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FAQs about Pistol (including Goby) Shrimps, Compatibility & Control

Related FAQs: Pistol Shrimps 1Pistol Shrimps 2, Alpheid ID, Alpheid Behavior, Alpheid Selection, Alpheid Systems, Pistol Shrimp and Goby Biotopes, Alpheid Feeding, Alpheid Disease, Alpheid Reproduction, & Shrimp Gobies, Shrimp Gobies 2, & Marine Shrimps 1, Marine Shrimps 3, Shrimp Identification, Shrimp Selection, Shrimp Behavior, Shrimp Compatibility, Shrimp Systems, Shrimp Feeding, Shrimp Reproduction, Shrimp Disease, Cleaner Shrimp, Banded Coral Shrimp, Dancing Shrimp, Harlequin Shrimp, Saron Shrimp, Mantis Shrimp, Anemone Eating ShrimpCrustacean Identification, Crustacean Selection, Crustacean Behavior, Crustacean Compatibility, Crustacean Systems, Crustacean Feeding, Crustacean Disease, Crustacean Reproduction,

Related Articles: Alpheid Shrimps, Shrimp A Few Common Shrimps for the Marine Aquarium by James W. Fatherree, Shrimp Gobies


"He got me with a left jab, ohhh"

With other crustaceans like shrimp, hermits, small crabs? With Worms of various sorts? With Small fishes? With Snails?
With larger wrasses, triggers, puffers...?
With Shrimp Gobies?
Maybe not... might try to eat each other... Perhaps... though may eat them if hungry. <Ditto> Can/will eat these if it wants... Munched most likely Some matches are easier than others...  See Fishbase.org for species matching in the wild.

Wrong id: Shrimp Goby POTD; and Alpheid comp. q.      5/27/17
Hi guys,
<Dr. Andrei>
Was browsing WWM for some answers.
Noted on http://www.wetwebmedia.com/SWPOTD722.htm
The first photograph tagged "Amblyeleotris latifasciata, the Red-banded Shrimp-Goby. Western central Pacific in distribution. To a little over three and a half inches in length. Occasionally imported as an aquarium species. Bali 2014" shows an Amblyeleotris diagonalis pair with a single Alpheus bellulus. No A. latifasciata in there.
<Ah, thank you for this correction>
Now to jump to the my pain:
I have formed the forth Amblyeleotris latifasciata pair and managed to form a Alpheus bellulus to go on the same team.
They've went through a six weeks quarantine with an Alpheus bellulus shrimp, then moved in my RSM130.
All was well for a week. This video is from yesterday https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooPVVypqxXY and as you can see they were a happy quartet.
This morning, one of the shrimps was displaying erratic behavior (leaving the nest type), going around the edges and swimming into the open, ignoring any goby protection offer. An hour later, he was fully fitted inside one's goby mouth. The other goby was picking pieces, so finally the shrimp was successfully swallowed.
Now it's job as always, with a pair of Amblyeleotris latifasciata and only one pistol shrimp.
<Mmm; I'd stick with this arrangement, having just the one Alpheid>
The tank is a RSM130, is six months and two weeks old, livestock is - pair Amblyeleotris latifasciata with (now) one Alpheus bellulus, 1x Ecsenius stigmatura, 1x Ecsenius pictus, 1x Lysmata amboinensis, 4-5x Paguristes cadenati, 2x Cypraea tigris, 5x Monetaria annulus, 6x Turbo fluctuosa, 20+ Nassarius vibex (20 adults and now countless babies), 3x Nerite sp, some Stomatella.
Last water parameters (from yesterday):
- temp 27.5°C (termometru JBL)
- pH >8.0 <8.3 (Salifert)
- Alk 9.3 dKH / 3.30 mEq/L (Salifert)
- NO3 25 mg/L (Salifert)
- Ca 380-390 mg/L (Salifert)
- Mg 1200-1230 mg/L (Salifert)
- SG 1024.6 (Hidrometru Tropic Marin)
- PO4 - no clue, I run some Rowaphos in a sock though and have no algae growth on the glass anymore
The tank journal link is http://www.acvariu.ro/forum/posts/list/80/36966.page , unfortunately the forum is in Romanian, also littered with NSFW photos (my forum members appreciate everything natural and beautiful, not restricted to fish) - :blush:.
I do not know what to make out of this, but my previous pair of A. latifasciata consumed both their shrimps at the same time within a week of being moved in the same RSM130 tank from a smaller tank where they've lived peacefully for a lengthy (+ two years) amount of time (see here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNJ1z6DDuk8 ). Needless to say, I've lost that pair sometime after the incident (upon return from a ten day holiday in January 2017, the girl stopped thriving, became emaciated and wasted away, the male followed a week later - stopped eating upon the death of his partner). Video prior to introduction https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8gSh6hCBIQ with very excited gobies and soon after introduction in the tank https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpblO17FYfU
My theory around these killings is that the Amblyeleotris latifasciata as a species is developing more marked attachments then other Amblyeleotris species and upon being left they become jealous. I feel these fishes suffer when I'm not taking some time near the tank as they are always attention seekers and this goes beyond begging for food (if I just throw the food and neglect them they keep flashing). Also, they cannot stand being left by their shrimps as it sometimes happens and upon no other alternative, proceed on consuming them. I must also mention that they do not hide when I introduce my hand in the tank and that all the transfers (from the LFS bag to tank and from tank to tank) have been made by hand.
Please feel free to import and use the photos and videos from my YouTube channel and from my tank journal at your own will.
Kind regards,
Andrei
<I'd offer a bit more meaty food/s more frequently... pipetted directly to their area; and hope for the best here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Wrong id     5/27/17

Hi Bob,
<Dr. A.>
Thank you for the quick answer.
<Certainly welcome>
I'm aware there is no clear cut answer, just wanted to leave a trace of this unusual behavior.
<Ahh; good>
I'm currently feeding them (and my other four nano tanks) a mixture of frozen food (Gamma Marine Quintet: Mysis, brine shrimp, krill, seaweed, razor clam) at each meal with some occasional dry food snacks to calm down the begging. They are not slim by any standards.
<I see>
I'll come back if there is any progress or progression on this.
<Thank you>
Kind regards,
Andrei
<And you, BobF>

Alpheus Shrimp- Pistol Shrimp Compatibility      2/19/16
Dear Bob & Crew,
Thanks again for your on going passion for aquatics! Still waiting for a follow up to "Reef Invertebrates"!
<Ahh! I would tell you that I've been working on; and am almost (within a few hundred hours) of finishing the two Reef Fishes books/volumes; and am serializing the "Corals" tome via the UK magazine UltraMarine>
I had a brief question today. I had a Alpheus bellulus tiger pistol shrimp in my 155g reef tank but discovered that it was killing most of my snail population.
<Yes; common... can/will kill hermits, other small crustaceans as well as small fishes>
It was a rather large pistol, going on 3", with mostly gray stripes- not much coloration. It has long since been removed. I have seen many smaller, more colorful pistols (not sure if they are the same genus) and was wondering if they would be more compatible with snails.
Thanks so much!!Joe
<Not as far as I'm aware. The predatory behavior is very likely a function of size (as you state); as well as hunger and opportunity. IF trying another, I'd start it small and keep it well fed (as in with a feeding stick). Bob Fenner>

Caribbean Pistol shrimp mowing Torch       3/28/15
Hola WWMCrew:
<Que tal JG?>
You should know that your site provided great inspiration and therapy to
me after returning from a deployment in Iraq.
<Ah, good>
Reading your site gave me
the knowledge and courage to start my tank back up - so thank very much for what you do guys.
<A pleasure to share; thank you for your encouraging words>
And again I turn to you all for help. I've got a Caribbean Pistol -
about 2.5-3 inches (he snaps away at night). Got a goby for him, they don't like each other.
<Of all the things I can't seem to get a decent pic of... after diving hundreds of times all over the Trop. W. Atlantic; are the Alpheids found there>
I also caught him chopping off the tentacles to my torch coral?!
<Yes; have seen these little bugaboos trimming Condylactis in the wild>
He's
nearly killed it now. I can't find any information online about this behavior and I know many hobbyists keep them in their reefs.
what do you think? -
<Time to trap and move that bad boy/girl>

thus far that is his only coral target. Perhaps
something I can purchase will eat him because its doubtful I'll be able to get him out.
<See WWM.... ah here: http://wetwebmedia.com/alphcompf.htm

Thanks guys!
JG
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>

More re Stonogobiops; now symbiotic shrimp matching, comp. w/ other livestock      10/1/13
Hi Bob,
Sorry to keep bothering you, my pair of high fin goby's have taken up residence In the Jawfishes old home, and they are being very timid and not coming out for feeding
I was thinking of getting them a pistol shrimp to help with digging but was wandering what type of pistol will pair with them? We have a pair of mandarins, 1 Jawfish, and 2 bicolour blenny's.
<... I'd very likely skip placing an Alpheid here... Too likely (highly) to have trouble, even if the Pistol is commensal to mutual w/ the Stonogobiops (nematodes BTW, not yasha)... You can/could look up which species are found "naturally" together... The real trouble is size of the system AND the other fishes here. Too much probability that the latter would/will "get punched"... Keep reading. B>

Pistol shrimp issues; non-compatibility of currently offered spp.  8/31/13
I was browsing your site looking for other information when I thought I would check out the information on pistol shrimp. I found there lacked some crucial and important distinctions in the information provided. Lately there has been a flood in the pistol shrimp market of shrimps belonging to the *Alpheus armatus* species complex. These shrimp, despite what most LFS say, rarely play nice with gobies as they naturally host with curly cue anemones. This has been giving a lot of people and gobies unnecessary grief. People need to know that not all members of *Alpheus *are goby lovers
* *and trying to force them into this unnatural relationship may end very badly.
Thank-you,
*Jen*
<Thanks much for this valuable input Jen. Will post/share. Bob Fenner>

Pistol Shrimp? 2/25/13
Hello, I've had a case of the disappearance of two burrowing fish. I have a 120 gallon reef with a yellow head wrasse, a slip<pery> dick wrasse, a whitetail tang, a blue tang (Caribbean) and two blue Chromis and a royal gramma.  In June last year, I bought a Pearly JF. He dug a burrow in front of a rock in the center of the tank, and was visible throughout the day.
His fins were slightly ragged, but he ate Newlife Spectrum pellets and Mysid. He seemed very happy. Then, about 1.5 months later, he doesn't cover up his burrow at night and peeks out from below the sand. Mind that he had a good SB to dig in. The next day he's gone. No signs of aggression from tank mates, no body, no new burrows. I give it some time, he doesn't show up. His burrow was empty. Then, in December I bought a diamond Head goby.
He dug a burrow in the same exact spot and the next day he was gone. Now I hear popping/snapping all day and night. It's audible over the radio and is distinctly different from water trickling. I have seen neither hair nor hide of anything looking close to a pistol or mantis shrimp in my tank, and curiously enough, my cleaner shrimp is happy as can be.
<What species is this cleaner? Stenopids are fish eaters>
 I have tried traps but nothing ha<s> shown up. If this is a pistol shrimp, it's definitely Atlantic, which Is bad news. I have a hard time believing it's a mantis because it's stayed out of sight for so long.
<Mmm, well, there are some small, more reclusive species of stomatopods...
or could even be some variety of aggressive, largish bristle worm/s at play here>
Coincidentally, I saw a hermit crab go bouncing down my rocks, accompanied by a cacophony of popping whenever he bounced, but I doubt he made that sound.
<Me too>
(I am positive that neither fish jumped out of the tank and did not make it into the overflows) I've officially called off the search for the fish and will probably find out what caused their demises before I buy another burrowing fish, which I love.
Thanks, Luis.
<Try other traps. Have you read re on WWM? Bob Fenner>
Re: Pistol Shrimp?

