Ghost Shrimp

Ghost Shrimp

Ghost Shrimp are small in size and they look amazing when you place them in an aquarium with black background substrate or gravel. These shrimps can live with common aquarium fish and are friendly in nature.

Ghost Shrimp

They are also called grass shrimp, feeder shrimp, Australian ghost shrimp, pink nippers, nippers yabbies, marine yabbies, eastern shrimp, burrowing shrimps, and glass shrimp. 

Origin of ghost shrimps

Ghost shrimp were found in North America and, now they have become famous for keeping them as a pet in-home or offices. They are inborn to the Southeastern United state.

They were first announced in 1850. They are found in the whole world. Most species of shrimps are used as feeders for large fish, while some are used for aquariums. Their family is Palaemonetes paludosus genus.

They are known as busy and active pets and, they clean the tank by eating extra food and prevent the tank from algae. They do this all over the day.

They can live happily alone in one aquarium, so you do not require a shrimp group. Here is a chart that tells about their main characteristics.

Ghost Shrimp Profile

Common Names Ghost shrimp, Glass shrimp, Grass shrimp, Eastern Ghost Shrimp, and Feeder Shrimp
Scientific name Palaemonetes paludosus
Color form Transparent, Orange, and Yellow
Tank size 5 gallon
Care level easy
Size 3 to 5 cm
Breeding Medium or sometimes difficult
Temperature 65 to 85 Fahrenheit
Optimal PH 7.3 to 7.8
Optimal TDS 150 – 200 (100 – 400)
Diet Omnivores and algae consumer
Lifespan 1 to 3 years
Optimal KH 5 – 8.5  (3 – 12)
Optimal GH 4.5 – 8 (3 – 15)
Tank Set-Up Tropical Freshwater, Plants, and caves
Temperament Peaceful, calm and non-aggressive
Origin Farm-raised, North America
Tankmates Tiny, quiet, and non-violent
Family Palaemonidae


As their name tells about their look, they look similar to tiny transparent ghosts living in the aquarium. It sounds strange but, their appearance gives the impression of a little grass shrimp.

Their body color is vibrant that it is difficult to see under some background. Their transparent body is work for defense mechanisms in the barren.

You can see the internal eating process of their body. It is an entertaining aspect about ghost shrimp of why aquarists keeping them. They have flexible, soft, and transparent bodies.


Their size varies from fish to fish and by their age. Mostly their height reaches up to 1 1/2 inches. Their width is usually about the thickness of a pencil eraser when they are completely grown.

They are sexually dimorphic in that female ghost shrimps are greater than males. Some of the glass shrimps have shaded dots on their abdomen.

Ghost shrimp can reach up to 3 inches long. The male fish has higher claws than the female shrimp has. They have bog claws that can reach almost half of their size.


Most people think that they are transparent, but their bodies have hazy grey with spread green dots on their trunks.

Their body has tint series from luminous light grey to glowing darker grey. They have orange rings on their legs and organs.  

Body segments

Like all other shrimp species, they have two main body parts the abdomen and the cephalothorax. The cephalothorax is known as the head chest and, it is the front and large segment of the body.

The cephalothorax has a pointed rostrum that provides a unique look to the head. They have a carapace behind their eyes.

They have eyes talk from the rostrum sides; grass shrimp can look around by eyestalk without moving head. The carapace contains internal parts such as gills, heart, and stomach. The periopods occur to the lowermost of the carapace.

The carapace is so vibrant that you can see the eating and food digestive process. The carapace has a vast shell and covers the cephalothorax with it. Periopods have five walking legs, and they use to walk and climb on gravel, plants, and rocks. 

The abdomen has big muscles such as the intestine and reproductive organs. The other big section of the body is the abdomen. The stomach is protected with seven covering plates of shell. These shell plates make the shrimp stretchy that they can curl or roll its tail.

Lower the abdomen, they have five legs that work to scoot around in the water. Female glass shrimps have eggs on the lowermost of their front. Telson is the last organ of the abdomen.


They have two sets of the antenna, one pair of them is longer, and the other is short. They act as sensory organs that sense food, water level and interact with other fish.


They mostly live in the lakes, streams, and rivers, where they found moderate current moving water. They like to swim in live planted tanks.

You can add an air stone pump that will produce tiny bubbles and make the water flowing. They can place in the trifling size fish tank at least 5 gallons of water but, you should prefer more than 5 gallons aquarium.

