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Do Shrimp Sleep?

One of the biggest questions that people who just started keeping shrimp have to ask is do shrimp sleep? This is a big question as beginner shrimp keepers often see their shrimp sleeping and assume that they’re sick, or even deceased.

However, shrimp need to sleep every day just like other animals and it’s important to be able to tell how shrimp sleep. Shrimp sleep with their eyes open and often resting in safe corners of their aquarium or just at the bottom of the substrate.

Every living organism needs to rest throughout the day. Shrimp are no exception to this rule and will sleep as needed in order to conserve energy.

Different species of shrimp sleep at different times throughout the day with some shrimp sleeping in during the night and other species sleeping during the day. There are also other behaviors so I can cause your shrimp to rest at the bottom of the aquarium.

Shrimp need to shed their exoskeletons several times throughout their life cycle. When shrimp need to shed their exoskeletons, they will rest at the bottom of their aquarium and slowly wiggle out of their old exoskeleton.

This might make it look like your shrimp is sleeping, but it’s just molting. Let’s take a closer look at the interesting sleep habits of shrimp.

Do Shrimp Sleep?

Here’s a question that’s definitely going to throw some experienced shrimp keepers for a loop. It often looks like shrimp can’t sleep because they keep their eyes open 24/7. However, shrimp sleep every day just like other animals do even though shrimp sleep with their eyes open.

You can typically find shrimp sleeping when they settle down at the bottom of their aquarium or they sit motionless on rocks or other surfaces where they can get a firm hold.

It might seem like shrimps don’t sleep, but they just have a different way of going about resting and then other animals, such as people, dogs, and cats, and this makes it important to point out the differences between how these animals rest.

Shrimp cannot close their eyes which means that they have to sleep with their eyes open. Shrimp also sleep in a way that makes it seem like they’re just sitting still as they don’t curl up or change anything about their behavior when they rest. Shrimp simply settle down in a safe corner of their environment and take a nap.

Shrimp sleep at different periods of the day depending on the specific species of shrimp that you have. Ghost Shrimp, for example, are nocturnal animals who are at most active at night or around dusk.

This means that they’re going to be sleeping throughout the day and wake up when the Sun starts to set. Different species of shrimp have different times of day that they prefer to sleep.

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Why Is My Shrimp Laying Down?

It’s coming to find your shrimp lying down at the bottom of your aquarium and this isn’t always a sign of concern.

There are three major reasons why shrimp can lay down at the bottom of an aquarium: the shrimp might simply be sleeping, it could be time to molt and they are laying down in preparation of shedding their exoskeletons, or the shrimp might be experiencing health problems or problems with the aquarium.

You’ll need to observe your shrimp over a period of time to discover whether it’s just taking a nap or if it needs some help.

Did you know that shrimp have exoskeletons just like arachnids insects? The skeleton of a shrimp is on the outside of its body and that means that the shrimp needs to shed this exoskeleton several times throughout its life as it grows.

This is a process known as molting and a wide variety of animals molt including crabs, spiders, and some insects. Shrimp molt by laying down on the bottom of their enclosures and resting on their back as they wiggle out of their old exoskeletons.

Your shrimp might also be laying down because it’s experiencing some problems with its environment. There could be problems with the water such as contaminants like copper, an improper temperature, or the balance of salt or the pH could have been thrown off.

There could also be bacteria in the water that are causing your shrimp to get sick. If your shrimp keeps laying down and doesn’t seem energetic when they should be awake, it’s a sure sign that something’s wrong with their environment and they might be getting sick.

How Do Shrimp Rest?

Shrimp do not sleep like many other animals do which leads to some interesting problems with figuring out how they rest.

Unlike the family dog or cat, shrimp have different ways of sleeping that might make us think that they are always awake. Shrimp can not close their eyes which means they sleep with both eyes open.

Shrimp will rest by finding a safe place where they can anchor down and hide from predators. This is usually on rocks, logs, or the substrate of the aquariums they are kept in.

Shrimp need to rest throughout the day just like most other living animals. Resting helps shrimp to heal from injuries, restore their energy, and lets their bodies perform other vital tasks that take too much energy to handle while they’re awake.

Resting is evolutionarily advantageous because organisms don’t need to consume as much food and other resources while they’re taking a nap. Shrimp might not seem like they spend a lot of time sleeping and resting, but they actually take a lot of naps throughout the day.

The biggest consideration shrimp have when they’re resting is avoiding predators. Shrimp are on the top of the menu for countless animals including people. This means they need to rest and find ways that also keep them safe from potential hazards.

This is why your shrimp will tuck themselves in hiding and areas of the aquarium or where they can feel safe from the potential hazards.


Now that you can answer do shrimp sleep, you’re ready to be one step above your average shrimp keeper. Remember that shrimp need to sleep every day just like other living animals and this means that it’s important to know the difference between sleeping, molting, and if your shrimp is sick. Observing your shrimp’s Behavior over time is the key to telling the difference between these three similar behaviors.