Do Ghost Shrimp Lay Eggs: What to Expect and What to Do?

Do ghost shrimp lay eggs? Have you ever wondered if your curious little ghost shrimp can lay eggs? Or you may have noticed some little green dots around your aquarium resembling eggs and are wondering what to do next.

Well, you’re not alone! Many fish keepers have questions about the breeding habits of these fascinating crustaceans.

In this blog post, we’ll explore whether ghost shrimp lay eggs, what to expect while breeding ghost shrimp, and what you should do if you find yourself with a pregnant ghost shrimp.

how big do ghost shrimp get

So, please relax, and let’s dive into the world of ghost shrimp reproduction!

What Are Ghost Shrimp?

Ghost shrimp are part of the crustacean family and belong to the order Decapoda. They are relatively small, typically growing up to 2 inches long.

Their translucent bodies allow you to observe their internal organs, making them a popular choice among aquarium enthusiasts. Ghost shrimp are generally peaceful creatures and can coexist with other non-aggressive fish species.

Do Ghost Shrimp Lay Eggs or Live Birth?

Does shrimp lay eggs? Yes, ghost shrimp lay eggs. Pregnant ghost shrimp typically attach their eggs to their pleopods, or swimmerets, under the abdomen. Each female can lay anywhere from 20-30 eggs at one time.

Ghost shrimp pregnancy
Ghost shrimp pregnancy

It usually takes around 50 hours for the fertilized eggs to hatch after they are laid, and it has been observed that some female ghost shrimps carry the hatched larvae on their backs until they become juvenile (or sub-adult)ghost shrimps in a matter of days. 

To ensure that these fragile larvae and newborn ghost shrimp survive to adulthood, ghost shrimp mothers guard them vigilantly as other aquatic predators pose a severe threat at this early stage of life for the baby ghost shrimp.

The mother’s attention spans decrease over time as her babies grow more extensive and capable of surviving independently.

Eventually, she is freed up to continue her usual activities when all her offspring have successfully reached sub-adult size and capability. It is an impressive handiwork, as both parents are essential in ensuring successful breeding.

While male ghost shrimps provide sperm storage directly after mating with a female, females work hard to protect and nurture fertilized embryos and release newly hatched larvae into safe waters free from predation so that successive generations may thrive!

How to Know If Your Ghost Shrimp Has Eggs?

Pregnant female ghost shrimp typically carry their eggs in a sac under their abdomen. The sac can be seen as a yellowish or greenish mass and may be visible through the shrimp’s translucent body.

To check if your shrimp has eggs, gently pick it up and look at its underside. If you see a sac-like structure, the shrimp is likely carrying eggs.

It’s essential to be careful when handling the shrimp, as they are delicate and can easily be injured or killed. Ensure your hands are clean and your movements are slow and gentle.

Once you have confirmed that your glass shrimp has eggs, leaving her alone is best to let the eggs hatch naturally. Ghost shrimp larvae are tiny and delicate and require specific survival conditions.

If you want to raise shrimp larvae, you must do some research and provide them with the appropriate environment and food.

What Does a Pregnant Ghost Shrimp Look Like?

How to tell if your ghost shrimp is pregnant? Ghost shrimp, or glass shrimp, are typically transparent or translucent, making it difficult to see any physical changes during pregnancy.

However, a few signs may indicate that a ghost shrimp is pregnant. One of the most remarkable changes that can occur is the development of a “gravid spot,” which appears as a dark patch near the shrimp’s tail.

This spot is a mass of eggs the shrimp carries inside her body. As the eggs develop, the gravid spot may become more pronounced and darker in color.

Another sign of ghost shrimp pregnancy is if the female becomes more rounded. This can be difficult to discern, but with careful observation, you may notice a slight bulge in the shrimp’s abdomen.

It’s important to note that not all female ghost shrimp will become pregnant, and even if they do, it can be challenging to detect. However, if you suspect that your ghost shrimp is pregnant, providing her with plenty of hiding places and a healthy diet to support her developing eggs is a good idea.

The Reproductive Process of Ghost Shrimp

Pregnant ghost shrimp stages: Ghost shrimp are oviparous, meaning they are egg layers. Females typically deposit their eggs in an aquarium area with a current, such as a filter output or a room with solid circulation.

