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What are the Best foods for Ghost Shrimp, + Care tips?

11337 Views 16 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Sylverclaws
I'd like to give my ghost shrimps a good variety that will keep them healthy, and their carapaces as well. I've had some difficult luck with them in the past keeping their shells happy. =/

Currently I have about ten in a ten gallon tank, well established(Had an algae bloom in there...they took care of it which was awesome). It's got a sand bottom, and a lot of plants. Mostly stem plants, a small anubias, a pile of java moss and a marimo moss ball, which I hear is not only good for hiding, but feeding.
The tank stats are: PH: 7.3 GH 10-11(is this too soft for them? Perhaps the answer to my troubles if it is, how do I raise the hardness level in my tanks?), Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate are zero and have been for a long time, I assume thanks to the plants and very little stocking. I change out about 25-30% once a week. No fertilizers or tabs will be used in the tank. I treat water changes with Prime.
It's also a nursery when I have newborn livebearers and there are currently a bunch of brand new baby swordtails I intend to move soon.

What kind of sinking pellets are good for them? And what kind of fresh foods are good for them? Is blanched kale, romaine lettuce and broccoli stems ok?
I currently give algae wafers and tropical flakes, with emerald entree, a frozen food for omnivores but it's mostly plant-matter and I try to pick out the meat stuffs, I only give it every couple days.

I have cuttlebones in there for extra calcium boost. What kind of foods can I feed them that are really good for their shells and make molting easier on them? Sometimes I have problems with shrimp that molt, I hear too much protein can be a cause of that, so I give very little and haven't had as much trouble, but sometimes they still die soon after. Is there another reason for this?

I have an expecting mother...what foods can I put in for the babies that are easy for me to get a hold of? Fresh foods that they can feed on, and will algae wafers be ok once they're soft enough?
I was also wondering, can I move mom to a mesh breeding net with a marimo moss ball in it to give birth and then raise the larvae in it? I'm afraid my filter will eat the kids even wrapped up, I don't want to take chances.

A lot of these kids will probably end up food for my crayfish, but I intend to keep a nice colony because I love these little guys and want them as healthy as I can make them. Once the swordtail fry are gone, they'll probably rarely have company, I want the tank to just be them, but fry will probably be visitors every so often for their first week of life or so. =)
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I didn't read thoroughly but I don't know an extensive amount of Ghost Shrimp but I have experience with them at least. I know Cucumbers are a good source of calcium as well.

Ghost Shrimp do not eat algae or at least very rarely do they do so. They are scavengers and will eat leftover anything. Algae wafers are not the greatest source though as they tend to have many fillers in them. I haven't found a 'high quality' wafer yet but I've been using Veggie Wafers by Omega One and so far so good with that one; actual veggie matter in that food rather than all filler crap.

Also, I'm sure Ghosties will eat it but look up 'snail jello for newbs without great kitchens' and you'll get a great recipe for some calcium rich jello cubes that everyone can eat as long as you use the right foods.

I'm not well versed in the GH/KH area so I can't advise on that as of yet.

Just a note, what color are the eggs? There are two types of Shrimp that are sold under the tag "Ghost Shrimp" one is the actual Ghost with the eggs will be clear/white-ish and the shrimp that carry green eggs are actually called American Glass Shrimp. The American Glass Shrimp can have babies in freshwater, true Ghost Shrimp need brackish water to have a successful birth/growth rate.
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The eggs started out brown(I was told unfertilized), but they are now turning either clear or green, my money is on green because it -looks- like that's where it's going.

Cucumber is in the diet, I forgot that. Problem is, they don't seem to want it, and they do nibble on algae, they were swimming around cleaning it up when I had a bloom.

The algae wafers I have are from Hikari.

The snail jello sounds funny. xD I will not be using that because it has canned products in it. Bad, bad for fishies. Baby food+tums+real jello? I don't think I'll be trying that one. ^^;
If u want to raise the ph (which couldnt hurt), add some crushed coral sand. The hikari algae wafers are really good and are what I use for plecos etc. The ones that die after shedding, it is probably because the other shrimp kill them while their shells are soft. I have had this happen a lot with crayfish. Also for an added calcium boost (it is nessacary) to leave their old shells in there as they will eat them to replace calcium. cheers
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Coral sand! There's a good idea. =) I knew about the sheddings, I did not, however, know about that before I got crayfish myself. I'll be leaving them to it.

