I have a 20g fish tank, dimensions are around 18in high, 24in length, 12in wide. Currently it contains 7 neon tetras, a plastic column, and a plastic plant (medium size, about as tall as the tank and around 6 inch diameter base).

I'm looking to get some more creatures for my tank, and have been looking at ghost shrimp. Can I add them? According to this calculator, I'm perfectly fine with a 1:1 ratio of ghost shrimp to neon tetras.

However, is that healthy for both the tetras and ghost shrimp? Should I try to have a 2:1 with more tetras than shrimp, or does it not really matter?


3 Answers 3


I don't have any experience with ghost shrimp, but I do have cherry shrimps. And it seems like they are pretty much alike in behaviour, size, care taking, ...

Shrimp are a lot different than fish, their bio footprint is a lot lower, they are a lot smaller,... So I would not use such calculators to see how many you can have. They usually just take the size of the fish and do some calculations (which is not a good way anyway).

This site seems to have some good information about ghost shrimp and it mentions 10 shrimp/gallon.
But I agree with Karl's comment above: it doesn't really matter. But make sure you have more shrimp than tetra's.
Actually I would say: the more shrimp the better.

I've got a 30 litre (8 gallon) tank with only cherry shrimp. I started with about 20 shrimp I believe (1.5 year ago). Now I probably have close to 100. But I don't have the feeling it is overstocked. They're always spread out over the tank or swimming around. It's only when I feed them that they all come to the same place and you actually see how many there are.

I also have a 180 litres (47 gallon) tank with some corrydoras, tetra's and a betta in which I added about 15 shrimp a couple of months ago.
I have no idea how many shrimp I have now (lot's of hiding places), but I always have about 10 in sight. So I'm sure those 15 shrimp were enough to keep the population steady (and growing).

So for you, it would start with at least 10-15 shrimp and see how it goes. And I would not worry too much about having to do population control. More baby shrimp will also mean that more will be eaten by the tetra's anyway (becasue they will be easier to spot by them).

  • Thanks for answering! The explanation of why I should only get that many is nice, helps a lot. I'll probably start with 10 shrimp at first.
    – user9091
    Mar 23, 2017 at 15:20

Since the shrimp multiply fast (because they lay hundreds of eggs, of which many do survive to adulthood) I'd start with a small number, maybe 5 males and 5 females. And later, you may have to do population control.

  • I don't really want a lot of shrimp though, and won't the tetras eat the eggs and baby shrimp? That's what pretty much everywhere on the internet says.
    – user9091
    Mar 17, 2017 at 17:32
  • That depends on how much hiding places you have in your aquarium. If you have shrimp-suitable plants which are growing tight and low there's no change that any specimen will eat all of the eggs and fry (a reference would be interesting). If you don't have those plants the shrimp might experience stress and be less colorful and not multiply. In this case 1:1 seems fine, but I wouldn't make a science out of it. Mar 18, 2017 at 3:09
  • 1
    This answer seems to be more about shrimp reproduction, it does not address the question of combining them with neon tetras. Mar 18, 2017 at 10:40
  • The question is how many shrimps and my answer is shortly : It doesn't matter anyway. That both does and does not answer the question. Mar 18, 2017 at 10:44

IF it's only going to be the fish and the shrimp and some decorations I would say keep the count around 5-10. The only issue I see is if you get more you're going to have to have stuff for them to feed on, in my experience they eat alot of the pieces of the uneaten stuff that floats to the bottom, or any other plant matter, etc, I'd say if you added some living aquatic plants too you'd have no problem keeping more than 10. I don't think the reproduction thing wouldn't be too much of a problem, if you're buying from a pet store that separates the sexes or only has one or the other you should be fine. I had about 5 in a tank with a bunch of goldfish, they were great because they cleaned up alot of the old food sitting around, but eventually the goldfish got to them and ate them. I think tetras are smaller though so i don't see that being a problem either.

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