Ghost shrimp are a popular species with aquarists and can be easily kept by the beginner. Otherwise known as glass shrimp, this freshwater species is now only low-maintenance, but a fairly non-aggressive animal that can make a welcome addition to any aquarium setup. Although they have fairly limited lifespans, rarely lasting longer than 12 months, ghost shrimp are fairly affordable. Therefore, it is inexpensive to replace expired shrimp with new additions as they die off from old age or disease.
Ghost Shrimp Basics
Ghost shrimp have been a popular species with aquarists since the middle of the nineteenth century. These hardy crustaceans actually come in a few main varieties, although most aquatic centres and fish breeders will tend to market all species under the same name. Wild ghost shrimp are often used by anglers as live bait, although these wild species are not suitable tank mates for aquariums. If you plan on adding ghost shrimp to your tank, make sure you are purchasing animals that have been specially reared for use in aquariums.
Although ghost shrimp lack the visual flair of other aquarium staples, they are a very useful species to have in your tank. They will quickly consume uneaten fish food, helping you prevent nitrate build-up and harmful water conditions. They will also feed on algae, preventing blooms occurring. Generally speaking, they are a handy species to incorporate into your aquarium if you want to maintain a clean and healthy tank environment. Some species will stick close to the edges of your tank, while others will happily swim through the entire interior.
If your tank is large enough, you will almost definitely want to introduce multiple ghost fish to your aquarium. However, ghost shrimp don’t need to be introduced alongside fellow members of their species in order to thrive. That being said, some ghost shrimp will exhibit different behaviours depending on what they have been bred for. Many aquatic centres will breed ghost shrimp solely as a feeder fish, with these animals particularly prone to predation.
What Do Ghost Shrimp Look Like?
Ghost shrimp get their name from their translucent appearance. This ghostly visage is a natural evolutionary tactic that the animals have been developed to help avoid the attention of predators. Because of their transparent skin, the internal organs of ghost shrimp can be easily seen. While they lack vibrant colours, this striking appearance makes them particularly interesting additions to any aquarium.
Some species also feature spots along their backs, with the colouring varying depending on the exact variety. In terms of size, most ghost shrimp grow to around 1.5 inches in length. Generally speaking, females of the species grow to larger sizes than males. They also feature two sets of antennae, along with a beak-like protrusion between their eyes.
As ghost shrimp are fairly small animals, they can kept in modest aquariums. A 5-gallon tank is usually sufficient for ghost shrimp, although you’ll want to invest in a bigger tank if you want your crustaceans to thrive. As a rule of thumb, you can keep around four ghost shrimp for every gallon of water you have in your tank. However, this ultimately depends on the other species you are housing within your aquarium.