Thanks for your reply. The cleaner shrimp is a skunk cleaner shrimp, mostly keeps to himself, cleans the fish every now and then.
<Are almost always safe>
I haven't read too much yet, but I'll need to find the criminal. I'm thinking of redoing my rockscape, that should probably be when I should look for the shrimp, right?
<Yes... do wear gloves... some folks splash soda water into cracks, crevices to flush out hiders>
 I'll try traps. I'm thinking about the bristle worm part...I don't think I have any monsters yet...but I could be very wrong, the tank is a year old.
<Have seen some really neat footage of co-inhabiters w/ fishes in tubes...
Including large bristleworms. B>
Re: Pistol Shrimp? 2/25/13

I know the popping is definitely a clue to what's causing the disappearances. Do you think it's a pistol shrimp or mantis shrimp?
<Could be either, or both>
 It's not so much as a knocking as a popping, but I know that water sort of distorts sound.
<Ah yes. B>

Fire fish compatible with yellow watchman goby and pistol shrimp
Hello  WWM crew,
My name is Erika, I always read on your site and try to solve any issues that I have encountered. Thank you!
I have a 75 gallon soft coral reef that's been running for 3 years, it is a natural system with about 130 lbs of live rock, a deep sand bed, a Remora pro skimmer and an Hob refugium with a full cleaner crew at work. I have a false percula clown, pajama and Banggai cardinals, an engineer goby, 7 small Chromis, a Heni butterfly, a six line wrasse and a yellow tang. I do regular water changes and add a daily dose of part a and b solutions and my parameters are good. I have two questions for you: 1.- About 3 months ago I bought a yellow watchman goby and a pistol shrimp and the goby died in QT (Thank God for QT), so I bought another goby plus a fire fish.
<Mmm, what species of Microdesmid? Most are very social... See WWM re the Selection/Stocking (FAQs)>
After 6 weeks of qt I placed them in the DT and to my great joy saw that the yellow goby found the shrimp's cave and they became the best of friends. Well yesterday when I was feeding the fish I saw that the Firefish came out of the cave also, is this possible?
<Yes>
 Can the 3 of them co-exist as friends?
<Affirmative>
I tried to find something like this on wwm, but could not find anything.
2.- my other question is about a crab, I don't know what kind it is, it is regular brown color with two claws. Up to now it seemed fine, I do think it ate my Zoas that I had, is this possible?
<Indeed it is>
What I am worried about is that it has grown a lot and I'm worrying it could get to a size where it will eat my other fishes at night or the other shrimp. I used to have two peppermint shrimp that disappeared and I'm thinking it was the crab. What do you think I should do? It is always in the rock crevices so I imagine it is super hard to catch.
<I would bait/trap it out and remove. Please read here re:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/swcrabcompfaq2.htm
Thank you so much for your help,
Erika
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Unexplained Death Of A Beautiful Tang/Zebrasoma xanthurum/Health 4/20/2011
Good morning, crew!
<Good morning to you, Kerstin.>
I haven't written in some time, but I just lost my Purple Tang, and am at an absolute loss as to what happened, or if I did the right thing or not.
I included some pictures in the hope someone can provide some insight please...or at least commiserate in the loss of this lovely fish (or even berate me for my stupidity...). I apologize in advance for the long email.
<No problem, the more info the better.>
The first picture shows my tank from last September. It is a 92-gallon corner tank, it has been set up since November 2007, at which time I moved my inhabitants from a 3-y.o. 29-gallon tank. Fred, my purple tang, was originally in my 29-gallon tank, and I knew it was too small for him, so I knew he'd love the bigger tank; in fact he's been happy in there for the past 3-1/2 years. His current co-inhabitants were: <were or are?>
2 Centropyge - one a Cherub face dwarf (have had over a year), the other a one a Flame Angel (close to a year now)
1 Lemon Goby (in tank for over 6 months)
2 Clown Fish (both in tank over 6 months now)
1 Royal Gramma (who more often than not disappears for days/weeks at a time, and always lives behind the center pile of stone pictured below...has currently been out of sight for about 3 weeks, but that's nothing new...has been there for about 4-6 months)
1 Brittle Starfish
1 Blood Red Shrimp
about 23 corals (I no longer have either of the disc corals in this picture).
The 6- <Six> Line Wrasse in this picture was caught after Christmas - I was tired of him being the emperor and terrorizing the entire tank.
<Not easy to catch, are they.>
Recently I had purchased a (in hindsight) too-skinny Blue Faced Sleeper Goby, and he passed within a day. In discussion with the LFS, we think he truly was just too skinny and beyond rescuing. At this point, I check water values - Spec. Gravity slightly high at 1.028, Calcium low at 196,
<Very low, this has to come up to an acceptable level.>
Alkalinity high at 9.5 dkH, and Magnesium normal (in the mid 1300's I believe).
I worked at lowering my specific gravity a little. About 2 weeks later (last week on Friday), I purchased 2 more Citron/Lemon gobies and a matched pistol shrimp and goby...I did the research, and thought these would work well with my tank...they were to be my last purchases. Everything I read also indicated they did not do well with quarantine, so I did not do that with these fish. I spent about 5 hours acclimating them, to make sure they were used to my tank water.
Well, strange things seem to be going on - and I am now going to research more - but would love to have inputs - because I just have no clue even under what terms to search for this. I did look right after this happened, but "Fish jumped/not swimming right just doesn't seem to work well.
As I mentioned, my Royal Gramma often disappears from sight for a while.
However, now I am beginning to think maybe there's more to it.
<Does the fish come out during feeding time?>
Over the past year, my shrimp population has decreased from 4 cleaners, 2 blood reds, and a mated pair of Coral Banded to the one red shrimp...thought it might just be old age, as I have had some of them from the beginning of this tank.
<Shrimp/crustaceans do require iodine/dide dosing to help with their molt, and depending on the specie of Brittle Star you have, this animal could be the culprit. The Green Brittle Star of the genus Ophiarachna is a notorious fish/shrimp eater and if this is the specie you have, it needs to go.>
After 2 days of swimming around happily, the 2 new Citron Gobies both disappeared overnight...nothing, no carcass, no trace.
<Mmm, likely eaten by your scavengers and/or caught/eaten by the Green Brittle Star if this is what you have.>
Now, to Fred.
Yesterday, the day started out well. While I was working on my computer, all of a sudden I hear a big splash - and see my Purple Tang flipping out of the water a good 2-3 inches, and falling back in (there was enough splashing before this that this may have been the 2nd jump, or he raced along the surface first...don't know). At this point he is in his night-time colors (very pale purple, with all the dots and stripes inherent in his scales visible) and looks like he's hit his head - big bare spot (white) above the center of his eyes. He's having problems staying upright - swimming upside down, sideways, often with his face down, fluttering his fins like he's trying to get upright but just can't, and acts like he can't see. He got close to where the new goby (and I assume shrimp) took up residence (on the left underneath the Acanthastrea), so I did see if I could prod him out of the area. He moved from there, and took up residence IN the space inside the tall rock in the picture...while I could move one rock from above it, it was still hard to get to.
<Mmm, in doing this you were adding to the already present stress of this fish.>
<<Methinks this fish "got punched" by the Alpheid. RMF>>
My LFS guy is on vacation and didn't answer his phone, so I did speak with several people - and based on where the tang was, and the fact he was still pale purple, we thought he might stress out even more if I tried to get him out of the tank into a quarantine tank than if I left him.
<True.>
So I left him and checked on him several times throughout the afternoon and evening. I think he died last night, based on the fact that right before my bedtime, the Flame Angel swam above him in the crevice and he didn't move, but wasn't sure - at that point he hadn't completely settled in like this morning.
This morning, I again looked, but when the Brittle Starfish was there, I thought he was most likely dead...so I went through the creative process of rescuing him (slim hand, middle two fingers finally grabbed him on the 4th or so attempt) and pulled him out.
You can see the pictures I took of him. Yesterday morning he was a beautiful (to my eyes) healthy tang - no Ich, no HLLE, very happy, swimming around everywhere, eating everything I could feed him...
Then he jumped, and less than 24 hours later he's dead.
Any ideas? Is the fact that I have lost several things over the past year or so an indication I need to do something?
<I would first determine the specie of Brittle Starfish you have.>
I didn't think my bioload was tremendous...the powerhead on the right is a VorTech-MP40W, and I have a 20 gallon tank underneath as a sump (in fact, my skimmer has slowly, over the past 6 months, gotten to where I don't even get any skimmate - periodically just some clear water and nothing else)...it's been set up for over year now.
The only other things I have done in the recent past are:
- slowly switch from SeaChem's Reef Salt to the Red Sea Coral Pro salt mix (I am still doing water changes with both types of salt,
<Any particular reason for the salt change?>
but have been doing that since Christmas), and - I have two cups (those cups you hang off the tank when you get new fish) hanging off the edge into the tank; they have holes drilled in them and I am growing mangrove pods - but that was a December addition, nothing extremely new.
As I said, I would love inputs - I haven't recently, but can check nitrite, nitrate and ammonia levels if you thought that might affect anything.
<Certainly. Any reading of nitrite or ammonia would not be good.>
I haven't gotten new rocks in quite a while (last summer, I believe), and other then fish haven't really changed anything...any ideas? It seems to me he got stung - but what would get him to react like that, and what can I do? Should I have done anything differently?
<Based on the information you have provided, I would say there was nothing that you did that caused the tang's death. I'm thinking this fish may have been spooked and caused damage to itself beyond healing, especially considering that this was a very healthy fish less than 24 hours before it's death. On the other hand, there exists the possibility of a toxin getting into the water such as Windex, etc. and the fish panicked in looking for a healthier environment. Did any of your other fish display any strange behavior during this period?>
I greatly appreciate you inputs, and would love any ideas/suggestions/even berating on my actions...I really hate that my tang died (and the way in which he died); I enjoy my tank, and am currently clueless what else to do.
<I would test for nitrite and ammonia thereby eliminating this as a possible cause. You may also want to introduce a chemical media into your system to further improve water quality. A good grade of carbon or Chemipure would be a good choice. If you haven't done so already, you may want to read here and related articles/FAQs. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/z_xanthurum.htm>
Thanks in advance,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Kerstin DeRolf :-(
My tank, Sept. 1020
<Looks nice.>
My new Pistol shrimp
My new goby (can't remember the name right off the bat)
My poor dead purple tang - right side view - his fins were complete right after the jump.
Left side view - he had a full set of fins right after the jump...
Front view - the white spot was originally above a line drawn between the eyes, maybe 2 mm wide - only appeared after his jump.


