If you are keeping ghost shrimps for a while now, then you know the female ghost shrimps reproduce more often if kept in a good environment. Ghost shrimps are sensitive species and they need more care while they are pregnant. Good care and maintenance ensure their proper breeding.
Many shrimp keepers get worried when their ghost shrimps get pregnant. They look around and search about how to take proper care of them so that the pregnant shrimp and the shrimplets get a healthy life.
I have a lot of ghost shrimps and did some research on how to take proper care when any gets pregnant. So, if you are searching for detailed information on care guides of pregnant ghost shrimps, I will suggest you to go through this article.
Possible Causes Of Ghost Shrimp Pregnancy
You might wonder thinking what are the possible causes of ghost shrimp pregnancy. There are several natural factors responsible for ghost shrimp pregnancy.
If you maintain a reef tank for your ghost shrimp, the reef tank additives can trigger their pregnancy. Such common additives are coral supplements, iron or carbon supplements, red sea reef energy supplements, etc.
In addition, the water quality, temperature, lighting, nutrients, and other factors play a significant role in ghost shrimp pregnancy. However, if you search for the best reef additives, I shall recommend Tropic Marin All For Reef, Red Sea Reef Energy AB+, and BRS Pharma Bulk Reef Supply.
Taking Care of Pregnant Ghost Shrimps
Keeping A Suitable Environment
A suitable environment is the first thing you need to ensure for pregnant ghost shrimps. A suitable environment plays a big role in successful breeding and keeping both the pregnant ghost shrimp and shrimplets healthy.
A suitable environment does not only mean the tank water should be clean, it is more than that.
The elements you need to maintain for ensuring a suitable environment are:
1. Pure Water :
The tank water is the very first thing that needs to be maintained properly before anything else. If the water is pure and clean, the other things get very easy to maintain. The water should be free from toxins like ammonia and nitrite. It should not get dirty fast because dirty water changes the water parameters rapidly.
Dirty water gives stress to the ghost shrimps and pregnant ones get stressed more. If the water is not pure, the environment gets unhealthy, and pregnant ghost shrimps cannot live in it. The whole breeding process gets hampered in an unsuitable environment. Besides that, for ensuring a higher success rate of shrimplets, you’ll need to have clean water.
Water change helps to keep the tank water clean and toxin-free. You should change 30% of the water once a week and add the same amount of freshwater in the tank. Also, use a filter for the tank as it keeps the water clean and purified.
Filters are a must for a shrimp tank. I am recommending some filters for a shrimp tank, you can choose any of the following filters: a matten filter, sponge filter, or a HOB (Hang On Back) filter.
If you have only ghost shrimps in your tank, matten filters are the best option. I personally love this filter a lot because the mechanism is extremely simple.
The reason why I said this is the best filter for a shrimp tank is it has a large surface area which makes a great feeding surface for shrimps. The surface area is 2-4 times larger than a typical sponge filter. Beneficial bacteria thrive there and make it an ideal place for shrimps to find natural food. Besides this, it creates the proper water circulation for a shrimp tank.
Moreover, matten filters are very cheap compared to a Hang on Back or sponge filter. If you are totally new in this hobby and searching for a filter, I would recommend you to give it a try.
However, matten filters are rare and you can’t find them on many fish stores. Fortunately, FlipAquatics sell top-notch quality matten filters according to various tank sizes. They are the ones to go if you want professional-grade Matten Filter for your shrimps!
If I have to recommend a sponge filter, I will recommend the one from Powkoo. The kit comes with everything you need to install and start the filtration process. You will get the air pump, airline tubing and check valve with the filter itself.
The main features of this sponge filter are:
- Comes with a 10-layer shape with a ribbing pattern. This creates more surface area for a larger beneficial bacteria colony, meaning the tank will be cycled more quickly.
- There are two sponges. So, 2 x mechanical as well as biological filtration with double cycling speed.
- The air pump oxygenates the water and provides a good water flow.
If you are interested in sponge filter and want one for your shrimp tank, I don’t see any better option other than this filter from Powkoo.
The Penguin HOB filter from MarineLand will be the best choice if you have a moderate level of livestock in your tank. This filter is not appropriate for a small bedside tank.
