Life Cycle of Aquarium Shrimps: Do They Lay Eggs?

If you’re a shrimp lover, you may want to breed shrimp under your care. But, many beginners may remain confused thinking about whether aquarium shrimps lay eggs or not.

Aquarium shrimp carry eggs as well as wild shrimp. But, they do not lay eggs. These crustaceans only retain their eggs on the underside of their body near the tail until hatching.

If you make the shrimp tank environment perfect, the aquarium shrimp can also breed in captivity.

In this article, I’ve summed up all the required information about shrimp laying eggs and their care guide. You’ll also get additional information about shrimp eggs looks, hatching, care guide of berried shrimp, etc.

So, I urge you not to miss this article in case you want to fulfill your curiosity related to shrimp eggs.

How Long Do Aquarium Shrimp Carry Eggs?

The aquarium shrimp carry eggs for 25-30 days underneath their tails. To save their fries, the berried shrimp tend to carry their eggs till the end. But, these aquarium shrimp may also drop the eggs before hatching due to several factors.

How Long Does It Take For Shrimp To Lay Eggs?

It depends on the shrimp species and the tank environment to fasten the breeding process. Usually, shrimp breed easily.

It can take around 3-5 months for the entire reproduction cycle of shrimp. Within 15 days of breeding, the shrimp eggs start hatching. In addition, shrimp may require 25-35 days to hatch their eggs.

Generally, the new shrimp fries arrive in the tank within 1-2 months of shrimp molting. Since the shrimp remain vulnerable after shedding off their shell, the female shrimp attract the male shrimp helping reproduction.

Where Do Shrimp Lay Eggs In The Tank?

In this diverse universe, you’ll mainly see two types of living. One of them is egg layers, and another is a livebearer. But, shrimp do not fall into any of these categories, although some people consider shrimp as egg layers.

You can call shrimp egg bearers as these shrimps carry eggs until hatching. When the shrimp starts carrying eggs, they wait for fertilization.

After coming in contact with the male sperm, the shrimp eggs get fertilized. Then, these shrimps keep fanning their eggs by tails for around 30 days. 

But, these crustaceans do not lay their eggs on the substrate or any substrate. If your shrimp do so, there must be something wrong.

When the shrimp eggs get hatched, the shrimp will scoop out the shrimplets, or shrimp larvae. It can take around 12-15 days to get these delicate larvae in this incubation period.

How Often Do Shrimp Have Babies?

From several kinds of research and experiments, it has been confirmed that shrimp can breed throughout the year. Generally, the shrimp eggs take 2-3 weeks to get hatched.

As these shrimps carry their eggs, these crustaceans remain pregnant for about one month. But, these shrimp start breeding within a few days after hatching one round of eggs.

Moreover, these shrimps do not hatch all eggs at a time. Also, they can have their babies quickly if they get constant warm water in the tank. The high temperature helps develop the shrimp eggs fast. 

Do Shrimps Eat Their Babies?

You might have heard about cannibalism traits in crustaceans, including shrimp. People often wonder whether shrimp can eat their babies or not.

However, it varies according to the shrimp species, an abundance of food, adequate space, etc.

There are several cases where shrimp eat their babies. Generally, shrimp will not eat their fries if these crustaceans are well-fed.

Among several species, ghost shrimp and Amano shrimp have records for gobbling up their babies. However, if you look for Amano shrimp egg care, you can click here. In addition, you might take a look at ghost shrimp egg care too.

As shrimp are scavengers, they usually eat everything that fits in their mouth. So, there’s nothing to get surprised by when your shrimp eat some of their newly born babies.

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But, many hobbyists manage to keep both shrimp fry and adult shrimp together. In this case, you must ensure adequate space in the shrimp tank.

Also, make sure that the shrimp do not remain hungry. Otherwise, you should separate the adult shrimp if you want to protect the shrimp larvae.

Do Shrimp Eat Their Eggs?

It depends on the placement of the shrimp eggs. Since shrimp are omnivores, it’s obvious to expect cannibalism from them.

Shrimp do not eat their eggs as long as these eggs are attached to their bodies. When the shrimp drop the eggs, other shrimp may gobble up the discarded eggs. Otherwise, a mother shrimp or other shrimp will not eat their healthy eggs.

