A Complete Ghost Shrimp (Palaemonetes paludosus) Overview

ghost shrimp

Ghost shrimp have a distinct look and playful temperament that can liven up your aquarium. Find out everything you need to know about them including Care, Food, Lifespan, Breeding, & Tank Mates

Find out everything about the appearance, offspring, lifestyle, diet and keeping of the glass shrimp in the profile.

Ghost Shrimp (Palaemonetes paludosus): Short profile

FeatureGhost Shrimp Profile
Body length  w 5 – 8 cm, m 10 cm
Life expectancy  3 – 4 years
Distribution  Asia / including Thailand
Habitat  rivers, lakes, rice fields
Way of life  peaceful, in colonies
pH value  no special requirements
Class  Higher Crayfish (Malacostraca)
Order  decapods (Dekapoda)
Family  rock, partner and large-arm shrimp (Palaemonidae)
Genus  Macrobrachium
Species  Glass shrimp (Macrbrachium lanchestri)

Ghost Shrimp (Palaemonetes paludosus): Complete profile

FeatureGhost Shrimp Profile
HabitatGhost shrimp are primarily found in freshwater habitats. They have been found in brackish water, but there is no evidence that they persist there. They reside in some sort of aquatic cover and are most abundant in dense beds of submerged vegetation. Ghost shrimp are not common in areas of little or no vegetation. In summer months these shrimp are abundant among semi-aquatic grasses and water hyacinths. Preferred water temperatures range from 10°C to 35°C.
Appearance and typical featuresCompared to other freshwater shrimp, glass shrimp are relatively large. Their shape is not evenly round, but sometimes almost angular, which gives the glass shrimp a cheeky expression. The body is transparent and decorated with dark, irregular stripes.
Ghost Shrimp size varies by age, but generally they grow to be about 1 1/2 inches in length. They have a little hump midway down the length of their tail.
Ghost Shrimp AntennaGhost Shrimps have a pair of long antenna and a pair of short antenna. Their rostrum is on the top of their head right between their eyes. Behind the rostrum is a carapace area.
Size of the females in mm23-32
Size of the males in mm21-28
BreedingThe males are much larger than the females, the male claws are more pronounced and have gray-green hair. The females can be pregnant every 20 to 25 days in good conditions. The larvae develop in 20 to 60 eggs and are deposited shortly before the female moults. The larvae move upside down in the open water and go through some larval stages.

Easily possible in a sufficiently dimensioned, well-retracted pool. 
If the water temperature in heated rooms is constant, the animals lose their seasonal reproduction period and egg-bearing females appear all year round.

The hatched Ghost shrimp can be fed with Artemia or finely ground flake food. 
In the well-run-in basin, the animals multiply without any action on the part of the owner.
Type of propagationFemales can reproduce in the first year, egg-bearing from May to June, depending on the water temperature. 
Number of eggs 20-60 depending on the size of the females. 
The young animals hatch with a body length of approx. 5 mm and go through several larval stages in fresh water.
Offspring and rearingYoung Ghsot shrimp develop elongated extremities appear with the next molt, which now allow the tiny ones to take in food. From this point onwards, plenty of Artemia nauplii can be fed. The young prawns are waiting for opportunities to catch their prey. Nauplii and shrimp alike strive for light, which makes feeding easier. The light must not go out even in these four days, otherwise the little ones could lose their orientation and be damaged. After about four weeks, the young shrimp are about one centimeter in size and begin their bottom-oriented life.
Clutch sizes / number of offspring:20-40
FeedAlgae, mosquito larvae, Tubifex, small water snails, food tablets
BehaviorLike most freshwater shrimp, glass shrimp live in a substrate-oriented manner. This means that they move on solid ground: the ground, roots or on and between plants and stones. They are mostly looking for food and eat everything that appears tasty and can be “processed”. Glass shrimp do not live directly in schools, but are dependent on conspecifics. They are peaceful with one another and with other roommates. Every individual seems to have their preferred viewing and seating area. During the strenuous moulting, the animals withdraw from the general hustle and bustle in order to “change clothes” undisturbed. You feel most comfortable in well-structured aquariums with sparse stands and leaves.
NutritionGlass prawns are considered omnivores but clearly seem to prefer animal foods. This can be mosquito larvae or other frozen food, small crabs and fish. In addition, they can be fed with wafers and other food tablets.
AttitudeThe popular shrimp are quite robust and have no special demands on the water, but it should not be too soft. As usual for invertebrates, it must not contain any copper. Your preferred temperatures are between 20 and 28 ° C. Several shrimp can easily find enough space with calm fish in an 80 cm aquarium.
Aquarium ConditionsYou should provide provide Ghost shrimp with nicer environment to live in. Apart from being feeders, they are very active tank mates.
ComfortsYou should house Ghost Shrimp in a planted aquarium with a moderate current of continuously moving water – simpy use a HOB power filter to keep the water circulating properly. You should also consider using an air pump with a fine air stone will create a wall of tiny bubbles to help keep water moving as well. Ghost shrimp tend to get drawn up into the current and have to move their hind legs ferociously to swim out of it.
Water parametersGhost Shrimp are comfortable in warm waters. Keep the water temperature around 72 – 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Maintain the water pH between 7.0 and 8.0 with. Standard aquarium lighting will do. And as with all freshwater aquarium shrimp, be very careful when treating the tank with medicines. Keep Ammonia, Nitrites and Nitrates in check. And most importantly, avoid copper as copper can be fatal to aquarium shrimp.
Lifespan/LongevityGhost shrimp are confined to a one year life cycle. Post spawning mortality occurs from April to October.
Role the play in the ecosytemGhost shrimps are important for energy flow and turnover of detritus in freshwater habitats and are important links between freshwater organisms found in benthic and water column habitats.
They have strong direct and indirect effects on benthic densities and community composition.
Ghost shrimp are important organizers of community structure and play a key role in reducing sediment cover on rock substrates, which increases algal populations.

