How Long Do Ghost Shrimps Live?

Before petting ghost shrimps, lots of questions pop up in our minds. The most common question is- how long do ghost shrimps live. I have researched about ghost shrimp’s lifespan and got a few important things to share with you.

The ghost shrimps only thrive for 1 year. They have a smaller lifespan than other shrimps.

Handful numbers of factors control the lifespan of ghost shrimps directly or indirectly. I will discuss the factors throughout this content. Let’s know about these factors.

Important Factors of Ghost Shrimp’s Lifestyle

A number of factors can affect the lifespan of the ghost shrimps in one way or another. Ghost shrimps are peace-loving and sensitive to some factors. A safe and sound surrounding for the ghost shrimp is a must.

The important factors that can affect the lifestyle of the ghost shrimps are:

  • The environment in the tank/Habitat
  • Water quality
  • Compatibility
  • Foods

Let’s know the important factors in detail.

The environment in the tank/Habitat

Ghost shrimps prefer to hide in the aquarium. They even hide from small guppy fishes in the tank.

The tank or aquarium should contain a minimum of 5 gallons of water. Well, a bigger tank is better.

You can organize or decorate the tank with

Add plants, like –

  • Java moss,
  • Hornwort and
  • Cabomba

These can give the home-like feel to the ghost shrimps. As the ghost shrimps love to hide, they will feel safer and more like home in the tank.

When the shrimps molt, they look for the place to hide. The exoskeleton may look scary and give the keeper tension.

Do not worry. Your shrimp is not dead. It is a phase of their lives.

On a special note, no need to remove the exoskeleton in the tank. It will gradually become their food.

The ghost shrimps have sensitive antennae. These antennae can sense the presence of toxicity, chemicals, and foods of the water. Sand, fine grain can protect the antennae from damage.

Try to keep fewer shrimps in one tank. It is comfortable for the shrimps to stay a maximum of 4 of them in one gallon. You can maximize the number later.

Shrimps are the biological cleaner of the tank. They eat and consume the debris from the plants and the tank. You do not have to waste the energy to wash the aquarium.

Placement of the tank

Place the tank in a silent zone of your house. Shrimps do not like to live in noisy environments.

Staying in the TV room, the drawing room makes them stressed. Noise can badly impact the ghost shrimps. Before starting your hobby, make the best place for them to live in.

Water Quality

The water quality can directly affect how long do ghost shrimps live. Let’s take a look at the table.

FactorsOptimum level
Temperature65-85 degree Fahrenheit
NitriteLess than 10ppm
WaterMinimum 5 gallons
Light intensityModerate
Water flowModerate

Now, I will explain the factors and how they affect the shrimp’s lives.


pH shows whether the water is acidic or basic. The pH scale range is 0-14.

The pHlevel of water can control the life of a shrimp. The breeding, molting, feeding are dependent on pH. In basic or acidic conditions the water accelerates their lives faster.

The pH scale is measured-

  • 0 -6 means acidic water
  • 8-14 means the water is alkaline in nature
  • 7 means the water is neutral

The optimum range for ghost shrimps is 7.0-8.0.

Low pHHigh pHOptimum pH
Molts fasterMolts fasterSlow molting
Dies soonDies soonLives longer

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!

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Temperature effect on how long do ghost shrimps live. The ghost shrimps love high temperatures.

For ghost shrimps, the optimum temperature is 65- 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a heater if you have kept the aquarium in a cold place.

I love this digital thermometer for my shrimp tanks. It provides a very accurate reading and the cost is extremely low.

What Happens At Higher Temperatures?

In higher temperatures, the shrimps feed more than usual. Their physical functions accelerate more than lower temperatures.

Consequently, ghost shrimps will eat more food. They will grow quicker.

Molting is in their nature. By leaving the older exoskeleton, they grow a new exoskeleton to protect the body.

To add, the molting uses their reserved energy. The more molting takes place, the closer the ghost shrimps are to the death.

