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Ghost Shrimp Care: Tank, Water and Food Requirements

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Ghost shrimp are a low-cost, easy-to-care-for pet that many aquarium enthusiasts love.

Though many use them as feeder fish, having a tank of ghost shrimps makes for great decoration and a lovely hobby. So, what goes into ghost shrimp care?

If you’re looking for some information on taking care of your ghost shrimp, we have you covered.

Read on for everything you need to know about ghost shrimp care!

Are Ghost Shrimp Easy To Care For?

Caring for any living creature brings challenges.

However, as far as many fish and aquarium creatures go, ghost shrimp are easy to care for.

Their food requirements are lower, though they are exceptionally fragile.

Aside from basic aquarium care, one of the most important things you can do is keep your aquarium free of sharp decorations.

Your ghost shrimp’s exoskeleton is fragile enough that sharp ornaments can cut or puncture them, leading to injury and death.

How Long Do Ghost Shrimp Live?

Ghost shrimp are not long-lived animals.

Many of them are bought as feeder fish for larger animals, which gives them a short lifespan.

Unfortunately, it also means that stores commonly keep them in harsh conditions.

If able to live to their natural lifespan, ghost shrimp live for around a year.

This lifespan varies by a few months, depending on the individual shrimp.

Ghost Shrimp Tank Requirements and Basics

The first thing to taking care of a ghost shrimp is knowing their aquarium needs.

Here’s everything that goes into taking care of your ghost shrimp’s environment.

What Size Tank Does a Ghost Shrimp Need?

Your tank should have a minimum of five gallons for a ghost shrimp.

You can make it much larger, but smaller than this isn’t advisable.

The tank should have rounded decorations such as driftwood, sand, river rocks, and gentle decorations.

Avoid sensitive plants and nitrate accumulation as much as possible.

What Do Ghost Shrimp Need in Their Tank?

The following is a list of all the accessories your tank could have and whether your ghost shrimp will benefit.

Do Ghost Shrimp Need a Filter?

A filter won’t harm your shrimp, but they need minimal filtration.

One that suits your tank is fine.

Make sure you use a filter that won’t suck up your fish.

A sponge filter works excellent for ghost shrimp.

Do Ghost Shrimp Need an Air Pump?

An air pump is a good thing to have for the fish in your tank.

Ensure you don’t use something powerful enough to create a strong current, which can harm your shrimp’s ability to swim.

The bubbles generated by an air pump are a significant enrichment for your pets as well!

Do Ghost Shrimp Need a Heater?

Unless your home or tank’s environment is abnormally cold, you should not require a heater.

Ghost shrimp live in water as cold as 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius).

Do Ghost Shrimp Need a Light?

You should have some light in your tank, but your ghost shrimp don’t strictly require it.

If you use a light, make sure you have live plants or rocks for your ghost shrimp to hide under.

Do Ghost Shrimp Need Live Plants?

Ghost shrimp thrive with live plants!

Avoid delicate or sensitive plants, as ghost shrimp have burrowing tendencies that can damage or kill the plants.

Sturdy plants will enrich the environment and provide your ghost shrimp with safety and comfort.

Ghost Shrimp Water Basics

Now that we know what accessories to use in the tank, how do we fill it?

Here’s everything to know about the water conditions you should create for your tank.

Can Ghost Shrimp Live in Tap Water?

Whether ghost shrimp can live in tap water or not varies from area to area.

Some places have gentle tap water that a ghost shrimp could manage to live in.

Others have tap water that not even the residents should drink!

As a rule of thumb, you should always treat the water before you put fish in it.

Ghost shrimp can live in water with a pH of 7.0 to 8.0.

They can tolerate a hardness of 3.0 to 12.0 dGH without issue.

How Long Should Water Sit Before Adding Ghost Shrimp?

It’s a good idea to let the water sit for at least a week before you put in ghost shrimp.

However, two weeks is ideal.

This waiting period gives the bacteria native to the tank time to settle before the ghost shrimp can throw off their living conditions.

What Temperature Should a Ghost Shrimp Tank Be?

A ghost shrimp tank should be around 80 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius).

Anywhere from 65-82 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 20 degrees Celsius) is safe and comfortable for your ghost shrimp.

How Often Do You Change Ghost Shrimp Water?

You should change the ghost shrimp water once every two weeks.

This period gives your ghost shrimp enough time to molt at their own pace before their environment changes.

Ghost Shrimp Diet and Feeding

Your tank is filled, and your shrimp are in the water!

Here’s what you should know about feeding your new friends.

What Do Ghost Shrimp Eat?

Ghost shrimps are omnivores, which means they eat vegetation or meat without discrimination.

One of the main things that they eat is the algae that grow in the tank.

Because of this, you can safely let algae grow without harming the fish; it’s good for your shrimp!

How Much Do You Feed a Ghost Shrimp?