re: Question - unexplained death of a beautiful tang    4/20/11
Geez Bob, I didn't think a pistol shrimp had that kind of knock out power.
<Oh yes! Compared w/ a .22 at times... See the pic here: http://wetwebmedia.com/alphcompf.htm
My Pistol Shrimp died a while back but he was no Cassius Clay for sure, but then the goby didn't
let anything near their cave to get punched.
Learn something new every day.
<For me, about every moment. Cheers, B>
Thanks,
James
Re Unexplained Death Of A Beautiful Tang/Zebrasoma xanthurum/Health 4/21/2011
So I guess "curiosity killed the tang"?
<Possibly>
Terrible way to go - I didn't realize that a pistol shrimp could do that...wow!
<Oh yes, see here. http://wetwebmedia.com/alphcompf.htm>
Thanks for the input,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Kerstin:-)
Re Unexplained Death Of A Beautiful Tang/Zebrasoma xanthurum/Health 4/20/2011- 4/21/2011
Thanks for the response...please {see my comments}...Kerstin:-)
<You're welcome. In future replies, please reply to the thread, DO NOT embed your comments in a previous thread. Much easier for us and our readers.> <<My comments.>>
Unexplained Death Of A Beautiful Tang/Zebrasoma xanthurum/Health 4/20/2011
Good morning, crew!
<Good morning to you, Kerstin.>
I haven't written in some time, but I just lost my Purple Tang, and am at an absolute loss as to what happened, or if I did the right thing or not.
I included some pictures in the hope someone can provide some insight please...or at least commiserate in the loss of this lovely fish (or even berate me for my stupidity...). I apologize in advance for the long email.
<No problem, the more info the better.>
The first picture shows my tank from last September. It is a 92-gallon corner tank, it has been set up since November 2007, at which time I moved my inhabitants from a 3-y.o. 29-gallon tank. Fred, my purple tang, was originally in my 29-gallon tank, and I knew it was too small for him, so I
knew he'd love the bigger tank; in fact he's been happy in there for the past 3-1/2 years. His current co-inhabitants were: <were or are?> {as you'll see below, were - since I fished my poor tang out of the tank dead this morning}
2 Centropyge - one a Cherub face dwarf (have had over a year), the other a one a Flame Angel (close to a year now)
1 Lemon Goby (in tank for over 6 months)
2 Clown Fish (both in tank over 6 months now)
1 Royal Gramma (who more often than not disappears for days/weeks at a time, and always lives behind the center pile of stone pictured below...has currently been out of sight for about 3 weeks, but that's nothing new...has been there for about 4-6 months)
1 Brittle Starfish
1 Blood Red Shrimp
about 23 corals (I no longer have either of the disc corals in this picture).
The 6- <Six> {sorry - shortcut}
<<No problem, and always cap proper nouns as in names of animals, products, etc.>>
Line Wrasse in this picture was caught after Christmas - I was tired of him being the emperor and terrorizing the entire tank.
<Not easy to catch, are they.> {you'll laugh. When we went on vacation, one of the two clowns and the wrasse jumped into the overflow - so when I came back and found them, I was able to easily catch him in there without having to dismantle my tank - that's what he got for jumping!}
<<That's what I'd call good luck.>>
Recently I had purchased a (in hindsight) too-skinny Blue Faced Sleeper Goby, and he passed within a day. In discussion with the LFS, we think he truly was just too skinny and beyond rescuing. At this point, I check water values - Spec. Gravity slightly high at 1.028, Calcium low at 196,
<Very low, this has to come up to an acceptable level.> {I have, over the past two weeks, raised it to a much more acceptable level...see comments on salt below}
Alkalinity high at 9.5 dkH, and Magnesium normal (in the mid 1300's I believe). {actually, mid 1400's - but still within range, I believe}
<<Best to keep between 1200-1300. Is actually a 3 to 1 ratio. If calcium is at 400, magnesium should be near 1200. This ratio makes it easier for calcium loving animals to absorb the available calcium.>>
I worked at lowering my specific gravity a little. About 2 weeks later (last week on Friday), I purchased 2 more Citron/Lemon gobies and a matched pistol shrimp and goby...I did the research, and thought these would work well with my tank...they were to be my last purchases. Everything I read also indicated they did not do well with quarantine, so I did not do that with these fish. I spent about 5 hours acclimating them, to make sure they were used to my tank water.
Well, strange things seem to be going on - and I am now going to research more - but would love to have inputs - because I just have no clue even under what terms to search for this. I did look right after this happened, but "Fish jumped/not swimming right just doesn't seem to work well.
As I mentioned, my Royal Gramma often disappears from sight for a while.
However, now I am beginning to think maybe there's more to it.
<Does the fish come out during feeding time?> {He sometimes did, sometimes not - it really varied even before this latest disappearance - he never came out front, he always stayed behind the rocks, so I had to look into the right side of the tank to look behind the rocks to see him}
Over the past year, my shrimp population has decreased from 4 cleaners, 2 blood reds, and a mated pair of Coral Banded to the one red shrimp...thought it might just be old age, as I have had some of them from the beginning of this tank.
<Shrimp/crustaceans do require iodine/dide dosing to help with their molt, and depending on the specie of Brittle Star you have, this animal could be the culprit. The Green Brittle Star of the genus Ophiarachna is a notorious fish/shrimp eater and if this is the specie you have, it needs to go.> {I know he's not a green brittle star - he's a not-spiny brownish/black star with a head of less than 1 inch in diameter - I have only ever seen him go for dead stuff or shrimp pellets}
<<OK>>
After 2 days of swimming around happily, the 2 new Citron Gobies both disappeared overnight...nothing, no carcass, no trace.
<Mmm, likely eaten by your scavengers and/or caught/eaten by the Green Brittle Star if this is what you have.> {but if it is not a Green Brittle Star (my LFS has one, mine is definitely not it), then why would the 2 new guys disappear together...good question?}
<<I've had similar instances happen to me with Citron Gobies for no apparent reason, but obviously there must be a reason.... possibly harassed/killed by a tank mate(s).
They are best kept with docile fishes and feel more at ease if Acropora is present for security. In the wild they live amongst Acropora and derive some of their food from the coral.
Bob may chime in here with his observations of these fish in the wild.>><Commented/archived on WWM per the genus<
Now, to Fred.
Yesterday, the day started out well. While I was working on my computer, all of a sudden I hear a big splash - and see my Purple Tang flipping out of the water a good 2-3 inches, and falling back in (there was enough splashing before this that this may have been the 2nd jump, or he raced along the surface first...don't know). At this point he is in his night-time colors (very pale purple, with all the dots and stripes inherent in his scales visible) and looks like he's hit his head - big bare spot (white) above the center of his eyes. He's having problems staying upright - swimming upside down, sideways, often with his face down, fluttering his fins like he's trying to get upright but just can't, and acts like he can't see. He got close to where the new goby (and I assume shrimp) took up residence (on the left underneath the Acanthastrea), so I did see if I could prod him out of the area. He moved from there, and took up residence IN the space inside the tall rock in the picture...while I could move one rock from above it, it was still hard to get to.
<Mmm, in doing this you were adding to the already present stress of this fish.>
My LFS guy is on vacation and didn't answer his phone, so I did speak with several people - and based on where the tang was, and the fact he was still pale purple, we thought he might stress out even more if I tried to get him out of the tank into a quarantine tank than if I left him.
<True.>
So I left him and checked on him several times throughout the afternoon and evening. I think he died last night, based on the fact that right before my bedtime, the Flame Angel swam above him in the crevice and he didn't move, but wasn't sure - at that point he hadn't completely settled in like this morning.
This morning, I again looked, but when the Brittle Starfish was there, I thought he was most likely dead...so I went through the creative process of rescuing him (slim hand, middle two fingers finally grabbed him on the 4th or so attempt) and pulled him out.
You can see the pictures I took of him. Yesterday morning he was a beautiful (to my eyes) healthy tang - no Ich, no HLLE, very happy, swimming around everywhere, eating everything I could feed him...
Then he jumped, and less than 24 hours later he's dead.
Any ideas? Is the fact that I have lost several things over the past year or so an indication I need to do something?
<I would first determine the specie of Brittle Starfish you have.>
I didn't think my bioload was tremendous...the powerhead on the right is a VorTech-MP40W, and I have a 20 gallon tank underneath as a sump (in fact, my skimmer has slowly, over the past 6 months, gotten to where I don't even get any skimmate - periodically just some clear water and nothing
else)...it's been set up for over year now.
The only other things I have done in the recent past are:
- slowly switch from SeaChem's Reef Salt to the Red Sea Coral Pro salt mix
(I am still doing water changes with both types of salt,
<Any particular reason for the salt change?> {I had been using the Seachem for ages, but in the past year have been battling various little issues, and for the past 2-3 years a low alkalinity issue (my tank was a sink, could never get the alkalinity to go up).
<<An imbalance in water parameters somewhere. May want to read here.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alkalinity.htm>>
When my LFS started having problem getting the Seachem, I looked at other salts, decided to try this - since doing even just a 1/2-1/2 mix, my corals have started to perk up, which may be because the alkalinity/calcium ration was changing...don't know...but since they look happier, I thought I would completely switch over}
<<For what it's worth, I like/use Tropic Marin.>>
but have been doing that since Christmas), and - I have two cups (those cups you hang off the tank when you get new fish) hanging off the edge into the tank; they have holes drilled in them and I am growing mangrove pods - but that was a December addition, nothing extremely new.
As I said, I would love inputs - I haven't recently, but can check nitrite, nitrate and ammonia levels if you thought that might affect anything.
<Certainly. Any reading of nitrite or ammonia would not be good.>
I haven't gotten new rocks in quite a while (last summer, I believe), and other then fish haven't really changed anything...any ideas? It seems to me he got stung - but what would get him to react like that, and what can I do? Should I have done anything differently?
<Based on the information you have provided, I would say there was nothing that you did that caused the tang's death. I'm thinking this fish may have been spooked and caused damage to itself beyond healing, especially considering that this was a very healthy fish less than 24 hours before it's death. On the other hand, there exists the possibility of a toxin getting into the water such as Windex, etc. and the fish panicked in looking for a healthier environment. Did any of your other fish display any strange behavior during this period?> {no toxins - don't use them in this room at all. Also, none of the other fish looked or acted differently at all - just the tang}
<<OK. Sure sounds like Bob's suggestion on the Pistol Shrimp may hold true.>>
I greatly appreciate you inputs, and would love any ideas/suggestions/even berating on my actions...I really hate that my tang died (and the way in which he died); I enjoy my tank, and am currently clueless what else to do.
<I would test for nitrite and ammonia thereby eliminating this as a possible cause. You may also want to introduce a chemical media into your system to further improve water quality. A good grade of carbon or Chemipure would be a good choice. If you haven't done so already, you may want to read here and related articles/FAQs.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/z_xanthurum.htm>
Thanks in advance,
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
{thanks again - I really like my tank, and while sad about the loss about my tang, am now going to see which direction to go...maybe it's really time to investigate the seagrass I have thought about planting...or not.
<<May want to read here before starting this venture.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i3/seagrasses/seagrasses.htm>>
I will check nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia in the morning (late now after a long day on the road), and I really appreciate your input.
Thanks again, Kerstin:-) }
<<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>>
Re: Question - unexplained death of a beautiful tang, link/video on Alpheids     4/21/11
It's interesting - I always research my fish before I get them - I don't know why I didn't think to research the pistol shrimp, and so never thought he could be so dangerous.
<Yes>
Cool link - absolutely amazing video link about the pistol shrimp and its "blast" located at
http://www.aquaristsonline.com/blog/livestock/invertebrates/the-pistol-shrimp/
<Interesting... "setting"; very effective message, explanation>
So should I now worry about the rest of my livestock? I can't decide, based on what I have been reading...if I needed to, I am willing to catch the pistol shrimp and return him to the LFS to safeguard the rest of my fish, but then again, it also sounds like the tang was just a "freak" (if you want to call it that) accident when he got to close to where the shrimp is staying (if you look in the original tank picture, he lives under the Acanthastrea at the bottom left of the tank).
<Mmm, "not so much" to worry re the other non-shrimp livestock. Most are well-aware of what an Alpheid can do, will avoid it>
Thanks again for all your inputs,
Kerstin:-)
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Pistol shrimp, incomp.    11/15/10
After reading many of your comments/observations about pistol shrimp, I would like to add a couple to your list.
<Okay>
It appears pistol shrimp can be quite aggressive on snails and hermit crabs.
<Oh yes. Have witnessed them killing, eating these>
I have watched a pistol shrimp (about 1 1/2") drag a 1/2" hermit crab back to its burrow and repeatedly snap at the opening until the shell broke open.
It then proceeded to pull the hermit crab out (killed it) and take it into its burrow. I have also seen similar evidence on different species of snails. The type of pistol is in the Alpheus genera common in Florida.
<Thank you for this input. Bob Fenner>