Ah yes, crayfish...their favorite food is in fact other crayfish. I haven't heard of ghost shrimp doing it, however...I know they can be aggressive and will feed off the others if they can.

I'm working to get more hiding areas in there aside from thick plants. I can't find small caves, looked at a few shops and am kinda lost on the junk they have in some places(over-sized things that are SHARP inside and out, things too small and not much cavey with paint coming off, hate that stuff), so I'm going to see about pieces off of broken pots with filed edges so they're not sharp. Lot's of small hidey holes for them to lessen risks of death during their molting.
You can try ordering this: Specialized Caves : Shrimp Rocks
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Haha, those LOOK neat, and would probably go well with my tank too. However, since I can't put my hands on them...I can't tell how they feel, or if they'd be something that would erode and fall apart that they could eat and die from or some such. .-.; I'll sure think about it though. ;D
Well considering that all that site practically does is make clay caves for plecos, shrimp and cichlids I would assume they know what they're doing.
Indeed...but that doesn't mean anything really. ^^; I know plenty of companies that build things for specific species that are not very good, and some down right dangerous. But like I said, worth a look, thanks for finding it for me I may just get one.

Now, seems I may have been wrong...I wondered, but didn't know that there were multiple types of ghost/glass shrimp. Is there a difference between the ones that have clear eggs instead of green? Seems my girl has clear eggs afterall. I thought they were turning green, but I think that was the larvae growing and it made me think they'd go green, but they got clearer and I see little tidbits in there. =)

Some of my ghost shrimp are doing lovely, perfectly see-through like glass...but others seem to be having issues, and I assume it's from not enough calcium? They're turning white. Is it an issue with calcium or hardness, or perhaps a disease? I've had this happen and they tend to not live long when it does...the rest are fine. In fact some came with white patches that have since gone away, so I know I'm doing something right.

-sigh- I have bad luck with shrimp, and I like them a lot. No matter how much research I try to get down or info I try to get, I can't seem to keep them alive very long. I USED to be able to. I had a trio in my ten gallon, all three were female, who lived just passed two years old...well, two did, one died about a year and a half after I got it. =( Those guys were in a ten gallon with a few endlers livebearers when I first got fish a LONG time ago(I was like six or seven years old, did all the care myself). Never gave them anything special, they fed on the flakes I gave back then, I don't recall ever giving algae wafers or anything either, just flakes. I believe they were the same type I give now, the aqueon tropical flakes. Not sure though, some kind of tropical flakes, and this was like twenty years ago, mind. LOL Maybe I try too hard? Is that even possible with care? x.x
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Ghosties are quite difficult to keep alive merely for the fact that they are over bred for feeder purposes. This has hurt the species mostly as a whole although you do get some strong ones at points but they can be very finicky and sensitive depending on where they come from.

Alright, doing some more research NOW I'm finding that they are saying that American Glass Shrimp, Grass Shrimp, and Ghost Shrimp are all the same species :roll: Most articles claim freshwater for the shrimp for breeding while others say you need some slightly brackish water so I'm still trying to figure out which is what and what is what. But what I am finding and I think is true but don't rely on me for this to be right--the once green eggs of the ghost shrimp will turn clear once they are fertilized.

I do know, for sure, that these shrimps have a larvae stage where all other shrimp do not; the babies normally form in the eggs and hatch as mini copies of the parents where ghost shrimp hatch as larvae which they need powdered spirulina to survive. It's difficult to keep baby shrimps alive without the proper food because most of the time they starve.

Sorry about your ghosts though, I had 2 out of 4 die on me recently. In fact, one of the ghost isn't even a ghost but a wild Neocaridina Shrimp lol so really, I only have one male shrimp now.
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Will hikari first bites powder work for feeding the babies?

And yeah, I've noticed how delicate they can be. I still try hard. I do want a colony...but I also want some for food for my crayfish, but healthy ones who get a good life until then, if then ever even comes(he has trouble catching them lol I have six who have been living with him for a couple weeks now, only one has he gotten).
I know, it sucks when they die and you try your best for everything to go right--been there done that an am still doing it unfortunately :-/

