Ghost Shrimp Tank Mates: Selecting Compatible Tank Mates

Ghost shrimp are a popular freshwater shrimp choice for aquarium hobbyists. Their translucent bodies and peaceful temperament make them an interesting addition to community tanks. However, ghost shrimp truly thrive when paired with compatible tank mates.

Appropriate tank mates are essential to create a thriving, low-maintenance aquarium environment. The key is choosing fish, invertebrates, and plants that complement ghost shrimp’s needs and personality. This ensures your ghost shrimp remain healthy and exhibit their natural behaviors.

This detailed guide will walk you through selecting compatible ghost shrimp tank mates. You’ll learn ghost shrimp’s care requirements and temperament. You’ll also discover ideal tank conditions, plants, fish, invertebrates, and more that make the best ghost shrimp tank mates.

Follow this guide when stocking or re-stocking your ghost shrimp aquarium. Doing so will lead to a beautiful, tranquil community tank.

An Overview of Ghost Shrimp Care Needs

Before introducing tank mates, let’s review ghost shrimp care basics. This will outline key factors to consider when selecting compatible companions.

Natural Environment

Ghost shrimp are native to freshwater streams and rivers along the Atlantic Coast and Gulf of Mexico. They thrive in shallow, slow-moving bodies of fresh water with sandy or muddy substrates.

Abundant vegetation, rocks, driftwood, and other natural debris provide ample hiding places. Subdued lighting, mild water movement, and clean, moderately warm water are vital to their health.

Water Conditions

Use a heater to maintain a water temperature of 65-75°F. Ghost shrimp prefer a pH between 7.0-7.8. General hardness should be between 8-12 dGH.

Perform regular partial water changes of 15-20% weekly or more often to replenish minerals and prevent the buildup of nitrates and other toxins. Strong filtration and additional chemical filtration media can further improve water quality.


Ghost shrimp are omnivorous scavengers. They consume leftover fish food, algae, plant matter, and microorganisms. Occasionally supplement their diet with blanched veggies or sinking wafers.

Size & Lifespan

Most ghost shrimp grow up to 1.5 inches long. They have a lifespan of about one year. Females are typically larger than males.

Behavior & Temperament

Ghost shrimp are very peaceful. They spend much of their time grazing on surfaces. Without adequate places to hide, they can become shy and stressed.

Ghost shrimp may also prey on fish that can fit them into their mouths. Plenty of plants and décor helps them establish secure territories and exhibit natural behaviors.

Now that you understand ghost shrimp basics let’s look at ideal tank conditions and compatible inhabitants.

Creating the Ideal Community Tank for Ghost Shrimp

Ghost shrimp are flexible when it comes to community tanks. The keys are choosing tank mates that match their peaceful temperament and providing an appropriately sized, well-maintained aquarium.

Tank Size

A 10-gallon aquarium is usually the minimum size recommended for ghost shrimp. This allows adequate swimming space for tank mates and plenty of hiding spots.

Larger tanks around 20-30 gallons or more are ideal. This gives you more fish options and space to plant the aquarium heavily.

Water Conditions

As mentioned, ghost shrimp need clean, warm, moderately hard fresh water to thrive. Select tropical community fish and invertebrates that flourish in similar conditions.

Water parameters in the ideal range for ghost shrimp will generally accommodate most community species. Just be sure to research individual care requirements. For example, betta fish prefer softer, more acidic water than ghost shrimp.

Perform regular partial water changes, test water parameters routinely, and use filtration suited for your tank size. This will maintain clean, consistent water quality.

Plants & Décor

Ghost shrimp feel most secure when provided with ample plants and hiding spots. Here are some excellent options to incorporate into community tanks:

  • Java moss – This versatile plant provides endless hiding spots for ghost shrimp. It also helps filter the water.
  • Java fern – The broad leaves offer shade and security. Java fern is nearly impossible to kill.
  • Anubias – These low-light plants have broad leaves and low-growing foliage. They make perfect shrimp caves.
  • Hornwort – Tall, dense stems create shady hiding places in the background. Hornwort grows rapidly.
  • Duckweed – This tiny floating plant helps filter the water. Ghost shrimp will graze on fallen leaves.
  • Moss balls – Besides being decorative, moss balls offer nutrition and surfaces to pick at.

Provide plenty of driftwood, rocks, pipes, and commercial décor for additional shelter. Keep some open swimming space too. Now let’s explore ideal ghost shrimp tank mates by category.

