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Can Ghost Shrimp Live In Saltwater? Step-by-Step Guide For Acclimatization

Can Ghost Shrimp Live In Saltwater? Step-by-Step Guide For Acclimatization

There isn’t much info on whether ghost shrimps can live in saltwater or not. But I have found aquarists keeping ghost shrimps in saltwater. I was dumbfounded when I saw these shrimps thriving in saltwater too. The truth is that I still have to try it on my own. However, my week-long findings on forums and scientific journals helped me scavenge essential tips for those willing to take this venture, i.e., keeping ghost shrimps in saltwater.

Can Ghost Shrimps Live In Saltwater?

Although it isn’t a suitable habitat, ghost shrimps can live in saltwater. They can gradually adapt to saltwater tanks if acclimated properly. However, the direct placing of ghost shrimps in a saltwater tank can shock their body system and result in instant death. So it is advised to acclimatize them before putting them in a saltwater tank.

Why Do People Keep Ghost Shrimps In A Saltwater Tank?

Acclimating ghost shrimps in saltwater has become popular among aquarists. Some do it to enhance their tanks’ marine ecosystem, while others swear that it helps shrimps recover from diseases.

Here are some reasons why people keep ghost shrimps in a saltwater tank.

Ghost shrimp

It Enhances Tank’s Marine Ecosystem 

We all want a Shangri La tank environment where all kinds of shrimps and aquatic plants fit perfectly. But every aquatic plant is different and requires distinct water parameters to flourish. Hobbyists might want to keep ghost shrimps along with the corals and reefs, which can only grow in saltwater. So the hobbyists worldwide acclimatize ghost shrimps with saltwater to get that picturesque view of shrimps with sea corals.

It Helps In Fast Recovery From Illness

Ghost shrimps are kept in the saltwater tank when the vet recommends doing so. Shrimps suffer from various diseases due to inadequate water parameters or poor diet. Therefore, the shrimps need to be quarantined and kept in the saltwater to kill off freshwater bacteria. 

Ghost Shrimps Are Used As Prey For Saltwater Fishes

Aquarists also keep ghost shrimps in their aquarium as food for their saltwater fishes. Ghost shrimps in saltwater can be easy prey for them. However, you should know that it isn’t recommended to feed freshwater shrimps to saltwater fishes. Observe how your saltwater fishes react after consuming ghost shrimps. Remove ghost shrimps from the tank if the fishes get sick after consumption of ghost shrimps.

Wrong Information On Breeding Is Also A Reason

A misinformed, popular notion on ghost shrimp breeding has become a reason for keeping ghost shrimp in saltwater. Ghost shrimps have widely been mistaken for Amano shrimps, which are known to breed only in salty water. Opposite to them, Ghost shrimps do not require brackish water to reproduce. So it is fatal to keep ghost shrimp in salty water for breeding. Use fresh water for ghost shrimp breeding.

Ghost Shrimps Are Chosen For Their Resilience

Ghost shrimps are hardy creatures. They are known to adapt to almost all kinds of water. But no matter how tough they are, they too need time to acclimatize to saltwater. Every breed of shrimp is different and can survive only in a particular type of water. As most shrimps are delicate, there hasn’t been much success with other freshwater shrimps in saltwater. The resilient characteristic of ghost shrimps is why aquarists choose them to keep along with other marine creatures and plants.

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What Happens When You Put Ghost Shrimp In Saltwater Directly?

Ghost Shrimp On A  Leaf

Sudden change in the water parameters will shock your ghost shrimp’s internal system and suffocate it in an instant. For your ghost shrimps to survive in high saline water, they need to maintain the balance of water and dissolved materials in their body, regardless of environmental conditions. This is due to the process of osmoregulation. Therefore, your ghost shrimps require enough time to adjust and adapt to the high salinity in water.

In their natural habitat, i.e., freshwater, ghost shrimps have more salt in their body than in their surroundings. Their body intakes salt from the water outside in their habitat, which is why they excrete water and intake salt. However, when they are kept in salty water, their bodies cannot block the tremendous amount of salt trying to enter their bodies. Eventually, this excess salt will cause dehydration in their body, and they will ultimately die. 

This is why careful and gradual acclimation is necessary while keeping shrimps in a saltwater tank. 

So, that leaves us with how to acclimate ghost shrimps in saltwater. 

How To Acclimate Your Ghost Shrimps To Saltwater?

Acclimating is done to ensure no fatal accidents occur while transferring ghost shrimps from freshwater to saltwater. 

Here, I’ll discuss the dripping method, which is popular among aquarists.

Dripping Method

It is a simple method, and you won’t need to be meticulous while conducting it. 

Things you will require:

Airline tubing and Airstone

Spatula/Plastic Spoon


  1. First, your aquarium should be on an elevated surface like a table so that the water will flow from the elevation.
  2. Next, take your airline tube and tie a knot at one end, leaving a half-foot of the tube for dripping. 
  3. Put the air stone in the tube end. Place one end in the saltwater aquarium and another end in the plastic tub where you have kept your ghost shrimps.
  4. The tub with ghost shrimps should be filled enough to cover the shrimp’s body. Fill a 1/4th part of the plastic tub with fresh water. 
  5. Now, suck the water from the aquarium using your mouth. When it’s about to reach your mouth, pinch the tube and stop it from entering your mouth. 
  6. Place the end in the shrimp tub. Use a spring clamp to hold the tube in the container. You don’t want to be holding the airline tube for an hour.
  7. Acclimating is a process that requires patience, so you shouldn’t hurry it. Make sure the water is dripping through the knot at a minuscule rate, a drip per second. This will allow your shrimp to acclimate gradually. If the dripping pace is faster, tighten the knot. It won’t be a problem if the dripping rate is slower. It gives them more time to adapt to the saltwater change. 
  8. Leave it for at least an hour to fill up the whole plastic tub/container. After the container is full and an hour is passed, take out the shrimps using the plastic spoon and put them in the aquarium. 

You shouldn’t feed them anything for 24 hours. Let them explore nooks and corners of their new habitat. This helps them scavenge for food in the future. 

Final Words: Can Ghost Shrimp Live In Saltwater?

Though not their preferred choice of habitat, ghost shrimps can live in saltwater. It is not recommended to do so but if you want to try it, then acclimating is necessary before putting them in a saltwater aquarium. Nobody can tell for sure that they will breed and thrive in a saltwater tank, but there have been cases where they have adapted and thrived in a saltwater tank. However, an equal number of failed attempts suggests otherwise. 

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