Ghost Shrimp (Palaemonetes Paludosus): Ultimate Care Guide


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Common Name(s)Ghost Shrimp, Glass Shrimp
Scientific NamePalaemonetes Paludosus
OriginNorth America
Temperature65F – 75F
Water pH6.5 – 8.4
Adult Sizeup to 1.5 inches
DietOmnivore

Ghost Shrimp Facts

  • Ghost Shrimp can be found in North America, more specifically, the waters of the Appalachian Mountains.
  • Ghost Shrimp are described as true omnivores. This means that they will eat whatever they can get, however, they spend most of their time grazing on algae.

What Are the Benefits of Ghost Shrimp?

Ghost Shrimp are not just interesting to look at, they can also be beneficial to the home aquarium for several reasons. Ghost Shrimp are often called true scavengers who will not only eat algae that can grow in your tank, but they will also eat leftover food bits that can accumulate and rot in your tank causing poor water quality. Ghost Shrimp are a popular choice for the home aquarium due to their ability to eat lots of algae and successfully keep the algae levels low in your tank. They can be found continuously grazing and snacking on algae. Their algae busting ability and their minimal requirements to keep them healthy make them a popular choice for home aquariums.

Ghost Shrimp (Palaemonetes Paludosus)
Ghost Shrimp (Palaemonetes Paludosus). Edited. Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, CC BY 2.0

Ghost Shrimp Care

Ghost Shrimp are considered easy to care for, and are even recommended for beginners. Their low requirements combined with their tireless efforts to rid your tank of algae and other unwanted waste make them a popularly chosen addition to the home aquarium.

Food & Diet

Ghost Shrimp are not picky eaters at all. In fact, they can and will eat whatever you are feeding the other inhabitants of your aquarium. They will even act as an efficient clean up crew for your tank. Ghost Shrimp love to graze on algae. They can be found grazing on algae, or cleaning up leftover food at all times of the day.

Tank Size & Requirements

Ghost Shrimp do not require much to make them happy, and this is why they are great for a beginner to the fish keeping hobby. Ghost Shrimp are small and don’t require much space to keep a small group of them. You can keep a single Ghost Shrimp in a Tank as small as 2 gallons, but it is recommended to keep them in a small group of at least 15. You could keep 15 to 20 Ghost Shrimp comfortably in a 5 gallon. Ghost Shrimp prefer their water at around 65F to 75F. They can even tolerate a wide range of water parameters, preferring their pH to stay somewhere in the range of 6.5 to 8.4.

How Many Ghost Shrimp Per Gallon?

Ghost Shrimp can be kept together with about roughly 3 Ghost Shrimp per gallon. However, if you have more room to offer them, the better. More room means more Ghost Shrimp, and that can be a good thing!

How Many Ghost Shrimp in a 10 Gallon Tank?

You could keep anywhere from 25 to 30 Ghost Shrimp in a 10 gallon tank.

Ghost Shrimp Tank Setup

Setting up a tank for Ghost Shrimp then you will be happy to know that they are easy to keep happy. Ghost Shrimp do not have a preference when it comes to substrate, and they will be happy with anything that you choose for them. It is best to choose a substrate that will better benefit your plants, but choosing a darker substrate will make it so that the Ghost Shrimp will be more easily visible. There are many plants that will work well, and provide many places for Ghost Shrimp to hide. The most important thing for a Ghost Shrimp tank is to provide them with many places to hide. If they are in an empty tank, they will stress quickly.

Identification and Markings

Ghost Shrimp are small and transparent. They get their name from their ghost-like appearance, and they even swim as though they are floating along. Ghost Shrimp have the same body structure as the shrimp that humans eat, they are just smaller. They are raised most often as food for other fish, but are popular for their algae eating abilities. There is not much difference in coloration, but if you look closely you will be able to see tiny specks on their bodies. These speckles do have a color range, and can be shades of green or brown.

Ghost Shrimp Size & Lifespan

When fully grown, Ghost Shrimp can be up to 1.5 inches in length. Ghost Shrimp have an average lifespan of up to 1 year. It is possible that they can live slightly longer if properly cared for, but unfortunately not that much longer even in the best conditions.

What Do Ghost Shrimp Eat?

