Ghost Shrimp and Betta – Can They Live Together?

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Bettas and ghost shrimp. Who would’ve thought that these two creatures could get along?

If you’ve been thinking about getting a ghost shrimp for your betta fish, you may be wondering if they can live together. The answer is yes, they can! In fact, many people believe that having a ghost shrimp in the tank can be beneficial for your betta. However, there are some caveats that you need to be aware of before deciding to add a ghost shrimp to your tank.

This article will cover everything you need to know about keeping bettas and ghost shrimp together. We’ll discuss the benefits of having a ghost shrimp in the tank, ways to help them get along, and more!

Do Bettas Attack Ghost Shrimp?

Let’s cut to the chase – the key question on everyone’s mind is whether or not bettas will attack and eat ghost shrimp. And you know what? This is a completely valid concern! Bettas aren’t all aggressive fish that will automatically pounce on anything that moves, but they are known to eat small fish and invertebrates.

The good news is that many bettas and ghost shrimp enjoy a peaceful coexistence with zero drama. However, each betta’s compatibility with shrimp will differ based on their temperament. Those with a more relaxed personality are less likely to see ghost shrimp as a tasty snack, while more aggressive individuals may be more inclined to hunt them down.

ghost shrimp
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Generally speaking, however, bettas with their nutritional and dietary needs met are less likely to see ghost shrimp as a viable food source. Female betta fish are also typically more docile than their male counterparts, making them better candidates for living with ghost shrimp. Keep an eye on things and be prepared to remove the shrimp if you are dealing with aggressive betta behavior.

Are Ghost Shrimp Safe for Bettas?

As for whether or not ghost shrimp are safe for bettas, the answer is a resounding yes! These little guys pose absolutely no threat to your betta fish, and will not harm them in any way. As long as you provide adequate space for your betta and ghost shrimp to coexist peacefully, they should get along just fine.

The only thing you need to be aware of is that ghost shrimp are very active little creatures. They are constantly on the move and love to explore their surroundings, which can sometimes startle bettas. If your betta seems stressed or unnerved by the ghost shrimp’s activity, you may want to consider keeping them in separate tanks.

Benefits Of Adding Ghost Shrimp To Betta Tanks

So, now that we know that bettas and ghost shrimp can safely coexist, what are the benefits of adding ghost shrimp to a betta tank?

Well, for starters, the colorless ghost shrimp makes a fantastic tank mate for bettas because they are very peaceful and low-maintenance. They don’t require much in the way of care or attention, and are content to just sit back and watch the world go by. This is ideal for bettas, who appreciate having calm and relaxed tank mates.

Another great thing about ghost shrimp is that they are some of the best-known tank cleaners in the fishkeeping world. These little guys love to munch on algae and leftover food, which do wonders for your fish tank ecosystem. Not only will this help to keep your tank clean and tidy, but it will also provide a nutritious meal for your ghost shrimp.

Last but not least, the ideal tank conditions for ghost shrimp are very similar to those that bettas need to thrive. Both species prefer warm water with a neutral pH level, so there’s no need to make any major changes to your tank setup. As long as your betta tank is already set up and running smoothly, adding ghost shrimp should be a breeze.

Tips For Keeping Ghost Shrimp And Bettas Together

Okay, so we’ve established that bettas and ghost shrimp can live harmoniously together. But if you’re going to keep these two species together in the same tank, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

Ensure Your Tank Is Large Enough

We’re putting the most important factor first – please make sure your tank size is adequate before adding ghost shrimp! These little creatures are very active and need plenty of space to move around. And when you consider the fact that you need a 5-gallon tank for just a lone betta fish, it’s pretty obvious that you’ll need a larger tank if you intend to house shrimp and bettas together.

A “large tank” isn’t just about the gallons of water, either. The horizontal space in your tank is just as important, if not more so. This is because shrimp spend all their time crawling around on the tank floor, rather than swimming through the water column. So, to give each shrimp sufficient space, you’ll need to ensure your tank is long and wide enough.