Pistol Shrimp, Callionymid comp.   5/24/10
Ok I have a 75 gal that's just about done with the cycling phase. I've been researching and planning constantly for this tank. I have a 30 gallon setup now and will be moving things over to the new tank. The question I have is
I will be moving over a mandarin goby from my old tank (I know it is actually a Dragonette) will I be ok adding a yellow watchman goby/shrimp pair?
<Mmm, maybe... Alpheids can/do damage Mandarins/Dragonettes/Psychedelic Gobies often...>
I know they look similar and sometimes that causes a problem in marine fish. Just want to make sure I'm ok here with the addition.
Thank You
Dave
<The Cryptocentrus should be fine solo... it's the Pistol Shrimp that may prove problematical. Bob Fenner>

Red Snapping Pistol Shrimp: Alpheid Systems 4/10/2010
Hello Crew,
<Hi Matt.>
I am curious to know your thoughts on whether a Red Snapping Pistol shrimp poses any real danger in my display reef.
<They can be somewhat aggressive, but otherwise, they are fine.>
It is made of 1/2" glass all around, are they likely to pose any real threat in regards to shattering the glass?
<Hmm.. I think you are confusing Pistol Shrimp with a Mantis Shrimp. <<Actually, not. But not likely to break 1/2" plate. RMF>>
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pistolshrimps.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/stomatopods/mantisshrimp.htm>
Should I bait and capture him out? He managed to hitchhike on the live rock during aquascaping...discovered him recently coming out for feeding.
<Cool.>
Also have 2 cleaner shrimp in there, I saw a gnarly video on YouTube of a pistol shrimp making a blow on a cleaner shrimp knocking him dead in a millisecond. Your thoughts appreciated.
<I would leave things be for now - Consider removing the pistol shrimp if he causes problems.>
Thanks,
Matt
<MikeV>

Sick Watchman Goby... Injured by an Alpheid?   3/11/10
Hi Guys!
Sad say over here. I have a sick yellow watchman goby. I am wondering if I have a bacterial infection?
<My gosh; this fish is virtually decomposing>
Here is a picture, and what he looked like a week ago.
Tank parameters are:
30 gallon tank
3-4" sand (sloped)
40 pounds LR
Warner Marine H1 skimmer
Circulation is ~ 20x
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate:0
dKH: 9
pH: 8.2-8.3
Temp. 78*
SG 1.025
Inhabitants:
2 Yellow Watchman Gobies, Cryptocentrus cinctus (pair)
1 Tiger pistol shrimp, Alpheus bellulus
<Maybe the beginning of the trouble here... from a physical trauma>
6 assorted hermits
Tank was finished cycling about a month ago. The gobies have been in it about 3 weeks.
<Too soon>
I haven't seen them much, which is in my experience, quite common with yellow watchman. In my 90, the yellow watchman was a no show for 11 weeks after he was introduced. Haven't seen much of the shrimp, but the sand is getting excavated constantly so I am sure he is there.
<And may well have "punched" the one Cryptocentrus in the face>
I haven't been that worried about not seeing them. I have been feeding and doing water changed every week, about 4 gallons, RO/DI water mixed for a week. The fish were fine a couple of days ago. The other goby is absolutely fine. Saw her (?) today.
The sick one I assume is the male, being smaller/more slender. Can you advise me - anything I can do?
<Not at this point... other than hope. I would not add any other bottom fishes here. Bob Fenner>
Thanks
Dean

Re: re: Sick Watchman Goby  3/11/10
Thanks Bob,
<Welcome Dean>
I should have said that the LR in the tank is all mature; sitting in tanks for at least a year. So it was walked across the room; no shipping or die off to worry about or deal with. The sand was seeded from my seagrass tank.
This is not the classic startup scenario.
As far as adding fish, no more bottom fish planned at all. Nothing for six months was the plan; except for snails.
Thanks again.
Dean
<I do hope this fish recovers... but it's doubtful this injury will heal. BobF> 

Goby Compatibility/Stocking Level/Now Pistol Shrimp Compatibility 1/11/10
What if I added another candy pistol shrimp, do you think the one I have would fight with the new one?
<Shouldn't, the Randall's Pistol Shrimp (Alpheus randalli) is rather peaceful toward other invertebrates.
Just ensure you have enough sand/gravel for the shrimp to burrow in. James (Salty Dog)> 
<<Mmmmm, RMF wouldn't do this>>
Re: Mixing Alpheid species  1/11/10

<<Mmmmm, RMF wouldn't do this>>
Bob,
<Hi James>
Mmm, my thoughts were that these animals are rather solitary and rarely go on blitzkriegs against each other.
James
<Mmm, my experience has been highly varied. Some Alpheids are really territorial... I want to state this differing conservative opinion as "insurance" against the cases where folks will have trouble mixing them.
BobF>
Thanks Bob, will update my brain.:)))
James
<Oh man! Do I wish I could do this. BobF>
Problem with that is that you cannot put 4GB of memory in a 1GB slot.
James
<Ding dang! I'd be happy (in my obvious ignorance) for a partial reboot of what I've had! B>
Oh come on Bob, control alt delete!
Scott V.
<Not twice, Oooooooh (picture a chunky pet fish boy ala "The Scream"). B>

Pistol Shrimp/Trapping 1/6/10
Hi there just a little concern.
<OK Dirk>
I have a 165Gl reef tank
I have added some Coral Banded Shrimp lately but they disappeared quit fast so I had to start looking what might have eaten them as I only have Clown fish and some Tangs in there. I found out I had a Pistol Shrimp which I believe was the cause of the strange noises I heard in my tank and what declared the high mountains of that I kept finding across my rocks. Anyway last week I made a big effort and took out all my rock work and disposed of the pistol shrimp. Didn't kill it but gave it to my local fish store.
Nice you would say only to my horror I wasn't finished yet for more then 10 minutes and I heard the oh so familiar clicking noise again. Now 2 days later my greatest came through and I have another one!!!!
Again the familiar mountains of sand across my rock work.
Anyway, I am not in the mood again to re-structure my entire tank again as who might know how many I have now?
The question now is there a natural predator of the pistol shrimp that I could add to get rid of them?
<Most triggerfish would go after them, but I'm afraid you would have a bigger mess from them trying to dig the shrimp out. I'd try a trap, most folks have luck with these. Look here as to give you an idea what they are.
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3578+18180+14699&pcatid=14699>
Would love to add some more shrimp, cleaners and harlequin to my tank but as long as this or those pistols are there this is out of the question I guess right?
<Yes, they will always be at risk. An interesting video re Pistol Shrimp on the following link that you may or may not enjoy:) Just scroll down on the link to view.
http://www.aquaristsonline.com/blog/livestock/invertebrates/the-pistol-shrimp/>
Help needed.
<Try the trap, bait with a small piece of fish, crab, shrimp, etc. and place near the burrow in the evening (lights out) when they are the most active.
James (Salty Dog)>

Question about placing Cleaner Shrimp in tank with Pistol Shrimp  11/26/09
hi WWM,
I have been looking to add a cleaner shrimp to my tank in the near future, but I am concerned about the pistol shrimp in the tank.
<Mmm, the "players" here are very often aware of what each other are... and if there's sufficient space, habitat, can/do get along in most cases>
I saw on the site that there can be territory problems, but the pistol shrimp, who has been in my tank since i first set it up 3 years ago, is rarely seen (i catch a glimpse of him once or twice a month), and I am not
quite sure how big he is. If the pistol shrimp is half the size of the cleaner, will it reduce tension between the two?
<Not really much of a relative size issue here. Alpheids pack a huge punch for their diminutive proportions>
The pistol shrimp is not very big, about 1.5 inches at most when i last saw him during the summer.
<Depending on the species, this is quite a large one... can deliver a "shot" equated with a .22 caliber bullet!>
As for my tank, it is not very large, only 40 gallons, with about 45 pounds of Live rock, and 2 inhabitants of a Clownfish and Dwarf Angelfish (cherub angel) who have been in the tank for sometime over two years.
Thanks.
Joe
<I do give you very good odds of all getting along here, and making for a much more interesting display! Bob Fenner>

Killer Pistol Shrimp??  10/5/09
Hi guys!
<Hey Samantha! JustinN here tonight!>
I've had a 28g nanocube for quite some time now. So far everything has been doing well and even my coral is flourishing. However, yesterday I found one of my blue legged hermit crabs out of it's shell with a few legs missing and very close to death.
<Uh oh..>
I figured there was nothing I could do for him and my other hermits would eat him so I just left his body in there.
<Likely an accurate assessment, but its still better to remove rotting/dying bits -- less potential to foul your water.>
Today I found my large coral banded shrimp also in pieces.
<sorry to hear this.>
The tank has 2 damsels, 1 yellow watchman goby, 1 yellow face Jawfish, 1 Halloween urchin, 2 emerald crabs (1 large, 1 small), 10 snails of different species, now 7 blue legged hermit crabs, my now lack of 1 large coral banded shrimp, & quite a few different types of coral.
<Relatively well stocked for the size -- I assume you have a proper deep sandbed to support the Jawfish?>
I've also seen 2 bristle worms in the rocks in the past week.
<Typical, usually a sign of good tank health more than a concern.>
ALSO - When I bought my live rock I found a very tiny shrimp in one of the rocks. At the time he was only a half inch long and hard to identify. That was a few months ago. Since then I've only seen him 1 other time. He's now much larger and a lot easier to identify. I've done hours of research and looked at many images and information on all kinds of shrimp. The only thing that it looks like it could be is a green pistol shrimp. Though he's in the living room which is the main room of the house and there's constant noise and so far I haven't heard any clicking sounds that I know of.
<Mmmm... are you certain that its not a small Mantis Shrimp? See here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/stomatopods/mantisshrimp.htm and related links at the top...>
He's made himself some very intricate tunnels under my main base rock. I got the yellow watchman goby hoping they would pair up, but it never happened. He's minded his own business for the most part. My boyfriend has taken over the feeding and hasn't been target feeding him for the last week. My question is do you think it's the pistol shrimp or could it be something else we have in the tank?
<If the shrimp is genuinely a pistol shrimp, not likely -- if its a Mantis, this would be different...>
If it is the pistol shrimp I would really like to get him out of the tank because the coral banded shrimp was one of my favorite things in the tank because of how large he was. If you think it was him what is the best way to get him out of there without having to take out all the live rock and disturbing our Jawfish, goby, and coral that have already made their homes on, in, or under these rocks?
<Sorry to say, there's precious few other options here, if removal is the goal...>
Please help soon. I really don't want to lose any more of my precious animals. I have a sensitive heart and it's killing me to see these little guys being killed off by something I didn't even want in my tank to begin with.
Thanks so much!
Samantha
<Do read through the above link and its related FAQ's -- sounds more like a predator shrimp than a pistol to me. Let us know if you have further questions! -JustinN>

Re: Killer Pistol Shrimp??
An update on the situation - last night we were trying to get the shrimp to come out from under the rock. It took a lot of time and effort, but he finally came out enough to see him closely again.
<Excellent>
However, he wasn't out long enough to capture.
<Too bad -- they are elusive though.>
I'm 100% sure he isn't a mantis shrimp. He looks identical to a video of a green pistol shrimp I saw on YouTube.
<Excellent -- mantis shrimp are definitely relatively defined in appearance -- if you got a clear look, you're probably ok.>
He sort of looks like a tiny lobster which to me is what the pistol shrimp looks like too. We also finally left the top of the tank open long enough to hear him clicking. It's loud enough to hear over the TV. It's a loud crack once every 10 min.s. or so.
<Sounds about right.>
Also, when we were trying to push him out from under his rock we heard the cracking quite a few times. He also grabbed onto what we were trying to use to push him out with. We're almost positive it is a
pistol shrimp in there, but if he isn't the one killing off the other animals we don't want to bother him.
<I'm doubting it.>
However, if he is the killer I'm willing to go to extreme measures of removing all the live rock in order to remove him from the tank. The only reason why I really think he's the one who killed the other animals is because when we found the coral banded shrimp his body was directly in front of where we got the pistol shrimp to come out.
<Likely coincidental>
So far, all of our other animals have gotten along just fine in the tank, but if you think it might have been one of them I'm willing to hold off on removing the shrimp long enough to see if any of the other animals seem to be getting territorial. However, if you do think it's the pistol shrimp I'd like to get him out as soon as possible.
<I don't think a pistol shrimp would be causing this sort of chaos, personally. Perhaps a water chemistry issue, such as high nitrates/nitrites, or a lack of needed iodine... Do some water quality tests -- more than your basic set of PH/Ammonia/Nitrate/Nitrite...>
I hate seeing my other animals being killed off as I do have them all named and they have become part
of our large animal family. Any help is very much appreciated! I'm very grateful for the service you guys provide us loving, curious, and sometimes confused aquarists.
Samantha
<I think you're pretty safe from the pistol shrimp, Samantha. I'd begin to looking towards other environmental factors -- do remember, all it takes is a creature to pass away for the tank's 'never-seen-in-the-light-of-day' cleaning crew to start their scavenging -- the remnants you saw could be related to this. -JustinN>

