Do Shrimp Lay Eggs? What To Look For!

Most of the time getting shrimp for your tank is something new you are trying to act on. And I know how difficult it can get while you are trying to accomplish something new. Shrimps can be one of the delicate aquatic animals you will handle in the tank. And when it comes to pregnancy cases related to the shrimp we become speechless. We don’t know the first thing about their pregnancy and babies. Do you know if Shrimp are livebearers or lay eggs?

Do Shrimp lay eggs or give birth to live ones?

Well, first of all, Shrimp lay eggs and are egg layers, not livebearers. However, you will not see their eggs floating in the tank as you see those egg-laying fish. These shrimps will hold on to their eggs with swimmeret legs and are called berried shrimps.

I know this layer of information will not be enough for you to understand what exactly shrimp eggs look like. Or even solve the query about what happens next.

Hence, I have an entire article dedicated to the shrimp eggs and how they lay them. Here you will find everything related to the shrimp eggs and their development.

Do Shrimp Lay Eggs?

Yes, shrimp do lay eggs but not similar as other fish in the tank do. You may want to see the eggs in the tank to confirm this but you will not be able to find them.

I mean you can see them but not floating in the tank. These eggs remain with the shrimps till the end. And trust me they are not livebearers to keep the eggs inside their body till the end.

First of all, shrimps do lay eggs however they don’t drop them in the tank like other aquarium fish. The eggs are present in the saddle of the shrimp until they mate with the male shrimp.

The sperm’s male shrimps drop is kept in the tube between the saddle and her belly. When they mate, the eggs that are present in the saddle pass down towards her belly.

The eggs will go down towards the bottom of the female shrimp where her swimmeret legs are present. They carry the fertilized eggs with their little swimmeret legs.

Due to the position and the way shrimp hold those eggs as if they are a small clutch of berried, these eggs carrying shrimp got the name berried shrimp.

Shrimp Gestation Period

If you start to notice eggs in the shrimp, then it is time to prepare your tank to be able to keep few new shrimplets in the tank.

And trust me you will have plenty of time to make the preparation. But do not get ahead of yourself and do things before the male shrimp fertilizes the eggs.

Here is how you will know that your male and female shrimp are about to mate. When it comes to mating if there are few male shrimps then you may find some world war going in the tank.

The male somehow marks its territory and lets the other male shrimps know that it is going to inseminate her.

When you start to see male shrimp molting and going around the female shrimp as if it is trying to woo her, you can be sure that you will be seeing some shrimplets quite soon.

After the female shrimp and male shrimp mate, the eggs pass down through the tube towards the swimmeret legs of the female shrimps while fusing with the sperm present in the tube.

After the fertilization process, the shrimp will be berried or will hold on to the eggs for the next 12 to 14 days.

In total, you will have to wait for approx. 3 weeks after seeing the eggs to be able to see shrimplets in an aquarium.

Indications That Your Shrimp is Pregnant

It is quite easy to find out if your shrimp is carrying eggs or not. And people often use the term pregnancy with shrimps too which is not right.

They get gravid with eggs as they are egg-laying being however they are called pregnant like live-bearing living beings.

Okay, now that being said let’s move on to the next level of our question. How to identify if your shrimp I carrying eggs or not.

It is quite easy as most shrimps have transparent bodies. Male and female have the same body time till they reach the maturity phase.

Once they are mature, you will be able to tell the difference between male and female which will make it easier for you to find out if they are pregnant or not.

When you start to see small, round, and mostly yellowish or green eggs under the tail of female shrimp. Thanks to the translucent body of shrimp, you will be able to identify the eggs inside the female’s body easily and find out if she is pregnant or not.

What Do Shrimp Eggs Look Like?

Now, it is time to look at the eggs. Isn’t it exciting to see your shrimp full of eggs? Thanks to the translucent body of your shrimp you will be able to see the eggs in their belly.

Do not think about finding eggs floating in the tank because shrimp will not let go of their eggs till their shrimplets appear.

Now, when you look at your shrimp, notice the eggs they carry. You have to look for the small jelly-like balls present inside them.

The eggs are generally green or yellow. The thing is the color of those eggs depends on the color of the saddle.

If the eggs have been in there for quite some time, then you might find them quite darker than usual. Towards the end of the growth stages which is 16 altogether, you will notice dark eye spots that may seem tiny inside those eggs.

This is the process of development of shrimp from the mere egg. After three weeks, the eggs will hatch into a young baby shrimp.

Do Shrimp Die After Laying Eggs?

No, there is this belief that shrimps will die after laying eggs but it is not true. This is a rumor started by someone who failed to take care of pregnant shrimp properly.