Add decorations, plants, rocks, and hiding pieces that they feel more comfortable and relax. The water temperature should range from 65 to 85° Fahrenheit. 75° Fahrenheit is the best temperature for ghost shrimps.

More than 85° of heat will hasten the reproduction and growth rate. Lower temperature can decrease immunity and cause diseases.

If you are living in cold surroundings, then you must install the heater. The Ph level should about 7.3 to 7.8. The tank water should not contain ammonia and nitrites and would not comprise more than 20ppm nitrates.

Aquarium and water conditions for Ghost Shrimps

They are the ones of shrimp that easiest to care for them. They are cheap to buy and can live in multiple ranges of water conditions.

They are easy to nourish and are robust. They interact with anything that who do not destroy or eat them. They are social fish species and can live in nano tanks but keeping in large tanks is always better.

They can swim in both steamy and unheated water. The water alkalinity should reach between 3° to 10° dKH. They like to live in a medium current of water because they are not firm swimmers. Chemical agents like copper and copper-containing molecules are toxic for ghost shrimps.

Fish medicines such as malachite green and methylene blue are so harmful to other fish that they can kill them. Therefore while treating any sick fish, you should separate it from others.

The tank should add a few gravel hiding places, sand, and live plants because they hide when they burrow. Nitrate is used by plants and is less harmful. You should change tank water regularly because it controls the chemical reaction.

You should maintain a nitrate level of about 5 to 10 ppm. They swim in a flat muddy and, sandy area that contains tidal saltwater. You should also add lighting in their tank, it helps to see the fish, and lighting also uses for plants growing.

Here is the table that tells you about the water requirements of glass shrimp:

Ammonia and nitrite 0.0
PH 7.3 to 7.8
Nitrate about 20 MMP
Temp 75° to 80°F is best
KH 3 to 15 DKH
Gh 51 to 166.8 pm

Lifespan and molting

Ghost shrimp lifespan is almost one year and, it depends on care level and their origin. When you provide them decent tank conditions and a healthy diet, their lifespan will increase. Their lifespan may reach about three years.

As they used to feed other larger fish, they place in a high density without filtration. It causes them to murder shrimps while transporting and increase their mortality rate. They die even individuals keep them in a healthy aquarium.

Most aquarists do not offer them noble aquarium conditions when they are transported. They often place them in under filtered and overstocked jars with an inaccurate atmosphere. Therefore their lifespan more decreases.

They start molting when their existing exoskeleton outgrow. They shed the previous one to develop new. Their molting occurs much time in one year and these shrimps can regenerate limbs.

Fortunately, you do not have to clean or taking out from the tank because they become a diet for other shrimps. Your fish may hide after shedding because the new shell is very shrill and take time to vulnerable.


Ghost shrimps are food lovers, so they can eat anything that you give them. They eat phytoplankton and very tiny organic matters. Many shrimps can eat cucumber.

They are omnivores. Their diet includes bought food like algae wafers, flakes, and pallets. They greedily eating habit will makes them fantastic aquarium cleansers because they consume uneaten extra algae, vegetables, dead plants, and plant detritus.

They are the fast consumer and, they do like machines. They often prefer shrimp or fish pallets, algae bits or wafers, fish flakes otherwise remaining food in the tank.

You should also feed them calcium supplements because it is essential for their healthy shell development.

You should remove dead inhabitants from the tank quickly because it may contain an ammonia spike. Nest diet for ghost shrimps may include:

  • Spirulina
  • Flake food
  • Indian almond leaves
  • Shrimp food pellets
  • Blood worms
  • Blanch vegetables such as zucchini, spinach, cucumber, and romaine.
  • Globs of algae
  • Algae wafers
  • Calcium


They are calm and peaceful creatures. They do not a nuisance or trouble other fish in the tank. They remain active and busy by doing their activities at the lowermost of the aquarium and searching for objects to snack out.

They are so small, delicate, and gentle they are innocent harmless for all sizes of fish in the aquarium. They also devote several days by hiding them behind crevice, rocks, plants, or anything they find in the tank.

You should choose those tank mates who do not take them as a meal. The similar size tank mates like hatchet fish, tiny tetras, and livebearers would be a worthy choice for glass shrimp.

They do well in a small group of fish, a minimum of 6. These are too adaptable and can eat young shrimp of any kind and also consume fish fry.

They are hyper-aggressive to other fish when feeding. They madly try to get all the diet from water, so they create violence.

When there is no big predatory fish in the tank, they do not hide under plants or decoration and, they swim all around in the tank.

