How To Determine Ghost Shrimp Gender?

How To Determine Ghost Shrimp Gender

If you are a new shrimp keeper or keeping shrimps for a while now then you must be curious to know the gender of your shrimps. As ghost shrimps are very delicate species it is kind of difficult to determine their gender. However, as a shrimp keeper, it is important to know the gender of the ghost shrimps for many reasons. I did a comprehensive research and found some ways by which one can easily determine their ghost shrimps’ gender.

Male ghost shrimps are generally smaller than the female ones. Also, the female ghost shrimps have a rounder and larger belly whereas in males the belly is straight.

There are some more factors that can help you to differentiate the gender of ghost shrimps. Throughout the rest of the article, I’ll explain each of these factors in details.

Difference Between Male And Female Ghost Shrimps:

FactorMale Ghost ShrimpFemale Ghost Shrimp
SaddleMales don’t have a saddleFemales have a clear green saddle
SizeSmaller in size than female shrimpsLarger than the males. About 1.5 inches when sexually matured
BehaviorMales are more hectic and agitatedFemales are generally peaceful
Belly ShapeThe belly is straightThe belly is rounder and larger
BodyStraight body with no curvesWider body with curves

Factors To Determine Male And Female Ghost Shrimp’s Gender:

Female Ghost Shrimps Are Larger In Size

The first thing that will help you to determine the gender of ghost shrimps is their size. The female ghost shrimps are larger in size than the male ones.

Under optimum conditions on average the female ghost shrimps can grow up to 1.5 inches in size. And the male ghost shrimps can grow up to 1.2 inches long. But if the tank environment is not healthy and suitable to them they will not have the proper growth.

You cannot understand the size when the ghost shrimps are babies. You will only be able to determine the gender with their size when the ghost shrimps get adults as when they are babies they are of the same size. So, you cannot rely on this method if the shrimps are not adults. People who are experts and have a good knowledge of ghost shrimps can easily detect their gender with the size.

Female Ghost Shrimps Have Green Saddle

Female ghost shrimps have a green saddle that runs along the underside of their belly but the male ghost shrimps do not have any green saddle. You can easily see the green saddle in the female shrimp body as ghost shrimps have a transparent body. The saddle is very visible and noticeable. This is one very easy way that helps in determining the gender of the ghost shrimps. 

But do you know what a saddle is? The saddle is a small part inside the female shrimp’s body that contains the undeveloped and unfertilized eggs. It is located underneath the back of the shrimp between the head and the abdomen.

Female Ghost Shrimps Have Curvier Body And Belly

The female ghost shrimps have a curvier and wider body than the male ghost shrimps. Their belly is also wider than the male ghost shrimps because they carry eggs in there. The males are very flat and have a straight body.

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This is another easy way to determine male and female ghost shrimps. After getting pregnant for the first time the female ghost shrimps belly shape changes and gets very wide which is noticeable. Also, when they are pregnant you can easily see the eggs in their belly as they have a transparent body.

So, with the belly, you can determine a female ghost shrimp. And if any shrimp carries eggs in the belly, they are definitely female ghost shrimps.

Male Ghost Shrimps Show Aggressive Behavior

Ghost shrimps are very peaceful in nature and mind their own business. But they can get aggressive sometimes during feeding and if they don’t feel suitable in the tank environment. The male ghost shrimps get more aggressive than the female ones.

The female ghost shrimps are seen hiding most of the time. Mainly when they are pregnant they keep themselves hiding and alone from every species around them. Ghost shrimps generally like to hide themselves but male ghost shrimps are seen active and agitated in the tank than the female ghost shrimps.

Also, during the mating season, the males behave restlessly around the females. They might get into a fight with each other in order to mate with a single female. However, this doesn’t mean female shrimps are always peaceful because under stressful conditions, the females also behave crazy.

According to me, this way isn’t that reliable to determine the ghost shrimp gender because you have to observe them a lot to understand their behavior.

Best Way To Determine The Gender Of Ghost Shrimps (According To Me):

The best way to determine the gender of ghost shrimps according to me is by the saddle. The saddle is the common thing that is used to determine the gender of other shrimps as well. But most of the shrimp types available in the market are colorful or have a dark exoskeleton  through which it gets a little bit difficult to see the saddle.