Ghost Shrimp (Palaemonetes paludosus): Diseases and Infections

1. Fungal infections in Ghost shrimp

Water mold in Ghost shrimp

Water molds are so-called ubiquitous fungi that can be found anywhere in the environment. Healthy animals are usually not attacked; the mycosis only breaks out as a secondary infection when the immune system is weakened.

Symptoms of water mold infection in Ghost shrimp
  • An infection with water mold usually manifests itself as cotton ball-like, usually white to yellowish filamentous growths that look like a white mold infestation.
  • These growths can appear flat on the shell or in individual places. The Ghost shrimp tries to ward off the infection by storing melanin, which is why the shell turns orange to brown in the infected areas.
Causes of water mold infection in Ghost shrimp

Fungi, like parasitic algae, are secondary parasites that take advantage because:

  • The shrimp’s immune system is impaired by stress, for example through transport stress or through frequent repositioning
  • There are drastic fluctuations in the water values
  • ​​The tank has unsuitable keeping conditions such as unsuitable water values, a one-sided diet, insufficient water changes, and high germ pressure in the aquarium, but also improper acclimatization can promote infections with secondary parasites.
How to prevent water mold infection of Ghost shrimp

Since mushrooms are a secondary parasite, anything that improves the keeping conditions of the Ghost shrimp is used for prevention.

  • Humic substances and tannins are considered to strengthen the immune system and inhibit fungi. It includes inter alia in brown leaves and almond leaves, and alder cones.
  • Good water quality with a low organic load, a nitrate value of less than 10 mg / l should be aimed for.
  • With regular water changes with adapted water pollutants are discharged.
  • Aquarium hygiene is also important: The feeding place should be mulched regularly and dead plants (parts) and animals are removed from the aquarium as soon as possible.
  • Adapted and balanced feeding supports the health of the Ghost shrimp.
How to deal with a water mold infection of the Ghost shrimp
Quarantine for sick Ghost shrimp

Deceased shrimps and shrimps with visible symptoms of a fungal attack are removed from the aquarium so that the apparently healthy animals do not become infected. Ghost shrimps with visible fungal fluff are placed in a quarantine tank and treated there.

Treat the sick Ghost shrimp

Fungal infections with Achlya or Saprolegnia can be treated with solutions that contain malachite green oxalate. You should us the drugs after reading and understanding all the manufacturer’s instructions.

2. Bacterial intolerance (BU) or cross contamination

What is Bacterial intolerance?

Bacterial intolerance occurs when the immune system of an animal has a pathogen but does not yet know and can therefore not initiate defensive measures in time: the result is an illness.

Ghost shrimp and other shrimp have an innate immune system which is incapable of learning. This means that shrimp do not produce antibodies.

Pathogens causing bacterial infections

Shrimps do not form antibodies and therefore cannot really “memorize” pathogens. The shrimp’s immune system could withstand them without any problems if the number of germs does not get too high.

How does BU result into illness for Ghost shrimps?

However, if the organism is overrun by these actually harmless, so-called ubiquitous bacteria, the shrimp will get sick. “Cross contamination”, that is, the introduction of a large number of germs that are actually not particularly dangerous, but the number of germs that are critical, would be the more correct term here.

