Shrimps can be great for any aquarium. If you are thinking of having a shrimp aquarium, you should consider having Amano shrimps or ghost shrimps. These two shrimp species are the best for aquariums compared to other shrimp species.
In this article, we shall look at the similarities and differences between Amano shrimps and Ghost shrimps. With this, you will be able to tell which one is more suitable for your aquarium needs.
Similarities and Differences between Amano Shrimps and Ghost Shrimps
The scientific name for Amano shrimp is Caridina multidentata. Amano shrimps can also be called by other names including the Japanese Amano shrimp, Caridina japonica, Japanese swamp shrimp, algae-eating shrimp Japonica Amano Shrimp, Yamato Numa Ebi Yamato Shrimp, and Japanese marsh shrimp.
The scientific name for Ghost shrimp is Palaemonetes paludosus. Ghost shrimps can also be called by other names including Glass shrimp or the Eastern glass shrimp.
It is important to consider the origin of both types of shrimps so that we can fully understand their differences.
Amano shrimps originated from Japan and Taiwan, countries in the Far East Ghost shrimps on the other hand originated from the waters of the Southern United States, in states east of the Appalachian Mountains like Florida and Louisiana.
Because of their diverse origins, these species of shrimps have naturally evolved to cope with their native ecosystems which are entirely different from each other. Despite this, both types of shrimp are classified in the same order of crustaceans but of different families.
In recent centuries, however, both species have been bred to be kept in aquariums. Thus, both species have become accustomed to aquarium life. Yet this has not entirely gotten rid of their differences.
Both Amano and Ghost shrimps are translucent in color. Because of this, it may be difficult to see their physical differences. Yet these two species have distinct signs that tell them apart
You can easily recognize an Amano shrimp because of the markings on its shell. Although generally translucent light grey the color of the Amano shrimp can include other shades like light brown-green, or light reddish-brown.
There are many solid dots and dashes that run the length of their bodies. The colors of these dots and dashes can be reddish-brown or grayish-blue. On their topside, they have a narrow lighter step that runs the length of their bodies.
Amano shrimps have two large eyes, long antennas, long nimble legs, and a tail that is wide and translucent. Their antennas grow outward from the sides of their heads starting below their eyes. They also have antennas that grow from the front of their heads in front of their eyes.
Ghost shrimps on the other hand are totally transparent. You will hardly see them in the water. This is the reason why they are also called glass shrimp.
Ghost shrimps are able to camouflage themselves by distorting the pigments of their skin to match the color of the background. This camouflage helps to protect them from predators. Thus, the name ghost shrimp.
Because of their transparent body, you can easily see their stomachs. In fact, you can literally see the food that they eat pass from the mouth to their stomach.
The ghost shrimp has a segmented body with 10 pairs of legs. The first four legs are used for feeding most of the time because of the tiny claws they contain.
Ghost shrimp shed their outer skeleton or molts every few months. The new skeleton must harden so that the shrimp will not be vulnerable to external elements. But until then they will tend to hide until the new skeleton is strong enough.
Amano shrimp molting happens once every five or six weeks. It is quite challenging to know when molting occurs especially when they are in a large group. You cannot easily tell which shrimp has molted and when after molting. Amano shrimp, like Ghost shrimp, will feel vulnerable so they hide a bit until their new shell is ready.
Differentiation of Gender
The gender of Amano shrimps is easier to tell than that of Ghost shrimps.
In order to distinguish a male Amano shrimp from a female, just look at their circular markings. The male Amano has a single row line of these markings while the female lines are longer. The male has rounded markings while the female has elongated markings.
While Ghost shrimp don’t have markings to identify them quickly, you can distinguish between male and female Ghost shrimps by checking the shape of their bellies. The male belly is slender while the female has a more rounded belly. Male Ghost shrimps are also more slanted in shape.
Adult Amano shrimp can grow up to two inches in size. The female Amano grows larger in size than the male Amano shrimp.
Ghost shrimps are slightly smaller and can grow up to 1 and a half inches in size. The female ghost shrimp can reach 1 and a half inches but the males don’t grow beyond 1 inch.