Pistol or mantis hitchhikers: Hard to tell, but best guess is a pistol.. Hitchhiker\Pistol Shrimp\Mantis Shrimp 8/23/2009
Hi team,
<Hi Kevin.>
I'm finally restarting a SW tank after the first one was destroyed by hurricane Ike. Four weeks without power is apparently bad for SW tanks... sigh.
My new tank has been setup for 6 weeks or so. It's a 44g pentagonal with a 96W PC fixture, an Aquaclear 70 HOB filter (sponge and ceramic bio pieces only), a Koralia 1 and a Maxi 900 with a sponge filter on it. I started cycling it 3 weeks ago and had 40 pounds of dead rock. I added about 10 pounds of 'fully cured' liverock and about 30 pounds of live sand. Tank was cycled in two weeks. Last weekend I added a torch coral and a small rock covered in green star polyps. I got a pair of mushrooms as hitchhikers on another rock and some clove polyps on yet another rock.
<Everything sounds good so far.>
So that was 3 weeks ago. Yesterday, my wife mentions that she's hearing clicking sounds from the tank. Finally tonight, I heard them too. They are pretty loud, but seem to be single pops. However, the rock that's in the back of the tank seems to have a lot of 'debris' around it... like silt or something. It could be just that, that the flow of water has cleaned the rock of debris (and I have it in a different position that the tank I got it from).
<Possible Mantis and Pistol shrimp are diggers too.>
The tank I got this live rock from is a LFS's cured live rock tank.
There is nothing in that tank but live rock.
<As far as anyone knows.....>
I have dealt with the misery of mantis hunting before and did not enjoy it. I guess the question is would a mantis or pistol shrimp, not do anything for almost 3 weeks and then start popping?
<Very possible.>
I know they are crustaceans, but can they go 3 weeks without food. There is no mobile life in the tank except for some tiny worms and some very, very tiny blue starfish.
<That is what is making me lean towards a Pistol Shrimp. You can put a few crabs in the tank as a test. If it is a mantis, it will come out after the crabs.>
I was thinking of adding a pair of clowns this weekend, but I don't want to if I have to go mantis hunting.
<Put a few crabs in the tank and see what happens. To look at it another way, Mantis Shrimps by themselves do make for an interesting display.>
It's just weird that nothing happened for almost 3 weeks, then pops.
Thanks for any info you have.
Kevin
<MikeV>

Pistol shrimp and Coral banded shrimp, incomp.   6/21/09
Hello,
<I say a greeting>
I have intermediate reef experience. I have a new 34 gallon tank, 1.5 lbs/gallon live rock, established tank (3+ months), all chemicals in spec for a reef tank, 17 snails, 7 hermits,
<Mmm, too many of both>
2 feather dusters, 1 coco worm, 1 clam (crocea) and 1 coral banded shrimp.
I want to get a pistol shrimp and yellow watchmen goby which I've never had before; my question is will the CBS attack the pistol shrimp or vise versa.
<Yes>
I feed the CBS regularly and appears timid, although he has only been in the tank for 2 weeks.
<Are predaceous... will likely begin to consume your snails and anomurans...>
The other fish I want for the tank, eventually, is a mandarin goby and a six line wrasse ( I will be providing extra copepods to supplement the mandarin since I've heard the wrasse will out compete the mandarin for food).
<Can>
Thanks,
Tom
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: Pistol shrimp and Coral banded shrimp... scav. sel.   6/22/09
Bob Fenner,
I normally have had bigger aggressive reef fish (in other tanks) and not much experience with inverts. How many hermit crabs and snails per gallon is normal?
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/maintindex.htm
the third tray down... BobF>
Thanks again,
Tom

Pistol shrimp compatibility -- 03/02/09 Hi! First of all, sorry for my French-influenced English... Second thing, thanks a lot for the help and advices you've been giving so far (not only to me, but to all the community)! Now with my question. I have a Pistol Shrimp that's been in my 65g for a little more than 2 years now. He (or she) is a healthy little guy (or gal... never asked him ;) ) that seems to have established his territory from one side to the other of the tank. It never caused any trouble, at least that's what I was thinking until I found out what was killing my Cleaner shrimps. (thanks to YouTube...) I was wondering if there are any parasite eating/cleaning shrimps that could possibly be compatible with my Pistol? I've seen the pistol cleaning my Yellow tang once, but as far as I know, Pistols are not known to be cleaners... I also have another question: 65g + 1 Flame Angel + 1 Yellow Tang + 1 Orangespotted Goby + snails, hermits, urchin, pistol s. = is it too loaded? Would it be a risky game to add a dwarf lionfish? Merci beaucoup for your help! <Hello Ivan. Do see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alphcompf.htm From personal experience I'd say "it depends". Do bear in mind Alpheidae are all predatory to some degree, and will view smaller invertebrates as prey. The species I maintained under lab conditions (coldwater species from California) were incredibly hardy and held their own very well with crabs of equal size. While I dare say they'll mix fine with somewhat larger, fast-moving midwater fish, I wouldn't personally recommend combining them with anything small or slow. As for your 65 gallon system, assuming water quality is acceptable, it doesn't sound overstocked to me. But I wouldn't recommend adding anything else. Cheers, Neale.>

Snowflake and shrimp, incomp.  12/17/08 9 months ago I noticed something moving in my live rock, I have a 17 gallon Marin tank with one Snowflake eel and some grass shrimps. <Too small a tank, even for this eel.> Today I found out what was the little thing moving inside the tiny holes of the rock, it was a 1 inch long pistol shrimp, he's green and tiny and didn't mind taking out his head and horrible arm to grab everything he can find around the rock. Is he dangerous for the grass shrimps??? <Can be, but your eel is too, will eventually eliminate them anyhow.> or the eel??? <The eel is a threat to the shrimp.> If so, what can I do to take him out???? <In a system this size I would simply tear it apart and remove him if you feel you need to. In time the eel will take care of the shrimp!> Thanks, and sorry for the English mistakes!!! <No problem, it is obvious to us those who are not native English speaker vs. those who are just lazy! Welcome, Scott V.>

Alpheid sp. compatibility question.   11/17/08 Good Morning. <Buenos tardes> I have a quick question regarding a Pistol shrimp. The LFS has what they are calling a Blue-legged Pistol shrimp. I have done some research, but I'm getting mixed opinions as to compatibility with fish. <Mmm, a few general statements re Alpheid/fish compatibility... these shrimp will consume, paralyze smaller to good-sized fishes if... hungry, threatened, crowded... but many individuals do learn to/get along over time, with familiarization... Is this an Alpheus immaculatus? An "anemone" pistol shrimp? This species is reported to be non-fish friendly... likely keeping such out/away from their symbiotic Bartholomea hosts...> Right now I have 3 B-G Chromis, 2 Fire fish and 1 Yellow watchman Goby in a 75 gallon tank (80 lbs L Rock, 2 frogspawn frags, 1 hammer frag, 2 small zoos frags) . I would like to attempt to "match" the Goby with a Pistol shrimp (I know it is a crap-shoot). <Yes> Regarding the "Blue-legged" Pistol shrimp, I've read extremes about it; from they are very compatible and can form a symbiotic relationship with Gobies to they are not compatible and will kill anything that gets in/ near it's burrow including Gobies. <Again... you/we need to ascertain the species here...> I've read all the great WWM info about Pistol shrimps in general but could not find anything about this specific Pistol shrimp. Any information would be appreciated before purchasing this shrimp and playing Russian roulette with the shrimp/Goby. Thank you for any information you may provide, Miguel <Please see the Net/pix re... is this Alpheus immaculatus? Bob Fenner>

Alpheid sp. compatibility question, pt.2   11/18/08 Thank you for the reply Bob. Somehow your answer did not get to me via e-mail, but I did see it in the "daily questions" section. <Mmm... as always, am wondering why the message/s don't go directly... every time> I did a search under Alpheus immaculatus as you suggested and it does appear to be what the LFS is selling as the "Blue-legged" Pistol Shrimp. Now that I know what it is, I'll do some more research. What I'm seeing so far is that it is not that common a shrimp and not much "captive" information is known. Miguel <Ahh, and as hinted, the Alpheids that don't directly have symbiotic relations with fishes themselves, are often VERY antagonistic toward them... i.e. they exclude ("with extreme prejudice") would be predators on their anemones, crinoids... Bob Fenner>

Pistol Shrimp and Goby... sys., comp.  -- 09/08/08 Thank you folks so much for your website. I can usually find an answer to my questions by browsing through your extensive "library" of information. However, I haven't seen this one! I bought a pistol shrimp (very small, about 1/2") for my Randall's Goby and they hit it off right away. The shrimp dug out a burrow in the four to five inches of fine sand I have in a 28g aquarium. The Goby moved in but then I actually observed the shrimp pinch the Goby on the lip. <Yow!> Then I noticed the tail fin of the Goby shredded. <Ooooh, trouble in paradise> The Goby seemed to stay away from the burrow for a while and it caved in. I thought the pistol shrimp expired. The shrimp showed up about three weeks later in another burrow and was now about 3/4" in size! The Goby seemed to "forgive" him for the rough behavior and moved in to the new burrow. One day I saw my Red Firefish backed into the same burrow. <Mmm, Microdesmids really need more room than this... and this is a social/paired species> I then noticed the tail fins on the Red Firefish were "trimmed" a bit. Then the Goby's tail fins suffered the same fate once again. Again, a cave-in of the burrow and the Pistol has not been seen in over a month. However, the Goby has taken to reside near the back of the tank <No place else to get away> and he was almost missing his entire tail last week but, doing fine health-wise if you don't count the exertion it takes for him to swim quickly! I am wondering if I should be feeding the Pistol Shrimp something specific so he doesn't "pick" at the Goby? <I would try, yes...> I feed a frozen commercial reef fish food that includes fish meat and vegetation, pellets, brine shrimp occasionally and just started feeding mysis shrimp after reading your articles. Do Pistol Shrimp lay dormant or hibernate for a period of time? <Mmm, do become cyclically "slow" during molts/ecdysis periods> If the "cave-in" occurs from the fine sand, can the shrimp dig its way out or can it suffocate? <Should be able to dig out... but I would mix in some larger rubble material... in at least part of the bottom here... that these animals will incorporate...> Should I add a more coarse substrate to an area of the tank to facilitate some type of habitat/food source? <Ah, yes> If the tank did reach 83-84 degrees a time or two this summer could it have killed the shrimp since we have not seen him? <Mmm, doubtful> I hope the Pistol is still alive but, my girlfriend isn't happy that he beats-up the Goby that is one of her favorites! <These animals really need to either be placed in a much larger (let's say a minimum of four foot long) system or separated period> Thanks for any help for me and maybe a few of your other readers with similar questions. Gary Yorba Linda, CA <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Goby And Pistol Shrimp Pairing 2/19/08 Hello WWM Crew! <Hi Mike> First let me mention how much I appreciate the time and effort you all give in order to provide one of the best marine information resources on the web. <Thank you.> The reason I am emailing you today is I have recently been offered a small, one inch pistol shrimp that hitchhiked into a friend's tank by way of his Caribbean live rock. I volunteered to adopt this pistol shrimp in hopes of the shrimp pairing up with my small Valenciennea puellaris goby, which is approximately 2.5 - 3 inches in size. Here's where my questions begin: The health and well being of my goby is of the utmost importance, as his crazy antics and silly personality have made him like family to me. Is there a reasonable chance that the Pistol Shrimp could harm him? <No.><<Mmmm, actually... these animals being from disparate seas, this is a very real possibility. RMF>> I've searched online and haven't seen any indication that it might attack a goby, but I rather be safe than sorry. Also, what are the chances of this goby pairing up with a Caribbean pistol shrimp? If I remember right V. puellaris is an Indo-Pacific goby. <Yes, and the Coral Sea and Sri Lanka. I'm thinking the pairing up would be slim, but you never know. Pistol shrimp generally pair up with Amblyeleotris or Stonogobiops Gobies.> Thank you so much for everything you do and I appreciate any information you can provide me. <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Best Regards, Mike Didn't think a Pistol Shrimp would harm a goby that size. Regards, James <These alpheids can pack a real punch... enough to really damage even a human hand. B> Yes, I do have one (Alpheus bisincisus) that is paired up with a Yellow Watchman Goby.  I can tell when something is disturbing him has you can hear the clicks throughout the house, but has not harmed any fish or other inverts in the two years I've had. Jim

