Ghost Shrimp Diet & Feeding Guide For Beginners

These translucent-bodied ghost shrimp can be an excellent addition to your aquarium. But, it may be a bit confusing to choose the right diet for ghost shrimp as a beginner. In this article, I’ll describe the ghost shrimp diet in the wild and captivity, the feeding guide, the correct pallets, and other foods for ghost shrimp, etc.

Because of being omnivores, ghost shrimps are not picky eaters. Although these shrimps do not have any special demands for food, you must provide a basic diet.

So, if you are a beginner, you should go through this article to get enlightened about the feeding guide and diet of ghost shrimps.

Do I Need To Feed My Ghost Shrimp?

You might hear about the popularity of ghost shrimps being aquarium cleaners. As ghost shrimps are natural scavengers, they tend to eat almost everything they find at the bottom of the tank.

If you cohabit ghost shrimp with fish, you will not take much hassle of feeding ghost shrimps separately. That’s because ghost shrimp can survive by eating uneaten flake foods, pellets, algae, biofilm, etc.

But, if you have a large number of ghost shrimps under your captivity, you must feed them regularly.

What Do Ghost Shrimp Eat?

If you take a close look at the diet of ghost shrimp in the wild and captivity, you will realize that these shrimps eat every kind of food. Being omnivorous crustaceans, ghost shrimp have a diverse range of diets.

Generally, ghost shrimp eat algae and leftovers found at the bottom of the tank or water surface. They also eat live plants, plant-like materials, small organisms, smaller insects, insect larvae, algae wafers, pellets, fish flakes, wastages, etc.

What Do Ghost Shrimp Eat In The Wild?

In the wild, ghost shrimps eat almost everything that comes their way. Ghost shrimps are sometimes considered herbivores as they live on organic plants in nature.

If you look at their habitation, you’ll find them sticking to the bottom layer of the water sources. So, usually, foods get stored in the upper layer of the water in many ways. Ghost shrimps scavenge those foods, whatever they find edible.

In addition, there grows plants, diatoms, and algae naturally in those bottom layers of water. These are undoubtedly good sources of food for the scavengers, like ghost shrimps.

The researchers found that algae fulfill the majority share of the diet of ghost shrimp. Besides, ghost shrimp consume larvae, eggs, aquatic weeds, and other organic matter in the wild.

These scavengers eat smaller organisms than themselves. Such as bloodworms, brine shrimps, small insects, etc. Also, ghost shrimps get a big share of vitamins from fish fecal matter.

What Can Pet Ghost Shrimp Eat In An Aquarium?

As the habitation of ghost shrimp in captivity is not similar to the wild, you should make their diet carefully.

In captivity, you should keep algae, fish, or shrimp pallets, debris, and aquarium plants in the diet of ghost shrimp. In addition, you can feed vegetables to your captive Ghost shrimp occasionally.

You have to keep in mind to include protein and calcium sources in the diet of pet ghost shrimp. A protein-rich food is a must for growing ghost shrimp.

On the other hand, you should keep calcium-enriched food to make their shells strong. Besides, calcium helps ghost shrimp molt successfully. Click here to know everything about ghost shrimp molting.

I’ve made a small list of foods that you can give to your pet ghost shrimp in an aquarium. These are-

  • Algae
  • Algae wafers
  • Java moss
  • Java fern
  • Aquarium plants
  • Brine shrimp
  • Krill shrimp
  • Daphnia
  • Mosquito
  • Mosquito larvae
  • Bloodworms
  • Mayfly nymph
  • Squid
  • Aquatic weeds
  • Shrimp pallet
  • Small live foods
  • Fish pallet foods
  • Several types of diatom
  • Flake foods
  • Green vegetables
  • Spirulina
  • Fruits
  • Frozen foods
  • Homemade fish food
  • Indian Almond leaves
  • Larvae of insects

Do Ghost Shrimp Eat A Lot?

There are sayings that ghost shrimp can eat themselves to death. If you notice carefully, you’ll realize the saying is true. Ghost shrimp can eat a lot.

But, overeating does not make ghost shrimp fat due to their convenient gastrointestinal tract. These ghost shrimps also poop more often as much as they eat. Hence, as a beginner, you need not fear your pet ghost shrimp becoming exploded.

What Do Baby Ghost Shrimp Eat?

Whether you are breeding ghost shrimp or have new baby ghost shrimp in your aquarium, you may worry about their diet. But, there is nothing to worry about thinking about what to feed baby ghost shrimp.

The ghost shrimp fry shares the same diet as adult ghost shrimp. But, you need to crumble it down or cut it into smaller pieces before giving it to baby ghost shrimp.

In the list of baby ghost shrimp diets, you can include algae, plant debris, brine shrimp, algae wafers, aquatic plants, larvae, pallets, fish flakes, homemade fish food, biofilm, etc.

