Can You Put Ghost Shrimps In An Uncycled Tank?

when are ghost shrimps most active

As I am a shrimp keeper most of the time I face this question from new shrimp keepers about putting shrimps in an uncycled tank. So here is the answer for everyone:

It is not ideal to put ghost shrimps in an uncycled tank. As in uncycled tank water, there is the presence of ammonia and other toxins which are very harmful to ghost shrimps. 

However, besides ammonia and other toxins, there are many more reasons that can harm your shrimp and lead them to death. Below I am including every reason and details of why you should not put ghost shrimps in an uncycled tank.  

Firstly, What Is Cycling A Tank And How Much Time Does It Take? 

Cycling refers to establishing bacterial colonies that regulate the nitrogen cycle and helps to reduce toxins from the water. Much of the cycling process happens automatically but you have to give enough time to it. And besides that patience is important. 

A water tank takes six to eight weeks to cycle properly. And if you have some other species before thinking of adding anything new, check the ammonia and nitrite level. If it is not in a moderate range, then cycle the tank water again and wait for some weeks before putting the new ones. 

Reasons For Not Putting Ghost Shrimps Into An Uncycled Tank

Consists Of Ammonia Spikes 

Uncycled tank water mostly consists of ammonia spikes. Ammonia can be built in the water from biological substances, fish poop, decomposing plant materials, and uneaten food.

Ammonia is the number one enemy of ghost shrimps. Shrimps cannot survive if there is ammonia in water for too long. If the level of ammonia is too high in water the existing other species also die soon.

As an uncycled tank consists of ammonia that is why cycling the water is a must before putting ghost shrimps. Else you will see the ghost shrimps dying one by one.

If you need a test kit for measuring the ammonia, I’ll recommend API Master Test Kit. With this master test kit, you can measure ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH and many other water parameters. It is certainly a worthwhile investment for any shrimp keeper!

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Absence Of Bacteria Colony And Nitrogen Cycle

nitrogen cycle

In an uncycled water tank there is no option of growing bacterial colony. And even if there is a presence of bacteria is it not enough to eat the ammonia and build the nitrogen cycle. Bacterial colony eating ammonia and nitrite turns them into nitrate. And this is how the nitrogen cycle is made by bacteria colony.

If the nitrogen cycle does not happen properly the level of ammonia and nitrite increases day by day which is harmful to all the existing species in a tank. Without bacteria colony ghost shrimps easily get sick and get diseases. And a high level of ammonia and other toxins lead ghost shrimps to death as they are very sensitive. So an uncycled water tank is a big NO for ghost shrimps.

Imbalance Of Water Parameters

Uncycled water tanks are not suitable for ghost shrimps as most of them will not have the balance of water parameters that shrimps need to survive. And even if the water parameter range is in its limit, if you put new ghost shrimps the parameters can change rapidly which can affect the shrimps. 

Ghost shrimps are very sensitive species and need a proper environment to live. Any imbalance in the water parameters makes them stressed and sick. And if this continues ghost shrimps die. 

Water cycling helps to balance water parameters properly. Change 30% water once a week to keep the parameter ranges in limits.  

Suitable water parameters for ghost shrimps are:

Temperature68-82 degrees
GH5-8 ppm
KH5-8 ppm
TDS150-200 ppm

With this API GH & KH Test Kit, you can measure both the GH & KH of your shrimp tank water. There is no need to buy two separate test kits. Certainly a handy test kit that will help you a long way!

How To Cycle A Tank For Ghost Shrimps? 

Cycling a tank is very easy as everything happens automatically. All you need to do is,

  • Change 30% of the water once a week as freshwater consists of bacteria that eat the ammonia and nitrite and turn them into nitrate. This is the nitrogen cycle that helps to reduce ammonia from tank water. 
  • Get a test kit and test the water once a week and make sure the level of ammonia and nitrite is very low, close to 0ppm. I love API Master Test Kit as it measures nitrite, nitrate, ammonia, pH, and other parameters as well.
  • Check the water parameters and temperature as well and make sure the ranges are suitable for ghost shrimps
  • Give enough plants and other things for making hiding spots for your shrimp.
  • Set up a filter with the tank. Filter media, besides purifying water, grow bacterial colonies that keep the tank cycled.
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Have patience and cycle the tank water for 6-8 weeks for making the water suitable for the ghost shrimps. If everything seems fine and suitable only then add ghost shrimps into the tank. 