What Happens At Optimum Temperatures?

At optimum temperature, the shrimps feel comfortable. The physical and chemical functions of the body are slower than higher temperatures.

They feel comfortable and eat less at the optimum temperature. Breeding, feeding, and other physical activities continue naturally.

In a nutshell, the ghost shrimps can live their lives to the fullest. It would be efficient if you could place a heater in the tank.

What Happens At Lower Temperatures?

The ghost shrimps are calmer than other species. When they live in low temperatures, they become inactive.

Consequently, they change their behavior towards other species in the tank. The ghost shrimps try to attack them.

A lower temperature in the environment makes them stressed. It is important to monitor the balanced temperature in the tank or aquarium.


Nitrite, ammonia, and nitrate should have zero levels in the aquarium. These are toxic chemicals for the shrimps when the level is higher.

The maintenance of the tank can increase or decrease the nitrite level in the water. An increase in the level of toxicity can harm the normal lifestyle of ghost shrimps.

Make sure the level is approximately 5-10ppm. It will be beneficial if you can change the water in a routine manner.

Also, the accumulation of copper should not occur in the tank. It causes death to the shrimps.

Regular monitoring of these chemicals is a must. Thus, you can provide the shrimps with a healthy environment to survive longer.

Water Volume

The volume of the water has to be a minimum of 5 gallons. If you can arrange a larger tank or aquarium, it will be more convenient for the shrimps.


KH expresses the carbonate hardness in the water. The hardness of the water should not be more than 5-8 DKH. This is the optimum range for ghost shrimps.

Nevertheless, the KH range is stretchable up to 12DKH (Degrees of Carbonate Hardness). The high level of KH will not be suitable for the shrimps.

To measure the level of KH, you can buy a KH measuring kit from the market.


GH stands for General Hardness. The acceptable level of General Hardness (GH) is up to 8. GH measuring kits are available in the market.

General hardness shows how soft or hard is the water quality. How long do ghost shrimps live depends on the GH level, as well.

The higher level of GH in water makes the life of the shrimps tougher. Check the water parameter before you start keeping shrimps in the tank.

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!

Light Intensity

They love to swim in soft lights. Why? Because they love to hide themselves to feel safe.

 When the lights are off, they feel comfortable to swim here and there. The baby ghost shrimps roam around the tank, mostly, at night.

Water flow

Moderate water flow is suitable for the ghost shrimps. They feel safer in the moderate or low tides in the tank.


Ghost shrimps are 1.5” in size. They are peaceful in nature. All the tropical fishes are not peaceful to other fishes.

Hence, the ghost shrimps need to be kept with small peaceful fishes. The large fishes or aggressive fishes tend to eat ghost shrimps as their foods. Also, they can attack ghost shrimps on and often.

The compatible fishes with ghost shrimps are:

  • Danios
  • Small barbs
  • Characins
  • Loaches with peaceful nature
  • Small catfish

Fishes with large mouths to consume a shrimp should not be kept with ghost shrimps. The territorial fishes are not suitable as companions. They tend to be aggressive towards ghost shrimps.

On the contrary, fishes that need the same temperature can be kept together. Otherwise, one species will be comfortable in the tank whereas another species will not survive longer.

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Well, different shrimp species maintain the same temperature. You can add some other shrimps with ghost shrimps. For example, cherry shrimps.

Only shrimps in the tank may add boredom. For diverse conditions, snails are a good option.

Food Habit

This is an important factor to discuss. As a shrimp keeper, you must know that ghost shrimps require less amount of food.

Ghost shrimps are omnivorous. Omnivorous means they can eat everything. From dirt to algae, they can consume everything leftover in the tank.

How you should provide food:

  • Let the shrimps enjoy naturally grown algae and biofilm in the tank
  • Provide a good commercial shrimp food 2-3 times a week. I love Bacter AE and my shrimps get crazy over it!
  • Do not put anything before the shrimps completely eat it
  • No need to feed them every day. Depending on the numbers, you can feed the shrimps every other day of the week. 

