Amano Shrimp vs. Ghost Shrimp, How to Tell Them Apart


Amano shrimp and Ghost shrimp, are there any differences and or similarities between these two shrimp species? Keen to find out what are the differences and similarities between the Amano shrimp and the Ghost shrimp and how to tell them apart? We dig deeper into their fascinating world to bring you the answers.

Amano Shrimp vs. Ghost Shrimp: Amano shrimp are known scientifically as Caridina multidentata are a type of shrimp native to the island nation of Japan and Thailand. Amano shrimp are commonly found in sea-bound rivers. Ghost shrimp, also Glass shrimp, are known by their scientific classification Palaemonetes paludosus, are a type of freshwater shrimp native to southern USA water bodies.

Interesting Amano Shrimp Facts

Amano shrimp are native to several Asian countries including Korea, Taiwan, and Japan. In Japan, the shrimp are widely found in the Yamato River. They are easy to recognize thanks to their transparent grey bodies which feature small circular markings on either side.

The fastest way to distinguish between a male Amano and a female Amano shrimp is to look at the bottom row of circular markings. Male Amano’s have a single line of these markings, while their female counterparts’ lines are longer.

Amano shrimp can be kept as a pet if you’re interested in starting an in-house fish tank or adding them to your current fish tank. They make efficient tank cleaners thanks to their algae-eating nature. They are also a great addition to any fish tank thanks to their peaceful nature as well as a unique appearance.

Interesting Ghost Shrimp Facts

Ghost shrimp are so named because of their appearance. Yes, they are totally transparent which makes them so hard to see in the water. Their other name is glass shrimp.

They are so transparent and clear that you can literally watch the food they eat pass from their mouth to their stomach!

Ghost shrimp, like all shrimp, shed their outer skeleton every few months in a process known as molting. It is a tough experience for a shrimp to undergo, and you will notice that they will tend to hide throughout the process until their new skeleton is strong enough.

I the wild Glass or Ghost shrimp will live from 6 to about 14 months, in an aquarium, where conditions are more constant, they can live up to 3 years.

Significant Differences Between the Amano and Ghost Shrimp

Conditions for Larvae Growth

One of the major differences between Amano shrimp and Ghost shrimp is where they live when they are shrimplets. When the two species lay their eggs, and the larvae develop, the type of water needed by the larvae to grow and survive is different.

Amano larvae need to develop in saltwater, while Ghost larvae need a freshwater source.

Differentiation of Genders

Amano males and females can be distinguished by their gender markings. The dots on either side of the bodies of Amano shrimp help with recognizing the two genders.

Male Amano’s have a series of dots on their bodies, while the female Amano’s have a similar set of dots which are more extended than their male counterparts.

Ghost males and females don’t have body markings to identify them quickly. You have to do a full body morphological study to distinguish between them.

Female Ghost shrimp tend to be rounded in their bellies, while male Ghost shrimp are slanted in shape. Females Ghost shrimp are also significantly larger than their male counterparts when they reach maturity.


Similarities Between the Amano and Ghost Shrimp

Amano and Glass Shrimp Food

Both Amano shrimp and Ghost shrimp eat more or less the same things. However, Amano’s are primarily known as algae eaters while Ghost shrimps are widely sold as bottom feeders. Both are omnivores and clean up your tank but the Amano shrimp has a stronger preference to algae than the Glass Shrimp.

Similar in Size

Perhaps because their diets are very similar, the two species are also about the same size. The average Amano and Ghost female shrimp adult size is almost 2 inches long, while the males of both species a fraction smaller.

Similar Behavior

Amano’s and Ghost shrimp share similar behavior. They can be greedy when it is feeding time, but overall, they are quite peaceful and seem to get along fine with other animals in a tank.

When not foraging for food, you will see these two playing hide-and-seek among the plants in the fish tank.

They are quite shy and won’t venture out unless they feel safe, hence the need for a lot of shrimp tubing and live plants in your tank.

Breeding time is when you’ll see the most activity from these little guys as the male and female chase each other in what looks like a type of dance. Mating starts after the adult female has molded. It is quite entertaining.

How to Keep and Breed Amano Shrimp

Shrimp make good pets

Amano Shrimp Tank Requirements

If you intend on keeping Amano shrimp in your home fish tank, make sure that your tank has a carrying capacity of at least 10 gallons (38 L) because these little guys will grow up to 1.5” (3-4 cm) long.

The water temperature must also be kept anywhere between 68 and 86F (20 to 30). The water pH must not be too acidic or too alkaline. Keep it between 6 and 8.

