’t disappeared, they’re just too small to see yet.

You should be able to notice them in a few days’ time.

They will look like miniature versions of adult Ghost shrimp, but without legs.

The newborn shrimplets will need at least 1 to 2 weeks before they grow legs and start to resemble actual shrimp.

At the beginning, these tiny transparent creatures will have a hard time eating regular fish food due to the small size of their mouths. As a result, you should feed them with foods that are small enough for them such as infusoria and algae powder.

Alternatively, you can simply grind some fish flakes and sprinkle them into the water.

You shouldn’t worry too much about the feeding frequency as long as there are live plants in the tank.

Furthermore, Ghost shrimp are notorious algae eaters, so there’s a small chance they’ll starve if you feed them once a day.

In five weeks’ time, the newborns should have matured enough to be transferred to your main tank.

Closing Thoughts

Ghost shrimp are great aquatic pets that can be an indispensable part of your aquarium’s cleanup crew .

Noticing their new eggs may seem confusing at first, but as long as you provide them with a proper spawning environment, you should have no trouble.

Hopefully, your aquatic family will have a few new additions in the following weeks.

Feel free to come back and share your experience with newborn baby Ghost shrimp down in the comments.

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

  • by Dr. Mollie Newton
  • November 28, 2022
  • 11 minute read

Featured Image - pregnant ghost shrimp

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

In this article...

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.

Article Summary Female ghost shrimp can be identified as pregnant by the presence of bright green dots along their abdomen, which are unfertilized eggs; these dots will migrate closer to the saddle for fertilization by male ghost shrimp. Ghost shrimp can produce 20-30 eggs in each successful pregnancy, but not all will hatch into hatchlings. For baby ghost shrimp, feeding with infusoria initially and later with algae powder, ground shrimp flakes, or microworms is recommended.

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!

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Dr. Mollie Newton

Founder of PetMeTwice. I'm a doctor of Veterinary Medicine and avid Aquarist. I love learning and teaching fellow fish lovers how to keep their fish healthy and happy. 🐠 🤩

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Pregnant Ghost Shrimp: A Guide to Breeding and Care

Ghost shrimp are fascinating creatures that are commonly kept in aquariums. These small, translucent crustaceans are known for their ability to blend in with their surroundings, making them difficult to spot. However, there is one thing that sets pregnant ghost shrimp apart from their non-pregnant counterparts: their bright green eggs.

Female ghost shrimp can carry up to 20 eggs at a time, which are attached to the underside of their abdomen. As the eggs develop, they turn from a pale yellow color to a vibrant green. This is because the eggs are filled with a special protein that helps protect them from predators. Once the eggs hatch, the baby shrimp are released into the water and left to fend for themselves.

Despite their small size, pregnant ghost shrimp play an important role in the ecosystem of their aquarium. They help to keep the tank clean by eating algae and other debris, and their bright green eggs are a fascinating sight to behold. If you’re thinking of adding ghost shrimp to your aquarium, keep an eye out for these little green eggs – they’re a sure sign that your shrimp are thriving.

The Pregnancy Process of Ghost Shrimp

The Pregnancy Process of Ghost Shrimp

Ghost shrimp are a popular choice for aquarium enthusiasts due to their unique appearance and interesting behavior. One of the most fascinating aspects of ghost shrimp is their reproductive process, which differs from most other aquatic creatures.

Ghost shrimp are known for their ability to reproduce quickly and efficiently. Females can lay up to 30 eggs at a time, and they can do so every few weeks. Once the eggs are fertilized, they are carried by the female until they are ready to hatch.

The pregnancy process of ghost shrimp typically lasts around 3-4 weeks. During this time, the female will carry the eggs in a specialized pouch located on her abdomen. This pouch, known as the “brood pouch,” provides the eggs with protection and nutrients as they develop.

As the eggs grow, the female ghost shrimp will become noticeably larger. This is due to the increased size of the eggs and the brood pouch itself. Once the eggs are fully developed, they will hatch inside the brood pouch.

After the eggs hatch, the female will release the baby ghost shrimp into the aquarium. These baby shrimp are fully formed and can fend for themselves from the moment they are born. However, they are extremely small and can be difficult to spot in the aquarium.

Overall, the pregnancy process of ghost shrimp is a unique and fascinating aspect of their biology. By understanding this process, aquarium enthusiasts can better care for their ghost shrimp and appreciate their natural behaviors.

Signs of a Pregnant Ghost Shrimp

Ghost shrimp are fascinating creatures that are commonly kept in aquariums. They are known for their transparent bodies and their ability to clean up the tank. One interesting thing about ghost shrimp is that they can reproduce quite easily, and it is not uncommon for them to become pregnant. In this section, we will discuss the signs of a pregnant ghost shrimp.

Physical Changes

When a ghost shrimp becomes pregnant, there are a few physical changes that you may notice. One of the most obvious signs is that the female shrimp will become larger. This is because she is carrying eggs in her abdomen. The eggs can be seen as small, yellowish spheres inside her body.

Another physical change that may occur is that the female shrimp’s tail may become more curved. This is because she is carrying the eggs in her abdomen, and the weight of the eggs can cause her tail to bend downwards. Additionally, the female shrimp’s legs may become more translucent, which is another sign that she is pregnant.

Behavioral Changes

In addition to physical changes, there are also some behavioral changes that you may notice in a pregnant ghost shrimp. One of the most common changes is that the female shrimp may become more reclusive. This is because she is carrying eggs and is focused on protecting them. She may spend more time hiding in the substrate or in plants.

Another behavioral change that you may notice is that the female shrimp may become more aggressive. This is because she is protecting her eggs and wants to ensure that they are safe. She may chase away other shrimp or fish that come too close to her.