Importance Of Other Things That Help The Cycle Continue In The Tank

Cycling happens automatically but there are some other things that contribute to keeping the cycle going properly. If you have a lot of species and a big tank then the water will rapidly get dirty and change the parameters. This is why some fish and a filter are recommended as these help building the nitrogen cycle and keep the water parameters balanced. 

Importance Of Fishes In Water Cycling 

Some fishes eat the waste in your water and perform a great role in the nitrogen cycle. The nitrogen cycle needs to continue as without it the existing tank species will not be able to survive for a long time. 

Some fishes that help in water cycling are,

  • Zebra danios
  • White clouds
  • Cherry or tiger barbs
  • Pupfish
  • White tetras

These fishes are great for keeping in a tank and do not need any extra maintenance. 

If you want to keep ghost shrimps in your tank, fishes that help building the nitrogen cycle are also highly recommended to keep with them.  

Importance Of Filter In Water Cycling 

If you are keeping ghost shrimps then a filter is a must for your tank. Actually, filers should be used in every type of tank as it helps to keep the water clean and contributes to the nitrogen cycle. Without a filter it gets hard to maintain the tank environment. 

The filter also works as a food source for the shrimps. Most shrimp keepers use a large sponge filter in their shrimp tank. The sponge works as a great filter media. Through the sponge, water is purified both mechanically and biologically. Thus, filters are very important for a tank especially when you are keeping shrimps. 

Matten Filter

matten filter

I love matten filters for my shrimp tank. I think they are simply the best for a shrimp only tank. The mechanism is extremely simple. The great thing about matter filters is, it has a very large surface area.

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The large square sheet of sponge is great for accumulating food particles, growing beneficial bacterial colony and micro-organism. Shrimps love to feed on this micro-organism.

And lastly, matten filters are extremely cheap compared to a Hang on Back or sponge filter. If you are just starting out with shrimps, I’ll absolutely recommend you to try out matten filters.

However, matten filters are rare and you can’t find them on many fish stores. Fortunately, FlipAquatics sell top-notch quality matten filters according to various tank sizes. They are the ones to go if you want professional-grade Matten Filter for your shrimps!

Sponge Filter 

I love the sponge filter from Powkoo. It comes with everything you will need to start the filtration process. The kit comes with an air pump, airline tubing, check valve, and of course the sponge filter itself.

Here are the main features of this sponge filter:

  • Comes with a 10-layer shape with a ribbing pattern. This creates more surface area for a larger beneficial bacteria colony. Which means, 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, which is essential for ghost shrimps.

If you like sponge filters and want to have one for your shrimp tank, I don’t see any better option other than this sponge filter from Powkoo. Click here to check out the latest price on Amazon.

HOB Filter 

This will be by far the best filtration choice for a moderately stocked shrimp tank. I am talking about the Penguin HOB filter from MarineLand.

Are you questioning yourself why I am a fan of this filter? Here are the reasons:

  • The filter is perfect for aquariums even up to 70 gallons
  • Includes patented bio wheel and activated carbon
  • Provides 3 stage filtration: mechanical, chemical, and biological
  • Comes with two C filter cartridges (Rite-Size)

I don’t think I’ll have to tell again how effective this filter is for shrimp tanks. In the long run, you’ll definitely get more out of this filter. If your budget allows do not think twice and get this HOB filter for your ghost shrimps. If you want to check out the latest price on Amazon, click here.


Hoping by now you understood why a cycled tank is important for ghost shrimps and what an uncycled tank can lead the ghost shrimps to. So do not ever think of putting ghost shrimps into an uncycled tank unless you want your shrimps to die. 

Happy shrimp keeping!

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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