Do Ghost shrimp Need a Filter: Fact-based Answers for shrimp Care

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Do Ghost shrimp need a filter? They do, but that’s a pretty common query among shrimp enthusiasts. If you’re the proud new parent of Ghost shrimps and need a cost-benefit analysis before you invest in a filter for your aquarium, you’ve come to the right place.

This article will provide expert-based opinions on the pros and cons of filters in Ghost shrimp care and other helpful FAQs.


  • Do Ghost Shrimp Need a Filter in Fish Tanks?
  • What Are the Benefits of Filters for a Ghost shrimp Tank?
  • What Happens to Ghost Shrimps in a Tank With No Filter?
  • Selecting the Ideal Filter for Ghost shrimp Aquariums
  • Conclusion

Do Ghost Shrimp Need a Filter in Fish Tanks?

Ghost shrimps need a filter in their tank to survive. In closed systems like aquariums, filtration systems and water changes are the only practical means of maintaining water quality. These help support water parameters so that your fish and shrimps are safe from the ravages of concerns like ammonia spikes.

Some aquarists have had success housing Ghost shrimps in tanks with plentiful foliage instead of a filtration system. However, such a setup can be temporary at best. While Ghost shrimps aren’t very messy, there will come a point where you’ll need a filter in place to rid the water column of the buildup of nitrites and ammonia. Even other shrimp species such as Red cherry shrimp and Amano shrimp require filter setups to thrive.

What Are the Benefits of Filters for a Ghost shrimp Tank?

Readers often think aquarium plants and aquarium filters offer the same advantages. That’s not true. Here’s what filters can offer you in terms of benefits.

– Stress Reduction

Ammonia can also induce stress in underwater animals. This includes Glass shrimp. If the water column contains excessive organic matter, chances are your tank’s ammonia levels aren’t what they should be.

Solutions like aquatic plants and water changes can hold the problem at bay, but eventually, you will need a more permanent solution.

That’s where filters come in. Filtration systems ensure your tank water is mainly free of waste products and harmful chemicals.

– Fewer Water Changes

Betta fish are pretty hardy but are susceptible to water temperature fluctuations. Similarly, Ghost shrimp are sensitive to changes in water conditions. If you intend to create a tank setup without a filter, you’re only increasing the effort you’ll need to expend to maintain ideal conditions.

A filter can help reduce the number of water changes you must conduct by removing waste and harmful organic compounds, making your life easier.

– Consistent Growth

Ghost shrimps and Crystal red shrimps (aka Bee shrimp) have similar lifespans. It’s easy to lose shrimps to water fluctuations. Such variations can lead to slowed growth or premature death. Consistency of water conditions can add to Ghost shrimp lifespan by boosting overall health.

Aquarists can bypass such problems by opting for a water filter to help maintain the shrimps’ natural habitat. Good tank conditions can also be handy when breeding Ghost shrimp as they help increase the chances of offspring survival.

– Less Troublesome Molting

Inadequate water conditions can also affect Ghost shrimp molting. shrimps absorb the compounds they need to grow new shells from the water column. If the quality of the water isn’t ideal, this can stunt shell growth and affect the shrimps’ survival.

What Happens to Ghost Shrimps in a Tank With No Filter?

How long can Ghost shrimp live without a filter? Aquarists can get by for a brief period without a shrimp filter. Over time, however, you can face several issues.

– Low Oxygen

Oxygen levels matter. All living things need oxygen to survive, even Eastern Grass shrimps. When the water conditions of a tank deteriorate, it will negatively impact the water’s oxygen levels.

The problem can lead to hypoxia without a filter to maintain the balance. shrimp are at greater risk of developing a lack of oxygen because they inhabit the tank floor, where hypoxia has a greater effect.

– Chemical Wounds

The term ‘chemical wound’ may sound exaggerated, but that’s precisely what ammonia burns are. Tanks without filters are prone to ammonia spikes as there’s no mechanism to remove the chemical from the water column.

When the ammonia levels of a tank go beyond safe levels, it can affect shrimps and other underwater life in various ways. Ammonia burns, as the name suggests, is when excessive quantities of the compound cause a wound on the shrimp’s body. The chemical literally eats their skin off.

These wounds present as red or orange patches on the shrimps’ bodies and are painful. A quick way to catch this problem early on is to look for changes in your shrimp’s breathing patterns. If the shrimps are breathing faster or heavier than usual, it’s best to check the ammonia levels of a tank asap.

