Can Ghost Shrimps Live Without Any Filter?

how to take care of baby ghost shrimps

One of my friends recently bought some ghost shrimps for his tank and he called me asking if the ghost shrimps can live without any filter. I think many of you also wonder do ghost shrimps actually need a filter? Here is the answer for all:

Ghost shrimps can live without any filter in the tank for some time if the tank is planted with lots of living plants. But it is recommended to use a filter if you have ghost shrimps in the tank even if your tank is heavily planted. 

Filters are always recommended to use in every type of tank. Let’s dive into the topic more so that you can understand the necessity of a filter! 

What Does A Filter Actually Do? 

Filters are commonly used in every type of tank because it has many purposes. It not only keeps the water pure, but also helps to remove excess food, dirt, fish wastes and other chemicals from the tank water. Keeping the tank water away from getting dirty too fast is the main purpose of a filter.

For a shrimp tank, a filter does many more things besides keeping the water clean. The sponge filters work as a great source of food for the ghost shrimps. 

Every type of species needs a suitable environment in the water to live peacefully. The environment can only be kept suitable if the water is clean and the water parameters are properly balanced.

If you have a water filter these things can be easily controlled. There are many more things that a filter does in a tank. 

I will be discussing below in details so that you get the detail and clear idea: 

Helps To Build The Nitrogen Cycle

The nitrogen cycle is very important for every existing species living in the tank. If you do not change water or have a filter in your tank, ammonia can grow from the toxins and wastes created by the species. Ammonia is very harmful to every kind of species and considered as the number one enemy for ghost shrimps. 

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Water changing and filter helps to build a bacterial colony that kills ammonia and turns it to nitrate which is known as the nitrogen cycle. If the tank has many species, ammonia grows faster in the tank. 

Filter helps to keep the water environment healthy, pure, and removes toxins from the water. If there are fewer toxins the number of ammonia that grows in the tank is fewer. Other than that, the filter helps to build a bacterial colony and it kills the existing ammonia easily. 

Reduces Dirt And Other Wastes

Tank water gets dirty easily for many reasons. It could be fish wastes, decaying plants or decomposing fish parts, etc. The food you feed to your tank species also turns into waste after some time if they don’t eat it. 

Dirty water is full of toxins and impurities. Filters help to reduce these wastes and toxins daily. Thus the tank water does not get dirty too fast. This ensures a suitable and healthy environment for every living species in the tank. 

Keeps The Water Parameters Balanced

In dirty water, the water parameters change rapidly which can be harmful to every species in the tank. You need to make sure the water parameters are properly balanced if you want the tank species to live long. 

For keeping the water parameters in balance other than changing 30% of the water once a week, a filter plays a great role too. It helps to purify the water and removes impurities and dirt. Thus the water does not get dirty fast and the water parameters also stay in balance. 

Dirt and wastes created by the tank species turn into toxins which also changes the water parameters. A filter works daily to reduce dirt and toxins. In this way, the water parameters are balanced as well. 

What Happens To Ghost Shrimps If There Is No Filter? 

If you are a shrimp keeper or new to this hobby then let me tell you, ghost shrimps are very sensitive species. They need a very suitable environment to survive properly. If the environment seems uncomfortable to them, and it gets worse day by day, you will see them die one by one. 

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For ensuring a good environment there are a couple of things you need to maintain. You have to make sure the water is clean and the water parameters are on its limits. And I already mentioned, filter plays a great role in keeping the water clean and the water parameters in balance. 

If there is no filter and the tank is new, the ghost shrimps can live for some time without any difficulty. But with time, the water will get dirty and it will be hard to control by only changing 30% of the water once a week.

The water parameters will change rapidly in dirty water. And besides that, the wastes and toxins will turn into ammonia. If these continue more often ghost shrimps will feel uncomfortable in the water. If they feel uncomfortable in the water they start to get stressed and in the end you will see all of them dying one by one. 

So, it is better if you keep ghost shrimps with a filter in the tank and not take any risk.

Budget Filters For Ghost Shrimps’ Tank 

If you want to buy a filter for a ghost shrimp tank, there are 3 options: Matten Filter, Sponge filter, and HOB filter.

Matten Filter 

matten filter

If you have only ghost shrimps in your tank, matten filters are the best option. I personally love this filter a lot because the mechanism is extremely simple. 

The reason why I said this is the best filter for a shrimp tank is it has a large surface area which makes a great feeding surface for shrimps. The surface area is 2-4 times larger than a typical sponge filter. Beneficial bacteria thrive there and make it an ideal place for shrimps to find natural food. Besides this, it creates the proper water circulation for a shrimp tank.  

Moreover, matten filters are very cheap compared to a Hang on Back or sponge filter. If you are totally new in this hobby and searching for a filter, I would recommend you to give it a try. 

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However, matten filters are rare and you cannot find them on every fish store. Fortunately, FlipAquatics sell top-notch quality matten filters according to various tank sizes. They make it out of the same material as 99% of the available sponge filters in the market. They are the ones to go if you want professional-grade Matten Filter for your shrimps!

Sponge Filter 

If I have to recommend a sponge filter, I will recommend the one from Powkoo. The kit comes with everything you need to install and start the filtration process. You will get the air pump, airline tubing and check valve with the filter itself. 

The main features of this sponge filter are:

  • Comes with a 10-layer shape with a ribbing pattern. This creates more surface area for a larger beneficial bacteria colony, meaning the tank will be cycled more quickly.
  • There are two sponges. So, 2 x mechanical as well as biological filtration with double cycling speed.
  • The air pump oxygenates the water and provides a good water flow. 

If you are interested in sponge filter and want one for your shrimp tank, I don’t see any better option other than this sponge filter from Powkoo.

HOB Filter 

The Penguin HOB filter from MarineLand will be the best choice if you have a moderate level of livestock in your tank. This filter is not appropriate for a small bedside tank. 

The features of this filter are: 

  • Perfect for a tank/aquarium that is big, like up to 70 gallons 
  • Has a rotating bio-wheel which provides excellent biological filtration
  • Provides 3 stage filtration: mechanical, chemical, and biological
  • Comes with two C filter cartridges (Rite-Size)

If you do not have a budget problem, do not think twice and get this HOB filter for your tank from Amazon. Trust me you will never regret buying it. 


Now that you are at the end of this article, I hope you came to know how important a filter is for every type of tank and mostly for a ghost shrimp tank. So never keep shrimps without a filter. Give your shrimps the best environment to live. 

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Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.


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