No aquarium fish or shrimp is supposed to die just because they laid eggs. Well, I can understand why this might have mentioned though.

Most of the pregnant living beings or the ones who just gave birth are way weaker than we can imagine. Even the simplest thing or change in the living environment can push the near to sickness.

When there is fluctuation in the water parameters or any other factor of the tank, then there is a chance of shrimp getting death notice.

Any animal can be too weak to even do daily activity after and during the state of pregnancy. Bacteria and pathogens can attack them easily and hence death.

Also, there is a chance that the death might have occurred due to the pre-existing disease in shrimp and lower immunity power during pregnancy.

How Many Times Can A Shrimp Get Pregnant?

Now, this is quite a complicated question to ask. Once your shrimp reaches the maturity phase and is sexually active, you might see shrimplets every month.

You might already have taken the hold of the berried shrimp concept. Well, they carry their eggs for quite sometimes and usually, there are nearly 16 stages related to the post-hatching development of those small baby shrimp.

I have even read somewhere that there have been cases where your shrimp is both saddled and berried at the same time.

So, get ready to see nearly 21 to 51 shrimplets each time your shrimps lay eggs and those eggs start to hatch.

The number may increase if the shrimp you have is quite large and experienced in carrying the eggs properly.

Should I Separate Pregnant Shrimp?

Most of the time when it comes to breeding your fish in an aquarium, experts suggest you keep them in a separate tank.

And I know this question about separating pregnant shrimp from other shrimp is important. But don’t overthink or overanalyze the situation.

The condition of pregnant shrimp is quite different as they do not drop the eggs in the tank. Rather they will stay berried and carry those fertilized eggs with them as well.

However, if you have bullying fish in the tank, the case can be quite different. Due to the bullying and stress, your shrimp may drop the eggs in the tank.

These dropped eggs will be then eaten by the fish present in the tank. If this is your situation, then I suggest you separate pregnant shrimp from the previous tank and move them to a new one.

The shrimplets will be safe and sound with the shrimps though. These shrimp will not harm your shrimplets.

And if you have enough hiding space then voila, there is nothing that can stop your shrimplets from growing.

However, the fish will eat up your shrimplets as they are small enough to fit in their mouth. And even there is a probability of your inexperienced pregnant shrimp dropping the eggs.

Prevention is better than cure. So, rather than regretting your decision of keeping your pregnant shrimp in the same tank, go for another small breeding tank.

Where Do Shrimps Lay Their Eggs?

You may think your shrimp will give you another duty of placing marbles or whatsoever in the bottom of the tank as other fish in order to save the eggs but trust me that is not the case.

Once you see your shrimp with eggs and how you will end up with shrimplets, you will be amazed. The way shrimp make it easier to breed will unquestionably make you feel you have been raising the wrong species for breeding when you were wasting your time saving your fish eggs.

Here is what happens, your shrimp will neither lay eggs nor keep those eggs inside their body and give birth to live ones.

I have mentioned above how your shrimp will carry their eggs. They will move their eggs towards the underside of their body where they will be fertilized with the help of sperm transferred by the male shrimp.

Your berried shrimp will hold onto their eggs till the end. Hats off to the technique they use to save their newborn.

Do Shrimp Carry Unfertilized Eggs?

A direct and simple answer to your question is No. Why would they even bother to carry the eggs that have no future?

The eggs need to meet the sperm of male shrimp in order to fertilize and have a hope of further future. However, if the female shrimp doesn’t mate with the male shrimp, then the chance of the female holding on to the eggs is fairly null.

The eggs will grow larger in size and will drop down to the belly of your shrimp. When your egg carrying shrimp mates with the male shrimp, the eggs will fertilize and go down the swimmerets.

This process will continue till the eggs will look like beads on the strings. If the mating process doesn’t happen, the female will not bother to keep those eggs with her. You will find those eggs floating in the tank as female shrimp will meticulously drop them.

How Do You Know If Shrimp Eggs Are Fertile?

It is quite easy to separate the fertilized eggs from the unfertilized ones. The way shrimp carry their eggs before and after fertilization is the tell-tale sign.

Firstly you need to remember the eggs that are present in the saddle are not the ones that male shrimp have fertilized.

If you look closely towards your shrimp, the location of the eggs will give away the fertilization process.

The eggs will stay in the saddle and slowly move towards the belly when they are fertile. If you look carefully you will notice a tube that receives the sperm and fertilizes the eggs during that process.

What Happens If Shrimp Eggs Are Not Fertilized?

Most of the time people contemplate shrimps will keep the eggs till it is fertilized by the male. But that is not the case.

