How to Care for Ghost Shrimp

Are you curious what are the transparent shrimp or feeder shrimp in the fish store and want to keep or care for Ghost shrimp? No worries I will explain the shrimp origin and how to care for them.


Care for Ghost Shrimp

The earliest dated shrimp fossils found are from the Lower Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. Ghost Shrimps originate from North America and have been in the hobby aquarium ever since people began creating aquaria in the 1850s. Palaemonetes paludosus is the Latin name and they are common in the southern states, east of the Appalachian Mountains.

They are bred in captivity throughout the world and have generally been used as feeders for larger, more aggressive fish.



Shrimp are burrowers and they use this technique to feel safe within the tank and to feed. Their 10 legs are used for different purposes, always keeping them busy and on the move. The claws of the first and second set of legs are used to help them dig their burrow. When they create their burrows of about 2 – 3 feet in length in the wild, they use another set of legs to hold the sandy mud. It is recommended to add substrate either sand or soil work perfectly. Whenever they reach the capacity that they can carry, they turn around and exit the burrow, depositing the sand outside.

They continue this until they have created a collection of burrows with at least two openings. These burrows are only temporary and the Ghost Shrimp will create new burrows in a never ending cycle. This is the reason why they are great to clean your aquarium tank substrate, Ghost shrimp can dig up all the waste due to stagnant water.

The remaining legs are either used for grooming or bracing the shrimp whilst it’s burrowing.

Ghost Shrimp Lifespan

As these shrimp are mainly used as bait and often used as feeder fish for larger species in the home aquarium, and as a result are often kept in high densities with poor filtration. It’s likely that the environment they have been kept in when being transported to pet shops and aquarium supply shops is not optimal for their survival. Even when they arrive at the shop they are often kept in over stocked tanks where the environment is not completely accurate to ensure their survival.

When being transferred into your aquarium environment the likelihood of some of them dying within the first couple of days is high. Remember to cycle your tank it will increase the survival rate. If the shrimp survive the first few days they can live up to one year or slightly more.



Care for Ghost Shrimp

Ghost shrimp are peaceful creatures, but obviously this cannot be said about all tropical fish.

A shrimp’s gentle nature and small size makes them prone to being eaten by larger tank mates. Consequently ghost shrimp should only be added to a non-aggressive community of small fish. It is very easy to care for Ghost Shrimp they can eat the uneaten fish food or fish waste. Remember to add lots of plants or decorations for your ghost shrimp to hide while molting. Don’t know what fish is suitable? Here’s a article beginner fish that goes well with ghost shrimp CLICK HERE.



Care for Ghost Shrimp

Known as pests to clam farmers who spend a fortune clearing them from their clam farms, Ghost Shrimp are omnivores which will eat just about anything left in the tank. They will feed on leftover food, parts of live plants that shed and even on dead tank mates. It’s important to remove dead fish from the tank as soon as possible though, as they may cause an ammonia spike in the tank. They will also eat flake foods and sinking pellets, even ones intended for other fish. Additionally, you can feed your pets small amounts of boiled vegetables, such as zucchini or spinach.

Algae are another source of nutrition for them, so they’re best kept in an environment that’s not too clean. One algae pellet per day will feed a tank with lots of shrimp, but take care not to put them in a tank with much smaller fish as they will occasionally attack and eat them. These shrimp are scavengers and they can often be seen swimming upside down at the top of the tank waiting to feed on food flakes.



Their small size and ease to breed makes them a cheap addition to an aquarium. Prices vary from around $1-$3 for a bag of feeder shrimp or ghost shrimp, so you should be able to purchase a few without breaking the bank.

In return for just a little effort to care for ghost shrimp, you will be introducing some of the best Cleaners to your tank. Remember that they have a high chance to survive the first few weeks.

Their body shape and coloration (or lack of) varies the aesthetic of the tank and their busy and active lifestyle ensures that there is always something to look at.

Though not ideal for a tank with big fish, ghost shrimp make the perfect additions to a tropical community of small non-aggressive fish.

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