Ghost shrimps are tiny, and they reproduce crazily with a negligible amount of waste. Thus, it’s tricky to know how many ghost shrimp per gallon you should keep. In today’s blog, we’ll tell you everything about it and more.
How Many Ghost Shrimp Per Gallon?
When it comes to ghost shrimps, the most common practice among fish keepers is to keep 5 ghost shrimps per gallon. However, the number may fluctuate from 3 to 10, depending on factors like other tank mates, decorations, plants, and equipment.
The answer above was pretty straightforward. But there’s more to it.
Let’s look at the factors that can change the answer startlingly to the ‘’how many ghost shrimp per gallon?” question.
Number of Residents in Tank
Ghost shrimps have a significantly low bio-mass and ecological footprint. However, the number of other aquatic creatures in the tank can affect the ideal number of ghost shrimps. For a community aquarium, you can start with about 5-6 shrimps first.
Ghost shrimps are relatively small—reaching a maximum size of only 2 inches. Hence, they take up significantly less space in the tank. But their petite size also means that they make great snacks for most fish species.
So, if you’re trying to add ghost shrimps in a tank containing fish, add around 10 shrimps because there’s a good chance most of them will be eaten. To help them survive better, you can add several live plants to the tank.
Even better, get decorations like tiny caves and castles where only shrimps can fit.
Number of Plants in the Tank
For a heavily planted tank, I’d suggest you go with 10 ghost shrimps at a time. Don’t let their number exceed over 20 or 25. But if plants are on the sparser side, the number of shrimps per gallon depends on variables like the tank’s population, purpose, and so on.
Ghost shrimps eat plants, but they prefer the decaying bits better. Their tiny mouths don’t pose a substantial threat to your plants.
If you’re housing ghost shrimps, you can add floating plants like Amazon frogbit and water lettuce. These plants are super easy to care for and do an excellent job of absorbing ammonia from the water.
This may seem farfetched, but little things can go a long way in keeping a tank clean and water parameters healthy for extended periods.
State of Filtration System
Ghost shrimps are diligent cleaners. But ironically, they need a tank that’s clean immaculately at all times. Ghost shrimps are quite sensitive to water parameters and their surroundings. If you have a proper filtration system, it automatically increases your tank’s caliber to house more shrimp.
Ghost shrimps produce extremely low bio-load. Moreover, they consume algae, decaying bits, and even fish poop in some instances. So in several ways, ghost shrimps help to keep a tank clean and healthy.
However, they’re highly susceptible to bad water conditions.
Let’s look at an example.
Ghost shrimps molt and get rid of the old exoskeleton every few weeks. And to grow a new shell, they will absorb a considerable amount of water from the tank.
Thus, the water should be clean and healthy at all times—preferably; it should be even a tad bit higher in calcium and protein content.
Besides molting, proper filtration helps boosts immunity, prevents infections, and aids reproduction in ghost shrimps.
One important thing you need to make sure of is to use a filter with an intake screen. Ghost shrimps climb on the filter to scrounge on algae and biofilm grown on the surface.
Thus, there’s a high chance that they’ll get sucked up and trapped inside the filter.
If you don’t have a model with a built-in filter, you can use a piece of cotton fabric or a fine net over the intake.
So, frankly, if you don’t have too much time on your hands, limit the number of shrimps in the tank. Although it looks unlikely, a lot of hard work goes into the creation of a thriving ghost shrimp colony.
Number of Hiding Places
Ghost shrimps may look unassuming, but they’re quite territorial creatures. You can expect a certain level of hostility in the tank. Thus, include several hiding places where ghost shrimps can go when they’re feeling threatened. They also strongly prefer to hide when molting.
However, the higher the number of hiding places, the lower the number of ghost shrimps.
Hiding places like plants, decorations, and driftwood can take up a good amount of the tank’s space. Thus, you need to plan the numbers accordingly.
Nonetheless, it’s vital to offer plenty of hiding places, even if it slightly compromises the shrimp population.
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My Recommendation for a Ghost Shrimp Tank
I came across several forums and blogs that recommended a 5-gallon tank for a beginner. However, I’d suggest you go with a 10-gallon tank. A small tank may look easy to care for, but they’re more temperamental than the big ones.
Given delicate water parameters, raising a troupe of ghost shrimps will be difficult for a newbie to achieve in a smaller aquarium.
Besides that, if you establish a thriving colony, the number of shrimps quickly multiplies in the tank. Thus, if you get a 10-gallon tank, you don’t have to replace it soon, even if the tank’s population increases.
How to Control Ghost Shrimp Population in the Tank?
Ghost shrimps can give guppies a run for their money when it comes to breeding rates. Some options to control their population are using them as live food, selling them, removing pregnant ghost shrimps from the tank, or introducing an invading species.
In a safe and healthy tank, they can reproduce crazily. So, if your tank’s exploding, and that’s precisely what you want, congrats. If not, let’s look at the solutions.
Shift Them to a Bigger Tank
If a thriving shrimp colony is what you want, you can move your ghost shrimps to a bigger tank. A 10-gallon tank is excellent for starting, but if your tank’s population is increasing, invest in a bigger tank.
As ghost shrimps are territorial beings, lack of space can cause unsolicited aggression. The tank’s water will also get polluted quickly, and you know its consequences.
Separate Pregnant Ghost Shrimps
Separating pregnant ghost shrimps from the tank is a viable way to control the population. Depending on your will, you can shift it to a new tank or give it as a snack to other fish. As ghost shrimps are transparent, it’s easy to notice if pregnant.
You can easily see the bloated stomach, and against the light, you’ll see dozens of tiny eggs inside the body.
You might be surprised to know that freshwater shrimp sells like hot cakes on eBay and Craigslist. Generally, people buy them as feeder shrimp, while others want to start a colony. Either way, you can list them on an e-commerce site and make some money out of the hobby.
But if you sell them, make sure that you have planned the logistic well as shipping live animals require delicate care.
Give Them as a Gift
Now giving ghost shrimps as gifts may sound unusual. But if you know someone who’s into a fishkeeping hobby, be assured that he’ll love this gift. Interested ones can start their ghost shrimp colony. You can even spend some time together, setting up a tank.
On the other hand, other fish keepers you know might want to give their aquatic pets the taste of delicious live food.
Sell to Your Local Pet Store
In any pet store, ghost shrimps are almost always one of the best-selling creatures, thanks to their use as algae cleaner and feeder shrimps. Thus, you can contact the local pet store in your area and ask if they’ll buy ghost shrimps from you. The answer’s usually a yes.
So these are the five ideal options I could think of for tackling the overpopulation problem in your tank.
While it’s tempting to release them in the wild and to think they’ll finally find their freedom, don’t forget that it can lead to dire consequences. No matter how big or small, when foreign species are introduced in any tank, there’s a high potential of disturbing the natural ecosystem.
Alien species may colonize a water body, or worse, bring in unknown diseases. Thus, whatever you do, don’t release your ghost shrimps in the wild.
Conclusion on How Many Ghost Shrimp per Gallon?
Ghost shrimps may look like a hardy and easy-to-care-for species, but that’s not entirely true. They have quite specific and sensitive needs, whether it concerns the filtration system or several hiding places in the tank.
Thus, the ideal number of ghost shrimps in a tank depends on various factors. There’s no rule-of-thumb formula to it.
That being said, the most common practice among fish keepers is to keep 5 ghost shrimps per gallon. The answer can also change drastically depending on variables like the tank’s population, filtration system, and decorations.