Ghost Shrimp Care Sheet (Palaemonetes Paludosus)

Shrimp belonging to the Palaemonetes species are often referred to as Ghost Shrimp, Glass Shrimp, or Freshwater Glass Shrimp. They are originally from North America and have become popular worldwide as a fish feeder because of their low price, but they also make an excellent addition to your freshwater aquarium.

Ghost Shrimp - Palaemonetes paludosus
Ghost Shrimp – (Palaemonetes Paludosus)

Palaemonetes Paludosus Shrimp Caresheet

Difficulty:Easy
Size:1.5-3 inches (2-2.5 cm)
Color:Translucent, with yellowish spots
Behavior: They forage for food and hide during molting.
Aquarium:10+ gallons (45+ liters) cycled tank
Water:pH of 7.0-7.8, hardness 3-15 dkh
Temperature: 70-78°F (21-25°C)

Ghost shrimp lifespan and behaviour

Ghost shrimp is a “live fast and die young” type of shrimp. Their life span is of about one year, but you can keep them alive for up to two years in optimal environmental and dietary conditions. They spend most of their time foraging and eating, but they can get stressed if there are no adequate hiding spots – make sure to have enough plants in your freshwater aquarium. As they eat and grow very quickly, they will undergo several molting stages leaving their previous shell behind, and they need to hide as they become vulnerable to predators while molting.

Ghost Shrimp Diet

Palaemonetes make a great tank cleaner thanks to their restless diet. They are omnivorous scavenger and devour algae, leftover food, decaying plant and animal matter, and pretty much anything they are presented with. They have a low bioload so will keep your water TDS low as well.

Ghost Shrimp Tankmates

Being from a different species, Palemonetes should not be hosted with other types of shrimp like caridina or neocaridina. Keeping in a freshwater fish aquarium is also a risk as any fish larger than these shrimps will feed on them. Safe fish companions include characins such as tetras and hatchetfish, small barbs like the cherry barb, danios, peaceful loaches like zebra and kuhli loaches, small catfish like those of the Corydoras genus.

How to Breed Ghost Shrimp

Breeding ghost shrimp is different from other types of freshwater shrimp as this species goes through a larval stage – ghost shrimp “shrimplets” (that look like miniature versions of their adult parents) don’t exist. Ghost shrimp larvae are particularly fragile and accidentally damaged or killed, so you will need to take some special precautions when breeding Palaemonetes Paludosus.

Breeding Ghost Shrimp in a Freshwater Aquarium – Step by step

1. Get a breeding tank

For breeding ghost shrimp, it’s best buy a second tank. Holding the newborn larvae alive is the toughest aspect of breeding ghost shrimps. If you let the eggs hatch in the same tank as the adult shrimp, any larger creature in the aquarium could end up preying or accidentally harming your newborns. There’s no need for this dedicated shrimp tank to be as big as your main aquarium, but a larger tank would give the larvae the best chance of survival. Stay away from cheap “breeding boxes” which are usually to small and made from plastic, it’s worth to invest into a shrimp nano tank or 5 gallon aquarium which already comes complete with plants, substrate and an air filter. If your chosen tank does not include all these things, mak sure to add them before introducing the shrimp. A heater may also be necessary to ensure water temperature is around 70-78°F (21-25°C) – warmer temperatures tend to promote breeding.

2. Introduce the parents

In your main tank, there should be at least a few adult males and females (one male can breed with multiple females). A female ghost shrimp is generally larger than a male, sexing them is not hard.

3. Check females for eggs

If temperature and water conditions are good enough, females should produce eggs every couple of weeks. You should be able to notice groups of 20-30 tiny eggs attached to the female abdomen. These pregnant females are called “berried” shrimp.

3. Transfer berried shrimps to breeding tank

After you notice a female is carrying eggs, carefully transfer her to your dedicated tank for breeding. Use a net to catch the females and quickly move them to the prepared breeding tank without other shrimp or fish. Move the breeding tank nearby and transfer directly if possible; pregnant females have been known to drop their eggs when stressed, so don’t make the transfer prolonged.

4. Keep an eye on your breeding tank

It takes around 20 days for a berried female to give birth. Keep checking on the female to watch the progress of the eggs. When the eggs finally hatch, the female will swim upwards and flick the young off of her legs a few at a time. Don’t disturb the female if you see her flicking the young away, as they need to be deposited within an hour in order to feed. She may take a while to do this, since in the wild the young have a better survival rate if she deposits them in different places.

5. Transfer the mother back to the main tank

Once the eggs have hatched, the mother shrimp is not needed, and in fact may attempt to harm the babies. It’s better to remove her from the breeding tank and return it to your main aquarium. Ghost shrimp larvae are extremely tiny and hard to see so it may appear that your breeding tank is empty – it’s not! Make sure to add specialized baby shrimp food to the tank for the next couple of weeks.

6. Transfer newborn ghost shrimp to the aquarium once they are grown

It will take about 5 weeks from hatching for a ghost shrimp baby to reach adult size. After this amount of time it’s safe to transfer them to your main freshwater aquarium together with their parents.

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Ghost Shrimp - Palaemonetes paludosus