If you’ve always wondered how to care for pregnant ghost shrimp, and the ghost shrimps eggs, then you’ve found the right article!
In this article, you’ll learn about the signs to look for in a pregnant ghost shrimp and how to properly breed them to increase your aquarium’s ghost shrimp population. You’ll learn the ways that you can tell when your ghost shrimp is bearing eggs and what the different stages of pregnancy (or gravidity) look like.
You’ll also learn how to set up a breeding tank, care for your pregnant shrimp and newly hatched ghost shrimp fry. You’ll also learn the common mating behaviors your ghost shrimp may be exhibiting as well as behaviors of a pregnant ghost shrimp.
So get ready to take on the challenges of being a ghost shrimp breeder and watch your aquarium thrive!
How Can You Tell When Your Ghost Shrimp Is Pregnant?
There are six surefire ways to tell if your ghost shrimp is bearing eggs, and they all rely on your close observation of the gravid shrimp.
Before the eggs are fertilized or even grow large enough to develop, they appear as minute green specks near the abdomen of the female ghost shrimp on a part of her body known as the saddle. However, due to their small size, at this stage they may still be difficult to see.
Pregnant ghost shrimp will often fan the legs that have attached eggs to them, presumably to provide oxygen for the developing fry.
Specks Near Her Tail
Once the eggs begin to grow larger, they will migrate toward the tail and rear legs and away from the abdomen. If they are still green, they have not been fertilized; but if they are white, then a male has done his part.
If the males that cohabitate the female’s tank begin competing for the female’s attention, chances are she’s bearing eggs, and they want to be the first in line to fertilize them.
The addition of 20-30 eggs will make your female ghost shrimp appear larger than previously observed.
Lastly, you may also notice that your females are suddenly getting a lot more attention from the males, which they didn’t have before.
Pregnant Ghost Shrimp Stages
Pregnancy (or gravidity) for ghost shrimp does not last long – only three weeks – but results in a few dozen offspring if successful.
The little green dots will appear on the female ghost shrimp’s saddle near the base of her abdomen. During this week you will notice barely any changes in your ghost shrimp and her behavior
The eggs will lighten in color and move down the legs toward the tail. Fertilization by the males usually occurs during week 2. During this stage you’ll also notice your ghost shrimps eggs are beginning to get bigger as well.
Fertilized eggs will turn white, and the eyes and stomach of the fry will be visible as black specks. By the end of week 3, the fry hatch from the eggs.
How Do You Know When Your Ghost Shrimp Is About to Give Birth?
There are a couple of tell-tale signs given by the appearance of the eggs, as well as the behavior of the female ghost shrimp, which indicate the fries are about to hatch.
Visible Eyes and Stomach
When the fries are ready to hatch, you should be able to distinctly see black specks within the white eggs, which are the developing eyes and stomachs of the ghost shrimp fry.
The pregnant female ghost shrimp will often swim away from the bottom of the tank and use her forelegs to wipe off the eggs encouraging the hatching fry to exit their embryonic homes.
How Many Babies Do Ghost Shrimp Have?
If you plan on breeding your ghost shrimp, then it’s important to know how many babies you’re going to be dealing with.
Generally, ghost shrimp can have between 8-80 babies at a time. During the course of the year, this can definitely add up and if left unwatched they could end up having 100’s of babies. Fortunately, these can be a nice snack for other fish in your tank.
How To Setup A Breeding Tank For Ghost Shrimp
It’s important to keep a separate breeding tank for ghost shrimp as the newly hatched young can be difficult to keep alive, especially with hungry adult shrimp and fish looking to feast on them. Here are some steps to setting up a breeding tank to give the young ghost shrimp their best chance of survival.
Step 1: Set up tank and filter
Purchase a ten-gallon tank and equip it with a sponge filter for cleaning. You want to avoid using a regular fish tank filter to clean the water because the suction can be too strong for baby shrimp to fight and it may end up killing them.
