In most cases, invertebrates have an exoskeleton, meaning they will molt to grow, and the same goes for shrimp.

Shrimps have to go through several molting processes as they grow. They usually shed their skin once a week when they are young.

Many beginner aquarists frequently believe their aquarium floor is covered in dead shrimp. But those might be the exoskeletons that their shrimp have shed.

Keep reading to dig deeper into the topic, “Do shrimps shed their skin?

Do Shrimps Shed Their Skin?

shrimp molt

Shrimps go through several molting processes throughout their lives. Then, they will be highly susceptible as their new shell is initially fragile.

Like most invertebrates, shrimp protects themselves by forming an external skeleton, or exoskeleton, like most invertebrates. When shrimp molt, they will shed their snug exoskeleton and start to create a larger, new one.

Healthy adult shrimps typically molt around every three or four weeks. On the other hand, younger shrimps will grow so fast that they can molt more often, about once or twice weekly.

After removing the old skin, shrimps prefer to conceal it for two to three days to strengthen and harden their new “skin,” which is relatively soft.

It is vital to maintain constant water parameters. As emerging from the hard shells, shrimp will take in some water to slightly enlarge and continue waiting for the next size up of their new shells to solidify.

In addition, when female shrimps shed their hard shells, they produce a pheromone that can tempt male shrimps to mate with them.

Why Do Shrimps Need To Shed Their Skins?

Why Do Shrimps Need To Shed Their Skins

All creatures, with several tiny exceptions, shed their shells or skins, including humans. However, a shedding process is more obvious in invertebrates as they shed the whole skin at once.

We, humans, also shed minor skin cells throughout the day. It is easy to notice your dead skin flying around as fine particles when you rub yourself.

It also occurs when you shower, as your dead skin fragments flake off and float with clean water.

It is a regular renewal process that any animal goes through within their life, but that isn’t the sole reason.

The shedding process can also be caused by body fragments dying over time while the body produces new cells to replace the old ones.

This case will become less regular over time since the body’s metabolism will drop when it gets older.

Hence, this behavior tends to be more popular when animals are young than when they get older.

How Frequently Do Shrimps Shed Their Skins?

The regularity of the molt behavior might vary depending on the shrimps’ age, size, and conditions.

Young shrimps typically lose their skin weekly and will be rarer as they get older. As mentioned, adult shrimps will only be shed once every three to four weeks.


Is My Shrimps’ Molting A Good Thing?

It is generally a great sign as it shows that your shrimps are growing and are in good health.

Molting processes are required for your shrimps to live a long time. But they can die if their molting process is not done correctly.

How Frequently do My Shrimps Molt?

Many factors, such as age, size, and environment, affect how frequently shrimps shed their skins.

Shrimp larvae lose their skin once a week. As they grow older, the frequency of their molting decreases. Shrimp adults typically shed their shells once every three to four weeks.

Unfortunately, some shrimps can perish when they are molted. They are delicate creatures, and the molting process is challenging and dangerous.

Can Shrimp Eat Their Molt?

Yes, shrimps might eat their molt as it is an excellent source of calcium and other minerals. It is a welcomed nutrient source, especially as shrimps tend to fast for a period when shedding approaches.

If the tank inhabitants themselves do not eat their molt, other tank ones will consume it instead.

Do Shrimps Molt When They Stress?

No, it never happens. For molting, shrimps have to have formed exoskeletons beneath the old ones.

No matter how stressed your shrimps are, the molting process will not begin unless the shrimps’ new exoskeletons are formed and ready to see daylight.

What Are the Things Not to Do When Shrimp Shed Their Skin?

Many intervene whenever shrimps experience molting issues. However, it is not advisable because you can make things worse by involving in your shrimps’ molting process.

Shrimps are very sensitive species and will be especially vulnerable during the molting process. All the wrong moves can lead to irreparable damages, causing a swift death.

The best thing you can perform is to consider previous points and prefer your shrimp with the perfect conditions to molt without incidents.

Can shrimp die when molting?

Can shrimp die when molting

Shrimps can die while trying to molt for several reasons, and bacterial illness is the main culprit. In addition, there are cases of shrimps trying to molt but cannot do so, becoming stuck and dying.

Maybe other shrimps pick on newly molted shrimps or fish nip on the shrimp’s body. Unfortunately, these interactions can lead to minor physical tears that can be infected, leading to death.

How Many Years Can Shrimps Live?

The lifespan of shrimps is short. In most cases, shrimps can live from one to six years, and some species can live longer than others.

For example, Caridean shrimps can live up to 6 years, while Ghost shrimps feature a shorter lifespan, only lasting about one year.

The Bottom Line

Do shrimps shed their skin? Yes, shrimp molt many times during their lifetime.

Shrimp larvae tend to lose their shell more often as they grow older. During the molting process, they can die from bacterial illness or become stuck.

Thank you for reading!

Alex is a pet freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. He attended Colorado State University, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, which was where he first got some experience in animal nutrition. After graduating from University, Alex began sharing his knowledge as a freelance writer specializing in pets.

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