The Fish Guru

Ghost Shrimp Care: From Burrowing to Breeding

Ghost Shrimp: An Overview of Care and Housing

Are you looking for a unique and interesting addition to your aquarium? The Ghost Shrimp is a popular choice due to its fascinating characteristics and easy-to-maintain care.

Transparent bodies, 10 legs, and a green saddle are just some of the features that make this freshwater invertebrate a popular choice for aquarium enthusiasts.

Physical Characteristics

Transparent bodies are the hallmark of the Ghost Shrimp, allowing them to blend in with their surroundings. They have segmented bodies, which are protected by a tough exoskeleton.

This makes them incredibly resilient and able to withstand a wide range of water parameters. They have five pairs of legs, the front two of which are modified into claws for grabbing food and cleaning.

Ghost Shrimp also have five pairs of thoracic legs that are used for movement and walking on the tank’s surface. One unique physical characteristic of Ghost Shrimp is the green saddle located behind their heads.

The saddle is easily visible and helps distinguish them from other shrimp species. The saddle gets its green coloration from the algae that Ghost Shrimp regularly consume as part of their diet.

History and Origin

Ghost Shrimp are native to North America, and they have been well-known to science since the 1850s. They are commonly found in rivers, streams, and ponds in the United States and Mexico.

Over the years, breeding programs have made Ghost Shrimp readily available in pet stores, making them accessible to aquarium hobbyists.


Ghost Shrimp are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and animals. They will readily consume algae, flake food, and sinking pellets in the aquarium.

Offering a varied diet is crucial to maintaining their health and promoting growth. In some cases, Ghost Shrimp will also scavenge on leftover food scraps in the aquarium.

It is important to feed them only what they can consume within several minutes to prevent overfeeding and pollution.

Housing Ghost Shrimp

Creating the ideal environment and providing the right tank setup is critical to the health and longevity of Ghost Shrimp. Here are some key considerations when housing these invertebrates:

Ideal Environment

Ghost Shrimp require a pH of 7.2, a temperature around 75 Fahrenheit, and hard water to thrive. It is important to maintain consistent water parameters to prevent stress and disease.

Water changes should be undertaken regularly to keep the water clean. You can use a master water testing kit to monitor the water quality.

Tank Setup

Ghost Shrimp are active scavengers and love to explore their surroundings, so providing a well-decorated tank with a variety of hiding places and live plants is essential. Adding sand or gravel to the tank provides a natural environment for them to forage on food and algae.

You can also add cave structures made of rocks or terracotta to create hiding places for your Ghost Shrimp. A filter is essential to keep the water clean, and an airstone can help add some oxygen to the water.

Tank Mates

Ghost Shrimp are communal creatures, and it is recommended to keep them in groups of at least six or more. They are compatible with similar species such as Cherry Shrimp and Amano Shrimp.

However, they can become prey to larger fish, so it is important to avoid housing them with predatory species. Ghost Shrimp are non-aggressive and easy-going in nature.

In conclusion, Ghost Shrimp are fascinating creatures that are easy to care and maintain. By providing the right tank setup, diet, and water parameters, aquarists can keep Ghost Shrimp for years.

Not only are these invertebrates captivating to watch, but they also contribute to the overall health and balance of the ecosystem in the aquarium. Ghost Shrimp Behavior: Burrowing,


Lifespan, and Breeding

Ghost Shrimp are fascinating creatures that are well-known for their unique physical attributes and easy-to-maintain care.

They are also a joy to observe as they exhibit interesting behaviors in their natural habitat. In this article, we will explore the behavior of Ghost Shrimp, including their burrowing and movement patterns, the process of molting, their lifespan, and the breeding difficulties associated with these invertebrates.

Burrowing and Movement

Ghost Shrimp are known for their burrowing behavior, which they use as a tool to search for food, hide from danger, or create a safe space for their offspring. Since they have ten legs, five on each side of their body, Ghost Shrimp use their legs to dig through sandy mud or substrate.

They also use their front two legs, modified into claws, to scoop up sediment and create burrows. Ghost Shrimp are fond of creating burrows in live plants or decorative structures and tend to migrate to new areas frequently.

Ghost Shrimp love to move around and are incredibly agile in their movements. They are able to swim, walk, and grab at objects with ease.

Their legs are modified for both moving on the substrates and propelling themselves through the water.


One of the most fascinating behaviors of Ghost Shrimp is the process of molting. As an invertebrate with an exoskeleton, Ghost Shrimp need to shed their outer shell in order to grow.

During the molting process, Ghost Shrimp are incredibly vulnerable to predation as their outer shell drops off, leaving them unprotected. After molting, Ghost Shrimp will hide away to avoid predators and start the process of hardening their new shell.

The molting process also involves the release of free floating larvae that are incredibly small and difficult to detect. Ghost Shrimp can reproduce several times within a year, depending on the availability of food and favorable environmental conditions.


