How Many Ghost Shrimp Per Gallon? The Answer & Basic Care Tips

    Ghost shrimp tank size

    How Many Ghost Shrimp Per Gallon? 

    Are you planning to keep ghost shrimp in your tank? Keeping ghost shrimp (Palaemonetes paludosus) in your tank can be amazing and beautiful additions to your aquarium’s community. However, to take care of your ghost shrimp most effectively, it is highly important to see how many ghost shrimp per gallon you should keep.

    Overall, ghost shrimps are easy to take care of and highly rewarding for any tank. However, it is important for you to know how many ghost shrimp per gallon can be used to make the most out of these feisty critters.

    So, here is a complete guide with some basic information that you must know about Ghost shrimp.

    It is easiest to keep up to 4 ghost shrimp per gallon. However, the number can vary based on multiple factors. Below is a general breakdown of how many ghost shrimp per gallon in your aquarium.

    Aquarium capacity in gallons Ideal shrimp count
    10 40 or less
    20 80 or less
    30 120 or less
    40 160 or less
    50 200 or less
    Between 55 and 65 220-260 or less
    65+ 260+

    As you can see, you can add quite a lot of ghost shrimp to your tank. However, it is important to not exceed the recommended number per gallon because aggressive behavior may occur. You should also bear in mind the number of other species in your aquarium’s community.

    Ghost shrimp, also known as glass shrimp, are fun and exciting little invertebrates. These beautiful invertebrates are easily available in most pet stores around. Even though these are most commonly used as feeder fish, more and more people are becoming interested in taking care of ghost shrimp in their tanks.

    However, when it comes to ghost shrimp, these are not just like other invertebrates. They are beautiful and feisty little critters that can make a handsome addition to your tank. Even more, they are excellent cleaners as well.

    Ghost Shrimp Appearance

    Palaemonetes paludosus

    The appearance and size of ghost shrimp may vary by their age. More commonly, these grow to be approximately 1 to 1.5 inches in length. Ghost shrimp have taken their name because of their transparent or semi-transparent body. On the basis of their diet, you can find these in different colors as well, such as beige, light brown, yellow, and orange.

    The beautiful pigment granules that you can find on the body of ghost shrimp are quite amazing in that they provide them with the ability to blend in the background or camouflage in their environment. Pretty neat, huh?

    Sometimes it can be quite hard to see ghost shrimp, even if they are right in front of your eyes. You’ll often have to keep an eye on their movements in order to spot them.

    Ghost shrimp usually have a properly developed horn and tiny teeth. However, they don’t have any claws on their legs. You may also notice that their tails contain small specks. Ghost shrimp have tiny claws on their first four pairs of legs, which helps them collect food on various surfaces.

    Ghost Shrimp Diet

    They are not picky eaters at all, but these are certainly enthusiastic eaters. This is because they will eat nearly anything they can find on the bottom of the tank, whether these are tender plant leaves, remaining fish flakes, worms, algae, detritus, and much more.

    Ghost shrimp are omnivorous and can feed on fallen food and algae. They can also feed on processed foods, including pellets and flakes. Ghost shrimp are unfussy eaters with a clear and unique body. You can even see food making its way through the body of ghost shrimp through their digestive system.

    Additionally, ghost shrimp can also eat soft vegetables and boiled zucchini. They can offer ghost shrimp the required nutrients and can be a low-cost solution to feed your ghost shrimp with ease.

    As mentioned earlier, ghost shrimp are excellent cleaners and will eat any unwanted algae in your tank. The more ghost shrimp you have in your tank, the cleaner your tank gets. You should still have a filter in your tank, though, in order to maintain maximum cleanliness.

    How Often Should You Feed Ghost Shrimp?

    The answer to this question completely depends on how many ghost shrimp per gallon you have in your aquarium.

    If you contain only 10 to 20 shrimp in your tank, you should feed them once every 2-3 days. It would be a good idea to estimate the total time your ghost shrimp are consuming their food. This will let you have a better idea of when you need to provide them with additional food.

    Many shrimp keepers develop their own feeding plan for their ghost shrimp on the basis of their consumption rate. You can also do this.

    What Can Happen If You Keep Too Many Ghost Shrimp In A Tank?