The features of this filter are:
- Perfect for a tank/aquarium that is big, like up to 70 gallons
- Has a rotating bio-wheel which provides excellent biological filtration
- Provides 3 stage filtration: mechanical, chemical, and biological
- Comes with two C filter cartridges (Rite-Size)
If you do not have a budget problem, do not think twice and get this HOB filter for your tank. Trust me you will never regret buying it.
2. Balanced Water Parameters And Temperature:
Water parameters and temperature both are important for ghost shrimps, and extremely important for pregnant ghost shrimps. Any imbalance of the temperature or the parameters can make the whole tank environment unsuitable.
The tank environment gets very unsuitable for pregnant ghost shrimps if these cross the limit ranges. They start to stress out and feel very insecure. They cannot concentrate on the breeding process. This is why in this crucial time, maintaining the optimal temperature and parameters is very important.
The ideal temperature and parameters for ghost shrimps are,
|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|
- Temperature: The suitable temperature for ghost shrimps is 68-82 degrees Fahrenheit. But they are seen most active when kept in 70-80 Degrees. If you want to get the correct temperature reading of your shrimp tank, I’ll highly suggest this digital aquarium thermometer. It is cheap yet very reliable! It will show you the temperature in digital reading so that you know exactly what is going on in the tank!
- pH: pH is the measure of acidic/basic water. pH less than 7 indicates acidity and Greater than 7 indicates a base. The suitable pH range for ghost shrimps is 7-8. 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!
- GH: GH stands for general hardness and it indicates the level of calcium and magnesium in the water. The GH range should be 5-8 ppm to make the water suitable for ghost shrimps.
- KH: KH is the abbreviation of Carbonate Hardness. This indicates how quickly the pH can drop or change. 5 ppm to 8 ppm range of KH is suitable for ghost shrimps. 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!
- TDS: TDS stands for total dissolved solids. The range of TDS suitable for ghost shrimps is 150-200 ppm.
It’s best to maintain the optimal ranges as pregnant shrimps feel better and live the fullest in it. However, if you are not able to balance the optimal ranges, at least try to maintain the limit ranges.
3. Good Tank Mates:
Good tank mates are also needed if you want to keep the environment suitable for pregnant ghost shrimps. Ghost shrimps are very peaceful. The pregnant ones most of the time hide themselves and like to be alone.
There have been many cases where big fishes chased and ate ghost shrimps. If you don’t have peaceful and good tank mates, the pregnant shrimps feel stressed about getting attacked. They don’t get any place for breeding alone peacefully.
This kind of environment is not good for pregnant ghost shrimps. This is why for ensuring a good environment good tank mates are important. With small and peaceful tank mates ghost shrimps feel secure and roam around in the tank without any stress.
I always recommend ‘shrimp only’ tank because ghost shrimps are seen as the most active when kept together. They don’t attack or cause any harm to each other.
However, if you want to keep them with tank mates, I am giving a list below of good and bad tank mates for ghost 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|
4. Heavily Planted Tank:
Plants play a very important role in keeping the tank environment suitable. They produce oxygen and absorb the carbon dioxide and ammonia that the species generate. Moreover, it creates a natural ecosystem in the tank which helps to keep the environment suitable and healthy.
Live plants also help in controlling the water parameters. Besides that, pregnant ghost shrimps get enough hiding spots for breeding peacefully. This is why, for ghost shrimps, a heavily planted tank is always recommended.
Proper Food And Balanced Diet
Normally ghost shrimps can survive eating Algae and biofilm that naturally grows in the tank. But you should take care of ghost shrimps during their breeding time. Because pregnant ghost shrimps need much more than these for successful breeding and hatching good quality eggs.
If you feed them foods that are rich in vitamins and nutrients, it will benefit both the pregnant shrimp and the shrimplets. You should find foods that contain vitamins and nutrients. Many shrimp keepers suggest shrimp pellets. You can feed shrimps pellets but before buying make sure those contain a good amount of vitamins and nutrients in it.