Ghost Shrimp are described as true omnivores, and are often chosen for the home aquarium for their low maintenance, and ability to help with algae control. They can survive off of anything that you want to feed them, but keep in mind that they are happiest when grazing for algae and other foods. They can be a beneficial addition to the home aquarium not only for the algae control, but because they will also eat the leftover bits of food that other fish won’t eat. This will help with your water quality.

Do Ghost Shrimp Eat Algae?

Ghost Shrimp are perhaps one of the best algae eaters. They can be found grazing on and munching on algae at any time of day or night. They are a great way to help keep algae down in your tank.

Ghost Shrimp Breeding

If they are being cared for properly, Ghost Shrimp will reproduce often in the home aquarium. You can identify female Ghost Shrimp quite easily when they are carrying eggs. If the female has a clutch of eggs, you will be able to visibly see the little eggs they carry attached to their legs.

Ghost Shrimp Eggs

Female Ghost Shrimp carry their eggs attached to their legs, and they are visible if you know where to look for them. Female Ghost Shrimp carry their eggs beneath their tails while their other legs act as fans to wave oxygen to their clutch of eggs. The female Ghost Shrimp will do this, and carry her eggs for around 3 weeks before they are ready to hatch.

What Do Ghost Shrimp Eggs Look Like?

Ghost Shrimp eggs are tiny little white specs, but they can still be seen if you know where to look. Female Ghost Shrimp carry their eggs underneath their tails. They use their other, smaller legs to fan oxygen to the egg clutch until they hatch. If the eggs the female Ghost Shrimp is carrying are fertilized, they will turn white and there will be black specs visible. These black specs are the eyes and stomach of the Ghost Shrimp fry.

How Long Do Ghost Shrimp Eggs Take to Hatch?

Ghost Shrimp eggs hatch in about 3 weeks.

Newborn Ghost Shrimp

To ensure the survival of the newly hatched Ghost Shrimp fry, you will want to house them in a separate tank from other adult Ghost Shrimp as they will cannibalize their young if given the chance. They are very small, and in the earlier stages of their development, they are similar in appearance to mosquito larvae.

How Do You Raise Ghost Shrimp Fry?

It does not take long for Ghost Shrimp fry to reach maturity. After roughly 5 weeks, they can be removed from the breeding tank and placed into the community tank as they will be roughly the same size as the parent shrimp. When they are in their developmental stages, they need to be fed every 3 hours, 24 hours a day.

How Do You Tell the Difference Between Male and Female Ghost Shrimp?

It is easy to identify female Ghost Shrimp from males due to their transparent coloration. Female Ghost Shrimp will have a greenish coloration that runs along her underbelly. This is sometimes called a saddle, but it indicates that the shrimp you are looking at is female. The saddle is the ovaries of the female Ghost Shrimp. Female Ghost Shrimp also have larger bellies than the males do, this is to help them carry their eggs.

Ghost Shrimp Disease

Ghost Shrimp are prone to catching a few illnesses. These ailments are usually caused by improper water conditions, but Ghost Shrimp can catch disease from other fish or decor that is introduced to your aquarium from an outside source. It is recommended that you quarantine your new tank additions to help prevent introducing sickness into your tank.

Ghost Shrimp can also be affected by parasites, a common fungal parasite known as vorticella can affect Ghost Shrimp by covering their bodies, and turning them white.

Why is My Ghost Shrimp Turning White?

Most likely, if you notice that your Ghost Shrimp is turning white, it is probably infected with a fungal parasite called vorticella. This fungus starts out at the tip of the nose of the shrimp and spreads itself over the whole body of the shrimp. If your Ghost Shrimp has this parasite, you can expect them to have less energy and appetite.

How Do You Tell if Your Ghost Shrimp is Molting or Dead?

When Ghost Shrimp have died, they gain a pinkish coloration similar to that of cooked shrimp. If you see your shrimp has begun to molt, but their white carcass has turned this pink shade, then they are dead.

How Often Do Ghost Shrimp Molt?

When Ghost Shrimp are in their larval stages, they will molt quite often, about once a day. As they continue to grow, they molt less often, but even adult shrimp will still molt roughly once a month to help them regenerate lost limbs. Ghost Shrimp are most vulnerable during this process, and they will require places to hide so that they can molt without experiencing stress.

Why Did My Ghost Shrimp Die?