When keeping beginner shrimp and fish together, it’s easy to forget that hardy aquatic creatures have specific needs, too. In this case, you’ll need to provide your shrimp and bettas with ample space to swim, hide, and explore. Doing so allows everyone to have personal space, which helps reduce stress levels and maintain tank harmony.

Maintain Ideal Tank Conditions

test strips

Choosing the right tank size is only half the battle – you also need to ensure the water conditions in your tank are just right. As we mentioned earlier, bettas and ghost shrimp prefer warm water with a neutral pH level. This means that your water conditions should be between 76 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit, and have a pH level of around 7.0.

In addition, you need to test nitrite and ammonia levels regularly. Both of these toxins can be lethal to shrimp and bettas alike, so it’s important to keep an eye on them. Even a mild spike in ammonia or nitrite levels can be a bad sign or a tell-tale indicator of an unhealthy environment. So, if you notice either of these toxins rising, take action immediately to rectify the situation.

At the end of the day, maintaining tank conditions, much like maintaining a car, is about making an effort on a proactive and consistent basis. Simple things, such as removing extra food and dead plants whenever you see them, can make all the difference in keeping your tank clean and your shrimp and bettas healthy.

Invest In A Good Filter

Here’s the deal – filters are easily one of the most important of the myriad of tank accessories on the market – especially when you’re keeping shrimp and fish together. Every tank setup that features shrimp and fish should have a good filter installed, as this will help keep the water column clean and free of toxins.

Aquarium filter

Not all filters are created equal, and we recommend investing in a quality canister filter for your shrimp and betta tank. Canister filters are powerful, efficient, and relatively easy to maintain. They will remove food particles, waste, and toxins from your tank, while also aerating the water and providing much-needed filtration.

Additionally, sponge filters are also a good option for shrimp and betta tanks. These filters are hung on the back of the tank and work by drawing water through a sponge, which traps debris and toxins. Ensure that the filter intake is covered with a sponge or mesh screen, as shrimp are notorious for getting sucked into filter intakes and dying.

Create Lots of Hiding Places

Did you know that bettas hail from the rice paddies of Southeast Asia? As a result, they are used to living in waters with plenty of hiding places and aquatic plants. In the wild, bettas will hide among the roots of any natural plant in their vicinity, or perch upon a leaf close to the water’s surface when they need a break.

Some good beginner aquarium plants for shrimp and betta tanks include java fern, anubias, and hornwort. All of these plants are tough, can tolerate a wide range of water conditions, and will provide your shrimp and bettas with plenty of places to hide. Artificial plants are okay too, as long as you avoid sharp-edged plastic plants that may hurt your pets.

Additionally, you can also create hiding spots out of driftwood decorations and rocks. These hiding spots aren’t just great for bettas – they’re also perfect for shrimp, who love to hide away from potential predators. Those little guys are so skittish!

Heat Your Water

aquarium temperature

One of the greatest parts of keeping ghost shrimp and bettas together is that you can set up a beautiful, warm tropical tank. As we mentioned earlier, both of these creatures prefer tropical water temperatures between 76 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. This means you can set up your tank with all the trappings of a tropical oasis, complete with plants, driftwood, and colorful gravel.

Of course, to maintain these warm water temperatures, you’ll need to invest in a good aquarium heater. We recommend choosing a fully submersible heater with an adjustable thermostat. This will allow you to easily maintain the ideal water temperature for your shrimp and bettas, while also providing you with peace of mind that your tank isn’t getting too hot or cold.

Great! Now that we’ve gone over some of the basics of setting up a shrimp and betta tank, it’s time to talk about food.

Feeding Guide

Feeding bettas and shrimp together can be a bit of a balancing act. On the one hand, you have opportunistic bettas that will outcompete shrimp for food. And on the other hand, you have shy and retiring shrimp that need to be able to eat in peace. So, how can you make sure everyone gets enough to eat?

The key is providing various food sources that both shrimp and bettas can access. Think about it this way – if there’s only one food source, the bettas will eat their fill, and the shrimp will be left hungry. However, with multiple food sources, everyone can enjoy a high-quality diet without fighting with one another. That said, here are the three main food sources you can use:

Floating Betta Fish Pellets

Mix fishing bait pellets.