    Multiple problems can occur if you add too many ghost shrimp to your tank. Some of the most common problems are given below:

    • Having more than recommended shrimp can build up more ammonia in the tank, which can be toxic for every tank mate. Too much buildup of ammonia can even lead your ghost shrimp to death.
    • Adding too many ghost shrimp in the tank can lower the number of open hiding spaces. Due to this, ghost shrimp may become territorial and start attacking each other. This aggressive behavior can cause unnecessary stress, which can lead to various illnesses.

    Therefore, it is highly important for you to keep the recommended number of ghost shrimp so that keeping them healthy and taking care of them can become easier for you.

    Breeding Ghost Shrimp

    Watch the video below on breeding ghost shrimp:

    Ghost shrimp are pretty easy to breed. Make sure your tank is stocked with both male and female ghost shrimp.

    • It is recommended to have twice as many female ghost shrimp as male ghost shrimp. Choosing a certain ratio can be hard when you are purchasing ghost shrimp for your tank. However, to ensure a healthy and effective mix of male and female ghost shrimp, you should consider purchasing at least 20 of them.
    • You can raise the temperature of aquarium water to 80°F, as this change can effectively promote breeding more effectively. High temperature can increase both breeding and metabolic activities in ghost shrimp.
    • It is also necessary to fill the tank with thick plant cover patches to give your ghost shrimp peace of mind as well as required security for breeding.
    • Raising the water hardness is also important to offer higher mineral and calcium levels to facilitate egg maturation. You can do this by adding a small limestone chip to the filter.
    • Within a few weeks, you can see noticeable lines of eggs beneath the female ghost shrimp’s tail. They usually fan the eggs so that they remain healthy and oxygenated in this state. Having a filter in the tank is a must for this.

    The eggs mature for up to 2 weeks before hatching. As soon as they are born, fry fend for themselves. Therefore, it is always a good idea to move the fry to a fry-only tank. This is because Ghost shrimp can eat their own fry; also, you may end up having too many ghost shrimp in your tank.

    Differences Between Male and Female Ghost Shrimp

    When ghost shrimp are young, it can be a bit difficult to determine gender differences between them. However, in adult ghost shrimp, you can easily distinguish between both genders with the differences given below:

    • Female ghost shrimp contain a greenish saddle on their back that runs along their belly’s underside. Males don’t have these saddles.
    • Another difference is their back’s convexity. Female ghost shrimp contain a pronounced curve arch with their tail’s top end.
    • The male ghost shrimp are less than 4 cm when they are adults. Female ghost shrimp are much thicker and larger in the abdomen, with a length of around 5 cm.

    So, those are some of the most common differences to identify male and female ghost shrimp. You should know how many ghost shrimp you have in your tank so that you have an even ratio of males to females.

    What Factors Can Influence The Number Of Ghost Shrimp You Can Keep?

    When it comes to figuring out how many ghost shrimp per gallon, people usually look for the perfect answer. However, giving a perfect answer to how many ghost shrimp per gallon can be difficult because there are factors that can significantly influence the number.

    Do you want to know what these factors are? Let’s have a look at them in the following list:

    • Total number of accessories in the Ghost shrimp tank

    The number of accessories such as a heater, filter, etc., can impact how many ghost shrimp per gallon you may keep. This is because these accessories will take some space inside the tank.

    • Total number of plants in the tank

    The number of plants you have in the tank can also reduce your tank’s available space for ghost shrimp. This means you may be more limited on how many ghost shrimp per gallon you can keep. This is a particularly important factor to consider if you have a smaller sized tank. However, in bigger tanks, these may not be that impactful.

    • Total number of other tank residents

    If your tank has a community of other species (as it most likely will), there will be less unoccupied space for your ghost shrimp. As a result, the number of ghost shrimp you may keep in your tank may be lower. Just like the total number of plants, this is an important thing to consider if your tank is small.

    • Aggressive Ghost Shrimp Behavior

    Some ghost shrimp can be pretty aggressive. They may begin attacking one another if the space in a tank is too confined. It is a good idea to start with a lower number of ghost shrimp and watch their behavior to keep things safe. If you don’t notice any aggressive behavior, you may start adding more ghost shrimp in small increments.

    Ghost Shrimp Behavior

    Ghost Shrimp are a bit bolder compared to Amano shrimp, but they don’t really bother fish of their own size or greater. They are usually not very aggressive – however, if there are too many of them in your tank, aggressive behavior may occur between them. That’s one reason why it’s so important to know how many ghost shrimp per gallon you can keep.

