Will Fish Eat Ghost Shrimp? (With Over 10 Examples)

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When I first started my ghost shrimp aquarium, I was warned: fish might eat them. Unfortunately, this was the exact thing that happened to me. As I added angelfish to the tank, they immediately attacked and nibbled on my shrimp. Over the years, I learned what types of fish could coexist with ghost shrimp and what fish I should avoid.

Fish that are relatively large and aggressive will probably eat ghost shrimp. That includes Angelfish, Rainbow Tetras, Bettas, Goldfish, and Discus. However, small and friendly species are likely to ignore ghost shrimp, especially when the tank is spacious and the fish are adequately fed.

As we move forward, I’ll list some good examples of tropical fish that won’t eat ghost shrimp. Then, I will share a few tips to make sure the environment in your tank is suitable for both ghost shrimp and aquarium fish.

Do Fish Eat Ghost Shrimp?

To determine whether or not fish will eat your ghost shrimp once you add them to the community tank, you have to take the following factors into account:

1. The Type Of Fish

This is the most crucial factor. Some fish are more aggressive than others. For instance, cichlids are bad because they are more likely to hunt and eat ghost shrimp than neon tetras. The same applies to discus, barbs, mollies, and any other fish with a violent streak. 

Ghost shrimp are peaceful creatures. If you pair them with equally peaceful fish such as dwarf suckers and rasboras, they may survive. But if you leave them in a tank with large, boisterous, aggressive, carnivorous fish, they will get eaten.

2. Size Differences

The common belief is that ghost shrimp can survive in tanks with peaceful fish such as rasboras. But that is only partially true. At the end of the day, fish are opportunistic; that is to say, they will eat anything small enough to fit in their mouths. For that reason, size is critical. 

A fish that is so much larger than ghost shrimp (which are just 1.5 inches) is more likely to eat the creatures. On the other hand, a species such as the pygmy cory catfish, which is just 1.3 inches,[1] is unlikely to attack your ghost shrimp. Their sizes are so similar that you don’t have to worry about the cory catfish mistaking the ghost shrimp for food.

3. A Stressful Environment

The environment the ghost shrimp inhabits can affect its lifespan. For instance, ghost shrimp are unlikely to survive in tanks with poor quality water. This is because dirty tanks induce stress in fish which, in turn, encourages aggressive behavior.

This is also true for tanks that are too small. If your fish are forced to share a tiny space with ghost shrimp, sooner or later, they will respond to the discomfort by attacking and ultimately eating the ghost shrimp. Overcrowding can compel fish to respond violently regardless of whether or not they have territorial attributes.

4. Lack Of Food

This goes without saying. If your fish are starving, either because you forgot to feed them or because the food you gave them was in insufficient quantities, they will satisfy their cravings by preying on the smallest and weakest creatures in the tank. That includes smaller fish, snails, and ghost shrimp.

What Fish Will Not Eat Ghost Shrimp?

You have no way of guaranteeing the safety of your ghost shrimp in a community tank. Under the right conditions, any fish can turn against the ghost shrimp. However, you can improve the chances of the ghost shrimp surviving by surrounding them with friendly fish such as:[2]

  • Otocinclus – This fish is an excellent tankmate for ghost shrimp. In fact, you can keep the fish with any other type of shrimp you can imagine. It won’t eat them regardless of their size.
  • Neon Tetras – Neon tetras are small fish that can live in the conditions as ghost shrimp. Their size makes them less of a threat. They also have a friendly temperament that makes them less likely to harass your ghost shrimp.
  • Panda Garra – This is another peaceful fish that thrives in tanks with non-aggressive creatures, which is why it is the perfect tankmate for ghost shrimp. 

However, you should apply caution where this species is concerned. Panda Garra fish are only attractive when they are young. As adults, they are somewhat large. Their size makes them a threat to smaller creatures, so aquarists are expected to transfer them to separate tanks.

  • Hatchetfish – Hatchetfish can be found in sizes ranging from 2.5 inches to 6 inches. Hatchetfish are attractive because they are incredibly docile. That is what you want in fish that will share a tank with creatures as vulnerable as ghost shrimp.
  • Albino Bristlenose Pleco – Plecos are not suitable for tanks with young shrimp. It would be best if you only paired them with adult ghost shrimp. People love them because they mind their business. They do not have a habit of bullying smaller creatures.

Other suitable tankmates include Inca, Ivory, Malaysian Trumpet, Ramshorn snails, Bamboo, Vampire, Amano Shrimp, small Guppies, Platys, and Swordtails mention but a few.

What Fish Eat Ghost Shrimp?

While all larger fish will eat ghost shrimp from time to time, some fish are a more significant threat to ghost shrimp than others, including:

  • Angelfish – Angelfish are omnivores that have a reputation for eating smaller creatures in the aquarium. The chances of an angelfish eating your ghost shrimp are very high.

Some angelfish don’t care about shrimp as a food source. However, that won’t protect your ghost shrimp. Angelfish, which have an aggressive streak, may attack them all the same, either bullying them to death or wounding them severely. Either way, angelfish are not good tankmates.

