6 Common Ghost Shrimp Diseases & How To Treat Them

If you are keeping ghost shrimps for a while then you must know their maintenance is very easy. However, one of the biggest fears of owning ghost shrimps is seeing them dying all of a sudden or changes in their behavior.

There are many reasons behind their sudden death and behavioral changes and one of the common reasons is diseases. As ghost shrimps are very sensitive, they easily get any kind of disease and that can lead them to sudden death. So, today I will be talking all about ghost shrimp diseases, how you can treat them easily, and the prevention method as well.

So, without talking any further let’s dig into it!

Common Ghost Shrimp Diseases Are:

  • Vorticella
  • Scutariella Japonica
  • Muscular necrosis
  • Bacterial infections
  • Fungal infections
  • Chitinolytic Bacterial Diseases

Below I am going to explain every disease in detail one by one and the curing process as well but before jumping into that, I want to explain why do ghost shrimps get diseases. So, let’s take a look into that first!

Why Ghost Shrimps Get Diseases?

  • The most common reason for getting diseases is an unsuitable and unhealthy environment. Most of the time ghost shrimps get infected with fungal and bacterial infections for dirty water and an unhealthy environment.
  • Another reason for getting diseases can be buying infected shrimps and releasing them with other ghost shrimps. Shrimps can easily get infected if you have even one infected shrimp in your tank. Parasites from the infected shrimps infect the other ones and give them diseases.
  • If you buy infected aquatic plants from stores that can also infect the ghost shrimps. It can eventually make all the tank species infected with parasites.
  • The ghost shrimps can also get infected with diseases if the temperature is too high and there is a lack of minerals and vitamins in the tank.

6 Ghost Shrimp Diseases & How To Treat Them

Vorticella (Parasites)

vorticella

I am going to start by talking about vorticella (also known as “Bell Animalcule”) which is very common and it is the name of the parasite. It looks more like a whitish fungus and mostly grows over the shell of the ghost shrimps and on the tip of the nose.

Even though vorticella looks like a fungus, it is actually a protozoon of 16 known species. It is mainly an aquatic organism and commonly found in freshwater. It can also attach itself to a host i.e. plant, driftwood, rocks, other animals, etc.

Vorticella reproduces with the help of binary fission and to survive it attaches itself to a carrier. However, vorticella is very harmful to ghost shrimps and if it is left untreated for a long time it can cause death to the ghost shrimps.

Symptoms:

  • White looking fungus on the shell of the shrimp, mostly near the tip of the nose
  • Ghost shrimps may seem less active and loss appetite

Scutariella Japonica (Parasites)

scutariella japonica

Scutariella Japonica is another common parasite for the ghost shrimps. It is a type of nematode parasite. Even though they are classified as flatworms, they behave in a different way. Many cannot differentiate between vorticella and Scutariella Japonica. 

Scutariella Japonica takes the shrimp as carrier and lives on the body of the shrimp. The commonly infected areas are the shrimps’ rostrum or between the eyes. It is more whitish than vorticella so you can easily detect it. 

It also lays eggs in the grill chamber inside the ghost shrimp’s body. Mostly it lays eggs in rows and they appear as white dots. 

Scutariella Japonica is not deadly for ghost shrimps until they get very high in number in the shrimp’s body. However, ghost shrimps can easily get rid of this parasite during their molting as with the exoskeleton ghost shrimps also get rid of the parasite. 

Make sure you take the exoskeleton out from the tank as soon as the shrimp puts it off from the body. Else it can again infect the other ghost shrimps in your tank. 

Symptoms:

  • You will see whitish appendages around the ghost shrimps head and rostrum area. It will be 1-2 mm in length. 
  • It looks like vorticella but more whitish in color. 

Cure of Vorticella And Scutariella Japonica

I already mentioned vorticella and Scutariella Japonica both of these happen to ghost shrimps from parasites and the cure of these are the same. You can treat both of these parasites with the below-mentioned cure methods. 

Method 1: Salt Bath 

The first method I am going to talk about treating these parasites is a salt bath. You need to keep the infected shrimp alone in a tank and then perform the salt bath. 

