Ghost shrimp is nowadays extremely popular because of its low purchase price and ready availability. Most pet shops and professional breeders sell them at wholesale prices of 20-50 cents. Moreover, the ghost shrimp is exceptionally hardy and thus easy to keep for professional and beginner aquarists.
Ghost shrimp is also called glass shrimp. It belongs to a class of decapod crustaceans that comprises the swimming crustaceans primarily seen in freshwater aquariums.
In the fish tanks, ghost shrimps have two positions. They can be highly effective cleaners or feeders to large fish.
Ghost shrimp originate from the North American region and can be traced to the cretaceous and lower Jurassic periods.
Though some fishermen use the shrimps as bait, their wild populations can be detrimental because they are aquaculture pests. They have thus been part of hobby aquariums since the 1850’s and are now distributed worldwide.
The following is a guide that will prove beneficial when keeping ghost shrimp in your aquarium.
Ghost Shrimp Appearance
The ghost shrimp, as its name suggests, has a generally clear color to evade its predators. The clear color also allows someone to see its inner body processes, making it quite an attraction in your aquarium. Some specimens of the shrimps have colored spots on their backs.
Ghost shrimps also have a pair of long and short antenna. These are sensory organs that will detect chemical and tactile information like food and toxins in the water. These antennae also serve a social function, but this is not as clearly understood.
The soft parts of the ghost shrimp are covered by a hard shell known as the carapace. Behind the carapace, six abdominal sections contain a pair of swimming limbs called the pleopods.
Ghost shrimps grow to adult lengths of approximately 1.5 inches, with males being slightly smaller compared to females.
Ghost Shrimp Tank Requirements
With their small size, ghost shrimps can be kept in small aquariums though a five-gallon tank should be the bare minimum. One gallon of your tank can safely accommodate 3-4 shrimp.
Even so, remember that the shrimp will still contribute to your tank’s bioload. Overstocking your fish tank will thus affect its water quality and foster an unhealthy environment.
Freshwater shrimp like the ghost shrimp inhabits lakes or rivers with flowing water and crevices and sediment for hiding. The ideal aquarium should consequently have plenty of plants and rocks for hiding spots.
The plant debris can also be used as diet substitutes and decoration. The ideal plants, in this case, are java moss, hornwort, and Cabomba.
A water filter is essential in your fish tank though the ghost shrimp still cleans the tank. The internal sponge filter is your best choice if you have a 5-10-gallon tank. For large tanks, nevertheless, get an external filter to handle the considerable amount of water and debris.
Ghost Shrimp Water Conditions
Ghost shrimps are comfortable in water conditions that mirror those in a tropical community tank. Though tolerant, the fish are still sensitive to fluctuations in water conditions.
Here are the conditions you should aim for in your aquarium:
- Temperature: 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit or 18-29 degrees Celsius
- PH: 6.5-8.0
- Nitrate: less than 20ppm
- Ammonia: 0ppm post cycling
- Nitrites: 0ppm
- Water changes: not less than 30% weekly
Ghost Shrimp Diet and Feeding
Ghost shrimp will rapidly eat anything you give them, including pellets, algae wafers, and flakes. This broad diet makes them good tank cleaners since they will eat any debris, including excess algae, leftover fish meals, and plant detritus.
One algae pellet is enough for a tank containing about ten fish. An excess of food nonetheless poses the risk of overfeeding that can prove deadly for your fish. The fish are thus ideally fed twice daily for 1-3 minutes.
Other than the food, consider including calcium supplements in your pet fish’s diet to support the formation of a strong shell. The diet of ghosts shrimp can include its dead tank mates.
It, however, is essential to take out these dead fish immediately to avoid an ammonia spike in your fish tank. Boiled soft vegetables and zucchini also make a low cost and nutritious option for feeding ghost shrimp.
Ghost Shrimp Tank Mates
The ideal tank mates or ghost shrimps include the following:
- Other shrimp species (bamboo, vampire, red cherry and amano)
- Snails (ramhorn, gold Inca, Malaysian trumpet, mystery, nerite, and ivory)
- Peaceful loaches (kuhli and zebra)
- Small barbs such as the cherry barb
- Small catfish
In general, steer clear of any fish with a mouth big enough to swallow ghost shrimps in your fish tank. It would help if you also avoid fish that are territorial or hostile.
If you opt for a fish tank that exclusively houses ghost shrimps, remember that too many of them can become aggressive.
Ghost Shrimp Breeding
Ghost shrimps have a one-year average lifespan. Though they are easy to breed, you will need an exclusive breeding tank to create the best possible breeding condition. The females will produce 20-30 eggs with green dots every few weeks.
When you notice these eggs attached to the legs of the females, wait for a few days for the males to fertilize them then transfer the females to your breeding tank.
Moving females to a breeding tank before their eggs hatch ensures other fish do not eat the young shrimp.
The female should also be transferred back to your main tank after hatching to ensure the safety of the fry. The fry can stay in the breeding tank for three weeks before moving to the primary tank.
As with most shrimp species, copper is a highly toxic substance to ghost shrimps. This is, unfortunately, a common ingredient of the medication prescribed for most fish conditions.
If you are using copper-containing drugs for other fish, move the ghost shrimp out of the tank to guarantee their survival.
With the above recommendations, you can now comfortably handle the keeping of ghost shrimp in your aquarium. The fish is sure to be a stress reliever and colorful addition to your tank. Consider getting one today.