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FAQs about Pistol (including Goby) Shrimps 1

Related FAQs: Pistol Shrimps 2, Alpheid ID, Alpheid Behavior, Alpheid Compatibility, 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

Son of a Pistol (Shrimp)

Pistol shrimp/goby nano tank set up   12/11/07 Hello Crew, I'm still reading and researching, but am in the process of setting up an 8 gallon nano for the purpose of keeping one of the shrimp/goby combos available from my LFS. The tank will have a refugium made from an AC 70 (with LR rubble and Chaeto), and about 8-10 lbs of live rock. Lighting will be CF (2x18w) with about an inch of sand and LR rubble in the display. <I'd increase this by at least double... to allow tunneling> I expect the AC 70 to flow around 150-200 gph as modified. The footprint of the tank is 9"x 15," and I plan on keeping a simple mix of either mushrooms, zoos (not sure of spelling), or just utilizing green star polyps with a few accents. Am I on the right track? Thanks, Stan <Pretty close. BobF>

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>

Pistol shrimp/goby joy  8/13/07 Hi guys. For once this isn't a panicky question about an aquarium disaster. We just wanted to thank you for all the information on the site about shrimp gobies and their shrimps. We (rather naughtily) bought a "tangerine striped goby" from our LFS yesterday, having gone there intending to buy a Copperband (they didn't have any). Admittedly, this goes against your golden rule of never buying anything on a whim and without reading up on it first, but our trusted LFS manager said it should be fairly easy to keep. We got him home and found that he's really a Randall's Shrimp Goby, did a bit of reading, and decided we'd try to find a shrimp to keep him company. Today we've brought home a tiger pistol shrimp, and within an hour of putting the shrimp in, the two have become completely inseparable. It's amazing to watch, and the shrimp is very entertaining to watch as he tries to build a burrow. Just felt we should share this with someone! Jim+Jo <Greetings. A while back I kept a whole tankful of snapping shrimps, and it was one of the most fun tanks I've kept. It's funny, but things like snapping/pistol shrimps and mantis shrimps are often written off as pests by reef keepers, but when the focus of their own tanks, become engaging pets. Snapping shrimps are incredibly hardy (these were, at least) and because of where the tank was set up, water changes were something that happened once a month, if that. It was the most basic aquarium imaginable: undergravel filter, no chiller (these were coldwater shrimps), and certainly no skimmer or living rock for water quality management. But they thrived! I can't be sure if they bred, but they certainly grew, and their numbers seemed to remain steady. The noise that came from the tank was quite eerie sometimes, like crumpling leaves. Anyway, all this is by way of saying I'm glad you're trying something a bit different, and wish you every success with your new pets. Cheers, Neale>

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>

Pint-sized Pistol - 5/3/07 Hello and thank you for your help in the past. <Hello. And you are welcome, on behalf of the crew.> We recently heard a clicking sound coming from our tank after reading the FAQs on your site we decided it must be a pistol shrimp. <Very likely.>  After spending a few nights and most of our sanity we found one about 3/4 of a inch long.  Is it possible that was it or is it too small to make that much noise? <Not too small.  If it was only "clicking" then ?" is plenty big.  A full grown one makes a cracking sound that makes you think the glass has cracked 2 feet.  Actually it depends on the species and the individual.  My old one used to make a huge cracking noise.  The one I have now just "clicks".  Since you never get to see them, this sound is their little addition to your experience.  Some people find the noise stressful.  I kind of like it, a reminder that he is still there.  Now that you know what it is maybe you will enjoy his happy hunting sounds.  Maybe get a watchman goby to go with it if that fits in your stocking plan.  They are a fascinating pair.> Thank you again. Dee <Cheers. Alex>

Pistol shrimp and rock stability   8/31/06 Hello WWM Crew.  Thanks for always being there. <Welcome> I have a question about pistol shrimps.  I would like to add a watchman goby and a companion pistol shrimp to my tank.   My concern is this…I have a 72 gallon tank with about 100 lbs of LR.  Some (30% - 40%) of the rock is sitting on ? to 1 inch of substrate, and rest is sitting on the glass bottom.  There are many places in the tank (not under the LR) on which there is 3 to 4 inches of sand that I believe will be sufficient for their habitat. However, I am concerned that the prodigious burrowing behavior of a pistol shrimp may make my rock unstable.  Should I abandon this idea or is this not a valid concern? <Is a valid concern... however these Alpheids are "smart"... hopefully smart enough to realize the better/best areas to do such digging... and can/do sense imminent cave-ins. I would not be overly concerned here if the majority of your rock stacking is placed securely as you state. Bob Fenner> Thanks very much for your help. Ellen P.

