The Do’s and Don’ts of Shrimp Egg Care in the Aquarium

Last Updated on 2023-10-27

If you have an aquarium, you may be curious about whether or not the shrimp lay eggs in aquariums. Well, the good news is that aquarium shrimp and wild shrimp are the same when it comes to carrying eggs. They don’t lay eggs, but instead carry their eggs on the bottom of their bodies near the tail until they hatch!

So, in this article, I’ll teach you everything about shrimp egg-laying and care. You’ll learn what shrimp eggs look like, how to hatch them, and so much more. So, keep on reading!

Key Takeaways:

  • Shrimp in aquariums can lay eggs, and there is no difference between shrimp in captivity and those in the wild when it comes to carrying eggs.
  • Shrimp do not lay eggs but carry them on the bottom of their bodies, close to the tail, until they hatch.
  • Shrimp eggs should be nurtured through hatching, and unfertilized or dropped eggs can be saved.
  • To save shrimp eggs, gather them, store them in a bowl with tank water, and use a shrimp egg tumbler with an aquarium air stone.
  • Common reasons for shrimp eggs not hatching include the female shrimp’s lack of experience, stress, early-stage and late-stage egg loss, environmental factors, molting, and excessive handling.

What Do Aquarium Shrimp Eggs Look Like?

All of the unfertilized shrimp eggs are kept in a sac called a “shrimp saddle,” and the color of that sac determines the color of the shrimp. In most cases, shrimp eggs will be of a spherical shape. At this early stage, these eggs don’t change color and instead remain yellow or orange. Natural occurrences have been known to produce green shrimp eggs. If not, the shrimp’s saddle color may be to blame.

Shrimp eggs are light pink when fertilized but darken over the next three weeks. Shrimp eggs begin off as opaque but grow into a transparent shell. Therefore, you’ll see the shrimp eggs gradually transform from a darker to a lighter shade of hue. When the shrimp is maturing, a little black spot may appear on its shell.

The shrimp fry’s eyes are those small dots. Once shrimp eggs reach this stage, it implies that the time has arrived for them to hatch.

Will Shrimp Eggs Survive?

There are a few possible causes for egg loss in your berried shrimp. In any case, the most natural thing to do is to nurture the shrimp eggs all the way through hatching. However, you need not worry. The eggs of a dropped shrimp can be saved so long as certain guidelines are followed. The possibility of survival depends on whether or not these eggs are fertilized.

Let’s have a look at the steps below to save your shrimp eggs.

  • The first step is to gather the shrimp eggs. Using a toothpick, carefully remove the eggs. Then, store them in some sort of bowl or container. In order to prevent the eggs from drying out, fill the bowl with tank water.
  • The next step is to make a shrimp egg tumbler. This can be done with either a plastic tube or a gravel vacuum. Putting a bottom chamber within the tumbler will allow the eggs to rest on a flat surface.
  • Put a rubber band over the aperture in the bottom chamber and cover it with a piece of old pored cloth or fish net.
  • After a tumbler has been made, the eggs should be placed inside with care. With the aid of a pipette, syringe, or airline tubing, the eggs can be deposited into the tumbler.
  • Always maintain the aquarium air stone in the base of the tumbler. The shrimp eggs can better swim around the bottom chamber when air is allowed to flow through the net. In addition, the oxygen will help the shrimp eggs develop. In other words, this airstone needs to be operational always.
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Why Do Shrimp Eggs Not Hatch?

Shrimp in aquariums have been growing in popularity for many years. In addition to being a wonderful addition to home aquariums, shrimp also come in a broad range of sizes, colors, and shapes. Shrimp egg loss can be a challenging issue for new shrimp keepers to identify. Identifying the root reason for your female shrimp’s egg loss may take some time and investigation because there are several potential triggers.

Listed here are some of the most common causes of shrimp eggs not to hatch, along with some suggestions for preventing or treating that loss.

Reason for Shrimp Eggs Not HatchingPossible Solutions
Lack of Experience in Female ShrimpAllow inexperienced females to practice fanning their eggs, they may get better with time.
Stress in ShrimpMinimize disturbances and maintain stable tank conditions to reduce stress.
Early-Stage Egg LossEnsure proper fertilization and bonding of eggs to pleopods.
Late-Stage Egg LossAvoid abrupt changes in environmental conditions.
Environmental FactorsMaintain consistent temperature, water hardness, and pH levels.
Female Shrimp Molting with EggsEnsure a well-established tank ecosystem and avoid frequent water swaps.
Excessive Handling of ShrimpMinimize handling of berried females to reduce stress.