    Overall, Ghost shrimp are pretty opportunistic and often eat fish fry or baby shrimp of any species. During feeding, they can be hyper-aggressive to each other if there are too many of them. This is because they will try to get as much food for themselves as they can until satisfied.

    Tips To Take Care Of Ghost Shrimp In Your Tank

    See the video below on ghost shrimp care:

    To make the most out of your ghost shrimp, it is highly important to consider the following care requirements:

    • Keep the water temperature of the ghost shrimps’ tank between 65 to 85°F. This is an optimal ghost shrimp water temperature range to keep them healthy and safe.
    • The optimal pH for ghost shrimp varies between 6.5 and 8.0. Managing a neutral range is effectively maximizes body-color, hatching rates, and overall health of ghost shrimp.
    • You must change the aquarium water every week. Make sure to change at least 30% of the water from your aquarium weekly, and use a heater to effectively maintain the temperature of changed water.
    • Make sure you don’t have too many ghost shrimp in your tank. This can lead to aggressive behavior.

    Ghost Shrimp Tank Mates

    Celestial Pearl Danios are great Ghost Shrimp Tank Mates!
    Celestial Pearl Danios are great Ghost Shrimp Tank Mates!

    Aside from knowing how many ghost shrimp per gallon to keep, it’s important to consider the right tank mates.

    Ghost shrimp can live with many different species without any problems. However, it’s important to know that ghost shrimp can’t protect themselves very well and do not pose much of a threat to other tank residents. Ghost shrimp can be targeted as food by aggressive species.

    Therefore, it is important to make sure the tank mates are peaceful. Some species have a very peaceful temperament and can be excellent tank mates. Here are some of the best examples of peaceful species that can live with ghost shrimp:

    • Zebra Loaches
    • Celestial Pearl Danios
    • Corydoras Catfish
    • Tetras
    • Mystery Snails
    • Hatchet Fish

    You must keep your ghost shrimp away from aggressive fish. The species below must NOT be kept in the same tank, or you will lose your shrimp! Note that this is not the full list of aggressive species.

    • Arowanas
    • Angel Fish
    • Oscars
    • Discus
    • Cichlids

    If you are considering adding a different shrimp species to your tank containing ghost shrimp, take a look at the mouth size. If one shrimp species can fit into the other’s mouth, you should not keep them together.

    Other FAQs About Ghost Shrimp

    How Long Do Ghost Shrimp Live?

    Ghost shrimp can live anywhere from a few days to 1 year. However, in some cases, ghost shrimp can live over a year.

    Do Ghost Shrimp Need A Filter?

    Even though ghost shrimp can clean much of the tank themselves, it is recommended to use a filter to ensure a healthy aquarium. For a large tank, it is recommended to cover the filter intake using a sponge. This is effective in preventing ghost shrimp from accidentally getting stuck in the filter.

    Can You Keep Ghost Shrimp As Pets?

    Of course! Freshwater ghost shrimp can make amazing pets. Small care requirements can make freshwater ghost shrimp an amazing choice for your living room, office, or wherever you keep your aquarium.

    How Often Should I Clean My Ghost Shrimp Tank?

    Here are some cleaning requirements that you must consider if you want to become a successful ghost shrimp keeper:

    Can You Keep Ghost Shrimp And Crabs Together In The Same Tank?

    Usually, crabs and shrimp don’t mix very well in an aquarium. It is one of those trial-and-error things. You can give it a try, but you are not always recommended to keep shrimp and crabs together in the same tank. However, you can experiment by placing one or two crabs in your shrimp tank to see what happens.


    It is best to keep up to 4 ghost shrimp per gallon. However, as mentioned, the number can vary based on several factors.

    Ghost shrimp are small, translucent little critters and one of the most popular invertebrates to keep in your tank due to their low cost. You can often buy them in mass. The price range of ghost shrimp makes these a highly attractive addition to your aquarium.

    They are most commonly used as live feeders for large fish. However, ghost shrimp are one of the best scavengers that can be highly effective in performing excellent cleaning jobs in aquariums from algae and debris.

    They are also highly effective in reducing nitrate in aquariums or tanks. All of these qualities of ghost shrimp make these highly attractive and effective to add to your tank. However, to keep ghost shrimp at their best, it is highly important to consider the above-mentioned details to keep them thriving and enjoy the amazing experience of being a shrimp keeper.


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