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>

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

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)>

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   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 Perculas 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 or Mantis? and adding fish   12/28/05 Hi Crew!   Hope you all had a great holiday. So since the 6 months from my first e-mail to you, things have gone very well.  Tank is very stable, and my skeptical wife now loves it.  We spend at least an hour every evening after we put our daughter down for the night just watching the tank and talking. <Ahhh!> She has named all the fish and has identified personalities in all of them.  Even the dog gets into the act.  (Dog barks when my smaller ocellaris "surfs" the current from my Sea-swirl from 1 side of the tank to the other, which at night it will do 15-20 times in the last hour before the light goes out!)  She has protested any time I talk about moving rock around.  So my point of all of the above is that the tank is really in a great place and I don't want to do any major overhauls. <Okay> Tank basics:  72 Bow Front, 100lbs LR, 20g refugium with 8" DSB, 40g sump, 3/4 sand in display, 2x175w 10K MH on for 9 hours a day, 2x96W PC 420nm Actinic on for 12 hours a day.  2 Ocellaris Clown (2" and 1 3/4").  Foxface Rabbit (4"), Hippo Tang (2 1/4"), Starry Blenny (4 1/2"), 2 cleaner shrimp (3 1/2" each), 2 peppermint shrimp (1 1/2" - new adds) 2 Mithrax crabs.  Oh and 24 Astrea snails, 4 Mexican turbo, 10 Nassarius. So for the last 4 months I have heard a popping from the tank.  I tried trapping, but I kept catching the Mithrax crabs (damn them).  I hear two types of popping.  1 loud popping that occurs sometimes at full light and definitely under just the PC and dark.  The pops only come in 1s and sometimes in 2s, but I would characterize as loud.  Usually several minutes between pops.   The 2nd type of popping is more of a quiet clicking.  Happens just after light goes out.  Happens in multiples, but not rapid fire, usually 15 to 30 second spacing.    So my question is Pistol shrimp, mantis, or maybe both? <Likely Pistol/s... from the loudness, frequency, absence of dead crustaceans (the Mithraculus would be gone)> What exactly should I be looking for? <Small Alpheid/s... they hide, especially during light hours> I have not seen either of them and I have spent many the hour with a flashlight scanning the tank. Nothing has yet been killed.  I have a healthy population of amphipods that could be feeding one or both.  If they were small to begin with would they have gotten much bigger in 6 months? <Likely so... most only get to less than an inch and a half total length> I have herd stories of people having mantis shrimp in a reef and it never killing fish.  Nothing has died should I just wait and see? <I would, yes> Could I have lucked out?  I have a healthy population of coral too.   My rock is secured to a frame so I have good circulation in front and back (at your suggestion).  So, the only thought I have is to slowly pull out rocks 1 by 1 and rotate them into the fuge until I hear the popping coming from the fuge. My concern is that I will stress the heck out of the fish pulling a new rock out every night and of course anything with coral attached will take a potential hit. <You are wise to consider this "cost" here... the "alternative hypothesis"... and to choose the null... to do nothing> My final question is w/ respect to adding fish given this situation.  I am only planning on adding a few more. 1 Flame Angel (of course my coral and clam may hate me), 1 mandarin goby when the time is right, and a couple of open water swimmers: fairy wrasse or 2, a Chromis or 2, etc... Thanks as always, you all are the best. Oh and Tom from the Fish Doctors in Michigan sends his best (I got lucky and now have a great LFS). <Ahh! Please do mention back to Tom that I say hello as well! Bob Fenner>

