Both the Ghost Shrimp and Amano Shrimp inhabit freshwater. Your aquarium must have the proper conditions to accommodate their needs. The two species have adaptive strategies in the wild, even though they live in different places and habitats.
Both species are popular in the pet trade. They are inexpensive and make interesting additions to your tank. There are several considerations to keep in mind to make sure they do well.
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At a Glance
Ghost Shrimp Pet Breed Overview
The primary differences between the two species are their native habitats. Otherwise, both are prey species, and both are in the Decapoda order, which includes crabs and crayfish. The Ghost Shrimp is part of the Palaemonidae family, which lives in both fresh and saltwater.
The Ghost Shrimp is an opportunistic omnivore, which means that they’ll eat whatever they can find, including detritus. You may also hear this species referred to as the Eastern Grass Shrimp or Gass Shrimp. The latter is in reference to its clear color, which acts as camouflage. The see-through appearance allows the shrimp to blend in with its surroundings!
Native Habitat and Status
The Ghost Shrimp (Palaemonetes paludosus) is a North American species that lives in the southeastern United States. It occupies a good chunk of the country in the inland wetlands, up into the Midwest. It is a species of least concern, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Its numbers in the wild are stable.
Its primary use in the United States outside of the pet trade is for fish bait. However, this hasn’t impacted the population negatively. It is a nocturnal species, which isn’t unusual for prey animals. That, combined with its clear body, gives it a vital survival edge. However, its importance in the wild can’t be overemphasized, with some scientists considering it as a keystone species that is critical to a habitat.
The Ghost Shrimp is a freshwater species that can tolerate slightly brackish conditions. The water that it may inhabit will likely have decaying vegetation that can alter its chemistry. In captivity, a well-stocked tank should have hiding places to give the shrimp areas to explore. This animal is relatively active for an invertebrate, even though it is nocturnal.
Larger Ghost Shrimp can be less tolerant of other bottom feeders. You should always feed them sinking foods because they don’t venture to the higher levels of an aquarium. They will scavenge any leftovers from other fish in the tank. However, it’s still essential to siphon out any uneaten food to maintain optimal water quality and prevent spikes in toxins that could adversely affect them and other tank mates.
The best scenario for Ghost Shrimp is a tank with top and middle-level fish that are peaceful and will keep to themselves. This species isn’t aggressive by any means. It is perfectly happy to live life alone, without any other tank mates. However, these are interesting creatures that make welcome additions to any aquarium with suitable conditions. Your kids will love watching them walk around in the tank.
Amano Shrimp Pet Breed Overview
The Amano Shrimp (Caridina multidentata) is part of the ubiquitous family Atyidae. It is in both temperate and tropical waters, which accounts for its widespread presence. This species calls Japan and Taiwan its home. You may see it called Japanese Shrimp or Yamato Shrimp. It uses a similar camouflage strategy as the Ghost Shrimp, although it has a few markings to add to its effects.
These shrimp are more active when the water is warm, not unlike many aquatic organisms. They are omnivores and will readily accept many different foods. They are a bit more resilient than Ghost Shrimp and will live longer, given the right conditions. That’s due in part to the wider range of habitats from which the species evolved.
Native Habitat and Status
The Amano Shrimp is tolerant of less-than-ideal water conditions, which is typical of species that live in shallow, slow-moving waters. Like other invertebrates, they cannot tolerate salt because it’s not something that they would encounter in their native habitats. The plants of their habitats share a similar intolerance.
An aquarium with slow-moving water is best for any invertebrates. They hang out at the bottom of the tank and don’t benefit from fast-moving water. It makes it easier for them to scavenge too. The Amano Shrimp is a tolerant animal that will take care of the conditions that could make it harder for it to survive.
The requirements for the Amano Shrimp are similar to those for Ghost Shrimp. The primary differences entail size. Since it’s bigger, this species can live with larger fish. They are peaceful and will do an excellent job of scavenging with a backup crew of catfish. Some people could make an argument that the Amano Shrimp is more visible with its coloration. Otherwise, its behavior is similar.
Which Species Is Right for You?
The deciding factor is size. Ghost Shrimp are much smaller than Amano Shrimp. That can put them on the menu of larger fish. Both species can add interest to a tank. The concern is whether they can survive with tank mates. Both are docile and won’t harass others in the aquarium. Ghost Shrimp are considerably less expensive and more readily available. However, either can be a welcome addition.
Feature Image Credit: Grigorev Mikhail – Shutterstock, Dan Olsen – Shutterstock