The male then fertilizes the eggs and becomes attached to vegetation or other surfaces in the aquarium. The eggs will remain stuck for approximately 10 to 12 days, during which time they will develop and hatch into larvae.

Mating Behavior

How do ghost shrimp reproduce? Ghost shrimp reproduce sexually; male and female ghost shrimp are required for successful reproduction. Mating usually occurs when the female molts her exoskeleton, signaling her readiness to mate.

The male shrimp then releases sperm, which the female collects using specialized swimmerets. Once fertilization takes place, the female carries the eggs until they are released.

Egg Development

After mating, the female ghost shrimp develops eggs internally. The eggs are initially small and difficult to detect, but they gradually grow in size as the embryos develop. It is essential to provide the proper conditions for the eggs’ development to ensure the health and survival of the offspring.

Egg Hatching

When the eggs are fully developed, the pregnant ghost shrimp will lay them. The eggs are typically attached to the swimmerets on the underside of the mother shrimp’s abdomen. Once applied, the eggs are vulnerable and require special care to increase the chances of successful hatching.

Here are a few critical matters to remember when caring for pregnant ghost shrimp:

  • Provide plenty of hiding spots for the female ghost shrimp to lay her eggs.
  • Stable water conditions are essential for successful egg development.
  • Avoid overcrowding the aquarium and allow plenty of space for the larvae to develop and grow.
  • Once the larvae are free-swimming, feed them baby brine shrimp, liquid fry food, or other small food sources.
  • Remove any dead or diseased larvae from the aquarium to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Feeding your pregnant ghost shrimp a variety of nutritious foods

What to Do If You Find Ghost Shrimp Eggs?

Finding ghost shrimp eggs in your aquarium can be exciting, but knowing what to do next is essential.

The first step is to isolate the pregnant ghost shrimp. This will help protect her eggs from being eaten by other tank mates, and predatory fish and will ensure that the eggs remain attached to a safe surface.

Once the eggs have been laid, providing the right environment for them to develop is essential. The water parameters should be kept stable, and any uneaten food or debris should be removed to prevent the spread of disease.

Finally, once the larvae have hatched, they should be fed small food sources such as baby brine shrimp or other microscopic foods. The ghost shrimp will survive and thrive in your aquarium with proper care and attention!

What to Do if Your Shrimp Lay Eggs

If your pregnant ghost shrimp has laid eggs and you wish to increase the chances of survival for the offspring, here are some steps you can take:

Separating the Eggs from the Adult Shrimp

It is advisable to separate the eggs from the adult ghost shrimp. To ensure the highest survival rate, Gently remove the eggs by carefully cutting the attachment point using a clean, sharp tool. Handle the eggs with extreme care to avoid damaging them.

Setting up a Separate Rearing Tank

After separating the eggs, set up a breeding tank to provide the ideal conditions for the shrimp eggs to hatch and the larvae to develop.

The rearing tank should be appropriately sized and equipped with a sponge or air-driven filter to maintain water circulation without creating strong currents that could harm the delicate hatchlings.

Fill the breeding tank with aged or conditioned water from the main aquarium to ensure similar water quality and temperature. Maintaining stable water conditions is essential to support the eggs’ development and subsequent hatching.

Feeding the Hatched Shrimp

Ghost shrimp are omnivorous and can be fed a variety of foods. Once the eggs hatch, the tiny ghost shrimp larvae will emerge. They are slim at this stage and require specific food to survive and grow. Infusoria, microscopic algae, and specialized liquid or powdered fry food can serve as suitable food sources for the young shrimp.

Ensure the rearing tank has an adequate food supply for the developing larvae. Gradually introduce small amounts of food multiple times daily to provide a continuous food source.

How to Know When My Shrimp Is About to Give Birth?

There are a few significant red flags that can indicate when your shrimp is about to give birth:

  • Gravid Spot: The most obvious sign that your shrimp is about to give birth is the appearance of a large, dark spot on its abdomen, known as the “gravid spot.” This spot is the developing eggs visible through the shrimp’s exoskeleton.
  • Behavior: Pregnant shrimp may exhibit unusual behavior, such as hiding more often or becoming more active than usual. They may also be seen carrying a cluster of eggs under their tail.
  • Clearer Abdomen: As the eggs inside the shrimp mature, the gravid spot may become less distinct, and the shrimp’s abdomen may appear more transparent and translucent. This is because the eggs are becoming more evident as they near hatching.
  • Molt: Shrimp will molt their exoskeletons periodically, and pregnant ghost shrimp may lose shortly before giving birth. This is because the shrimp must shed its old exoskeleton to make room for the eggs and their baby ghost shrimp.
  • Time Frame: The gestation period can vary from three weeks to three months, depending on the shrimp species. If you know the species of your shrimp, you can estimate when it may be due to give birth based on the typical gestation period.