Cannot feed Hiding Pistol Shrimp 10/25/05 Hi, great site you have. I've looked through the various faq's and could not find an answer to the following problem, but first some relevant info about my setup. I have a 75 gallon aquarium, with about 90 pounds of live rock. I believe this is all the relevant information for the question. <Thanks for the kind words!> I recently bought a tiger pistol shrimp (3 days ago), and as expected he has been hiding somewhere in the rocks. Since I have not seen him come out once, I cannot feed him. The day after I bought him, I found the remains of an unfortunate maroon hermit sprawled over the sand. I assume it was the pistol because this hasn't happened before. <Pistol shrimp often defend their territories quite aggressively!> I currently feed my fish a combo of flakes and frozen brine shrimp, I can't target feed the pistol because I don't know where he's at. Should I get bottom feeder tablets and hope he will come out and eat them? I have a vague idea of where he is in the tank (back-right corner) because I've seen my yellow watchman goby hang out there, and that's where the shrimp went where I first put him in the tank.  <It is likely, but not guaranteed that the shrimp and goby are together. If you can confirm that the shrimp is near by, you can target feed him by dangling food near the burrow entrance with a feeding stick.> So basically I'm not sure if its ok to leave him as is (although am concerned he might hunt down more crabs or snails), or get some feeder tablets. Again, it has only been 3 days so I'm assuming there is the possibility he isn't yet comfortable enough to come out? Thanks for your help!  <I would not worry too much... it will likely find enough food for the short term. When you do learn where it "hangs out", you can target feed it. Best Regards. AdamC.> <<Do not be surprised if you lose small fish and other inverts (arthropods, etc.) to this one. MH>>

Substrate for Goby/Shrimp combo. 8/9/05 Mornin' Bob <Cheers... Anthony Calfo here in his stead> First let me apologize if this has gone to the wrong place, I found your link while perusing the Goby section on your excellent pages! <Welcome!> I'm considering making a return to the hobby after a break of quite some years and of course a lot's changed since then! While researching current thinking on Reef systems I've got bogged down on the BB/SSB/DSB/Plenum issues and this is compounded by the fact that I'm very keen to house the Goby/Shrimp combination and the obvious effect this will have on substrate choice, plus the fact that I have a very large quantity of  (dead) Oolitic sand which I would like to use in what will be a reef system with very few reef-safe fish, small clawed crustaceans( Lysmata, Thor, Saron) etc. I think I'm now up to speed re. Live Rock, Skimming, Carbon, Phosphate reduction, Turnover ,Lighting etc. I would like the Goby/Shrimp to be able to exhibit normal behaviour, hence my problem. The system will be integrated within the main tank as I have no space (nor desire) to run a sump. Would their digging spoil a DSB or even release anoxic toxins from a DSB by digging? <Not at all. If the DSB is kept healthy with adequate (proper and necessary) strong water flow above it so that solids do not accumulate excessively... then all will be fine. And this is easy to accomplish. Seek to produce random turbulent water flow as with closed loop manifolds (you can fid some neat and current links/pics on this subject over at Reefcentral.com)> You mention adding tubes to the substrate, ( I can't find the link) which I'd thought of. <Yes, excellent idea. Just bury under the rocks/in the sand and let them do the rest> Would a 1" substrate with tubes covered with sand be better? <That's not deep enough for the shrimp and goby or efficient DSB activity (NNR)> In either case I could never run a system B/B. <I too very much like deep, fine sand beds. I think your oolitic sand is a best bet. Do enjoy at 4-6" (10-15 cm)> Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer cos I'd prefer not to proceed rather than get it wrong! Kind Regards, Steve. <kindly, Anthony>

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 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> 

- Uninvited Guests, More Follow-up - Hi, I setup my tank about 3 weeks back, the night before setup, I discovered lots of pistol shrimps. It was nightmare for me. It is now ok, took care of the problem. <Oh... ok. Well, thanks for the update but do bear in mind that pistol shrimp aren't generally considered "harmful" and do have a role to play in a functioning ecosystem. Cheers, J -- > 

