Ghost Shrimp Breeding
When it comes to breeding ghost shrimp, whether you are using them as feeder or have other reasons, they are pretty easy to breed. As long as their water conditions are stable and they are in a stress-free tank away from predators, you will most likely have success in breeding ghost shrimp.
In this article, we will discuss all the steps, materials, and methods needed to successfully breed your ghost shrimp effectively and without fuss.
Quick Reference Section
- Scientific Name: Neotrypaea californiensis
- Alternate Name(s): Glass Shrimp, Eastern Grass Shrimp
- Family: Palaemonidae
- Size: 1 to 2 inches
- Diet: Omnivore
- Lifespan: 1 year
- Where to buy: Liveaquaris, Aquabid, Amazon, eBay
Breeding Ghost Shrimp
- A 10-Gallon Breeding Tank
- An Aquatic Air Pump
- A Sponge Filter
- Dark-colored light-grained gravel
- Live plants
- Aquarium Thermometer
- Fish Pellets
- Plastic bags and rubber bands
- pH test strips
Once you have all the materials and tools needed to properly breed ghost shrimp, you should first try to do some research; watch YouTube videos, read around, and make sure you understand the processes your shrimp will go through.
We are also here to help any beginners who might want to take a shot at trying to successfully breed their ghost shrimp. This step-by-step guide will ensure that you have all the materials and information you need.
Here are the steps you must take to breed your ghost shrimp:
Preparing Water Conditions
First and foremost, the best way to encourage your ghost shrimp to breed is to keep them stress-free in optimal water conditions. You can do this by keeping them in their own individual tank.
The optimal water temperature is 72 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit to produce successful offspring and encourage birth. They like semi-tropical temperatures with hard, alkaline, clean, freshwater with no salinity at all, as that will not allow eggs to develop.
You want to install an air pump so that they can breathe and a sponge filter to keep the water filtered without harming any of the babies. Add live plants, gravel or sand, and rocks to give them places to hide.
For a more in-depth explanation with all the information you might ever need about preparing your tank conditions for breeding or if you just want to get all the scientific details down, we recommend you check out this video by YouTuber McMerwe:
It is important that you get your numbers right by using pH strip checks and aquatic thermometers in order to get the best results possible.
Before any fertilization happens, you should prepare your shrimp for the breeding tank’s water. To get them acclimated, take them out of their usual habitat with that tank’s water and put them into plastic bags.
Float these plastic bags into the new tank’s water for about 20 minutes before disposing of a fourth of the water and replacing it with the new tank’s water. You want to continue this process three or four times so that there is no shock to them due to the changes.
This will keep them comfortable, which will play a huge role in whether or not they will create babies. You want them stress-free and acclimated to their new tank.
You should also remember to change 20 to 30 percent of their water every week. Also, keep a close eye on your temperatures.
Once you have your matured males and females together in their breeding tank, you’re ready to start. You will know they have matured when the females are spotted and the males have grown a green saddle under their body.
One male per every two females is the key to getting this to work. Your odds will increase if you put this gender ratio of around 20 shrimps in your breeding tank.
Encourage them with a plant covering, regular food sources in small amounts, and good water conditions. Give the males a few days to fertilize the eggs.
Female ghost shrimp will produce around 20 to 30 eggs every 3 weeks and will then carry them for another 1 to 2 weeks.
When you see females with fertilized eggs, you can then transport the male ghost shrimps carefully back into their original tank. Do try to acclimate them the same way you did when you put them into the breeding tank.
Transferring shrimp back and forth can be fatal if not done carefully. Try not to do it too often.
This caution should apply to when you transfer the males back after fertilization, as well as any females that might have failed to get pregnant.
Pregnancy and Birth
These eggs will usually take around 21 to 24 days to hatch until she gives birth and they spawn live from the mother.
The eggs will be attached to the pregnant female’s swimmerets or legs. You will see the mother shrimp aerate her eggs, moving water over them with her legs in a fanning motion to keep them clean and oxygenated.
You may not be able to see this process with the naked eye, but eventually, the eggs will slide to the end of her swimmerets, fall off, and then float upward.
