Amano Shrimp Vs Ghost Shrimp – The Differences and Similarities

amano shrimp vs ghost shrimp
Amano shrimp Vs Ghost shrimp is a fascinating area to start your debate on while pondering over the idea of adding some shrimps to your community aquarium tank or a Shrimp tank. It’s not just the novice aquarists struggle to distinguish from Amano Shrimp to Ghost Shrimp as they both seem to have a similar biological resemblance; even some experienced aquarists have the same difficulty.
Before adding any Shrimp to a community tank, you would want to understand your community tank’s eco-system and other fish species; whether the Shrimps can survive in your community aquarium tank.
This article addresses much more than just the biological and physical differences or resemblances of Amano shrimp and Ghost shrimp.
Each one has its own attractive traits and attributes that can add a lot more vibrancy and fun to your aquarium.

An Overview: Amano Shrimp Vs Ghost Shrimp

Description Amano Shrimp Ghost Shrimp
Family Atyidae Atyidae
Scientific name Caridina multidentata Palaemonetes Paludosus
Origin Japan, Korea, and Taiwan North America
Type Fresh Water Fresh Water
Color Form Transparent/Greyish Transparent/clear
Difficulty Easy Easy
Breeding Difficult Easy
Max. Size 2  inches (5.5 cms) 2  inches (5.5 cms)
Life span 2 to 3 years 1 to 2 years
Temperament Peaceful Peaceful
Diet Omnivores Omnivores
Minimum Tank Size 10 gallon (40 liters) 5 gallon (20 liters) optimal 10 (40 liters)
Temperature 18 – 28°C (64 – 80°F), ideal 22-25.6°C (72 – 78°F) 20 – 28°C (68 – 82°F), ideal 18.3°-23.8°C (65°-75°F)
Acidity 6 to 7.5 pH 7 to 8 pH
Hardness 4 – 14 dGH 3-10 dGH
Nitrate >20 ppm >20 ppm
Ammonia & Nitrite 0 0

Amano Shrimp Vs Ghost Shrimp

Well, Amano shrimp Vs Ghost shrimp is one of the favorite topics of discussion for shrimp lovers. But do you know what makes this argument more exciting? The difference between these two shrimps and their notable physical and biological similarities makes it confusing yet a great spot to have a discussion.

Amano shrimps (Caridina Multidentata) or Japanese shrimp, or Yamato Shrimp, or Algae Shrimp are native to Japan & Taiwan, Eastern Asian countries and are usually found in sea-bound rivers. On the contrary, Ghost shrimps or glass shrimps (Palaemonetes Paludosus) mostly live in freshwater ponds, lakes, and streams in the coastal plain of North American east Allegheny Mountains, from Florida to New Jersey.

Amanos feature a transparent grey body with a broken line of tiny copper circular markings on both sides. On the other hand, Ghost shrimps transparent body makes them look like ghosts with a shiny glass appearance. 

Similarities in Appearance Between Amano Shrimp and Ghost Shrimp

You might look at an Amano shrimp or a Ghost shrimp and get perplexed identifying them. Well, this confusion is quite evident for a newbie as both these shrimps come in a similar size. 

The average size of full-grown adult female Amano and Ghost shrimps are about 2-inches. However, in both species, the males are a bit smaller in length.

Differences in Appearance Between Amano Shrimp Vs Ghost Shrimp

While Amano Shrimp and Ghost Shrimp’s size is a significant point of similarity between them, it is the maximum length that marks a difference. Are you wondering how? Well, Ghost shrimps can grow up to a maximum length of 1.8-inches (4.7cms). On the other hand, an Amano goes up to 2-inches (5.08 cms) of maximum size. Since the difference is very slight, it often creates confusion. 

One of the very distinct differences between Ghost shrimp Vs Amano shrimp is the size of their claws. While Ghost shrimps have a sharper and more prominent claw grip, the Amano counterpart comes with shorter claws.

But, how do you differentiate between Amano shrimp Vs Ghost shrimp when the differences are so slight. Though the differences are not entirely apparent, you’ll get a better hold of it if you analyze things in-depth.

How Do You Identify a Ghost Shrimp?

Ghost shrimps are dimorphism; female Ghost shrimps have a rounded tummy, along with a green saddle running through the underside of their belly. But the males come with a much lean belly and do not possess any saddle underneath. Sounds quite interesting, right? 