Goby and Pistol Shrimp Take Off Together WWM Crew, I have a 65 gallon reef tank that is 24" high with a built in overflow. No live rock or coral come within several inches of the overflow grates. Among my tank's inhabitants include a 1 1/2" watchman goby and 3/4" pistol shrimp who, until very recently shared the same "burrow" together in a deep sand bed under some live rock.  <They do this> A few days ago, I found my goby and pistol shrimp in a prefilter bag in the sump below my tank. I understand how it's possible for the goby to have gotten down there (as he can swim, albeit not very well) but how in the world did his friend end up with him? <Scooted over the edge evidently> It's almost as if the shrimp would have had to clamp onto a fin as they made there two foot ascent towards the overflow.  <Some Alpheids do maintain close physical contact... mostly through larger pair of "antennae"> (The overflow is also protected by several jets that blast enough current to only allow the top 1/2 inch of water to pass into the overflow. Any animals going near the overflow would be forced back to the bottom of the tank.) Can the goby carry the shrimp in his mouth. (I know the last question sounds ridiculous.) I am really at a loss here. Thanks. Jack <Neat proposition/speculation... Bob Fenner>  

Raising a Pistol Shrimp (3/23/05) I have a few questions regarding a pistol shrimp.  <Shoot. BTW, please capitalize the proper noun "I" and the first letter of sentences. Also, please use punctuation like periods and question marks. We post all queries and replies on our site permanently and want them as readable as possible. Our volunteer crew will have a lot more time to answer queries if they don't have to proofread them. Not only that, some of us older presbyopics have a hard time reading unpunctuated text. Thanks, Steve Allen.>  I just got him from my LFS and he is a baby I want to raise him and then pair him with a watchman goby... <I have a pair in my tank. They're very attractive and interesting to watch.>  ... but I am not sure how long it will take to raise him large enough. What he should be eating as a baby and if the species I have is compatible with a watchman?  <What species do you have? Many genus Alpheus burrowing shrimps will for this symbiotic relationship. As for foods, if the shrimp is very small, then you will need something very fine such as Cyclop-Eeze. If big enough, it will take just about any frozen food such as Mysis. Many will take ground flake foods or tiny pellets. The shrimp should be big enough to be with the goby when it's too big to be eaten and is burrowing.>  He is opaque with black stripes and he looks like he's wearing a prison jumpsuit.  <I'd suggest you compare with pictures in a book that has a lot of shrimp pictures. If you can send me a clear picture, I may be able to help, but I cannot make an identification based on this description. I hope this info is helpful.> 

Pistol Shrimp Hello all, In my 3 month old 12g tank with 20lbs of Marshall live rock, I've had clicking or popping noises coming from one area of my tank from the beginning. Early on after first hearing the noises I pulled my rock and dipped it in carbonated water in the hopes of shaking loose a mantis or pistol shrimp but no luck. I've been reading all sorts of posts on noises like this and the consensus seems to be that its either a mantis, pistol or my hermits might be slugging it out. I'm leaning toward ruling out the hermits as the cause as my two Scarlets are the most lazy creatures in my tank and I don't see them putting forth the effort to sling their shell at anyone and my dwarf blue hermits are so small that I can't imagine they can generate enough oompf to make such a loud clicking. So I figure it has to be one of the two shrimp. What confuses me is that its been almost three months of this and my head count for all my critters appears ok so if its a mantis what's he beating on? Also, I've been peeking at my tank after lights out almost every night (about 2 hours after lights off) and usually in the morning too (about 5am) - wouldn't I get a peek at who ever this is or would they lay that low? And the stupid things have to grow so won't it eventually have to out grow whatever space he's in thus possibly revealing himself? And I guess the last thought was could it be something else? I hear everything from 1 to 4 clicks in some sort of succession almost every day and usually more than once. I've read that Pistols usually click in twos and Mantis will beat on something until they get dinner. I have not tried to trap yet as I'm not sure its really a Mantis I'm dealing with. And having past my cycle I'm not excited about the idea of pulling my rock again but I will if I find evidence that something has been killed. Currently the tank has 2 very small false Percs, a dozen snails, 7 hermits and a Skunk cleaner shrimp - all happily going about their business as best as I can tell. Thoughts? <Matt I am almost sure it is a pistol shrimp, I have one and know what you're talking about. If it were a mantis, your cleaner shrimp would be history along with some hermits and possible the clowns. Pistol shrimp aren't bad to have in the tank. You will very seldom see them during the day. If mine smells food I can see his antennae waving out his hole. They do occasionally move from time to time setting up new quarters. This will be evident by gravel looking like it was bulldozed around his hole. James (Salty Dog)> Much thanks, Matt Selchow <You're welcome> 

