Ghost Shrimp In Turtle Tank

Ghost Shrimp In Turtle Tank: Can You Put Them With Your Turtles?

Planning to introduce ghost shrimp in the turtle tank but not sure if it’s a good idea? Are you wondering whether the shrimp can help clean your turtle tank or if they’ll get eaten by your pet turtles? If yes, this guide will answer all your questions.

It is okay to introduce ghost shrimp in your turtle tank as they’re excellent bottom feeders that do a noble job of cleaning the leftover turtle food to keep your aquarium clean. However, keep in mind that your pet turtles may end up eating the shrimp at some point.

This guide provides you with more information on whether it’s a good idea to put ghost shrimp in your turtle tank. You’ll discover how to introduce them, how many shrimps to put in the tank, how they help clean your turtle aquarium, and so much more.

Can I put ghost shrimp in turtle tank?


If you’ve been thinking through the idea of putting ghost shrimp in turtle tank, then we can assure you that it’s a good idea and you can go ahead and implement it. You can put ghost shrimp in turtle tank. Many other turtle owners have already done it successfully.

Ghost shrimps don’t harm turtles in any way. They’re 100% harmless to your pet turtles and will only make their living conditions better by keeping their tank clean.

They’re also easy to maintain as you won’t need to feed them anything. They’re just okay with eating the leftover turtle foods.

Can I put ghost shrimp in turtle tank

The primary reason behind adding these crustaceans to the turtle aquarium is that they’re fantastic cleaners and will help keep your turtle tank clean, thus promoting healthy living conditions for the pet turtles.

Crystal shrimp (that’s another name for the ghost shrimp) will feed on the turtle food that drops to the bottom of the tank or simply the leftover turtle food.

If not eliminated, these leftover food particles will cause your turtle tank to start smelling. Over time, this will make your tank dirty, increasing the risk of shell rot, and eye and ear infections in your turtles.

Moreover, the shrimp will munch and thus prevent algae growth which is notorious for turning your turtle tank green while producing undesirable odors. And most importantly, algae overgrowth can affect your aquarium water quality and affect your pet’s health.

However, one problem you’ll have to deal with is the FACT that shrimp is a favorite food for your pet turtles and they’ll try feasting on them sooner or later.

But we can assure you that it won’t be that easy. The shrimp can brilliantly avoid the turtle’s mouth and can move faster than the reptiles. This will enable them to survive for a little longer in the turtle, but they’ll eventually end up as turtle food.

How to introduce ghost shrimp to turtle tank?

When you want to introduce the ghost shrimp in turtle tank, you need to do it gently and carefully to ensure your pet turtles don’t get stressed out. We don’t advise putting on your glass shrimp at once; instead, put them slowly into their new home.

Add a few shrimp at a time to give your pet turtles and the tank time to get used to one another. If you add all the shrimp at once, you may easily overwhelm your tank filer.

Though shrimps have a pretty low bioload, having many of them in your tank will create substantial biomass in your tank.

How to introduce ghost shrimp to turtle tank

So, you should be mindful of your tank size and the number of shrimps you wish to add to it (more details coming up later on how many shrimp to put in a turtle tank).

You may consider adding around 5-10 ghost shrimp (depending on your tank size) for the first week and watch how they interact with the turtle. Then, you can add more shrimp in the next week.

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TIP: Consider adding your shrimp after you’ve fed your turtles to minimize the chances of the shrimp being eaten. Hungry turtles may think the shrimp you put in the tank is food and eat it instantly.

How many ghost shrimp to put in a turtle tank?

The number of ghost shrimps you need to put in a turtle tank will mainly depend on the size of tank. The shrimp are also generally tiny creatures (a mature shrimp is about 1.5 inches long).

That said, you should consider adding around 15 to 20 ghost shrimp for a 20-gallon turtle tank.

For a 50-gallon turtle tank, you can add between 20 and 30 ghost shrimp.

If you have a bigger tank, say a 75-gallon tank, you can add as many as 50 ghost shrimp.

As we mentioned earlier, shrimp add pretty little bioload, so adding them to your aquarium in large numbers isn’t a problem. The more they are, the better a job they do of cleaning the leftover turtle food.

How many ghost shrimp to put in a turtle tank

Also, keep in mind that these crustaceans are primarily foragers, so they’ll need a good surface area for foraging. When they’re in large numbers, they do a noticeable job of keeping your tank clean.

If your tank has no substrate, then you may not need to add as many shrimp. This is because these tank cleaners excel in getting the food particles out of sand and gravel.

Will turtles eat ghost shrimp?

One of the hard truths you’ll need to deal with is that your pet turtles will eventually eat the ghost shrimp. Aquatic turtles are generally omnivorous and crustaceans like ghost shrimp make up their favorite foods.