Also, female Ghost shrimps are larger than the male counterparts. However, the males come with a pronounced ridge near the top ending of their tail.

How to Identify an Amano Shrimp? 

The most important trait of an Amano Shrimp is that it comes with a translucent body, just the same as Ghost Shrimp, however, with broken brown or red lines on both sides. Also, Amanos usually have white stripes on their dorsal surface, running from their head to tail. Moreover, they possess captivating black eyes, making it easier for you to spot an Amano in the aquarium. 

If you are wondering how to differentiate between female and male Amanos, let me tell you, it’s too easy. The male Amanos come with rounded markings, whereas the females possess elongated lines. Ghost Shrimps don’t have the body markings to identify the gender differences.

Female Amano shrimp green saddle bag underneath their belly just the same as Female Ghost Shrimp; the female of the species larger and rounder than the male of the species.

The most important trait of an Amano Shrimp is that it comes with a translucent body, just the same as Ghost Shrimp, however, with broken brown or red lines on both sides. Also, Amanos usually have white stripes on their dorsal surface, running from their head to tail. Moreover, they possess captivating black eyes, making it easier for you to spot an Amano in the aquarium. 

If you are wondering how to differentiate between female and male Amanos, let me tell you, it’s too easy. The male Amanos come with rounded markings, whereas the females possess elongated lines. Ghost Shrimps don’t have the body markings to identify the gender differences.

Also, females have longer pleopods the swimming legs than males. Female Amano shrimp green saddle bag underneath their belly just the same as Female Ghost Shrimp; the female of the species larger and rounder than the male of the species.

Behavioral differences and similarities

Amano Shrimp and Ghost Shrimp share some similar behaviors as well as some different behavioral patterns.

Well, you might get confused due to their somewhat similar behavior. 

Both the crustaceans are shy, absolutely peaceful, and do not indulge in any conflict whatsoever. As they are distinct bottom feeders, they usually hover around at the bottom, which is quite explanatory why they do not get engaged in any squabble. 

However, you can spot the difference in their behavior when it comes to camouflaging capabilities. Ghost shrimps are simply pro at it! And it rightly describes why they are called “ghost” shrimps. 

Do you know Ghost shrimps come with the ability to distort their skin pigments to match the substrate’s color? It is quite a fun technique of Ghost shrimps to camouflage themselves. It even lets them feel safe and protected from attackers. 

But Amano shrimps do not have this superpower, as they cannot distort bodily pigments to disguise themselves according to their surroundings. Only due to their see-through bodies, at times, they can become difficult to get recognized in the tank. Sounds fascinating, right?

Are you contemplating keeping both Amano and Ghost shrimps together? Well, in that case, you are less likely going to witness any conflict between Amano shrimps Vs Ghost shrimps. 

But things can get a bit difficult to tackle when it comes to feeding your tiny pets. These shrimp species are greedy in terms of food and can try to snatch away each other’s pellets. Also, you would want to consider the water parameters requirements as both of their needs vary slightly. Nevertheless, you can achieve optimal water parameters for both species as their needs overlap.

Natural Habitat: Amano Shrimp Vs Ghost Shrimp

Now you might wonder that when both the shrimps have so many similarities, what makes Amano shrimp and Ghost shrimp different from each other? Well, it is strictly the difference in their natural habitats!

While Amano shrimps are native to Japan and Taiwan, the eastern countries of Asia, inhabiting the freshwater of swamps and streams; however, only the adult Amanos live in the freshwaters; the larvae need saltwater to mature; this very need makes it difficult to breed Amano Shrimps in captivity.

Whereas Ghost shrimps are native to the Southern United States, is a freshwater species that lives in brackish water, lakes, ponds, swamps, etc., of Appalachian Mountains’ eastern side of Louisiana and Florida.  

So, do you see that both of the shrimps are evolved in different eco-systems from one another? And that’s how they belong to the different family groups.

Water Parameters

It’s essential to have a good check on tank water parameters for both the species, Amano shrimp and Ghost shrimp. The right water parameters ensure the well-being and the proper growth of both the shrimp species.

Wait! Are you planning on keeping both Amanos and Ghosts in the same tank? Well, I would suggest you take careful consideration of the need of both species.