How to avoid bacterial intolerance in Ghost shrimp

Large water change

Instead of quarantine, a very large water change of at least 80% in the target aquarium is often recommended before assembly to reduce germs. This effectively reduces the germs in the aquarium, but you still don’t know whether the new ones will bring anything.


Quarantine of the new animals has proven effective as prevention against a BU. For this purpose, the “new ones” are first placed in a quarantine tank and kept separate. Between the target aquarium with the long-established trunk and the quarantine tank with the new shrimp, you swap some water back and forth every day for two weeks. In this way, small amounts of the bacteria are exchanged and the immune system of the strains can slowly adjust to the changed bacterial load with the new pathogens.

Support through additional feed and other aids

Beta glucans

Feeding Betaglucan can support the animals and put their immune system on alert. We explain exactly how this works in the linked wiki article.


Also, probiotics have been shown in studies and in the practice of aquaculture already as a helpful support for a healthy intestinal flora and good defenses ( “The health begins in the gut”). It can therefore also be used as a support when combining two foreign strains in order to potentially strengthen the immune system of the animals and the immune response to foreign germs.

Germ reduction in the water

A germ-inhibiting effect is ascribed to free oxygen radicals in the aquarium water. The use of an oxidizer or a Twinstar could therefore also be of interest for germ reduction. A UV-C clarifier also kills germs in the open water and can also be useful as a support. The advantages and disadvantages of these tools are explained in more detail in the linked articles (please click on the green words).

How to treat bacteria intolerance in Ghost shrimp

Quarantine the sick Ghost shrimp

Ghost shrimp showing symptoms of illness must be removed from the aquarium immediately. If the still healthy animals eat a shrimp that has died of an infection, they inevitably become infected and become sick themselves. Visibly sick shrimp are best placed in a small quarantine tank without a substrate and with only one or two stems of plants. An aerator or an oxidizer provide oxygen, a filter is not absolutely necessary.

Even if the visibly sick animals are sitting in the quarantine tank, the original aquarium should still be treated as a precaution because the germs are always present there.

Water changes

With a bacterial infection, the germ pressure in the aquarium is often so high that the shrimp’s rudimentary immune system is simply overrun. By water changes of 80% every two days, the germs can be reduced. The water changes are carried out for at least a week, or until the shrimp show no more symptoms.

Treatment with medication

The antibiotic Baytril is now considered the drug of choice for bacterial infections in dwarf shrimp in the aquarium. Please note that antibiotics must be used exactly as directed because of the development of resistance and that they must never be under dosed or used too briefly. Antibiotics require a prescription and may only be given by the veterinarian.

Ghost Shrimp (Palaemonetes paludosus): Videos

Ghost Shrimp (Palaemonetes paludosus): People also ask

Do ghost shrimp clean tanks?

In an aquarium ghost shrimp make your life that little bit easier. As a prominent scavenger, the shrimp will clear up any uneaten food as well as keeping algae levels down. Their cleaning prowess will keep the tank looking clean. They do this throughout the day and are always active and busy.

What do ghost shrimp eat?

Ghost shrimp are an excellent food source for many types of both freshwater and saltwater fish. They are great for getting hard to feed fish such as seahorses, lionfish, grunts, and newly born sharks to begin feeding. The Ghost Shrimp are omnivores and will consume algae, detritus and left over food.

What fish can live with ghost shrimp?

While there is no shortage of species that will serve as good tank mates for the ghost shrimp, some to consider are danios, peaceful loaches (like zebra and kuhli loaches), small catfish and other algae eaters, cherry barbs, tetras, and hatchet fish.

Ghost Shrimp (Palaemonetes paludosus): Tips

  • Ghost shrimp are usually more active at night. Put the aquarium in a room with little light to encourage them to be more active during the day.
  • Ghost shrimp change color depending on what you feed them. You can see the development of different patterns on your body after eating different foods.
  • Your shrimp will be easier to spot if you cover the bottom of the aquarium with dark material.
  • Shrimp reproduce quickly and are easy to grow. To stimulate mating, you need to purchase at least 20 shrimp to maintain a healthy balance between men and women. Eggs and baby shrimp are fragile. So make sure you have enough plants and other shelters to provide shelter.
  • Under the right conditions, Ghost shrimp can live for a year or more.

Ghost Shrimp (Palaemonetes paludosus): Warnings

  • Ghost shrimp can jump out of the aquarium if the water is too high or the aquarium does not have a lid.
  • If you are not growing the shrimp for food, purchase glass shrimp that are specifically sold as pets. Shrimp sold as food are generally not kept in good conditions, may not be healthy, and may have a shorter life than shrimp sold as pets.
  • Wash your hands with soap and hot water after maintaining the aquarium and feeding your shrimp.

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