Are Ghost Shrimp Aggressive?

Are you looking to add some new critters to your tank? Maybe you’re not sure where to start. Shrimp are interesting and fun to watch, but are they a good idea?

Are ghost shrimp aggressive? Will they attack the fish that you have in your aquarium?

If you’ve thought about keeping ghost shrimp, keep reading to find out if they’ll work for you.

The short answer is “no”! Ghost shrimp are not usually aggressive. In fact, ghost shrimp are so passive that they’re one of the best critters to add to any tank.

Ghost shrimp are generally peaceful. They rarely hunt, so they’re not likely to harm the other animals in your tank.

There are a few exceptions, though. Ghost shrimp may go after smaller critters, especially if there isn’t enough food.

Ghost Shrimp Are Opportunistic Scavengers

Ghost shrimp will feed on just about anything they can find in the tank. They’re scavengers who will eat algae, leftover food, and other detritus.

Although they’re opportunistic, they are typically scavengers, not hunters. Ghost shrimp are not aggressive and generally will not hunt or attack tankmates.

But, if a tankmate happens to die, the ghost shrimp will eat it.

If you didn’t know this before owning ghost shrimp, it could be shocking to see your ghost shrimp feeding on a fish.

If you don’t know much about ghost shrimp, you’re probably going to think the ghost shrimp killed your fish. But this likely isn’t true.

Yes, ghost shrimp will take advantage of a meal if one of their tank mates dies. But, they won’t usually kill fish themselves. They actually prefer eating dead animals over live ones.

Ghost Shrimp Will Attack Smaller Shrimp

It’s very rare for ghost shrimp to attack fish. But, ghost shrimp may attack other shrimp or snails that are smaller than themselves.

Some hobbyists have had success keeping smaller shrimp species with ghost shrimp. If you try it, proceed with caution and keep your ghost shrimp well-fed.

Ghost Shrimp May Become Aggressive If There’s Not Enough Food

Although it’s rare, aggression can happen among ghost shrimp. Usually, this will happen if you’re not providing enough food. It may also happen if you haven’t provided the right environment for them.

If your ghost shrimp are starving, they may attack other tankmates to get something to eat. Ghost shrimp are small, so this isn’t usually a problem unless you have very small fish in the tank.

Ghost Shrimp May Become Aggressive Towards Each Other

Another exception to their peaceful temperament comes at feeding time. Male ghost shrimp love their food and may become aggressive with each other. They will fight each other for food, even if there’s enough to go around.

The males may become so aggressive with each other that the females will try to stop the fighting. If they see males attacking each other, they will chase the males away from the food.

Ghost shrimp are typically so non-aggressive that they make one of the best feeders for fish.

It’s very common for pet stores to sell ghost shrimp for a few cents each to use as feeders. Many of the larger fish species love to snack on them, and they’re quite nutritious.

It’s More Likely That Your Fish Is Too Aggressive For The Ghost Shrimp

Most people are more worried about they’re fish being too aggressive for the ghost shrimp.

For example, ghost shrimp can make good tank mates for a betta, or they might get eaten. It all depends on the temperament of the betta, but ghost shrimp and betta can work well. If you have goldfish then you might be wondering “can shrimp live with goldfish?” (we covered it in that link!)

Why Do People Think Ghost Shrimp Are Aggressive?

Although ghost shrimp are largely non-aggressive, they get a bad wrap. Many times, stores will mistakenly sell whisker shrimp as ghost shrimp. Whisker shrimp are a more aggressive species that may attack your other animals.

Temperament also depends on where your ghost shrimp come from. Thai ghost shrimp is a much more aggressive subspecies.

Most of the ghost shrimp you get in the United States will come from the southeastern part of the United States. Ghost Shrimp from this region are more common and much more passive.


Ghost shrimp are typically very peaceful animals. So, they can make excellent additions to any tank.

Be careful if you have smaller shrimp or small fish in your tank, though. It’s not common, but your ghost shrimp may go after them.

To avoid any aggression, make sure your ghost shrimp are properly fed.

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