Water Type

Both Amano and Glass shrimps are freshwater species. So, it means both of them would prefer clean tank water with little dissolved salt content. 

Nevertheless, Amano shrimps are capable of tolerating higher salt levels than Ghost shrimps. Hence, Amanos prefer a bit of brackish water for their living. 

pH Range

Both the shrimps prefer neutral conditions of water with a pH range between 7-7.5. 

But Amano shrimps are quite hardy. It can easily survive in an alkaline condition with the water pH ranging up to 8.5. Also, Amanos are tolerant to pH changes. However, too much fluctuation in the pH will distress them. 

Water Temperature

Do you know that tank water temperature plays a significant role in the well-being of shrimps? And in this matter, the requirement for both Amano shrimps and Ghost shrimps differs slightly. 

Being hardy, Amano shrimps can thrive well in a vast range of water temperatures. The optimum tank water temperature for the survival of Amanos is 18℃-28℃. But do you know Amanos exhibit excellent adaptability to water change in the water temperature? In cold water conditions, these shrimps brilliantly adjust their metabolism to deal with the lack of external heat.

On the other hand, Ghost shrimps prefer to stay at room temperature, i.e., around 20℃. If you observe the tank water dropping below this temperature, it is good to consider installing a heater in your aquarium.

If you plan on keeping both the species in the same tank then, it is advisable to set tank water temperature in line with Ghost shrimp requirements as Amanos can adapt to a broader temperature range.

Molting – Amano Shrimp Vs Ghost Shrimp

Both Amano shrimp and Ghost shrimp shed their skeleton periodically; their body shell shedding is called molting. To grow all the crustaceans molt, also humans shed their skin periodically; it is more noticeable in infants than the adult humans. 

Now, back to our topic, Amano shrimp and Ghost shrimp molting; it is hard to keep track of their molting cycle in a group. When they shed their outer skeleton, shrimps are vulnerable; hence refrain from using copper-based decors and feed.

As soon as they shed their shells, both Ghost shrimp and Amano shrimp go on hiding for a few days till they completely develop their new shells. Therefore, it is essential to create plenty of hiding places in their habitat with driftwood, tubes, plants, and other decors.

It is crucial for molting to maintain the required water parameters such as water temperature, water hardness, pH, minerals, etc. 

Diet: Amano Shrimp Vs Ghost Shrimp

Are you confused about keeping Amano shrimp or Ghost shrimp in your fish tank? Well, then knowing the diet for Amano and Ghost shrimp can help you in this matter. 

Well, essentially, shrimps are scavengers; they are opportunistic eaters. The primary purpose of having shrimps in a community tank is to do the cleaning job. They can easily digest any of the leftovers of the other species in their habitat. Also, shrimps love to gobble small insects that get trapped inside the tank. 

Shrimps devour planktons or algae! Well, both Amano and Ghost shrimps prefer to have algae on their platter. One of the solutions to your algae problem in the tank is shrimp. 

Both these shrimps also love to feed on any biofilm present in the water. However, Ghost shrimps have a strong liking for blood worms and other such aqua animals. What a bizarre choice of food! Isn’t it?

However, if you feel your shrimps lack essential minerals for molting, you can provide them with calcium-rich supplements. You can feed them with live and frozen food to promote the development of a strong carapace. You can also include pellets, mosquito larvae, Daphnia, squids, insects, and some sliced veggies in their diet to make it nutritious yet tasty.

Algae eater: Amano Shrimp Vs Ghost Shrimp

Both Amano Shrimp and Ghost Shrimp devour munching on algae; however, there is no match to Amano’s algae-eating capacity; due to Amanos algae-eating capacity, it is also known as algae-eating shrimp in the aquarium world. They can eat hair algae, brush algae, string algae, and Amano is one of the few cleaning species that can eat black bear algae.

The algae-eating capacity of Amano Shrimp is also another reason why they are priced high; many pet stores sell Taiwanese and Indonesian variants or sometimes even African variants as Amano shrimp; be diligent while shopping for Amano.

To recognize the imposters is simple: the imposters are shorter than Amano Shrimp; they are also lazy, Amanos are tireless workers, so they are popular among aquarium enthusiasts. 

The imposters breed on freshwater, unlike Amanos.

