Skip to Content

What Do Baby Shrimp Look Like?

When you have things floating around in your tank, it could put you in a frenzy trying to figure out what it is.

However, if you have shrimp, that strange floating thing that’s ghost-like might actually be baby shrimp, something you don’t want to get rid of.

The only issue with being sure is that baby shrimp are tiny, some even as small as the head of a needle, making it hard to see with the naked eye.

There are lots of varieties of shrimp out there, though many of their young tend to look similar when freshly hatched.

They might not be so easy to see in the beginning, though they grow fast and can eventually display more shrimp-like characteristics, including similar colors, shapes, and even movements that mimic their mature version.

However, this can take more than a few months, leaving you wondering for some time whether what you see is baby shrimp or something to be concerned about.

Below, we’ll take a look at what baby shrimp look like, describing particular features that you can check for to be sure. Whatever you see in your tank might not be something to worry about, but something to get excited about.

Find out key characteristics to look for and how you can tell whether what you’re seeing is baby shrimp or something else.

What Does Baby Shrimp Look Like?

So, what exactly does a baby shrimp look like? Well, they look very similar to adult shrimp, though on a much smaller scale. They will not display a lot of color in the beginning and typically appear very small and almost transparent.

They may look like a slimy substance swimming through the water and be very hard to see. This is normal when they are first born, and as they grow, the signature pink-red hue that they display will come out.

However, if you take a closer look, you’ll see a few key characteristics of shrimp, though on a much smaller scale.

One of them is the signature curved shape that is typical of shrimp and the other is the presence of a small black dot that is where the eyes are.

These are very tiny, measuring just a millimeter or so, and only grow to a size you can see with the naked eye within a month.

Baby shrimp tend to swim around their environment, looking around and discovering things around them. It may be difficult to spot them long enough to really examine them, though if you have them in a smaller tank, you may be able to do so if you keep a close watch.

It may just seem like small wisps of water moving but, there could be some small shrimp moving around your tank that you have yet to discover.

“red cherry shrimp” by (: Rebecca-louise 🙂 is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

How Small Are Baby Shrimps Born?

When shrimp hatch, they are typically only about 1 to 2 milliliters. It’s for that reason that they may be difficult to see, as they appear to be very small and floating around in the water.

They tend to have a very transparent color, which is another reason why they may be hard to spot. If you have some sort of magnifier, you may be able to see them clearly, though it could prove difficult.

While they may be small when they first hatch, baby shrimp tend to grow pretty fast, so even if you’re not sure if what you’re seeing is baby shrimp, you can probably have a better idea in as little as a few weeks when they start to display more prominent characteristics.

Among those are a more prominent structure, color, and larger eyes that appear black and beady.

Baby shrimp mature into full-grown shrimp in about two to three months. They not only increase in size but display more color and more prominent characteristics as they grow.

There are some ways to boost the growth rate, though not all those who have baby shrimp expose their baby shrimp to that. Naturally, they will grow slowly over time, reaching full growth in about a month or two.

Can You See Baby Shrimp With Your Eyes When They Are First Born?

When baby shrimp first hatch, there are several parts that you can’t see just by peeping into your tank. Their eyes are visible, but only if you really strain your eyes to do so or use some sort of magnifier.

Remember, these little guys are tiny, and not too visible when they are first born. They look transparent in color and are difficult to make out.

When you peer into your tank, the thing that you’re likely to see is a transparent movement, one that catches your eye as something odd. If you get a chance to look in closer, what you’ll find is a small shrimp, one that has characteristics just like those of their adult versions.

They will have the shape, though they won’t have the pinkish color typical of adult shrimp.

The eyes will appear very small, just looking like a small dot that you can see if you really put in the effort. Other than that, you might not be able to see the eyes too well, as they will likely still develop for some time.

The shape and eyes get more visible to the naked eye in about a month after hatching and may take up to three months to develop completely.


When you have small things floating in your tank, you might not know what it is. However, if you suspect that baby shrimp are the cause, it’s good to know what baby shrimp look like. When they are born, they are tiny, not very visible to the naked eye.

However, in as little as a few weeks, you can start making out particular characteristics, ones that are sure to help you identify these tiny, transparent blobs as baby shrimp. It can take about 2 to 3 months for shrimp to mature, and up until then, they’re very difficult to spot.