5 Reasons For White Eyes of Ghost Shrimp [How to Treat]

Does your ghost shrimp have white eyes and you are worried about getting their color back?

If this was happening in my aquarium then I would be super worried too. Because if the ghost shrimps are turning white it could evidently mean something is very wrong in the tank. And before it’s too late you have to fix the situation as soon as possible.

The 5 most common yet devastating reasons for ghost shrimp turning white are –

  • When they are molting
  • When the water parameters are not correct
  • When the tank has too much copper in the water
  • When the shrimps are infected with fungal or bacterial diseases
  • And when the ghost shrimps are getting old.

Here the word of caution is, that ghost shrimps are very delicate creatures so they can be easily killed if you make the slightest mistake. And that’s where this article comes to the rescue.

Because in this article, you will find all the practical explanations and a step-by-step guide on how to treat ghost shrimps like an expert.

So, let’s get down to business–

Why is Ghost Shrimp Turning White?

ghost shrimp eyes and body turn white

1. The Ghost Shrimp Is Going To Molt

You see, sometimes the shrimp’s eyes and body turn white when it’s time for them to molt. The eyes start to turn pale and white because they are about to shed the exoskeleton and replace it with a newly formed one. 

And the new exoskeleton is initially lighter and almost transparent white in color. During the shedding process, the shrimps hide under logs and other structures to prevent the attack of any predators.

In this stage, the shrimps are the most susceptible because their hard outer layer is not there to protect their body. 

2. The Water Parameters Are Not Correct

This thing is one of the most important because the ghost shrimps in most cases become stressed and change their colors. Eventually, in severe conditions, they turn white and start dying in the wrong kind of conditions.

So you have to make sure to provide the ideal conditions in the tank.  In that case, the pH of the tank should be between 7.0- 8.0.

And the temperature should be from 22° C to 27° C (72° F to 79° F). They also need slightly alkaline and hard water that ranges from 10-20 general degrees of hardness.

Another important thing is, they don’t survive very well in the presence of ammonia and nitrites. So you have to make sure your tank doesn’t have too many nutrients in it.

3. Too Much Copper In The Tank

The presence of copper in the tank is equal to poison for the ghost shrimps. But the sad thing is most of the aquarium has a steady build-up of copper because the water conditioners that we use have copper carbonate and copper sulfate to clean water. 

When the ghost shrimps are exposed to a certain level of copper the eyes will turn white. Moreover, the shrimp will become sluggish and develop blister-like abscesses all over the body and look very ugly. In severe cases, it can have spider web-like white fibers growing all over its body.

So the best way to prevent this problem is by avoiding copper substances in your tank. And if you are using any water conditioners then make sure the product is okay for the shrimps.

4. Fungal And Bacterial Infection

Sometimes it may look like everything is perfect and still, the ghost shrimps are turning white without any reason. This can happen due to fungal or bacterial attacks which you will notice when the shrimps are showing disturbing behavior and unnecessary shaking.

Moreover, the eyes will turn pale, cloudy, and white and the shrimps will lose all of their appetites. If you observe this kind of behavior in the tank then you have to quickly isolate the infected shrimps in another small tank or glass jar temporarily.

Another issue is muscular necrosis which is a sickness of shrimp. In this case, you will see lots of tiny white spots on the tail and abdominal areas. And this disease can occur due to bad water conditions and lack of proper nutrients or sometimes drastic changes in temperature in a quick interval. 

Sadly this disease has no cure. So, the sick shrimps will have to be put in a separate tank or container and you have to provide them with all the right conditions and change at least 50% of the water every day until they get better.

5. The Ghost Shrimps Are Getting Old

Lastly, when you have ruled out all the other possibilities, some of your ghost shrimp’s eyes will just turn white due to their age. Because as they get older, naturally the exoskeleton starts to turn white. They generally live for 1-2 years and towards the end of their life cycle their eyes turn white along with the whole body. 

Moreover, the exoskeleton hardens, and that makes them unable to move around and swim properly. This will be a clearer indication of old age when only 1 or 2 of them are turning white.

In this case, you have to give them the best possible conditions that reduce the stress on them. And provide them a place of hiding so that they can protect themselves from other predators.