The Female Shrimp’s Lack of Experience

If a female shrimp can’t keep her eggs, it could be because she’s a first-time mom, which is a problem many people with pet shrimp run through. During the fanning phase of their pregnancies, inexperienced female shrimp frequently lose eggs. The female shrimp uses her pleopods to fan her eggs with oxygen while she carries them under her tail. Eggs can be kept sterile and mold-free with the help of fanning.

It may take a few pregnancies for your female shrimp to get the hang of things, but with little practice, she should be able to have healthy babies on the reg.


More than that, relocating your shrimp to a new area may cause them stress, which in turn may lead to egg loss. After being moved to a new location, your shrimp may stop reproducing for a while. Both sexes of shrimp experience this naturally.

You should learn as much as possible about the water parameters of the tank they were kept in so you can recreate the conditions. The next step is to gradually bring about the desired changes.

Early-Stage Egg Loss

It occurs when an egg is not fully fertilized, leading to the loss of the egg and any potential embryo inside. It also happens when shrimp are in the oviposition phase of their pregnancy. At this point, the shrimp female abandons her eggs since they have not properly bonded to her pleopods and will not hatch.

Late-stage Egg Loss

What seems like a loss of eggs at a late stage is only a normal phenomenon known as batching. When eggs hatch gradually rather than all at once, this is called batching. Late-stage egg loss can be attributed, in part, to the greater size of mature eggs. The larger eggs are more vulnerable to stress because their metabolic structures are more developed than those of younger eggs. These environmental factors likely have the greatest effect on female brood loss, although they can also be easily mitigated.

The Role Of The Environment

Environmental factors that cause brood loss include too high or too low of a temperature, too much or too little hard water (GH and KH), or an acidic or alkaline pH. The stress caused by unexpected shifts in these or other environmental conditions can quickly cause your shrimp’s eggs not to hatch.   Always remember that consistency is of utmost importance while dealing with shrimp.

Female Shrimp Berried and Molting

On rare occasions, female shrimp will molt with eggs still attached to their exoskeletons, resulting in the death of the developing offspring. In a typical setting, this would rarely occur in an aquarium with a well-established ecosystem; unless they are unexpectedly shocked by changes in the water’s conditions.

That’s why you shouldn’t perform frequent water swaps. It may cause them to experience a shock response and attempt molting before they are ready.

The Effects Of Excessive Handling

Brood loss in berried females may occur as a result of the elevated stress levels brought on by this. All shrimp, berried or not, should have as little handling as possible in order to keep them calm.

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How Many Eggs Do Shrimp Lay At A Time?

Egg production varies widely based on factors such as shrimp species, shrimp keeper expertise, tank conditions, and tank size. In addition, after breeding, shrimp typically lay several eggs in a short amount of time. On average, aquarium shrimp will produce a clutch of 25-30 eggs if the conditions in the tank are optimal. Shrimp of adult size and greater can lay 30 or more eggs at a time.

However, the precise figure varies across different types of shrimp. Here’s a look at several common shrimp species and the average number of eggs they lay.

  1. Amano Shrimp:    1000-3000 eggs
  2. Tiger Shrimp:    100-300 eggs
  3. Ghost Shrimp:    10-80 eggs
  4. Blue Bolt Shrimp:    Up to 40 eggs
  5. Blue Tiger Shrimp:    20-30 eggs
  6. Snowball Shrimp:    20 eggs
  7. Panda Shrimp:    20-30 eggs
  8. Cherry Shrimp:    20-30 eggs
  9. Crystal Red Shrimp:    20-30 eggs
  10. Bumblebee Shrimp:   Up to 30 eggs

How Long Do Aquarium Shrimp Carry Eggs?

Aquarium shrimp lay their eggs in a pouch under their tails, where they will remain for 25 to 30 days. Berried shrimp typically hold onto their eggs until the very end so they may feed their fry without having to dive for them. It’s possible that these shrimp in an aquarium will abandon their eggs before they hatch for a number of reasons.

After a month, you should be able to see baby shrimp in the tank. The average number of eggs produced by pregnancy is between 21 and 51. It’s important to figure out ahead of time how many shrimps the tank can hold.

Check out this video by Marks Shrimp Tanks on how you can save shrimp eggs!

Shrimp Development During Pregnancy

During her pregnancy, a shrimp will go through the following four stages:

First Stage: Egg Development

During the initial phase of a shrimp pregnancy, the eggs develop inside the ovaries of the female shrimp. Ideally, you would be able to observe the eggs as well. You can see a yellow, red, or green splotch behind their heads if you look closely enough. Because the female shrimp’s ovaries are located there, the eggs will be found in that area.