Now, make sure you use aquarium saltOpens in a new tab., not any regular or table salt we generally use. Take one cup of the tank water and mix one teaspoon salt in it. Mix it in the cup properly and then put the saltwater into the tank where you separated the infected shrimp. 

You have to repeat this procedure several times until its completely gone. And make sure you keep the infected shrimp into a separated tank alone until this procedure completes.

Method 2: Seachem ParaGuard 

You cando the second method only if you see the first method is not working in treating the disease. This method should not be done before trying the first method. 

In this method, you have to dose the shrimp tank with Seachem ParaGuardOpens in a new tab.. It seems to work well if you know how to use it in the right way. However, this medicine is very strong so you have to be very careful while using it on the ghost shrimp. For 10 gallon water, you can use 5 ml ParaGuard. Never overdose it as it can lead the ghost shrimp to death. 

Make sure you are using the right dose and never directly use it into the tank water. First, take a container with water, then mix the required dosage into it. After mixing it pour the water into the tank water. 

I will recommend another good medicine which is the API general cureOpens in a new tab. as it is very good in treating parasites. You can use this too but make sure you use it in the right way and amount as well. 

Prevention:

  • Always keep the tank water clean
  • Use a good filter as it helps keeping the water purified
  • Change 30% of the water twice a week and add the same amount of freshwater
  • Feed the shrimps healthy shrimp foods

Muscular Necrosis 

You can easily detect this disease if any of your shrimp gets it. The ghost shrimps turn into whitish color when they get muscular necrosis. The whitish coloration mainly starts from the tail and eventually, it spreads to the head.

Basically, necrosis is a biological term and it is understood to be the destruction of one or more cells in a living organism. It results in decomposition or inflammatory reaction of the surrounding cells and tissue. 

The main reasons for ghost shrimps getting muscular necrosis are: 

  • Keeping them in wrong water parameters and sudden change of the pH
  • Can occur from Myxosporidien or bacterial infection
  • Lack of oxygen and nutrients in the water

Symptoms: 

  • White coloration or milky discoloration on the back of the ghost shrimp starting from the tail to head 

Cure Of Muscular Necrosis 

Muscular necrosis can infect other ghost shrimps as it is infectious. So, you should isolate the infected shrimp first from your tank as soon as you detect one with it. However, there is no selective treatment for muscular necrosis but daily water changes and a proper environment can help to cure it gradually. 

However, if the white coloration reaches the abdomen area you cannot do anything to keep your shrimp alive because it will be too late. So always keep an eye in the ghost shrimps and if you detect any, isolate it as soon as possible. 

Prevention:

  • Ensure all the water parameters are in the right range for ghost shrimps. PH, GH, KH, nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, etc. every parameter should be in the ideal range. 
  • Make sure the parameters don’t change more often and control the limit ranges strictly. 

Bacterial Infections 

The bacterial infection is one of those diseases that is very difficult to detect on a shrimp body but as ghost shrimps are transparent you can guess the bacterial infection in its body easily. 

If a ghost shrimp gets a bacterial infection the inner organs of the body may change its color. There are no other ways of detecting bacterial infections in a shrimp body. 

Bacterial infections are deadly for ghost shrimps as there is no proper treatment for this. There is also less information about bacterial infections. The ghost shrimp can die within 3-4 days after getting this disease. 

Bacterial infections generally occur when the temperature gets high in the tank water. Also, if you keep the tank water dirty for too long it may cause the ghost shrimps bacterial infection. 

Symptoms

  • The sudden death of the ghost shrimps
  • The inner organs may change color
  • In some cases, shrimps lose their body parts though it is very rare

Cure of Bacterial Infections 

As I already said there is no proper method for treating bacterial infections still you can try some process to reduce it:

  • If you see any symptoms, change 70% -80% water of the tank and add the same amount of freshwater. 
  • Another method you can try is to dose Hydrogen Peroxide (3 % solution). For every 4 liter water, dose 1 ml of Hydrogen Peroxide in the tank. Continue dosing every day for up to 5 days. If you see the situation getting worse you can dose 2 ml of it in the water but not more than that. 
  • You can also set up a UV light over the shrimp tank. UV light is beneficial against waterborne bacteria. 