But, as we know that ghost shrimps have a transparent body you can easily see the green saddle in their body. It is very visible and easily noticeable. The other ways are not that much reliable like this one to determine the gender. This is why, according to me, the saddle is the best option to determine the gender of ghost shrimps. Once you get to understand how to determine the gender once it will not seem difficult anymore.

Best Age To Determine The Gender Of Ghost Shrimps:

2-3 months after the ghost shrimps are born is the best age to determine the gender. In this stage, the female ghost shrimps have a more developed body, saddle, belly, etc. So, the saddle in this stage will get visible enough to see at one glance. During this time the shrimps also get sexually matured.

In other types of shrimps, it is hard to differentiate them in naked eyes but for ghost shrimps it is easier because of the transparent body. So, 2-3 months after the ghost shrimps are born is the best age to determine the gender.

Why Determining The Shrimps Gender Is Important?

Determining the gender is important if you are a serious breeder because only then you will be able to breed properly. Keeping a group of 10 ghost shrimps where more than 50% should be female is always recommended. If the ratio is maintained properly one can easily breed the ghost shrimps.

However, if the ratio is not maintained, besides facing problems in breeding one will face many more problems with the ghost shrimps. If the male ghost shrimps are higher in number, they can get aggressive on each other in the time of mating. This gives both the male and female ghost shrimps stress.

On the contrary, if you get female shrimps and no male shrimps the female shrimps will not have anyone to mate with. In this way, the female shrimps will not get pregnant and there will be no increase of shrimps in your tank. Without mating female shrimps can get stressed as well.

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Stress is not good for ghost shrimps as it can lead the ghost shrimps to many diseases and it hampers their overall growth. For keeping the shrimps stress free, happy, and peaceful, the ratio of females and males needs to be maintained. And for that, the gender needs to be determined. This is why knowing/determining the gender is so important.

Ghost Shrimp Mating Behavior

When ghost shrimp reaches sexual maturity, it’ll show several types of mating behavior. You might not find your female ghost shrimp visible in the tank. On the other hand, the male shrimp may swim whimsically in the tank.

Although you may find these behaviors weird, these will lead to the successful breeding of your ghost shrimp. Let’s check out the following 6 mating behavior of ghost shrimp.

1. Molting Of Female Ghost Shrimp

Generally, molting is a part of the growth of all kinds of shrimp. These shrimp shed their exoskeleton to fit in a new shell. Before mating, the female ghost shrimp tend to molt.

After molting, the female ghost shrimp will have a softer body due to shedding their old shell. In this stage, their body remains ready to mate.

In addition, molting stimulates oocyte growth in female ghost shrimp. So, you can refer to molting as a significant mating behavior of ghost shrimp.

2. Hiding Tendency

Female ghost shrimp hide a lot during their breeding period. By hiding themselves, the female ghost shrimp release pheromones to attract the male shrimp. These female ghost shrimp look for secure places to give birth.

That’s why the female ghost shrimp will show their hiding tendency as mating behavior. These shrimp will look for hidden corners in plants, biofilm, algae, and other décor items.

3. Releasing Pheromones

Pheromones are sexual hormones for shrimp. While hiding, the female ghost shrimp give signals to the male ghost shrimp by releasing pheromones. This hormone makes male ghost shrimp attracted to females.

Releasing pheromones mean that your female ghost shrimp is ready to mate. As a result, the male ghost shrimp searched for the female shrimp from the hideouts.

4. Approaching

Another mating behavior of ghost shrimp is approaching. The male ghost shrimp approach the female ghost shrimp due to the attraction of pheromones. Afterward, the male shrimp need to remain in contact and grasp the female shrimp.

5. Crawling And Chasing

Due to the released pheromones, the male ghost shrimp crawl and chase the female ghost shrimp. The male ghost shrimp will try to mate with the female ghost shrimp once the female shrimp are caught.

Hence, the ratio of male to female shrimp should remain ideal. Otherwise, the newly molted female shrimp may die due to excessive harassment of male shrimp.

6. Mating

Finally, the male ghost shrimp will try to put the spermatophore underside the abdomen of the female shrimp. In this way, the ghost shrimp eggs will get fertilized by the sperm of the male shrimp. 

Are Ghost Shrimp Asexual?

The answer is no! Ghost shrimp are not asexual. These shrimp reproduce their offspring sexually.

The female ghost shrimp produce and carry eggs underside the abdomen. Later, these eggs get fertilized by the semen of male ghost shrimp.

Generally, the female ghost shrimp release pheromones when they step into the breeding process. In search of these pheromones, male ghost shrimp follow the female ghost shrimp.

