Are Bettas and Ghost Shrimps Good Tank Mates?

Betta fish and ghost shrimps, do they make good companions? The answer is more complex than a simple yes or no. 

In some cases, ghost shrimps are great for aquariums with Betta fish. They’re easy to care for, and serve as a cleaning crew, eating the leftover food. They also don’t require any special food or conditions because they’ll eat almost anything you feed your Betta fish.

That doesn’t mean that ghost shrimps are truly good companions for bettas though.

ghost shrimp swimming

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at:

  • What ghost shrimps are
  • Ghost shrimps as tank mates for bettas
  • Keeping ghost shrimps safe from bettas

What Are Ghost Shrimps?

Ghost Shrimps are small shrimp often used in fish tanks. They are transparent, easy to take care of, and cheap to buy. They are used both as aquarium inhabitants and as live feed for bigger fish.

The scientific name is Palaemonetes and are also referred to as glass shrimp and feeder shrimp.

Ghost shrimp grow to around 1 1/2 to 2 inches long. If you have a fish, the little shrimp will feed on food leftovers. They will also eat dead plants, algae, and other organic material.

They are an ideal tank cleaner.

They grow fast, have a healthy appetite and live for around 12 months.

Are Ghost Shrimp Good Tank Mates For Betta Fish?

More often than not, ghost shrimps and betta fish don’t make great companions. Shrimp are invertebrates, and bettas are carnivores. This means that betta fish will invariably interpret ghost shrimp as a food source. 

Granted, ghost shrimp are too large for your betta to eat whole, but they’ll happily nip off antennae, legs, and any other part of the shrimp they can fit into their mouths.

Some people say that ghost shrimp are ideal tank mates for Betta, and have great success keeping them together. They’ll tell you that your Betta and your shrimp will probably ignore each other.

It’s not impossible to keep them together. It’s entirely possible that they’ll get along fine as long as you provide them both with enough space, good hiding places, and plenty of feeding.

That said, it’s the exception, not necessarily the rule. I’ve had ten gallon tanks filled with plants, and still had bettas eat bits off the shrimp. It very much depends on how voracious your betta is, and how good your shrimp are at hiding. 

What Size Tanks Do You Need For Betta And Ghost Shrimps?

The minimum tank size for a Betta is 5 gallons. Ghost Shrimp are much smaller and require far less space. Putting a few shrimps with your Betta will require around a 10-gallon tank.

This way, if all goes well, they can live together without your Betta fish harassing them.

How Do Ghost Shrimps Spend Their Time?

Ghost shrimp tend to be consistently on the move. They spend plenty of time hiding, and the rest of the time they move around looking for food. 

What Does A Ghost Shrimp Eat?

Ghost shrimp is known as an omnivorous creature. They eat both plant and animal-derived food. They are capable of eating most types of freshwater fish food, but they also eat leftover fish food.

Like all animals, they need a varied diet for optimal health. If there is not enough food available, ghost shrimp might also eat fish poop that has accumulated in the tank. Fish poop contains undigested nutrients.

What Are The Ideal Temperature And Water Acidity For Bettas And Ghost Shrimps?

The Betta fish’s ideal temperature of 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit is perfect for your shrimps too.

The perfect pH range would be anywhere from seven-point five up to eight-point three.

Generally speaking, anything within the neutral range will work.

How Do I Keep My Ghost Shrimps Safe From My Bettas?

While it isn’t always possible to keep your ghost shrimps safe from your betta fish, there are a few things you can do to help them. For instance:

  • Feed your Betta regularly with high-quality, healthy food so that it isn’t hungry all the time.
  • Use sinking pellets for bottom feeders so your shrimps can get to their food without having to escape from hiding.
  • Have plenty of hiding place for your shrimps, including ornaments and bushy plants.

Bear in mind that your betta is unlikely to get injured if it does eat the shrimp. That said, you don’t really want to keep buying shrimps to replace the ones your betta ate.

What Is The Best Hiding Place For A Ghost Shrimp?

Plants, rocks, caves, wood, and other ornaments make great hiding places for your shrimp. Bushy plants, like cabomba, and dense plants like Amazon sword are excellent options. 

I’ve also had great success with using a layer of marbles on the substrate. It gives shrimp a place to hide, and also increases the chances that you’ll successfully get baby shrimps. 

Ghost shrimps are particularly vulnerable when they molt (shed their shell to grow a new one).

This is the time when your shrimp is particularly vulnerable and will be hiding until it grows a new shell.

How Do You Introduce A Few Ghost Shrimp Into Your Betta Tank?

Betta fish can be strongly territorial, and may act aggressively towards any newcomer.

A good idea is to place your Betta in a mesh divider (or something of the sort) for a day, introduce the shrimps and then reintroduce your fish the next day. This will allow the shrimp to find convenient hiding places before dealing with your bettas again.

About the author

Hi, I am Alex.
My passion is aquariums. I am especially drawn to betta fish. I love experimenting, learning, researching, and writing about them.

You can find the articles I wrote here

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