Step 2: Install an air pump
Ghost shrimp need oxygenated water in order to live, And while a filter may be enough if there’s enough surface agitation, adding an air pump will ensure that your ghost shrimp will be happy.
Step 3: Bottom cover
Use sand or gravel to cover the bottom of the tank. Different colors will affect the shrimp’s appearance, so choose a lighter bottom cover to keep the shrimp transparent or a darker bottom cover to encourage the development of spots.
Step 4: Fill with water
Fill the tank with water and let it sit with the filter and air pump running for a full day before adding shrimp to make sure any unwanted chemicals have been cleaned out.
Make sure the water temperature is optimal for ghost shrimp, keeping it between 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit (or 22 and 28 degrees Celsius). And make sure you’re keeping the pH level in the tank between 7.0- 8.0 as well.
Step 5: Add plants
It is highly recommended to add plants to your breeding tank because the young shrimp will feed on the plant debris. Java moss is especially popular to use because it traps debris, making it easier for young ghost shrimp to access.
As well as this, plants are going to give your ghost shrimp plenty of places to hide! Even if there aren’t any predators in the tank it will still help them to feel safe and secure, reducing their stress levels!
How Do You Care for a Pregnant Ghost Shrimp?
Pregnant ghost shrimp are easy to care for as long as you feed them and pay close attention to the stages of their pregnancy.
Feed your pregnant ghost shrimp a diet high in baby shrimp and algae and with more than enough food available to feed multiple adults. Also, make sure there are plants in the breeding tank, as the ghost shrimp will eat any plant debris too.
Keep The Tank Warm Enough
You should also make sure you’re keeping the tank at the warmer end of the temperature scale when your ghost shrimp is pregnant to help simulate her natural environment. So keep the temperature close to 80 degrees farenheit.
Separate the pregnant ghost shrimp from the rest of the adults once the eggs are fertilized (have turned white) to reduce the chance of fry being devoured upon hatching.
Once all of the babies have hatched, also remove the no longer pregnant female shrimp from the vicinity of the fry as she will most likely try to eat them.
Keep The Tank Clean
And of course, you should make sure that you’re keeping the tank clean for your ghost shrimp as well. Once again installing a sponge filter is your best option. However, removing any uneaten food that is beginning to decay and performing small water changes is also essential for the health of your ghost shrimp.
How Do You Care for Ghost Shrimp Fry?
The biggest challenge for keeping ghost shrimp fry alive is getting them to eat and helping them avoid becoming meals themselves. Here are some tips to ensure your ghost shrimp fry will survive to adulthood.
Keep the ghost shrimp fry in a nursing tank equipped with a sponge filter separate from adult ghost shrimp to avoid becoming prey to the bigger crustaceans. Make sure there’s a layer of sand or gravel on the bottom and keep the temperature above 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Baby ghost shrimp tend to be photophilic and can injure themselves by swimming into the glass walls of their nursery tank. Only use an overhead aquarium light and block out any ambient light by covering the sides of the tank with construction paper or fabric.
Without a constant flow of oxygen, ghost shrimp fry will perish. Be sure to install an air pump in the nursing tank. Adding plants will also increase the oxygen supply as well as provide shelter and food.
Do not neglect to feed your baby ghost shrimp, as starvation is the greatest killer of these little critters. Every three hours (yes, even through the night), they require a balanced diet of liquid fry food, microworms, daphnia, and baby brine shrimp.
Keep Your Tank Heavily Planted
You should also make sure you’re keeping the tank heavily planted for your ghost shrimp fry as well. Not only will this add more oxygen to the tank, but all the hiding places will give your shrimp the best chance of survival. And the plant debris in the tank can provide another source of food for your ghost shrimp!
What Is Common Ghost Shrimp Mating Behavior?
Males and females exhibit different types of behavior when it comes time to breed, but both recognize the other’s patterns and baby shrimp are the end result of their courtship.
When females are ready to mate, eggs will develop as small green specks on the saddle near the base of her abdomen. These will eventually move down to her rear legs under her tail, and she will exhibit a fanning behavior to oxygenate the eggs or perhaps make them more apparent to a male.