Providing food regularly can damage water quality. It can shorten the lifespan of ghost shrimps.

The dead fishes are also a source of nutrition for ghost shrimps. However, it is wise to remove the dead bodies from the aquarium.

 The dead bodies produce ammonia spikes in the tank. These spikes are harmful to your lovely shrimps.

Why Do Your Ghost Shrimp Keep Dying?

Several owners often complain about ghost shrimp keep dying. There may have several reasons behind this. So, if you want to keep your pet shrimp alive, you should know the reasons.

Let’s check out the following reasons that shorten the lifespan of ghost shrimp.

1. Poor Acclimation

You might know that shrimp are extremely sensitive to changes. After having your ghost shrimp delivered, you must not directly put your ghost shrimp into the new tank.

Without proper acclimation, the sudden change of environment can cause shock to your ghost shrimp. Due to this shock, the newly arrived ghost shrimp often dies of becoming overstressed.

2. Wrong Water Parameters

If the tank water isn’t filtered properly, the water parameters may get changed. These ghost shrimp can not tolerate the changes in their environment if the water parameters do not remain ideal.

The water gets toxic to ghost shrimp when there is a high quantity of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. If the level of ammonia gets high, it may cause ammonia to burn these pets. Moreover, ghost shrimp can not survive in water of low or high pH.

It causes severe stress to your ghost shrimp. In addition, these effects their respiration, growth, immunity, molting, breeding, etc. When the situation gets worse, your ghost shrimp may die.

3. Presence Of Heavy Metals

The presence of heavy metals can also kill your ghost shrimp. Sometimes, the owners do not even know how they’re introducing the heavy metals into the shrimp aquarium.

You might not aware that there are copper and lead in the fertilizers that you use for the aquarium plants. In addition, if you have fish as tank mates of ghost shrimp, you may need to use fish medications. These fish medications also have copper and lead.

Sometimes, many beginners use tap water to keep ghost shrimp. This tap water can have the presence of heavy metals. On the other hand, these heavy metals are lethal to ghost shrimp that can kill your pets.

4. Lack Of Air Pump

Lack of oxygenation may be a reason for the early death of your ghost shrimp. For this reason, an air pump is a must for these shrimp as a biological filter in a shrimp aquarium.

Since ghost shrimp continuously produce wastes of ammonia, the oxygen level of the water reduces with the water quality. So, if you do not keep any air pump, it’ll be hard for your ghost shrimp to survive.

5. Overstocking

Sometimes, the ghost shrimp owners tend to put ghost shrimp, fish, plants, and several devices in a small tank. If your ghost shrimp starts breeding, the space will get more congested. As a result, your pet ghost shrimp may not roam around comfortably.

Overstocking causes stress to ghost shrimp. Moreover, if you keep additional livings in a small aquarium, the tank water will get toxic soon. It might be another reason why your ghost shrimp keep dying.

6. Incompatible Tank Mates

Incompatible tank mates can hurt your pet ghost shrimp. Moreover, the aggressive and bottom-feeder fish may snatch away the food of your pet crustaceans.

Also, the fast-moving fish can cause severe stress to ghost shrimp. However, there will be nothing to be surprised if your ghost shrimp are gobbled up by their bigger tank mates.

7. Failed Molting

Molting is a sensitive period in the lives of ghost shrimp. Sometimes, ghost shrimp fail to remove their old shell halfway.

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Also, frequent water changes may cause premature molting. It’ll leave the ghost shrimp vulnerable. As a result, your pet ghost shrimp may die.

8. Poor Hygiene

Generally, ghost shrimp do not need regular cleaning as these crustaceans are scavengers. But, you still need to maintain good hygiene in your ghost shrimp tank. Poor hygiene makes the water quality worse. As a result, the water parameters do not remain ideal which may become fatal to your pet shrimp.

