Last Updated: September 4, 2023 by Flora Gibbins
Some aquatic keepers argue that ghost shrimp and betta fish can live together successfully.
They caution against adding ghost shrimp in a betta tank.
Can ghost shrimp live with betta fish? Yes, they can. But there are more factors in play for peaceful coexistence. This guide covers everything you need to know about ghost shrimp care, their temperament, and why they are compatible tank mates for your betta.
- What Is A Ghost Shrimp?
- What Is the Temperament & Behavior of A Ghost Shrimp?
- Tank Requirements for Ghost Shrimp
- Diet of A Ghost Shrimp
- What Is Betta Fish?
- What Is the Temperament & Behavior of the Betta Fish?
- Tank Requirements of A Betta
- Diet of A Betta Fish
- Can Ghost Shrimp Live with Bettas?
- Compatibility Between Betta and Ghost Shrimp
- Quick Comparison Between Ghost Shrimp and Betta
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is A Ghost Shrimp?
Ghost shrimp, also called glass shrimp, is a dwarf shrimp species native to North America. They derive their name from their transparent bodies. But they may also have underlying shades of brown, yellow, or gray. During the spawning seasons, female shrimp have tones of green under their abdomen from carrying eggs.
What Is the Temperament & Behavior of A Ghost Shrimp?
Ghost shrimps are gentle and peaceful by nature. They love being in the company of other ghost shrimp and can get lonely if kept alone. so when keeping ghost shrimps, ensure they are in groups.
This shrimp will hide during the day if they do not feel comfortable in an aquarium, then forage at night. However, if they share a fish tank with non-aggressive fish, you will find them busy scouring for the better part of the day.
Molting is a healthy phase since it signifies active growth. But this is also the time when ghost shrimps feel most vulnerable.
Shrimps have an exoskeleton that does not grow. So, a shrimp has to shed the old exoskeleton every three to four weeks to accommodate its growth.
You may find the ghost shrimp curled up when molting or find no trace of the shrimps. This behavior is normal as these creatures take a curled position to break free of the old shell. And if you cannot find any shrimp, it’s because they are finding refuge in the caves or live plants until they are acclimated to their new exoskeleton.
What happens to the old shell? Ghost shrimp will eat it up as it contains essential minerals to get them started for the next molting process.
Tank Requirements for Ghost Shrimp
Ghost shrimp thrive in tropical water temperatures. This means that the aquarium should have stable temperatures of 72 to 82 degrees and a pH of 7.
Due to their small size, this species can live comfortably in a 5-gallon tank. However, you mustn’t overstock ghost shrimp since their bioload can lead to water quality problems.
In terms of substrate, ghost shrimp are okay with sand and soft gravel. These do not allow the food to penetrate, making it available for feeding.
Ghost shrimp are often found in streams and rivers with slow water movements in the wild. Here, they can easily scavenge and eat detritus without being sucked by the current.
When setting up their freshwater aquarium, you must include a filter with a low current. A sponge filter is a preferable choice because it will not suck up the shrimp.
Also, the nitrite levels should be at a minimum of 5 ppm. If the ammonia levels spike, they can easily kill all your ghost shrimp.
Here is a guide on how to care for your ghost shrimp.
Diet of A Ghost Shrimp
Glass shrimp are scavengers with an omnivore diet. They eat algae, larvae, plant matter, weeds, and pellet foods.This species spends most of its day foraging for tiny, edible material on the substrate.
It also collects biofilm off driftwood and plants to prevent the overgrowth of algae. You can use ghost shrimp to clean up your tank. Having understood everything about the ghost shrimp, let us look at the betta to determine whether they are compatible tank mates.
What Is Betta Fish?
Bettas, or Siamese fighter fish, are popular for their attractive colored tails. They are native to Asia’s rice paddies, streams, and rivers.
These colorful fish come in blue, red, green, yellow, and multi-color variations. With a 5-7 years lifespan, the betta can grow to 2.5 to 3 inches without measuring the tail.