However, fertilization is done outside the body of female ghost shrimp. With the help of male ghost shrimp, these eggs become fertilized.

These berried ghost shrimp keep fanning their eggs for 2-3 weeks. This process will keep the ghost shrimp eggs oxygenated. Since the reproduction process is done by both male and female ghost shrimp, ghost shrimp aren’t asexual.

What Do Baby Ghost Shrimp Look Like?

After hatching eggs, ghost shrimp larvae develop into baby ghost shrimp. These ghost shrimp babies grow eggs within 1-2 weeks.

The ghost shrimp look too tiny when they are babies. Sometimes, these baby ghost shrimp look similar to mosquito fry. Their tiny size can readily make them targets of their competitors.

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You can say that the baby ghost shrimp are exactly the miniature version of the adult ghost shrimp. Nobody can determine the male and female ghost shrimp until these babies reach their sexual maturity.

Like the adult ghost shrimp, the baby ghost shrimp look transparent. That’s why these ghost shrimp are popular as glass shrimp.

Cherry Shrimp Gender Identification Infographic

how to determine cherry shrimp gender infographic

Want to get a printable version of this infographic? Click here! [If you want to use this infographic on your website, please link back to this post as the source!]

Frequently Asked Questions

Can ghost shrimp reproduce asexually?

No, ghost shrimp cannot reproduce asexually. They are a type of freshwater shrimp that reproduce sexually, meaning that they require both a male and a female to fertilize the eggs and produce offspring.

Ghost shrimp typically mate during the breeding season, which occurs in the warmer months of the year. During this time, males will release sperm into the water, which the females will then use to fertilize their eggs.

The fertilized eggs will then hatch into larvae, which will eventually grow into adult shrimp.

Can ghost shrimps change gender?

No, ghost shrimp cannot change gender. They are born with a specific gender and will remain that gender throughout their entire life.

While some species of fish and other aquatic animals are known to change gender, ghost shrimp are not one of them. Once a ghost shrimp has reached maturity, it will remain either male or female for the rest of its life.

How to tell if a ghost shrimp is pregnant?

To tell if a ghost shrimp is pregnant, you can look for a few different signs.

One of the most common signs is the appearance of small green dots near the shrimp’s abdomen, right by the part known as the saddle. These dots will grow larger over time as the eggs develop.

Another sign is the appearance of white or light green dots under the tail, which indicates that the eggs have been fertilized. Additionally, pregnant ghost shrimp may appear larger and more rounded than non-pregnant shrimp. 

How to breed ghost shrimp?

To breed ghost shrimp, you will need to create a suitable breeding environment and take good care of your adult shrimp.

First, you will need to purchase a large fish tank, ideally with a capacity of at least 10 gallons, and a second tank specifically for breeding. The breeding tank should be set up with a filter, heater, and substrate, and should be kept at a temperature between 75 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

Next, you will need to feed your adult shrimp a high-quality diet with plenty of algae and crushed pellets. Once your shrimp are healthy and well-fed, they will mate during the breeding season, which typically occurs in the warmer months of the year.

During this time, males will release sperm into the water, which the females will use to fertilize their eggs. The fertilized eggs will then hatch into larvae, which will eventually grow into adult shrimp.

By following these steps, you can successfully breed ghost shrimp and enjoy their offspring.

Do female ghost shrimp always have eggs?

No, female ghost shrimp do not always have eggs. However, they do have the ability to carry eggs for extended periods of time, and can become pregnant multiple times throughout their lifespan.

How long are ghost shrimp pregnant?

Ghost shrimp are pregnant for approximately 2.5 to 3 weeks. During this time, the female shrimp will carry her eggs until they are ready to hatch.

As the eggs develop, the female may exhibit changes in behavior and physical appearance, such as becoming more aggressive or territorial, and appearing larger and more rounded than usual. 


Now that you are at the end of this article, you know that the only reliable and easy way to determine the gender of ghost shrimps properly is the saddle or the belly with eggs. The other ways that I mentioned which are the size, behavior, and shape are not that much reliable to determine unless you observe them properly for a good amount of time.

However, gender determination is easy for ghost shrimps as I mentioned you can easily see everything of their body because they are transparent. So, if you look for the saddle you can easily determine the gender of the ghost shrimps.

I tried to make this article easy and understandable, so I hope this helps you to determine the gender of your ghost shrimps.

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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