Overall, there are several signs that you can look for to determine whether or not a ghost shrimp is pregnant. By observing the physical and behavioral changes in the female shrimp, you can gain a better understanding of what is happening in your aquarium.

Caring for a Pregnant Ghost Shrimp

Diet and nutrition.

When caring for a pregnant ghost shrimp, it is important to ensure that the shrimp is receiving a balanced diet. A pregnant ghost shrimp requires a diet rich in protein, as well as other essential nutrients. Some recommended foods for pregnant ghost shrimp include:

  • Brine shrimp
  • Algae wafers
  • Crushed fish flakes

It is important to note that overfeeding can lead to poor water quality, which can be harmful to both the pregnant ghost shrimp and any other inhabitants in the tank. It is recommended to feed the shrimp small amounts of food multiple times per day, rather than one large feeding.

Tank Conditions

Maintaining proper tank conditions is crucial for the health and well-being of a pregnant ghost shrimp. The following are some important factors to consider:

  • Water temperature: Ghost shrimp thrive in water temperatures between 72-82°F (22-28°C).
  • Water quality: Regular water changes and proper filtration are essential for maintaining good water quality.
  • Tank size: Pregnant ghost shrimp should be kept in a tank with a minimum size of 5 gallons.
  • Tank mates: Ghost shrimp are generally peaceful and can be kept with other non-aggressive fish and invertebrates. However, it is important to avoid keeping them with larger, predatory fish.

It is important to note that pregnant ghost shrimp may become more reclusive as they near the end of their pregnancy. It is recommended to provide plenty of hiding places and vegetation in the tank to help the shrimp feel secure.

Overall, with proper care and attention, a pregnant ghost shrimp can thrive in a home aquarium.

Post Pregnancy Care

After a female ghost shrimp has given birth, it is important to provide proper post-pregnancy care to ensure the survival of both the mother and her offspring. Here are some tips on how to care for ghost shrimp after they have given birth:

1. Provide a Nutritious Diet

Adequate nutrition is vital for the health of the mother and her babies. After giving birth, the mother shrimp may become weak and lose energy, so it is important to provide her with a nutritious diet. Feeding the mother shrimp high-quality food, such as algae, brine shrimp, or commercial shrimp pellets, will help her regain her strength and provide the necessary nutrients for her offspring.

2. Maintain Clean Water

Clean water is essential for the survival of ghost shrimp, especially after they have given birth. It is recommended to perform regular water changes to maintain good water quality. Additionally, using a filter can help keep the water clean and free of harmful toxins.

3. Remove Dead Shrimp

After giving birth, some shrimp may not survive. It is important to remove any dead shrimp from the tank as soon as possible to prevent the spread of disease and maintain good water quality.

4. Provide Hiding Places

Newly born ghost shrimp are very small and vulnerable. Providing hiding places, such as plants or rocks, can help protect them from predators and provide a safe environment for them to grow.

By following these simple tips, you can provide the best post-pregnancy care for your ghost shrimp and ensure their survival.

Common Issues and Their Solutions

Pregnant ghost shrimp are relatively easy to care for, but there are a few common issues that may arise. Here are some solutions to those issues:

1. Poor Water Quality

Poor water quality is a common issue that can cause stress to pregnant ghost shrimp. It can also lead to the growth of harmful bacteria and other organisms that can harm the shrimp and their offspring.

Solution: The best way to prevent poor water quality is to maintain a clean aquarium. This can be achieved by doing regular water changes and using a high-quality filter. It is also important to test the water regularly to ensure that the water parameters are within the acceptable range.

2. Lack of Food

Pregnant ghost shrimp require a balanced diet to ensure the health of both the mother and her offspring. A lack of food can lead to malnourishment and stunted growth.

Solution: Feed the shrimp a balanced diet that includes both plant-based and protein-based foods. This can include algae wafers, shrimp pellets, and blanched vegetables such as spinach, zucchini, and carrots.

3. Aggressive Tankmates

Pregnant ghost shrimp are relatively peaceful creatures, but they can be bullied or attacked by more aggressive tankmates such as fish or other shrimp.

Solution: Keep the pregnant ghost shrimp in a separate tank or with peaceful tankmates such as snails or other shrimp. If you must keep them with fish, choose small, peaceful fish that will not harm the shrimp.

4. Overcrowding

Overcrowding can lead to stress and aggression among the shrimp, as well as poor water quality.

Solution: Ensure that the aquarium is appropriately sized for the number of shrimp you have. A general rule of thumb is to have at least one gallon of water per shrimp. If the aquarium is overcrowded, consider moving some of the shrimp to a larger tank or finding new homes for some of them.

By addressing these common issues, you can help ensure the health and well-being of your pregnant ghost shrimp and their offspring.

Related Articles:

  • What Do Ghost Shrimp Eat:? A Quick Guide
  • Cherry Shrimp Care, Tank Setup, Diet & Tank Mates

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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.

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! 

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About Muntaseer Rahman

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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.

This site is owned and operated by Muntaseer Rahman. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.

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

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  • By Adam Edmond

will 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.

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will ghost shrimp have babies

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Ghost Shrimp Care Guide (All You Need to Know)

Ghost Shrimp Care

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

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

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

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

What is a Ghost Shrimp?

About Ghost Shrimp

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ghost Shrimp Molting

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tank Size For Ghost Shrimp?

Tank size for ghost shrimp

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cycling Your Fish Tank

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aquarium Lid

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

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

Hiding Places

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

Is Sand Substrate Needed

Is Substrate needed for ghost shrimp

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

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

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

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

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

Best Food For Ghost Shrimp?