I would go with actual Spirulina powder which you can buy here: very cheap and easy to use, it's much healthier than other foods as it doesn't contain fillers. I'm not sure the pure effects of fillers on Shrimp but if it's anything like fish, dogs and cats; it decreases digestibility and the more fillers the company uses the more cheaper and more crap the food is. Fillers are anything Wheat, Corn or Soybean, Wheat is commonly used as a binding agent but none of these should be in the first two ingredients of the food even better if they aren't in the third but most if not all foods have their third ingredient as a whole wheat meal or something similar. Again, I don't know if this really effects shrimp adversely in any sort but just giving you info on the fish sides of things if you weren't aware which I have a feeling you might be, but just in case ^_^
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Ghost shrimp, glass shrimp, and grass shrimp are all the same. Usually they are used for Palaemonetes paludosus. Some of the confusion in this thread about multiple species might be due to young Macrobrachium looking similar. Due to wild collecting (ghost shrimp are collected and not bred) and mix-ups in wholesale, people have gotten the long-arm shrimp instead of the ghost shrimp they thought they were buying. Mishandling during collection and at other stages before the shrimp reach the hobbyist are the reason such an otherwise hardy species is prone to high initial deaths.

Ghost shrimp larvae do not require brackish conditions. Many other lower order shrimp like Amanos and bamboos have larvae that do, so that might be the reason for that misconception.
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That probably is, thanks for chiming in BWG :) It's always appreciated.
Hey, hey, I found my first babies. I knew several of my girls were berried for a time there, but I didn't think any of the kids survived. I found three, but if there are three there are surely more since it's so densely planted in there it'd be impossible to count them. I spotted them only because one fled a snail going for food.
I dunno if you can see them very well...tiny ghosts are really hard to see. c.c

First one is about the same, maybe smaller, than a 3/4 inch trumpet snail. lol Second one is much smaller. A third one is as big as the first, I'm thinking multiple broods since I did have about six females pop...of course I never did see anything. Oddly enough, I've had several die after going white...the rest however, the ones I purchased that were smaller, are doing just fine, as are the babies. Not even a tiny white mark on them, they look great. Most of them lived a few months before they had issues too....I'm hoping it's old age and not me doing something wrong, but what causes them to go white and then die?

I'll point them out in the same photos's a little better, it doesn't look as pointed out as I thought it did, I circled them. =)

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They do turn milky when they are getting ready to molt. If they are dying soon after, it could be a number of things. The first to come to mind is quality/genetics.The other thing that may be happening, is a possible nutritional deficiency. Calcium and iodine are the most common and both can have an impact on the molting process. Other than that the only other thing that comes to mind is water parameters and % of water changed at a time. Knowing you, that should not be the problem.
They do turn milky when they are getting ready to molt. If they are dying soon after, it could be a number of things. The first to come to mind is quality/genetics.The other thing that may be happening, is a possible nutritional deficiency. Calcium and iodine are the most common and both can have an impact on the molting process. Other than that the only other thing that comes to mind is water parameters and % of water changed at a time. Knowing you, that should not be the problem.
It's not so much milky as they get solid white and then die. They don't molt before they do either. I had one I popped into a net when it was having issues, turned white and wasn't moving turned blue when it died. Never shed. Perhaps they are having trouble actually getting it off and that's what's killing them?

As for genetics, I have no idea, they were purchased at petco and petsmart. I could get them at Neptunes, but they have MANY as feeders and probably have worse genetics than the ones at petco and petsmart who only get in a few at a time and sell them for more(they sell them as pets and not feeders, so I assume they're at least a little better bred). They usually have about five hundred in a twenty gallon tank. I do not want to get feeder there. They usually have well cared for animals, but as most shops do, they don't seem to care about feeders....which is very stupid of them, obviously, since they risk killing other peoples fish/turtles/whatever they feed them to. lol

Calcium...I have cuttlebones in there and try to feed them a good diet. About once a week I put in a little mysis shrimp hoping they'll get some more calcium from them. I've had less problems since I started doing that, with both them and snails who were also having some issues, and recently put in a new chunk of cuttlebone. So far any newborns or ones that have been there less than two months seem to be doing epic. But over time I assume there'll be issues. I don't think my water is hard enough for shelled creatures. x.x It's only 10-11 DGH. PH is 7.2, and unfortunately I don't have a tester for KH, Hardness I got from my water company, same reason. Ammonia and nitrates/nitrites are all usually stable at zero.

For the most part I feed them Veggie flakes and Hikari or Omega One Algae Wafers, also put in Emerald Entree for my fish fry and they enjoy the greens often. Once a week it's mysis or brine shrimp, usually mysis since they seem to have better shells...
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