These shrimp sizes are their average sizes but variations can occur. In both species, the female will grow slightly larger than the males.
The behavior of both Amano shrimp and Ghost shrimp are very much similar. They are both relatively peaceable and tend to get along fine with other animals in a tank.
They are peaceable creatures because they are almost near the bottom of the food chain. In the wild, they tend to be on the river or stream bed. In aquariums, they typically feed on the bottom.
They can become aggressive, though. And this happens when the tank is overcrowded and during feeding time both shrimp species exhibit their greediness.
When not looking for food these shrimps are quite shy and won’t venture out unless they feel safe They sometimes play hide-and-seek among the plants in the fish tank. This is the reason why it is important to have a lot of plants and shrimp tubing in your tank.
Feeding these shrimps is relatively easy. Both Amano shrimp and Ghost shrimp eat more or less the same things. Most shrimps are opportunistic scavengers. They can look for their own food themselves.
If there is uneaten fish food on the bottom of the tank they will eat it. These fish food should be scooped out within 4 hours if uneaten, if there are small insects trapped in the tank they will also feed on them. But most of all they will eat algae.
Amano shrimp, especially, prefer to eat algae in your tank. This can help clean your tank and keep it in good condition. Although Ghost shrimps also eat algae, they prefer eating blood worms and other aquatic creatures.
Amano shrimp consume algae at a much faster rate than Ghost shrimp does. Ghost shrimp, however, can consume other unwanted elements in an aquarium faster than Amano shrimps can.
Both shrimp species also eat bodies of dead fish or shrimp found in the tank. But this can cause disease and parasites to spread in your tank. This is the reason why it is important to remove any dead fish from the tank as soon as possible.
Aside from these. Amano shrimps also eat edible matter shed by live aquarium plants They will eat dead plant matter that would otherwise accumulate on the bottom.
With this eating behavior, you don’t need to purchase any special food for these shrimps. But if you see that they are deficient in essential minerals then that is the only time to do so. If you want your shrimp to get a strong carapace when they molt then you can give them a diet rich in minerals.
Shrimp feeding can also include fish pellets, shrimp pellets algae wafers fish food flakes blanched spinach, and raw green zucchini.
The mating ritual of both shrimp species is very interesting. When the breeding time comes, male and female shrimp chase each other in what looks like a type of dance. Mating starts after the adult female has molted.
In general, it is more difficult to breed Amano shrimp than Ghost shrimp. The best way is to confine them to a single species tank for the duration of the breeding. Here they will feel safe and more at ease.
Amano shrimp should be transferred to an exclusive tank for breeding. Doing this will help them feel more secure to breed.
It is not easy to breed Amano shrimp In the wild, Amano shrimp morph in saltwater. In captivity, it is important to replicate these conditions as much as you can.
Wild Amano shrimp carry their eggs around under their bellies. When these eggs hatch they will be carried by the current to the mouth of the river where it meets the sea. It is in this salty seawater that the Amano larvae will spend their growing time until they become little shrimps.
Amano larvae take much longer to develop than Ghost shrimp larvae. Amano larvae also need to develop in saltwater. In a month’s, they will become little shrimp and will no longer be able to stand saltwater. They will then have to be slowly introduced to freshwater.
Although Ghost shrimps will breed in any aquarium they feel comfortable in, you can maximize your breeding success if you place them in a Ghost shrimp only tank. In this tank, the male and female shrimp will fertilize the egg, and when they hatch the female will feel safe enough to release her shrimplets into the tank.
Ghost shrimp larvae need to develop in freshwater. Shrimp larvae can find their own food themselves even without aid. But if you want to speed up their growth process, you can consider feeding them.
Before adding the baby shrimp to the main tank, it is best to allow them to grow to a good size so that they will not end up being helpless prey. Give them enough time to grow
To sum up, one of the major differences between Amano shrimp and Ghost shrimp is where they live when they are larvae. The type of water that the larvae need to grow and survive is different. It is saltwater for the Amano larvae and freshwater for the Ghost larvae.
There is a great difference between the lifespan of Amano shrimps and Ghost shrimps.
