How to Hatch Ghost Shrimp Eggs: 5 Simple Steps

Hatching ghost shrimp eggs is challenging. With little to no information on the internet, many would-be parents had gone as far as to purchase eggs from pet stores, only to be highly disappointed when the eggs never hatched. This article will take you step-by-step on how to hatch ghost shrimp eggs successfully.

Follow these steps to hatch ghost shrimp eggs:

  1. Fill the spawning tank with water and let it sit for 24 hours.
  2. Decorate the tank with wooden branches and plants like Java Moss.
  3. Move the female to the spawning tank until she spawns.
  4. Separate the mother after the eggs have been laid.
  5. Maintain a temperature of 68 – 72 degrees F and a pH of 7.0 – 8.0.

As we proceed, I will show you how to properly prepare your tank for breeding and hatching ghost shrimp. Then, I will teach you how to recognize fertilized ghost shrimp eggs and raise the offsprings once they hatch.

How to Hatch Ghost Shrimp Eggs

For this, the first step, decide how large your tanks are and what kind of ghost shrimp you are going to hatch. If you have a lot of space and money to spare, I suggest you get a larger tank like an 80-gallon terrarium. 

This way, you could house many hundreds of ghost shrimp eggs in one tank if they happen to all hatch at once. On the other hand, if space or budget is constrained, then I suggest getting a smaller amount of ghost shrimp eggs for hatching purposes.

Step 1: Prepare a Spawning Tank 

Fill the spawning tank with water, and allow it to stand for 24 hours. This will eliminate chlorine and clear harmful chemicals. You can use some water weeds to help reduce the level of ammonia and nitrates, which are major pollutants in your aquarium. 

A 20-gallon aquarium or larger would be ideal. Generally, the conditions in the new tank should be similar to those in the old aquarium. This will help to keep the eggs that were laid in your aquarium alive and healthy.

Decorate this tank with some wooden branches or pebbles for the eggs to adhere to. These will serve as a spawning site for your ghost shrimp eggs. Ensure you do not place any fish in the same tank because they may eat up your eggs. 

The decoration must be arranged to allow the water to flow freely so that oxygen will reach the eggs. Some ghost shrimp species prefer closed spawning sites, which can be provided using dishes or plastic containers.

Plants are needed to provide shading, and water weeds are needed to reduce ammonia and nitrate pollution. Some females prefer spawning in the open rather than on decoration, but this is not likely to increase egg survival.

Step 2: Move the Female to the Spawning Tank

After 24 hours, you can move the female ghost shrimp with her eggs to the newly set up tank. It is essential to keep the female in shallow waters so that the eggs may easily cling to her abdomen. 

During the transfer, be careful not to damage the eggs or the female. She may release some of the eggs if she is injured. After transferring to the new tank, feed the ghost shrimp mother appropriately.

Step 3: Separate the Female From the Eggs

After a few days, all the eggs will be deposited. This will leave the female without any eggs on her body. By this point, you can move her back to the main tank and keep her there until she is ready to spawn again. 

The hatching rate will be higher if you separate the female from her eggs. Also, this allows her to clean her body from the eggs’ mucus, which is not suitable for her health. Some breeders prefer to leave the female in the spawning tank. However, this means that she can, later on, eat her own offsprings.

Step 4: Maintain Ideal Water Conditions

To make sure the eggs actually hatch, you must maintain proper water conditions in your spawning tank. The temperature must be between 68 – 72 degrees F. As long as the proper temperature is maintained, the eggs will hatch in a few weeks.

The water also should have good levels of dissolved oxygen and a pH level between 7.0 – 8.0.[1] The eggs will not hatch if these requirements are not met, even if they have been fertilized and are healthy otherwise.

Anything that reduces dissolved oxygen levels can hinder egg hatching. This includes overcrowding, overstocking, and poor aeration. To maintain the ideal water conditions, you can use a filter with an air pump to keep the water clean and flowing.

Lightning is also critical. In fact, ghost shrimp eggs should be exposed to a 12-hour light cycle. In addition, you can use fluorescent lighting for this purpose. If you don’t have any light fixture in your tank, a strong light bulb will work as well. This will allow the eggs to hatch at the same time.

Step 5: Feed the Newly Hatched Shrimp

After the eggs hatch, you must provide food for your newborn ghost shrimp. You can feed them with flake fish food or any other commercial food for baby shrimp.

You cannot just feed them nothing but algae and plant matter. The babies must get sufficient amounts of protein and chitin, which they can quickly get from commercial foods made for baby shrimps. 

They can absorb other necessary nutrients from vegetable matter, such as algae, but they need some protein to grow and develop properly.

It is imperative to get the amount of food right. It should not be too little or too much because this can either stunt growth or kill the shrimp. In their first days, please give them a little bit of food at regular intervals. As a rule of thumb, you should feed them 1-2 times a day.

How do You Keep Baby Ghost Shrimp Alive?

Once the eggs hatch, you should take several steps to keep the baby ghost shrimp alive. You should know that the offsprings rarely survive on their own since you raise them in a domestic habitat.

