Ever seen a shrimp that looks like a ghost? Fret not; your aquarium is not haunted!
A ghost shrimp or glass shrimp (palaemonetes paludosus) is a transparent and tiny shrimp species commonly used as fish food.
Since they are merely 1.5-2 inches long, with the babies (fry) being even smaller, it can be difficult to see them. This makes raising and breeding ghost shrimps a challenge for many.
However, you can successfully look after your baby ghost shrimps with proper care, water parameters, diet, and more. Hence, we have prepared this brief yet informative guide to help you sail through.
What Do Baby Ghost Shrimp Look Like?
Ghost or glass shrimp have completely transparent bodies with their internal system on full display. In fact, you can even see the food inside their tiny bellies!
Thus, despite being used as fish food by most breeders, they make amusing pets with colorful dots on their bodies right after a heavy feed. However, this unique feature makes them extremely delicate and difficult to look after.
Typically, ghost shrimps have multiple legs, known as swimmerets. Baby ghost shrimps or fry look like mosquito larvae and stay protected among the mother’s legs. After six to eight weeks, you will see these tiny creatures as they permanently detach from their mother. While maturing, the fry often molts within a few months.
How Long Does It Take For Ghost Shrimp Babies To Hatch?
Ghost shrimps spawn very often. In fact, if you have female and male ghost shrimps in the same tank, they can produce eggs every week. Consequently, you will see a pregnant female shrimp with pin-sized 20-30 green or grey eggs attached to her legs. As the female moves, the motion of the swimmerets supplies oxygen to these eggs.
The gestation period ranges from 12 to 14 days. Right before they hatch, you may even notice tiny black dots on each egg. These are the eyes of the little ones!
Right after birth, ghost shrimp babies are free-swimming creatures with padlike swimmerets. They develop into larvae before becoming adults.
How Do Ghost Shrimp Have Babies?
Male and female ghost shrimps look very similar until they have reached maturity. Note that female shrimps are slightly bigger than their male counterparts. Also, they sport green dots under the tail, which later become eggs.
After the female ghost shrimp reaches the breeding age, a male ghost shrimp will have to fertilize the eggs within a few days. If you’re using a separate breeding tank, ensure that you move the female shrimps carefully and quickly since they tend to drop their eggs under stress.
How Long (Fast) Does It Take For Baby Ghost Shrimp To Grow?
Note that the female shrimps do not shake off all of the larval shrimps at once as they are afraid of predators. Moreover, about 1/3rd of the larvae may not survive this process due to lack of ideal breeding conditions, predation by parents, etc.
Initially, the newborn shrimps are tiny and hard to see. However, they grow rapidly and double up in size within a week. Of course, it largely depends on the type of food you feed them.
How To Take Care Of Baby Ghost Shrimp?
Now that you have bred the ghost shrimps, it is time to look after their young ones. Since they are very delicate and get spooked easily, remember to be gentle with them.
What do baby ghost shrimp eat?
Try to feed the newborns within an hour of birth. This is because ghost shrimp eggs do not contain a yolk for nutrition like other fish eggs.
Baby brine shrimp (the younger, the better) make excellent feed for baby ghost shrimp. Further, add plants and algae into the tank so the babies have enough small debris (infusoria) to munch on.
Further, baby shrimps can eat crushed tropical fish food, finely strained pieces of egg yolk, micro worms, and other types of tiny specialized food.
Proper water parameters
The water in the ghost shrimp tank should be free from ammonia and nitrite, and contain as little as possible nitrates. These delicate species require clean water containing mature substrate, with the temperature ranging from 73-78 degrees Fahrenheit.
Additionally, you can add a teaspoon of aquarium salt for 10 gallons of water in the tank. Basically, keep the salinity very minimal.
A Maternity Tank Is A Must
A maternity tank of at least 10-gallon capacity will suffice for breeding ghost shrimps. Place some gravel at the bottom and a sponge filter to provide air circulation without disturbing the creatures.
Adding lots of small, floating plants like java moss will help provide shelter whenever required, and the small debris makes suitable feed for the shrimps. Consider adding artificial caves and rocks, too.
Lastly, keep the tank lit 24 hours a day and cover it with black construction paper. This prevents injuries as these shrimps tend to swim towards ambient light.
Do ghost shrimp eat their babies?
Ghost shrimps are scavengers, and the adults may eat the younger ones. Thus, we recommend keeping the baby shrimps separately, for at least five weeks, until they have matured enough to be moved in a community tank.
How many babies do ghost shrimp have?
A female ghost shrimp can produce anywhere between 8-80 baby shrimps. However, not all of these newborns survive during the first hour after birth.
Can a ghost shrimp have babies in my tank?
Once mature, ghost shrimps can thrive in a community tank if the rest of the tank mates are small and shrimp-friendly. Moreover, dark gravel will be the most suitable as it makes the designs on the body relatively darker, making it easier to spot them.
How long until we see the baby ghost shrimp moving?
Even after detaching from the mother’s swimmerets within the first hour of birth, the shrimplets come back to her until a week. It is only then that these free-flowing creatures begin to move on their own.
With that, we come to the end of this guide on baby ghost shrimps. Since almost every type of fish relish on shrimps, their survival is quite a challenge.
However, with the right conditions, food, and tankmates, these unique shrimps can thrive in a community tank. Just make sure that you feed the little ones frequently, i.e., every three to four hours throughout the day.