What Is the Temperament & Behavior of the Betta Fish?
Bettas did not get the name ‘Siamese Fighter Fish’ by sheer luck. Compared to other fish, it turns out that they are active fighters.
The males, in particular, are aggressive and territorial. If you house two males together, they are likely to fight to the death. And if death does not occur, the subdued male can die from injuries and stress.
At times, a male betta fish can live peacefully with a female betta. Or, two females can share a tank. However, be prepared that these mates may someday get into conflict.
Does that mean these fish are always grumpy? No.
However, this lovely display occurs once every few weeks because over-flaring often leads to infections.
The Siamese fighter fish stand out for their beautiful tails. And through these tails, you can tell whether the fish is healthy or not. Healthy, active bettas have smooth, wide-opened tails. Curled-up tails are an indication that the betta is unwell.
Tank Requirements of A Betta
Although some people keep bettas in a cup or bowl, they need at least a 5-gallon tank to thrive. The fish may live for six months in a fishbowl, which is way less than the five years it would if it were in a spacious tank.
Betta fish are labyrinth fish. They are equipped with a labyrinth organ that helps them gulp air from the water surface. Therefore, avoid filling the water tank to the brim.
This tropical fish prefers warm water temperatures of 75 to 80 degrees and a pH of 7. A slight deviation from these conditions can result in health problems.
Cold temperatures affect the betta’s immune system, resulting in disease and death. On the other hand, hot temperatures are uncomfortable and increase the betta’s metabolism, making them age fast.
In the wild, bettas thrive in slow-flowing rivers. So, these fish need a filter that does not disrupt the water surface. The best filters for betta fish are internal filters and sponge filters.
Lastly, bettas need a 25% water change once a week. If you drastically change the water, it can result in stress, shock, and even death.
Diet of A Betta Fish
The betta fish is carnivorous. It thrives on protein foods like betta fish pellets, bloodworms, larvae, small insects, krill, brine shrimp, and shrimp. These foods can either be live, dried, flakes, or pellets.
Contrary to popular belief, bettas do not feed on plant-based foods.
Can Ghost Shrimp Live with Bettas?
The honest answer lies with the temperament of your betta. Bettas can regard ghost shrimp as the feeder shrimp they are and eat them as a snack. However, some bettas will not mind having company and will not attack ghost shrimp.
In most cases, bettas channel their aggression towards brightly-colored fish, those about their length or bigger. Luckily, the ghost shrimp pose no threat.
First, it has no colorings, thanks to its transparent body. And second, they are smaller than bettas and may not be considered a potential threat.
So, if you are planning to house the ghost shrimp and betta, here are a few pointers to keep in mind:
Create an Ideal Environment
For betta and shrimp to coexist, you need to place them in a proper tank environment. Add plants, rocks, caves, and aquarium ornaments to provide privacy.
Bettas are curious and will survey their surroundings to stay happy. Moreover, they crave privacy occasionally, and these plants and rocks offer that.
The ghost shrimp will also use the plants, java moss, rocks, and caves as hiding places should the betta attack. You can add in some driftwood and tank decorations.
Provide A Large Tank
Keeping in mind that bettas are territorial, small tanks subject the fish to stress, thus heightening their aggression. A bigger tank is preferable to guarantee the comfort of both species.
You want to have more than enough room for your betta to swim in without always contacting the shrimp. If possible, go for a 10-gallon tank or a larger one to increase the odds of success.
Feed Your Betta Well
A hungry betta is a hungry betta. If you do not feed your fish accordingly, its instinct will drive it to hunt and attack ghost shrimp.
However, this scenario is preventable if you feed the betta regularly. Observe a high-protein diet and a few occasional treats. Failure to do so will see the ghost shrimp becoming a tasty treat.
Additionally, offer enrichment by providing live foods. This will deter your betta from eyeing the ghost shrimps for a snack.