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

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

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

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

Feeding Schedule

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Ghost Shrimp Diseases

Often Ghost Shrimp Diseases

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

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

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

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

Bacterial Infection

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

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

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

Good And Bad Tank Mates

best ghost shrimp tank mates

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can You Breed Ghost Shrimp in Aquariums?

Breeding Ghost Shrimp

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

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

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

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

Breeding Ghost Shrimp

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

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

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

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

Caring for Larvae

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Screenshot 2023 11 27 at 14.21.55 1

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

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></center></p><ul><li>Goldfish Tank</li><li>Cory Catfish</li><li>Ghost Shrimps</li></ul><h2>How to Care for Pregnant Ghost Shrimp: A Comprehensive Guide</h2><ul><li>August 19, 2023</li></ul><p>Are you a proud owner of ghost shrimp and suspect that one of your lovely crustaceans may be expecting? Congratulations! It’s an exciting time in the life of your aquatic pet. But  how to care for pregnant ghost shrimp  like a pro?</p><p>However, caring for pregnant ghost shrimp requires some special attention and knowledge to ensure the mother’s and her offspring’s well-being.</p><p>In this definitive guide, we will delve into the fascinating world of these translucent creatures and provide you with all the essential information you need to care for your pregnant ghost shrimp confidently.</p><p><center><img style=

Inside the female, the eggs undergo a series of developmental stages, slowly growing and developing into fully formed baby ghost shrimp. As the eggs mature, they begin to darken in color, indicating that they are close to hatching.

Eventually, when the time is right, the female releases the baby ghost shrimp into the water, where they can fend for themselves. This process of carrying and nurturing the eggs is unique to the ghost shrimp species, making it a remarkable sight. 

Female ghost shrimp can carry  and protect their unborn offspring until they are ready to face the world outside the safety of their mother’s abdomen.

Commonly Asked Questions about Pregnant Ghost Shrimp Stages (FAQs)

How can i tell if my female ghost shrimp is pregnant  .

Pregnant female ghost shrimp exhibit a rounded, “gravid” appearance as they carry eggs.

What is the ideal water temperature for pregnant ghost shrimp?  

Maintain a water temperature between 72-78°F (22-26°C) for optimal breeding conditions.

How do I know when my pregnant ghost shrimp will give birth?

Pregnant ghost shrimp will become more reclusive and may exhibit behaviors like fanning their eggs. This indicates they are close to giving birth.

Could ghost shrimp breed in a community tank?

While it’s possible to  breed ghost shrimp  in a community tank, it’s recommended to set up a separate breeding tank to ensure the survival of the young shrimp.

What should I feed my pregnant ghost shrimp?

Feed them a balanced diet of shrimp pellets, algae wafers, and blanched vegetables. Introduce baby brine shrimp once the eggs hatch.

How often can ghost shrimp breed?

Adult Ghost shrimp  can breed multiple times in their lifetime, depending on various factors such as water conditions and nutrition.

How do I care for pregnant ghost shrimp?

To care for pregnant ghost shrimp , provide them with a suitable environment in your aquarium. Set up a breeding tank specifically for the pregnant shrimp to give birth and keep the babies safe. Ensure the tank water parameters are correct, with a temperature around 72-78°F and a pH of 7.0-8.0. Also, feed your pregnant ghost shrimp with a varied diet to ensure the mother and the babies receive proper nutrition.

How do ghost shrimp give birth?

Ghost shrimp do not give birth in the traditional sense like livebearer fish. Instead, female ghost shrimp lay eggs. The female shrimp carries the eggs until they hatch into baby shrimp. The baby shrimp will then be released into the water, and the mother will not provide any further parental care.

How can I tell if a ghost shrimp is about to give birth?

A few signs can indicate when a ghost shrimp is about to give birth. The female’s abdomen may appear larger and more rounded as the eggs develop. She may also become more reclusive and spend more time hiding. Additionally, you may notice a darkening or graying of the eggs just before they hatch.

Should I set up a separate breeding tank for my pregnant ghost shrimp?

Setting up a breeding tank for your pregnant ghost shrimp is generally recommended. This will provide a safe environment for the babies to hatch and grow without being eaten by other tank inhabitants. Additionally, a breeding tank allows you to monitor the development of the eggs and provide any necessary care for the pregnant shrimp.

Providing a varied diet for your pregnant ghost shrimp is crucial to ensure they receive proper nutrition. You can feed them high-quality shrimp pellets, sinking wafers, frozen or live foods such as brine shrimp or daphnia, and blanched vegetables like spinach or zucchini. It is best to offer small amounts of food multiple times daily to prevent overfeeding and maintain good water quality.

How often do female ghost shrimp lay eggs?

Female ghost shrimp can lay eggs multiple times throughout their lifespan . After mating, a female ghost shrimp will carry the eggs until they are ready to be released. Once the eggs are hatched, female ghost shrimp will rest before producing another batch of eggs. The exact frequency of egg-laying can vary depending on various factors such as environmental conditions and the individual shrimp’s reproductive health.

Can I breed ghost shrimp in a community tank?

It is possible to breed ghost shrimp in a community tank, but protecting the baby shrimp from being eaten by other tank inhabitants can be more challenging. If you produce ghost shrimp in a community tank, providing plenty of hiding spots and vegetation where the baby shrimp can hide and grow without being preyed upon is essential. Additionally, closely monitor the tank for any signs of stress or aggression among the tank’s inhabitants.

How long do ghost shrimp eggs take to hatch?

Ghost shrimp eggs generally hatch within 2-3 weeks, depending on the water tank temperature and other environmental factors. It is vital to provide a stable and suitable environment for the eggs to develop correctly. Once the eggs hatch, the baby shrimp will be released into the water and need to fend for themselves.

How long do ghost shrimp live?