You don’t have to worry about aggression from this shrimp because it’s a peaceful animal by nature. Don’t forget to add several live plants for the shrimp to hide in. Your Amano will thank you for it, by appearing out in the open regularly. If your budget permits, get a couple of shrimp tubes as well. This is because when it is molting time, shrimp are quite vulnerable.

Diet-wise, it is an omnivore. It’ll eat the algae that are growing in your fish tank. That’s a good thing because excess algae will lead to eutrophication and you don’t want that. Amano shrimp also eat any free-floating excess fish food left by the other tank mates. Ask your local fish supplier if they sell supplementary food rich in calcium. A diet rich in minerals is essential to shrimp to get a strong carapace when they molt.

While Amano shrimp do eat leftover fish food, it is advised to scoop out any uneaten debris within 4 hours.

The final thing to verify before you add an Amano to an already-existing aquarium is whether or not, the other fish in your tank can co-exist peacefully and not eat the newcomer!

If your fishes mouths fit a shrimp, it’s not a good idea to add them.

Breeding Amano Shrimp

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pregnant Amano shrimp video
Breeding Amano is no easy feat, and only a few aquarists have been successful.

In the wild, the Amano shrimp will carry eggs around under their bellies. When they hatch the current will take them to the river mouth where it meets the sea. It is there, in saltwater, that the Amano larvae will spend their time growing into little shrimplets.

What do Amano shrimp eggs look like? Here is an Amano shrimp with eggs.

When Amano egg hatch into larvae, the larvae need to stay in saltwater to morph and grow. The adults Amano on the other hand only tolerates freshwater so you will need to separate the larvae from the adults.

About a month in these saltwater conditions will enable the Zoea to survive and thrive. After about a month they will morph from Zoea into little shrimp, at that point they can’t stand saltwater anymore, and they will have to be slowly reintroduced to freshwater.

Sidenote I’m interested in breeding Amano shrimp myself, and I will look into this in the future. When I have successfully breed them I will create a more in-depth breeding guide.

How to Keep and Breed Ghost Shrimp

Ghost Shrimp Tank Requirements

Unlike Amano shrimp which lives in relative peace with other Amano, the Ghost shrimp is a rebel and can get quite aggressive with other Ghost shrimp. What seems to trigger this aggression is a cramped environment. A good rule of thumb to remember is not to have more than 1 Ghost shrimp per 4 liters of water or per gallon.

Ghost shrimp aren’t too particular about water temperature so long as it is kept between 65 and 80F.

Molting as mentioned before is a time when these little guys feel the most vulnerable, and where their need to hide is greatest. Therefore, it is best to have sufficient live plants and other hiding places for your Ghost shrimp in your aquarium.

Breeding Ghost shrimp

Breeding Ghost shrimp is relatively easy compared to Amano. The first step to successfully breeding Ghost shrimp is to find a good environment for the parents. Ideally, a single species tank would do well.

If the shrimp are in an aquarium with the right water conditions and don’t have much stress, breeding will start naturally.

Ghost shrimp will breed in any aquarium they feel comfortable in, but if you want to maximize your breeding success, you should consider a “species only tank”. In a “ghost shrimp only tank”, the female and male Ghost shrimp will fertilize the eggs in peace, and the female can release the shrimplets when they hatch without fear of predators feasting on them.

glass or ghost Shrimp

As the larvae develop and grow, in a well-established tank, they will find sufficient food in the tank to sustain themselves and grow. To speed their growth and maximize their survival chance, you can consider additional feeding.

Give the baby shrimp a few months to develop in this environment before introducing them into other aquaria.

Do not be in a rush to add the baby shrimp back into the tank where you have fish or they might end up as fish food. Give them enough time to grow.

Related Questions

Do I need to feed my shrimp? Most shrimp are scavengers and will eat the food left over by your fish, algae, decaying plants and other bits of nourishment they can find. If there is enough for them to find you will not need special shrimp food but you can supplement their diet if you think they don’t find enough or if they have a deficiency in certain minerals.

Do ghost shrimp need a filter? Ghost shrimp, like all shrimp and other aquarium creatures in captivity, need a filter. For all shrimp, it is best to have a sponge filter, or a filter with something like a fine mesh, to prevent small shrimplets of being sucked into the filter. The added bonus of a sponge filter is, they are generally cheap and they will provide a surface where shrimp can eat biofilm from.

Final thoughts

We hope this article has articulated the main difference and similarities of the Amano shrimp vs. ghost shrimp clearly. Keeping shrimp for fun can be a great hobby but one that you’ll benefit from immensely if you are knowledgeable about the type of shrimp you want to keep. If you’ve kept Amano shrimp or Ghost shrimp in the past, we’d like to hear what some of your challenges were, and what some of your best moments were. Leave your answer in the comments below!

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