Do Ghost Shrimp Eat Algae? (And How Effective Are They)

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Last Updated on 2023-08-08

In aquariums, algae is a major problem because it spreads rapidly, colonizes any available surface, and blocks out sunlight, other plants, and even fish. Algae, if left unchecked, can also consume tank nutrients needed by other plants and fish. Algae, albeit unsightly, can be handled in a number of ways. Keeping your tank clean is your first line of protection, but algae can still form in even the cleanest tanks.

Ghost shrimp are useful for this purpose. Because of their wide diet, ghost shrimp can help control many types of algae, including garbage, dead plants and animals, and most types of string and bush algae.

What Kind Of Algae Do Ghost Shrimp Eat?

Ghost shrimp are an interesting and colorful addition to any home tank, but for them to thrive, it’s important that their diet includes the right types of food. Learning about the species’ feeding habits can help boost their overall health and vitality, as well as allow you to keep other tank inhabitants safe from becoming snacking casualties. Read on to learn more about what kind of algae ghost shrimp eat!

Hair Algae

Ghost shrimp love to eat hair algae, which is a type of filamentous algae. It grows in greenish-brown strands of 5 to 20 centimeters in length and looks a bit like grass or human hair. Ghost shrimp find these floating filaments easy to graze on, finding great nutrition as they form carpets at the bottom of the tank. Hair algae help to keep your tank clean, too, as ghost shrimp feast on the strands during their scavenging routines.

Brown Algae

Ghost Shrimp are scavengers and have an appetite for many types of algae, but they especially enjoy brown algae. Brown algae contain trace amounts of copper which help promote a healthy reproductive system in Ghost Shrimp, so having some type of this algae around is essential for their survival. These shrimp can usually be found clinging to the sides of tanks containing brown algae, as it provides them with sustenance and additional hiding places. The growth rate of brown algae also tends to keep pace with the consumption rate of Ghost Shrimp, making it a great addition to any tank that houses these interesting creatures.

Algae Wafers

Ghost shrimp will happily feed on the type of algae that grows in your tank, but they may prefer easily-accessible freshwater algae wafer too. Algae wafers can be found streaming with a variety of different varieties and are particularly well-suited for bottom dwellers, such as ghost shrimp. They contain plant-based ingredients that act as a nutritious snack, which can stimulate the appetite and digestibility of your shrimp. Having a few of these around to supplement their diet is always a good idea. Plus, they’re often quite colorful, and fun to watch the shrimp eat them! Just make sure you don’t overfeed, as they can create even more debris if left uneaten.

Blue Green Algae

Blue-green algae is one of the most common types of algae that ghost shrimp eat. This type of algae contains high levels of protein, and it provides an excellent source of nutrition for these tiny creatures. It also helps to supplement their diet with essential vitamins and minerals.

String Algae

String Algae is one such type that Ghost Shrimp especially love to feast on. It is pretty easy to spot string algae in a tank as it resembles long, green strings growing from rocks and decorations. While some people may find string algae unsightly, it provides an important food resource for Ghost Shrimp – making them a great natural solution if you find this variety of algae overgrowing your aquarium. Not only will they eat the string algae, but they also help with detritus and other solid waste, making them incredibly beneficial for keeping your tank clean.

White Algae

Ghost shrimp are quite resilient creatures, as they can survive off literally anything from decaying matter to algae and plankton. When it comes to the type of algae ghost shrimp prefer, white kinds such as white beard and staghorn algae make up a significant majority of what they would happily munch on. White algae are known for their hardy nature, so if you find large accumulations on rocks or driftwood in your aquarium, don’t be surprised to spot a ghost shrimp or two in the vicinity.

Blackbeard Algae

Ghost shrimp are incredibly versatile creatures when it comes to food and diet – eating nearly any kind of algae or plant matter in sight! One type of algae they particularly love is blackbeard algae, which typically grows on hard surfaces as a fuzzy, dark green film. While blackbeard algae can be difficult to eliminate from aquariums, having a few ghost shrimp around can be useful for controlling the growth. They’re sure to chow down on it, giving aquarists a bit of relief from this stubborn nuisance.

Overall, ghost shrimp are an interesting addition to any home tank and can be a great source of entertainment for aquarium enthusiasts. It’s important to provide them with the right food so that they stay healthy and vibrant in their watery home. Knowing what kind of algae ghost shrimp eat can help you keep your tank inhabitants content and healthy.

Will Ghost Shrimp Eat Enough Algae To Keep Your Tank Clean?

Some fish keepers don’t get why people keep shrimp in their tanks, especially when larger, more aggressive fish may easily devour ghost shrimp. A ghost shrimp population can help maintain a spotless aquarium. It is, nevertheless, preferable not to rely solely on them. Though they clean very well, aquarists should still change the water and suction the substrate on a regular basis.

For this reason, you can rely on them to carry out the following tasks:

Eat Algae

Even though they aren’t the most efficient algae eaters, ghost shrimp can help keep your tank clear. Unfortunately, algae can’t be avoided. It can be found on the substrate, plants, and ornaments in the aquarium.

The main reason why algae is harmful is that it consumes the same nutrients that your plants need to thrive. It’s also not very pretty to look at. When algae grows, it will distract from the aesthetic value of your aquarium. You can use commercial items or do it yourself by hand, but ghost shrimp will do it faster and more efficiently.