When there remains no male shrimp in the tank, the shrimp eggs won’t get fertilized. Besides, some of the shrimp eggs break down accidentally. Also, a part of the shrimp eggs may not develop properly.

In such cases, the female shrimp may choose to drop these eggs. Being scavengers, shrimp tend to eat the eggs when they find these eggs. Like other shrimp, the mother shrimp may also eat their own discarded eggs.

How Many Eggs Do Aquarium Shrimp Lay?

The number of eggs depends on the shrimp species, their experience, tank environment, and other parameters. Moreover, shrimp tend to lay several clutches within a short period after breeding.

If all environmental conditions are alright, the aquarium shrimp will lay 25-30 eggs per clutch on average. In the case of adult and larger shrimp, the egg number can be 30 or more.

But, this number varies according to shrimp species. Let’s see some examples of shrimp species and the number of laid eggs in the following table.

Shrimp SpeciesNumber Of Laid Eggs
Crystal Red Shrimp20-30 eggs
Ghost Shrimp10-80 eggs
Blue Bolt ShrimpUp to 40 eggs
Tiger Shrimp100-300 eggs
Blue Tiger Shrimp20-30 eggs
Amano Shrimp1000-3000 eggs
Snowball shrimp20 eggs
Panda Shrimp20-30 eggs
Bumblebee ShrimpUp to 30 eggs
Cherry Shrimp20-30 eggs

What Do Aquarium Shrimp Eggs Look Like?

The shrimp color varies according to the color of the shrimp saddle where all unfertilized shrimp eggs get stored.

Generally, the shrimp eggs are round. These eggs remain yellow or orange in the first stage. Sometimes, the shrimp eggs can be naturally green-colored. Otherwise, it can be due to the saddle color of the shrimp.

After hatching, the shrimp eggs become darker until three weeks. As the shrimp eggs are developing, these eggs gradually become transparent.

So, you will observe the shrimp eggs becoming lighter in color from a darker shade. Then, you may notice a black, tiny spot in the developing shrimp.

These tiny dots are the eyes of the shrimp fry. When the shrimp eggs come to this phase, it means that these eggs are ready to come out into the world.

What Does It Look Like When Shrimp Lay Eggs?

Are you waiting to see the shrimp eggs in the tank? Then, you are wrong.

Shrimp eggs do not float in the tank water like the eggs of other aquatic living. These shrimps deposit the eggs until they turn into larvae.

You can notice the shrimp eggs underneath the translucent body of shrimp. In the first stage, the shrimp eggs may appear yellow or green. After hatching, these shrimp eggs become white and transparent.

How Often Do Aquarium Shrimp Breed?

Breeding aquarium shrimp is fun work as these crustaceans breed fast. If you see the shrimp number getting double, the number may get quadruple the following day. It happens as shrimp do not lay all eggs at a time.

 The aquarium shrimp breed within 3-5 months. Generally, it can take up to 5 months to lay eggs by completing the breeding process.

After hatching eggs, these shrimps can breed again.

How To Take Care Of Pregnant Cherry Shrimp

How Does A Pregnant Shrimp Look Like?

It’s pretty easy to tell whether your shrimp is berried or not. When a shrimp carries eggs, it will be called a berried shrimp.

Let’s see how you can recognize a pregnant or berried shrimp.

1. Visible Eggs

Since the shrimp have a translucent body, their eggs will be visible from the outside. You’ll notice round, tiny clutches of yellow or green shrimp eggs in the saddle of the shrimp. When the eggs get developed, these pregnant shrimps will have transparent, white eggs under the tail.

2. Fanning Tail

After mating, you may notice the shrimp fanning her tail. Such is because the eggs will come to the shrimp’s downward curve to get oxygenated. So, fanned legs are a significant sign of pregnant shrimp.

3. Hiding Tendency

Moreover, the mother shrimp will look for places that are plenty of biofilms, algae, plankton, etc. If you do not find your berried shrimp, it may hide itself to give birth.

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You can go through this article if you are curious about whether shrimp eat algae or not.

4. Gaining Weight

In addition, a pregnant or berried shrimp will gain more weight as she carries around 25-30 eggs at a time. These pregnant shrimps will have increased appetite too. Also, you may observe that these pregnant shrimps will attract the male shrimp to fertilize the eggs.

Can You Move Pregnant Shrimp?