<Ahhh!>

Shrimp Compatibility 1/18/08 I hear of Pistol Shrimp eating Cleaner Shrimps. Will they eat Sexy Shrimp as well? <The Pistol Shrimp is relatively safe with most invertebrates, but with small shrimp such as the Sexy Shrimp...I would not chance.> Thanks, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Carol

Jawfish/Goby and pistol shrimp combo 01/09/2008 Hey guys and gals how are things? <<Hello, Andrew here>> I have a couple questions this morning. I've been doing a lot of research regarding Jawfish, and also have a love for the shrimp/goby relationship. The FAQ's have provided me great knowledge regarding these animals.<<Great to hear>> But, I still have a couple questions. I've been playing with marine aquariums for over five years now, and have set up three of four tanks due to moving and travel. Unfortunately, until now I had no idea that the rockwork is better placed on the glass rather than the substrate. <<A lesson well learned>> My tank has been sitting for about 2 months with no fish, it's 40 gallons with 50ish lbs of live rock. (1/2 of which is either touching bottom glass or very close to it from digging liverock into substrate) I also have Goniopora, Button polyps, green star polyps, and mushrooms. I have created a 6"-7" DSB about 9" square away from the liverock for the Jawfish to build his den, sand bed is about 2" elsewhere. Now for the questions. With this setup will a Jawfish build his den in the desired location? <<Stands a good chance, nothing is certain though>> If not will it put my rock structure in danger of shifting and damaging my tank? <<If the fish digs under rock which is only supported by sand, then yes>> If so, would the pistol shrimp/ goby combo be a better fit? <<The pistol will dig just the same as the Jawfish>> Lastly, if both the Jawfish and pistol/goby are o.k. in my conditions would it be at all possible for me to have both? <<Yes, given good tank size and big enough deep sand, should be fine>> Thanks again for everything you provide, any help as always is greatly appreciated. Steve <<Thanks for the questions, A Nixon>>

Re: Jawfish/Goby and pistol shrimp combo 01/09/2008 Thanks for the quick response Andrew, greatly appreciated. <<No problem>> If I dig under the liverock so it will be in direct contact with the bottom of the tank will the concern about the Jawfish and goby/pistol be laid to rest? <<Yes, that will be better>> thanks again, Steve <<Thanks, A Nixon>> Pistol shrimp/gobies in new tank Hello, I am in the process in setting up my reef tank (75 gallon). I have 100 pounds of live rock and 25 pounds of lace rock. I am wondering if I can add two pistol shrimp and a wheeler watchman goby and a Randall prawn goby (or should I just stick with one pair pistol/goby combination) with the following list of wants of livestock. want to add (over a period of time) 2 fire shrimp 2 cleaner shrimp 1 banded coral shrimp emerald crab (x2) 2 Percula clowns (w/anemone and anemone crab inside) 2 sand sifting stars sally lightfoot crab 4 green Chromis 50 bumble bee snails various red/blue hermits blue "hippo" tang (small) button and star polyps green stripe mushroom hairy mushroom Bullseye mushroom have a sl-150 miracle wet/dry (Rio 2500 pump 720 gph) two Fluval 404's Berlin xl turbo skimmer 4 VHO 110 watt lights aragonite sand (75 pounds or so) what needs added for the goby/pistol relationship to work. Thank you for you time and consideration. its hard to find good advice when starting out your new aquariums and ideas for livestock Jeff Morningstar <Mmm, the fishes you list and the non-crustaceans should pose no problems... but the other shrimps... might be consumed by or consume the Alpheids if hungry... I would start/do what you propose... go with just the one pair first (either), and see how they fare. If it were me/my system, I would acclimate the new mutuals in an all plastic specimen box (like the ones used for housing small amphibians, lizards, bugs... available at pet shops) on the bottom for a few days ahead of releasing them. Bob Fenner>

Pistol Shrimp  Bob,  When I set up my reef tank 15 months ago, one of the critters included  with "the Package" from Tampa Bay Saltwater was a pistol shrimp.  Since then, and the tank is going well, I have been reading about the  horrors of mantis shrimp. How can one determine if one has a pistol  shrimp or a mantis shrimp? Both make that snapping sound and both hide  pretty well. I understand that the pistol should be OK in a reef tank and  the mantis not. Or are both dangerous to hermit crabs and snails? I have  noticed that I need to replace my hermit crabs and snails every so often. <Mantis are dorso-ventrally compressed, and have longer bodies, with prominent eyestalks... Pistol Shrimps are more laterally compressed, not very large and have one longer, cylindrical claw... very different appearing. Both can/will eat hermits and snails>  Finally, if I'm better off without the pistol, how do I get rid of it? It  has grown some since I set up the tank. By the way, I use the Berlin  system which seems to be working well. I also have a banded coral shrimp  and a cleaner shrimp. Possible culprits in the disappearing snails and  crabs?  Thanks,  Jim >> <Best to bait out these animals with something meaty on a stout string/line... toward night time, or use a "live rodent trap" made of plastic (sold at large hardware stores)... and Yes, if hungry enough cleaners, including Stenopus will eat snails, hermits.  Bob Fenner>

- Hungry, Hungry Pistol Shrimp - <Greetings, JasonC here...> Ok, so my Pistol Shrimp is feasting on my hermit crabs...  I would like to have crabs and keep my Pistol Shrimp.  I noticed some bright red crabs at an aquarium today.  The looked like bright red peppers on legs.  I think the pet store had them labeled as Halloween Crabs???  I don't know what they were, couldn't find them in your listing.  Any idea of what they were? <Not really, this name 'Halloween crabs' is used on several types of crabs that I have seen... and they're not all the same. Perhaps ask the people at that store if they have the Latin name for those crabs.> They are larger than my hermit crabs but smaller than my emerald crabs.  Where the emerald crabs are flat bodied... these were 'pepper' shaped??  Any idea what these are? <Nope.> I think that being a bit larger that perhaps my Pistol Shrimp wouldn't attack them? <I don't think so, your Alpheid [snapping shrimp] has superior firepower, if you know what I mean.> If I bought a few of these and let my remaining hermit crabs become lunch... would that do the trick?? <I don't think so.> What are your thoughts?? <Your best bet is to offer the shrimp some food directly, perhaps frozen shrimp or other meaty food. If it is satiated, then perhaps it will be less likely to look elsewhere for food.> Would these new red crabs conflict with my emerald crabs or coral banded shrimp? <Hard to predict. I don't really trust any crab much farther than I can throw it.> Dave <Cheers, J -- >

Pistol Shrimp is having $1.75 lunches... Simple question...  I've had plenty of small blue-legged hermit crabs and a Pistol Shrimp for close to 3 months now.  Just over the last week have caught my Pistol Shrimp on 4 occasions snatching a small hermit crab and pulling him under a rock into his cave.  Is this normal? <Not unusual> Is he eating them? - dumb question?   What do Pistol Shrimps usually eat?  Is there something I can do to stop this? Dave <They (Alpheids) consume most meaty items. Either removing it/them or their food is prudent. Bob Fenner>

Pistol Shrimp & Gobies Pairs How are you guys doing? <Very well!> Fine I hope. How aggressive are pistol shrimp? <Mine only bother someone who tries to hide in their burrow.> Looking to buy a goby/shrimp combo but I don't want him eating more expensive dinners than I do.     <Given enough room and hiding spots, they are pretty peaceful, keeping to themselves, but mine have killed about a half dozen animals over the course of the four years I have had them. Two Cleaner Shrimp right after they were introduced darted down into the Pistol Shrimps' home. Snap, snap, snap, I never saw the Cleaners again. Also, a few small fishes when I have been rearranging rock or adding corals, basically disturbing things. The fish got scared and tried to hide on the other end of the tank. Note, that my shrimp do not have a Goby living with them. Perhaps the Goby would have prevented the other fish from entering the cave. -Steven Pro>

Moose & Squirrel? Nope, Goby & Shrimp... (04/18/03) Thank you in advance for any assistance you might provide.... <Ananda the goby-fan here tonight...> I am looking for a scientific name of a partner goby that I have in my tank.   <Detective work is fun...!> It was called a "Yasser Haji" goby.... who knows if the spelling is good or even accurate.   <Well, Mr. Arafat would agree with the spelling of Yasser, and others might like the spelling of Haji, but the gobies sure don't know why they're saddled with such a name... nor do I. So far, Google searches on any combination of "Yasser", "Haji", and "goby" are turning up nothing.> He appears to be very similar to a Stonogobiops nematodes, although he has horizontal red stripes on a white background with a mottled red and white face.  He has the same filamentous fin.  It appears to extend almost as long as his body, which is less than 2" long.  He also has a yellowish tail fin.   <Ah, now we're getting somewhere. In Scott Michael's book "Marine Fishes", the Stonogobiops nematodes is on p. 355. Flipping the page, I see what I think is your fish, listed as "Stonogobiops sp." on p. 356. The "sp." designation means it hadn't been given a species designation yet. But Fishbase.org has a handy search feature. A search on the genus "Stonogobiops" shows two interesting entries: "Stonogobiops sp.", and "Stonogobiops yasha". More interestingly, the latter is considered the correct name for the former. The detailed entry page has no photo, but the description fits. A quick check of the remaining Stonogobiops listings, and I'm fairly certain that S. yasha is the fish. The species name was given in 2001, after the book Marine Fishes was written, so that fits, too.> I had his partner too but it has apparently died during a molt.  It was a brilliant red and white also and had the characteristics of a mantis shrimp, approximately 1" long. <Fishbase lists Alpheus randalli as this fish's shrimp partner. A quick Google search on "Alpheus randalli" turns up web pages with photos of both the shrimp *and* the goby! And a couple of pages show the goby clearly labeled as Stonogobiops yasha. (I must make one clarification comment -- the A. randalli shrimp does not have the characteristics of a mantis shrimp, but of a pistol shrimp. In fact, the common name of your shrimp is the Randall's snapping shrimp. Many people mistake the very loud popping noise of pistol shrimp for a noise made by a mantis shrimp, but most mantis shrimp are actually rather quiet. Well, until you give them some food.... but that's another topic.)> Any information I can provide I will.... and thank you. David Snider <Thanks for writing -- I now know the species name of this cute little goby. --Ananda>