Ghost Shrimp Tank Mates

Their tank mates should be non-violent and small community aquarium fish that are not too big to eat certainly.

Most tank fish have similar temperaments and behavior, you can add with these fish. You can not keep ghost shrimp with larger and aggressive roughens. Few tank mates are not suitable for them as:

  • crayfish
  • goldfish
  • turtles
  • Oscars
  • frogs
  • cichlids

Few tank mates are noble for glass shrimps such as other kinds of shrimps as well as:  

  • Bamboo shrimp
  • Ramshorn snails
  • Vampire shrimp
  • Ivory snails
  • Amano shrimps
  • Gold Inca snails
  • Red cherry shrimps
  • Malaysian trumpet snails
  • Nerite snails
  • cory catfish
  • Mystery snails
  • Otocinclus catfish
  • Small barbs such as a cherry barb
  • Tiny catfish like the corydoras genus
  • Danios
  • Endle
  • Hatchet fish and tetras
  • Guppies
  • Calm loaches such as Kuhl loaches and zebra


Few ailments affect glass shrimps. Their illnesses are rare. You should know their symptoms and how you can deal with that diseases. Bacterial and viral infections are most common among all fish species.

When your fish is suffering because of viral infections, you should separate the affected fish and keep an eye on aquarium fish. Because contagions can spread and affect other fish.

Bacterial infections are easy to diagnose because of their vibrant colored bodies. It may seem like a pinkish or red puffy spot.

The most particular disease of ghost shrimp is Vorticella. They cause the shrimp’s shell to appears moldy and white. It comes from animals and algae.

Suitable plants for ghost shrimp

Like all other aquarium fish, ghost shrimps tank also requires adding some streamy live plants. Adding plants in a fish jar looks lovely and, they also provide them food and hiding places.

The live plants also help to clean the tank. They maintain accurate PH balance in H2o and use it to oxygenate the water. Some aquarium plants are much tricky to look after and may need proper lighting to stay alive.

Some plants are easy to look after. You have to add plants and, they do not need extra care. There are some best freshwater tank plants such as:

  • Java moss
  • Water wisteria
  • Duckweed
  • Java fern
  • Cryptocoryne
  • Vallisneria
  • Anubias and anubias nana
  • Dwarf lilies
  • Hornwort
  • Subwassertang
  • Pearlweed
  • Christmas moss
  • Water lettuce
  • Red root floater


The cost of ghost shrimp may vary by their size, quality, type, shop, and gender of shrimps. They are not expensive and easy to purchase. Their price ranges from $1 to $ 3 for one glass shrimp.

Ghost shrimp male vs female

It is hard to determine their gender difference at low age. The mature or adult of the male and female sex are cool to discriminate.

  • The female fish have a greenish saddle in their spinal, it reaches the underside of their tummy, while male ghost shrimp do not have. When they carry eggs in their belly, they also seem like bright green dots.
  • They also fluctuate to the back convexity. Female shrimp have distinctly curved arc beside the tail end.
  • The size of female shrimps is more superior to males. The female has a denser and larger front. The adult female length is approximately 5 cm and, the male size is less than 4 cm.

Ghost Shrimp Breeding

Ghost shrimp’s breeding can be hard when they access eggs. Other shrimps and fish can eat their larvae. So should keep them in a separate aquarium when breeding.

Their breeding jar does not require to be fancy and add a sponge filter. The sponge filter does not suck up any small larvae. You should add live plants in the breeding tank because they will provide nutrition to larval shrimp.

Adding plants is not essential for this process. Make sure that you keep females and males in the breeding tank. The green saddle also occurs under their body. Female might yield eggs after every few weeks.

There are 20 to 30 green spots that happen on female fish legs. When females become mature, they develop much larger size than males. You wait for a few days until male shrimp fertilize them.

You transfer the berried female shrimp to the breeder aquarium before hatching the eggs. Otherwise, young shrimps can eat by any other creatures in the tank.

When the egg hatching process is finished, you should move the female to the main aquarium because they will eat their own young.

In the breeding tank, you should feed the youngs a too small amount of food because they have a lesser mouth.

When their legs have grown fully, you can give them the equal diet as the mature shrimps. This process takes almost five weeks to accomplished, so you can place them in the main tanks if you want.

How many eggs they have? 

The grass shrimp mostly have eggs about 8 to 85 and, the egg rises with female shrimp length. The maturation period takes 13 to 14 days at 27 to 28C. 

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