Preventions: 

  • Keep the temperature in proper ranges and don’t let it get high 
  • Replace the evaporated water with new water every day
  • Perform regular water changes and don’t keep the water dirty for too long
  • Use a good filter for your tank as it helps to keep the water purified

Fungal Infections

Fungal infection is a very common disease of ghost shrimps. And ghost shrimps easily get this disease as fungal spores are everywhere and you cannot avoid it all. Fungal infections are called Mycosis in medical terms. 

You can easily detect fungal infection if it is external. You will see fluffy whitish cotton growths from the head or abdomen area of the ghost shrimps. The most common culprits for external mycosis are Capnolagnia or Achylia.

Fungal infection can be deadly if it is internal which cannot be detected. Mostly, internal infections take place due to food. If the shrimp is healthy and has a good immune system it can fight back. And if it is weak, the ghost shrimp can die within a week. 

If the infection is external the molting can help get rid of it. And if its internal then treatment is required to cure the ghost shrimp. 

Symptoms: 

  • Whitish cotton like growths around the head or abdomen area

Cure Of Fungal Infection 

Separate the infected shrimps into a new tank first. Then, you have to use medicine to treat this infection. You will find many medicines for treating fungal infections but make sure you use the one that does not contain copper. 

Use the right amount of the medicine whichever you are going to use in a proper way for getting the best results. 

Prevention:

  • Keep the water clean and healthy for the shrimps
  • Ensure the water parameters ranges
  • Have a good filtration system

Chitinolytic Bacterial Diseases

Chitinolytic bacterial disease is more of an external disease and it includes black spot disease, brown spot disease, shell disease, rust disease, burned spot disease, etc.

These infections are caused by bacteria called Chitinolytic. As it is an external infection it is fully visible on the exoskeleton and the place gets melanized or pitted where the infection occurs. The most common affected areas are abdominal muscle, gill, tail area, and the gastropods.

Chitinolytic Bacterial Diseases generally occur due to improper water parameters, dirty tank water, using too much nitrate and substrate that has turned bad for using too long.

Symptoms:

  • It is generally marked by a black to dark brown pigmentation.
  • As the bacteria starts to destroy tissue cells and muscles, lesions can form on the shrimp body
  • The lesions can cause other secondary infections

Cure Of Chitinolytic Bacterial Disease: 

Method 1: Big L’s Pig And Poultry Wormer

Firstly, separate the infected shrimp and keep it into a separate tank. As bacterial infections can be highly contagious and contaminate everything inside the tank can get infected. 

You need to dose the infected shrimp tank with Big L’s pig and poultryOpens in a new tab. wormer. For every 7 liters of aquarium water, you should dose 1 ml. If you see no improvement, repeat the process after 48 hours again. 

Performing regular water changes is very important in this situation. At least 1/3rd water of the tank needs to be changed on a regular basis. Besides that, remove all the ornaments and accessories from the tank and sterilize everything with boiled water or keep them in the sunlight. 

Other Methods: 

  • A salt bath is very effective in removing bacterial infections as the salinity helps to kill the bacteria. You can give the infected shrimp a salt bath for 20-30 seconds. Using a good aquarium salt in the right process can easily cure the bacterial infection. 
  • You can also lower the temperature and raise the pH of the tank for some time as these are helpful to kill bacteria. 

Prevention:

  • Ensure the water quality is fine and the water parameters are in the correct range 
  • Keep the nitrite, nitrate, ammonia, etc. should be as low as possible
  • Replace substrates after the expiry date
  • Feed a balanced food diet that contains vitamins and nutrients 

Conclusion 

I tried my best to include the common diseases of ghost shrimps in detail and the treatments as well throughout this article. There are many more diseases but the ones I described are the most common ones you can face if you have ghost shrimps in your aquarium. 

However, I am not an expert yet, I tried to explain the cure methods as I personally got rid of the diseases doing these methods. Additionally, I researched a lot before writing this article so that I can attach everything that is right and helpful. 

As you now know what are the possible causes of the diseases, I hope you will easily be able to prevent those. And if any disease infects your shrimps, following the above-mentioned methods you can easily get rid of those. 

Happy shrimp keeping! 

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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