What Fish Can Live With Ghost Shrimp? (With 5 Examples)

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As a ghost shrimp owner, one of the hardest things to choose is the type of fish that will share your tank with your shrimp. It’s always important to think about how peaceful each individual type of fish is, but when you factor in the shrimps’ natural need to hover and snack on algae, it can be an even more challenging decision.

Ghost shrimp can live with Zebra Loaches, Guppies, Otocinclus Catfish, Ember Tetras, and Hatchetfish. These fish are relatively peaceful and share similar water requirements as the ghost shrimp. To ensure they coexist, one should maintain a clean tank with a sufficient amount of hiding places.

As we move forward, I will show you what fish will probably eat ghost shrimp and shouldn’t be placed with them in the same aquarium. Then, I will share a few tips to make sure your fish and shrimp get along.

What Fish Can Live With Ghost Shrimp?

If you want your ghost shrimp to survive, you have to pair them with suitable tankmates, fish that won’t eat them. Fortunately, you have plenty of options to choose from, including:

1. Loaches (Kuhli & Zebra) 

Kuhli loaches look a lot like eels. They are also peaceful, so you don’t have to worry about the creatures attacking your shrimp. Like other fish, they will eat anything that can fit in their mouths. But they won’t go out of their way to hunt their neighbors, especially if you keep them in groups of at least 6.

Zebra loaches have a similar temperament. If you can keep them in groups of five or more, they will coexist with your ghost shrimp. Some zebra loaches have been known to attack smaller creatures, which is why you should start small.

Keep the number of ghost shrimp in the tank small. Observe the behavior of the zebra loaches. If it becomes clear that the two species can live peacefully with one another, you can add more ghost shrimp to the tank.

If you’re determined to add loaches to the tank, you should limit your selection to zebra and Kuhli loaches. Loaches, as a whole, are aggressive. They will attack and eat small creatures like shrimp and snails. This is why you are encouraged to limit your pick to zebra and Kuhli loaches.

2. Guppies

Guppies are risky. They are more than capable of attacking and eating shrimp. But that is if they are hungry. If you want them to behave, you have to feed them to their satisfaction. Otherwise, they will become a menace.

Even if they ignore the ghost shrimp, they may eat all the food in the tank, leaving the shrimp to starve.[1] This is more likely to happen in well-maintained tanks with no algae for the shrimp to eat. In other words, guppies are tricky.

But if you know what you’re doing, you can successfully keep guppies in a ghost shrimp tank. Besides feeding the guppies on time, you must also give them plenty of room. Avoid overstocking your tank by all means.

3. Otocinclus Catfish

Otocinclus catfish are the perfect tankmates. They are as peaceful as fish can get.[2] Many species may ignore adult shrimp, but you cannot trust them to leave the young ones alone. That isn’t the case with Otocinclus catfish. They have no interest in adult ghost shrimp or their offspring. 

Admittedly, they are somewhat challenging because they have specific eating habits, and you have to keep them in the best possible water conditions. They need a well-established tank with plenty of plants. But these challenges are a worthwhile sacrifice for people that want an entirely peaceful species.

4. Ember Tetras

Ember tetras are beautiful and peaceful. It doesn’t take much to keep them alive. They are not a threat to adult shrimp because their mouths are too small. They can only eat tiny baby shrimp. That makes them perfect for aquarists that want a fish that can control their ghost shrimp population without attacking the adult shrimp. Ember tetras may eat the babies, but they will ignore the adults.

5. Hatchetfish

Hatchetfish do not eat adult or baby shrimp. They may consume a few baby shrimp from time to time. But they won’t make a deliberate effort to look for baby shrimp to eat because they prefer to consume the food they find at the surface.

In fact, Hatchetfish can starve in tanks whose owners have failed to provide food that can float on the surface. This tells you that you don’t have to worry about the creatures hunting ghost shrimp, not unless your ghost shrimp spend a lot of time floating on the surface.

For your convenience, here is an article where I discussed whether fish are likely to eat shrimp. In there, I referred to the types of fish you can introduce to ghost shrimp and those you should avoid. I also shared some tips to keep fish from eating ghost shrimp.

How To Make Ghost Shrimp And Fish Coexist?

Fish are unpredictable. They do not always behave the way you expect. There are plenty of cases in which peaceful fish have attacked and eaten their ghost shrimp neighbors. Fortunately, most aquarists are aware of the factors that can cause fish to misbehave. 

If you know these factors as well, it won’t take you long to counter them, saving your ghost shrimp in the process:

1. Feed Your Creatures Properly

This goes without saying. You have to feed your fish. A hungry fish will eat anything it can find in the tank, including ghost shrimp and other fish. It will do anything to survive. You have to make sure that your fish are never in a position where they have to eat the ghost shrimp to survive.

That means giving them two to three meals every day. The amount of food you add to the tank should be enough to satisfy the fish. It may take a bit of experimentation for you to identify the right amount of food to add to the tank. 

Overfeeding is just as dangerous as underfeeding. If your schedule doesn’t allow you to feed your fish on time, install an automatic feeder. It will do all the work. I personally got the Noodoky Automatic Fish Feeder (link to Amazon). I couldn’t be more satisfied.

