Aquarium Fish

Ghost Shrimp

The Ghost Shrimp is a cool little freshwater shrimp that you may be interested in keeping if you have the right tank setup. Ghost Shrimp are sometimes called the Glass Shrimp because they have a semi-translucent body. This is a very inexpensive shrimp to purchase and should live for a year or two and sometimes even longer.

They are frequently used by fishermen as fish bait and they are considered pests by clam farmers who spend lots of money trying to eradicate them from their clam farms. For hobbyists, they can provide an interesting addition to a tank stocked with smaller, less aggressive fish species. Larger fish may find them irresistible and will just love eating them.

Ghost Shrimp need to build a borrow to feel secure so you will need to provide a sand or very small sized gravel substrate that will allow them to create a shelter for themselves. You may be able to keep multiples provided that you have a tank large enough to support multiples. You may see some aggressive behavior amongst them around breeding time.

The Ghost Shrimp is a somewhat decent scavenger and will go after all fish foods placed into the tank. Make sure they are getting enough to eat by dropping in a sinking shrimp pellet or algae wafer every once in a while.

If you have your ghosties in a tank with fishes that need treatment for diseases you will need to remove the shrimps to a separate tank while medicating. Beware especially of any medications containing copper. Run activated carbon through the aquarium filter and make sure you remove all of the medications before introducing them back into the tank.

Ghost Shrimp Picture

Ghost Shrimp Palaemonetes spp.
Photo Credit: Tomas Hruska

Ghost Shrimp Video

Ghost Shrimp Care

Scientific Name : Palaemonetes sp.

Common Names : Glass Shrimp, Grass Shrimp

Care Level : Easy

Size : 1 - 2 inches (3 - 5 cm)

Life span : 1 - 2 years, sometimes longer

pH : 6.5 - 8

Temperature : 65°F - 80°F (18°C - 27°C)

Origin / Habitat : Found in multiple places throughout North America, mostly farm raised for the pet fish trade

Ghost Shrimp Temperament / Behavior : Sometimes will eat baby fish, they are usually food for other fish, sometimes will fight among themselves if the tank is too small and there are too many of them.

Ghost Shrimp Breeding : If you put several Ghost Shrimp in your tank then they will mate and the female will carry small ghost shrimp eggs in her belly which you can see. Happens without you doing anything. If you want to raise the young then you need to move the female to a separate tank before she has her babies and add the appropriate amount of aquarium salt.

Aquarium Size : 5 gallons (19 liters)

Ghost Shrimp Tank Mates : Use caution when selecting tank mates for your Ghost Shrimp if you want to keep them. Larger fish may find them irresistible and eat them. Smaller, peaceful fish species may be able to co-exist with them.

Fish Disease : Freshwater Fish Disease
They are not very susceptible to disease but are susceptible to chemicals that treat fish diseases. Look for warnings stating "not good for invertebrates on the bottle". Stay away from using any copper based medications in a tank with ghost shrimps.

Ghost Shrimp Diet / Foods : Omnivorous - will eat almost anything you feed it and also a good bottom feeder. This is not an effective algae eater.

Tank Region : Usually stays close to its burrow in the sand or gravel.

Gender : Hard to determine, no noticeable external differences between males and females. Females will carry the eggs.

Author : Mike FishLore

Fish Lore Forum : Ghost Shrimp Forum


Ghost Shrimp Tips

From: Emma
They shed their skins every once in a while, so don't be alarmed if you find skins on the bottom. The first time my shrimps molted I thought the skin was the dead ghost shrimp.

From: Dana Greene
We put some in my beta bowl here at work. My young fish likes them for interest. One kept jumping out of the bowl so we put it in a beta vase with a plant on top. That beta had a nice shrimp dinner.

From: Hzleys87
Ghost shrimp make an interesting addition to any tank. They are active little creatures and never get boring to watch... especially when they are off cleaning the aquarium.
Except with larger fish that will view them as nice snacks!

From: Peggy
I have kept these wonderful little creatures in my community tanks for years. In my opinion they are the best scavengers. I love watching their tiny claws get into the crevices for the food that the fish miss. I've never lost any healthy fish fry to them and their own babies are a great source of nutrition to their tank mates. I have found that they seem to benefit from having live plants around, as well as finer substrate to tunnel into. Also, they really chow down on sinking spirulina pellets, and are quick to claim the wafers themselves! Get along well with livebearers and small tetras, corys, plecos, ottos, and small algae eaters.

From: Coji
I've had 5 ghost shrimps in my 10 gallon tank for a month, and 3 females are carry eggs already. Several of those eggs have hatched in a separate smaller tank. I placed anacharis plants, along with periodic feeding of frozen brine shrimp and fish flakes. I have a few super tiny baby shrimps that are gradually starting to look/act like adult shrimps.

It's actually quite easy to distinguish the sex. Females are noticeably larger than males. I've noticed the females grow in size pretty quickly as they consume while the males have stayed the same size.


From: Darren
I have 10 ghost shrimp in a 10 gallon fish tank along with a few small fish. They are very friendly with other fish and will eat what the fish don't eat and are easy to take care of.

From: Lyn
Ghost Shrimps are indeed fascinating creatures. They are extremely peaceful, and mine never attempted to harm a single fish. Unfortunately we don't have fine substrate for them to burrow on, but we provided them with a little rock cave that did well in keeping them feel secure.


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