Follow these steps to keep baby ghost shrimp alive:

  1. Ensure that the water temperature is correct and stable (75-80 degrees F).
  2. Eliminate ammonia from the water via water changes.
  3. Keep the nitrites at 0 ppm and nitrates below 20 ppm.
  4. Provide a high level of oxygen by using an air stone.
  5. Give the fry a constant supply of food.
  6. Divide the babies into small containers.
  7. Avoid overcrowding in the fry containers.

For the water parameters, I personally use the API Aquarium Test Kit (link to Amazon). That product allows me to measure the water conditions by doing simple tests. It also has a color guide for the parameters of my aquarium. Within five minutes, you’ll know the pH, ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites levels.

To stabilize the temperature, I use the Cobalt Aquatics Flat Neo-Therm Heater (link to Amazon), which I also reviewed here. I like that device since it is one of the few flat aquarium heaters. With a wide surface area, it will dissipate heat quickly so that the temperature remains constant within 1 degree.

To increase the oxygen in my tank, I use the Hygger Aquarium Air Stone Kit (link to Amazon). That excellent device creates bubbles that emit oxygen to the water. It keeps the water well-oxygenated while being impressively quiet.

As for food, I use the GlasGarten Shrimp Baby Food (link to Amazon). That product provides a complete diet for my shrimp. It is specially formulated with powdered shrimp, which is easier to feed. I add a few drops every day, and it provides all the essential nutrients.

When you separate the fry into different containers, make sure you use the same water from their main tank. You can add new water to the smaller containers, but make sure that they are all at the same pH and temperature. Different parameters might lead to health problems.

How Long do Ghost Shrimp Carry Eggs?

Ghost shrimp usually carry their eggs for 12 to 14 days. During this time, the female ghost shrimp will protect the eggs and supply them with water and oxygen. After that period, the female will deposit her eggs in a safe location, such as a cave or the tank’s bottom.

While carrying her eggs, the female shrimp will only eat once a day. At first, she will eat a lot. But as the eggs grow, she will need less food. Once they hatch, she will become hungry again since she has to take care of her young.

How Long do Ghost Shrimp Eggs Take to Hatch?

Ghost shrimp eggs take approximately three weeks to hatch. During that period, they will start to hatch at regular intervals of up to two hours apart. If it takes longer than that, the eggs might not be viable. In this case, the eggs will turn white and eventually rot.

If the eggs don’t hatch after three weeks, it is better to remove them from the tank.[2] You can do this carefully by hand. Otherwise, the rotten eggs might contaminate the other eggs and cause disease in your shrimp fry.

How do You Know if Ghost Shrimp Eggs are Fertilized?

You can tell that ghost shrimp eggs are fertilized by observing their color. If they are fertilized, the eggs will gradually blacken over time and feature dark green shades. If you notice that the eggs are dim and white, they are not fertilized and possibly rotten.

To be sure, you can use a magnifying glass to check if the eggs are fertilized. This will let you see the eggs’ embryo and the tiny black spot that are actually their eyes.[3] If you don’t see any black spot, then the eggs are probably not fertilized.

Do Ghost Shrimp Eat Their Babies?

Ghost shrimp are usually cannibalistic and will eat their own young when they hatch. In fact, they will grow and feed on each other for the first few days. In order to prevent this, it is best to separate the eggs into at least three different containers before they hatch. 

It is also worth mentioning that the babies themselves are likely to eat each other as they grow. Therefore, it is best to separate the babies into several small containers. You can also use a net to separate the fry from each other.

Where do Ghost Shrimp Lay Their Eggs?

Ghost shrimp typically lay their eggs in fine gravel. The eggs are laid in a line, one by one, with the last egg being smaller than the others. Ghost shrimp also prefer laying their eggs in caves made by either plants or rocks. As a cover-up, they will sometimes lay eggs on the underside of tanks.

You can also find ghost shrimp eggs in unexpected sites, such as crevices between the tank wall and their decoration. In these areas, they will attach to a firm object in order to hold them in place. You might even find them in your tank’s heater or filter.[4]

How Many Eggs do Ghost Shrimp Lay?

Ghost shrimp lay as many as 20 to 30 eggs at one time. They usually lay more eggs than the number of babies that they produce at one time. In fact, the females may lay more eggs during larger breeding periods.

After ten days, most of the eggs will hatch. However, not all of them will hatch at one time. In fact, some of them might take up to several weeks to hatch after they are laid.[5] This is because some ghost shrimp carry a lot more than 30 eggs at one time.

Conclusions

In this article, I have reviewed the life cycle of ghost shrimp and their breeding process. In fact, I have mentioned everything that you need to know about this fascinating creature, such as where they lay their eggs and how long they can take to hatch.

As a matter of fact, you can actually raise ghost shrimp at home! This is one way for you to get started in this exciting hobby. However, you must be aware of some facts about ghost shrimp before starting this venture.

References

  1. https://www.aquariumcarebasics.com/freshwater-shrimp/ghost-shrimp/
  2. http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/artdec17macro/NewFinal_KayGhostShrimp.pdf
  3. https://www.wikihow.com/Breed-Ghost-Shrimp
  4. https://fishtankadvisor.com/pregnant-ghost-shrimp/
  5. https://be.chewy.com/ghost-shrimp-aquarium-care/

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