If you are planning to keep ghost shrimps, then you might wonder how many ghost shrimps can you keep per gallon water. That’s a very legitimate question and I had this one too when I was starting out. Let me give you a straight answer:
You can keep about 5 ghost shrimps per gallon water. The number can vary depending on other tank mates, filtration and the number of plants in the tank.
Now, the number can vary depending on many factors. I’ll explain each of these factors and other necessary information that you should know throughout the rest of the article.
Factors That Control The Number
Here are the factors that will determine the number of ghost shrimps you can keep per gallon.
Other Tank Mates
Does the shrimp tank have any other tank mates than ghost shrimps? If yes, what are those?
Ghost shrimps have a very low ecological footprint. They produce very little bioload. However, if there are other tank mates, they can add to the bioload of the tank.
In such a case, you can’t keep the expected amount of ghost shrimps as the bioload can get too much high for the tank. In such a case, you’ll have to change the tank water more often and do much more maintenance.
If you are okay with that, then you can keep a high number of ghost shrimps with other tank mates in the tank. However, if you don’t want to maintain the tank every other day, keep the number of ghost shrimps at a minimum level. Or you can do the opposite, don’t keep too many tank mates that add to the bioload.
Fishes like Cichlid, goldfish, etc. can produce a lot of bioload. Keeping them in a shrimp tank is not a good idea, especially for the safety of the shrimps.
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Are you keeping your ghost shrimps in a planted tank? If yes, how much plants are there? Plants help a lot to keep the water quality pristine and fresh. They also help in filtration by oxygenating the water.
So, if your shrimp tank has lots of plants in it, you can certainly keep more than 5 ghost shrimps per gallon. You can even increase the number to 10 depending on the amount of plants you have in the tank.
Also, if you want to keep a large number of ghost shrimps, keep some floating plants in the tank like water lettuce or Amazon frogbits. They are great at absorbing ammonia from the water. So, you won’t have to worry about the maintenance much!
Is There A Good Filtration?
Filtration also plays an important role in determining the number of ghost shrimps you can keep in the tank. Does your tank has a good filtration? If yes, then you can keep more ghost shrimps.
If not, then there is no way you should. Though ghost shrimps produce very little bioload, the little amount can start to build up. And soon the water will get toxic for the shrimps, unless you do frequent water changes.
Doing frequent water changes can take up a lot of your time and frankly, this is something we can’t continue on a regular basis for a long time. Doing water changes on a weekly basis sometimes become a challenge for me.
So, whether you keep a small number of ghost shrimps or a lot, you should definitely have a filtration system in the tank. And filtration for a shrimp tank can be very cheap.
All you need to do is get a Matten Filter or a large sponge filter. Both are extremely cheap options. With a good filtration system, you can definitely keep a higher number of ghost shrimps in the shrimp tank.
Enough Hiding Places?
Ghost shrimps can be a bit territorial. So, if there are lots of them in a comparatively smaller space, things can get ugly. Also, shrimps need to feel safe in their tank.
For these reasons, you’ll need hiding places. The more hiding places there are, the better.
For hiding places, you can do the following:
- Have lots of plants and moss in the tank. The more plants there is, the better it will be both for the shrimps and the water quality. Plants can work as excellent hiding places. You can also use floating plants like water lettuce. They have very long roots which the ghost shrimps absolutely love. Also, keep moss in the tank. Shrimps love that too!
- You can place driftwood, rocks, etc. in the tank. I’ll highly recommend cholla wood as shrimps simply get crazy over them. The cholla woods have lots of holes throughout its body. The ghost shrimps can hide in these holes.
- I like this Pacific Driftwood for hiding places. It is natural, looks extremely good and shrimps love these type of woods too! They grow biofilm over them which is a natural food source for shrimps.
- You can also keep commercial hideouts like caves from the fish store. But I’ll give more priority to the first two options.
What Will Happen If You Keep Too Many Ghost Shrimps?
If you keep more ghost shrimps than the recommended amount, several problems can occur. Here are the problems you might face:
- Having too many shrimps will build up the ammonia in the tank. Ammonia is toxic to every living being in the tank. Too much build-up of the ammonia can create a very toxic environment for the shrimps which can even lead to death.
- If there aren’t enough hiding places, the ghost shrimps can get territorial and attack each other. I have heard this happened with many shrimp keepers.
My Recommendation For Starting Out
So, what shall you do when you are just starting out with ghost shrimp? Here’s my suggestion:
I’ll suggest you to start with a 10 gallon tank. I know there are many sites that say you can start with a 5 gallon tank. It is true, but a 5 gallon tank can be hard to maintain for the beginners. With small water volume, it is very hard to keep the water parameters consistent. And shrimps need consistent water parameters to thrive. That’s why I recommend going for at least a 10 gallon tank.
In a 10 gallon tank, you can start a ghost shrimp colony with 20-25 shrimps. Yes, you can definitely keep more. But when you are just starting out, I won’t recommend keeping too many ghost shrimps from the very beginning.
Also, if the conditions are right, the ghost shrimps will soon start breeding and you’ll see many baby ghost shrimps within a few months. So, if you start with too many ghost shrimps form the beginning, you may need to upgrade the tank after a few months.
This won’t happen if you start with a moderate number of ghost shrimps.
So, this is my recommendation. Go for a 10 gallon tank with 20-25 ghost shrimps and you’ll be just fine!
So, this is my answer to how many ghost shrimps you can keep per gallon. If you are not keeping any tank mates and have a regular planted tank, I’ll recommend keeping 5 ghost shrimps per gallon.
You can keep a few more, but I’ll advise against that as the shrimps can breed and soon multiply their numbers. And if they do, you’ll have to upgrade your tank. That can be costly.