Do Ghost Shrimp Eat Snails? You Are In For A Surprise


Having Snails in your tank has some benefits for the whole aquatic community. But we need to know if having Ghost Shrimp in the same aquarium will present some problems. It’s time to sort the situation out so you can keep the peace between all species.

Will Ghost Shrimp Eat Snails?

Ghost Shrimp are opportunists, but they choose their targets.

Yes, Ghost Shrimp eat Snails, but only the babies, the weak ones, or those that have died. Ghost Shrimp will not go out of its way to rip off Snails from their shells unless they’re the more aggressive Thailand Ghost Shrimp. Generally, Ghost Shrimp leave Snails alone.

Local Ghost Shrimp (those from the US and surrounding areas) are not known to eat healthy tank mates. They bide their time and wait for them to die or fall sick at least before they attack.

However, if your water chemistry has gone bad, if your Ghost Shrimp are starving, or your tank is too small, it’s possible for them to become irritated. Only in this state will it start attacking its tank mates, not just the Snails. Start at the root of the problem and you won’t have this issue with your Shrimp.

If you’re using Ghost Shrimps as a way to control Snails, there are other species more effective for that. For instance, Dwarf Puffers and Loaches will eat a lot of Snails more than Ghost Shrimp will. You can also reduce Snail feeding to keep the numbers low. If you find them trying to eat your Shrimp food, pick them up and put them somewhere else like a leaf or by a corner.

Will Ghost Shrimp Eat Snail Eggs?

Both Ghost Shrimp and Snail eggs are vulnerable and small.

Yes, Ghost Shrimp may eat Snail eggs if left undefended. You may observe them “attacking” a cluster of Snail eggs from time to time, especially if they’re starved.

This may be a problem if you want the Snails to reproduce. A trick to increasing Snail population is to keep the tank temperature as high as 80°F. This increases their metabolism and encourages breeding. If there is enough food and territory for the two species, you would eliminate attacks on Snail eggs by Ghost Shrimp.

On the other hand, Snails will eat Ghost Shrimp eggs, too. But note that preserving both species is easy if they each have their own territories and hiding places. As such, make their tank your creative project by adding plants, ornaments, and rocks with lots of crevices for shelter.

What Does Ghost Shrimp Eat?

As we mentioned, Ghost Shrimp are opportunists. And they have an insatiable appetite.

Ghost Shrimp primarily eat algae and biofilm, but they also eat leftover fish food, decaying plants, fish and Shrimp pellets, algae wafers, molted Shrimp shells, infusoria, insect larvae, and carcasses of aquatic creatures. And yes, they also eat Snail and even small fish eggs.

This is why Ghost Shrimp are called the “cleanup crew”. They do a great job of keeping aquaria clean.

You may have seen for yourself or a picture of a Ghost Shrimp on top of a Snail shell. This doesn’t necessarily prove that it’s “attacking” the Snail. A Snail’s shell usually has Shrimp food on it in the form of algae or the Snail’s slime coat.

Ghost Shrimp
Do Ghost Shrimp Eat Snails?

So observe more closely. Unless the Snail is already weak, dying, or dead already, local Ghost Shrimp won’t be pulling it out of its shell.

Can I Put Ghost Shrimp With Snails?

Ghost Shrimp generally get along with a lot of species that are about their size.

Yes, Snails are good tank mates for Ghost Shrimp as long as there is enough space, food, and hiding places to accommodate these two species. They have a symbiotic relationship in a community tank. Some of the benefits of having Snails in a Shrimp tank are:

  • providing waste that Shrimp eat
  • maintaining the tank’s biological balance
  • aerating the substrate
  • helping control algae
  • becoming a food source when they die.

Let’s discuss the reasons why we listed these down.

Are Snails Bad For Shrimp?

As mentioned, Snails can actually be good for Ghost Shrimp. Try Mystery Apple Snails, Nerite Snails, Chopstick Snails, or other peaceful varieties that get along well with Ghost Shrimp.

Do Ghost Shrimp Eat Snails?
Do Ghost Shrimp Eat Snails?

Check out these cool benefits from having some Snails in your tank:

Benefit #1: Snail poop = Shrimp food

Snails eat algae, plants, and leftover fish food just like Ghost Shrimp do. However, the Snail digestive system’s capacity is not as strong as many other animals. Thus, their droppings still contain nutrients that Shrimp benefit from. And Snails poop a lot.

Benefit #2: Prevents the nitrogen cycle from crashing

The bioload is sometimes too small in a Shrimp-only tank, especially if you only have a few pieces of Ghost Shrimp. Thus, there’s not enough ammonia to continue the nitrogen cycle, making it prone to crashing and re-cycling.

With the Snail’s abundance of waste, there won’t be any problems with that as the water chemistry will remain stable. Because Shrimp are sensitive to wild swings in a tank’s water parameters, having Snails maintain that balance is good for all occupants.

Benefit #3: Aerating the substrate

Ghost Shrimp don’t have the capability of aerating substrate. Snails can help in this regard as they burrow into the sand or soil and provide the needed aeration to keep plants healthy. And as the plants propagate, they provide food and shelter for Snails, Shrimp, and fish.

But be careful with Malaysian Trumpet Snails if you’re not experienced with them. Although they’re very good at burrowing, they also reproduce like crazy. You don’t want your tank to be overrun with Snails.

Benefit #4: Preventing algae problems

One of the most common problems of new Shrimpkeepers is overproducing algae. They overestimate what their Ghost Shrimp can consume or simply lose control of their tank’s algae growth.

Algae-eating Snails like Nerite Snails, Ramshorn Snails, and Mystery Snails are great choices if you need an algae cleaning crew. They are all docile and will go along well with Ghost Shrimp.

Benefit #5: Crushed Snails = gourmet Shrimp food

Now, if your Snail population gets out of control, crush one every week and the Ghost Shrimp will feast on it. Don’t kill too many too fast, though, or you’ll have an ammonia spike.

It would also help to separate the Snails into their own tank if there’s just too much. Don’t pressure the Ghost Shrimp to eat so many that they’ll have too much protein in their diet. If this happens, their health will suffer as evidenced by them having trouble molting.

Be cautious with Malaysian Trumpet Snails and avoid Assassin Snails altogether. These are risky for your Ghost Shrimp.

Conclusion

Keeping certain Snails with Ghost Shrimp is a good idea. The setup will benefit both species, or even if you have friendly fish in the tank. We strongly suggest you visit and observe different kinds of aquariums setups with both Snails and Ghost Shrimp in them to see for yourself the kind of interaction you can expect.

As always, provide for all their needs especially clean water, plants, and hiding places. Then you can be successful and brag about your healthy, fish-less aquarium.

Best of luck!

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