If you want to shift your pregnant shrimp, you can move the pregnant shrimp into the breeding tank. You can use a shrimp net to scoop out the shrimp. Make sure to be highly gentle with the shrimp while moving her out.

Otherwise, it may cause stress to your shrimp. If you do not want to move your shrimp, you can keep more plants and hiding spots in the tank. Besides, you should remove other tank mates if you do not separate the pregnant shrimp.

Should I Separate Pregnant Shrimp?

Although shrimp thrive well in groups, you should not keep your pregnant shrimp in a community tank. When you notice the presence of eggs in the shrimp saddle, you should separate these berried or pregnant shrimp.

For this, you should prepare a special breeding tank for your pregnant shrimp. In this separate tank, you must ensure keeping all environmental parameters alright.

Besides, when you let the pregnant shrimp live in a community tank, other tank mates may hurt or harass them for various reasons.

In such cases, the well-being of shrimp eggs will be at risk. For this reason, you should separate the pregnant shrimp to ensure extra care and safety.

But, several shrimp owners suggest moving all tank mates instead of moving the pregnant shrimp. It is because the shrimp are highly sensitive to changes.

So, moving into a different tank may stress your berried shrimp. On the other hand, the newly born babies may get eaten if you do not separate the pregnant shrimp beforehand.

How Do You Know If A Shrimp Is About To Give Birth?

Usually, it takes around 2-3 weeks for shrimp to give birth after hatching. You might notice that the shrimp eggs become transparent with tiny black dots.

During this period, the shrimp tend to hide themselves to give birth to their babies. You may find them inside the hideouts, bush of planktons, long leaves, biofilms, etc. If your pregnant shrimp is not seen anywhere in the tank, this shrimp may be about to give birth.

Did My Shrimp Drop Her Eggs?

As mentioned before, your shrimp isn’t supposed to scoop out her unfertilized eggs. If you find any shrimp eggs over the tank surface, your berried shrimp may dropped her eggs.

These crustaceans carry their eggs safely until the eggs get hatched. So, dropping eggs is not a good sign of shrimp reproduction.

Why Did My Female Shrimp Drop Her Eggs?

Dropping eggs is a common problem in shrimp breeding. It’s not usual for shrimp to drop their eggs before letting the eggs turn into larvae.

Let’s check out the reasons behind dropping shrimp eggs.

1. New At Pregnancy

If the berried shrimp is new at pregnancy, it may not know about keeping these eggs stored properly. The recently matured shrimp tend to fall their eggs often.

It usually happens at the fanning stage when the shrimp constantly fan the eggs to oxygenate. Inexperience in pregnancy leads the shrimp to drop down their eggs accidentally.

2. Incomplete Fertilization

Shrimp tend to drop their unfertilized eggs. It happens when the shrimp eggs do not get the require generic materials to form the embryo.

When no male shrimp are present in the tank, the shrimp eggs can not get fertilized. In such a case, the berried shrimp will drop their unfertilized eggs.

3. Wrong Water Condition

Shrimp are highly sensitive to water parameters. You need to ensure no presence of ammonia, chlorine, nitrite, etc. Your shrimp may drop their eggs if they do not find their water condition ideal.

4. Stress

Stress can be another reason why your berried shrimp drops her eggs. Your shrimp may get stressed for various reasons.

It can be due to the harassment of their aggressive tank mates, excessive handling, environmental factors, etc. Sometimes, shifting shrimp into a new tank can make them stressed too.

5. Drastic Fluctuations Of Water Parameters

If there are drastic fluctuations in water parameters, these shrimps may drop eggs. One of the most prominent conditions of shrimp breeding is to keep the water parameters constant.

A slight change in environmental factors like temperature, water hardness, etc can cause stress to the berried shrimp. As a result, the accident of dropping eggs may happen.

6. Premature Molting

If a shrimp molt during pregnancy, there will be chances of egg loss. When these shrimp start shedding the old shell, the eggs attached to the exoskeleton may drop along with the shell.

Can Dropped Shrimp Eggs Hatch?

It’s pretty hard to hatch the dropped shrimp eggs. Sometimes, it can work. Otherwise, the experiment can remain futile too.

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Since the dropped shrimp eggs may be infertile, you can give it a shot. Keep the dropped shrimp eggs in a net near the filter outflow. In this way, the current of water flowing over the eggs and other tank mates can not also hurt the eggs

You need to oxygenate the dropped shrimp eggs properly. For this, you can keep an air bubbler to mimic the fanning of a berried shrimp. Let’s go through below to find ways of hatching the dropped shrimp eggs.

