Good news: Ghost shrimps aren’t too hard to breed like Amanos.
I have had a fair share of success in breeding and taking care of baby ghost shrimps. However, there are a few things you need to get right.
During my research, I found many guides on ghost shrimps but not one exclusive to their babies. I had to scroll through never-ending articles only to find a tiny bit of coverage on how to rear the young ones.
That’s why I decided to create this guide with a special focus on everything you need to know about baby ghost shrimps.
Let’s start with:
What Do Baby Ghost Shrimps Look Like?
Baby ghost shrimps are incredibly tiny. It’ll take around 2 to 3 weeks before they are even visible to naked eyes. At early stages, they look uncannily similar to mosquito larvae. They will grow legs once they enter the juvenile phase and look like miniature versions of adult ghost shrimps. This should take another 1-2 weeks.
During the first week of hatching, they’ll stay in their mother’s swimmerets.
At around 5 weeks of age, they will finally reach adulthood.
How Long Does It Take For Baby Ghost Shrimps To Grow Out Of The Larvae Stage?
Ghost shrimps take anywhere between 5-7 weeks to grow out of the larva stage. While for most parts, the development happens at its own pace, the diet and habitat also play crucial roles. If your fry are eating nutritious food and are living in a well-oxygenated tank, they’ll naturally grow quicker and healthier.
Alternately, if the living conditions aren’t met, most of your fry won’t make it to adulthood.
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What Do Ghost Shrimp Eggs Look Like?
Unfertilized ghost shrimp eggs look like tiny green dots. As a result, the female ghost shrimps will have green hues in the abdomen and under the tail when they’re carrying eggs. However, once fertilized, the eggs will turn white.
During the end of the incubation period, you can even see tiny black dots on the eggs, which are actually the fry’s eyes and abdomen.
What Do Newborn Baby Ghosts Shrimp Eat?
Newborn baby ghost shrimps have extremely tiny mouths. Thus, they cannot eat any other type of food besides infusoria. Infusoria refers to the tiny debris of plant or algae matter.
Infusoria is usually made up of protozoa, ciliates, euglenoids, small invertebrates, unicellular algae – all of which provide necessary nutrients for baby shrimps.
You can rely on infusoria for around 2 weeks. After this, you need to fortify their diet with other supplements.
What Do Baby Ghost Shrimps Eat?
Once the baby shrimps reach the juvenile stage, you need to fortify their diet. At this point, they can eat adult food as well, but you will have to crush it very finely.
You can give rotifers, algae wafers, microworms and baby brine shrimp.
Here are two products that I feed my baby ghost shrimps:
GlasGarten Shrimp Baby Food
This shrimp food is rich in protein and Omega 3 fatty acids, crucial for a shrimp’s development. It also has reasonable amounts of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
Invert Aquatics Mini Algae Discs
Made exclusively for bottom feeders, these spirulina-enriched mini algae discs are designed to sink quickly.
Besides store-bought food, I also like giving eggs. I strain the egg yolk through a very fine mesh strainer before giving it.
If you’re interested in knowing more about the topic and exploring food options for your baby ghost shrimps, here’s a more in-depth article.
While feeding baby ghost shrimps, there are a few things you need to take care of. At this stage, there’s basically no room for error.
3 Things To Consider When Feeding Baby Ghost Shrimps
Ghost shrimp fry have extremely tiny mouths. So, always be mindful about the size of food. Also, they can quickly die of starvation. You need to be vigilant about their food habits. If they don’t seem to enjoy certain food, you must find an alternative.
Keep Track Of Feeding Habit
Right after hatching, the floating larvae may have a hard time eating. So, it’s imperative to be watchful to know whether they’re eating or not. If they’re not eating right or ignoring the food, you need to instantly try feeding them new food. Otherwise, they may starve to death in no time.
That’s why it’s wise to have at least 2-3 different kinds of food products handy.
Keep Track Of Tank’s Parameters
Since the food has to be crushed very finely, it can quickly dilute and pollute the water. However, baby shrimps need super clean water and well-aerated water. Thus, it’s essential to ensure you have a proper filtration system in place.
At a young stage, a baby shrimp molts once every 2 weeks. They absorb the tank’s water to create new shells. If the water is polluted, it could lead to fatal complications during molting.
