Why Are My Ghost Shrimps Swimming To The Top?


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This site does not constitute pet medical advice, please consult a licensed veterinarian in your area for pet medical advice.

Lately, I have discovered some of my ghost shrimps are swimming to the top. I was curious about this behavior and started researching the factors. I will share my results throughout this article.

Ghost shrimps swim to the top mainly due to the imbalance in water parameters. Some other factors can also be responsible for this behavior.

Toxicity in the water is mainly why the ghost shrimps swim to the top. Let’s figure out the points with proper explanation.

Essential Factors Why Ghost Shrimps Swim To The Top

Shrimps are sensitive animals. The shrimp keepers have to check these factors once in a while. The factors are-

  • Temperature
  • Parameters of the tank
  • Cycled tank
  • The source
  • Pest

Fluctuation of Temperature

Temperature is an essential factor. Ghost shrimps prefer to live in warm temperatures. The optimum temperature for ghost shrimp is 68-82 degrees.

The fluctuation of temperatures affects the ghost shrimps. They feel stressed. Then, they swim to the top.

However, they are prone to be active at 70-80 degrees. The shrimp keepers can buy a heater for the shrimps.

Almost all the shrimp keepers have a heater in the tank. The question is- do you need it? Admittedly, it depends on the temperature of the room.

The tank should be kept in a warm room. Ghost shrimps choose to live in warm conditions over cool ones.

It is not necessary to use the heater throughout the year. You can turn the heater off in summer. The weather is warm. Thus, the water also rises higher.

On the contrary, the temperature may rise and drop throughout the day. Do not worry! It is natural.

The shrimps would love it. Then, there is less stress in the environment. Ghost shrimps do not like to live in a particular thermostat.

I love this digital thermometer for using in Aquarium. It shows you an accurate reading of the water temperature in digital reading. So, you know what’s going on in your shrimp tank. And the best thing is, it is extremely cheap! Check out the digital aquarium thermometer here on Amazon.

See also  Can You Eat Ghost Shrimp?

Ideal Water Parameters For Ghost Shrimp Tank

Shrimp can feel extreme stress for imbalanced parameters in the tank. Thus, they swim towards the surface to find relaxation.

Are you a beginner? If yes, here is a quick tip for you. Do not keep the water parameters inconsistent. Inconsistency is a big NO for keeping shrimps.

Check the parameters to see if they are in the ideal range for ghost shrimps. Otherwise, the shrimps may not thrive longer.

The nitrate or ammonia accumulation can create stress in the tank. Ammonia spikes are not suitable for the ghost shrimps.

Look at the optimum range of different parameters.

Optimum Range of Water Parameters for Ghost Shrimps

KH5-8 ppm
GH5-8 ppm

TDS (Total Dissolved Solids)

When the range of total dissolved solids (TDS) is higher, the ghost shrimps become inactive.


The relative amount of free hydrogen or hydroxyl ions is expressed by pH. pH shows the acidity or alkalinity of the water.

The range of the pH-

  • Acidic: 1-6
  • Basic: 8-14
  • Neutral: 7

The imbalance of pH can directly affect the ghost shrimps. Ghost shrimp prefers to live at 7-8 pH.

Lower than this range can harm the balance of shrimp’s body. pH imbalance in the tank can kill the shrimps.

Ghost shrimps swim up to the tank at higher or lower pH. Use a pH meter to get the correct result.

If you need a test kit for measuring the pH, 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!


KH stands for Hardness of Carbonate. The increased level of KH can spread negativity in shrimps’ lives.

The suitable range for ghost shrimp starts from 5 ppm. Ghost shrimp do not swim to the top up to 8 ppm.

Swimming at the top means they are not comfortable in the tank. Careless attitude towards the KH is dangerous for the shrimps. It can kill the ghost shrimps.

See also  Are Ghost Shrimps Good Cleaners?

You can buy KH measuring kits. Also, change the water on a routine basis.


