The ghost shrimp is a very unique creature. Read on to know more about it and the reason why it makes an excellent pet in the aquarium.
The ghost shrimp belongs to the Palaeomonetes genus and is found both in fresh and brackish water. The reason why it is so named is because it is totally transparent and is also known as the glass shrimp. As a matter of fact, the food particles it eats and are present in its stomach can be seen by the naked eye.
The female can grow up to 1.5 inches in length while the male seldom reaches more than 1 inch. Its lifespan is about two years. It molts a new exoskeleton every few months as it grows, and is very vulnerable the first time it molts till its exoskeleton hardens. The body is segmented and consists of 10 pairs of legs. The first four sets of legs have tiny claws that help in feeding. It has a totally-clear body and the food in its digestive tract is visible to the naked eye. It also has an orange-yellow dot on each side of its tail. The female carries the eggs in a dark ball under her belly.
It has been observed that this creature is a little aggressive towards others of its own kind. The larger ones can get very aggressive towards the smaller ones if too many are kept in an aquarium tank. Hence, the number of shrimp kept in a tank should be moderate. A right number is calculated by allowing 1 shrimp per gallon or 4 liters of water.
The ideal temperature of the water in the aquarium is between 65 and 80 degree Fahrenheit. It needs a lot of hiding space, which it uses when it is molting. The aquarium should contain plenty of hiding spaces that are too small for other fish in the aquarium. Add a few plants that the shrimp can climb on.
Suitable companions for the ghost shrimp are small livebearers, small Tetras, Rasboras, and other fish that are small and not capable of eating it. Aggressive fish should not be kept in the same tank as the ghost shrimp.
This creature is a scavenger by nature and eats just about any small bit of food that it can find while scanning the bottom. It also swims upside down and eats food from the surface of the aquarium or pond. In an aquarium, the ideal food would be flake food. It is also recommended that some kind of variation be included occasionally, and the ghost shrimp can be given small bits of frozen food.
It is very easy to breed ghost shrimp. The female can be seen with pink eggs or baby shrimp under the belly in swimmerets. When she moves around, she may shake the eggs gently by moving the swimmerets to keep them well provided with oxygen. However, it is very difficult to raise baby shrimp. The main reason behind this is that they are very hard to feed as it is difficult to find food that is small enough to feed them. Hence, it is better and easier to breed ghost shrimp in ponds where there is plenty of food available for the young ones. A few females and a couple of males in a pond can result in many babies in a couple of months.
It is also recommended that females that are carrying eggs should be relocated to another tank and kept there till the babies are released. After this, they can be returned to the main tanks while the babies can grow in the smaller tank until they are a little bigger. The reason behind this is that the babies are as small as mosquito larvae and are very easily eaten even by the smallest of fish.
Ghost shrimp is ideal for any aquarium that is used for keeping small fish, as it is a great helper that keeps the aquarium clean and helps to maintain a high quality of water.