Lifespan: Amano Shrimp Vs Ghost Shrimp

The difference in lifespan is another interesting fact to know about Amano shrimps and Ghost shrimps. When you take proper care of the shrimps and ensure the right tank water conditions, an Amano shrimp can live up to 2-3 years. However, the Ghosts can survive only up to 1-year. 

So, it’s evident that Amano shrimps are much more robust and sturdier than Ghosts. But do you know it is due to the extra lifespan of Amanos that makes them more expensive than Ghost shrimps? You need to pay for that additional 1-2 years of cleaning job. Well, I guess it’s worth it.

Tank Mates for Amano Shrimp and Ghost Shrimp

As we already know, Amanos and Ghost Shrimps are peaceful species; hence you would want to choose other friendly and small to mid-size fish species and invertebrates such as tetras: ember tetra, neon tetra, black neons, Bristle nose Plecos, Tiger Barb, Catfish, Cory fish, Harlequin Rasboras, White Cloud Mountain Minnows, Celestial Pearl Danios, Zebra Danios, Platies, Guppies, Nerite Snails, etc.

Both Ghost Shrimp and Amano Shrimp do well with other shrimps such as Cherry Shrimp, Vampire Shrimp, Bamboo Shrimp, etc.

You can even keep Amano and Ghost Shrimp with Betta if you provide enough hiding places with plants, tunnels, decors, etc. 

The species you would want to avoid keeping with Shrimps are Kuhli loach, Clown loaches, Polka Botia; though they are all peaceful species, they love munching on shrimps.

You cannot keep Shrimps with any aggressive type such as Cichlids, Jack Dempsey Cichlid, Angelfish, Oscar, Gouramis, Goldfish, Rainbow Sharks, large Plecos, etc.

Some of the best plants for Japonica Amano are Java moss, Java, fern, Water Wisteria, Anubias nana, Dwarf Lilies, etc.


Breeding Shrimps is a significant concern while debating over the choice of Amano Shrimp Vs Ghost Shrimp.

Ghost shrimps come with an easy and rapid breeding process than Amanos. However, both the shrimp species develop better if you confine them in a single species tank during breeding. It renders them a suitable peaceful breeding environment, making them feel much safer. 

Ghost Shrimp Breeding: 

You would want to move berried females, green saddle bags visible beneath their belly along with the male specimens to the breeding tank. After proper fertilization of eggs, as soon as the female Ghost shrimps start feeling safe, they will release the shrimplets in the tank. Just imagine what a lovely experience it will be to watch the entire breeding session.

The larvae will then start finding enough nutrition to grow well; hence, you would want to prepare the breeding tank with java moss, which houses the first food infusoria and provides shelter to the newborns. However, if you wish, you can also feed them with diet-rich food to speed up their development. 

Ghost Shrimp’s purpose in the aquarium trade is not just cleaner; most aquarists breed Ghost Shrimps as feed to other big fishes such as cichlids, Jack Dempsey Cichlid, Oscar, Pufferfish, etc.

Breeding Amano Shrimp:

When it comes to Amanos, let me warn you that breeding Amano shrimps are not that simple; it requires expertise. For breeding Amanos, initially, you can follow the same process as you did for Ghost shrimps.

But as soon as the eggs begin to hatch, you need to transfer the larvae into a saltwater tank. You can use Java moss ball as a spawning mop as it houses first fry food/shrimplets food abundantly. 

Amano Shrimp larvae need salty water for growth and morphing. When they start transforming into baby shrimps, you need to transfer them into a freshwater tank again. 

Breeding Amano Shrimps calls for experience and patience to go through the entire process. Well, it might be a bit hectic and cumbersome, but not impossible. What do you say?

Amano Shrimp Vs Ghost Shrimp: Wrap-up

Although both Amano Shrimp and Ghost Shrimp look transparent, one can still distinguish between the two species. The differences don’t stop with their physical appearances. 

Choosing one to another depends entirely on the purpose for which you would want to bring the shrimps home. If you are looking for a cleaning crew member, I recommend Amano Shrimp as they make a better bottom feeder; they are also hardy and tolerant of fluctuation in the water quality. Amano Shrimp is an excellent beginner species. The downside with Amano is breeding them into a colony; it requires expertise; however, they have a relatively long lifespan.

However, if you are looking for feeder stock, ghost shrimp is your choice. Ghost shrimp breed fast is excellent nutrition to most of the bigger fish species.

Good luck, and share your experience with us here below!

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