This process may take a few hours up to a full day. To know when she is finished, you will notice that there are fewer eggs under her, and eventually, none will be left.
As soon as you see her finish with giving birth to her young, remove her and put her back into her usual tank. You must remove her once she is done depositing the eggs, or she will eat the larvae.
Do not forget to transfer the mother carefully back into her tank with the method we used previously. Reacclimate her to her aquarium by putting her in a plastic bag and allow her to float in a mix of her old water with a fourth of her new tank’s water until she is used to it.
Check out this cool YouTube video of a pregnant ghost shrimp giving birth to her young:
Baby Ghost Shrimp
At the surface of the water in the tank, her eggs will then hatch into larvae, which are too small to see. After about 5 more days, they will grow into shrimplets that are unable to swim. They will stay at the surface for a few more days until they are able to swim.
When they grow to be fry or about 6 to 8 weeks of age, feed them small, specialized foods like powdered spirulina algae or microworms every 3 hours.
Keep feeding them until they’ve grown legs, which should happen over a couple of weeks. That signifies larvae growing into the juvenile stage, where they start to look like shrimp.
These shrimps should molt every few months, meaning that they are growing.
At their juvenile stage, you can feed them regular food, just like you do to adult ghost shrimp, but in smaller sizes. You can transfer the juveniles out into their own tank after 3 to 4 weeks.
Do not forget to change 20 to 30 percent of the water every week and check your temperatures.
How long will it take for the males to fertilize the female’s eggs?
This process should happen within a few days if the water conditions are good and your shrimp are healthy. If the female is not fertilized, she will drop her eggs, but if they are in there for a few days, they are most likely fertilized!
It’s also very easy to see whether or not they are pregnant due to their transparent bodies. Keep a close eye and you should be fine.
How long are female Ghost shrimp pregnant?
Most of the time, they are usually pregnant for about 21 to 24 days on average.
Will the mother Ghost shrimp eat her young?
It is highly possible, which is why you should remove her from the tank once she has finished giving birth.
Can’t Ghost Shrimp breed in a community tank?
If you want to risk your shrimp fry getting eaten by other fish or their own parents, then at least make sure you have a spawning mop or some carpet plants for the eggs or fry.
It is very risky depending on what other aquatic animals might be lurking in the tank. This may also induce stress to your ghost shrimp, which will not help them lay eggs.
It is not recommended to try to breed them in a communal aquarium. You will get the best results with a separate breeding tank since it will also allow your shrimp to have their individual needs and conditions met, making them more likely to breed stress-free.
When can I feed my ghost shrimp to my other fish?
Ghost shrimp can be a nutritious feeder for other fish, especially if they are kept in healthy conditions. Your fish will be able to get better nutrients when their food is well taken care of.
They can be a good source of essential fats and protein for your larger carnivorous fish.
When breeding ghost shrimp as live feeder, you should wait until they are about half an inch to about three fourths long until you can serve them.
What kind of water should I use for my Ghost shrimp breeding tank?
Never use saltwater since these guys are freshwater shrimp and cannot develop in high salinity. You can safely use bottled water or get the appropriate water from a pet store or an aquarium shop.
Water straight from the tap won’t work either since it is mostly treated with chlorine. Although, you can use a chloramine neutralizer or dechlorinator to make the water safe for them. Make sure you give the tank at least 24 hours to evaporate all the chlorine before adding your shrimp.
You must make sure you use the appropriate water for your ghost shrimp.
Breeding ghost shrimp is not too hard if all the steps are taken carefully. It is crucial that you take care of your shrimp and keep them in the best water conditions possible.
Your shrimp can die if something goes wrong, so make sure to follow instructions and do your own research before you attempt to breed them.
Once you have baby ghost shrimp, be sure to take care of them as well before they are large enough to join your main aquarium.
We hope this article helped you through this exciting experience. Since ghost shrimp are transparent, you can basically watch the whole process happen, which is the best part.
More Shrimp Stuff
- Ghost Shrimp Care Sheet
- 16 Great Tank Mates For Ghost Shrimp
- Differences between Amano Shrimp & Ghost Shrimp
- Amano Shrimp Care Guide