Their chances of survival are even lower if you’re keeping young turtle pets whose diet is mostly carnivorous, unlike their adult counterparts that tend to feed more on vegetation as they age.

Yes, the freshwater shrimp are good at evading the turtles and this will enable them to survive in the turtle tank for a while. But eventually, your turtle pet will catch them off guard and feast on them.

Luckily, you can increase the survival chances for these crustaceans by creating hiding spots for them in the turtle tank. You can achieve this by introducing artificial or live plants.

Will turtles eat ghost shrimp

A paludarium will also offer excellent hiding spots and keep the shrimps safe from your mud turtle or any other pet turtle you have.

Nonetheless, you’ll need to keep in mind that your shrimps will eventually become turtle food. Even if your turtles are well-fed, they’ll eventually get tempted to eat the shrimp swimming around in their turtle tanks.

There’s nothing much you can do about it—even wild turtles in their natural habitat feed on shrimps as one of their favorite meals so you should be surprised if they eat the crystal shrimps in the aquarium,

How do ghost shrimp help clean tank?

We mentioned earlier that ghost shrimp are fantastic cleaners. But how do they help clean your turtle tank? Let’s find out below…

Ghost shrimps can clean your turtle tank because they’re simply natural scavengers. As such, they eat uneaten turtle food bits and freshwater tank algae, helping keep your tank clean.

When you feed your turtles, some of the food is left uneaten. Turtles are also messy eaters and some of their food falls in the aquarium. The ghost shrimp dwell at the bottom of the tank and will then be waiting for these food bits.

How do ghost shrimp help clean tank

If you observe your ghost shrimp closely, you should notice how busy they’re all the time as they eat these leftover bits of food.

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Algae is also known to grow in the turtle tank. And if left to overgrow, it can make the tank dirty and smelly. The crystal shrimps also love eating certain types of algae and thus keep your tank from getting dirty too fast.

Overall, ghost shrimp do a fanatic job of keeping your turtle tank clean. If you want to achieve a self cleaning turtle tank without investing in expensive equipment or those pricey tank-cleaning fish, then a ghost shrimp will do the magic for you!

The video below gives you a visual experience of the ghost shrimps working tirelessly to keep a turtle tank clean.

Are ghost shrimp good cleaners? A Comparison:

Ghost shrimp are good at cleaning your turtle tank. Ghost shrimps are bottom dwellers and fantastic cleaners that eat all the turtle crap, helping keep your turtle tank amazingly clean.

They clean up any leftover turtle food to help keep your tank clean. The invertebrates are also able to reach for bits of food that land on the décor or gap in the gravel that your pet turtles may miss.

Keep in mind that crystal shrimps have an amazing sense of smell and will detect food immediately after it’s introduced into the turtle tank.

However, the shrimp will only feed on certain types of algae.

Are ghost shrimp good cleaners

In comparison, other tank cleaners like snails will eat leftover food as well as decaying matter. Snails will also eat turtle poop.

Some snails, e.g. the nerite snails and Malaysian trumpet snails, will even eat all types of algae, unlike ghost shrimps which feed on specific types of algae.

Snails are also more hardy and tolerant compared to ghost shrimps.

But the best part about these bottom feeders is that they add almost no biomass to your tank.


1. Will ghost shrimp climb out of my turtle tank?

Yes, ghost shrimp can climb or even jump out of your turtle tank. They may do so merely out of habit or due to stress. The shrimp may get stressed due to poor water quality. Other things that may easily scare these little cleaning machines include suddenly turning on the light, the door slamming shut, kids tapping the aquarium glass walls, your sudden appearance, etc.

2. Do ghost shrimp produce a lot of waste in turtle tank?

No. Ghost shrimps have an extremely low ecological footprint and biomass and produce pretty little waste. This is another reason why ghost shrimp makes an excellent cleaner fish for turtle tank.

3. Does ghost shrimp eat turtle poop?

Yes, ghost shrimp can also eat turtle poop. These invertebrates are dedicated to cleaning the bottom of your turtle tank and this involves eating the turtle leftovers as well as turtle poop. The poop still contains many nutrients that the shrimp can digest and will feed on it along with the leftover food bits, helping keep the tank water extremely clean.

Final Verdict

These Ghost shrimps are great bottom feeders and adding them to your turtle tank is a sure way to keep it clean. However, shrimps also make a ready meal for your pet turtles and they’ll eat them any chance they get. Adding hiding spots in your turtle tank will increase the survival chances of your shrimp.

After reading the above guide, you should now be able to determine the right number of shrimp to add to your turtle aquarium, how to introduce them, and how good the crustaceans are at cleaning your turtle tank.

Ghost Shrimp In Turtle Tank