  • Rainbow Tetras – You shouldn’t assume that every tetra can live peacefully with ghost shrimp simply because neon tetras can coexist peacefully with the creatures. Some tetras are pretty aggressive. One example is the rainbow tetra. It has predatory attributes that make the fish a threat to ghost shrimp.
  • Bettas – Some bettas can live peacefully with ghost shrimp, while others will eat the shrimp. You won’t know until you add the two creatures to the same tank. Like all fish, bettas are unpredictable. Some have worse temperaments than others.[3]
  • Goldfish – While goldfish are attractive, they are poor tankmates for ghost shrimp. You cannot trust them to leave the ghost shrimp alone. The shrimp are too small. And when they molt, they become vulnerable. The goldfish is more likely to take advantage of that vulnerability.[4]
  • Discus – Discus fish are much larger than shrimp. The size difference will give them all the incentive they need to eat the shrimp. If you must keep discus and shrimp in the same environment, the shrimp should be fully grown.

How To Keep Fish From Eating Ghost Shrimp?

Aquarists are generally encouraged to keep ghost shrimp in tanks with other shrimp.[5] But if circumstances have forced you to keep your ghost shrimp in the same aquarium as larger, more aggressive fish, you can use the following methods to keep them safe:

1. Place A Few Hiding Places

I recommend giving the shrimp hiding places since the creatures are pretty defenseless. They cannot fight back against aggressive fish. For that reason, if they encounter predators, you have to give them places in the tank that they can use to hide.

You can do this by adding dense plants, caves, pots, driftwood, and any other object that can provide cover. The presence of hiding places will make the shrimp happier because they know that they can stay out of sight whenever dangerous fish come along.

Some suitable plants for ghost shrimp include Anubias, Amazon Sword, Java Fern, and most other plants that look like they have a dense root system. You can also put rocks or pieces of wood on top of the plants to give the shrimp something to cling to.

2. Pick The Right Tank Size

Ghost shrimp require tanks of at least 10 gallons. However, you should get a bigger tank if you want the shrimp to survive. A large aquarium allows the shrimp to stay away from aggressive fish.

Hiding places won’t do your shrimp any good if the tank is so small that they keep bumping into other fish. That is why I suggest getting the biggest possible tank. This will make the fish happy as well. And happy fish are less likely to manifest aggressive behavior.

If you are looking for a new tank, feel free to check my aquarium recommendations. I made sure to include plenty of tanks of different sizes. I also reviewed the particular tank that I use to get a better understanding of the information given.

3. Feed Your Fish Properly

I highly suggest that you ensure the fish in your tank are appropriately fed. Most species eat two to three times a day. You can even use an automatic feeder to ensure that the inhabitants of your ghost shrimp tank do not starve. I personally use the Zacro Automatic Fish Feeder (link to Amazon).

If some of your fish are nocturnal, try to adjust the feeding routine accordingly. Otherwise, if the fish keep rising every night to find that all the food is gone, they will turn against your ghost shrimp because they are such an easy target.

4. Adjust Preexisted Territories

Some fish will attack and eat ghost shrimp because they are territorial. You can solve this problem by making sure that the shrimp are added to the tank first.[6] If the fish are allowed to live in the tank for a long time before the shrimp arrives, they will regard the tank as their territory.

This will compel them to perceive the shrimp as intruders. Adding the shrimp first allows them to establish their territory before the fish arrive. It would help if you also considered adding the fish to the aquarium while they are still young. This allows them to grow accustomed to the shrimp. 

If you have a tank that ghost shrimp and adult fish already inhabit, and the adult fish have started attacking the ghost shrimp, take both species out and re-arrange the aquarium. This will destroy any territories the fish are trying to defend. The tactic may also disorient them for a while, giving the shrimp some breathing room.

Are Ghost Shrimp Aggressive Towards Fish?

Ghost shrimp are usually not aggressive towards fish. Moreover, they do not have the tools required to harm fish. While ghost shrimp will happily eat fish that are dead, they rarely attack healthy, living fish.

However, ghost shrimp may pose an issue to bottom dwellers like plecos. That is especially true when they are stressed, such as in overcrowded or poorly maintained tanks. In such conditions, they may attack smaller and helpless creatures at the tank’s bottom.

Do Fish Eat Ghost Shrimp Eggs?

Fish tend to eat ghost shrimp eggs, particularly those that are on the surface of the water. The worst culprits are aggressive fish like cichlids, goldfish, bettas, koi, and puffer. In fact, most fish will eat anything that fits in their mouths, including shrimp eggs.

However, well-hidden eggs are likely to escape this faith. To protect the eggs, you need to make sure that other fish do not see them. You can do this by adding floating plants. Moreover, you can move the eggs to a different tank or separate the aquarium fish from your shrimp. In some cases, a divider will do the trick.

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Conclusions

Ghost shrimp are good tankmates for fish. Their size gives them a hidden advantage, making them safe from predators. However, the shrimp do not thrive in tanks that have aggressive fish. Aggressive fish, like cichlids, goldfish, bettas, koi, and puffer, might even eat ghost shrimp.

However, you can protect your ghost shrimp from aggressive fish by creating the right environment. You can do this by ensuring that the tank has plenty of hiding places and that the shrimp have enough time to establish territory before the fish arrive.

References

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pygmy_corydoras
  2. https://aquamovement.com/best-ghost-shrimp-tank-mates/
  3. https://bettasource.com/ghost-shrimp-and-betta-fish/
  4. https://shrimptips.com/can-ghost-shrimp-be-kept-with-goldfish/
  5. https://www.vivofish.com/ghost-shrimp/
  6. https://aquariumbreeder.com/%D1%81herry-shrimp-in-a-community-tank-how-to-make-it-successful/

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