Why Do My Ghost Shrimps Keep Dying? How Can You Stop This?

Jul 16, 2021

"4369543488_65e84625d9_z" by JesseClaggett is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

It can be disheartening when your shrimps die a few days after bringing them home. Usually, a ghost shrimp can live from few weeks to a year. However, no one can be sure that every shrimp will live up to a year. Even though you have prepped up every a suitable environment for them, they might die quickly. However, when this happens often, you need to know that something is wrong with your upbringing!

Why Do My Ghost Shrimps Keep Dying?

Factors like inability to acclimate, poor water parameters, overstocking, overfeeding, white rings, no plants in the aquarium, and wrong tank mates are some of the reasons why your ghost shrimps keep dying. Thus, you need to address each of these problems one at a time carefully, and you won’t have a dead colony of shrimps.

Now, let’s dive into details on the factors that could cause the frequent death of ghost shrimps in your tank.

Ghost Shrimps Die When They Are Unable to Acclimate.

Shrimps are resilient, but dropping them into your home tank right after bringing them from a pet store fatal. The temperature and water parameters they had been kept won’t be similar to your tank’s. And when unable to adapt rapidly, they will die in an instant.

So, just like fishes, your ghost shrimp also needs to be acclimatized and only poured into the tank. One of the popular methods to acclimatize your ghost shrimps in a new tank is by following the dripping process.

Keep your shrimps in a separate container. Do not change the water in which they came in. Instead, use an airline tube and connect it from your home tank to a separate container. Tie a knot at the bottom part where the water flows into the container. This will regulate the drip supply from your aquarium unto the container. Make sure the water pours at rate of at least a drip per second. Leave it for an hour or more. This will let your shrimp have enough time to acclimatize with the tank water parameters. After the container is filled, you can take your shrimps out from the container and put them in the tank.

Equipment Required For The Dripping Method:

Airline Tube And Air Stone

Spatula/Plastic Spoon

Clip

This easy method will help your shrimp acclimate gradually and prevent casualties in your tank.

For learning this dripping method in detail, you can read this article CAN GHOST SHRIMP LIVE IN SALTWATER? Step-By-Step Guide For Acclimatization.

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Ghost Shrimps Die If You Put Them In A Saltwater Aquarium.

The most beautiful aquatic plants grow in a saltwater aquarium. So to achieve the picturesque aquarium, hobbyists, both beginner and advanced, try to increase the salinity of the water. But, as ghosts shrimps are a freshwater species, they cannot adapt to high saline water – resulting in their death.

But some aquarists have found success after acclimating these shrimps for days. However, it is not recommended to do so. The chances of your ghost shrimps thriving in saltwater are slim to none.

Poor Water Parameters Can Lead To Ghost Shrimp’s Death.

To have ghost shrimps thrive in your aquarium, you should focus on attaining the optimum water parameters. If you have found ghost shrimps dying too often, then insufficient water parameters could be the possible culprit.

The optimal water parameter for ghost shrimps should be:

  • Temperature: 65 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees to 23.8 degrees Celsius)
  • General Hardness (GH): 3 – 10 dGH
  • Carbonate Hardness (KH): 3 – 15 dKH
  • Nitrate Level: Below 20 ppm
  • Ammonia and Nitrite: 0

Under these specific parameters, ghost shrimps can survive. And yes, you can breed them too.

Every aquarist should regularly check the water parameter with a reliable kit. It will help you keep your aquatic pals happy and thriving. Here’s a value for money kit that I use in measuring my tank water parameters.

Watch Out For Amount Of Copper In Your Aquarium.

Shrimps are vulnerable to copper and lead. They are toxic, and even a minuscule amount of them will kill your shrimps. Generally, the tap water you use for the tank happens to be the source of these metals.

Fertilizers that you use for plants might also have copper or lead. So, check the label before buying fertilizers for your shrimp tank.

Use the water parameter checking kit to determine whether the water in your tank has copper or lead. If you have their traces in the tank water, you need to change the water immediately.

Chloramines Used For Purifying Our Drinking Water Is Harmful For Ghost Shrimps.

The disinfectants used in our drinking water can be an agent of death for shrimps. For example, chlorine and ammonia used in purifying the drinking water, when used for shrimp tank, will lead to ghost shrimp’s death.

This is why you should use a de-chlorinator for the tap water that you pour into your shrimp tank. It will detoxify ammonia, nitrite, chlorine, and chloramine from your shrimps’ tank. 

Here’s one that I use for detoxing all of my tanks.

Malfunctioning Of Aquarium Equipment Can Lead To Death Of Your Ghost Shrimps.

It is hard to find durable aquarium equipment that stick with you for years. After all, they have to run 24/7. So this makes them wear out quickly. Especially the heaters and filters wear out fast.

So, a malfunctioning heater could either raise or lower the water temperature in your ghost shrimp’s tank. And this changes the water parameters they require to thrive. As a result, this could be the reason why your ghost shrimps keep dying.