– Death

Ghost shrimp dwell in high-oxygen areas. While they can survive in low oxygen conditions for a time, you can lose your shrimp population very quickly if faced with high ammonia at the same time.

Ammonia spikes present varying dangers for freshwater shrimp. These include stress, burns, hypoxia, and death if not handled carefully. That’s why having filters in your shrimp tanks is a must.

Selecting the Ideal Filter for Ghost shrimp Aquariums

If you’re unsure about the filter type for your shrimp aquarium, this section can help you. You’ll need to consider several factors before going out and getting a filtration system for your tank. Here’s what a few of them are.

– Biological Filtration

Any good-quality filter you consider should have two types of filtration processes: biological and mechanical filtration. Biological filtration is essential as it helps convert nitrogen compounds into less toxic substances.

Conversely, mechanical filtration aids in the removal of organic debris. Additionally, bio-filters benefit a tank’s nitrogen process by encouraging the growth of beneficial bacteria by providing room to grow in the biomedia.

Fishkeepers should also note that shrimp are particularly sensitive to changes in water criteria. Even the slightest jump in ammonia levels can adversely affect these shellfish and should be avoided at all times.

– Tank Size

Aquarium size is a critical consideration when picking out the right filter. If you miss the mark regarding size, your chances of landing an ineffective filter increase.

To bypass such concerns, always note your aquarium’s size before browsing for a filter. Experts suggest buying a filter that allows your tank’s water to run through the system at least four times in one hour. For example, a 30 gallon tank will require a filter with a 120-gallons per hour capacity to achieve four water cycles.

While shrimp prefer a moderate to low water flow, if you’re planning on housing the invertebrates with finned tank mates, it’s best to opt for a filter that matches the tank’s dimensions.

Ghost shrimp eat and create moderate amounts of waste, but a community tank means you’ll need to account for other members’ waste outputs. It’s best not to compromise on the water flow in such situations. Instead, you can reduce the water flow in the tank via plants and other decorations.

– Safety Concerns

Be it a hospital or shrimp breeding tank, shrimps face the constant danger of being sucked up in a filter’s intake. This is even more true for baby shrimps. Aquarists must ensure that any filter they purchase is safe for their crustaceans by opting for a sponge pre-filter.

Pre-filters are designed to fit around the filter’s intake and cover the area that poses a threat to the shrimp. If you’re looking to breed Ghost shrimp, don’t forget to shrimp-safe the reproduction tank. Otherwise, you could quickly lose the shrimp parents and babies to the filter.

– Filter Styles

You’re likely to run into several filter styles when shopping for one. These include sponge, hang-on-back, etc. Here’s what sets them apart from each other:

Sponge Filters

These machines work by forcing air to move through a pipe behind the internal sponge filter, which causes the water to pass through the sponge, into the pipe, and out the other side. This helps clear the water of debris and provides a snack stop for your shrimp. These filters will typically require an air pump and a filter sponge only.

Hang-on-Back Filters

These provide mechanical and biological filtration and, for that reason, are highly suited for tanks with multiple species. HOB filters are designed to hang on the back of your aquarium’s wall and include a water pump to help the filtration process.

Canister Filters

These filters might work for you if you’re the proud owner of a complex community tank. They offer biological, mechanical, and chemical filtration by passing the aquarium water through a canister with several filter media. The downside is that these filters require careful maintenance to function at top quality.


We’ve reached the end of our Grass shrimp and filters guide.

We covered several critical pointers throughout the article, but here’s a quick rundown before we wrap up.

  • Ghost shrimp need filters in their tanks to maintain proper water column conditions. This includes keeping harmful substances like ammonia down to a minimum.
  • Filters can help shrimps with the molting process, boost growth, keep away stress, and contribute to development.
  • Ghost shrimps in a tank with no filter run the risk of concerns like hypoxia, chemical wounds, and death.
  • Aquarists must consider factors like safety concerns, aquarium size, and filtration type when buying a filter.
  • Fishkeepers can also choose a filter based on style. For instance, canister or chamber filters work best in community tanks.

Housing shrimps in a tank without a filter can prove disastrous for your invertebrate friends. Thankfully, you now have this guide handy to help you recreate the perfect habitat for your Ghost shrimps!

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