One of my friends recently saw one of his ghost shrimps turned into white color and it freaked him out. I also saw one of my ghost shrimps turned brown in color. So, I was wondering why ghost shrimps change colors and did some research by myself. Here’s what I found:
By ensuring a suitable environment, proper water parameters, and proper food habit you can prevent your ghost shrimps from turning into other colors.
Below I am discussing every reason in detail to give you a clear idea. I will be also attaching the methods of how you can prevent it. So, go through the whole article to know what to do to prevent ghost shrimps from turning into other colors.
What Colors Do Ghost Shrimps Turn Into?
Ghost Shrimp Turning White Color
Generally, ghost shrimps are transparent. So, if they turn into white this means something is happening to the shrimp. There are many causes why they turn into white color.
Due to molting:
Molting is natural and a very necessary part of the life of a ghost shrimp. The body of a ghost shrimp is covered with exoskeleton which doesn’t grow larger with the growth of the shrimps inside the body part. This is why the shrimp has to put off the exoskeleton which is called molting.
In the pre molting stage before putting off the exoskeleton, inside there grows a thin skin also known as hypodermis. The shrimp takes calcium and other substances from the existing skeleton to develop the hypodermis. When it is grown enough it becomes a little visible thus the shrimp looks white. But this white covering is not completely white.
You can understand when they start molting as they seem less active at that time. Also, most of the time they hide themselves.
The lifespan of a shrimp is not that long. Shrimps only live for about 1 year.
If you are keeping shrimps for a while then you may already know older ghost shrimps seem less transparent than the baby ones.
When the body color starts to get white day by day that means the shrimp is going to die soon. The death is uncertain of any ghost shrimp when they get old. You cannot control this as they will pass away one day which is natural.
The dead ghost shrimp looks completely white like a cooked one. When they are about to die you can understand as it doesn’t move and lie down in one certain place for a long time.
Muscular necrosis is a very common disease of ghost shrimps. This disease destroys multiple cells of a living organism. The reasons behind this disease can be a bacterial infection and an imbalance in water parameters.
The abdomen and tail part get white when shrimps get this disease. If the whole abdomen gets white then the shrimp will surely die and you cannot cure it. But if you identify the disease soon then you have chances to cure the shrimp.
I’ve written a separate article just on this topic. If you are interested to learn more, click here.
Ghost Shrimp Turning Brown Color
Sometimes when ghost shrimps grow, they can turn into brown color. The reason behind this can be the environment they are in and the tank type.
Shrimps are algae eaters and this can also turn their color to brown. So if your tank is full of algae you will notice your shrimps turning into brown color as they continuously eat algae. But this won’t affect your shrimps at all so there is nothing to worry about.
They also change their color to match their surroundings. If your tank color is dark, they turn themselves to a brown or dark color to match the substrate. This makes them feel secure.
Stress is another reason that makes shrimps feel sick. And when they feel sick and the surrounding makes them too much uncomfortable, they turn brown and in the worst case, they die.
Ghost Shrimp Turning Blue
Ghost shrimp can turn blue or get flecks of blue color in them.
If you ever see your ghost shrimps turning blue that means they are facing any problem. If they are molting and turning blue this means they are facing problems in molting.
The environment can be another reason because if they get stressed with the environment, they change their color. Sometimes sickness can cause them to turn their color to blue.
Ghost Shrimps Turning Pink
You will only see a ghost shrimp turning pink when it dies. Many of the transparent species turn pink when they die. Though mostly when shrimps die they turn white but they can turn pink too.
So if your shrimp turns pink that means it is dead. You will see no movement of it for a long time. Shrimps can die anytime if they feel unhealthy in the tank for a long time. You can clearly understand by their movements that something is going wrong.
How To Prevent Ghost Shrimps From Turning Other Colors
Ensure A Suitable Environment
Ghost shrimps are very sensitive and peaceful species. If you do not ensure them a suitable environment, they feel insecure and start stressing out.
For ensuring the right environment you need to make sure there is enough hiding place in the tank as shrimps like to hide. Without any hiding place, shrimps cannot survive for a long time.
It also makes them stressful thus they turn into another color. And turning into other colors means something is going wrong.
In addition to that, make sure you have the proper tank mates for your ghost shrimps. Because bad tank mates give stress to the shrimps as most of the time they chase ghost shrimps.
Here’s a chart showing good and bad tank mates for shrimps:
|Good Tank Mates||Bad Tank Mates|
|Other shrimp species||Any fish that are aggressive such as Barbs, Mollies, Serpea Tetra, Betta, etc.|
|Snails||Fishes with a large mouth to gulp the shrimp in a single instance|
You should ensure nothing gives stress to the shrimps because this makes them sick. And if they get too sick they can die and before dying ghost shrimps change color.
Balance The Water Parameters
Ghost shrimps are sensitive species so you have to ensure the proper water parameters for them. If any of the parameters get low or high than the actual range ghost shrimps need, all of them can get sick.
Furthermore, they turn into another color from their actual color. If things get worse day by day they die. So, water parameters are very important to balance out properly.
Suitable water parameters range for ghost shrimps:
|Temperature||70-80 degrees Fahrenheit||62-82 degrees Fahrenheit|
|GH||5-8 ppm||3-15 ppm|
|KH||5-8 ppm||3-12 ppm|
|TDS||150-200 ppm||100-400 ppm|
If you need a test kit for measuring the water parameters, 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!
Other than these make sure the water does not contain nitrites, nitrates, ammonia, chloride, etc. A high level of any of these can cause great harm to your shrimps. So besides water parameters, these should be in your concern too.
Proper Food Habit
For keeping ghost shrimps healthy a proper food habit is a must. But if you start overfeeding them they will get sick fast. Shrimps are natural scavengers so feeding twice a week is best for them.
Ghost shrimps eat algae, dead plants, and other bits of things from the water. You can feed them algae wafers if algae do not naturally grow in the tank. Besides that, you can find various types of pellets in the market that are used to feed ghost shrimps.
I recommend Bacter AE to feed shrimps. I think this is one of the most reliable and authentic shrimp foods currently in the market. My ghost shrimps love them too!
Making a combination of these, feed them twice a week. Foods that are rich in nutrients and vitamins are recommended as it will help them in their proper growth and save them from diseases.
Some Other Tips:
- When shrimps are molting make sure the environment is suitable. If the environment is not suitable it can hamper the process and eventually shrimps can die.
- You can also isolate your shrimp in another tank for proper molting.
- Feed the proper food that is rich in nutrients and vitamins when they are molting
- If you identify any of your shrimp with muscular necrosis or any other disease separate it from other shrimps as it can infect the other shrimps.
- Make sure there are enough nutrients and oxygen in the tank.
- Check the water parameters every week and make sure the water parameters are balanced well. Don’t let the water get dirty fast
- If you see any shrimp turning any other color you better separate it in another tank.
I hope I explained every reason why ghost shrimps turn into other colors and gave enough information on what to do for preventing it. Follow the preventions properly and hopefully, you will never face this problem again!