As I keep ghost shrimps too, I am recommending some shrimp pellets that I feed them,
1. Mineral Junkie:
The mineral junkie is an excellent supplement food for every type of species. This is best for ghost shrimps as it provides necessary nutrients for proper breeding, molting, and preventing diseases.
The features of this food:
- Contains natural minerals as well as inorganically combined minerals for ensuring a proper and healthy health
- Contains vegetable extracts and herbs too for providing more nutrition
- Helps to prevent failed molting, breeding and mineral deficiencies
2. Bacter AE:
Bacter AE is another awesome shrimp food available in the market. If you have baby shrimps in your tank, I highly recommend this food. The food spreads itself in the tank, and tiny shrimp babies easily get a feast.
Features of this food:
- Helps in increasing the survival rate of baby shrimps
- Nutritious and healthy for shrimps
- Promotes the growth of biofilm
- Doesn’t pollute the water like most other powdered foods
Check out the latest price of Bacter AE on Amazon here.
3. Shrimp Dinner:
Shrimp Dinner is the kind of food that you can feed every day to your shrimps as a part of the diet without worrying. It ensures shrimp growth at a healthy rate, successful molting, and reaching the reproductive health sooner.
Features of this food:
- High in protein which is great for pregnant shrimps
- Contains vitamins and minerals which helps to ensure a healthy life
- Great food for all ages of shrimps
If you have other species with ghost shrimps then I will recommend you to go for the first one. And if you have a shrimp only tank then you can choose either the Bacter AE or the Shrimp Dinner.
Feeding the proper and the right foods ensures the ghost shrimps their proper growth and the pregnant shrimps a successful breeding.
Don’t Let Them Get Stressed
Stress is one of the main reasons for an unsuccessful breeding. No matter what you do, do not do anything that makes the ghost shrimps stressed, mainly the pregnant ones.
Stress can lead the pregnant ghost shrimps to many serious problems including the loss of shrimplets. In extreme cases, it can lead both the pregnant shrimp and the shrimplets to death.
They can get stressed for many reasons. The common ones are:
1. Imbalance of Water Parameters:
Any imbalance of the water parameters makes them stressed. They don’t feel healthy and comfortable if the water parameters are not in the limit ranges.
There have been cases where ghost shrimps tried to jump off the tank because of stress as the parameters were not in the limit ranges. So, the water parameters need to be balanced well for keeping them away from getting stressed.
2. Bad Tank Mates:
Aggressive and big species most of the time chase ghost shrimps. They also eat the baby shrimps soon after they are hatched.
The fear of getting chased and attacked makes ghost shrimps very stressed. They feel very insecure and unsafe around big and aggressive species. So, do not keep them with these kinds of species and keep them stress free.
Separate If Needed
You can separate the pregnant ghost shrimps if needed. It reduces the risks of getting attacked by the other shrimps.
Sometimes, the male ghost shrimps attack pregnant ghost shrimps out of sexual desire, which is very rare. This can happen if you have more male ghost shrimps than female ghost shrimps.
The baby shrimps also get attacked sometimes by other species. Many species eat up the eggs soon after the female ghost shrimps hatch it. So, for avoiding these risks, you can separate the pregnant ghost shrimps.
For separating the pregnant ones, you can use a new tank. And, if you have space problems or budget problems you can simply use a tank separator. However, I will recommend you to use a second tank if you have that option.
Pregnant Ghost Shrimp Stages
Ghost shrimp remain pregnant for around 3 weeks. In these weeks, these shrimp go through several phases. Let’s take a quick look at the pregnant ghost shrimp stages.
Week 1: Production Of The Eggs
Generally, ghost shrimp produce eggs every few weeks. So, in the first week, there will appear eggs as tiny green dots in the saddle of ghost shrimp. There doesn’t happen much change in these tiny eggs in this phase. This arrival of green dots means that your female ghost shrimp are pregnant.
Week 2: Development Of The Eggs
By the starting of 2nd week, the shrimp eggs start getting mature. The green color becomes lighter. Also, the ghost shrimp eggs get a bit bigger than the first week.
In the last of 2nd week, the fertilization process of ghost shrimp eggs starts.