Porcelain Crab I forgot to add I also have what I believe to be a small flat Porcelain crab hitchhiker in the tank too and read that that might also be a possibility. He's a little larger than a nickel as best as I can tell from the glimpses I've had of him.  <Nope, porcelain crab is not making the pops. James (Salty Dog)> 

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 hunger strike- Hello, I was reading your articles on Pistol Shrimps, and I wanted to ask what to do with my pistol shrimp.  As the story goes, I had just bought a Pistol Shrimp recently (about two days to be exact). Once the pistol shrimp was settled in I waited probably till the latter part of the day to feed it, I tried feeding it blood worms, brine shrimp & formula two but it just kept using it's claw to push it away. <As a rule, if a critter feeds on same day that they were introduced into your aquarium, that's just Jim dandy, but if they don't, that is also to be expected. These guys go through some serious stress just from being captured, bagged, and transported from your LFS, let alone their original collection. Give it time, heck, I wouldn't eat either.> (it was kinda cute to see its humanlike behavior of selectivity of pushing anything away from itself that it doesn't want) but I'm worried that it will get hungry & die...any suggestions on what to try feeding it? I NEED HELP  <Give it a few days, and in the mean time, kick back and enjoy his digging! -Kevin> =(

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> - Shrimp/Goby Pairing - I recently got these [Yellow Watchman Goby and Red Pistol Shrimp] and they don't seem to be pairing up... maybe the goby just doesn't know where the pistol has made his home at.  But I have read the FAQ's and didn't read much about the red pistol shrimp type.. but that most watchman will pair up with these kind.... Do you have any idea what might be taking so long... <Need to ask the Goby... no exact science here, so no exact answers.> Also I haven't noticed the pistol coming out of his home, does he just come out at night. <Yes, mostly nocturnal without the help of the Goby.> Thanks: -Roger <Cheers, J -- >

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>

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>

Synalpheus stimpsonii Hi Bob I am interested in pictures of the crinoid-associated Synalpheus stimpsonii posted on your website. I work on taxonomy of the family Alpheidae and believe that S. stimpsonii is a species complex (5 species have been described and later put in synonymy of S. stimpsonii but I doubt that they are all the same).  By the way, Alpheus bellulus is a species complex, too, with at least 2 new cryptic species to be described.  I would greatly appreciate if you could send me slide duplicates or high resolution jpgs of these 3 pictures and other Alpheid shrimps; of course, all photos will be used exclusively for scientific purposes and all photographers will be acknowledged. All the best Arthur -- Dr. Arthur Anker Department of Biological Sciences - Zoology University of Alberta Edmonton Canada T6G 2E9 <You are welcome to the use of any/all of my slide work on this group. Am about to scoot out of town, so am asking Jason Chodakowski here to follow-up with you re re-scans, searching the files here for what we have. Cheers. Bob Fenner>

Bob, Take Some Pictures For Me, Please? - Synalpheus stimpsonii Bob, I hope you'll have a chance to take some pics of shrimps and other crusties in the Marquesas, for instance, I have nothing from this region my friend Joseph Poupin did some work on Decapod crustaceans of the French Polynesia (he has a website, too), but as usual shrimps (especially Alpheids) are really poorly represented and illustrated today I also saw your wonderful pontoniine shots.  cheers, A -- Dr. Arthur Anker Department of Biological Sciences - Zoology University of Alberta Edmonton Canada T6G 2E9 <Will do my best. Am taking 35mm rigs with macro diopters, mainly Velvia (ISO 50) film... and some tried/true Nikonos and 28mm. framer sets... so we'll see. Would you like me to cc you on the above groups image work vis a vis scans of what is deemed worth scanning? Bob F>

