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

Do you notice the color of your ghost shrimp fading? Why are my ghost shrimp turning white?

Are you scared something terrible has happened to them? Are you confused about the cause and the next line of action.

This article addresses the causes, implications, and possible solutions when your ghost shrimp starts turning white.

Why Are My Ghost Shrimp 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
  • sicknesses like muscular necrosis

Allow me to explain below:

Ghost Shrimp Turning White

What Does It Mean When Your Shrimp Turn White?

Ghost shrimp turning white can mean a lot of things. It can mean a process of:

  • molting 
  • aging
  • poor water quality
  • increased ammonia levels 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.

4 Reasons Why Ghost Shrimp Turn White

  1. Aging
  2. Poor Water Quality 
  3. Muscular Necrosis 
  4. Molting 

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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
  • 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
  • almost ready to die

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.

Treat Ghost Shrimp Turning 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
  • turn milky white or pinky
  • appear broken
  • stop moving
  • stay transparent

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

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.

Why Has My Shrimp Changed 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
  • pink
  • white

The same thing applies to aged ghost shrimps that become white as they gradually end their life cycle.


Ghost shrimp 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.


Thanks for visiting HelpUsFish.com for this article on ghost shrimp. We have plenty more informative articles for your interest. Check out our home page and search bar for hundreds of more selections that could benefit you and your aquatic life. Bye for now!

John Brandon

John has kept fish all his life (since he was about 5). He started with keeping guppies and fell in love with fish keeping almost straight away. That was 40 odd years ago. These days John still keeps fish and currently has two large tanks where he keeps many different types of fish such as Angelfish, Neon Tetras, Goldfish, Guppies and many more.