The lifespan of Ghost Shrimp is relatively short, with most individuals surviving for one year or slightly more. This brief lifespan can lead to a high turnover rate in aquatic populations, with new offspring growing up quickly to replace aging and dying individuals.

Maintaining consistent water parameters and offering a varied diet can help enhance the survival rate of Ghost Shrimp, ultimately prolonging their lifespan.

Breeding Ghost Shrimp

Breeding Ghost Shrimp is a complicated process due to their inability to mate as other species. In Ghost Shrimp, females produce eggs while males fertilize them externally.

The eggs hatch into free-floating larvae that are difficult to monitor in a community tank. Therefore, breeding Ghost Shrimp is best done in a separate tank where the larvae can be properly cared for.

The difficulty of breeding Ghost Shrimp lies in the care of the free-floating larvae, which require specific conditions to survive. The tanks must be adequately filtered and aerated to provide a stable water environment, and a supply of powdered algae must be provided to ensure they receive proper nutrition.

Once the larvae have grown, they can be reintroduced into a community tank, where they will continue to grow and thrive. In conclusion, Ghost Shrimp exhibit fascinating behaviors such as burrowing and molting, and have a relatively short lifespan.

While breeding Ghost Shrimp can be challenging, the rewards of raising new and young Ghost Shrimp can be an incredibly satisfying experience. By providing the right conditions and diet, aquarists can successfully breed and maintain Ghost Shrimp in their aquariums.

Important Information on Ghost Shrimp Care:

Copper Sensitivity and

Tank Maintenance

Ghost Shrimp are fascinating aquatic creatures that are easy to care for and provide a unique addition to any aquarium. However, despite their hardiness, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind when caring for Ghost Shrimp.

In this article, we explore two important aspects of Ghost Shrimp care:

Copper Sensitivity and

Tank Maintenance.

Copper Sensitivity

Ghost Shrimp have a low tolerance for copper, which is a toxic element that is present in many fish medications. Copper is often used in fish medications to treat common fish diseases like ich and fungal infections, but its presence in aquarium water is highly toxic to Ghost Shrimp.

The effects of copper on Ghost Shrimp can be severe, with increased stress, lethargy, and even death. As a result, it is important to avoid using any medications containing copper in tanks that house Ghost Shrimp.

It is also a good idea to switch to copper-free medications even if your aquarium does not contain Ghost Shrimp, to avoid any future adverse reactions if you decide to introduce them into your tank.

Tank Maintenance

Maintaining a healthy aquarium environment is essential to the health and well-being of Ghost Shrimp. There are several important aspects of aquarium maintenance that must be attended to, including the removal of dead fish, maintaining the right balance of temperature and water parameters, and avoiding overstocked tanks.

Dead Fish Removal

In the event of a dead fish, it is crucial to remove it from the tank quickly. Dead fish release harmful toxins as they decompose, which can quickly poison other tank inhabitants.

Removing dead fish promptly will help prevent a buildup of toxins and keep your aquarium water clear, clean, and healthy.

Temperature and Water Parameter Maintenance

Ghost Shrimp require consistent water parameters to thrive, and this includes maintaining an ideal temperature between 75 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit, a pH range of 7.0-8.0, and moderate hardness. Rapid fluctuations in temperature or water parameters can cause stress and illness in Ghost Shrimp, leading to health problems or even death.

Therefore, it is important to monitor water parameters regularly using a quality test kit and adjust for any deviations using appropriate water treatments. It is also essential to gradually adjust the temperature to keep it within the optimal range, as sudden and drastic changes in temperature can also cause stress.

Avoid Overstocked Tanks

Ghost Shrimp are active scavengers, which means they require enough space and resources for maximum growth and thriving. When stocking a tank with Ghost Shrimp, it is important to avoid overstocking the tank to maintain the ideal water conditions.

Overstocking can lead to elevated ammonia and nitrate levels, creating toxic conditions that can harm your shrimp and other aquatic creatures. In conclusion, copper sensitivity, and tank maintenance are crucial aspects of Ghost Shrimp care that every aquarium enthusiast should keep in mind.

By avoiding copper medication and maintaining proper tank maintenance practices, Ghost Shrimp can live long and healthy lives in their aquatic home. Additionally, maintaining a healthy tank environment that is free of toxins and disease will ensure that your Ghost Shrimp receive the best care possible, leading to a thriving aquarium for many years to come.

In conclusion, caring for Ghost Shrimp involves understanding and implementing important care requirements. Avoiding copper medication, removal of dead fish, maintaining appropriate tank conditions and avoiding overstocked tanks are all crucial to ensuring the health and longevity of Ghost Shrimp.

By following these guidelines, aquarium enthusiasts can enjoy the fascinating and unique qualities of Ghost Shrimp while creating a thriving aquatic environment. Remembering these critical success factors is the cornerstone to keeping Ghost Shrimp healthy and thriving, providing an enjoyable and exciting addition to anyone’s aquarium.

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