How much you feed a ghost shrimp depends on the tank’s conditions.

If they have other fish with them, ghost shrimp can usually get their food off of the remnants of whatever you’ve fed the fish.

A large amount of algae also gives them bountiful food.

If the shrimp are alone in an algae-less tank, you can still feed them a small amount safely.

How Often Do You Feed a Ghost Shrimp?

If they’re in an algae-less tank without other fish, feed them once a day.

If you see them leaving a good amount of food behind, feed them less in quantity, but not less often!

Ghost Shrimp Tank Mates

You’ll have more in your tank than a single lonely ghost shrimp!

Here’s a brief read-up on what other animals should fill the tank with your shrimp.

Can a Ghost Shrimp Live Alone?

A ghost shrimp can live alone and won’t mind.

However, they thrive when not alone!

Consider other ghost shrimp or fish friends for your shrimp.

Can a Ghost Shrimp Live With Other Ghost Shrimp?

Ghost shrimp survive best in colonies.

Having a large amount of ghost shrimp makes feeding them more accessible and keeps the tank cleaner.

It also provides your ghost shrimp with plenty of enrichment.

How Many Ghost Shrimp Can You Keep Together?

Cramming too many ghost shrimp into one tank can lead to injury, overcrowding, a dirty tank, and more.

Aim for a ratio of about four ghost shrimp per gallon.

That means that a five-gallon tank should have a maximum of twenty ghost shrimp!

Can a Ghost Shrimp Live With Other Types of Fish?

Ghost shrimp can live with other fish, but be careful!

Ghost shrimp are common feeder fish for others.

Do not keep them with larger predatory fish, or they will almost certainly become a meal.

Recommended Tank Mates for Ghost Shrimp

Here are three excellent candidates as tank mates for your ghost shrimp.

Kuhli Loach

The Kuhli loach is a small, peaceful, omnivorous fish that shouldn’t bother your ghost shrimp.

They have similar needs and diets and tank conditions that fit.


Freshwater snails make a great companion for your ghost shrimp!

They have similar diets, pose no threat to your ghost shrimp, and often help them eat the tank’s algae.

Other Shrimp

Other freshwater shrimp are often great tank mates.

Amano, Vampire, and Cherry shrimp are all strong options for their similar needs.

How To Care for a Ghost Shrimp

Here are a few quick tips on the easy care your ghost shrimp will need.

How To Feed a Ghost Shrimp

Your ghost shrimp will eat scraps from its tank mates or the algae of the tank.

Otherwise, simply drop their food into the tank.

How To Clean a Ghost Shrimp Tank

Your ghost shrimp will keep the tank clean for you!

Change the water once every two weeks and let them do the rest of the maintenance.

How Can I Play With My Ghost Shrimp?

Ghost shrimp are not great pets to play with.

They are fragile, and you should not remove them from the water.

Give them small enrichment toys and bubble streams instead.

Can a Ghost Shrimp See Me?

Ghost shrimps can see you when you’re near the tank!

Their eyesight isn’t fantastic, but they may follow you when you pass.

Does a Ghost Shrimp Recognize Me?

A ghost shrimp isn’t intelligent, but they can recognize you to some extent.

At the least, they’ll understand that you are the one that gives them food and cleans their water.

Ghost Shrimp Behavior Basics

Ghost shrimp are simple and relatively unintelligent creatures, so their behaviors aren’t complex.

Here are a few quick things to look for with your shrimp.

How Do You Know if a Ghost Shrimp Is Happy?

Your shrimp will move around frequently if they’re happy.

Constant motion and hyperactivity mean they’re happy and healthy!

What Does a Stressed Ghost Shrimp Look Like?

If your ghost shrimp is struggling to molt, it’s likely stressed.

They also might search desperately for cover.

How Do I Know if My Ghost Shrimp is Healthy?

A healthy ghost shrimp is active, so an unhealthy ghost shrimp is lethargic.

If your ghost shrimp are inactive, there’s likely something wrong.

Frequently Asked Questions

With so much covered, there are still a few questions remaining!

Here are two of the most frequently asked questions about ghost shrimp.

Why are ghost shrimp so cheap?

Ghost shrimp are easy to care for, breed in high numbers, and are mainly used as feeder fish. The combination of these qualities makes them cheap and often purchased in bulk.

Do ghost shrimp clean tanks on their own?

Yes! Ghost shrimps are excellent caretakers and eat most algae and detritus that can appear in your tank.

Swimming Out

Ghost shrimp care is simple and easy, making them great pets for beginner owners.

Give them ample room and places to hide and avoid sharp or dangerous decorations to your tank that may harm them.

Fill the tank with other shrimp or other small freshwater fish to help them thrive!

If you’d like to learn more about caring for your aquariums and pets, be sure to browse the rest of our informative animal care articles. 

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