Remember that not all pregnant ghost shrimp will display all these signs, and some may not show any symptoms before giving birth. However, observing your shrimp regularly and looking for changes in behavior or appearance can help you anticipate when your shrimp is about to give birth.

How Does Ghost Shrimp Lay Eggs?

Once the eggs have developed within the body of a female ghost shrimp, the mother ghost shrimp will release them into the water in a process known as spawning.

A male ghost shrimp fertilize the eggs and then hatch into larvae which will keep developing in the breeding tank.

The female shrimp may repeat this process several times during her lifetime, although it’s important to remember that ghost shrimp do not live for very long—usually only one to two years.

For this reason, it’s essential to take good care of your female ghost shrimp so that she can lay eggs for as long as possible. Provide plenty of food, oxygen, and a clean environment to help keep your shrimp healthy and boost her reproductive capabilities.

Where Do Ghost Shrimp Lay Their Eggs?

Ghost shrimp typically lay their eggs in a sheltered, protected aquarium area. This could be among live plants or décor, near the substrate, or on the walls of the aquarium.

You may also find eggs attached to surfaces within the community tank, such as driftwood or rocks. Once the eggs have been laid, providing the proper environmental conditions to support the eggs’ development and subsequent hatching is essential.

How Long Does Ghost Shrimp Eggs Take to Hatch?

Ghost shrimp eggs typically hatch around 14 to 21 days, depending on the water temperature and other environmental factors.

The female shrimp carry the eggs in a sac under her abdomen until they hatch into tiny larvae, drifting in the water column for some days before settling to the bottom and becoming juvenile shrimp.

Keeping the water clean and well-oxygenated during the hatching period is essential to ensure the best possible survival rate for the larvae. Ghost shrimp are fascinating creatures to observe, and watching the hatching process can be a rewarding experience for aquarium enthusiasts.

How to identify if your ghost shrimp is pregnant?

Identifying whether your ghost shrimp is pregnant can be challenging, mainly because the eggs are often translucent and difficult to observe with the naked eye. However, there are some key signals you can look out for to determine if your ghost shrimp is carrying eggs:

  1. Abdomen enlargement: A pregnant ghost shrimp will have a noticeably larger abdomen than male or non-pregnant ghost shrimps. The swelling is caused by the developing eggs inside.
  2. Darkening of the abdomen: As the eggs mature, the belly of the female ghost shrimp may darken slightly. This change in coloration is often more visible in lighter-colored shrimp.
  3. Behavioral changes: Pregnant ghost shrimp may exhibit changes in behavior. They might become more reclusive or spend more time hiding in vegetation or other hiding spots. This behavior is an instinct to protect their eggs.

Remember that these signs are not always definitive, as individual ghost shrimp stay pregnant and may exhibit variations in appearance and behavior. The best way to confirm if your shrimp is pregnant is by observing the presence of eggs.

What to Expect When Shrimp Lay Eggs?

It can be a rewarding experience when your ghost shrimp lays eggs. Here’s what you can expect during the egg-laying process:

Number of eggs

Ghost shrimp can lay a substantial number of eggs in a single clutch. Depending on the shrimp size and maturity of the female shrimp, a grip can contain anywhere from 20 to 50 eggs or even more. The exact number can vary between individuals.

Incubation Period

The incubation period for ghost shrimp eggs typically ranges from two to three weeks. However, environmental factors such as temperature can influence the duration. Warmer water temperatures generally accelerate the incubation process, while cooler temperatures can extend it slightly.

Appearance and Care of the Eggs

Ghost shrimp eggs are small and translucent, resembling tiny grains of rice. They are usually attached to the swimmerets on the female ghost shrimp’s abdomen. The eggs are delicate and require a stable environment to thrive.

