Subphylum Crustacea Class Malacostraca
Shrimp are not algae eaters, but natural scavengers. For this reason they make good tank cleaners. They are best kept singly or as a mated pair. Some species will pick at other invertebrates and soft corals, and some larger species may attack fish, so be careful about which type you put in your tank.
- Most sought after are Cleaner Shrimps of the Lysmata species, particularly the Pacific Cleaner Shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis) and the Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp (Lysmata debenius), also known as a Red or Fire Shrimp. These little shrimp not only help to keep the tank cleaned as a good scavengers, but are fish parasite pickers and are used in reef tanks for controlling saltwater ich.
- The Coral Banded Shrimp (Stenopsus hispidus), also known as Banded Coral or Boxer Shrimp, is very popular. Aside from being excellent scavengers, they are pleasant to look at with their red and white stripes, and are considered reef safe. Some aquarists express concerns about this shrimp, because some say they have seen theirs attack fish. From our personal experiences with keeping many of these shrimp over the years, both in fish-only and semi-reef tanks, we have never had this occur. Coral Banded Shrimp are territorial and will "chase off" fish, but we have never seen one attack, catch or kill a fish. In fact, often they take up the task of cleaning fish, and even a Snowflake Eel, much like the Cleaner Shrimp does. This shrimp should only be kept singly or as a mated pair, because both males and females will fight each other, most often resulting in the death of one of them.
- The Clown or Harlequin Shrimp's (Hymenocera picta) diet consists solely of the tube feet of Echinoderms in the Starfish Family. In Hawaiian waters we know that when you find a Harlequin Shrimp the small Linkia species of Comet or Blood Spotted Starfish will be close by, because this is its primary food source. It truly is one of the most stunning and colorful Shrimps, but rarely accepts other aquarium foods. Unless you have a good supply of starfishes for this shrimp to live on, it does not do well in captivity. If you have some prized starfishes in your tank, it is not wise to keep a Harlequin with them.
- The "true" Peppermint Shrimp (Lysmata wurdemann), not to be mistaken for the Camel, Camelback or Humpback Shrimp (Rhynchocinetes uritai), is a top reef tank janitor choice for controlling Aiptasia sp. anemones, and is another excellent scavenger. Even though the R. uritai is also a good tank cleaner, it is known for its fondness of Corallimorphs (Mushrooms) and Zoanthids, so this should be considered if you have these types of soft coral species in your tank.
- The Anemone or Pacific Clown Shrimp (Periclimenes Brevicarpalis) is a small shrimp of only one inch in size that has a symbiotic relationship with Sea Anemones and Clownfishes. This shrimp is said to be a reef safe tank cleaner that lives in a host anemone's stinging tentacles, feeding or scavenging on food scrapes along with the Clownfishes.
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