Ghost shrimps are an interesting species. Best known for their algae-eating and tank-cleaning capacities, they also make great aquatic pets. Heralded as nature’s cleaners, do ghost shrimp need a filter?
Do Ghost Shrimp Need A Filter?
Yes, like most aquatic species living in a confined tank, ghost shrimps need a filter. Even though they do most cleaning themselves, a filter is still essential to prevent the buildup of harmful gasses like nitrate and ammonia. A sound filtration system helps the shrimps molt easily.
Several owners have reported that their ghost shrimps have lived and thrived in a heavily planted tank. And while it’s entirely possible, we would still recommend buying a reliable filter to maintain a healthy ecosystem.
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Why Do Ghost Shrimp Need A Filter?
Ghost shrimps boast of having an extremely low ecological and biomass footprint. Nevertheless, having a proper filtration system is important to facilitate a complication-free molting process, boost immunity, keep infections and diseases in check, and encourage a healthy colony.
Good Filtration Helps With Molting
Once ghost shrimps get rid of the old shell, they’ll absorb high amounts of water to create the new shell. If the water is polluted, your shrimp will naturally absorb the dirty water. It will also create complications with the new shell’s growth and interfere with the next molting cycle.
Good Filtration Boosts Immunity
Devouring all the dirt and the gunk from the tank, ghost shrimps can be a very tough species. However, when they’re molting, their skin becomes fully exposed to the external environment—baring them to infections. Thus, having clean and safe water is crucial for their immunity.
Before and after molting, ghost shrimps have little to no appetite. And they may also experience a great deal of stress due to the poor water environment. In these conditions, it’s normal for the immune system to weaken and invite a number of diseases like muscular necrosis and white spot syndrome.
Thus, it’s important to maintain the water parameters at all times to ensure sound health in ghost shrimps.
Good Filtration Aids Growth And Reproduction
Since ghost shrimps have a short lifespan, they grow very quickly in successive stages. And poor water conditions directly hamper the molting process and new shell development, besides inviting highly infectious diseases. Hence, a good filter directly helps with ghost shrimp’s growth.
And if the shrimps die prematurely due to the aforementioned causes, it’ll be super difficult to maintain a healthy colony of ghost shrimps in a tank.
Good Filtration Reduces Frequent Water Changes
For ghost shrimps, water’s importance goes beyond survival and encompasses development. To develop a new exoskeleton, ghost shrimps absorb moisture from the surrounding. And if you change the water during this period, they will absorb water with unique properties, which increases their risk of contracting osmotic shock.
If the tank lacks proper filtration, you must conduct water changes more often. And let’s suppose you replace hard water with comparatively softer water. In those cases, the soft water will push hard water further and take its place.
This can cause the new exoskeleton to grow to a dangerous level and even kill the shrimp.
Good Filtration Builds Tank’s Nitrogen Cycle
A lack of a proper nitrogen cycle in a tank increases ammonia levels, which is highly lethal for ghost shrimps. However, a good filtration system can create an excellent bacterial colony that kills ammonia present in the tank.
The risks are even higher in smaller tanks as they’re more temperamental. Entire ghost shrimp colonies can be wiped down easily.
Nonetheless, a healthy nitrogen cycle eliminates not only ammonia but also encourages healthy water parameters by helping good bacteria flourish.
Three Factors To Consider When Buying Filter For Ghost Shrimp Tank
Not all filters are suitable for ghost shrimps. Make sure that the filter has adjustable flow control, as shrimps prefer weak water flow. Likewise, a filter with an intake screen prevents shrimps from getting trapped, while a filter cartridge with activated carbon keeps water cleaner for extended periods.
An Intake Screen On The Filter
Ghost shrimps love to climb on the filter intake when scrounging for food. And often, they’ll get sucked in and trapped by the filter. Hence, it’s crucial to ensure the filter has an intake screen.
If your filter doesn’t have a built-in intake screen, you can wrap a piece of cotton cloth or fine net around the intake. This will prevent the shrimp from getting sucked in by the suction.
Adjustable Flow Control
As bottom feeders, ghost shrimps love crawling more than swimming. They’re not powerful swimmers either. Therefore, you don’t need a powerful water flow in the ghost shrimp tank. You can get a filter with adjustable flow control to reduce and increase the flow on a need basis.