2. Add Some Plants

This is another effective solution. I highly suggest that you keep your ghost shrimp in a planted tank. First of all, the creatures prefer to live in environments with live plants.[3] Secondly, plants provide hiding places.

If the absence of food has placed the fish in a mindset where they are more likely to attack and eat the ghost shrimp, the ghost shrimp can still survive if they have places to hide. Besides plants, you can also add decorations like caves and driftwood. Hiding places are a blessing for the fish as well. The presence of plants and decorations will put the fish at ease.

3. Pick The Right Tank Size

Avoid overcrowding at all costs. Overcrowding causes stress in fish, and stressed fish are more likely to attack and eat ghost shrimp. Overcrowding can occur because you have a small tank or because you have too many fish and ghost shrimp.

The size of the tank you need will depend on the size and number of the fish. Because fish are typically larger than shrimp, you have to base the size of the tank on the size of the fish. Get the biggest tank possible, one that can accommodate all your fish and shrimp without crowding them.

4. Keep Your Tank Clean

A poorly maintained tank will trigger aggressive behavior in fish. That aggressive behavior will encourage the fish to attack and eat their smaller, weaker neighbors. Therefore, you have to ensure that the pH, temperature, and hardness are suitable for the fish.

I personally use the API FRESHWATER MASTER TEST KIT (link to Amazon). That bundle accurately measures the pH, ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites in my tank. For most fish, ammonia and nitrites should be around 0 ppm. Nitrates need to be below 20 ppm.

You should also perform regular water changes. Even if the tank has a filter, you cannot rely on it to clean the water. Changing the water every week will keep the toxins in the tank under control. You should also remove pollutants and debris from the aquarium. That includes dead plants and animals. A well-maintained tank will compel the fish to behave.

What Fish Will Eat Ghost Shrimp?

While most fish are capable of eating ghost shrimp under the right circumstances, some fish are more dangerous than others, including:[4]

1. Angelfish

As omnivores, angelfish eat both plant and animal matter. They won’t say no to a meal that includes ghost shrimp. They do not have a reputation for specifically hunting and eating ghost shrimp. However, the creatures have an aggressive streak.

You cannot predict their reaction to the presence of shrimp. Even if they aren’t interested in eating the shrimp, angelfish are likely to bully them. I highly suggest avoiding those when choosing tankmates for your ghost shrimp.

2. Goldfish

You cannot trust goldfish to control themselves around any creatures they can fit in their mouths. Like angelfish, the goldfish won’t necessarily target the ghost shrimp. But they are just as likely to eat those they come across, especially if the ghost shrimp have just molted. Molting leaves shrimp in a vulnerable position.

3. Discus

Discus fish are problematic because they are relatively large. The size difference means that they will attack and eat other fish. If Discus are a threat to other fish, you can comfortably conclude that they are also a threat to shrimp. Ghost shrimp are more likely to survive in a Discus tank if they are large and fully grown. But even then, the size difference is still significant. There is no way to guarantee the safety of the shrimp.

4. Bettas

Bettas are difficult. Some of them can coexist with ghost shrimp. Many aquarists will tell you that their bettas have never shown any interest in the ghost shrimp in the tank. But other aquarists tell a different story. You won’t know how the bettas will react to the shrimp until you add the shrimp to the tank. But you should do so knowing that the chances of the bettas attacking the ghost shrimp are high.

5. Cichlids

Cichlids cannot live peacefully with shrimp. If you have cichlids in your aquarium, any shrimp you add to the tank will become food. Cichlids have a reputation for being particularly hostile to other fish. Your ghost shrimp will not survive.

Can I Keep Ghost Shrimp With Other Types of Shrimp?

I actually dedicated an entire article to discuss what shrimp can live with ghost shrimp. In short, you should know that ghost shrimp are peaceful.[5] You have to keep them with other peaceful creatures. Luckily, most freshwater shrimp are peaceful. 

For that reason, ghost shrimp can coexist with most types of shrimp. In fact, other types of shrimp are normally counted among those creatures that can live peacefully with ghost shrimp. That includes Amano Shrimp, Bamboo Shrimp, and Vampire Shrimp.[6]

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Conclusions

Ghost shrimp are a prevalent choice for many aquarium owners. They are easy to care for and adorable. But they cannot survive under the challenging circumstances in a tank. The presence of other fish can be too much for the shrimp to handle. 

That is why they need to live in a tank with other peaceful creatures that will not bully or eat them. The best way to keep your ghost shrimp is by creating an environment where they can thrive independently without any stress from predators or bullying neighbors.

That may seem impossible, but you can do it by ensuring that the tank is well maintained. So, please choose the best tank for your fish by knowing their size and needs. Only keep fish that are small enough not to eat your shrimp. Get a good filter for the tank and make sure it keeps the water clean for all of your creatures.

References

  1. https://aquariawise.com/best-peaceful-freshwater-fish-to-keep-with-shrimp/
  2. https://www.snaketracks.com/ghost-shrimp-tank-mates/
  3. https://kidadl.com/animal-facts/ghost-shrimp-facts
  4. https://aquariumsphere.com/what-aquarium-fish-eat-shrimp/
  5. https://iere.org/ghost-shrimp/
  6. https://tinyunderwater.com/ghost-shrimp-tank-mates/

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