Why Do Ghost Shrimps Curl Up?

Why Do Ghost Shrimps Curl Up

If you are keeping ghost shrimps for a while now, you may have observed one of their very peculiar behavior: curling up the tail so that the whole body resembles a hard ‘U’. Are you wondering why do they do this? I’ve researched the answer for you.

Ghost shrimps curl up their body mainly for 2 reasons: either to clean their shrimplets or loosening the exoskeleton for molting.

I have discussed this behavior in detail in the rest of the article. I have also shared what you should do if you see your shrimps doing this.

Reason Why Ghost Shrimps Curl Up

Ghost shrimps mainly curl up due to 2 reasons: either to clean their body or prepare their body for molting.

When the ghost shrimps curl up, the tail can easily clean their swimlets. This is the easiest way for the shrimps to clean their body. Another most probably reason is molting.

Before molting, the ghost shrimps need to prepare their body. The preparation includes making the exoskeleton loose and flexible. They accomplish this by curling up the body.

When the ghost shrimps curl up, their body resembles a hard ‘U’ shape. This shape stretches the exoskeleton and makes it very loose. This also helps to keep the exoskeleton flexible.

It is very important to keep the exoskeleton loose and flexible before molting. Otherwise, the molting process can take too much time and cost too much energy of the shrimp.

What You Should Do?

Curling is a very natural process for ghost shrimps. So, there is no need for you to worry. However, as curling is a sign of molting, you can take some precautionary steps to ensure the ghost shrimps have a successful molting:

  • When the ghost shrimp is molting, it becomes very vulnerable. At this stage, other shrimps or fish can attack the shrimp. In serious cases, this can even lead to the death of the molting shrimp. So, if you see your shrimps curling, ensure there are enough plants and moss in the tank. Plants and moss offer excellent hiding places for the shrimps. Not only during curling, ghost shrimps need plants and moss all the time in their tank. They are especially important for the baby shrimps.
  • Provide high-quality foods to the ghost shrimps. A shrimp has to go through multiple molting stages throughout its life. Molting is necessary for the growth of the body. Each molting can take up a huge amount of energy from the shrimp. So, during this stage, the shrimps need very high-quality food for regenerating the energy.
  • After the molting, you’ll see the old exoskeleton lying on the substrate. It is just a whitish outer skin of the ghost shrimp. Don’t be tempted to take out the old exoskeleton. It is a wonderful source of calcium for the ghost shrimps. They’ll eat the exoskeleton naturally.


So, now you know why do ghost shrimps curl up their bodies. It is just a way for them to clean their bodies or prepare themselves for the molting process. If you have seen any other weird behavior of your ghost shrimps, let me know.

Happy Shrimp Keeping!

Muntaseer Rahman

I have been keeping shrimps as a pet for many years now. I’ve fallen in love with these cute pets from the moment I saw them. That’s why I am writing articles to share my shrimp keeping knowledge with you.

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