Ghost shrimps are tiny, and their babies are sometimes barely visible to the naked eye. A strong flow will disturb their swimming/crawling pattern and force them to move around involuntarily as well.
This can cause stress and developmental issues in ghost shrimps.
Filter With Cartridge Pad And Activated Carbon
If you’re getting a new filter, look for a model that uses cartridges containing activated carbon. It’s fairly easy to find one of these. The cartridge will absorb tiny debris, while the activated carbon will capture organic substances.
This will help keep your water clean and healthy for a longer period and buy you some time. But this will eliminate the need for frequent water changes that amplify risks of diseases like an osmotic shock.
Do Ghost Shrimp Need An Air Pump?
Even if you have a sturdy filtration mechanism in place, it’s still important to add an air pump for ghost shrimps. That’s because oxygen plays a fundamental role in shedding the exoskeleton and producing offspring in ghost shrimps.
Since ghost shrimps prefer low currents in the water, the tank’s atmosphere can become stagnant easily and deplete the oxygen levels. Therefore, it’s best if you add an air pump that’ll cycle fresh oxygen continuously on the go.
Adding plants to the tank is also an effective and easy way to oxygenate the tank. However, since plants absorb oxygen at night and produce carbon dioxide, it’s not wise to rely solely on plants to maintain the tank’s oxygen levels.
What Is The Best Filter For Ghost Shrimps?
If you have a small tank, use an internal sponge filter that doesn’t produce strong currents or pose risks of trapping your shrimps. For a bigger tank, stick with an external aquarium filter with a sponge cover on the intake.
If you are buying an external filter for a larger tank, get one that changes 3 to 5 times the amount of water in your tank every hour.
Three Types Of Filters For Ghost Shrimp Tanks
There are many options to choose from in the market, but the most popular choices for ghost shrimps are the matten filter, sponge filter, and HOB filter.
Matten filters are a favorite among shrimp keepers because of their easy mechanisms and pocket-friendly prices.
It has a large surface area that can double as a feeding surface for shrimps. The surface area is usually 2 to 4 times bigger than the standard sponge filter.
The extensive area also means more surface for beneficial bacteria to thrive, which will keep the tank healthy.
And last, microorganisms and biofilm thrive on the sponge’s surface—offering live and natural food for your shrimps.
Sponge filters are undoubtedly the most popular type of filter for shrimps.
These filters are located inside the aquarium and offer both biological and mechanical filtration.
Sponge filters come with porous foams designed to allow water to move through the thick pad while trapping debris and pollutants at its surface.
Thus, adequate filtration and clear water are guaranteed.
HOB filters sit on a bit pricier side but offer great value for money. These filters are placed on the back of the aquarium, as the name (hang-on-back) suggests.
Usually, HOB filtrations provide all three—biological, mechanical, and chemical filtration—but it can still differ based on the filter’s model.
Your ghost shrimps will benefit from the extra aeration these models provide.
We wouldn’t suggest you go for canister filters because that will be overkill for a smaller shrimp tank that needs low water flow. Likewise, a substrate filter is also not an option as ghost shrimps are bottom feeders.
After thorough research and skimming through hundreds of reviews on dozens of products, this is the one we liked the most. A HOB filter my AquaClear, a household brand name in the fishkeeping scene.
Here’s a list of most standout features of this product:
- Available for all kinds of tank sizes, ranging from 5 gallons to 110 gallons
- Offers optimal mechanical, chemical, and biological filtrations
- AuqaClear Foam, Activated Carbon Filter, Biomax, and Cycle Guard come in the box
- Lifetime warranty
However, some users have shared that this filter is on the louder side. Make sure that you go through the reviews thoroughly before deciding.
Conclusion On Do Ghost Shrimp Need A Filter
Ghost shrimps have negligible biomass and ecological footprint. On top of that, they love to clean the tank and get rid of impurities.
However, a filter is still imperative to ensure the proper growth and development of ghost shrimps.
After molting, the ghost shrimp creates its new molt by absorbing the water from the tank. Thus, it’s extremely important to have clean and clear water at all times that has reduced levels of harmful gasses like ammonia and nitrate.