Ghost shrimp have a relatively short lifespan compared to other aquarium inhabitants. On average, they can live for about 1-2 years. However, their lifespan can be influenced by factors such as tank water quality, diet, and overall care. Providing optimal conditions and a balanced diet can help your ghost shrimp live long and healthy lives and stop your  ghost shrimp die .

Will ghost shrimp eat their own babies?

Ghost shrimp are generally not known for cannibalism and will not intentionally eat their babies. However, the adult shrimp may accidentally consume some of the baby shrimp, especially if they lack hiding spots or are extremely hungry. Providing plenty of hiding places and a well-balanced diet can help reduce the chances of cannibalism among ghost shrimp.

Final Thoughts

So, how to take care of pregnant ghost shrimp? In conclusion, caring for pregnant ghost shrimp is essential to maintaining a thriving aquarium. These fascinating creatures bring life and vibrancy to your underwater world, and providing them with the necessary care during their pregnancy is crucial. By creating a suitable environment with plenty of hiding spots, maintaining water quality, and providing a balanced diet, you can ensure the well-being of the pregnant ghost shrimp and their offspring. Remember, happy and healthy aquarium results from diligent care, observation, and attention to detail.

By understanding the unique needs of adult shrimp, you can create a nurturing tank environment that promotes successful breeding and the survival of their young. So, whether you’re a seasoned aquarist or a beginner enthusiast, investing time and effort into learning  how to care for pregnant ghost shrimp  is a rewarding endeavor. Your dedication will be rewarded with the joy of witnessing new life unfold. Happy shrimp keeping!

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will 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.

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Aquarium Tidings

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Aquarium, Freshwater Fish, Aquariums, Aquatic Plants

Ghost Shrimp – The Care, Feeding and Breeding of Ghost Shrimp

June 21, 2014 by Robert Brand 29 Comments

ghost shrimp

The name ghost shrimp applies to dozens of different shrimp that all share a common trait – a completely translucent body. The name ghost shrimp originates from their nearly transparent bodies and these shrimp can be incredibly difficult to locate in a well planted aquarium.

The conditions that ghost shrimp originate in differ wildly depending on the species. In fact, some of the ghost shrimp sold in stores actually require brackish water, and will quickly die if kept in a freshwater aquarium. But for the most part,  ghost shrimp in stores are a fresh water species, that will thrive in both tropical and cold water aquariums.

In fact, they are a valuable addition to any tank containing small fish, and help to keep the tank clean by eating any missed food and constantly picking through the detritus at the bottom of the tank. They live on average for one and a half years and will grow up to 1 ½ inches if they are properly cared for and well fed.

Ghost shrimp are incredibly easy to house and will thrive in just about any tank provided for them. They are of the few fish or invertebrates that will not only survive, but will reproduce in a small fish bowl (one gallon is the minimum size). Of course they will do better in larger tanks, and some will even establish self-sustaining populations in heavily planted aquariums.

Because most stay under an inch, and produce almost no bio-load (waste), any filter should be chosen for their tank-mates and generally not for the ghost shrimp. If you are choosing a filter for ghost shrimp, it’s important to remember that their babies are free swimming larvae and will be sucked up to rather unpleasant deaths by most filters. Hang-on-back filters and canister filters should be avoided, and the only really safe filter for a ghost shrimp tank is a sponge filter.

But if they are kept in a larger tank with any significant number of fish, then it is still best to use a hang-on back filter or a canister filter. In any tank larger than 10 gallons, the majority of the ghost shrimp larvae will be able to avoid the filter intake of death.

As a treat, they can also occasionally be fed small amounts of frozen food. Their favorites are bloodworms and blackworms, though only a fully grown shrimp is capable of eating a bloodworm. Most other frozen food offered will generally be eaten by any fish in the tank, as it doesn’t sink to the bottom quickly enough for the ghost shrimp to grab.


The breeding of ghost shrimp is relatively easy, and the only requirement is having a sufficient number of male and female shrimp. The difficulty arises in keeping the free swimming larvae alive, since their mouths are too small for normal fish food and most starve to death – at least the ones that are picked off by hungry fish.

If you want a large number of baby shrimp to survive, any pregnant female should be removed from the tank as soon as any eggs are visible. Because of their semi-transparent body, it’s easy to see which females are pregnant and carrying eggs. The female will have numerous tiny green eggs in her abdomen, which will hatch into free swimming larvae after carrying them for a few weeks.

Once you have placed a pregnant female ghost shrimp in the breeding tank, you then have to tackle the problem of larval survival. Unfortunately, as previously mentioned, the fry are notoriously difficult to feed and most quickly starve to death. But there has been some reported success by people using commercially available fry food or baby brine shrimp.

I have personally never tried either of those options, but I have had significant success by placing large mops of Java moss in the breeding tank for ghost shrimp. It seems to harbor large amount of infusoria in the tendrils of moss that larvae to feast on, and I have had an excellent survival rate for ghost shrimp in any tank with Java moss.

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July 19, 2014 at 5:09 am

Would a pleco eat a ghost shrimp?? I recently added a few to my 36 gallon tank. It is a planted tank. There have been no problems yet except the occasional hide and seek champion deciding to hide from me…. Lol. Ghost shrimp are hard to find in such a big tank!

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July 26, 2014 at 2:08 pm

Hey Madison,

I actually had a pleco that developed a taste for ghost shrimp. That’s assuming that it’s a common pleco. Common plecos mainly eat plant matter when they’re young, but they start to eat a much meater diet as they get older. Of course there is always the chance that my pleco was just taking an opportunity to eat a dead shrimp, but I did see mine eating some a few times.