There are many reasons that your Ghost Shrimp could have died. They have a short lifespan of around 1 year, and they are prone to stress and some ailments. Most often though, the cause of death to Ghost Shrimp is simply shock. Ghost Shrimp need time to acclimate, and if you do not give them enough time to acclimate, they will die rather quickly.

Ghost Shrimp Tank Mates

It is not a good idea to keep Ghost Shrimp with other tank mates that could potentially see them as food. Any fish larger than they are, will be tempted to go after your Ghost Shrimp. Loaches, snails, cory catfish, and other shrimp all make for great tank mates for Ghost Shrimp.

Are Ghost Shrimp Aggressive?

Ghost Shrimp are not aggressive unless their needs are not being met in their habitat. Sometimes, Whisker Shrimp are sold on accident as Ghost Shrimp, and they are to blame for the aggression some shrimp owners were not expecting.

How Many Ghost Shrimp Should Be Kept Together?

Ghost Shrimp prefer to live in large groups of at least 15. They do better in much larger groups, just make sure you have enough room for all of them.

Tank Mates for Ghost Shrimp

Ghost Shrimp can be kept with a few, peaceful species of fish such as some Corydoras, or loaches. It is not recommended that Ghost Shrimp be kept with any fish that are larger than they are, as they could be seen as a potential meal.

Ghost Shrimp and Goldfish

It is possible to keep Ghost Shrimp with Goldfish if you have the appropriate setup. Goldfish could potentially see your Ghost Shrimp as food, and if given the opportunity, they will eat your shrimp. It is important to give your Ghost Shrimp plenty of places to hide, and a large enough tank so that they can get away from a hungry goldfish if they are threatened.

Ghost Shrimp and Betta

Ghost Shrimp and Betta Fish can live together, but you are still putting your Ghost Shrimp at risk of being a meal for a hungry Betta.

Ghost Shrimp and Tetras

Ghost Shrimp can be housed with Tetra only under the right conditions. Tetras will definitely go after Ghost Shrimp if given the chance. It is important to provide Ghost Shrimp with many places to hide.

Ghost Shrimp and Guppies

Ghost Shrimp and Guppies both enjoy roughly the same tank requirements, and as long as the Ghost Shrimp are not too small, they can be housed safely with Guppies. It is important for Ghost Shrimp to have plenty of places to hide, and get away from any hungry fish.

Ghost Shrimp and Axolotl

Ghost Shrimp are great tank mates for Axolotl as they will typically not disturb one another, and Ghost Shrimp are a great cleanup crew for any bits of food left behind.

Ghost Shrimp and African Dwarf Frogs

African Dwarf Frogs will go after Ghost Shrimp every chance they get, so it is not a good idea to keep the two species together.

Ghost Shrimp and Turtles

Ghost Shrimp and Turtles enjoy roughly the same water parameters, but they should not be kept with Turtles unless you are ok with them eventually becoming Turtle food. Hungry Turtles will go after Ghost Shrimp every chance they get until they eventually get them.

Ghost Shrimp and Snails

Ghost Shrimp and Snails make for great tank mates. They are both peaceful and will not go after one another.

Where Can I Find Ghost Shrimp for Sale?

If you are looking to purchase Ghost Shrimp for your home aquarium, you will be happy to know that they are easily found at most local pet stores and online. They are fairly inexpensive at less than a dollar per shrimp.

Ghost Shrimp VS Amano Shrimp

Amano Shrimp and Ghost Shrimp are similar in their requirements and behavior, but Amano Shrimp tend to be larger than Ghost Shrimp. Ghost Shrimp can live in colder temperatures than Amano Shrimp.

Ghost Shrimp VS Cherry Shrimp

Ghost Shrimp can grow larger than Cherry Shrimp. Cherry Shrimp come out during the day and night, whereas Ghost Shrimp can mostly be seen at night.

Ghost Shrimp VS Whisker Shrimp

Due to their similar appearance, the Ghost Shrimp is often blamed for the aggression of the Whisker Shrimp. Whisker Shrimp are slightly larger with longer antennae than the Ghost Shrimp. If you look at the two species side by side, you will be able to see the distinctive orange banding around the antennae of the Ghost Shrimp.

Fish Laboratory

With decades of collective fishkeeping experience, we are happy to share the fish care tips that we've picked up along the way. Our goal at Fish Laboratory is to keep publishing accurate content to help fishkeepers keep their fish and aquarium healthy.

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