I wouldn’t recommend taking heaters for maintenance. They seldom work for long after being repaired. It will be wise to buy a new one.

If you want to check out what I am using to control the temperature of my shrimp tank, then here it is. The best thing about this heater is the dual display of temperature in Celsius and Fahrenheit with five years of warranty.

Feeding More Than Required Also Cause Death In Ghost Shrimps.

Overfeeding isn’t taken seriously when it comes to raising shrimps, but it is a severe problem—excess consumption of food results in fast molting. And molting is a delicate process that can take a shrimp’s life if it goes wrong.

So you need to feed your shrimps only at regular intervals. If your tank is heavily planted, your shrimps might not even require external food. They are scavengers and will find their food in the substrates. Leftovers from fish pellets and poops are some of the foods they consume to survive.

Wrong Tank Mates Can Eat Your Ghost Shrimps.

Ghost Shrimps are tiny and can become easy prey to larger fishes. So you need to place them with suitable tankmates. Unfortunately, bigger and aggressive tankmates won’t hesitate to consume your small ghost shrimps.

Fishes like Barbs and Tetras can be an excellent choice to keep along with your ghost shrimps. Other shrimps and other bottom dwellers crustaceans can be ideal tank mates too. Amano shrimp, Cherry shrimp, Kuhli loaches, Snail, Cori catfish are some comfortable companies for your ghost shrimps.

Avoid aggressive and larger fish breeds as they will provoke and eat your ghost shrimps. Goldfish, Angelfish, Bettas, Cichlids, Frogs, Turtles, Crayfish, Gourami, Danios are some of the worst tank mates that can eat ghost shrimps.

“dave” by jhartshorn is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Now that you’ve recognized good and bad company for ghost shrimps, let’s discuss why overstocking kills ghost shrimps.

Related: What Eats Ghost Shrimps? Beware Of These Culprits

Overstocking Causes Ghost Shrimps To Die.

Although ghost shrimps can survive in any tank size, we should never go overboard with the numbers. There will be a struggle for food and dominance over pasture area. Worst case scenario could be cannibalism – hence, the decline in ghost shrimp numbers.

As a rule of thumb, you can have five ghost shrimps per gallon. But you can stretch up to 10. Any more than that, and you will have a crowded tank. Keep in mind while buying ghost shrimps and breeding them. If your shrimp tank is getting overpopulated, you can always use them as feed. Usually, I feed them to my red-eared slider turtle. And, yes, he gets happy when he gets to eat shrimps.

Failed Molting Is Another Reason For Your Shrimp’s Death.

Molting is a routine, natural phenomena that occurs in every shrimp’s body. When a shrimp grows, it has to shed its exoskeleton. However, due to poor water parameters or a bad diet, shrimps tend to shed off their healthy exoskeleton too. And this leads to early death in ghost shrimps.

So, regular checking of water parameters helps in preventing bad molting in your shrimps.

Poor Hygiene Also Leads To Ghost Shrimp’s Death.

When your shrimps are dying too quickly, everything suggests towards water parameters. Poor hygiene is another primal cause behind the degradation of water quality in your shrimp tank. Despite being a scavenger, ghost shrimps too can become a victim of dirty and unmaintained shrimp tanks.

That’s why you need to clean your shrimp tank periodically to halt the mortality rate in your shrimp population. First, tend the prefilter sponge once every fortnight. Then, make sure you clean the filter once a month.


Recommended Readings:

Do Ghost Shrimps Need A Filter?

Parasites In Ghost Shrimps? Read This!

Frequent Water Change Is Also A Factor To Consider.

Sudden water change can also lead to death in ghost shrimps. Shrimps constantly molt, and the unannounced water changing can disrupt their molting process and leave them vulnerable to illness, eventually causing death.

Although changing of water is necessary, you shouldn’t change whole water in a single session. Instead, change about 20 to 30% every two weeks. Use the drip method to let your shrimps have enough time to adapt to the new water parameters.

Final Words On Why Do My Ghost Shrimp Keep Dying

You cannot be sure why your ghost shrimps keep dying if you haven’t eliminated every possibility. It will be better if you start by correcting the water parameters in your aquarium. Also, look out for the wrong tank mates that could be gobbling up your shrimps or amputating them one after another. Even after that, if the death toll doesn’t decrease, it’s time you change the supplier.

Relevant Readings:

Tiger Pistol Shrimp Care Guide | Diet, Habitat, Breeding, Accessories

Snowball Shrimp Care Guide | Diet, Habitat, Breeding, Accessories

Do Cherry Shrimps Eat Hair Algae? What About Blue-green And Black Beard Algae?

rohit gurung author at urbanfishkeeping

About Rohit Gurung

My never-ending love and fascination with Aquascaping started when I received a red-eared turtle for my 10th birthday.

Apart from researching and writing, I spend hours gazing at my 3 turtles. And yeah, I bask alongside them too.