So, there is no extra hassle in making a different diet for baby ghost shrimp. You can also give readymade baby shrimp food to your baby ghost shrimp.

For baby shrimp food, I recommend GlasGarten Shrimp Baby Food for your baby ghost shrimp.

Do Ghost Shrimp Eat Poop?

There remains a debate on whether ghost shrimp eat poop or not. But, the researchers found out that ghost shrimp eat fish poop.

You might have also heard that ghost shrimp are aquarium cleaners. Along with other leftover foods or decaying creatures, ghost shrimp tend to consume fish poop too. But, this is not included in the main diet of ghost shrimp.

On the other hand, eating fish poop is not a threat to the health of ghost shrimp. Although it looks weird, ghost shrimp get nutritious value from eating fish poop.

Can Ghost Shrimp Eat Carrots?

Ghost shrimp can eat carrots. But, the carrot has to be blanched.

Balancing carrots means keeping the carrots in a pot to boil and removing them at the moment of boiling water. Besides, you can steam the carrots. It’ll make the carrots soft to eat.

You must not add a piece of raw carrot to an aquarium. Also, you should remove the uneaten piece of boiled carrot from the tank after a few hours.

Otherwise, it’ll cause an ammonia spike because of rotting in the tank water.

Do Ghost Shrimp Eat Fish?

In case of consuming fish, ghost shrimp eat only dead fish.

Besides, some researches show that ghost shrimp eat small fish fry, including guppy fry, molly fry, betta fry, etc.

Although these shrimps are omnivorous, they do not eat live fish. On the contrary, aggressive fish can gobble up ghost shrimp if you cohabit them together.

Do Ghost Shrimp Eat Algae?

In the diet list of ghost shrimp, algae remain at the top. Ghost shrimp live on algae both in the wild and in captivity. The 80% share of the total ghost shrimp diet holds algae.

For detailed information, you can go through this write-up: do ghost shrimp eat plants and algae?

Will Ghost Shrimp Eat Vegetables?

Because of being omnivores, you can keep vegetables in the diet list of ghost shrimp.

Vegetables fulfill the needs of fibers of your pet ghost shrimp. To feed ghost shrimp, the expert owners commonly use lettuce, cucumber, kale, lettuce, spinach, sweet potato, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, etc.

In the case of leafy vegetables, you need to keep them in boiling water for only 2-3 minutes. But, you have to put hard vegetables in boiling water for a longer period to make them softer.

What Plants Do Ghost Shrimp Eat?

To create a naturalistic aquarium, you should add aquatic plants to your ghost shrimp tank. Also, the algae growth on plants helps ghost shrimp cover their diet.

You can add several aquatic plants that your ghost shrimp can eat. For example, Java Moss, Java Fern, red root floaters, water wisteria, pearl weed, water lettuce, Christmas moss, hornwort, Anubis, red tiger lotus, Cryptocoryne, Vallisneria, etc.

What Human Food Can Ghost Shrimp Eat?

Ghost shrimp can eat varieties of human foods, including vegetables and fruits. You can feed them boiled pumpkin, lettuce, butternut squash, tomato, banana, papaya, bean sprouts, cucumber, courgette, apple, peas, papaya leaves, etc.

What Can’t You Feed Ghost Shrimp?

There are no such strict restrictions on any food for ghost shrimp. But, it’ll be unhealthy for ghost shrimp to feed on heavily processed food.

Besides, copper intake can be poison to ghost shrimp. Hence, several experienced owners forbid feeding fish food to these shrimps, which have a higher level of copper.

How Often Should Ghost Shrimp Eat?

The feeding schedule of ghost shrimp varies according to the tank mates of these shrimps. If you cohabit ghost shrimp with fish, you will not need to feed much.

As ghost shrimps are scavengers, they’ll get a large share of their diet from the uneaten fish food. Also, you won’t have to provide much food if algae are abundant in the tank.

But, if you pet a colony of ghost shrimp, you will need to feed shrimp food regularly. You should give food to pet ghost shrimp every other day. Or, you can feed every 3-4 days a week.

If your ghost shrimp do not finish all food within 4 hours, you must remove the uneaten foods. Also, you must give the shrimp food in a small amount at a time.

How Much Should You Feed Ghost Shrimp?

Ghost shrimp have a great appetite. Also, these shrimps are not picky eaters. So, they usually finish all food that you give them. Besides, ghost shrimps tend to eat a lot and get overfed fast.

A pea-sized amount of vegetables is sufficient for 5-6 adult ghost shrimp for a day. In addition, you can give one algae wafer every other day for 4-5 ghost shrimps.

In a word, you need not worry about following a strict feeding routine as these shrimps are natural scavengers.

How Often Should You Feed Baby Ghost Shrimp?

You should feed baby ghost shrimp more often than adult ghost shrimp. Feeding every 2-3 times a day is a reasonable feeding guideline for ghost shrimp fry.