Check out this article to know about the care guide for pregnant cherry shrimp.

How Do I Save My Dropped Shrimp Eggs?

As mentioned before, your berried shrimp may drop eggs for various reasons. Otherwise, the healthy process is to carry the shrimp eggs until hatching. But, no worries!

You can save your dropped shrimp eggs by maintaining some rules. If these eggs are fertilized, there may still be some hope.

Let’s check out the following process about how you can save your dropped shrimp eggs.

  • Firstly, you need to collect the dropped shrimp eggs. Pick the eggs gently in a bowl with the help of a toothpick. Then, you should keep them in a bowl or container. Add some tank water to the bowl of the eggs not to let them dry up.
  • Then, you have to prepare a DIY shrimp egg tumbler. You can use a plastic tube or a gravel vacuum for this. To let the eggs sit on the top of a surface, you should add a bottom chamber inside the tumbler.
  • At the end of the bottom chamber, you should close the opening with an old pored cloth or fish net by wrapping it with a rubber band.
  • After creating a tumbler, you should do the placement of the delicate eggs carefully. You can release the eggs into the tumbler with the help of a pipette, syringe, or airline tubing.
  • Keep an aquarium air stone below the tumbler. When the air passes through the net of the bottom chamber, it helps the movement of the shrimp eggs. In addition, the shrimp eggs will be oxygenated. So, you should always keep this airstone active.

Hopefully, your dropped shrimp eggs will get hatched.

You can take a look at this article to know about the cherry shrimp selective breeding guide for beginners.

How Do You Take Care Of A Pregnant Shrimp?

Maintaining shrimp is not a difficult task to do. But, when it’s about a pregnant shrimp, you need to take some extra hassle. No wonder pregnancy is an immensely vulnerable stage of the life of any living.

To ensure the safety of the berried shrimp, let’s take a quick look below at the pregnant shrimp care guide.

Prepare A Breeding Tank

When you notice the sign of pregnancy in a shrimp, firstly, you need to separate the shrimp into a safe habitation. For this, you can prepare a breeding tank.

Keep the pregnant shrimp with some male shrimp. Otherwise, the shrimp eggs won’t get fertilized.

Also, make sure that the breeding tank contains lots of moss, algae, plants, driftwoods, etc. Don’t forget to add the required devices to the tank.


The tank water tends to get dirty fast due to the leftovers, shrimp excretion, etc. These cause rise in the content of ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, etc. On the other hand, shrimp become stressed when the water conditions do not remain ideal.

Hence, the filtration system is a must for pregnant shrimp. If the water parameters do not remain absolute, your shrimp may drop their eggs. Otherwise, you should do a 25%-30% regular water change.

Provide Nutritious Diet

Another reason for unsuccessful breeding is the lacking of a nutritious diet for pregnant shrimp. Since these shrimps are bottom feeders and scavengers, you may not need to feed them specially. But, you should not let your pregnant shrimp depend on only algae and biofilm.

You have to provide extra high-quality food to your pregnant shrimp. For this, you can provide blanched vegetables, minerals, vitamin-enriched food, protein sources, commercial food, etc. In addition, you should not forget to provide essential dietary supplements too.

Keep The Environmental Factors Constant

Consistency in maintaining environmental factors is a must to achieve the high survival rate of shrimp eggs. Slight fluctuations in environmental conditions can cause the dropping of shrimp eggs.

You should aim for keeping the water temperature at 70-86 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the pH range within 6.5 to 7.5. Besides, you should remain concerned about keeping the KH and GH of the water 1-4 ppm and 6-8 ppm, respectively.

Proper Maintenance

Lastly, you should ensure proper maintenance of your pregnant shrimp tank.

Do not forget to remove the leftover foods that may cause ammonia build-up later. Also, you should regularly monitor the water temperature and other parameters of your pregnant shrimp tank.

If you own a pregnant ghost shrimp, you should check this write-up: how to take care of pregnant ghost shrimp?

Final Words

Observing your shrimp from getting berried to laying shrimplets is a beautiful journey as an owner. I hope you got a detailed care guide for a berried shrimp from this article. Let’s ensure the best care of our berried shrimp to welcome new baby shrimp in the world.

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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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