Selecting Compatible Freshwater Fish

Ghost shrimp’s small size and peaceful temperament make them excellent community tank shrimp. Their translucent bodies even allow fish to swim through them safely.

Below are some top freshwater fish species that complement ghost shrimp wonderfully in community aquariums:

Small Tetras

  • Ember tetras
  • Neon tetras
  • Rummynose tetras

Compatibility notes – These tiny, peaceful schooling fish add stunning flashes of color. They won’t disturb ghost shrimp and their small mouths pose little threat. Keep schools of 6+ individuals.

Small Rasboras

  • Harlequin rasboras
  • Chili rasboras
  • Pygmy rasboras

Compatibility notes – Mini rasboras are energetic but peaceful. Their tiny size makes them ideal tank mates. Please keep them in schools of 6+ fish. Avoid fin nippers like tiger barbs.

Corydoras Catfish

  • Bronze corydoras
  • Panda corydoras
  • Pygmy corydoras

Compatibility notes – Bottom-dwelling cory cats have peaceful temperaments. They sift through substrate, often near ghost shrimp but won’t disturb them. Keep groups of 6+.

Peaceful Gouramis

  • Pearl gouramis
  • Honey gouramis
  • Sparkling gouramis

Compatibility notes – These docile labyrinth fish add interest to the middle and upper levels. Avoid aggressive gouramis like blue or Siamese fighting fish.

Dwarf Cichlids

  • German blue rams
  • Apistogramma cacatuoides
  • Kribensis cichlids

Compatibility notes – Dwarf cichlids are usually peaceful community members if provided adequate space. Avoid mixing multiple cichlid species or with aggressive fish.

Small Sharks

  • Redtail sharks
  • Rainbow sharks
  • Columbian sharks

Compatibility notes – Sharks add activity to community tanks. Although mostly peaceful, avoid fin nippers like red-finned sharks. Limit 1 shark per 20 gallons.

Otocinclus Catfish

Compatibility notes – These tiny suckermouth catfish graze on algae. They are extraordinarily peaceful and safe with ghost shrimp of all sizes. Keep groups of 3+ otos.

Dwarf Pufferfish

Compatibility notes – Although predators, well-fed dwarf puffers virtually ignore ghost shrimp. They add personality and interest to community tanks. Keep just 1 per 10 gallons.

Stick to the above species under 3 inches long to prevent predation. Medium or large fish may eat adult ghost shrimp or fry. Now let’s look at ideal ghost shrimp invertebrate tank mates.

Best Invertebrate Tank Mates for Ghost Shrimp

Ghost shrimp thrive alongside fellow invertebrates, especially other shrimp and bottom-dwellers. Here are some excellent options:

Freshwater Shrimp

  • Amano shrimp
  • Bamboo shrimp
  • Vampire shrimp
  • Blue velvet shrimp
  • Crystal red shrimp

Compatibility notes – Mixing shrimp species creates interesting colors and behaviors to observe. Amanos and bamboos grow larger but are not aggressive. Vampires are filter feeders.


  • Nerite snails
  • Mystery snails
  • Rabbit snails
  • Ramshorn snails
  • Malaysian trumpet snails

Compatibility notes – Snails are typically excellent community members. They help eat algae and clean the tank. Avoid rapidly multiplying nuisance snails like pond or bladder snails.


  • Dwarf crayfish
  • Dwarf Mexican crayfish
  • Electric blue crayfish

Compatibility notes – Select only dwarf crayfish species and monitor for aggression. Avoid large species like procambarus or marbled crayfish that may prey on shrimp.


  • Pea clams
  • Asian clams
  • Fingernail clams


  • Fiddler crabs
  • Red claw crabs

Compatibility notes – Small freshwater crabs can coexist peacefully with ghost shrimp when given space. Have an above-water basking area available.

Aquatic Isopods

  • Asellus aquaticus
  • Dwarf aquatic isopods

Compatibility notes – Detritus-eating isopods help clean the tank bottom. Their armored bodies protect against predation. They won’t bother ghost shrimp.

That covers ideal invertebrate tank mates for ghost shrimp. Let’s look at a few other community aquarium inhabitants that can successfully pair with ghost shrimp.

