How To Treat Horsehair Worm In Ghost Shrimps?

How To Treat Horsehair Worm In Ghost Shrimps

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

Horsehair worm is a common parasite of ghost shrimps. Many shrimp keepers experience this problem in their shrimps at least for once. For my own reason, I was researching on how to treat this parasite. Here’s what I found:

There is no specific treatment if a ghost shrimp gets infected with horsehair worm. However, it is better to separate the ghost shrimp as soon as you detect it with a horsehair worm. You can also try treating with API general cure.

Though there is no specific treatment, horsehair worms can be prevented. So let’s get details on how you can prevent it and treat a shrimp if any gets infected! 

How Can I Detect Horsehair Worms In Ghost Shrimps?

Horsehair worms are very thin and a few millimeters long in size. They can be of any color from whitish to yellow or blackish. Mostly you can discover horsehair worms in damped areas, swimming pools, dirty waters, etc.

Immature horsehair worms infect ghost shrimps and you can see it inside the body of the shrimp. Mostly you will see it near the head area inside the body. It will look like a line/thread and can change its position. 

So, if you see any line/ thread type thing inside the body, that means your shrimp is infected with horsehair worm. 

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What Happens To Ghost Shrimps If They Get Infected With Horsehair Worms? 

Horsehair worms are harmful to ghost shrimps. You will see a lot of changes if one gets infected with it.

One of the biggest changes you will see is their behavior. The ghost shrimp will be less active and hide most of the time. You will also see it staying in one place for a long time. 

The ghost shrimps color might change to a slightly whitish color when they get infected with horsehair worms. Shrimps also change to white color while they molt. So, you have to observe properly if they suddenly change the color to white.

Female pregnant shrimps can also get infected with horsehair worms. It hampers their breeding because the worm eats the nutrients from the shrimps body. This makes the female shrimp weak as well.  

As the horsehair worm eats the nutrients from the shrimp body, the shrimp gets sick easily and gets diseases more often. The shrimp in the end dies if the horsehair worm doesn’t get out through the shrimps anus. Other shrimps can also get infected from the infected shrimp if you keep the infected one in the tank for too long.  

How To Treat Horsehair In Ghost Shrimps?

Firstly, if you detect any ghost shrimp with horsehair worm, separate that shrimp from the tank as soon as you detect it. Keep it alone in a new tank as other existing shrimps can get infected from the infected ghost shrimp. 

As I already said, there is no specific treatment for getting rid of horsehair worm from a ghost shrimp. But, you can use the API General Cure which helps to cure a variety of parasites in shrimps .It can help to get rid of the horsehair worm from the shrimp. It can be used both in freshwater and saltwater. 

Using Process Of API General Cure 

api general cure

For every 20 gallons of water you can use 1 tablespoon of the API general cure powder. So, depending on your tank size you have to use the right amount of powder. Do check the instructions written in the can/packet. 

Using a spoon put the right amount of API general cure in the water. Then again after 48 hours put the same amount of API general cure in the tank water. Wait for another 48hours and change 30% of the tank water with fresh water. This will minimize the risk of other shrimps getting infected in the tank. 

Do the same for the tank with the infected fish. In this way the horsehair worm parasite can die while it is inside the shrimp’s body. However, there is no guarantee that it will surely die. But you can try saving the ghost shrimp as the API general cure is used to cure parasites. 

Note: Never overuse the API general cure powder as it can harm the existing species. 

Do Horsehair Worms Harm Fishes? 

No, horsehair worms don’t cause any harm to fishes. They are only harmful to shrimps and snails. If any shrimp gets infected it can pass to other shrimps but, it will never infect any fish. 

Horsehair worms are only considered harmful for ghost shrimps. So, if you don’t have any shrimps or snails in the tank, and see horsehair worms then there is nothing to worry about. Still, it is better to take it out of the tank. You can simply use a net to take it out from the tank. 

Prevention Tips

  • Don’t let your tank water get dirty fast. Keep the water clean with routine flushing. Must change 30% of the water once a week and add the same amount of freshwater.  
  • Check the water parameters once a week with a testing kit and maintain a proper balance strictly. 
  • Monitor the shrimps behavior and if you see any changes try to find out the reason as soon as you can.
  • Isolate the shrimp that gets infected with horsehair worm.
  • Use a good filter for your tank to keep the water purified
  • If any species dies in the tank don’t keep the dead body inside the tank for too long.
  • Don’t let the tank environment get damp 
  • Keep lights near the tank and keep it on for at least 6-7 hours. And if sunlight reaches into the tank then that’s enough for the tank, no need of extra lightening. 


Horsehair worms are easy to prevent but hard to get rid of if any shrimp gets infected. So, it is better to maintain the necessary things for preventing ghost shrimps from getting infected with horsehair worms. I hope this article gave you all the information you need.

Happy shrimp keeping! 

My Top 5 Shrimp Products To Make Your Life Easier! (And Your Shrimps Happier!)

1. API Master Test Kit

When keeping shrimps, you’ll often need to monitor the water parameters to check if everything is alright. With API Master Test Kit, you can check Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, and pH right away. I think this test kit is a must have for any aquarium owner. Check the latest price here at Amazon.

2. Matten Filter

Among hundreds of filters, I think Matten Filter will be the best choice for keeping shrimps. These filters are generally a broader version of sponge filter and comes with a large square sheet of foam. This foam is perfect for growing beneficial bacterial colony as well as other microorganism for the shrimps to eat.

3. Bacter AE

Bacter AE is one of the most sought after shrimp foods among shrimp breeders. It is a powder type food especially suitable for the baby shrimps. Bacter AE helps to develop biofilm in the tank which is essential for shrimps. It also astonishingly increases the survival rate of baby shrimps.

4. Substrate for Neo Caridina shrimps

Eco Complete Planted Tank Substrate doesn’t alter the water parameters and perfect for growing live plants inside the shrimp tank. The soil is mainly rich in magnesium, calcium and iron. This is always my #1 recommendation for neocaridina shrimps like cherry shrimp.

5. Substrate for Caridina shrimps

Brightwell Rio Escuro is specifically designed for keeping caridina shrimps like Crystal Red/Black Shrimp, Tiger Shrimp, etc. It lowers the pH and creates a soft water which caridina shrimps prefer. You can check out the latest price on Amazon.

About Muntaseer Rahman

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