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May 9, 2015 at 5:36 pm

Hi I’ve tried to keep two batches of ghost shrimp now and after 2 weeks most if not all are dead, I’ve done all the testing and my results are all good, I didn’t think tetras would eat them as I’ve been told, I really want some in my tank but have no idea what to do??? Please help Cheers dom

May 9, 2015 at 10:00 pm

It’s pretty normal to lose a few ghost shrimp after purchasing them. But you definitely shouldn’t be losing all of them that quickly. The problem with ghost shrimp, is that there are dozens of species, all clumped under one name. Some of the ones sold are actually native to brackish water, and won’t do well in a freshwater aquarium.

Assuming that you have a freshwater species though, what is the pH and hardness of your water? Are there any plants or hiding places for them? Are of them already darkening in colour when you purchase them? Any whose bodies are beginning to turn a milky colour, will die soon after.

As long as they are healthy, and you don’t have overly acidic water, they are pretty easy to care for. That’s why I suspect there may be something wrong at the source.

May 10, 2015 at 4:52 pm

Thanks for the reply Rob, My water ph is 7.2 and I’m not sure about my water hardness I still need to buy the kit to test it, my tank is fully planted with large rocks and loads of hiding places, so I’m not sure what’s going wrong Cheers again

May 15, 2015 at 5:36 pm

Sorry about the delay in getting back to you. Aside from the unknown water hardness, it sounds like you have the perfect conditions for them. I think in this case I’d blame the supplier. And like I said, they are somewhat fragile so it’s normal to lose a few even from a reputable supplier. So if they’re already sick when you pick them up, you could end up losing all of them.

May 15, 2015 at 10:45 pm

I checked my water the other day the kh is 5 and the gh is 107, so from what I can read on the Internet everything should be all good for them, fingers crossed on the next batch I get. Thanks for the help and advice, Dom

May 16, 2015 at 6:44 pm

Good luck. It can be frustrating with these little guys sometimes, but they’re worth it.

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February 27, 2016 at 12:01 am

I need help I have a ghost shrimp that is pregnant what do I do because I want the larvae to live so if someone could help me that would be great thanks

March 6, 2016 at 4:11 pm

It’s difficult to keep the larvae alive, unless you have a mature, heavily planted tank. I’ve had the most luck with giving them plenty of Java moss to live in. I find that produces the most infusoria for them to eat when they’re larvae. You can also try culturing infusoria on your own, but I haven’t had much success adding that to the water. The truth of the matter is very few eggs will ever mature with ghost shrimp, and they’re difficult to breed in any significant numbers.

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May 15, 2016 at 5:58 pm

Why I’d it that they are so hard to keep alive? Surely at 39c a piece they must be easy to breed on a bulk scale.

May 16, 2016 at 12:58 pm

Many ghost shrimp in the hobby are wild caught, and they breed in massive numbers in the wild. But the main problem with keeping larvae alive in the aquarium is the lack of food. There simply isn’t enough microscopic life for them eat – life which occurs in much greater densities in the wild. Also, they face the danger of predation from any fish in the aquarium, and many can also die by being sucked up into filters..

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May 26, 2016 at 7:50 am

Great info! I only have two, but they seem to happily thrive in my 55gal tank with 3 adult white cloud mtn minnows, 24 baby ones, a dozen harlequin rasboras (young and adult mix), 4 black neon tetras, 8 cherry barbs, 6 cardinal tetras, 4 zebrafish, 6 leopard danios and 3 assassin snails (I know, it’s overstocked for the traditionalist, but that’s the way we do it out here on the farm…very tight community). Anyway, they’re pretty mellow during the day, hanging out around the plants, ornaments and other hiding places, eating and cleaning themselves when some of the fish are down there cruising around, but pounce about the tank during the night when the lights are off and the fish rest in the upper portions of the aquarium. I think I’ll add a few more since they’re so beneficial. They are really cool to watch – when I can find them! I keep the temperature ~23°, pH 7.0-7.2, nitrate<5.0ppm, and sadly, I've never measured my hardness. I use well water, condition it with sea salt and my tank is well established (~2yrs). 1/3 water ∆ every 2wks. I've never seem any of these very peaceful fish harass the ghost shrimp, not even my semi-neurotic leopard danios who spend a good part of every waking day chasing each other through out the tank. I did lose one cherry barb 19 mos ago after he jumped through a small opening in the lid while I was out (loved racing up and down the currents in the back of the aquarium), and my largest harlequin rasbora 4 mos ago from some rarity (his mouth became stuck wide open, he jumped all around as though looking for air, and by the time I quarantined him in the 10gal (same specs) to see if something was lodged in his mouth-about one min-he died on me. But the rest have flourished together and seem to really enjoy the company and atmosphere of their aquatic environment here, paying little, if any, attention to the glass shrimp who were added 2mos ago. Marty

May 26, 2016 at 3:12 pm

That tank must be a sight to behold. It’s definitely an interesting mix, but it sounds like you’ve picked some good species to go along with each other.

And it’s funny, I have all kinds of exotic fish, but ghost shrimp still remain one of my favorites. They’re criminally underrated in the hobby, and they’re so interesting to watch as they go about their daily routine. In fact, for quite a while I had a tank dedicated to just ghost shrimp, but after a while I couldn’t resist the lure of adding fish to it.

Good luck going forward with your tank.

May 27, 2016 at 3:06 am

Oh that’s cool! And thanks! Sometimes, I just lounge in my favorite relaxation chair, conveniently positioned about one meter in front of the aquarium, and watch them swim around and interact with each other for hours at a time. It’s a whole nother world in there! Your site is excellent, btw.

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September 2, 2016 at 10:11 pm

I’m getting some ghost shrimp and snails to add to my tank, and I already have a betta fish in it. My tank is a 10 gallon. Will my betta eat or harm the shrimp?