The shrimp will use a saddle to carry its eggs, which will typically be a bright yellow. Before the shrimp gives birth, its color will be bright, but it will fade into darker tones.

Second Stage: Transportation of Eggs

For a pregnant shrimp, the saddle will develop until it reaches the base of the tail’s arc. When you observe something like this taking place, you will know that the time has come for fertilization, which marks the beginning of the second stage of their pregnancy cycle.

In this phase, the shrimp moves the eggs from its ovaries to its legs. This is why she has a more secure grip on the eggs when carrying them. When she knows it’s time to conceive, she’ll retreat into hiding, too.

To find a mate, the shrimp will first go into hiding. During this time, the female will start to emit pheromones in an attempt to attract males. In a healthy shrimp population, mating and egg fertilization should take between one and three weeks.

Third Stage: Developmental Stage, or Berried Stage

After mating, the shrimp will immediately move on to the next phase of the breeding cycle. There is a certain set of behaviors that characterize this stage, called the “berried” stage. The female shrimp will start fanning her tail to increase the oxygen flow to the eggs, which is necessary for their healthy development.

If you observe this, switch out your tank’s filter for an aerator right away. Besides sanitizing the water, aerators can increase oxygen levels and decrease water loss by slowing the rate at which water drains away. This will allow for optimal growth of the shrimp embryos. If you don’t have an aerator, you can slow down the water pump by layering it with filter wool.

Final Stage: Birth

At long last, after approximately one month has elapsed, the female shrimp will finally give birth to shrimplets and release her hatchlings. The shrimp will show some early signs that they are about to give birth, which can help you get ready. One of the most typical signs is hiding.

In preparation for delivery, the female shrimp will retreat into hiding. If you find that the pregnant shrimp has disappeared, it’s likely that she has swam off in search of a secret area in the tank where there is enough biofilm and plankton to feed her developing offspring.

How Do You Know When Shrimp Eggs Will Hatch?

Shrimp eggs typically hatch in about 3 to 4 weeks, depending on the species and water temperature. Generally, the eggs will hatch within 24-48 hours after they are laid in warm water with a temperature between 75-80°F (23-27°C). The hatching process can take up to seven days or longer if the water temperature is cooler or if the eggs are not kept in optimal conditions.

You can tell when shrimp eggs are ready to hatch when:

  • They turn a white-pink color and begin to appear transparent.
  • The eggs will also swell as hatching approaches.
  • In addition, other signs, such as small bubbles forming on the sides of the eggs, are an indication that they are getting ready to hatch.

Once you notice these signs, you should prepare for the hatching process. The newborn shrimp larvae will need special care and attention to ensure their survival. Depending on the species, you may need to provide them with extra food or specific temperature levels in order to ensure healthy development. Be sure to do your research before attempting to hatch shrimp eggs!  

How Long Do Shrimp Eggs Last?

It takes between 25 and 35 days for a shrimp egg to hatch. For most species, the shortest incubation period is 15 days when the temperature is kept at 27 degrees Celsius. Many species of shrimp eggs will only hatch when they are exposed to a particular temperature and salinity levels, which can make them especially long-lasting in some cases.

Additionally, the presence of predators or even oxygen levels can affect their viability, so it is important to provide proper care and maintenance for the eggs in order to maximize their lifespan. In general, however, it is safe to say that shrimp eggs will remain viable for a few weeks up to several months, depending on the conditions they are kept in.

It is important to note that even under ideal conditions, shrimp eggs will not remain viable indefinitely. Once the eggs have been in the water for a certain amount of time, they will begin to deteriorate and eventually die off. It is best to keep an eye on the eggs, if possible, to know when they need to be replaced or replenished to maintain ideal hatching conditions.


What Do Amano Shrimp Eggs Look Like?

The eggs of the Amano shrimp appear to be quite small. These eggs can range in color from dark green to brown to dark yellow. The average incubation period for eggs is around 6 weeks, and green eggs will turn a yellowish brown after this time.

How Do I Know if My Shrimp Eggs Are Fertile?

If a woman is stowing away eggs under her belly, she may be nesting. Those eggs have been fertilized, and the size of a fertilized shrimp egg is roughly a millimeter.


Caring for shrimp in your aquarium can be a great hobby and a big part of it is taking care of the shrimp eggs. This crucial part of shrimp care requires proper knowledge to be successful, such as their appearance, the developmental stages, the possible challenges you might face during the hatching process, as well as the reasons why they are not hatching. With the right care, your shrimp can be happy during pregnancy!


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