Introduction to Amano Shrimp vs Ghost Shrimp

Amano shrimp (Caridina multidentata) and Ghost shrimp (Palaemonetes paludosus) are two popular and distinct freshwater shrimp species that have found their way into aquariums worldwide. Each of these shrimp species possesses unique characteristics that make them captivating additions to aquatic environments. In this article, we’ll delve into the world of Amano shrimp vs Ghost shrimp, exploring their scientific classifications, physical attributes, natural habitats, and geographic distributions.

Physical Characteristics

Amano Shrimp: Amano shrimp, scientifically known as Caridina multidentata or Caridina japonica, exhibit an elegant and slender profile. These shrimp typically grow to around 2 inches (5 cm) in length, making them a bit larger than many other aquarium shrimp species. Amano shrimp boast a translucent, pale-gray to light-brown body, which is often adorned with a series of small, intricate spots and dots along their exoskeleton. Their defining feature is their signature long, sweeping antennae that they use for sensing their surroundings and locating food.

Amano Shrimp vs Ghost Shrimp - "Amano Shrimp" by Atulbhats is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.
Amano Shrimp vs Ghost Shrimp – “Amano Shrimp” by Atulbhats is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Ghost Shrimp: In contrast, Ghost shrimp, scientifically labeled as Palaemonetes paludosus or Palaemonetes spp., exhibit a slightly different physical appearance. They are generally smaller, typically growing to around 1.5 inches (4 cm) in length. Ghost shrimp are more transparent compared to Amano shrimp, earning them their ghostly name. Their bodies often have a slight tinge of pale yellow, and they possess distinctive, nearly colorless chelae (claws) that resemble a pair of “gloved” hands.

Habitat and Distribution

Amano Shrimp: Amano shrimp originate from the freshwater rivers and streams of Japan, where they are known to thrive in fast-flowing, well-oxygenated waters. In their native habitat, they are valuable members of aquatic ecosystems, diligently grazing on algae and detritus. Due to their popularity in the aquarium hobby, Amano shrimp are now bred in captivity, but their wild counterparts can still be found in Japan and some other parts of Asia.

Ghost Shrimp: Ghost shrimp are native to North America, primarily found in freshwater and brackish water habitats such as ponds, marshes, and slow-moving streams. They are particularly abundant along the eastern coast of the United States. In the wild, Ghost shrimp are known for their burrowing behavior, creating intricate tunnels in sand or gravel substrates. This adaptation allows them to filter-feed on small particles from the water column while safely tucked away in their burrows.

Understanding the distinctive characteristics, origins, and behaviors of Amano shrimp vs Ghost shrimp is essential for any aquarium enthusiast considering these delightful crustaceans as part of their aquatic community. In the subsequent sections of this article, we will delve deeper into their care requirements, behaviors, and roles in home aquariums.

Tank Requirements

Providing suitable tank conditions is crucial for the health and well-being of Amano and Ghost shrimp. Here’s what you need to know about their specific tank requirements:

Amano Shrimp

  • Tank Size: Amano shrimp are relatively active and need a bit more space than some other shrimp species. A tank with a capacity of at least 10 gallons (38 liters) is recommended to provide ample swimming and foraging space.
  • Water Parameters: Amano shrimp are sensitive to water quality, so maintaining stable and clean water conditions is essential. Ideal parameters include a pH level of 6.5 to 7.5, a temperature range of 72 to 78°F (22 to 26°C), and relatively soft to moderately hard water.
  • Substrate: Amano shrimp are not particularly picky about substrate, but a fine-grained substrate, such as sand or small gravel, is preferred. This allows them to forage more comfortably without the risk of injuring their delicate antennae.
  • Decoration: Provide plenty of hiding places and plants in the aquarium. Amano shrimp appreciate densely planted areas and driftwood for grazing and seeking shelter. They are not known for digging or rearranging decor.

Ghost Shrimp

  • Tank Size: Ghost shrimp are smaller and less active than Amano shrimp, so they can thrive in smaller aquariums. A tank with a capacity of 5 to 10 gallons (20 to 38 liters) is suitable for a small group of Ghost shrimp.
  • Water Parameters: Ghost shrimp are more adaptable to a range of water conditions. They can tolerate a pH level of 6.5 to 8.0, a temperature range of 65 to 75°F (18 to 24°C), and good filtration to maintain water quality.
  • Substrate: Like Amano shrimp, Ghost shrimp do well with fine-grained substrate. They may also burrow in sand or gravel, so provide enough substrate depth for this natural behavior.
  • Decoration: Ghost shrimp appreciate hiding spots, especially small caves or crevices in rocks or driftwood. They are not heavy plant eaters, so you can have live or artificial plants in the tank without much concern.
Amano Shrimp vs Ghost Shrimp
Amano Shrimp vs Ghost Shrimp

Feeding Habits

Both Amano and Ghost shrimp are valuable additions to an aquarium as they help with cleaning and maintenance. However, their dietary preferences and roles differ slightly:

Amano Shrimp

  • Algae Eaters: Amano shrimp are renowned for their voracious appetite for algae. They excel at keeping aquarium glass, decorations, and plant leaves free from algae growth.
  • Supplemental Feeding: While they primarily feed on algae and biofilm, it’s important to supplement their diet with high-quality shrimp pellets, blanched vegetables (like zucchini or spinach), and occasionally, small amounts of protein-based food like brine shrimp or daphnia.

Ghost Shrimp

  • Scavengers: Ghost shrimp are also natural scavengers, consuming leftover fish food, detritus, and small organic particles in the substrate. They help maintain water quality by cleaning up excess food and debris.
  • Algae Consumption: While Ghost shrimp may nibble on some algae, they are not as efficient as Amano shrimp in algae control. Their primary role is more focused on scavenging and cleaning.

In summary, Amano shrimp are specialized algae eaters that require a slightly larger tank with stable water parameters, while Ghost shrimp are adaptable scavengers that can thrive in smaller setups. Providing them with the right tank conditions and feeding them a balanced diet will ensure their health and longevity in your aquarium.


In the world of aquariums, Amano shrimp vs Ghost shrimp presents an intriguing choice for enthusiasts seeking to add a touch of natural elegance to their aquatic landscapes. Each of these fascinating shrimp species, with their unique characteristics and behaviors, offers distinct advantages to the conscientious aquarist.

Amano shrimp, with their graceful appearance and remarkable algae-eating prowess, are favored for their role in maintaining pristine and thriving planted tanks. Their peaceful nature and compatibility with a wide range of tankmates make them a popular choice among aquarists seeking an attractive and functional addition to their community aquariums.

On the other hand, Ghost shrimp, with their transparent bodies and scavenging habits, contribute to effective tank maintenance by aiding in the removal of leftover food and debris. While they may not be as proficient at algae control as Amano shrimp, their peaceful disposition and adaptability to a range of water conditions make them suitable companions for various aquarium setups.

The choice between Amano and Ghost shrimp ultimately depends on your specific aquarium goals and the needs of your tank’s ecosystem. Whether you opt for Amano shrimp to cultivate a lush and algae-free underwater world or select Ghost shrimp to assist in maintaining water quality, both species bring their own charm and utility to the aquatic realm.

So, whether you find yourself drawn to the intricate spots of an Amano shrimp or the translucent allure of a Ghost shrimp, you can be assured that your chosen crustacean will play a valuable role in enhancing the beauty and balance of your underwater oasis. In the end, the decision between Amano shrimp vs Ghost shrimp becomes a delightful exploration of their individual merits, enriching the world of aquarium enthusiasts with diversity and choice.