September 3, 2016 at 1:27 pm

Betta’s will occasionally eat both shrimp and snails, though in my experience, preying on ghost shrimp is very rare. More likely, they’ll just harass the shrimp without doing any damage. As long as you keep the betta well fed, you shouldn’t lose any shrimp.

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September 11, 2016 at 7:18 pm

I’ve noticed that ghost shrimp eat their dead. Well, I had few cherry shrimp in with my ghost shrimp. One of the cherry shrimp died and about six ghost shrimp ate him. All the ghost shrimp that ate the cherry shrimp died shortly after. Is this because the cannibalism within their species causes some kind of disease?

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October 28, 2019 at 10:53 pm

I know this is a couple years later but for anyone scrolling down here: if your cherry shrimp that died had a disease, and then the ghost shrimp ate it, it could have passed on the disease. You should always take dead bodies out of the tank even if you think they’re healthy.

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December 26, 2016 at 12:45 am

I’m planning to get some ghost shrimp, but how many should I get to ensure that at least 1 or 2 survive, and if I have a female and male, how many times will the female lay eggs, and how do I stop the larvae from hatching and overpopulating my tank? I have 5 neon tetras, some guppies, cory catfish, oto fish…with some live plants and a bunch of hiding places. What should I do?

December 26, 2016 at 7:12 pm

I used to get them in batches of around a half dozen, and about 4 would usually survive in the tank.

As for overpopulation, there is virtually no chance of that happening, since tanks usually don’t have enough food for the larvae to eat. Most of them will be consumed by the fish, and only a few with find the microscopic food they need to grow into adults.

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December 26, 2016 at 9:21 pm

Hi I was wondering what type of fish are compatible with a few ghost shrimp, in a 10 gallon tank.. I’ve done a bit of research myself and found that Zebra Danios are pretty good with them, is there any others that will suffice in a 10 gallon tank with the ghost shrimp?

December 27, 2016 at 8:59 pm

Most of the smaller mouthed fish work well with them, and guppies, danios, and many of the small tetras are good choices. Also, it helps to provide dense plants for them to hide in like Java moss, or carpet plants like micro swords. These ensure there is always a safe place for them if the fish become aggressive.

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December 30, 2016 at 7:32 am

Hi. Thanks so much for this helpful articl. I have a small 25liter aquarium with ghost shrimp, in addition to my 60g community tank with a common pleco. He is doing very good and I am planning for a larger tank for him. He is now 1year old and about 10inches. When, more or less, do they start eating meat? Okay my actual question is. In the shrimp tank… We went on holiday and the neighbors fed the fish, but while we were away they had a lot of babies. I now have all sizes shrimp as quite a few shrimp were full of eggs. I think when they saw the babies the fed them more, thus overfeeding. I now have tiny white worms swimming arround. I see one or two every now and again. They are about 5mm long and as thin as ‘n hair.

What are they? I read that some worrms like that can get in as a result of overfeeding. I thought i would vacuum the gravel a bit and do a few small waterchanges over the next week or so. But im scared that i wil vacuum baby shrimp in.. please give me some advice.. thank you for always having helpfull information for us.

December 30, 2016 at 3:10 pm

I find they start to prefer a meatier diet at around six inches, but you don’t need to change too much of what you feed them. Even most of the herbivore foods contain a fair bit of fish and shellfish in them, so you can most likely stick with whatever you’re feeding your fish.

As for the worms, those are planaria, or roundworms. They are harmless, but they do indicate there is a lot of decaying waste in the tank. You could change the water, but you need to be very careful not to vacuum up any shrimp. You can do this either through going very slowly and using a small tube, or by siphoning the water off into a bucket, and then examining the bucket to make sure you haven’t sucked up any juvenile shrimp. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to avoid sucking up the larvae though.

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May 13, 2020 at 8:38 pm

My shrimp is pregnant and I don’t know what to do with her my tank isn’t big enough mum won’t buy a container and also font have access to have moss or other food for the babys because I don’t have my own email for purchases can babys eat left over fish food??

May 15, 2020 at 1:41 pm

Shrimp hatchlings should do alright with finely ground up food. They will also graze on the aquarium, eating detritus and microscopic life. Why do you say you’re tank isn’t large enough?

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January 4, 2024 at 11:33 am

Hi can anyone tell me how long a ghost shrimp is supposed to live for? Cuz we have had ours for almost 17 years and he or she has eating everything we put in the tank including hard back snails. We call him the killer shrimp ????

[…] typically begin with 25-30 eggs. This will likely not accurately reflect the number of young you will end up adding to the […]

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Pregnant Ghost Shrimp: Beginner’s Guide To Proper Breeding

Pregnant Ghost Shrimp

Last Updated: July 13, 2022 by Flora Gibbins

If you’re new to shrimp keeping, the chances are that you may not know what a pregnant ghost shrimp looks like. If you happen to see one in your tank, it likely became pregnant without your knowledge due to different causes. 

What to do?

[FREE DOWNLOAD]: How To Avoid The Top 5 Mistakes New Betta Owners Make

When pregnant, a ghost shrimp is more sensitive and require more care and attention, including making changes in the water parameters.

Pregnant ghost shrimp can be distinguished from non-pregnant shrimp by their physical appearance. They are plump and look like they have eaten a few pounds of food.

Pregnant Ghost Shrimp Stage

Duration of pregnant ghost shrimp, possible causes of pregnancy, pregnancy phases for female ghost shrimp, pregnancy signs, breeding ghost shrimp, feeding baby brine shrimp to your pregnant ghost shrimp, watch this.

When ghost shrimp is pregnant, it will go through three stages of development. These are the pre-egg, egg, and post-egg stages.   The pre-egg stage is when the female shrimp is storing food in her abdomen for the eggs to eat once they are released.

