Ghost Shrimp

General Information
Scientific Name Palaemonetes sp.
Minimum Water Size 3+ gallons (11.36+ liters)
Ease Of Care Beginner
Average Lifespan 1 year
Temperament Peaceful
Approximate Adult Size 2 inches (5.08 centimeters)
Water Parameters 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit (22.22-27.78 degrees Celsius), 3-10 KH, 6.5-8.0 pH
Diet Omnivore
Native Region North America

Overview

The ghost shrimp, or also known as the glass shrimp, is a species of shrimp that is completely transparent minus the orange spot on their tail. Their body is segmented with a total of 10 legs, where the first four are actually claws used to grab and sift through to find food. These invertebrates are an extremely helpful cleaner, as they will sift through the debris and substrate to eat left over food that other fish cannot access or will not eat. They are very popular in many aquariums since you can see what they have eaten as the colors will show through their body, and the fact that they are mostly very friendly to all other fish inside the aquarium. Only bigger fish that are known to be predatory will attempt to eat these otherwise they will use their tail to move around the water or their legs to move on the substrate. Due to their nature of climbing on the aquarium glass, plants, or decorations they can sometimes escape if you do not have a tight fitting lid on your tank.

Breeding

Ghost shrimp will breed very easily within an aquarium if they have housed in large enough groups. Breeding will mostly only occur if there are plenty of hiding spots that the shrimp can fit into to feel safe, if there is a good amount of food being fed to them, and if there are no predatory fish who attempt to eat the shrimp inside of the aquarium. Males can be identified by their smaller body size and most commonly slightly bigger claws, while the female can be identified by their slightly bigger body size and most noticeable is their bigger pleopod area. This can be hard to try to notice since the traits are very hard to tell in this transparent invertebrate, along with the fact that you must have a fully matured Ghost Shrimp as well.

Females will carry the eggs underneath her tail (in something called a pleopod) until the fry are ready to hatch, normally this takes around 28-32 days. It will be very visible if a female is carrying eggs, as they will have a dark green circular appearance and do not move or fall off even if the shrimp gets flipped over. When the eggs are ready to be hatched, the female will attempt to push all of the eggs out of her pleopods so that they can become free swimming in the water column. The larvae will only have a few hours worth of food stored up, so making sure to feed them the proper food when they are first born is vital. Once the larvae have been released by the mother, there will be no parental care provided from either the father or mother. This may be hard as ghost shrimp larvae do not have any legs until they are 3-5 days old, and will normally float (or swim throughout using their paddles they have developed) in the water current waiting for food to reach them compared to them going for it.

Feeding

Ghost shrimp will gladly accept any form of flake, pellet, frozen and or freeze dried food, live foods, and also any wafers if present. In order to have the most active and healthy ghost shrimp, it is suggest that you give them a varied diet which is based around feeding them a plant based food (mostly what flakes are made of), and then slightly a meaty food such as pellets or live foods. Since ghost shrimp are bottom feeders, if their is any sick, dying, or dead fish or invertebrates inside of the aquarium, they will start to consume their bodies only leaving their bones as a result. Many people believe that they are killing healthy fish or invertebrate as they will see them feeding on their dead bodies, however this is inaccurate due to the lack of speed the ghost shrimp has. Normally the ghost shrimp will attack any weak fish or invertebrates that are sick being unable to move as rapidly or have already died on their own.