The Ghost shrimp or the Palaemonetes paludosus has been rightly named so, because this little crustacean is almost-completely transparent and is very difficult to spot, even for humans. It is this camouflage, which protects these arthropods from predators. There really isn't much that needs to be done to look after this species of shrimp, because they seem well-equipped to look after themselves. Glass or ghost shrimp are scavengers, and will feed on almost everything which comes their way. They do not require large spaces to live, thanks to their small size (1.5 inches long) and less demanding nature. These shrimp have a short lifespan, which is why they breed at a very fast rate.
Tips for Looking After Ghost Shrimp
- These shrimp survive well, when kept in separate tanks, but can manage to live in harmony in community fish tanks as well; the only priority being that all the fish be of small and non-aggressive species. Baby fish must never be placed along with this shrimp, as the fish will surely be gobbled up by the shrimp. Coincidentally, bigger fish enjoy feeding on these shrimp, which is why you will need to keep these shrimp with equally sized fish, such as guppies and tetras.
- You will need to make the water slightly brackish or salty, for which you can add some pure sea salt. Ensure that you add only 2 tablespoons of salt for every gallon of tank water.
- You will also need to add lots of pebbles and some sand in the bottom of the tank, as these shrimp require rough surfaces for walking.
- Never keep the tank too clean, as these shrimp like feeding on algae and moss. They will even eat surface algae, which is avoided by other aquatic animals. However, they will feed on algae only if there isn't a better alternative provided. If proper food is given, they will rarely eat algae. These little creatures are excellent for keeping your fish tank clean, as they will eat anything which they find edible!
- Be very careful about the type of water filter you use, because high-powered ones can easily kill these delicate shrimp and destroy their larvae or eggs. Conventional air bubble filters are the safest option to be used for tanks and bowls meant for these shrimp tanks or bowls.
- You will also need to keep the water adequately temperate. You may use a very mild heat lamp for this purpose.
Shrimp will eat almost any food that is offered to them, but they absolutely delight in eating blood worms, algae pellets and egg yolks. These shrimp, like all crustaceans, undergo the phase of molting, wherein they lose their exoskeleton. This skin is often consumed in order to reabsorb the lost iodine and calcium. You may add calcium and iodine to the diet, by feeding supplements on a weekly basis. Feeding these shrimp twice a day is enough.
The meals have to be given in small proportions and a handful of food would be more than sufficient for feeding 8-10 shrimp and for keeping them well fed. The shrimp often swim with their belly up, feeding on food, that is floating on the surface of the water. Since these shrimp are semi transparent, everything they eat can be seen traveling from their chest upwards, over the eyes and into the stomach. Their tummies show the color of the food they eat.
Breeding among these shrimp becomes very slow, when placed in a controlled ambiance. Nonetheless, once the shrimp mate, the females will lay dozens of eggs. The eggs look like greenish gray larvae, which will be carried on the female's legs or swimmerets, placed right beneath the tail. The eggs are supplied oxygen when the female paddles her swimmerets. Since shrimp have a set of 10 legs, look for larvae on the back swimmerets, to distinguish the females from the males. It is best to keep the females in a separate tank, while they are carrying the eggs.
The eggs will hatch after 3 weeks and will have 20-30 shrimp hatching per female shrimp. However, only 2% of the newborns will survive, when placed under artificial environment. If in case you are planning to breed this shrimp, you will need a big tank, which will have plenty of greenery and algae for the newborn shrimp to feed on. The newborns survive the first few days by feeding on plankton and infusoria. They do not need to be specially fed by you, and will eat whatever is fed to the adult female shrimp.
The above mentioned information for taking care for ghost shrimp will be all that you will require in order to keep them healthy and alive for longer. Dead shrimp will turn pink, because of the presence of carotene. Therefore, do not panic if you see a few dead shrimp with a reddish-orange tinge, as this is not an indication of poisoning or disease.