They will live off the algae in the tank indefinitely if there is enough of it. You’ll need to stock the aquarium with food if you have a lot of ghost shrimp because they’ll eat up all the algae.

Get Rid Of Leftovers

Even more hazardous than algae are leftovers. When they reach the bottom, they’ll begin to rot, increasing the ammonia levels. If you vacuum the substrate and pick up any visible remnants, you can avoid this problem.

Your ghost shrimp can also help you out with this. As was previously said, these creatures feed on decomposing materials. To find rotting scraps, they won’t think twice about investigating the substrate. As a result, ghost shrimp can be fed whatever you normally feed fish, whether it’s fresh or spoiled.

Remove the Dead Fish

Fish that are still alive won’t be attacked or provoked by them. But the dead will be eaten. The decay of dead fish, like that of other food waste, can increase the amount of harmful ammonia in the water. When you find a dead fish, you must remove it.

Do not hang around for the shrimp to finish devouring their bodies. On the other hand, if a fish dies without you knowing, the ghost shrimp may eat it before you ever notice. There are aquarists that will wait a few hours before taking out a dead fish from the tank. They want the shrimp to have an opportunity to feast on the dead animal.

You run the danger of the ghost shrimp ignoring the fish, and then forgetting to remove it later. It’s possible the shrimp will consume some of the dead fish before abandoning the carcass to decay. However, ghost shrimp can usually be relied upon to consume rotting fish. They also enjoy eating snails and other dead and decaying creatures.

Eat Dead Plants

The plants are safe from the ghost shrimp. While they will consume the debris that plants expel and any algae that may be present, they will avoid eating the plants themselves if they are healthy. On the other hand, ghost shrimp, much like fish, will gladly ingest rotting plant matter, keeping it from contaminating the water’s chemistry.

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How To Feed Algae To Ghost Shrimps?

A tank’s ecosystem supports the growth of algae. Algae will grow on any hard surface, so if you have stones or other decors, be prepared to clean them regularly. It’s easy to detect algae developing on the stones and one of the glasses if you leave them alone during tank maintenance. The ghost shrimps may happily consume the algae on their own. You needn’t force them to consume such foods.

Nonetheless, you can give them algae wafers if algae don’t grow naturally in your tank. In addition to that, they will happily consume algae wafers. Algae wafers are available for purchase and stored in the freezer or refrigerator. Simply place a single wafer in the aquarium whenever you feel like feeding them. The consumption of algae is quite beneficial for ghost shrimp. Algae is a constant food source for ghost shrimps, and it poses no threat to them.

Do Other Shrimp Eat Algae?

There are other types of shrimp that also help clean aquariums besides ghost shrimp. The following are some additional viable alternatives:

Amano Shrimp

As a result of their voracious appetites, Amano shrimp consume significantly more algae than their ghost shrimp counterparts. In this way, Amano shrimp excel above ghost shrimp as cleaners. They’ll consume any kind of algae, not only the kind that ghost shrimp avoid. Even the black beard kinds count, so long as the Amano shrimp aren’t full. Algae is their primary target, although they can also dispose of leftovers and trash.

Cherry Shrimps

The red cherry shrimp are great garbage collectors since they will consume anything organic. In comparison to Amano shrimp, they don’t have nearly as much of a desire for algae. However, Red Cherry Shrimp can still be counted on to keep aquarium algae levels in check. They can be reproduced with little difficulty. When your population of Red Cherry Shrimp is large enough, you can rest assured that they will keep the algae in check.

Grass Shrimp

This is also a good scavenger. The care and maintenance of grass shrimp is simple because of the shrimp’s calm nature. Food scraps from the aquarium are fair game for them. Although not as widely known as ghost shrimp, they should not be overlooked.

Tiger Shrimp

Tiger shrimps are a low-maintenance pet option. They are capable algae eaters that will also consume any waste that settles to the floor. Though more costly than ghost shrimp, they are well worth the investment.

Crystal Red Shrimps

When compared to Amano shrimp, Crystal red shrimp are inefficient algae consumers. But if you stock your tank with enough of them, they can help keep the algae under control. They are an excellent option for sanitizing your tank.


Will Ghost Shrimp Eat Algae from Plants?

Ghost shrimp are a great addition to your home aquarium because they do a fantastic job of cleaning it. One of the ways they help out is by feasting on algae and detritus, which helps prevent algae from clinging to live plants.

Do Ghost Shrimp Eat Algae Off Glass?

Algae on the glass is not something that Ghost shrimp will eat. They don’t venture above the surface to forage. They would much rather remain at the bottom.

Do Ghost Shrimp Eat Fish Poop?

Ghost shrimp are intelligent enough to know that fish feces contains no food value; thus, they avoid it. They might search through the waste to find bits of food that the digestive system missed. They’ll also devour the bits of food that our stomachs can’t process. However, they show zero interest in actually consuming the poop.


The ghost shrimp will fit right in with the other small fish in your peaceful community tank. Besides keeping the algae in check, they can also remove any debris that has settled to the bottom of your aquarium, such as dead fish or plants. However, ghost shrimp or any other algae eater won’t be able to entirely eradicate an algae infestation.

The presence of algae is a result of a lack of certain nutrients. Finding the causes of algae growth is the first step in eliminating it. Algae will eventually take over even the most well-balanced aquarium. As a result, algae-eating animals, such as ghost shrimp, can be useful in helping to prevent the spread of algae.

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