How To Treat The Ghost Shrimp’s White Eyes

You cannot prevent the shrimps from getting white eyes but you can cure them with the following activities–

  • The first step is to isolate the shrimp. Because if it’s due to any disease then it can easily spread to other healthy ones. 
  • For this, you will need to transfer them in another small tank setup or you can put them temporarily in a large container.
  • In case of fungal and bacterial infections, you have to treat the ghost shrimps with antibiotics in the proper dose mentioned in the package (our pick: API MELAFIX Freshwater Fish Bacterial Infection)
  • Keep the shrimps in separate tanks as long as it takes them to recover.
  • Check the water temperature and make sure they are well within the range. It’s better if you use a water heater in your tank that will help to stabilize the temperature all the time (our pick: Orlushy Submersible Aquarium Heater)
  • And frequently check the ammonia and nitrate levels with an aquarium pH testing kit (our pick: API PH TEST KIT)
  • Don’t forget to supply extra doses of calcium every once in a while. You can also add very finely crushed eggshells to your tank as a substitute source of calcium. 
  • During the molting period, the shrimps are the most vulnerable so when they will start to turn colorless and the exoskeleton becomes thin, then you have to let the tank stay undisturbed.
  • Also, prevent tapping on the tank glass to avoid any sudden movements of shrimps that can damage their body parts. After the molting is finished the ghost shrimps will be back to normal.
  • If you are using any product in your tank that contains copper then you have to immediately stop using them as these can turn out to be lethal to your ghost shrimps. 
  • You have to give special attention to the water conditions you are using on your tanks to remove especially chlorine compounds. 
  • After keeping a check on all the factors if still, if you find the ghost shrimps are turning white then there may be oxygen issues. In this case, you can set up a filter in the tank that will make bubbles and supply enough oxygen inside the tank.

How Can I Know If My Ghost Shrimps Are Molting?

Molting process of ghost shrimps

It’s really important to figure out if they are actually molting. In this way, you will be able to tell the disease and stressed shrimps apart from molting ones. Because you can’t escape molting as this is a natural process and it will keep on happening throughout their lives.

First off you have to start by examining the exoskeletons of your ghost shrimps very carefully. When they are molting you will notice some cracks in the exoskeleton. These cracks will keep expanding and end up splitting between the joints. 

After that,  the shells will start to get off the shrimp’s body very gradually. Meanwhile, the shrimps will start making new exoskeletons as the replacement.

After finishing the molting the ghost shrimps look very dull and clear translucent and will show less activity. Here the most important point is that a lot of the shrimps turn white and die during the molting process. 

This is because they shed their old exoskeleton and during that time their body becomes very vulnerable to any kind of physical damage.

So, while they are molting you have to make sure you never disturb the tank, not even for cleaning. And provide enough plants and other decorative structures to give them a place to hide.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Do You Know If Ghost Shrimp Are Stressed?

There are so many issues that can indicate your ghost shrimps are in stress. Such as erratic and irregular movement, loss of color, reduced appetite, reduced growth rate, improper molting, lack of energy to move, etc. If you notice any of these issues you have to check the water parameters immediately and take action against it. 

How Long Does It Take A Ghost Shrimp To Molt?

A healthy ghost shrimp molts about every 4 weeks. However, the young ones molt more often than the older ones, every 1-2 weeks. During this time it’s very important that you keep the water condition constant and to their liking to help to complete a successful molting.

Do Ghost Shrimp Eat Their Babies?

Yes, they do! Adult ghost shrimps most of the time eat their newborn ones. So to keep the newly born shrimps alive you have to isolate them just after they have been born. And keep them in a separate tank for 5 weeks or until they have grown large enough to be back into the main tank.

What Do Ghost Shrimp Look Like When They Die?

When ghost shrimp die, their outer shell turns brown in color and gradually starts to dissolve in the water. And due to the death of internal organs, the dead ghost shrimp has many spots all over the body. After the shells are dissolved the shrimp body will be exposed to air and absorb oxygen. This will turn the pale brown to grayish color and will disintegrate very quickly into pieces. 

Why Is My Ghost Shrimp Turning Brown?

Sometimes with age, the ghost shrimps change their color depending on the tank condition. For example, if the bottom of your tank is dark brown or black, the shrimps are more likely to turn darker with age. Anyways, all the ghost shrimps lose their natural translucency with age and turn brown. 


When your ghost shrimps have white eyes it means there is something definitely wrong with them. And it’s not good for the shrimps to stay white for a long period of time. So, you have to take some quick action to cure them and also, prevent the healthy ones from getting white.

Check the water quality and the temperature and make sure you are not overfeeding your tank with ammonia and copper. Isolate the white ghost shrimps and treat them in a separate tank by following the treatment guide.

If you have any further questions then ask out in the comment section and I’ll be sure to reach out.

Howard Parker

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