Pistol shrimp Hi guys, <Hello David> We have one pistol shrimp in our fish only tank. Right now he has what looks like the remains of a hermit crab in his barnacle home. Do they prey on hermits? Or did the hermit die before and the shrimp just carried off the rest? <Could be either... there are Pistols/Alpheids that can/will attack, eat small Hermits. Bob Fenner> Thanks, David and Christy

Pistol Shrimp(s) Hello, I started my reef keeping experience with a Randall's shrimp goby. <My favorite shrimp goby!> After hunting for a pistol shrimp for months I finally came across one in a local pet store (right under my nose) It was a Tiger (Bellulus). Within a half hour of adding the pistol shrimp to the aquarium the goby and shrimp were best of friends, but alas, about 3 months later my goby died (my first and thankfully last fish death in all this time). I soon picked up a very nice male Yellow Watchman and the pistol shrimp took to it immediately. <Fickle those shrimps are, aye?> I guess my point here is that in my own experience and in all the articles I've read at other places on the net it seems to be a theme that Alpheus Bellulus (Tiger Pistol Shrimp) is one of the most readily goby pairing shrimps available (or maybe I just got really lucky) <Yep, they're pretty slick like that.> Anyways, about 6 months ago I witnessed to my horror that my tiger pistol shrimp (which I had been keeping for nearly two years at this point) was lying on his back just outside his burrow, molting and looking very sickly with Bob (my yellow watchman) looking on apparently in as much dismay as me. Not knowing what to do I just let him be and crossed my fingers. I think my hermits finished him off in the night. <Bummer, you might want to check your iodine levels as a potential cause for a molting death>  Being unable to obtain a Tiger pistol locally I started looking on the net - where I found a Alpheus soror (Clown or Bullseye Pistol) I am curious to see if my Yellow Watchman and this species will hit it off or not. I have been very unable to find any info on this species on the net (particularly info on what goby species it likes to bunk up with) and would love any info you guys could give me. <In most books this shrimp isn't even ID'd to the species level> In any case I'll find out if the two will enjoy each others company very soon as my Bullseye Pistol will be here today before 4:30 CST via FedEx = ) <Heh, well I suppose you can tell us now! I'd say it's likely, but not as likely as the rather easy going tiger pistol. -Kevin> Thanks and good luck to all.

Preventative Pistol Precautions 1/13/04 Hi Crew, <howdy> I was considering getting a pistol shrimp (possibly a pistol-goby pair) but, after watching the Discovery Channel I am now a bit worried. <there is a wide range of hardiness suitability for aquarium use among this group... choose wisely> I watched the pistol shrimp use its claw to stun, then eat a variety of fish.  Would my tank become a "shrimp buffet" if I added one of these little creatures?  The smallest animals in my 180 gallon tank are a pair of maroon clowns, a royal Gramma and a few hundred hermits and snails.  I also have three small yellow tail damsels but the shrimp can have them if he wants them! <many pistols are quite territorial... more of a threat to other benthic crustaceans (like shrimp) than fishes> I am actually trying to find a way to get rid of these damsels (they are attacking the royal Gramma).  Any suggestions for this?   <they are greedy and can be trapped a number of ways. Do manipulate keyword phrases to fin FAQs in our archives via the google search tool on the home page. Some great ideas for fish/invert traps inside> I am even considering adding a lionfish or something that might eat only these small fish (leaving my clowns alone) - ala "the lady who swallowed a fly". <neither the pistol nor the lion is a viable solution. Trap instead. Even drain and refill the tank quickly (15 minutes with a sump pump and some garbage cans/pickle barrel) to net the fish easier> Thank you for the help - it is greatly appreciated as always!  -- Greg <best of luck. Anthony>

Red Coris versus Pistol Shrimp Hi again, <Hello there> Red Coris versus Pistol Shrimp.... who will win? <My money's nine to one on the Coris... as a matter of fact, I was just down at Ka'alu'u Beach a few days back turning stones over to see what there was to see... and a beautiful pistol shrimp was under one... I whipped my camera around... but too late... A Coris gaimard that was following me about, to see what there was to see under the rocks this crazy "bi-fin" was turning, snapped it right up!> There's a Pistol Shrimp hiding out in my 130 litre tank... I'd rather he packed his bags and left, but I'm not game to try to evict him.... and for 6 months he hasn't caused anyone any trouble (to my absolute knowledge).  I - stupidly - believed everything I was told yesterday at the LFS - must have had 'sucker' written on my forehead - and came home with a 4cm Coris Gaimard. He's currently hiding under the marine sand... now I've researched him on your site - thank God for decent information - and realize the task ahead of me to keep him happy. (I've also just suffered the loss of a favourite seahorse in the other tank due to massive bad information from this LFS... so very sad today.) <Live and hopefully learn> Meantime - is the Pistol Shrimp a threat to him? <Doubtful> Also - is he a threat to the other tankmates: anemone and pair of clowns; 1 damsel; 1 flame angel; 1 canary wrasse; 1 blenny (he looks most like your picture of Salarias fasciatus, I asked for a bi-colour to eat the algae and was told he would do the same job); 1 sea cucumber (also bought yesterday).  <Mmm, only time will tell... but I give you very good odds for many months that they'll all get along> Should I try to return him to the LFS? Thanks for your help. Regards, Wendy <Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Red Coris versus Pistol Shrimp Thanks! Maybe the God of marine creatures was helping me after all... the little red may solve the pistol dilemma.  Lots of smiles Thanks.  Wendy <You're generating them here! Bob Fenner>

Pistol Shrimp I did something stupid! <Hi Jason, Don't sweat it we all have at one time or another, what's up?> I have a 29 gallon fully stocked reef with many soft and hard corals, clams and other filter feeders. I have a handful of small fish - a mandarin, a yasha goby, an orange spotted goby, a long nose Hawkfish, 2 clowns and a little blenny. the community was doing incredibly well until lately, when I decided to get a couple of pistol shrimp. first I ordered one, then I ordered what I thought was 2 different ones, and somehow received 3, so now I have a whopping 4 pistol shrimps (3 tigers and 1 cool red one) in a 29 gallon tank. I had to screw up a good thing. how do I trap a couple of them? <There are several mantis or shrimp traps you can buy or make out there. Most are very easy. I'd suggest you start with the pistol shrimp information http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pistolshrimps.htm> and how screwed am I? <It depends on what you were trying to do and what you want to do now.> so far one of the goby's is trying to pair with two of the pistols, but they seem to dominate him (they are approximately the same size, which may be a problem). <Its good that they are trying to pair.> 2 of the tiger pistols burrowed together in a little corner under a rock with about 2 inches of sand, and seem satisfied. will they eat my brittle stars? <Not trying to be wishywashy here but depends on the shrimps. And what kind of "tiger shrimp" they are.> I almost hope so, I've had a feeling that they were responsible for eating some of my fish in the past while they were sleeping.<If the brittles are green brittles you should get them out of the tank. Most other types of brittle stars should be okay.> if not and I put some harlequin shrimp in to eat the brittle stars, will the pistols kill the brittle stars? <That depends on a lot of things including how much the pistols are getting fed.>  will these pistols shrimps hold me hostage from here on in? I really want to trap at least 2 of them and I'll most likely put them in another tank I have. help! <Try this, http://www.seahorse.org/library/articles/DIY/diyMantisTrap.shtml, or this http://www.blueboard.com/mantis/pest/catch.htm, Good luck, MacL> Pistol shrimp Hi there, I have several species of pistol shrimp in a 150 gallon reef tank.  I have a pair of yellow ones with purple claws with a black spot on their sides.   <Hmm, I think I've seen this species before but not sure what the exact name is.  I'm reasonably sure it's in the genus Alpheus though, but I've never seen it partnered with a goby like some pistols do.>   Can you please tell me some info on these.  Do they eat fish? Snails? <If they can catch sick or dying fish, maybe.  They could also be killing snails if they're not being fed well enough.>    I have been mysteriously losing fish, and found the skull of my chevron tang in a hole with one of these shrimps. <Not necessarily meaning it killed the fish of course. it may have been eating the carcass> I do not think I have a mantis shrimp, because I still have snails, and all my smaller fish - gobies and quite a few cleaner and blood shrimps.  I have lost a pygmy angel, flame angel, chevron tang, twin spot hog, just to name a few. <I doubt a pistol could dispatch a full grown fish of this size.  It sounds like you could have something else going on in your tank.  Do you have other fish that are still living?  Corals?  What are your water parameters?> any info on these shrimps would be greatly appreciated. <The only species I've kept purposely is A. randalli, a goby symbiont.  My experience was that it would snap at just about anything in front of it, but rarely did damage to anything larger than an amphipod.  I kept this one with several small gobies without any problems.  I also kept a larger tank with several pistol shrimps as hitchhikers.  I rarely ever saw them, but heard them snapping.  This tank housed a Kole tang, two small clownfish, and a damsel.  No problems there either.  Hope this helps..> thank you         From the desk of Graham Bishop Pistol Shrimp and Featherduster Worm Meals I've read that Pistol Shrimps will generally get along with other invertebrates if they are well fed. <Yes, this is so> I've had my Pistol Shrimp now for two years. At one point, I had approximately 60 blue-legged hermits. They have been disappearing quite rapidly... down to about 15 now within one year. As well, two different Mithrax Crabs have disappeared. The Pistol Shrimp typically resides in a particular area of the live rock. <Also common> A few of the crevices where different rocks meet... have been piled with hermit crab shells, snail shells, and even one Mithrax shell. It has been suggested to me by a knowledgeable staff member at Big Al's Aquarium that this is a sure sign of my Pistol Shrimp preying on my snails/crabs... that he is 'decorating' his lair? <Or just lazy re clean-up after meals...> As well, my brittle or serpent stars seem to perish within a month... arms broken off (I'm assuming eaten as opposed to fallen off due to water quality). <Perhaps> If I am keeping my tank at a consistent salinity of .0024 (not sure of the decimals), temperature a constant 26oc, other parameters are good.... Should my blue-legged's and hermits be perishing without the assistance of my Pistol Shrimp??? <Maybe, maybe not> In any event, I have captured my Pistol Shrimp (4 hours of live rock removal) and returned him to Big Al's for an exchange. On another note, I did exchange the Shrimp for a few creatures... including a feather duster. The feather duster is quite large... about 3" diameter fan... I placed him at the bottom of the tank in the sand next to some live rock. I couldn't find any information on best locations to place other than embedded in rock work or sandbed. I guess if he doesn't like the location he will move? <Mmm, no> I plan on shutting off powerheads/filtration for about an hour during my feedings and will likely target feed the feather duster with a syringe with brine/minced krill/blood worm mixture (it's a liquid). I did notice my Coral Banded Shrimp snipped a very tiny piece of his fan off... brought the piece of fan to his mouth... and then proceeded to leave the feather duster alone. I am hoping he was just curious and will now leave the feather duster alone? <Me too> If being harmed, would the feather duster retract? <Usually yes> Thanks, Dave <Welcome. Bob Fenner> 

Pistol shrimp with other shrimp 6/6/05 Hey there, I think I will go with the tiger pistol shrimp, but I am not sure if it can peacefully exist with my 2 cleaner shrimp and a peppermint shrimp. Do you think they will be ok? thanks again! <Pistol shrimp with other shrimp can be risky.  Although not predatory, Pistol shrimp will aggressively defend their territory against other shrimps, crabs, even fish (other than their "watchmen")!  Best Regards.  AdamC.>

Alpheids, polychaetes Hi again Mr. Fenner! Would a pistol shrimp be of some use in controlling bristle worms population or not really noticeably? Thanks! Dominique <The latter. Bob Fenner> 