Introduce Ghost Shrimp First
If a betta is accustomed to a tank, it instinctively becomes territorial. This is why this fish attacks any added creature, including ghost shrimp.
But you can turn tables by removing the ghost shrimp from the tank and redecorating it. Once complete, bring in the ghost shrimp, then add the Siamese fighting fish.
The change in décor will get your fish thinking it is in a new environment. And the fact that it found the ghost shrimp lurking in the foreground can help them live peacefully. But, do not take this as a guarantee that this trick will work on your aggressive betta.
Compatibility Between Betta and Ghost Shrimp
Betta fish and ghost shrimp can live in the same tank. They are compatible tank mates because they live in similar water conditions. Bettas require a pH of 7, while ghost shrimp thrive at a pH of 7-8.
In terms of temperatures, bettas prefer swimming at 78 degrees Fahrenheit, which is on par with the conditions of ghost shrimps. These shrimps do well in water temperatures between 72 to 82 degrees.
Both species prefer slow-moving current. This eliminates the need to make drastic changes to the tank.
Although bettas are territorial, keeping ghost shrimp is a great idea as they are peaceful and will not pester them. They stick to the bottom scavenging for food, while bettas are surface feeders. This reduces the likelihood of confrontation, especially during feeds.
The only downside of having ghost shrimp with a betta in the same tank is these shrimps breed fast. Adding a large group can quickly overpopulate the tank. Therefore, only adds groups of 2 to 4 to maintain the numbers.
Also, if you plan to breed the ghost shrimps, move the female shrimp into a separate tank. Doing so will prevent the betta from eating the fry.
Quick Comparison Between Ghost Shrimp and Betta
|Water Temperature||65 to 80 degrees||75 to 80 degrees|
|Tank Accessories||Live Plants, Caves, Tubes||Driftwood, Aquatic Plants|
|Lifespan||1 to 1.5 years||2 to 5 years|
Fun Fact: Bettas could also thrive with other shrimp species! Know their kinds and types by proceeding to our article on Betta With Shrimp: Are They Aquatic Friends Or Foes Forever? to learn more.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can betta eat ghost shrimp?
Yes. Ghost shrimp grow to become 1 to 1.5 inches, thus bigger to fit in a betta’s mouth. But the fry and juveniles often make part of the betta’s meal.
Do ghost shrimp eat one another?
No. These peaceful creatures do not tear each other apart for food. But if a ghost shrimp dies, it becomes a buffet for the living shrimp. In rare circumstances, these shrimps may eat their young larvae.
How many ghost shrimp can one betta have?
It depends on the size of your tank, the filtration system, and the number of live plants. Plus, these tiny creatures produce bioload, and it is crucial that your tank processes this waste.
Nevertheless, we recommend one ghost shrimp for one gallon of water. If you own a 10-gallon tank, you can start with four to five ghost shrimps for your betta.
Do glass shrimps eat betta food?
Certainly. Glass shrimps are not picky and will eat the leftover foods, including pellets, wafers, and flakes. But, consider feeding mosquito larvae, algae, flake foods, insects, and frozen food occasionally.
How can I tell my betta will eat ghost shrimp?
Stalking, circling, and continuous flaring up are obvious signs that your tropical fish will attack the shrimp. Or, if the fish is aggressive towards other tank mates, the shrimp is also at risk.
What other shrimp species make good tank mates for betta fish?
The Amano shrimp, cherry shrimp, and vampire shrimp can share the same tank as a betta. these shrimps are peaceful and will keep to themselves.
Ghost shrimp and betta can live in the same aquarium but not without risks. Bettas thrive on a high-protein diet and may view ghost shrimp as food. Besides, this fish eats the shrimp’s fry and baby shrimps.
Nevertheless, providing a larger tank with adequate hiding places and ensuring your betta is well-fed reduces the likelihood of losing the ghost shrimps.