The egg stage lasts until the eggs hatch into shrimp fry and becomes 4th stage larvae. The post-egg stage is when all young ghost shrimp have their first molts (shedding their exoskeletons) and become juveniles (first stage) which will eventually grow into adults.

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.

This duration varies depending on the temperature of the water. In warmer temperatures (above 72 °F or 22 °C), the shrimp will only be pregnant for a few days to a week. It will be pregnant for 2 or 3 months in cooler temperatures, giving birth in colder water (around 60 °F or 15 °C).

Pregnant ghost shrimp obtain the pregnancy in most reef tanks without any known cause. The most common causes are the use of common reef additives, water quality/filter(s) capacity, lighting, or other natural factors. 

The most common reason which triggers pregnant ghost shrimps is the use of common reef additives.

The most common additives that can cause pregnancy in ghost shrimp are carbon or iron/RedSea coral supplements/foodstuff. Carbon or iron supplements in the water can cause a female to store food in her intestine and become pregnant.

This will result in the female’s abdomen being filled with eggs, which she will lay down after the ghost shrimp is pregnant.

It is also possible for carbon or iron supplements to reduce egg production by lowering the female shrimp’s pH level. Also, it may be possible for pH to change due to other factors such as temperature change, sudden changes in light, etc.

It is also possible for carbon or iron supplements to change the pH levels of the shrimp’s water. Because of this, it may be possible for the male shrimp to emit his scent, which causes the ghost shrimp lay eggs. This will result in a sudden increase in egg production and cause a sudden pregnancy period.

Another cause would be using different lighting systems when setting up your tank. This may have an immediate effect on water quality, especially if you have never used light before.

It is also possible that if there is an overabundance of nutrients in your tank, it will lead to an increase in coral diseases like ich and others, which can cause the female shrimp to produce eggs.

Pregnant ghost shrimps can become pregnant almost anytime during their adult life (3 to 9 months). The laying and fertilizing of the eggs usually take around 6 to 8 weeks. However, there will be some early signs that your female ghost shrimp will begin to lay eggs within a few days after fertilization.

If a female ghost shrimp is already pregnant, you will notice her laying eggs earlier than if you had never had any females in the tank.

The eggs are incubated within the female’s body cavity. For each fertilized egg, 2 cells develop into a source inside the mother shrimp until they grow to around 0.5mm in size.

These embryos hatch into shrimp fry after 1-2 weeks and then pass through several “instars,” meaning it could take anywhere from 1 to 3 months from when the eggs were deposited before they hatch.

Pregnancy Signs

The pregnant shrimp will show pregnant characteristics a few days after fertilization. 

The female ghost shrimp will be heavier and plumper, and she’ll grow in size and have a brown or black spot on the back of her abdomen.

She may also have some foam coming out of her anus caused by excreted egg yolk. Her color change with the presence of green dots is often triggered by the presence of males in the tank, which can cause stress to the female shrimp. 

Females typically stop laying eggs about 3 weeks before they die, which happens instantly if she’s still producing eggs.

The female ghost shrimp will lay her eggs at the end of her abdomen. The eggs are lighter and smaller than the non-pregnant ghost shrimp eggs, and they take longer to hatch shrimp fry.

When the female has deposited all her eggs into the substrate, she will die within a few days if she isn’t eaten by another tank inhabitant first.

In an established tank (with lots of food), your pregnant female ghost shrimp is likely to have a shorter lifespan than if she was in an established or newly set up tank.

The duration of the pregnancy can vary between species. When ghost shrimp is pregnant in areas that have different temperatures might have a shorter lifespan than those from more tropical areas.

The female will lay around 100,000 eggs in a single spawning. This usually takes 2 to 3 weeks (depending on the temperature). After she’s done fertilizing all her eggs and they’ve hatched, they remain in their “pre-lay” state for around 5-6 days before they are ready to hatch the shrimp fry.

The females may spend hours and hours just sitting, waiting for the right moment when they will deposit the eggs into the substrate.

After hatching the ghost shrimp fry, the baby ghost shrimp will usually remain at the same spot for a few days before moving to a new location. They will molt very shortly after hatching and will grow before getting ready to turn into adults.

Fun Fact : Do mollies undergo a similar phase, too? Read our post to find out — Pregnant Molly Fish: Beginners’ Guide To Mating & Breeding

If your pregnant ghost shrimp seems stressed or has any of the symptoms below, she’s likely pregnant, and you should take action immediately. 

Anything from an improper temperature to too much algae growth in the tank can make her stressed and release her eggs prematurely.

Symptoms of a pregnant ghost shrimp:

  • A ghost shrimp will be present in the tank during the entire pregnancy.
  • The shrimp is white and opaque, and its tail looks transparent.
  • The ghost shrimp may also have an extra set of eyes on top of its head.

Also, if you have other tank mates that are too dominant, she might release the eggs (such as an aggressive Plecostomus).

A pregnant ghost shrimp should be avoided since she is such a sensitive animal. A female will lay her eggs in the substrate (the watering area outside the filter) in clear sight of the other tank inhabitants.

Therefore, you should ensure that other tank inhabitants do not harass the female and that she is not allowed to go near the waterline (or filter).

Trying to remove a pregnant ghost shrimp from your tank or attempting to breed it would be pointless; she’s already finished laying her eggs and won’t be going anywhere soon. And if you separate her from her eggs, it will be almost impossible for them to hatch the ghost shrimp fry.

If your female ghost shrimps have been laying eggs for several weeks and haven’t died yet (if she was already pregnant), she was likely depositing eggs for another male and not her offspring.

