Are Ghost Shrimp Effective in Controlling Brown Algae in Your Aquarium?

Diving into the world of aquariums, you might come across various types of algae, and among them, brown algae can be a real nuisance. Luckily, there are some helpful little creatures that can assist you in keeping your aquarium clean and free from these unwanted visitors. Among them, ghost shrimp are one of the options that fish enthusiasts often wonder about.

So, are ghost shrimp the right choice for controlling brown algae in your aquarium? The short answer is yes – but to a certain extent. While ghost shrimp cannot completely eradicate brown algae, they can help control its growth.

Curious about what makes these shrimp a good option, and how they can help you maintain a healthy, clean aquarium? Let’s delve into it and learn more about these remarkably hardworking shrimp!

Ghost Shrimp 101

What are Ghost Shrimp?

Ghost shrimp, also known as glass shrimp, are small transparent shrimp that blend seamlessly into the environment, making them difficult to spot. These little guys belong to the Palaemonetes genus, and they are native to the freshwater bodies of North America. As they are relatively easy to maintain, they are often considered a popular addition to community aquariums.

Why Choose Ghost Shrimp?

There are several reasons why you might want to add ghost shrimp to your aquarium:

  1. They help maintain a clean tank by feeding on leftover food, debris, and dead plant matter.
  2. Ghost shrimp can be a source of live food for larger fish in your aquarium.
  3. They add variety to your aquarium and are fascinating to observe.
  4. Ghost shrimp can help control algae growth, specifically brown algae.
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Ghost Shrimp and Brown Algae

What is Brown Algae?

Brown algae, also known as diatoms, appear as a brown, slimy film covering the surfaces in a new aquarium. It thrives in low-light conditions and is often considered harmless. However, it can block sunlight from reaching your aquarium plants and can look unsightly.

Keep Brown Algae in Check

While ghost shrimp may not completely eliminate brown algae from your aquarium, they can help keep it under control. The shrimp will feed on the brown algae, which in turn will limit its growth. But to truly address the root cause of brown algae, you might need to make some adjustments to your aquarium’s conditions. Consider the following options:

  • Increase the light intensity and duration in your aquarium.
  • Decrease silicate and nitrate levels by performing regular water changes.
  • Remove phosphates from tap water to prevent algae growth.
  • Use plants and algae-eating fish to further control algae.

Caring for Your Ghost Shrimp

Keep Your Ghost Shrimp Happy and Healthy

Although ghost shrimp are relatively low-maintenance, they require proper care to thrive in your aquarium. Here are some tips to ensure their well-being:

  • Maintain stable water parameters in your aquarium.
  • Provide a variety of hiding spaces with rocks, driftwood, and live plants.
  • Offer a balanced diet of high-quality flake food, pellets, and frozen or live treats.

Other Tank Mates

Ghost shrimp can be kept with other peaceful community fish, as well as fellow invertebrates like cherry shrimp, snails, or even scarlet badis. Just make sure that larger, more aggressive fish won’t turn your ghost shrimp into their next meal!

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The Population Boom

Ghost shrimp are known to breed rapidly, which can lead to overpopulation in your aquarium. If you don’t want a population boom, consider housing them strictly with other peaceful fish or invertebrates that won’t breed with them.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can ghost shrimp eliminate brown algae completely?
    • No, ghost shrimp can help control the growth of brown algae but cannot eradicate it completely. You may need to address other factors influencing the growth of brown algae in your aquarium.
  • Do ghost shrimp require any special care?
    • Ghost shrimp are relatively low-maintenance, but they do need stable water parameters, hiding spaces, and a balanced diet to thrive.
  • Can ghost shrimp be kept with other fish and invertebrates?
    • Yes, ghost shrimp are compatible with most peaceful community fish and invertebrates, such as cherry shrimp, scarlet badis, and various snail species.
  • How do I prevent my ghost shrimp from overpopulating my aquarium?
    • To control the population, consider housing ghost shrimp with other species that won’t breed with them, or be prepared to separate the excess shrimp to maintain a balanced ecosystem.
  • What other creatures can help control algae in my aquarium?
    • Besides ghost shrimp, you can add algae-eating fish like otocinclus, plecos, and snails, which can also help control algae growth.


Ghost shrimp can indeed help control brown algae growth in your aquarium. However, they won’t eradicate it completely, so it’s essential to address the root causes of brown algae growth as well. By maintaining proper conditions, providing a balanced diet, and ensuring compatibility with other tank mates, you can use ghost shrimp to create a cleaner, healthier underwater environment for all your aquarium inhabitants.

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