Why is my shrimp molting?

Shrimp Molt for a few reasons! Your Shrimp live in a shell basically. As they grow, the shell does not. So out with the old and in with the new! Along with growing, they grow a new exoskeleton, or shell in this case, which hardens over several hours and becomes a brand new protective casing for your shrimp. Shrimp generally molt every three to eight weeks and it takes a correct amount of Iodine to promote proper shrimp molting. One thing to keep in mind is that your shrimp could die while molting if your water conditions are improper! So, molting is a good thing for your shrimp! If you see the little shell floating around or sitting there motionless, don’t worry; your shrimp probably isn’t dead, it just molted!

What to do with shrimp exoskeletons

No one likes a messy aquarium and I know shrimp exoskeletons can look pretty ugly. Although typically your shrimp will molt secretly, the shell will sometimes float around. I suggest not to remove these exoskeletons from your aquarium because they actually hold a lot of valuable minerals that will replenish within the water column. Typically, shells will break-down within a few days or shrimp might actually forage off them.

Promote Molting

You can promote molting by doing water changes. Typically, a 20% water change to an aquarium will give a surge to your shrimp to molt their shell. This could be a bad thing if you accidently do a water change when adding new shrimp to your aquarium. (this is why accumulating slowly is very important)

Shrimp Molting problems and how to solve it

So you probably found one of your dwarf shrimp that failed to molt (RIP). It’s happened to the best of us and for beginners getting into the hobby, it can really put a damper on being a shrimp keeper. But I can solve this, I’ve been there! typically shrimp fail to molt for one of two reasons. First, the GH/KH is too high and you’re seeing your shrimp drop but not from molting failure. Secondly, the GH/KH is too low which dwarf freshwater shrimp lack enough calcium in the water column to properly molt. Solving this is by adding some calcium mineral rock to bump up the calcium inside the shrimp tank. We recommend using mineral rocks you can buy down below:

  • Miss Cellany

    I acclimated my cherry shrimp over a 24 hour period then added them to the QT tank (which was sterile apart from a cycled filter media that I put in the filter).
    2 days later I’ve noticed a molt shell but I accidentally siphoned up half of it (the legs part was separate from the back and was siphoned – its almost invisible in the water so was hard to see until it was siphoned up). I left the other part in, will they be alright or do I need to add minerals to the water to help replenish them? My water is moderately hard – about 13 degrees GH so will this provide enough minerals for them or should I top up with mineral water or something?

    • http://redcherryshrimp.net/ Jesse Matz

      I used to pull the shrimp molt out of the aquarium of my 5 gallon along time ago thinking it will never decompose. It never caused any problems as long as your shrimp were eating. Red cherry shrimp should be around 8-12 GH but they are pretty hardy little guys, so don’t add any mineral water to it.