How Many Ghost Shrimp Can I Add per Gallon? (+ Other FAQs)

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If you’re looking to start a ghost shrimp colony, or just add a few to your tank, you might be wondering how many shrimps you can add per gallon. Usually, five ghost shrimp can be kept per gallon of water.

There are several other factors to consider, however. Read on to find out the things you’ll need to consider when keeping these aquatic creatures.

How Many Can Be Kept Together?

As stated, the general rule is five ghost shrimp per gallon of water, but this number can fluctuate depending on the size of the shrimp, the number of tankmates housed with them, and so on.

Following the general rule, this is how many ghost shrimp can be held in each size tank:

Aquarium Gallons Ideal shrimp count
1 5 or less
3 15 or less
5 25 or less
7 35 or less
10 40 or less
20 80 or less
30 120 or less
40 160 or less
50 200 or less
55 to 65 220-260 or less
65+ 260+

Ghost shrimps are very small, just over two inches long, but the estimates above can’t just be applied to any tank because there are other factors to consider, including:

Amount of Aquatic Plants

Just like shrimp, plants take up space in your community tank. If your tank is heavily planted and an average size, add only 25 ghost shrimp at maximum. A tank overpopulated with plants can lead to an overcrowded tank, stressed shrimp, illness, and eventual death.

Other Tankmates

If you are looking to start a community tank with fish, snails, and other aquatic creatures, you have to add them into the mix when considering tank space. For each fish in your tank, reduce the amount of freshwater shrimp by at least five.

The Filtration System

This shrimp species aren’t as messy as other tankmates. They keep your aquarium cleaner by eating decaying and dead debris.

However, the more aquatic creatures you have in your tank, the more waste will be produced. Your filtration system will need to be able to keep up with your ghost shrimp tank.

Types of Tankmates

If you plan on pairing ghost shrimp with aggressive fish, you’ll need to add more places for your freshwater shrimp to hide. If you have peaceful fish, you can keep fewer decorations.

Compatible Shrimp Tank Mates

There are many compatible tank mates for ghost shrimp, including:

Do You Need More Than One Shrimp?

Ghost shrimp are social creatures that enjoy each other’s company; however, they don’t have to live in groups and can live alone.

How Many Shrimp Are Needed For a Colony?

To start a colony, you need ten ghost shrimp in your community fish tank. Keeping two females for every male is best.

Breeding ghost shrimp is simple with the right water conditions. Here are the best water conditions for starting a colony:

  • Temperature: 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH: 7 to 8
  • GH: 3 to 10 dGH
  • KH: 3 to 15 dKH
  • Ammonia and Nitrites: 0 ppm
  • Nitrates: under 20 ppm

Ghost shrimp typically don’t need a heater, and the slight temperature changes between day and night can mimic their natural habitat.

Here are some additional tips for starting a colony:

  • Raising the temperature to 80 degrees Fahrenheit can encourage breeding.
  • Provide lots of plant cover for security when breeding
  • Raise the water hardness to give higher mineral and calcium levels to ease egg maturing.
  • In a few weeks, the eggs will appear beneath the female shrimp’s tail. She will fan the eggs to give them oxygen. Make sure you have the proper filter in your tank for aeration.
  • As soon as the fry is born, move them to a separate tank by themselves to prevent them from getting eaten.

Male vs Females

how many ghost shrimp per gallon

When ghost shrimp are juveniles, they can be hard to tell apart, but as they grow into adult ghost shrimp, they can be set apart by the following characteristics:

  • Females have a green saddle on their back and males don’t have a saddle
  • Female ghost shrimp have a pronounced curve in their back.
  • Male ghost shrimp are smaller. Females are larger with thicker abdomens.

What Can Happen If You Keep Too Many Shrimp?

If you have too many shrimps in your community aquarium, it can cause several problems, including the following:

  • Cause a buildup of ammonia levels, which can lead to death
  • Lower the number of hiding spaces, inducing fights between shrimp
  • Cause unnecessary stress and lead to illness

What If You End up With Too Many Shrimp?

Because shrimp breed so easily, you may end up with too many. You’ll need to avoid overcrowding, which can cause a dirty tank, poor water conditions, and deoxygenated water.

Nonetheless, here are some options for what to do if you end up with too many shrimp:

Add Predators

Certain fish eat ghost shrimp, including goldfish, cichlids, gourami, etc. Don’t overcrowd your tank with aggressive species of fish, however. Depending on the size of your tank, you will likely only need two or three aggressive fish.

While predators aren’t the most humane solution, it doesn’t require much work on your part.

Provide a Larger Tank

If you end up with excess shrimp, another option is to consider extra space by getting a bigger tank. A larger tank can also be more beneficial in the long run because they take longer to become dirty with debris.

Separate Genders

If you don’t want breeding to get out of control, the other option is to separate the males and females to prevent breeding.

Sell Them

Many fish stores will buy ghost shrimp from you, or they can be sold to other aquarists.

Ghost Shrimp FAQ

What Is the Ghost Shrimp’s Lifespan?

Ghost shrimp usually live up to a year or more.

How Often Should I Clean Their Tank?

It is recommended to clean your pre-filter once every two weeks, your main aquarium filter monthly, and change 30 percent of the water weekly.

What Do Ghost Shrimp Eat?

These creatures are opportunistic eaters that will consume nearly anything; besides debris and algae, they will also eat fish flakes, shrimp pellets, fish pellets, and more. They also need calcium supplements for a healthy shell.

How Easy Is It to Care for a Ghost Shrimp?

Caring for ghost shrimp is fairly easy. Provided they have a varied diet and proper water conditions, they’re generally healthy. Just make sure to avoid sharp decorations and have enough aquarium capacity.

What Is Their Temperament?

Ghost shrimp are generally peaceful aquatic creatures. If aggression occurs, it’s typically due to a lack of space or other stress-inducing factors.

Do Ghost Shrimp Molt?

Even though ghost shrimp live just a short time, they do molt frequently. How often they molt depends on how quickly they grow and how much they eat.

Hiding spots are very important to provide places for your shrimp to molt in peace. Molting can take several days, so if your shrimp disappear, don’t worry. It’s important not to disturb them during the molting process and cause stress.


Generally, you can keep up to five shrimp per gallon of water, but this number can vary based on the factors we mentioned. This type of ghost shrimp can multiply quickly, so it’s best to start out with a small number first.

As long as you keep the proper aquarium water conditions and tank environment, you’ll keep your shrimp happy and healthy.

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