Can ghost shrimp and bettas live together? In this article, you’re going to find out whether you should keep the two together. As well as this, you’ll also learn what risks there are, as well as how to increase the chances of it being successful.
So Can Ghost Shrimp And Bettas Live Together?
Ghost shrimps and bettas can live together, however, there is a risk of your ghost shrimp being eaten. Ghost shrimps are also known as feeder shrimps, and this is definitely the case when it comes to keeping them with bettas.
However, due to the fact they’re so cheap, they’re some of the best tank mates to start off with to see how aggressive your betta is. If he doesn’t kill them, then it’s a lot more likely he won’t kill other fish. And even if he does kill them, at least they’re going to be a tasty snack for him.
Lastly, ghost shrimp pose no threat to your betta. Apart from the small risk of him choking on one, they’re not going to harm him.
How To Introduce Ghost Shrimp To Your Betta
If you do plan on keeping your ghost shrimp with your betta, then here’s how to increase the chances of success.
Add Lots Of Hiding Places
The first thing you’re going to want to do is to add lots of hiding places to your tank. Hiding places are going to help keep your ghost shrimp safe. Plants, driftwood, rocks, and ornaments are all great choices.
And the safer your shrimp feel the more likely they are too explore the tank and come out.
Make Sure The Tank Is Big Enough
If you’re going to keep a betta with tank mates, you should make sure the tank is a good size. Generally, I wouldn’t go any smaller than 10 gallons, and bigger is always better.
However, while it’s highly unlikely, you may have some success keeping them together in a 5-gallon tank.
The more space there is, the less frustrated your betta is going to be. Boredom in bettas is fairly common and it can result in aggression.
And of course, the more space there is, the easier it is for the shrimp to get away.
(Check out the best 10-gallon tanks for bettas.)
Pick A Betta Who Lives With Shrimp
If you haven’t purchased your betta yet, choose one who already lives with shrimp. While you may not find this in chain stores, it’s a lot more common in smaller pet shops.
When a betta lives with shrimp, then you already know that the chances of him attacking them are slim.
On top of this, bettas that are kept in cups, are normally a lot more unhealthy. And in fact, they tend not to live as long as bettas that have always been kept in a good size tank. (Find out more about increasing your betta’s lifespan.)
Introduce The Ghost Shrimp First
Also, if you haven’t got your betta yet, it can be a good idea to add ghost shrimp to the tank before you add him.
When a betta is left in a tank on their own for too long, they begin to believe all of it is their territory. Any other living creature in their territory may be seen as a threat and killed.
If you already have a betta, don’t worry too much. One tactic is to remove them from the tank and redecorate it. Once you’ve done this add the shrimp, before finally adding your betta.
This way he’ll feel like he’s in a new environment, and won’t see the tank as his own territory.
What Are The Signs Your Betta Will Attack Ghost Shrimp?
While you can never be one hundred percent sure your betta won’t attack your ghost shrimp, there are going to be signs they will.
If you noticed these signs then you may have to accept that your shrimp are going to end up being food.
The biggest sign is if he’s already attacking other tank mates. If you’ve already got tank mates that are being attacked, it may not be a good idea to add ghost shrimp.
The only other real way you can tell if when you add the shrimp. It’s normal for bettas to flare and nip a couple of times in the beginning. However, if you notice your betta is relentlessly stalking the ghost shrimp, then the chances are he’s going to eat them at some point.
Can Your Betta Eat Ghost Shrimp?
Fortunately, ghost shrimp can be an excellent addition to your betta’s diet, if he does eat them. The only risk is that he’ll bite off more than he can chew. But asides from that there’s no harm in eating them.
Because ghost shrimp are so cheap, you can even consider adding more to the tank if he does eat them. They’ll be a healthy addition to a balanced diet.
The only downside is your ghost shrimp aren’t going to have a fighting chance. In the wild they’d be able to get away, in your tank however, they won’t.
What Are The Ideal Tank Conditions
When keeping different tank mates together, you need to make sure that they’re needs are met. Fortunately, in this case, ghost shrimp and bettas have similar needs so you don’t have to worry too much.
If you’re keeping a betta, you should already know the environment they need to thrive. So here’s what you need to know about ghost shrimp.
Ghost Shrimp Habitat & Tank Conditions
In the wild, ghost shrimp would live in rivers, streams, and other freshwater sources and in substrate that is sandy or fine sediment. Most importantly though, they like areas that have lots of hiding places, especially crevices and caves.
Keeping this in mind you should make sure to add lots of driftwood, rocks, and man-made caves to the tank. As well as this, they also love plants. Java moss, in particular, can provide excellent shelter for them.
However, any plant that your betta likes, your ghost shrimp will like as well! (Find out the best plants for betta fish.)