- Ever Heard of... - Hi guys, I work at the Aquatic Warehouse in San Diego, CA. I have seen a type of pistol shrimp while working there that I cannot seem to find the scientific name or mention of anywhere.  Have any of you ever heard of a Candy Cane Pistol Shrimp... or Miniature Pistol Shrimp? <Not familiar with those common names, but that doesn't mean much as often common names are ad hoc.> I'm not sure if that is the correct common name for it. <Me either.> It is about an inch full sized and much thinner/petite than even the Tiger Pistol Shrimp (which to my knowledge is the smallest of the standard sized pistols)  It is bright red and white striped and has the token pistol claw on one side.  I am very interested in getting one as a companion for either a Stonogobiops nematodes or a White Ray Shrimp Goby (which even my trusty Marine Fishes, by Scott W. Michael doesn't have a full scientific name for.. pg. 356) <Hmmm... I'm using Helmut Debelius' book, Crustacea Guide of the World, and have found two Alpheids with candy-cane type striping, the A. leviusculus and the A. randalli. The latter is actually pictured with a shrimp goby so that might be a better pick.> Please let me know if you have any information on this.. <You now have everything I have. The Alpheids are, if nothing else, diverse... really quite a few of them. I hope the limited amount of information I have will prove helpful.> I am setting up what you might call a bonsai tank.. keeping all miniatures.  (So far it's inhabitants are a pair of Miniature Blue Banded Coral Shrimps and some mushrooms.) -Laura <Cheers, J -- >

Re: empty article Went here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pistolshrimps.htm and there's no info. Thought you'd want to know, PF <Thanks Mike... will copy/paste the bit on the family on the general "shrimps" art. pg. for now... and hope to move the NMA RI version onto WWM in future. Bob>

-Goby shrimp w/out a shrimp goby!- Crew Person: <Kevin person here tonight> I was able to get a "paired" Randall's Prawn Goby (Amblyeleotris randalli) & Pistol Shrimp.  Unfortunately, a week into QT, the Goby died.  Now I am sitting here with a pretty expensive shrimp (that looks more like a lobster).  Anyway, my question is this:  can I get another fish to pair up, or am I up shrimp's creek without a Goby? <Haha, I suppose that would depend on the goby. Shrimp/goby pairs are actually very easy to set-up, so I hope you didn't pay too much for the luxury. I would just get a hold of another Randall's (after making sure what happened to this one won't happen again) and you've got a pretty good chance it will pair up. Make that a 95% chance.> It doesn't sound likely, but I had to ask the pros.  If the possibility exists, can I get any species of shrimp goby, or stick with Randall's? <The Randall's are pretty promiscuous as far as shrimp are concerned, so I'd go with that one. Good luck! -Kevin> Thanks for all you do, Rich.

Pistol Shrimp ID and commensal host 8/4/03 Good morning, <cheers> Just a quick id question.  I have a small tank that as made up of "dead" rock, it is stocked with a few hermits, and a couple of sergeant majors I netted in Florida.   <hardy but ferocious fishes> I also collected some various Caulerpa in Florida (palm beach area).  Here is the kicker now I have a new little friend who just sort of appeared (my guess hitch hiked in with the Caulerpa).  It is definitely a pistol shrimp, but I can't find any info that has helped to identify the species. <do seek "Reef Creatures: by Humann and DeLoach> It has a bright blue head, and bright orange "arms" and claws. Just to satisfy my curiosity do you have an idea on the species?   <hard to say without a pic> Also I was thinking of sticking one of the shrimp gobies in with him, which would be the best species? <you may very well have trouble finding a Pacific shrimp goby to accept this Atlantic pistol. The pistol you have may not even be commensal with gobies/fishes. They are often commensal with echinoderms or other organisms altogether. Lets get a positive ID first and then seek a buddy> Thanks for your help! <best regards, Anthony>

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.

