So you found the perfect addition to your tank, the ghost shrimp. It is affordable and is a diligent tank cleaner. You expected it to live for an average of one year, and yet here you are, disposing of it in months. Now, you are wondering, “Why did my ghost shrimp die so soon?”. There are various reasons why ghost shrimps die early: food intake, tank water conditions, and tank mates.
You are in a sea (or tank) of questions, and this article will help you get out of it.
Ghost Shrimp Care
Ghost shrimps are famous for their unique transparent appearance. They are freshwater scavengers that live at the bottom of the water. You might think that ghost shrimps can very well live on their own without much care. That is true if they are in the wild. If they are in a tank, best try to provide them with suitable living conditions.
“Why did my ghost shrimp die?” you might wonder. There are several possible reasons.
Food, Intake, and Molting
Ghost shrimps feed on leftover fish food, algae, detritus, live plants, eggs, larvae, and insects. You need not give much thought to what to provide it. But be mindful of overfeeding it. Overfeeding is one cause of your ghost fish dying unexpectedly. If there are plenty of food sources in the tank, it may not need external food.
Overfeeding can increase the speed of the shrimp’s growth. When that happens, there’s molting. Molting is when a shrimp sheds its old shell. And more frequent molting occurs when it grows rapidly.
Shed shells are no harm to ghost shrimps; in fact, they can serve as food to other shrimps in the tank. However, be mindful that when a ghost shrimp recently molts, it is vulnerable. What you can do is to separate it, especially if there are possible threats in the tank.
Molting is a natural, delicate process for your ghost shrimp. The environment has to be perfect for when it molts. There is a chance that your ghost shrimp will shed its healthy shell if it has a bad diet or if the water condition is not ideal.
Ideal Tank and Water Conditions
Before we dive into the ideal water conditions, let’s first discuss the tank. It is essential to have plants in your tank. They will serve as a pasture for your ghost shrimp, oxygen source, and as a shield if need be. Watch out for copper or lead that may be in the fertilizer you use for the plants. These are dangerous to the health of your ghost shrimp.
If larger fish are in the same tank, provide your ghost shrimp hiding places. They have to have a hideout for when they feel threatened or anxious.
Maintain optimum water parameters. Doing so is generally easy to neglect because there are no apparent indications. As a responsible tank keeper, you should check the water regularly.
Optimum water parameters include temperature ranging from 65º – 80º F or 18.3º – 26.67º C. The water hardness should be kept at 3 -10 dGH. On the other hand, carbonate hardness has to be at 3 -15 dKH. PH level must be maintained from 7.0 to 8.0, the nitrate level below 20 ppm. Lastly, the ammonia and nitrate should be 0.
Make sure to keep the tank water within these parameters to ensure your ghost shrimp’s health.
Overcrowding and Tank Mates
Ghost shrimps do not grow big. Their average size is up to one a half inches making them suitable to be in any tank size. Still, you do not want to overcrowd your tank. The ideal number of ghost shrimps per gallon is 3 to 5 shrimps.
Going overboard with the number of ghost shrimps in a tank may result in food shortage or dominance over a pasture. The worst that can happen is cannibalism.
As stated, ghost shrimps do not grow big. They are easy prey to larger fish. Give some thought to what kind of fish your ghost shrimp have as a tank mate. Fishes like bettas, angelfish, and goldfish will likely provoke and eat your ghost shrimp.
Do Ghost Shrimp Need a Filter
Do ghost shrimp need a filter? You might think the answer is no. They themselves keep the tank clean. But as with most underwater species in a confined tank, the answer is yes.
Though ghost shrimps do not require as much cleaning as other fishes, there are benefits to having good filtration. It helps with undergoing safe molting. Imagine your ghost shrimp molting in dirty water; it will quickly absorb the pollution. Hence, damaging their immunity.
Having a filter in the tank can reduce the frequency of changing water. Frequently changing the water can cause stress to your ghost shrimp. When you change the water in the middle of their molting, it can hamper the growth of the new exoskeleton.
Note these when getting a filter for your tank. Get a filter with a built-in intake screen, so your ghost shrimp don’t get sucked in. A soft flow filter is best so as not to disturb their swimming or crawling and not cause them stress.
Do Ghost Shrimp Need a Heater
Another question that you might ask is, “Do ghost shrimp need a heater?” Yes. They cannot live without it. Ghost shrimps thrive in warm temperatures.
Cold water affects their metabolism or causes it to stop altogether. On the other hand, if the water’s too warm, they will molt too often, making them vulnerable to bacteria and parasites.
It is essential to get the proper size of the heater for your tank. The larger the tank, the higher the wattage of the heater should be. Remember to check the temperature of the water regularly.
Now, take these things into consideration and apply them for your surviving or next ghost shrimp. Be confident in taking care of them as you are now equipped with the necessary knowledge to keep them alive and thriving. I hope you got the answers that you need and never again ask, “Why did my ghost shrimp die?”