Shrimp Fungus: Causes, Prevention, Treatment

It’s pretty alarming for shrimp owners when there’s an outbreak of fungus in their shrimp tank. Sometimes, the new hobbyists might become confused about berried eggs or fungal outbreaks by noticing the green sight of their shrimp. Hence, shrimp hobbyists often search for the signs, causes, preventions, and treatments for shrimp fungus.

In this article, I’ve explained the possible causes of shrimp fungus, what shrimp fungus looks like, etc. Besides, you’ll find the proper ways of prevention and treatments for shrimp fungus. So, let’s go through this article in case you are curious to know more about shrimp fungus.

How Do Shrimp Get Fungus?

You might have always heard about fungal infections in fish. So, you must be surprised to know that shrimp can get fungus. As fungal spores can be present in the tank water or air, it’s pretty impossible to get rid of this trouble.

When there’s an outbreak of fungus, the spores of Ellibiopsis chattoni start spreading on the surface of your shrimp tank. The affected shrimp will be addressed as the host since this organism starts its life cycle in the host tissue. 

Gradually, the fungal spores start spreading on the tissue of your affected shrimp body. It’ll form a granulated texture on your shrimp body.

A molting can save your affected shrimp if the fungus stays on the shell of the shrimp. If you make a delay to treat the shrimp fungus, the fungal spores will attack more tissue cells. The infection may turn untreatable slowly. 

Although the fungal infections do not show obvious coloration, you might notice cottony white growth on the affected side of your shrimp. Sometimes, the affected shrimp may look green. 

What Are The Major Fungal Diseases In Shrimp?

Sometimes, beginners miss out on the symptoms of fungal diseases in their shrimp. Several major fungal diseases can lead death to in your shrimp. Let’s know more about the following 3 major fungal diseases in shrimp.

1. Larval Mycosis

Causative agents: Lagenedium spp., Haliphthoros spp., Sirolpidium spp. 

If you notice a mass mortality rate among shrimp larvae in your shrimp hatcheries, larval mycosis can be responsible for a such huge loss. Generally, the Lagenidium species of fungus causes larval mycosis in the early stages of your shrimp’s lifespan. 

These fungi can invade the eggs of your shrimp. If your shrimp eggs have larval mycosis, these eggs will not hatch. Besides, the affected eggs will turn a whitish appearance.  

Besides, these fungi can attack the shrimp on their nauplii, protozoa, and mysis stages in this disease. Due to larval mycosis, the shrimp larvae become weak. Several reports show that the fungus-affected shrimp larvae reach full mortality within two days of fungal invasion.

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2. Black Gill Disease

Causative agents: Fusarium sp. 

Another deadly fungus disease is black gill disease. You can notice visible signs of turning the gills of your shrimp into large black patches or spots. 

However, several reasons can be responsible for black gill disease in shrimp. Such as the presence of copper and cadmium in the water, high ammonia and nitrite levels, stress, etc. But, it can also be caused by Fusarium Solano fungus.  

You might know that gill is the respiratory organ for shrimp. When fungus attacks this vital organ, it affects badly on shrimp health. 

The affected shrimp fail to absorb oxygen through their gills from the water due to black gills disease. Also, several reports show a high mortality rate of fungal black gill disease in shrimp.

3. Red Disease or Red Discoloration

Causative Agent: Aspergillus sp. And Aspergillus flavus

Another deadly fungal disease in shrimp is a red disease or red discoloration disease. This fungal disease is also popular as Aflatoxicosis or Aflatoxin poisoning. 

The spores of these fungi grow in the expired or improperly stored foods of shrimp. So, you can say that this fungal red discoloration disease originates from moldy feeds.

If your shrimp suffer from fungal red discoloration, you’ll notice yellowish or reddish discoloration in your shrimp body. Such discoloration is visible in the abdomen and appendages of the affected shrimp. 

