Cute, Tiny, and Underrated Ghost
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Pet World Visit
Full-grown ghost shrimp tip the scales at 1.5 inches. Most measure one inch.
More than Food. We sell more ghost shrimps as fish
food than we sell as aquarium residents. Small
and medium cichlids enjoy eating ghost shrimps as much as we enjoy eating shrimp cocktails.
Fish don’t like that shrimp sauce.
We’ve seen a few references to these guys as “bait,” but they’re
so small all you’d catch on one is a slightly larger bait.
However, these diminutive arthropods are intriguing in their own right
– not just as food.
Appearance. Ghost shrimps are sometimes called glass shrimps because you can see right through them. Their near invisibility no doubt helps them survive in the wild. Most predators cannot eat what they cannot see. You need to watch your aquarium very carefully to see these guys.
Little Threat. Their small size (adults about an inch and a half) makes them ideal community tank mates. But don’t mix ghost shrimps with baby fishes. They reach out and snag small fry as they swim past. Once your fish attain one inch in length, they need not fear these mighty mites.
Excellent Scavengers. Ghost shrimps spend most of their day scrounging about on the bottom in search of edible morsels. They also climb up the plant leaves where they are next to impossible to see. Oddly enough, they can climb up the glass walls of their aquarium if the glass grows even a modicum of algae to give them a footing. They make a great clean up crew in young discus tanks.
Good Swimmers. You think of shrimps and lobsters (crayfish) as backward “spurt swimmers” via their muscular tails. But ghost shrimps also swim very well in a forward direction – particularly when food hits the surface of the water. Their beady little eyes must be more than adequate because these little rascals push their way into the front of any food fight at the surface of the water. Perhaps they detect food by smell or via their delicate antennae. In any event, they let very little food escape. If you want to see a real wrassling match, feed a bunch of them a few live California blackworms.
Good jumpers, too. When you net them, they will flip out of your net until you learn to close it with your other hand. They're tough to pick up off the floor as well as hard to see.
With their long (relatively), skinny arms, they reach out and grab onto
food flakes many times their size. They
will not relinquish their claim on that flake to another equally greedy ghost
they will yield to any fish the size of an adult guppy.
If any fish grabs their food, they just let it go. If you plan
to feed them to your larger fishes, feed your shrimps whatever food you
want your larger fish to eat.
If you plan to feed them to your larger fishes, feed your shrimps whatever food you want your larger fish to eat.
Strange Mouths. Unlike fishes with mouths at the front of their faces, ghost shrimps cram food into an opening in what appears to be their chest. From this strange mouth, their food moves up behind their eyes where you can watch it curve back around and down into their stomachs. These food storage areas turn the same color as the food they eat. You can easily see thru their bodies during this process.
and Lotsa Feet.
Underneath their abdomen, you’ll see several pairs of legs.
They use these swimmerettes to walk on the bottom, swim thru the water, or
hover in mid-water as they grab passing food.
We’ve seen references to ghost shrimps as algae eaters.
Perhaps. Maybe if you starve
them they’ll eat algae. But in an
aquarium where you feed the fishes, they’ll get their share of the food and
ignore the algae -- just like the fabled Chinese algae eater.
These guys like to stay active. Lots
of crustaceans prefer to hide out during the day and boogie at night.
Ghost shrimps scurry all over your tank all day long.
Females grow larger than the males. They
carry their greenish-grey eggs attached to their swimmerets (just like
crayfish). The eggs look as if
they’re inside their bellies because their legs look like part of their
abdomens. If you want babies,
you’d be ahead to isolate egg-bearing females in their own maternity tank.
The babies cling to the swimmerets once they hatch out.
Nearly all fishes love baby ghost shrimps.
Put lots of these economical little guys in your community tank.
(You need lots because they’re so hard to see.)
You’ll get a kick out of the extra activity they add as well as the way
they spruce up your aquarium.
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