What do Ghost Shrimp Eat?

Ghost shrimp, also known as glass shrimp, are relatively easy freshwater aquarium shrimp to keep. If you’re looking to add some ghost shrimp to your aquarium, you’ll likely be able to find them for sale at local pet stores or larger chain stores.

At the pet store, they are commonly kept in a tiny fishbowl with other shrimp their species. The little bowl often has a sponge filter or air stone releasing bubbles.

On display, the ghost shrimp habitat regularly does not look like anything apart from a container of murky water with many bubbles.

Ghost shrimp are often times bought as “feeders” for other fish because they’re cheap and don’t put up much of a fight.

Some Cichlids could probably eat them all day if given the chance. But ghost shrimp are more than just that. They’re also low-maintenance and can help keep your tank clean.

what do ghost shrimp eat
What do Ghost Shrimp Eat?

What do Ghost Shrimp like to Eat?

Relatively speaking, ghost shrimp are easy to take care of. They’re always on the move, looking for food to eat. They do best in an established tank that’s not too clean.

Scavenging for food, they are decent aquarium cleaners and compete with Amano Shrimp and Nerite Snails.

Although they don’t eat as much as some of the other larger invertebrates, ghost shrimp are constantly nibbling on anything that’s nearby.

Like Cherry Shrimp, Ghost shrimp are not picky eaters and will consume most things. Their diet can include algae, dead plant matter, and detritus. In addition, they love fish or shrimp pellets, fish flakes, algae wafers, or bits of uneaten food.

Make sure to find food supplements with Calcium, as this mineral is essential for healthy shell growth.

Ghost shrimp food may also include their fallen tank mates, as they will even feed off dead fish or shrimp carcasses. Quickly removing deceased animals from the water is important to prevent ammonia spikes in the tank.

What is the Best Tank Size for Ghost Shrimp?

You can keep ghost shrimp in both small and large tanks. However, with smaller aquariums like 5 or 10 gallon ones, you have to be more cautious of the tank’s limitations regarding water volume and surface area. Thus, make sure not to overstock the tank and unintentionally harm the shrimp.

Ghost shrimp are often underestimated because of their small size, but they still contribute to the bio-load of a tank, just like other living organisms.

Overpopulating a small tank with shrimp will cause water quality issues and an unhealthy environment for all the beings involved. To avoid this, follow the fish stocking rules for community tanks and everyone should be happy and healthy.

A general rule of thumb is not to put more than 10 ghost shrimp in a 10 gallon tank because they tend to get aggressive with each other when living in close quarters.

bay ghost shrimp
Bay Ghost Shrimp

Tank Habitat

Ghost shrimp do best in planted aquariums with a moderate current and continuously moving water. An appropriately sized HOB power filter should keep the water circulating properly.

Furthermore, an air pump with a small air stone will create lots of tiny bubbles. This is not only helpful in keeping the water moving, but it’s also entertaining to watch the shrimp get drawn up into the current and have to swim out quickly.

Maintaining ghost shrimp in a aquarium with hearty live plants can also be advantageous. Aquariums that have an abundance of live plants are never “too clean” because the plants constantly release plant matter into the water column.

They are cleaners, often enjoying picking through the leaves and debris at the bottom of an aquarium to find food. They deliberate more slowly than other animals do and appreciate having lots of places to explore and hide.

It’s crucial that ghost shrimp have places to hide away from time to time, and other hiding spots can be made with decoration or rocks placed into caves and caverns.

Water Settings

Generally, ghost shrimp do well in water with tropical community tank levels. The recommended temperature range is 72 – 82 degrees Fahrenheit, but some people suggest that a slightly wider range is also acceptable.

Your aquarium’s pH should be stable and within the range of 7.0 – 8.0 for best results. Also, aim for harder water instead of soft water. As long as you have basic lighting, your plants will be fine.

In order to maintain a healthy environment for your freshwater aquarium shrimp, be sure to check the levels of ammonia, nitrites and nitrates. It is also important to avoid copper as it can be fatal to shrimp.


Ghost shrimp grow to be around 1 1/2 inches long and the thickness of a pencil eraser when fully grown. Ghost shrimp are more slender as compared to Amano shrimp and have a little hump on their tail about halfway down its length.

There are many similarities between glass shrimp and small crayfish, including their appearance. One main difference, however, is the size of the creature and how flexible its shell is. Glass shrimp have shells that are much softer than those of crayfish.


A ghost shrimp has two long antennae and two short antennae. Their rostrum is on the top of their head between their eyes. Behind the rostrum is a carapace area, which houses many of the inner workings of the shrimp, especially when feeding.

The shrimp’s front legs are connected to the bottom side of its hard outer shell. The legs are long and thin, almost transparent. Usually, when the shrimp is looking for food on the ground or other hard surfaces, it moves by walking with its legs.

Their abdominal segments are covered by a flexible carapace, and appear to come together at a slight point between the third and fourth segments.

The shrimp’s fluttering little clear swimmerets are located under their abdominal segments. In females, their eggs are placed safely under the abdominal segments closest to the carapace.

ghost shrimp eating
Ghost Shrimp Feeding

Abdominal Segments

The sixth abdominal segment is attached to the tail. The tail consists of flexible segments that can move. These segments are flat and thin. The telson is located in the middle of the tail, and under it are four soft shell segments that make up the uropod

The uropod can adjust its size slightly to make the tail wider or narrower as needed. On the edges of the uropod segments, the shrimp has very fine “fringe” made of filaments. similar-looking “fringe” made of filaments also appears on the edge fo the swimmerets.

When they sense potential danger, shrimp become more streamline and quickly flap their uropod (a small paddle-like appendage) located under their abdomen. This rapid movement propels them backwards very rapidly, which in many cases is all that’s needed to escape dangerous predicaments such as disputes over food.

But it’s not abnormal for them to move their uropod several times in succession to create some real distance between themselves and the threat. When this occurs, the shrimp may suddenly find themselves on the other side of the room/area.

Color Range

Some people might call ghost shrimp color transparent, but I believe they are more translucent. Oftentimes, their bodies are see-through with a slight tinge of grey or green dots.

The ghost shrimp’s color can be a light or dark grey, but it is always translucent. In other words, you can almost see through the shrimp and definitely see inside of it.

What’s most fascinating about them is that you can see their internal organs while they feed. If you’re lucky, you might also see little green dots on their body and orange rings on their feelers and legs.


The lifespan of a ghost shrimp can be as short as a couple days or extend up to 1 year. In the best circumstances and with some luck, it is possible for them to live slightly longer than one year. But not by much more than that.

Ghost shrimp have a short lifespan and often die soon after being introduced to a new tank. Many ghost shrimp perish within days of joining an established tank with clean, balanced water conditions.

Some will appear dead on the bottom of the tank and others will simply “disappear”. However, other ghost shrimp from the same batch acclimate well and thrive in their new environment.

Every time you buy shrimp, a few of them will die. This is due to stress from the store or maybe because they can’t handle tiny changes in water quality.

One more thing to take into account is that since these shrimp are seen as “feeders,” they might not be dealt with kindly when brought to the store.

They’re commonly kept in tanks that have inadequate filtration and aren’t well-maintained, which often leads to them perishing after being moved to a home aquarium.

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