GH is the abbreviation of the General Hardness of the water. The ideal range of GH for ghost shrimps is 5 ppm to 8 ppm.

With this 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 Treat Horsehair Worm In Ghost Shrimps

Cycled Tank

One of the main reasons for ghost shrimps swimming to the top is the absence of a cycled tank. Now, what does it mean?

A cycled tank means an appropriate habitat for the ghost shrimps. The nitrate, KH, GH, TDS, pH, noise, light intensity, temperature- everything will be in favor of the ghost shrimps.

Ghost shrimps are peaceful. They do not cost much but are hungry for a comfortable zone.

A cycled tank can provide a healthy life to the ghost shrimps. The keepers should maintain the tank clean, healthy, and comfortable for the ghost shrimps.

Source Of The Ghost Shrimps

The source is a matter of consideration as the ghost shrimps are swimming to the top. From two sources the keepers can buy shrimps-

  1. Online retailers: They advertise on different social media. People contact them to buy shrimps. Also, there are different online stores.
  2. Hobbyist: Some hobbyists sell their shrimps. The shrimp’s breed and they sell the shrimps.

The shrimps grow in an environment. On the other side, the keepers provide them a different situation.

It becomes tougher for them to survive. Hence, they swim near the surface of the tank.

Another tip– try to buy shrimps from a hobbyist. They can guide you. Also, they can tell you about the suitable parameters of the tank.

Maintain the parameters. Then, see the result. The shrimps will swim here and there but not to the top.

Sometimes, the hobbyist may be from your area. Then, you do not have to worry much. The temperature and quality of the water will remain alike.

Pests Can Stress Out Ghost Shrimps

Some pests are not suitable for ghost shrimps. Ghost shrimps get scared and stressed. They try to elope from the tank.

Hence, the ghost shrimp swim to the top. Pests are not appreciable for shrimps.

See also  When Are Ghost Shrimps Most Active?

They kill the shrimps in the tank. Pests like Hydra or dragonfly nymphs are harmful to the shrimps.

Well, there are a few ways to eradicate these pests from the tank. They are-

  • Dragonfly Nymph: Remove them whenever you see. If one dragonfly shows up, trust me, there will be more. Remove them instantly.
  • Hydra: You can buy some powder remedies in the market. Follow the instructions and get rid of Hydra from the tank.

Toxins Can Make Ghost Shrimps Stressed

The more debris in the tank, the more toxins will be there. Overload of toxins creates stress for the shrimps. They start swimming to the top.

  • Make sure the plants excrete no toxins
  • Do not overload the tank with foods
  • Change the water regularly
  • Check the parameters & see if they are in the ideal range
How To Treat Horsehair Worm In Ghost Shrimps

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it normal for shrimps to swim around a lot?

It is not uncommon for shrimps to swim around a lot. Shrimps may swim around to explore their surroundings, scavenge for food, or engage in mating behavior. However, jerky or darting motions can be a sign of stress caused by problems with water quality, predators, diseases, or acclimation. 

How do shrimps swim?

Shrimps swim by rapidly flexing their abdomen and pulling it towards their carapace, which propels them through the water. This motion is similar to an extreme abdominal crunch and allows shrimps to move forward or backward in the water. Unlike fish, shrimps do not have fins that enable them to swim.

Why is my ghost shrimp swimming against glass?

Ghost shrimps may swim against the glass for various reasons. Sometimes, they may do it to explore their surroundings, scavenge for food, or engage in mating behavior.

However, if the swimming is frantic or repetitive, it could be a sign of stress. Possible causes of stress include poor water quality, lack of hiding places, overcrowding, improper acclimation, or the presence of predators.


I hope I have given a clear explanation of why ghost shrimps swim to the top. For a clear understanding, I have explained all the factors that are involved. Just make sure the water parameters are in the ideal range & you are changing the water regularly. That should solve the issue.

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About Muntaseer Rahman

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