Pistol Shrimp   1/27/06 Bob, <James today> I have a 30 gallon oceanic cube, which has just completed cycling.  I have 10 scarlet hermit crabs, a few blue legged hermits, a serpent star, 5 Nassarius snails, 5 Astraea snails, 2 turbo snails, 2 peppermint shrimp, 2 Pederson's shrimps, 1 skunk cleaner, and an emerald crab.  I also have a pair of percula's and a pygmy angel.  I'm considering adding later either a Coral Branded Shrimp or a Pistol/Goby combination.  I'm leaning away from the Coral Banded because the size and shape of the tank will probably make his territoriality an issue.  I'd love to get a pistol goby pair, I've seen them in larger tanks and it is just neat.  I've heard on a few websites that pistol shrimp themselves may be a danger to my other inhabitants.  However, I have been able to find who are likely victims of a pistol shrimp.  Are there any species of pistol shrimp which are less dangerous than others? <Size usually dictates this.> Also, is there anyone on my list who's a potential victim? <Shouldn't pose any threat with the exception of smaller shrimp and very small fish.  I have a pistol in my tank sharing quarters with a scarlet cleaner shrimp, snails, hermits, etc, with no harm done.  James (Salty Dog)> Sincerely, Derek Pistol shrimp and firefish   1/19/06 Hello crew, I recently 'bumped into' the topic of mantis and pistol shrimps while  looking for other info on the site.  I have a 75 gallon  FOWLR.  1- 3" Naso Tang, 1- 3" Coral Beauty Angel and 1-Firefish, and  1-Emerald Crab with about 6 small hermit crabs.  I placed my first  well-cured live rock into the display tank about 3 months ago.  A 14# piece  completely encrusted with coralline and very craggy and porous.   I  lost a coral banded shrimp and probably 2 or 3 small hermits but no fish over  the past 2 months or so.  I have never seen any other creatures day or  night in my tank besides the ones I purchased.   I now know that the  loud clicking I have heard on and off is likely a pistol or mantis. Yesterday I  performed the club soda method with a baster and also just poured some over the  rock but I heard and saw nothing.  Since the Emerald crab and other fish  have been untouched and the clicking can be heard when tank lights are on that  maybe it is a pistol shrimp rather than a mantis (pretty unscientific but my  hunch after reading all these posts plus additional research).   My firefish has a nice little cave where some base rock meets  the substrate. Would the Pistol shrimp's friendly  relationship towards some gobies extend to a firefish and maybe he is  living in the cave with him? <Possible, but generally only associate/share with gobies as the goby does shake the tail and warn the shrimp of any impending danger.  I have this relationship going on in my tank and it is quite amusing.> Secondly, I would like to know if you  think I should continue to pursue this unseen/unidentified culprit before adding  more rock and fish and eventually convert to a reef sometime in the  future? <Mark, I'm thinking you have a pistol shrimp.  The mantis shrimp is audible only during a strike at prey whereas the pistol will click whenever threatened.  It is the incredible speed of the club like front leg that generates the sound. Super high speed video actually translated the speed to 75 feet per second along with the impact generating well over 100x their body weight.  To be sure you could set up a mantis trap and see what you catch.  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks for the help,<You're welcome> Mark Re: Pistol shrimp and firefish   1/20/06 Thank you Mr. Sodium canine,<My, what a title> To clarify then, if I end up trapping a pistol shrimp I should remove him (her?) rather than keep in the tank? <They are safe.> And definitely remove a mantis  if that turns out to be the noise maker? <Definitely>  Do you personally have a  preference for trap types? <I've never had the need to use one so I have no preferences.  Foster&Smith sells one called the X-Terminator that looks like it would work well for $16.00.> Thanks again, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog aka Sodium Canine)> Mark   

Pistol Shrimp/Trapping  - 3/1/2006 Hello crew, <Hi Mark> You have helped me in the past and I am looking for some additional advice now.  I have the following:- 75 gallon FOWLR with about 40 lbs of live rock.  I use 100% RO water.- ~ 1" of aragonite (I am working this down during water changes to be closer to 1/2")- Remora Pro skimmer- Eheim 2217 canister filter- Rio 1100 powerhead- 1 each - Firefish (Nemateleotris magnifica), emerald crab (Mithrax sculptus), Coral Beauty Dwarf Angel (Centropyge Bispinosus), Blue Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus), Raccoon Butterfly (Chaetodon lunula) and 3 Green Chromis (Chromis viridis) .......and apparently one pistol shrimp (shrimpis yuckis) I have been trying to trap this bugger by using a trap with Mysis shrimp bait.  How long should I wait before changing the bait with fresh shrimp? <I'd say three days.> Do you think the pistol will be interested in the bait if it is beyond it's 'freshness date'? <Sure, they are scavengers and take what they can get.>  Is there something else I can/should try as bait?  <It's fine.> I would really like to add some cleaner shrimps but will not until I know this guy is gone. I lost a coral banded shrimp which is when I made the connection about the clicking sounds. <Are you sure this is a pistol shrimp and not a mantis shrimp?  Pistols are relatively safe in reef tanks.> Also, my emerald crab became very reclusive after I started adding iodine (8 drops a day) about 3 weeks ago.  I started adding it because he had never molted in the 6 months I've owned him.  Also, if I do get a chance to see him, his shell has become more and more white.  Is this part of molting or should I just discontinue the iodine? <The crab has to grow to molt.  Maybe he isn't getting enough vittles.  The iodine present in reef enriched salts should be enough to help with the molt, wouldn't have to full dose with the iodine in this regard.> Thanks in advance for your help.  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Mark Pistol Shrimp   3/23/06 Hi!  <Hello Tanya>      I have a question on pistol shrimp. I was wondering if there was an actual list of pistol shrimps that are compatible with shrimp gobies . There are some obvious ones like Randall shrimp, and Alpheus sp, and candy striped  pistol shrimp, and tiger pistol shrimp, But I was just wondering if there were more pistol shrimp that have shown some symbiotic relationship with gobies, perhaps just hasn't been documented or maybe there's just only 4 pistol shrimps that are compatible in the ocean with gobies.  Please help me find more symbiotic pistol shrimps for my gobies.  <Do keep in mind that the goby and shrimp relationship is not automatic.  If conditions are to their liking they may hole up together.  My pair took four months before they got together.  Anyway, there are a few on our site which I believe you have already covered.  Here is a link to another site with ten more species.  http://www.saltcorner.com/1024/index1024.htm  Clicking on the name will give a detailed description and usually a photo of the shrimp in question.>    Thanks  <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Shrimp goby + pistol shrimp questions  - 04/05/2006 Hi! <Howdy> I was thinking about adding either a blue-spotted Jawfish to my reef or a shrimp goby with his pistol shrimp. I decided to forget about the Jawfish because it's a jumper. <Most all fishes, groups are> Some people told me it wasn't true and they never had one jumping but I guess they were just lucky, right? <Perhaps> A few things make me hesitate about the shrimp + goby pair. I have been looking in my book Reef Invertebrates and on the WWM but I am still unsure. My tank is a 90 gal open top with 5" sugar fine DSB. To be more specific, here are the four shrimp gobies I am thinking about: Randall's, Wheeler's, hi-fin red banded, yasha. Maybe you can advice me if some are more suitable (in my case it would mean most likely to pair with a shrimp and less likely to jump out of the tank). Apart from jumping and pairing here are some other questions/concerns: -Noise from the pistol shrimp. I heard everything from "can hear it from the other end of the house and annoying when you try to sleep" to "little clicking noise you hear from time to time, not a concern at all." Is it really a concern? <Not IMO> -On one reply on the WWM it is said that they can accommodate themselves and dig in any kind of substrate even uniform sugar-fine DSB. But should I add some rubble then? <I would, yes... Makes for more interesting behavior> Don't want to add too much of it because I think the fighting conch wouldn't appreciate... -Can the pistol shrimp really pose a threat to other small crustaceans (sexy shrimps), small fishes (clown goby, mandarin), or the fighting conch (nicknamed Mr. Elephant...) in a 90 gal system? <Yes, can... if hungry> -The digging of the shrimp should not be a problem for the corals or clams located toward the bottom (covering them with sand) if I place things correctly I guess. But can it mess up the DSB/NNR methodology? <Can mal-influence this, yes. Best to place a screen/barrier some distance/layer down to prevent it digging too deep. Bob Fenner> Many many tanks ! Dominique

Pipefish and Pistol Shrimp  6/25/06 - Hi Bob, <Hi there, Leslie in for Bob this evening.> I was just wondering if its safe to keep a pair of bluestripe pipefish in a tank with a pistol shrimp? <Not in my opinion. The only shrimp I would consider with any of the syngnathids would be a few of the cleaner shrimp'¦.. Peppermint Shrimp (Lysmata wurdemanni), Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp (Lysmata debelius) or the White-Striped Cleaner Shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis) .>Thanks. <You're most welcome, Leslie>

Pistol shrimp and Jawfish, comp., esp. Alpheids     5/16/07 Hello, <Hi there> I seem to be having a turf war in my tank... <Very common... more common than not...> or rather an invasion.  Two days ago my Jawfish left the burrow he's lived in for the last year and moved to the far end of my 55 gal. tank.  I noticed that his caudal fin was split.  Luckily he made himself a new burrow almost immediately.  Today his tail is almost entirely healed and he's working on a new burrow behind a convenient rock.  While I was watching him dig this new burrow, I saw a pistol shrimp (about 1.5-2 in) had set up shop in the abandoned Jawfish burrow (I'm assuming the shrimp is responsible for the Jawfish's evacuation). <May well be> Not only that, but the shrimp had dug himself several new entrances and exits and had also evicted my 2" hi-fin goby (Stonogobiops nematodes). <Luckily not consumed (yet)> Now I'm worried that there just doesn't seem to be enough room for everyone. The shrimp's warren extends across nearly 1/2 of the tank floor and includes the prime territory (well, prime at least from the human observer's point of view).   <Good point> My top priority is making sure that my Jawfish to be injured again. Even so, I'm a big fan of pistol shrimp.  In my other tank I have a mated pair of yellow watchman gobies with a Randall's shrimp and the trio are definitely the highlight of the tank.  This pistol, however, is a different and larger species, although I'm not sure which.  I've looked over the FAQs and articles, all of which indicate that pistol shrimp are *generally* peaceful and *should* be harmless. <Uhh, no... or at least would have to chat with you re your definitions of these terms... Alpheids are territorial, agonistic... alpha organisms> The pistol shrimp isn't bothering my other two shrimp, a fire red cleaner and a peppermint (which have never had difficulties with Jawfish either).  Should I trap the pistol shrimp out, just to be on the safe side? <I likely would> I've been thinking of setting up a small tank (maybe just a 10 gal.?) for my second, smaller hi-fin goby because he doesn't seem to be very happy in the 55, spending most of his time hiding behind a powerhead, so maybe I should move the pistol into that tank? <Mmm, I would likely keep these separated... unless you can be very diligent in making sure the Shrimp is well-fed> If so, would I still be able to keep the little high-fin in there, too? <Not IMO/E> Thanks for your help! -Lisa <Perhaps better to put the Pistol in a sump... Bob Fenner>

Pistol Shrimp... A Soldier I Will Be...Two Pistols On My Goby 12/4/07 Hey guys, <Got a gal today.> I really relish all the info on your site and had a question of my own for once. <Glad you have found the site helpful.> I was considering buying a Randall's shrimp goby (Amblyeleotris randalli) and a snapping shrimp (Alpheus bellulus) for my 20gal. <OK.> Then I saw a video of two snapping shrimp working for one goby and was like sick!!! <Heehee! Sweet!> How do I get two shrimp to work for the same goby? <Have you heard the idiom "You can leading a horse to water"? You can provide the environment/circumstance but you can't make the shrimp do something that it doesn't have a mind to do. Best you can do is try it.> Thanks for doing this for everyone! <On behalf of Bob and the crew, all are welcome. Mich>  

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