During this period, providing the necessary care is crucial to ensure the best chance of hatching. Maintain a stable water temperature and quality, as fluctuations can harm the eggs’ development. Additionally, consider providing hiding spots in the aquarium where the female shrimp can seek refuge, protecting the eggs from potential predators.

Caring for Ghost Shrimp Eggs

Caring for ghost shrimp eggs requires attention to detail and specific conditions. Here are some essential matters to help you provide the best care for the eggs:

Maintaining water conditions

Water quality is vital for the survival of ghost shrimp eggs. Keep the water clean and well-filtered, as pollutants or high ammonia levels can harm the eggs. Perform regular water tests and maintain appropriate parameters for temperature, ph level, and ammonia levels.

Providing hiding spots

Creating hiding spots in the aquarium is crucial for pregnant ghost shrimp. Dense aquatic plants, small caves, or other structures can serve as hiding places for the female shrimp to protect her eggs. These hiding spots also provide a sense of security and help reduce stress.

Protecting eggs from predators

Ghost shrimp eggs are susceptible to predation by other tank inhabitants. If you have fish or giant shrimp in the same aquarium, consider separating the pregnant ghost shrimp breeding tank or providing a separate breeding tank. This isolation will prevent other inhabitants from eating the eggs or harming the young ghost shrimp.

Commonly Asked Questions about Ghost Shrimp Eggs Hatching (FAQs)

How often do ghost shrimps Lay eggs?

How often do ghost shrimps Lay eggs?

Can you breed ghost shrimp in a regular aquarium?

Yes, it is possible to breed ghost shrimps in a regular aquarium. However, ensuring the survival of the offspring might be more challenging due to potential predation from other tank inhabitants. Setting up a separate ghost shrimp breeding tank can increase the chances of success.

Do all female shrimp Lay eggs?

No, not all female ghost shrimp will lay eggs. Some may not reach sexual maturity or may not have mated successfully.

How long do shrimp eggs to hatching take?

Ghost shrimp eggs typically take around two to three weeks to hatch. The incubation period can vary regarding the water temperature and the individual shrimp.

What do baby ghost shrimp eat?

Baby Ghost shrimps, also known as larvae, initially feed on microscopic organisms like infusoria and microscopic algae. Their diet can be supplemented with specialized liquid or powdered ghost shrimp fry food to support their development as they grow.

How to tell if ghost shrimp eggs are fertilized?

Look for a small black dot inside each egg to tell if ghost shrimp eggs are fertilized. This is the developing embryo, indicating that a male shrimp have fertilized the egg. Unfertilized eggs will be clear and won’t have bright green eggs or a visible embryo.

What do Ghost Shrimp Eggs Look Like?

Ghost shrimp eggs are small and round, measuring about 1-2 millimeters in diameter. They are usually translucent or light green dots and may appear slightly yellowish or brown when ready to hatch. 

How many eggs do Ghost shrimp lay?

How many babies do they have? Ghost shrimp can lay hundreds of eggs at a time. The exact number of eggs can vary regarding the age and size of the female shrimp, as well as other environmental components such as water quality and temperature.

What do Baby Ghost Shrimp Eat?

Baby ghost shrimp, known as larvae, feed on microscopic organisms like infusoria and microscopic algae. Their diet can be supplemented with high-quality shrimp flakes, specialized liquid, or powdered shrimp fry food to support their development as they grow.

Do Ghost Shrimp Die After Laying Eggs?

No, Ghost shrimp do not die after laying eggs. They can continue to lay eggs multiple times throughout their lifespan, typically around 1-2 years in captivity.


Ghost shrimp breed is fascinating creatures, and witnessing the egg-laying process can be an exciting experience for aquarium enthusiasts. Understanding the reproductive behavior of ghost shrimp, identifying pregnant females, and providing appropriate care for the eggs are crucial steps in ensuring the successful hatching and survival of the offspring. By maintaining optimal water conditions, offering hiding spots, and separating the eggs when necessary, you can create a favorable environment for developing ghost shrimp eggs. If you’re fortunate enough to have your shrimp lay eggs, take the opportunity to learn from this natural process and enjoy the journey of raising the newborn shrimp. Proper care and attention will significantly enhance their chances of thriving in your aquarium.

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About Me

I am the founder of, a devoted wife and mother, and an avid fish enthusiast. My aim is to assist fellow fish lovers worldwide in understanding how to properly care for and breed their pet fish.

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