Keep Track Of Calcium Requirement
Since ghost shrimps usually only live for a year, they grow in quick, successive stages. At a young age, they molt more frequently. After molting, they need the help of calcium in their body to develop a new shell. Thus, it’s extremely important to fortify the tank and food with calcium supplements.
Besides feeding calcium-rich food, I also take the help of cuttlebones to fortify the tank with slow-release calcium.
What Kind Of Plants Do Baby Ghost Shrimps Need?
Java moss is the most useful popular plant for baby ghost shrimps. Besides being an excellent food source by itself, java moss also helps to trap food for young shrimps.
However, when adding plants, make sure that you don’t add or remove the plant from the tank when larvae are present there. This can quickly change the water’s parameters and have a negative impact.
Besides java moss, you can add any other plant like duckweed, hornwort and anacharis.
Overall, plants serve 3 critical functions in the tank. They are:
- It is a source of food in itself.
- It keeps the tank well oxygenated.
- It provides a hideout and refuge for molting.
What Do You Need To Take Care Of Newborn Baby Ghost Shrimp?
Here are 5 things you need to take care of a newborn baby shrimp
- A separate fry tank
- A sponge filter
- Air Pump
- An Aquarium Heater
- Live Plants
- Nutritious Food
Raising ghost shrimp fry in a community tank is almost impossible – only a tiny percentage would survive the brutality. Your baby fry will make tasty snacks for fishes and adult ghost shrimps. Yes, ghost shrimps practice infanticide – it’s actually quite widespread in the underwater world.
So, therefore it’s imperative to have a separate tank for the fry.
A 10-gallon tank would be enough for most cases. Here’s the one I use:
Here’s one by COLIBROX that I use:
It’s also crucial to have a filter and air pump since baby shrimps need a clean, well-aerated tank at all times.
Big and powerful filters will suck in the fry. So, it’s a must to use a sponge filter.
I use this filter by Hikari USA that comes with a sponge designed for longer life. The sponge is highly porous and contains a high surface area with thousands of microscopic pores.
As a result, the good bacteria colony will keep the levels of ammonia and nitrite in check.
Baby ghost shrimps also need an air pump just as much as they need a filter. An air pump will ensure the water has a good oxygen level, so the shrimps don’t suffocate.
Here’s the air pump from Tetra that I use: Tetra Whisper.
It is really very quiet and small enough to fit easily in a 10-gallon tank. It only measures 3.9 x 2.8 x 5.5 inches and weighs 12 ounces.
It comes with a plastic air valve and a limited lifetime warranty. However, like most air pumps, it doesn’t include tubing. You’ll have to buy that separately.
Here’s the link to standard 3/16” I.D. tubing:
As for live plants and nutritious food, I have already talked about them above and left my recommendations!
How To Take Care Of Baby Ghost Shrimps?
I’m sure you’re equipped with almost all the knowledge you need to take care of baby ghost shrimps at this point. But here’s a holistic list of things you need to know!
- As soon as you stop seeing the eggs in the mother shrimps’ swimmerets, transfer the moms to the primary tank. If not, they can eat up the small hatchlings before you have the chance to see them.
- You can use a breeding box if you don’t want to invest the time and money in a new tank. But if you’re serious about raising baby ghost shrimps, it’s crucial to have a separate fry tank.
- Make sure the tank has a fine substrate, a sponge filter, and an air pump. There’s no substitute for a clean and well-oxygenated tank.
- Feed nutritious and very fine food to your ghost baby shrimps. You need to closely monitor their feeding pattern and replace the food if they don’t eat the originally kept food. They can quickly die from starvation.
- Maintain the water temperature between 65-82º F (18-28º C). I know this is a broad range, but most people, including myself, prefer to maintain temperature somewhere in the middle of this spectrum. Therefore, I usually set it at 75ºF.
Here’s the most reliable heater from Ehim that I use for my tank.
It comes with some valuable features like:
- Automatic turn-off feature when water level becomes low
- Thermo safety control protects against risks of running dry
- Made with shock-resistant and shatterproof glass
So, that brings us to the end of this blog. I’ve tried to include all the information I could pack to make a well-rounded, one-stop guide! See you next time!
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