As well as this, make sure the substrate is either sand, soil, or fine gravel. This way there’s no chance that your shrimp will damage themselves when foraging and digging.
What Water Parameters Do They Need?
Ghost shrimp can survive in a whole range of water parameters. As long as the temperature is between 65-80ºF and the pH is between 7.0 – 8.0 then the ghost shrimp can live happily.
If you were wondering, bettas need a temperature between 76-80ºF (but ideally 78ºF), and a pH as close to 7.0 as possible.
So as you can see, they both fit nicely together in this sense.
On top of this, they also both like flowing water (as long as the current isn’t too strong).
Also, make sure you’re keeping the tank clean and the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels low. If they become too high, your ghost shrimp will die and your betta will become sick.
(Here’s everything you need to know about keeping your betta’s tank clean.)
Feeding Ghost Shrimp
Ghost shrimp are extremely easy to feed. In fact, they’ll eat just about anything. However, to make sure they’re getting the nutrients they need, you should buy some sinking algae wafers.
As well as plants, they can also eat meat as well. So whatever your betta doesn’t eat, your ghost shrimp will.
You may even notice sometimes, that your ghost shrimp will swim to the top of the tank to eat your bettas food. This is when there’s most likely to be aggression.
And, if you’re wondering, yes, ghost shrimp will help eat algae in the tank. However, they’re not the best algae eating shrimp. If you want a shrimp specifically for algae eating then you should purchase Amano shrimps.
Make sure you don’t feed your ghost shrimp every day either. They’re not like your betta. I find feeding them one algae wafer every 2-3 days is enough, as they’ll still be eating other things in the tank.
If you want to supplement your ghost shrimps diet more, you could add calcium tablets to strengthen their shells.
General Information About Ghost Shrimp
If you plan on adding ghost shrimp with your betta, here’s some general information you need to know.
Don’t Add Copper To The Tank
If you have ghost shrimp (or any invertebrate) in your tank, then never add copper or copper medication to it.
Copper is extremely toxic to invertebrates and if you add it to your tank it will kill your ghost shrimp.
If you need to use copper medication then you should move your betta to a quarantine tank first.
Ghost Shrimps Molt
Secondly, your ghost shrimp is also going to molt. If you look into the tank and think your ghost shrimp is dead, don’t panic just yet. The chances are they’ve molted.
If you notice that your ghost shrimp is molted you don’t need to remove their old shell from the tank. It will be broken down and eaten by the shrimp and provides them with lots of nutrients.
So leaving it in the tank is fine.
Ghost Shrimp Lifespan
Ghost shrimps have short lifespans so don’t expect them to stay in your tank for years. In fact, the average lifespan of ghost shrimps is about a year.
Because of this, even if you only have ghost shrimp in your tank for about 6 months, it doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong. They may have just lived their life.
Ghost shrimp can breed rapidly when they’re allowed too. Fortunately, if you have a betta in your tank he should eat a lot of the babies. But in some cases, a few will grow to adulthood.
It’s important to consider this when you’re keeping ghost shrimp as too many will create a huge bioload the bacteria in your tank may not be able to keep up with.
Beware Of Ammonia Spikes
Also, watch out for ammonia spikes. Ammonia spikes are particularly punishing to shrimp. If your tank has an ammonia spike it will most likely end up killing your ghost shrimp.
Now you know that ghost shrimp can live with bettas, and in a lot of cases, they can live together peacefully. However, that’s not always the case, and in most circumstances, it’s going to depend on your betta.
Here are some of the main things you’ll need to remember if you’re going to keep ghost shrimp with your betta.
- When introducing ghost shrimp to your betta add lots of hiding places, make sure the tank is big enough, add the ghost shrimp before the betta (when possible), and try to pick a betta that lives with shrimp already.
- If you notice your betta constantly acting aggressive, then the chances are he will attack your ghost shrimp.
- If your betta kills your ghost shrimp don’t worry, they’re full of nutrients.
- The ideal tank conditions for ghost shrimp and bettas include plenty of hiding places, a sandy substrate, and plants such as java moss.
- Ghost shrimp need to be kept in tanks between 65-80ºF and between a pH level of 7.0 – 8.0.
- Luckily, ghost shrimp will eat lots of things in your tank, however, you should still make sure you’re feeding them sinking algae wafers every couple of days.
- Lastly, don’t add copper to the tank, be aware that ghost shrimp breed a lot, and their lifespan is a year.
If you liked this article make sure you check out the rest of the website. Otherwise, have a great day!
And if you’re interested to know more about tank mates that can live with bettas then you have to check out the Ultimate Betta Tank Mate Guide. You’ll learn about 68 different tank mates that can live with your betta, as well as fish to avoid. You’ll also learn how to create the perfect environment for mates, how to introduce tank mates and much more! So check it out!