If Amano shrimps are well taken care of, they can live from 2 to 3 years. For a shrimp, this is a long lifespan. And during their stay in your aquarium, you will have a great helper in keeping your tank clean when they consume the algae in it.
Because of their long lifespan, most pet stores sell them at a higher price than Ghost shrimps.
Ghost shrimps on the other hand only live about a year in captivity. If you are on a tight budget. Ghost shrimps are a good option because they are sold in pet stores at a fraction of the price of Amano shrimps.
Amano shrimps and Ghost shrimps have different sizes. Because of this, you need to consider their different volume requirements. What is important for these shrimps is enough space to roam and feel comfortable. They also need enough space so that their nutritional needs will be adequately provided.
Since Ghost shrimps are smaller they would need a tank with at least 5 gallons of water. The larger Amano shrimps will need a tank with at least 10 gallons of tank capacity.
When these requirements are followed your shrimp will live a happy and healthy life. They will be stronger and can grow to their full size without feeling any stress.
If the space of your shrimps is cramped then it could have negative results. For one, it could lead to aggression in shrimps which would, in turn, lead to injury. When nutrients are depleted in the tank ecosystems, the tank water’s health collapses as well. This should be avoided at all costs.
While Amano shrimps are relatively peaceful, the Ghost shrimps can get aggressive with other Ghost shrimps when there is a lack of space So, to avoid this, you should limit a single Ghost shrimp per 4 liters of water or 1 Ghost shrimp per gallon of water.
Every shrimp need the right tank of water. It is thus your responsibility to check if the water in your tank is just right for your shrimps. There are aspects to balance so that the water condition is suitable for your shrimps.
When it comes to preference in water conditions. Amano and Ghost shrimps have slightly different requirements.
Although they are both freshwater species. Amano shrimp can survive in slightly brackish water. This is water with salt content. Amano shrimps can take higher salt levels than Ghost shrimp.
It is also important to check on the tank water’s pH. While both shrimp species prefer near-neutral conditions with pH ranging from 7 to 7.5. The Amano shrimps can survive happily in more alkaline conditions. It can live in the water of pH up to 8.5
Although Ghost shrimp are somewhat tolerant of changes in pH, it makes actually causes them some distress.
Another thing to consider when it comes to water conditions is the temperature. In this respect, Amano shrimps and Ghost shrimps have slightly different preferences.
Amano shrimps can thrive over a large range of temperatures. They can live contentedly in waters with temperatures ranging from 18 to 20 degrees Celsius.
At higher temperatures, Amano shrimps will be more active. But in cooler waters, their metabolism can easily be adjusted so that their bodies can cope with the lack of external heat.
On the other hand, Ghost shrimps prefer to be kept at room temperature, that is at 20 degrees Celsius temperature. Changes can stress the Ghost shrimp considerably.
Aggressive fish should not be included as Amano shrimp’s tank mates. Fish like Goldfish, cichlids crayfish, lobsters will attack and eat Amano shrimps.
The best tank mates for Amano shrimp include small to mid-size non-aggressive tank inhabitants which can include cory catfish, freshwater snails, and other freshwater shrimp-like red cherry shrimp ghost shrimp, and more.
Ghost shrimps can live with many fish species in an aquarium. One of the few fishes that can live with Ghost shrimp is Red Crystal. Although Ghost shrimp do not really interact with tank mates, you should not keep them with aggressive species.
Amano Shrimp or Ghost Shrimp?
If you are a first-time shrimp keeper, which species would you choose? Amano or Ghost shrimp?
Based on the differences given above, first-time shrimp keepers are recommended to keep Amano shrimp than Ghost shrimp.
Amano shrimp may be more expensive than Ghost shrimp but they are easier to keep. If you make mistakes when it comes to water conditions, they will be able to tolerate it more than Ghost shrimp can. This is because they are able to thrive over a much wider range of salinity, pH, and even temperature.
If you keep Ghost shrimp and water conditions keep on changing then they will surely die. Besides, Amano shrimp also have a longer lifespan than Ghost shrimp and they can help you reduce your cleaning workload by eating the algae found in them.