In that case, you need to determine which male is impregnating the female because you don’t want to end up with many “half-breed” offspring that another male sired.

The easiest thing to do is get rid of all the other males in the tank and leave one male in there with her. Failing that, you will have to wait for her to go through several “instars” to determine which male fertilized the eggs.

The instars are the developmental stages between two molts. If she has stopped laying eggs, they will likely be infertile or turn into males because the right male did not fertilize them.

If your pregnant shrimp is displaying some of these symptoms and doesn’t seem to be stressed with the other inhabitants in the tank, then your female ghost shrimp may have simply forgotten where she was going to lay her eggs or couldn’t find a suitable location.

When this happens, they will plow a furrow with their abdomen and lay their eggs somewhere in the substrate, which some other tank inhabitants will probably remove.

You can get rid of the stress and anxiety that the female has by switching her to a smaller or less crowded tank.

Also, move all your other tank mates so that she won’t have to compete for food. Reducing any movement from the female will also probably help since it decreases competition for food among her offspring.

You also need to make sure that your temperature stays normal for her or at least as close to normal as you can get it. Try and reduce the amount of food, but don’t completely restrict her diet.

Breeding Ghost Shrimp

If your pregnant ghost shrimp is on its own in a tank, it’s likely that it will begin to get harassed by other inhabitants in your breeding tank and more likely to get eaten.

If you notice the bloat in your shrimp, it’s recommended that you move it to a more protected area, such as a cave in your tank with the baby shrimp.

In most cases, you want to remove the shrimp from your tank and put it into a separate aquarium. If this is not possible or not necessary, there are other ways of dealing with the situation.

On the bottom of the breeding tank, you may notice a brown or yellowish-brown crust that looks like tiny bricks floating around. This is often caused by algae (biotoxins) and is actually what turned your ghost shrimp pregnant .

If your shrimp is in a separate tank, you’ll need to remove all the algae from the breeding tank and clean it with a strong water hose. If it’s in your main tank, you need to clean out your gravel and fissure with hydrogen peroxide and water.

This will destroy all the algae. Once your aquarium is clean, you can find the culprit – either a small snail or an insect.

Before putting the ghost shrimp back into your breeding tank , ensure that nothing else has been introduced and that no eggs are hiding inside its body (they can hatch very quickly). Then, once you put the shrimp back, monitor it and make sure it doesn’t get eaten or killed.

Fun Fact : Let’s compare if neon tetra pregnancy has similarities with ghost shrimp pregnancy! Check out this article we prepared — Pregnant Neon Tetra: Things To Know About Fish Pregnancy .


Pregnant ghost shrimp are very sensitive to any new food changes. The most important thing to remember is that they will be going through a stressful time and need the right nutrients such as baby shrimp and liquid fry food. 

Feeding every day, or at least several times per week will help boost their immune systems and help keep them alive.

They are also sensitive to other additives such as vitamins, salt, minerals, and proteins. If you notice that the shrimp have turned a cloudy white color with purple spots and some green dots, this is a sign of an overdose of additives.

Once you notice this, immediately remove the shrimp from your breeding tank and treat it differently by feeding it baby shrimp, so it doesn’t become pregnant again.

One of the best foods to feed your pregnant shrimp is baby brine shrimp. They have a high nutritional value, which helps them recover from their previous pregnancies and boosts their immune systems.

The most important thing to remember is that pregnant ghost shrimp need to eat baby shrimp and plankton . They need to eat a lot of it, too. The more food your pregnant ghost shrimp consumes, the better their condition.

If you’re having a hard time keeping your pregnant ghost shrimp alive and you’ve tried all the above methods, there’s not much else you can do apart from keeping up a daily check to see if the shrimp is alive or checking to see if any eggs have hatched inside its body. It’s recommended that you give it plenty of oxygenated water and keep the tank clean.

The pregnant ghost shrimp you see in your tank may have become pregnant when its owner removed the water and didn’t treat it. It’s important to always treat your water with a de-chlorinator, even if you haven’t changed the water in a while.

A pregnant shrimp is often used to feed fish and other larger creatures, such as frogs and large crustaceans. If you choose to use it as a feeder, you will notice that ghost shrimp die very quickly. They’re very sensitive and are very low on the food chain.

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

In any tank larger than 10 gallons, the majority of the ghost shrimp larvae will be able to avoid the filter intake of death.

When female ghost shrimps are carrying eggs, you can see males swimming and hovering around her as they compete to fertilize the eggs.

Fun Fact : Complement your newfound knowledge about ghost shrimp by reading our article, Ghost Shrimp: Tips And Hints In Caring For Your Spook Pet .

If you happen to capture pregnant ghost shrimps in your tank, it’s best to remove it from your main aquarium and put it into a separate tank. This is because they’re very sensitive to changes in the water parameters, such as ammonia and nitrite levels, temperature, and pH.

If you notice that the most common cause of being pregnant ghost shrimp is the removal of water from the tank, then this is why they’re so sensitive. If you have an algae problem in your tank, this would be another reason for them to become pregnant ghost shrimps.

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will ghost shrimp have babies

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will 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.

will 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.

will 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.

will ghost shrimp have babies

Ammonia 0ppm

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

will 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.

will 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.

will 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.

will 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.

will 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.

will 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.

will ghost shrimp have babies


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Ghost Shrimp Care Guide & Species Profile

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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.

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?

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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?

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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.

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:

will ghost shrimp have babies

  • Baby Shrimp Food

will ghost shrimp have babies

  • Shrimp Pellet Foods

will ghost shrimp have babies

  • Fish Flakes

will ghost shrimp have babies

  • Brine Shrimp

will 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?


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    April 26, 2022 Robert 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.

  22. Baby Ghost Shrimp Care 101

    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.

  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 ...