Week 3: Fertilization & Hatching Of The Eggs
The pregnant ghost shrimp start secreting a hormone in the water that attracts the male shrimp. So, there remains competition among male ghost shrimp to fertilize the eggs by depositing the sperm onto the bodies of female shrimp.
As a result, the fertilization process occurs externally when the shrimp eggs pass towards the rear legs. When the shrimp eggs get fertilized, they’ll turn white. You may notice black specks in the fertilized eggs.
By the end of day 21, you’ll get new shrimp fry from the hatched eggs. In this way, the egg stage lasts by releasing shrimp fry.
Stage 5: Post Egg Phase
This stage doesn’t include the pregnancy phase of ghost shrimp. In this stage, the newly hatched shrimp fry will turn into shrimp larvae. Gradually, these larvae will become juvenile shrimp by having their first molt.
What Does It Look Like When Ghost Shrimp Lay Eggs?
Like any other living, ghost shrimp show certain signs when they lay eggs. If you’re a beginner, you may not be aware of these signs. Let’s check out the following traits of how ghost shrimp look when these crustaceans become gravid.
1. Green Dots Under Tail Or Near Abdomen
You might know the reason behind the naming of ghost shrimp. Its belly is so transparent that you can even notice the digested food in its stomach through naked eyes. Due to this transparency, you will be able to notice the eggs when your ghost shrimp becomes pregnant.
The most visible sign of a pregnant ghost shrimp is the green dots underside of the tail. Shrimp do not carry eggs inside their belly like livebearers. These ghost shrimp carry eggs on the rear side of their body under the tail.
So, when your ghost shrimp is pregnant, there remain clutches of eggs. These eggs will be visible as tiny green dots. As the eggs grow with time, these green dots may appear as green balls.
2. Weight Gain
It’s pretty natural to gain weight for shrimp when these crustaceans become gravid or pregnant. Due to carrying 20-30 eggs, your gravid ghost shrimp will gain extra weight. Besides, the gravid ghost shrimp will look bigger because of their swollen abdomen with eggs.
3. Fanning Legs
To make the eggs hatch, the pregnant ghost shrimp tend to fan their legs constantly. As mentioned before, the ghost shrimp carry the eggs in the saddle near the legs. Hence, the pregnant ghost shrimp constantly fan their legs to oxygenate the eggs.
Besides, fanning prevents any growth of mold and bacteria over the eggs. So, your ghost shrimp must contain eggs when it’s fanning legs.
4. Attention From Male Shrimp
Another natural trait among shrimp is the males getting friendlier with pregnant shrimp. When a ghost shrimp becomes pregnant, suddenly, it will get more attention from male ghost shrimp.
It happens because the male shrimp compete among themselves to fertilize the eggs. Don’t forget to miss this sign to check whether your ghost shrimp are laying eggs or not.
5. White Or Green Dots Under Tail
It is a sign of fertilized eggs. When the shrimp eggs become fertilized, the eggs will pass to the belly from the saddle. In the very first sign, I mentioned the eggs being green in color.
When these eggs become fertilized after a successful mating session, the green eggs will turn into white eggs. So, the white dots under the rear side of the tail refers to the developing eggs of ghost shrimp.
How Do You Know When Ghost Shrimp Eggs Are About To Hatch?
If you don’t know yet, only fertilized eggs can be hatched. So, if you want to know when ghost shrimp are about to hatch, you should know the signs of fertilized ghost shrimp eggs.
As mentioned before, ghost shrimp carry eggs underneath their tail in the saddle. The ghost shrimp receive the sperm of male ghost shrimp in a tube through which the eggs pass. After passing through the tube, the ghost shrimp eggs go along the belly from the saddle.
Once you notice the ghost shrimp eggs in the belly, you can be sure of its being fertilized. The fertilized shrimp eggs may grow up to 0.5 mm in size. After this fertilization period, these shrimp eggs hatch within 1-2 weeks.
How To Tell If Ghost Shrimp Eggs Are Fertilized?
You can easily determine whether the ghost shrimp eggs are fertilized by noticing their appearance. When the green eggs turn into white balls, these shrimp eggs are fertilized. This fertilization happens in the third week of shrimp pregnancy.
