Ghost Shrimp (Palaemonetes paludosus)

ghost shrimp

Also known as glass shrimp, ghost shrimp are freshwater shrimp of the family Palaemonidae. They’re small, translucent creatures with long tails and stumpy legs that don’t have pinchers on the ends of them (shrimp have pinchers).

These little guys grow to be only about an inch long, making them good candidates for a nano fish tank or any other small water habitat where space is limited. They prefer tanks with plants and caves, but they can also do well in tanks with glass lids or clear plastic covers since they get most of their nutrients from the algae that grow on these surfaces.

Commonly used as live feeder fish in aquariums and aquaculture, they are known to filter food particles out of the water with their feathery legs in order to feed on them. There are several color varieties of ghost shrimp that can be found in both salt and freshwater habitats.

This little creature has a unique way of feeding and breathing that makes it an interesting pet to keep at home or in an office aquarium.

What Are Ghost Shrimp?

ghost shrimp

Ghost shrimp is one of the most common types of shrimp. They are small and translucent, which makes them hard to see in the water. Ghost shrimp live on all continents except Antarctica, but they are most often found in temperate climates. Females produce from 400-2,000 eggs at a time.

They are omnivores who will eat any living thing that fits into their mouth, including plants and other animals. Their diet mainly consists of algae, zooplankton, and detritus.

When an area has too many ghost shrimp, it can lead to problems for aquatic life because they compete with native species for food. They have been introduced as an invasive species around the world and have caused problems in waterways such as Lake Tahoe in Nevada.


In the 1850s, people started keeping aquariums and introduced ghost shrimps from North America. What does this mean? Their Latin name is Palaemonetes paludosus, and they are commonly found east of the Appalachian Mountains in southern states.

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In the center of the tail of the Ghost Shrimp is a yellow or orange-colored spot that stands out against its transparent body. In addition to their ten legs, they possess minuscule claws on the first four pairs, which they use for eating. Compared to other invertebrates, the Ghost Shrimp or Glass Shrimp is quite small.

Appearance & behavior

Unlike other shrimp, they have transparent bodies, giving them a quirky appearance, especially since they display what they have eaten. Because they are quiet and shy, they make great tank companions for other serene species.

Ghost shrimp scientific name

Their scientific name is Palaemonetes paludosus

Ghost shrimp habitat

They burrow in seafloor sediment along the western coast of North America’s sloughs and bays. Shrimps have soft, white bodies that are protected by their burrows. In addition to wriggling through the sediment and collecting food, shrimp also collect water.

How big do ghost shrimp get?

Adult ghost shrimp size is around 1.5 to 3 inches (3.81 to 7.6 cm) in length, with females being larger than males.

Ghost shrimp tank size

A 5 gallon tank (18.9 liters) is the perfect minimum size. This can house a small group of ghost shrimp, but care need to be taken with other fish species that you plan to pari with them.

Ghost shrimp tank mates

ghost shrimp

As long as there is ample space in the aquarium for each ghost shrimp to have their own space, they seem happy living in small or larger groups of their own kind.

Sometimes, they get aggressive with one another when they are crowded together. As well as providing lots of small hiding spots, they need an environment that is conducive to their growth.

In addition to live aquarium plants, shrimp can hide and explore in aquarium plants as they provide them with plenty of hiding places.

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It is possible for ghost shrimp and amano shrimp to coexist. Make sure the Amano shrimp are bigger than the ghost shrimp.

They can be tankmates with other non-aggressive creatures as well. In addition to Nerite Snails, Corys, Mystery Snails, and Ottos, you can also choose filter feeders such as Vampire Shrimps and Bamboo Shrimps.

Ghost shrimp substrate

When it comes to substrates, there are many options to choose from. Some people use a sand substrate while others prefer gravel. Sand is cheaper than gravel, but can clog up the shrimp’s gills and make it difficult to catch them.

Gravel is more expensive, but won’t clog up the gills and is easier to clean. You can also use a layer of aquatic plants in lieu of sand or gravel if you want something different than the standard setup.

It is not actually necessary to provide a special substrate for ghost shrimp. It doesn’t matter whether the substrate is gravel, sand, or planted aquariums. It is important to pick a substrate that matches the plants that you choose. Dark substrates, however, make them easier to see.

Are thy aggressive or peaceful?

These shrimp are peaceful. They will defend themselves if they feel threatened, but will generally avoid confrontation.

Ghost shrimp care

Ghost shrimp are one of the most popular types of freshwater aquarium shrimp due to their small size and vibrant color. They can be difficult to maintain though, so it’s important to know what is required for their care.

It’s also important that you understand the behaviors of this species before adding them to your tank. Ghost shrimp will only eat plant matter that has broken down in the water column for a few days. This means your tank needs to have a large surface area and plenty of plants in order for them to thrive.

Ghost shrimp food

They are bottom feeders and scavengers. They are omnivores which means they will eat pretty much anything.

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They can consume a variety of food items such as algae, dead plants, and detritus. The shrimp prefer a lot of fish pellets, fish flakes, shrimp pellets, algae wafers, or bits of food left uneaten. Calcium is essential for healthy shell growth, so finding food supplements with it is also a good idea.

Tank requirements

Adult ghost shrimp can live in a 5-gallon tank or larger, but juvenile ghost shrimp should be kept in a 5-gallon tank. They enjoy living in tanks with live plants for cover and food to eat.

They are omnivores, so the tank should have both algae and meaty foods such as small pieces of cucumber, peas, or carrots.

They need freshwater to survive and cannot live in saltwater environments. The water should be dechlorinated before use. A minimum water change of 20% every other week is recommended.

The pH level should be around 7.0 to 7.5 and the temperature between 75 degrees Fahrenheit and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If these levels cannot be maintained, then these animals may not survive. Cleaning the tank weekly with an aquarium vacuum cleaner will help maintain good water quality and allow for better oxygen circulation within the tank.

Ghost shrimp lifespan

Their lifespan can range from a few days to one year. It is not unusual for their lifespan to be slightly longer than a year under favorable conditions and with a bit of luck. It rarely goes beyond that. Once added to a tank, they are at risk of dying soon.

Breeding ghost shrimp

ghost shrimp

It is easy to breed ghost shrimp as long as they are kept in a healthy environment without predators. For maximum breeding chances, stock the tank with twice as many females as males. You can differentiate which shrimp are females by their size and a green saddle that can be seen from the underside.

To imitate the shrimps’ warmer mating months, and in the hopes of mating and ghost shrimp eggs production, increase the tank’s temperature to around 80°F. It’ll only be a few weeks before the females are laying eggs and eggs are visible around their feet.

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You’ll need to allow a few days for the male ghost shrimp to fertilize the female eggs and there are high levels of calcium available. The higher levels of calcium will increase the chance of maturing ghost shrimp eggs.

In order to prevent ghost shrimp from eating their own young, move the females to a different tank after the eggs are fertilized.

With some smooth decorations and a thin layer of sand, the babies’ environment should match the main tank. An aquarium’s equipment won’t be sucked up by the young if a sponge filter is added.

Give them shrimp food with fine particulate for a little bit until they can develop the legs of an adult ghost shrimp. At this point you can feed them the same diet as a normal adult shrimp.

A shrimp is considered a full grown at the five week mark, at which point you can put them in with their parents.

Do they make good pets?

While Ghost Shrimp do make good pets, they are not the best choice for beginners. If you are looking to raise shrimp and not just have them as a pet, it is important to understand that these creatures require a lot of care and attention.

They need to be fed a fresh diet every day and their tank needs to be cleaned regularly. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, Ghost Shrimp can make great pets!