Even if you see shrimp eggs in the saddle of the female, it is not certain that they are fertilized. A female shrimp can keep her eggs in the saddle even if there is no male present to fertilize them.

After keeping eggs for a while and waiting for the male to fertilize them, the female shrimp will still descend the eggs even if those eggs are left unfertilized.

And these unfertilized eggs will stay with the shrimp for a while and she will eventually drop them off into the tank.

You will have to clean up those eggs. Or if there is a small fish with a mouth big enough to fit eggs will devour those eggs happily

Can Shrimp Drop Eggs?

Yes, shrimps do drop their eggs. There are many reports where the aquarists have complained about the way shrimp is dropping the eggs.

This is not new and it happens, firstly don’t panic and think about the worse. When shrimps are new at pregnancy and carrying eggs, it is common for them to fail.

Everyone gets nervous when they are doing something new for the first time. It is not their fault. The recently matured shrimp is not mature enough to know and keep holding the eggs.

This is mostly a petty beginner mistake that shrimp make. Also, there might be another hidden reason behind all this.

Check the water quality and maintain it to optimum as soon as you see your shrimp carrying eggs. Shrimps often drop their eggs when there is fluctuation in the water parameters.

Stress can be harmful to any pregnant living being. And miscarriages are mostly caused due to stress and an unfamiliar environment.

So, you can understand what happens to the shrimp that is holding the eggs when the environment around them is going south.

How Do I Save My Dropped Shrimp Eggs?

First and foremost, do not get your hopes up. Once your shrimp drops down the eggs from its body, there is very less nearly zero percent chance for these eggs to hatch.

Also, there is a slight chance that these eggs were dropped by the shrimp because they were infertile. Meaning that those eggs were not capable to give you Shrimplets.

Similarly, if this is the first time your shrimp is pregnant or holding eggs, then she might not be experienced enough. The inexperience to hold into the eggs might have caused the dropping.

Here is what you can do. Keep a little bit patient and pray for your shrimp eggs to be fertile. It is better to get a net breeder beforehand so you can use one during this situation.

Place the dropped eggs in the net breeder and wait for them to hatch. If they hatch without any issue then you are lucky or else I have warned prior to setting up the net breeder not to get the hopes up.

You can soak a few leaves of oak in a bowl or even in a big bucket of water. Place them in that water for few days so that no tannins in them remain behind and get leached out in the water.

Now, after few days, place them near the eggs of shrimps that it dropped in the tank. This will help them stay intact and safe while serving you a chance to get new shrimp babies from the net breeder.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some of the most asked questions you might like answers to as well. I hope this lessens your burden.

How Fast Do Shrimp Grow?

The growth rate of shrimp depends on the fact of how well kept your tank is. If you have a well-maintained tank with optimum water quality, your shrimp will grow faster than you can imagine.

They are quite fast when it comes to attaining maturity. If you are looking for the time appropriate to sell them, then sell them after they are 2 months old.

This is the time period where your shrimp will have the ideal size to go up for sale. However, this is not the time they will be sexually mature.

You have to wait for the next 2 months when your shrimp is 4 months old for them to mature properly. After this span, your shrimp can mate and lay eggs along with giving you small shrimplets.

You might like to learn more about Do Shrimp Eat Poop?

What Is The Easiest Shrimp To Breed?

Well, breeding a shrimp in the tank can get quite tricky and there are very few which will make your job easier.

One of the shrimp that is popular among both beginners as well as advanced aquarists is Red Cherry Shrimp.

They are quite easy to keep in the tank and won’t make any mess when it comes to living in an aquarium. These can be quite hardy and adjust to a huge range of water parameters.

Hence, they are quite easy to breed as well. You will love to see the Shrimplets of these small yet decorative shrimps.

You don’t need to have years of experience for these shrimps to breed in the tank. If you research well and follow the guidelines to breed these shrimps, you will end up with nearly dozens of them.


In a nutshell, shrimp do lay eggs and bless you with little shrimplets if you know how to care for them properly. Do not panic if you see your female shrimp berried with eggs. You should do as per the instructions and will have small shrimps in the tank in no time. The patience and care any pregnant animal need is always similar. Your shrimp will be weak and fragile after laying eggs so you need to be more careful while taking care of them. Make sure they are well fed and are living in an aquarium with optimum water quality.

It is never easy to welcome some new members to the aquarium. And the workload it brings is something you wouldn’t want. Still, be calm and patient with them and watch carefully till you see small baby shrimp in the tank.

If you still want help related to this, drop a comment below.

Good Luck!!!

Happy Fishkeeping!!!

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