The fertilized shrimp eggs will turn darker gradually over time. However, ghost shrimp tend to drop the unfertilized eggs like other shrimp. Besides, the fertilized eggs will be visible inside the shrimp belly.
How Do You Know When A Ghost Shrimp Is About To Give Birth?
There are some visible signs to understand when a ghost shrimp is about to give birth. As mentioned prior, the fertilized shrimp eggs will appear as tiny white balls.
When the pregnancy of ghost shrimp comes to an end, black specks will appear in the shrimp eggs. These are developing stomachs and eyes of the new shrimp fry.
Besides, you’ll notice several changes in the behavior of the pregnant ghost shrimp. These female ghost shrimp tend to hide when they are about to give birth.
When it is the right time, the shrimp will wipe off the hatched eggs with the help of their forelegs. It may take only 12-15 days to give birth after the fertilization period of ghost shrimp eggs.
If you’re a beginner, you should check out this write-up: how to take care of ghost shrimp babies?
What Does It Mean When A Pregnant Ghost Shrimp Curl Up?
In general cases, ghost shrimp curl up for two reasons. By bending their body, these shrimp try to lose their exoskeleton for molting. Otherwise, these crustaceans curl up to clean their bodies.
When a pregnant ghost shrimp curl up, there may remain different reasons. In this way, the pregnant ghost shrimp shed the eggs that they’re hatching. It is the way of throwing the eggs that are hatching out.
Besides, they may clean the shrimplets with their tail in this U position. Also, pregnant ghost shrimp tend to curl up when they want to shed their unwanted eggs.
Why Do My Ghost Shrimp Eggs Appear To Be Turning Black?
Generally, the eggs of ghost shrimp look like green dots. When the eggs become gradually mature, these eggs turn darker. Besides, these shrimp eggs become darker until these eggs start hatching.
In the last stage of pregnancy, the embryo of the shrimp eggs will form, which looks like a black area. The black part will be the eyes and stomach of the new shrimp fry.
However, there is still some time left to hatch the eggs. For this reason, the eggs of the berried ghost shrimp appear to be turning black.
How Long Do Ghost Shrimp Stay Pregnant?
The researchers found that the pregnant ghost shrimp carry eggs for around one week. Afterward, the shrimp eggs become fertilized and hatched. But, the duration of ghost shrimp pregnancy varies according to the temperature of the water.
This entire phase of pregnancy can last for 2-3 weeks for ghost shrimp. After 21 days, the pregnant ghost shrimp lay around 20-30 eggs at once.
If the water remains warm, the pregnancy phase may last only a few weeks. On the other hand, it may take around 1-3 months when the water temperature is cool. However, the ideal temperature for pregnant ghost shrimp is approximately 78-82 degrees Fahrenheit.
Do Ghost Shrimp Die While Giving Birth?
There’s a myth that ghost shrimp die after giving birth. But, this is not true. Ghost shrimp remain fine after giving birth. If your ghost shrimp die after giving birth, there may remain some other issues.
You can also go through this article to know details about the care guide for ghost shrimp eggs.
Care Guide For Shrimplets
Soon after the pregnant ghost shrimp hatch eggs, you will hardly find or see any in the tank. Do not get worried because this is very common.
After a few days you will be able to see the shrimplets in your tank and most of the time they will hide themselves. You have to take good care of the shrimplets because, at this stage, good care will ensure them a healthy adulthood.
Keep enough hiding places in the tank as shrimplets will find places to hide. You can also use cholla woods, driftwood, etc. for the shrimplets to hide.
During the first few days, the shrimplets will mainly feed on the algae and biofilm. However, soon they’ll need proper nutrition which you can provide from a commercial shrimp food like Bacter AE.
I believe I’ve covered everything in detail related to the care guide of pregnant ghost shrimps. If you want to see shrimplets and increase the number of ghost shrimp in your tank, you have to take good care of the pregnant shrimps first.
So, maintain everything I described above and soon you will see baby ghost shrimps in your tank. If you don’t take proper care of the pregnant shrimps, you can lose both the pregnant shrimp and the shrimplets. So, always remember you have to put effort if you want something in return.
Happy shrimp keeping!