The shells of this fungal red disease-affected shrimp become weak. You may also notice unusual swimming patterns and lethargy in your shrimp when they are affected with red discoloration disease.

Is Columnaris In Shrimp Fungal Or Bacterial?

Columnaris disease is a false fungal disease. Although people might assume columnaris a fungal infection, this disease is caused, by a bacteria named bacterium Flexibacter columnaris.

In maximum cases, fish are susceptible to columnaris disease. On the contrary, this bacterial disease can be found in shrimp too. 

11 Signs of Shrimp Fungus

  1. If fungus attacks the larval stage of shrimp, there will be sudden onset of mortalities. 
  2. In larval mycosis, the infected larvae will stop doing the movement. You might notice the sick larvae stay at the bottom of the tank.
  3. There will be cloud-like white cottony growth in the outer part of your shrimp is affected by Fusarium solany fungus.
  4. In black gill disease, you’ll see the gills of the affected shrimp turning black. 
  5. Along with discoloration, you may notice lesions in the fungal-affected shrimp.
  6. Also, there will be infections in the internal organs of the affected shrimp due to the spores of fungi.
  7. Such fungal diseases kill the infected shrimp when the fungal spores spread too much in the organs.
  8. In green fungus disease, there will be the growth of green abnormalities in the abdomen and swimmerets of the infected shrimp.
  9. The fungal-infected shrimp will show lethargy.
  10. You may notice their unusual swimming pattern.
  11. Moreover, the infected shrimp remain stressed. 

7 Causes of Fungal Diseases In Shrimp

As renowned shrimp expert Abhisek Mallick emphasizes, the key to shrimp health lies in proactive tank management.

Fungal infections, prevalent in many aquariums, often arise due to poor tank conditions rather than as primary diseases. Mallick advises maintaining stable water parameters and avoiding substances like insecticides near the tank, which can devastate shrimp colonies.

See also  Shrimp Vorticella: Causes, Prevention, Treatment

He also warns against combining elements like active soil, Indian almond leaves, and alder cones, which might excessively lower pH levels, creating an inhospitable environment for shrimp.

Let’s check out the following 7 causes of fungal diseases in shrimp.

1. Poor Water Quality

Despite sounding surprising, fungi can be found in freshwater sources in the wild. So, you might imagine how poor water quality can cause an outbreak of fungus in your shrimp tank.

If the shrimp owners do not change the tank water regularly, the water will get foul. An unsuitable filtration system is another cause of poor water quality. Besides, poor oxygenation and organic matter presence can cause an outbreak of fungus in the shrimp tank.

In addition, the leftovers, decaying plant matters, and shrimp waste contribute a lot to degrading the water quality. Such unhealthy water promotes the fungus spores to spread around the shrimp tank. As a result, your pet shrimp suffer from various types of fungal diseases. 

Also, poor water quality makes the immune system of shrimp weak. Hence, the shrimp becomes prone to fungal diseases.

2. Improper Water Parameters

When the water parameters do not remain optimal, the fungus spores spread in the shrimp tank. High ammonia level is another cause of fungal disease in your shrimp.

Besides, you might know that fungal spores outbreak in any aquarium due to chillness. If the temperature is low, the immune system of your shrimp will not remain strong. As a result, shrimp are susceptible to fungal diseases in the low temperature of the tank.

3. Lack Of Aeration

When there’s a lack of aeration in the shrimp tank, the oxygen level gets lower in the water. The dissolved oxygen level plays a crucial role in keeping your shrimp healthy. So, lack of aeration makes the shrimp susceptible to fungus diseases.

4. Secondary Infections Of Wounds

Infections develop on the wounds or injuries, which may turn into lesions. So, shrimp fungus can start as secondary infections of wounds.

When you keep inappropriate tank mates for your shrimp, these aggressive tank mates may hurt your shrimp. In consequence, there will be damage issues on the wounds. Not to mention, the fungus can attack these damaged issues of injuries. 

