Why Are My Ghost Shrimp Turning White? (Causes & Treatment)

Did you notice the color of your ghost shrimps fading, and they are turning white? Are you scared something terrible has happened to them? Are you confused about the cause and the next line of action? No need to panic as this article addresses the causes, implications, and possible solutions when your ghost shrimp starts turning white.

Ghost shrimp can turn white as a result of old age, and it can also be due to poor water quality, especially with increased ammonia levels. Ghost shrimp can turn white during molting, overfeeding, and sickness like muscular necrosis.

Ghost Shrimp Turning White

What Does It Mean When Your Shrimps Turn White?

Ghost shrimp turning white can mean a lot of things. It can mean a natural process of molting or aging. It can also send a clear message of poor water quality and increased ammonia level in the tank.

So, if you find your shrimp turning white, it can mean a natural process is occurring. Aging is a normal part of the life cycle. If your aged shrimp turns white, it means the shrimp might be ready to die.

Molting is also a natural process that occurs with shrimp. It often happens during shrimp’s growth process. Ghost shrimps outgrow their existing shell and need a new one.

But this process doesn’t take long, and the shrimp does not turn white completely. The process will only take a couple of hours or a few days.

On the other hand, it can mean something terrible is happening in your tank. Poor water quality and increased ammonia level can make a shrimp turn white.

Below is the highlight of the reasons why your ghost shrimps might turn white;

  • Aging

Old age will make ghost shrimps turn white ultimately. It implies that your shrimp is ready to die, and they can give up in a few days or weeks. They become slow, sluggish, and stay in the open.

  • Poor Water Quality 

Poor and unstable water qualities can make your ghost shrimp turn white. It is mainly due to elevated ammonia levels. Fluctuating temperatures and pH will also affect shrimps.

  • Muscular Necrosis 

Muscular necrosis is common to ghost shrimps. It causes white spots in the tail or abdomen. It is contagious, so it is best to quarantine affected shrimp before it spreads to others.

  • Molting 

Molting is a crucial growing stage of shrimps. Shrimps have an exoskeleton, and they outgrow it at some points. So, they turn temporarily white during the process of shedding the shell.

The primary causes are pH fluctuations, insufficient oxygen, and lack of proper nutrients.

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Why Is My Ghost Shrimp White and Not Moving?

Ghost shrimps can turn white and stop moving when they are aged. Aged ghost shrimps are weak, sluggish, and almost ready to die. So, they might stop moving as they turn white.

Poor water quality and muscular necrosis can also cause ghost shrimp to turn white and stagnant. The effect of these conditions can weaken your shrimp and restrict their movement.

How Can I Treat My Ghost Shrimp That Turned White?

The best treatment for a ghost shrimp that turns white is dependent on the cause. If it is a result of poor water quality, you have to improve your tank. But you might not be able to do much about aging and molting.

The first step in finding a solution to a problem is identifying its cause. As stated earlier, aging can cause your shrimp to turn white. It is a natural process, and you might not be able to stop it.

Likewise, molting is a natural process. It signifies a growing stage in the life cycle of shrimps. The only thing you can do here is to create an enabling environment and protect them.

Ghost shrimps are vulnerable during molting. You have to ensure a stable water condition and proper tank quality. Also, ensure to keep predators away from them during this period.

What Do Ghost Shrimp Look Like When They Die?

It is best to know when a shrimp dies to remove it from the tank. Dead ghost shrimps will lose their molt. So, they often turn milky white or pinky. Their molt might also appear broken if they don’t lose it entirely.

No one wishes for their pet shrimp to die, but they die anyway. So, it is best to learn how to differentiate a dead shrimp from others.

White and not moving does not always mean that they are dead. You might have to look out for other signs like the molt.

Also, it would help if you didn’t confuse a molting shrimp for a dead shrimp. The two conditions might have certain things in common, but a molting shrimp will not stop moving entirely.

Firstly, look out for the color and molt indicator. Next, observe the shrimp for few hours and see if there would be any form of movement. A dead shrimp will stop moving and stay transparent.

Why Has My Shrimp Change Color?

Ghost shrimps can change color due to various reasons. Ghost shrimps change colors when they are stressed. They can also change color during molting and when they die.

Stressed ghost shrimps can change color within a few minutes when their stress level increases. But they will revert to their color in a few minutes after they get over the stress. Molting shrimp will also change color and become partially white.

Dead ghost shrimps can’t retain their colors as well. They will become transparent, pinky, or white. The same thing applies to aged ghost shrimps that become white as they gradually end their life cycle.


Ghost shrimps are hardy but will react to changes around them. When they turn white, it means there is something significant going on in the tank. It can either be a natural phenomenon or a disaster.

The natural phenomenon includes molting and aging. There is little or nothing you can do to help these biological processes. Aging is an inevitable part of a life cycle, and molting is a natural growing process in the life of ghost shrimps.

Besides these two, any other thing that causes your ghost shrimp to turn white can be disastrous. It can be either due to poor water quality and a high level of ammonia in the tank. It can also be due to a sickness called muscular necrosis.