More Compatible Tank Mates for Ghost Shrimp

Beyond fish and invertebrates, certain other organisms can make good ghost shrimp companions. Here are a few more possibilities:

Aquatic Frogs

  • African dwarf frogs
  • African clawed frogs

Compatibility notes – Small peaceful frogs add interest to community tanks. Monitor water quality carefully as frogs have heavy bio loads.


  • Musk turtles
  • Mud turtles
  • Map turtles

Compatibility notes – Very small aquatic turtle species may coexist with ghost shrimp. Turtles are messy; provide strong filtration and ample space.

Newts & Salamanders

  • Fire-bellied newts
  • Axolotls
  • Tiger salamanders

Compatibility notes – Strictly aquatic species only. Use caution and monitor carefully for any aggression or shrimp predation.

Aquarium Plants

In addition to providing shelter, live aquarium plants help filter the water and prevent algae. Fast-growing stem plants are especially useful for absorbing excess nutrients. Some easy, low-light options include:

  • Hornwort
  • Anacharis
  • Water wisteria
  • Water sprite
  • Ludwigia
  • Rotala

That covers suitable tank mates from fish to frogs and everything in between! Now let’s review a few species to avoid housing with ghost shrimp.

Unsuitable Tank Mates for Ghost Shrimp

While ghost shrimp are compatible with many species, a few types of fish or invertebrates should be avoided. Here are some poor tank mate choices:

  • Large/aggressive fish like cichlids, goldfish, or tiger oscars.
  • Fin-nipping species such as serpae tetras.
  • Predatory fish including bettas, loaches, and pufferfish.
  • Crayfish or crabs over 2 inches long.
  • Shrimp-eating fish like bala sharks or bichirs.
  • Invertebrates vulnerable to being eaten like marine shrimp or snails.
  • Tropical species requiring different water parameters.

The above organisms may attack, injure, or devour ghost shrimp, especially juveniles. Make sure any community tank inhabitants match the ghost shrimp’s peaceful temperament and freshwater habitat.

Now that you know what makes the ideal and unsuitable tank mates let’s recap ghost shrimp’s care needs and community aquarium guidelines.

Summary of Ghost Shrimp Care & Compatible Tank Mates

Here are the key points to remember when selecting ghost shrimp tank mates:

  • Provide a 10+ gallon aquarium with sandy substrate and plenty of hiding spots.
  • Maintain warm (65-75°F), moderately hard, neutral pH fresh water.
  • Choose small, peaceful community fish like tetras, rasboras, gouramis, and catfish.
  • Add shrimp, snails, dwarf crayfish, aquatic frogs, small turtles, or newts.
  • Plant the tank densely using moss, ferns, stem plants, and floating varieties.
  • Avoid housing ghost shrimp with large, aggressive fish or invertebrate predators.

Follow these tips and populate your aquarium with compatible ghost shrimp tank mates. Soon you’ll have a lively community tank that thrives for years!

Frequently Asked Questions About Ghost Shrimp Tank Mates

Can ghost shrimp live with betta fish?

Ghost shrimp and bettas can coexist peacefully with plenty of hiding spots. However, bettas may attack shrimplets or harass adults. Use caution and have backup housing available.

What fish go well with ghost shrimp?

Small, peaceful community fish like tetras, rasboras, danios, white cloud minnows, guppies, and dwarf cichlids are safe options. Avoid fin nippers and large/aggressive fish.

Can you keep ghost shrimp with cherry shrimp?

Yes, ghost and cherry shrimp are compatible and make excellent tank mates. Having both shrimp species adds diversity and interesting colors.

Are ghost shrimp and Amano shrimp compatible?

Definitely. Peaceful Amano shrimp have similar care needs and behaviors. Their larger size and different colors complement ghost shrimp wonderfully.

Can crayfish live with ghost shrimp?

Some dwarf crayfish species like Mexican dwarf orange crayfish can coexist with ghost shrimp. Avoid large, aggressive varieties that may prey on shrimp. Monitor all crayfish carefully.

What animals eat ghost shrimp?

Ghost shrimp may prey to predatory aquarium inhabitants like dwarf pufferfish, bettas, cichlids, loaches, crabs, and large shrimp like macrobrachium.


Ghost shrimp thrive in community aquariums when provided with suitable tank mates. Following this guide, you now understand how to choose appropriate fish, invertebrates, plants, and tank conditions.

Use the species profiles, compatibility tips, and care guidelines to populate your ghost shrimp tank successfully. Soon you’ll have a diverse, tranquil community aquarium where your ghost shrimp and tank mates can flourish.