9. Sick From Beforehand

Lastly, there may not be any fault behind the death of ghost shrimp. Despite providing all necessities, if your newly bought ghost shrimp die, the shrimp may be sick from beforehand.

Can Ghost Shrimp Live 2 Years?

Ghost shrimp do not usually survive much longer. Although the average lifespan of ghost shrimp is one year, these crustaceans can live up to 6 years. So, ghost shrimp can live for 2 years if all living conditions are appropriate.

How Long Do Ghost Shrimp Live In An Aquarium?

It depends on the tank condition and the health of your pet ghost shrimp. Some ghost shrimp can not adapt to the new environment of captivity. If your crayfish is sick or old, it may survive only a few months. On the other hand, if your pet ghost shrimp is young, this pet may live long over 2 years in an aquarium.

How Long Can A Ghost Shrimp Live Out Of Water?

Since ghost shrimp are aquatic creatures, they are specialized in breather underwater. These crustaceans can’t survive without water for so long.

A ghost shrimp can live out of the water from 10 minutes to around 2 hours. The survival duration out of water varies according to the humidity and room temperature.

Ghost shrimp tend to jump out of the tank when there is any inconsistency in water parameters. However, if the room temperature is high, your pet crustacean will get dry soon.

As a result, these crustaceans may live only a few minutes in such cases. On the other hand, these ghost shrimp can live long for several hours without water if the humidity remains high.

If ghost shrimp have access to even a little amount of water, they’ll survive for a long period in such conditions. Their gills should remain wet if you want to keep them alive without water.

How Long Can Ghost Shrimp Live In Saltwater?

You might be aware that ghost shrimp is a freshwater crustacean. So, keeping freshwater animals like ghost shrimp in saltwater is like killing them.

Being freshwater crustaceans, ghost shrimp can not tolerate the high salinity level of saltwater. For this reason, these ghost shrimp may die within a few hours after leaving them in saltwater.

When you keep ghost shrimp in salt water, their body system gets shocked unable to process with different elements of saltwater. However, nowadays, it has become pretty popular to acclimate ghost shrimp living in saltwater.

Although there is a high mortality rate in this acclimatization process, I suggest you not let your pet ghost shrimp go through this cruel experiment.

How Long Can Ghost Shrimp Live In A Bag?

Ghost shrimp may need to stay in a bag before getting delivered or shipped.

These ghost shrimp may survive 2-4 days in a bag. Since these crustaceans continuously produce waste, they can’t live long in a small bag.

The water in the bag gets toxic due to ammonia excretion. Moreover, the amount of oxygen becomes lower day by day.

If you use breather bags, these shrimp may live a few days longer than usual. However, you should not let your ghost shrimp stay in a bag for over two days. Keeping in a bag for a long period causes severe stress to these crustaceans.

How Long Can Ghost Shrimp Live Without Food?

Generally, you should feed ghost shrimp every 3-4 days a week. If you need to keep your ghost shrimp without food, it can last long for 7 days. In some cases, ghost shrimp can live more than 2 weeks without receiving any food. But, this puts a great negative effect on their health.

How Long Can Ghost Shrimp Live Without A Filter?

The filtration system is a must for keeping ghost shrimp in an aquarium. If you do not filter the tank water, the ammonia level of the water will get too high. Sometimes, it can cause ammonia burns to your pet ghost shrimp.

Moreover, your ghost shrimp may lack oxygen in the tank water without a filter. In worst cases, these situations lead to the death of ghost shrimp. So, ghost shrimp can not live longer without a filter.

If you do not want to add filters, you must keep lots of plants in the tank. In addition, you have to filter the tank water manually or in any other way. Otherwise, your ghost shrimp will die within a few months.

Final Words

To conclude, ghost shrimps are easy to maintain. I hope this article will help you to learn how long do ghost shrimps live. Try to provide them a comfortable environment to live long.

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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