The case for floating pellets is simple. A hungry betta is a betta that will eat almost anything in sight – including shrimp. So, you want to make sure they’re getting enough to eat. Floating pellets are great because shrimp are bottom feeders and rarely venture to the top of the tank. As a result, your bettas will be able to eat their fill without worrying about shrimp stealing their food.

In addition, bettas thrive on a balanced diet that includes plenty of proteins and nutrients. The professionally formulated, quality betta flakes you find on the market are well-suited to the needs of bettas and will help keep them healthy and strong. Just be sure to follow the feeding instructions on the packaging, and feed them food portions that they can eat in 2-3 minutes.

Sinking Shrimp Pellets

On the other hand, you also want to make sure your shrimp are getting enough to eat. The best way to do this is by providing them with sinking pellets that they can graze on throughout the day. This is especially important in tanks containing bettas, because it ensures your ghost shrimp aren’t being outcompeted for food.

Bettas are top-feeders that don’t usually venture to the bottom of the tank, so your shrimp should be able to eat their fill without any problems. Just be sure to pick something that’s of good quality. Ghost shrimp don’t have a complex diet, but they still need a nutritious food source that contains all the necessary nutrients and vitamins.

Live Food Sources

Another great way to ensure everyone’s getting enough to eat is by providing live food sources. This can be anything from brine shrimp to bloodworms. The benefit of a live food source is that it’s an easy way to get both bettas and shrimp to eat their fill.

Live food ( eg. Mealworm)

Bettas are notoriously greedy eaters that will go after anything that moves. As a result, they’ll have no problem going after live food sources. And shrimp are opportunistic feeders that will graze on anything they can find. So, adding some live food treats to their diet is a great way to make sure everyone’s getting enough to eat.

Of course, the issue with live food is that it can be expensive and difficult to keep stocked. As a result, it’s not always the most practical option for everyone. Thankfully, freeze-dried and frozen food sources work just as well. Just make sure to rehydrate them before feeding, so your shrimp and bettas can easily digest them.

How To Keep A Molting Ghost Shrimp Safe

We’ve included this section on keeping your ghost shrimp safe during molting, because bettas are known to be opportunistic feeders that will take advantage of a shrimp in this vulnerable state.

As you probably know, molting is a complicated process where shrimp shed their old exoskeleton and grow a new one. It’s a necessary part of their growth cycle but makes them vulnerable to predators. This is because their new exoskeleton is soft and hardening, making them easy to catch and eat.

So, if you have a betta in your shrimp tank, it’s important to take some precautions to ensure they don’t take advantage of a molting shrimp. One good way to do this is by creating hiding spots and plants for your shrimp to take refuge in when they’re molting. This will give them a safe place to hide until their new exoskeleton is hard and they’re no longer vulnerable.

You can also remove bettas from the tank while the molting process occurs. Place them in a separate tank or container, and don’t put them back until you’re sure the shrimp are safe. This might not be practical for everyone, but it’s the best way to ensure your shrimp remain safe during this vulnerable time.

The Takeaway

In conclusion, ghost shrimp and bettas can live together in the same tank as long as you take some precautions. Be sure to keep everyone well-fed and maintain proper water parameters so that everyone can stay healthy and happy. And please, take care of your shrimp when it is molting.

Once you get these basics down, you should have no problem keeping shrimp and bettas together in the same tank. Just be sure to provide everyone with the care and attention they need, and you’ll all be happy and healthy in no time!

Have you ever kept ghost shrimp and bettas together in the same tank? Let us know in the comments below!

Wanda is a second-generation aquarist from the sunny tropics of Malaysia. She has been helping her father with his freshwater tanks since she was a toddler, and has fallen in love with the hobby ever since. A perpetual nomad, Wanda does her best to integrate fish-keeping with her lifestyle, and has taken care of fish in three different continents. She loves how it provides a nice break from the hustle and bustle of life.

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