Males can detect when females are ready to breed, presumably through chemical cues released into the water. Male ghost shrimp will gather around the females and fight each other to compete for her approval to mate with her and fertilize her eggs.
Why Is a Pregnant Ghost Shrimp Curling Up?
The main reason why any ghost shrimp curls up is to clean itself or molt. Pregnant ghost shrimp may also be shedding unwanted eggs or eggs that are hatching.
Pregnant ghost shrimp still clean themselves while gravid and curling up may be a simple sign of cleaning.
Another reason a pregnant ghost shrimp will curl up is if her eggs start to hatch. She may curl up and begin to use her forelegs to wipe off the eggs that are hatching to encourage the babies to be born.
How Long Does It Take for a Ghost Shrimp to Lay Eggs?
Female ghost shrimp will carry their eggs for a total of three weeks before they hatch. This time includes the development of the eggs as well as the fertilization. Most female ghost shrimp will carry 20 to 30 eggs at a time.
Will Ghost Shrimp Breed in a Community Tank?
Ghost shrimp will definitely breed in a community tank as long as the tank is adequately filtered, oxygenated, is the right temperature, and contains an abundance of food. Adding live plants to a community tank will further increase your chances of ghost shrimp breeding by providing additional food and shelter.
Just remember to keep baby ghost shrimp out of the community tank, or they will become quick prey to the adult shrimp and other inhabitants of the aquarium.
Will a Ghost Shrimp Die After Laying Eggs?
As long as a ghost shrimp is properly cared for, fed, and water conditions are optimal, a ghost shrimp should not die after laying eggs. Once their eggs are laid, they are viable to lay another set of eggs and keep cycling through the process until they do eventually die of old age.
Do Ghost Shrimps Lay Eggs or Give Birth?
Ghost shrimps lay eggs – they never carry the eggs inside their bodies and nourish them with yolks or through placental attachments. The eggs are fertilized externally by the male. As such female ghost shrimps bearing eggs are considered gravid, not pregnant.
Can Ghost Shrimp Give Birth in Community Tanks?
A ghost shrimp can hatch her eggs in a community tank. However, this is ill-advised. Newly hatched ghost shrimp are easy prey for adult ghost shrimp and other fish living in a community tank. If they do escape predation, the chances that they will fall victim to other aquarium hazards such as being sucked into the filter or starving to death are highly likely.
If you want your baby ghost shrimp to survive to adulthood, it’s best if they are hatched in a separate nursery tank and then moved to the community tank when they reach adulthood.
Do Ghost Shrimp Eat Their Babies?
Ghost shrimp will eat their babies, especially in cases where they are hungry. As well as this, if you house other fish in your tank, they will also eat your ghost shrimps babies. Providing plenty of hiding places is the best way to increase their chance of survival.
Why Are Your Ghost Shrimps Eggs Turning Black?
If your ghost shrimps eggs are turning black, it means they are starting to mature, and they’ll soon be ready to hatch. This will normally occur in the last phases of pregnancy when the embryos are just about to emerge.
Ghost shrimp are easy to care for and breed as long as you give them the proper attention and environment to thrive. Be sure to set up optimal conditions in their tanks, especially when it comes to oxygenation and food, and they will start breeding in no time.
Watch carefully for the mating behaviors of both males and females and observe how the gravid females progress through the stages of pregnancy. Note how the eggs turn from green to white as they become fertilized, and pay attention to the shedding behaviors of the female once eggs start to hatch.
It’s important to move newly hatched ghost shrimp fry to their own nursery tank in order to ensure they don’t fall prey to adult shrimp. Take extra caution in setting up their environment by eliminating any typical aquarium hazards such as the distraction of ambient light or the strong suction of normal filters.
Most importantly, feed those baby shrimp often as starvation is the number one killer of ghost shrimp fry. You are ready to start breeding your very own ghost shrimp – good luck!