5. Poor Hygiene Of Shrimp Tank

If your shrimp are affected by a fungal infection, you should check out the hygiene of the shrimp tank first. Some shrimp owners do not clean or scrub the walls and surface of the aquarium. Such poor hygiene causes the outbreak of fungi in the shrimp tank. 

6. Nutrient Deficiency Of Shrimp

You can find fungus all around the environment. The immune system of livings prevents the attack of fungus. Like other crustaceans, cellular and humoral immunity protects shrimp from invasive pathogens and fungi.

If your shrimp aren’t healthy, these shrimp will not be able to fight against fungus. Nutrient deficiency is the prime reason behind the poor immunity of shrimp. So, a poor diet causes fungal diseases in your shrimp.

7. Not Removing The Dead Fish Or Shrimp

The fungal spores feed on the tissues of dead fish or shrimp. If there are dead fish and shrimp in the aquarium, the fungus will attack these dead living. 

When you keep delaying in removing the dead fish or shrimp, the fungal spores spread over them. Since fungal infection is contagious, your healthy shrimp can also be infected with fungus.

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Preventions of Shrimp Fungus 

  • Cleanliness is a major condition to prevent fungus from your shrimp tank. So, you should focus on keeping the tank and its items clean.
  • If you notice air-borne molds sticking to the wall of the tank, you should clean and remove these molds.
  • Make a minimum of 10% water change in a week.
  • Do not overfeed your shrimp. However, shrimp do not require daily feeding.
  • You must spot-clean the leftovers after 30 minutes of providing the food. Removing the waste build-ups can prevent fungal outgrowth.
  • Also, you should adjust a good aquarium filter to keep the water parameters right.
  • You should provide high-quality food in your shrimp diet.
  • Do not provide expired foods to your shrimp.
  • Besides, you should clean the substrate of your shrimp tank regularly. The organic matter left over in the substrate can cause an outbreak of fungus.
  • Add an aerator in the shrimp tank for good oxygenation that prevents fungal growth. 
  • Avoid using aggressive tank mates with your shrimp. If you minimize the risks of wounds, your shrimp will not get affected by secondary infection of fungus.
  • There are several effective prophylactic treatments for shrimp fungus. Such as calcium hypochlorite, malachite green oxalate, Trifluralin, etc. 

Treatment And Control Shrimp Fungus

1. Disinfection of Contaminated Larvae

Firstly, you should disinfect the entire tank, its items, and all equipment. Then, you should remove the dead and infected larvae. Afterward, you should wash the nauplii several times. It is a new method of getting rid of shrimp fungus. 

2. Tea Tree Oil

A powerful anti-fungal medication is tea tree oil. You can add a few drops of tea tree oil to the shrimp tank water. 

3. Salt Bath

A popular treatment for shrimp fungus is a salt bath. But, you should ensure that the shrimp species can tolerate the salt bath. If your shrimp are Neocaridinas, the salt bath can be effective to kill off the fungus.

Add 1 tablespoon of salt per 3 gallons of water. Don’t forget to use aquarium salt. 

You should take a separate container to mix the salt with water. Then, you can dip your fungal-infected shrimp in the salt bath for 10-20 seconds. Afterward, you can take your shrimp back to the main tank.

You should repeat the process for 3 days. If your shrimp starts healing, you should start changing the water. For this, you can change 30% of water in a week. 

4. Shrimp Safe Antifungal

There are various anti-fungal treatments for shrimp. But, you must ensure that these antifungal treatments are safe for your shrimp. The experts recommend using Pimafix as an antifungal medication for shrimp.

Freshwater Shrimp Diseases, Prevention & Cure

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Before You Go

I hope this article helped you get a clear idea about shrimp fungus, its preventions, and treatments. There’s another shrimp disease that people misguide as shrimp fungus. But, it is caused by parasites.

If you want to know more about this disease, you can take a look at the following article.

Shrimp Vorticella: Causes, Prevention, and Treatments

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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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