Do Ghost Shrimp Eat Snails?

Ghost shrimp eat snail eggs and dead snails. But, they do not usually consume live snails despite being omnivores.

Do Ghost Shrimp Eat Each Other?

If you suspect ghost shrimp’s cannibalistic nature, these shrimps will not eat each other. Also, there aren’t any examples of eating their kind of dead species.

Generally, the experienced owners noticed that ghost shrimp eat the remains of other ghost shrimps like soft shells. But, the adult ghost shrimps may eat the newly born ghost shrimp fry.

If you have confusions, you can go through this article: do ghost shrimps kill each other?

Do Ghost Shrimp Need Supplement?

If you keep ghost shrimp as pets, you must provide them with the required supplementation. Ghost shrimp need calcium supplementation to form and keep their shell strong. 

According to experts’ recommendations, you can check out Zoo Med Laboratories Nano Banquet Block Mini calcium supplement.

How Do I Know If My Ghost Shrimp Are Hungry?

If your ghost shrimp are hungry, they will not remain grazing peacefully in one place. You’ll find these shrimp swimming constantly. On the other hand, if pet ghost shrimps do not eat within 10 minutes of giving food, they may not be hungry.

How Long Can Ghost Shrimp Survive Without Any Food?

It depends on the abundance of algae and other plants in the ghost shrimp tank. If the ghost shrimp tank is algae-infested, your pet shrimp may survive up to six months without food.

Besides, these crustaceans are pretty hardy in case of starvation. They can survive for a few weeks in starvation if there is no algae or other food in the tank.

Why My Ghost Shrimp Isn’t Eating?

Sometimes, you may wonder by seeing no response to food from ghost shrimp, whereas these shrimps have an avid appetite. There can be several reasons behind it. Let’s check out the following reasons why your ghost shrimp is not eating.

1. Poor Water Condition

The most probable reason for disinterest in food may be the poor water condition of the ghost shrimp tank. The ammonia and nitrite level should be 0 ppm.

Also, the nitrate level has to be less than 20 ppm. Besides, the water temperature should be within 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit to keep ghost shrimp happy.

If these water parameter gets changed, ghost shrimp can not thrive comfortably. In such a case, your ghost shrimp may not be eating. 

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2. Abundance Of Algae

If algae are abundant in the tank, your pet ghost shrimp will naturally fill their stomach with natural foods. However, if there are natural food sources in the tank, your ghost shrimp will show less interest in eating other foods. Hence, when you add extra food to the tank, your ghost shrimp may not eat.

3. You May Not Notice While Eating

There may be a possibility that you do not catch your ghost shrimp to eat. So, you need to keep an eye on your pet shrimps for a few days. You may catch your shrimp eating sometime.

4. They Are Not Hungry

Generally, the experts advise removing foods after 10 minutes when the shrimps do not eat. If there is no reason to show a low appetite for food, your ghost shrimp may not be hungry. That’s why your ghost shrimp is not eating food.

How Can I Encourage My Ghost Shrimp to Eat?

It’s pretty normal to get worried when your ghost shrimp is not eating. Before looking for solutions, you need to find out the reasons first. Let’s dive into the following ways by which you can encourage your ghost shrimp to eat.

1. Reducing The Numbers Of Tank Mates

If the shrimp colony size against the tank size is inappropriate, the tank water will get polluted soon. The general thumb rule is to keep 3-4 ghost shrimp per gallon. When you add too many shrimps, the waste build-up tends to get more.

Hence, you should shift the extra ghost shrimps to a separate tank to keep the environment sound. It will encourage your ghost shrimp to receive food.

You can also go through this article about how many ghost shrimps you can keep per gallon.

2. Keep The Water Parameters Right

The ghost shrimp do not remain comfortable in the tank when the water parameters are not ideal. In this case, your pet shrimp will not have an appetite to eat.

Hence, you must change the water regularly. Besides, you can adjust the filter in the shrimp tank.

Check out this article to get enlightened more about ideal water parameters.

3. Try Different Food

You can break the monotonous diet by giving some different pallets of foods. You can also try out alive or dead brine shrimps, bloodworms, etc.

If you search for different shrimp treats, I will recommend Hikari Tropical Shrimp Cuisine Fish Food, Aqueon Omnivore Shrimp Disc Food, GlasGarten Shrimp Lollies, etc.

Final Words

If you keep pet ghost shrimps, you’ll not need to worry much about their diet. I hope this article made this clear to you about the varied diet and feeding guide of ghost shrimp. Make sure to maintain a good tank environment to keep their appetite alright.

Muntaseer Rahman

I have been keeping shrimps as a pet for many years now. I’ve fallen in love with these cute pets from the moment I saw them. That’s why I am writing articles to share my shrimp keeping knowledge with you.

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