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Are Red Ghost Shrimp Real?

After publishing our article on how to keep shrimp in a Biorb recently, we realized just how many people are starting to keep shrimp only tanks and paying more attention to their shrimp when viewing them in their tanks.

This has resulted in more and more people asking questions based around why certain species of shrimp look in certain ways and there has been a spike in the number of people reaching out and asking about red ghost shrimp recently.

Red ghost shrimp that are all red are usually just cherry shrimp that have been accidentally added to the wrong tank but most ghost shrimp will have parts of red on them be it small little red spots or large red lines.

These red parts are very common on ghost shrimp and are considered to be natural and not an indication of a potential problem on the shrimp.

If your ghost shrimp does have red spots or lines on it then it is also very common for the shrimp to also have white spots or lines on it too.

The bulk of the ghost shrimp will still have the standard translucent body that ghost shrimp are so well known for but there can be a bumper of red and white spots or lines on the shrimp as shown in the image below with some ghost shrimp being able to have bright red or orange antennae too.

Do Ghost Shrimp Have Red On Them?

It is normal for ghost shrimp to have parts of red on them at various parts of their body with white spots also being very common too.

Some ghost shrimp can have more red and white on them than normal but it is still very rare for the red or white markings to cover more than around one fifth of the body of a ghost shrimp with the rest of the body of the shrimp usually being translucent.

Although the red and white markings are the most common colors to supplement the normal look of a ghost shrimp, they can also have brown, orange, black, and in some very rare cases, yellow on them too.

We have seen people attempt to breed the ghost shrimp with each other that have large amounts of color on them to try and make the color more prevalent but this is more difficult than most people initially realize.

It is very common for people to think that cherry shrimp and ghost shrimp are some how related or that the cherry shrimp are just ghost shrimp that have been bred to have more red on them.

This is not correct at all as ghost shrimp are from the Palaemonetes genus where as cherry shrimp are from the Neocaridina davidi genus so they are not able to breed with each other but we go into this in more detail in our article on keeping ghost shrimp with cherry shrimp.

Is It Normal For Ghost Shrimp To Have Color On Them?

Most people think that ghost shrimp should be fully translucent but this is not correct and it is common for ghost shrimp to have various colors on their body in varying amounts and shapes.

Red is usually the most common color on ghost shrimps with white being a close second but there are other colors that can be found on ghost shrimp too.

More and more people are starting to keep a shrimp only tank where the main feature of the tank is the shrimp rather than fish with the shrimp being more of a secondary feature of the tank that is usually only there to be part of the cleanup crew.

Due to this, more people have been viewing their shrimp in their shrimp only tanks and paying them more attention than usual resulting in more people realizing that their ghost shrimp have various colors on them.

This often causes people to think that they have a rare ghost shrimp due to the red on it and that it may be worth more money or be worth breeding but this is unfortunately not the case.

It is very common for ghost shrimp to have red on them and they are readily available to buy at the exact same price as “normal” ghost shrimp even though the ghost shrimp that are sold as normal ghost shrimp will commonly have red, white, and other colors on them anyway.

Why Does My Ghost Shrimp Have Red Antennae?

Some ghost shrimp will have red, orange or yellow antenna rather than translucent antennae to match the rest of their body and although this is rare, it is still considered normal for ghost shrimp.

The color in the antennae of our ghost shrimp can get brighter depending on what your ghost shrimp is feeding on and high toxin levels in your aquarium can cause the colors to temporarily fade.

It is more common for your ghost shrimp to have red antennae than any other color but this is not due to blood but an actual color pigment in the antennae itself.

We have noticed a surprisingly large number of people on social media saying that it red antennae is due to the blood of the shrimp but this is not the case partially due to the blood of shrimp being clear due to a lack of hemoglobin as well as the antennae having the color pigment in them.

Another thing that we have seen people asking due to them noticing color on the antennae of their ghost shrimp is if the red is due to trauma to the shrimp antennae.

Although it can be common for the antennae of shrimp to end up being damaged by their tank mates, it is rare that they will turn red and it is more common that they will be translucent or turn a dark brown or black if the trauma causes the antennae to turn necrotic.

Why Is My Ghost Shrimp Turning Orange?

If your ghost shrimp is eating lots of food high in carotene then it can temporarily turn orange due to the orange color of the carotene inside of the shrimp showing through its translucent body.

It has become very popular to feed ghost shrimp carrots to temporarily turn them orange after a viral video on social media initially showed people the effects of carotene on ghost shrimp.

It is possible for ghost shrimp to have small amounts of orange on them but this is usually very limited and wont take up much of their body.

Orange is also one of the rarer colors for ghost shrimp to have on their body with red and/or white being far more common for most ghost shrimp.

Dead ghost shrimp can also turn orange if they have recently been eating carotene but the initial orange color has faded in the shrimp.

This is due to a chemical reaction in the body of a dead ghost shrimp giving the carotene a second wind of sorts to temporarily turn the ghost shrimp orange again but it is very rare that the circumstances can line up for this to happen.


That brings our article going over red ghost shrimp to an end and we hope that we have been able to help as many of our readers as possible who have noticed that their ghost shrimp has some red on them. As we touched on way back at the start of the article though, some people who are new to keeping shrimp in their tanks can often mistake cherry shrimp for ghost shrimp with this being far more common than people realize.