Reply to a reply or A pistol shrimp commune - 5/19/03 My replies are now << >> CB My replies are now in <<<>>> PM Charlie, next email start new as this will be messy to post and your feedback, questions, and observations are excellent and important. Thanks mate!

Tank update and coral reproduction - 5/19/03 Good day (Paul), <Hey you. How you doin?> <<great>> This is just an update on what is happening with my tank. I decided to kind of make my own mini refugium. I took this container I had purchased from FFExpress a while back that I used to acclimate fish in and separate aggressors. It was a hang on plastic container with a lid with long slits on the lid. <Wow, they sent their fish in that? Cool!><<the fish didn't actually come in the container, I bought it to make fish acclimation easier>> <<< I do this too but now employ a 10 gallon hospital acclimation tank>>>I took that and drilled holes all in the sides, and put some Chlorodesmis (Maiden's Hair) in it with some of the tank's sand and created an in-tank refugium. <A nice idea> It seems to be working well, as I can see small crustaceans all in the container. <Very cool> I have seen a bit more growth in my corals, although I can't necessarily attribute it to the refugium. <Not yet, but will help in the long run. Better to have it than not in my opinion> I have had a problem with one of my Sinularia, called a "Speckled Leather". It was a bit too close to the Lobophytum and I think the Lobophytum didn't appreciate it and declared chemical warfare and the Sinularia is losing. <As often is the case, corals placed too close to one another will result in chemical warfare. It is important to note, though, some corals are always releasing terpenoids to reduce growth in other corals. Water changes and carbon use can help alleviate the problem> It used to extend it's bristle-like polyps during the day and retract and shrink up like a pile of Jell-O at night. Recently it has been doing this during the day. So I moved it to the bottom on the sand since I have no room anywhere else for it. Right before the move, I noticed it kind of "melted" a little bit. Now that it is moved, I have discovered a layer of "flesh" that seems to be growing in the spot where it used to be. <How did you remove it?><< I removed it by just picking it up and placing it in the sand, however I picked up the rock it was attached to, I didn't place the coral in the sand, I placed the rock the coral was attached to in the sand>> <<< You didn't cut it off the rock? Just pulled it away and it left a little?>>> The Sinularia flesh is rubbery with a light purple color, yet the patch of flesh on the rock is a dull white color with an unusual texture. <Understand. Very likely will result in a new Sinularia. It is white probably due to the lack of zooxanthellae at the moment.> It is kind of like overlapping layers of flesh, kind of like the top layer of a baked apple pie, or like a weave almost. I first saw this layer of flesh actually developing from one of the coral's branches that was melting. <I believe Sinularia is one of a few corals that employs a "sloughing" method for reproduction. I'll tell you what, if you don't have it already, I highly recommend Anthony's book on coral propagation. It specifically mentions reproduction methods in various corals (where it is known and witnessed) I feel this is a very beneficial book for all coral keepers regardless if you plan to propagate them. I don't have mine in front of me as I am at work but I remember reading about the many methods of reproduction these corals use in the face of adversity in aquarium life>  When I moved it, the layer of flesh kind of stuck to the rock and was left behind. <I believe this may result in a new Sinularia. Keep track of its growth> That was about two weeks ago and it looks like the patch of flesh is actually growing. Is this dead tissue or is this some kind of reproduction? <Very likely reproduction. Note your methods and the growth rate in a journal. Nice to hear from you and keep me in the loop. I am very interested in your findings. =) Paul> << I also wanted to ask you about the pistol shrimp. I have a Amblyeleotris wheeleri that has paired off with my pistol shrimp. <<<Cool>>> They share a burrow, actually many burrows. <<<Right>>> I have actually witnessed the shrimp "snapping". It is the coolest thing. <<<Often times when diving in the Indo Pacific you hear them above everything else. Very cool. Sounds like rain hitting the water hard!>>> It's like a slingshot, he cocks back the top half of the larger pincher and just in one fast motion snaps it back creating the snapping noise. I once thought that the pincher makes the noise, but have learned that's not true. The snapping motion actually creates a small air pocket that is "shot" in the direction of prey just like bullet would, it explodes (which creates the snapping sound) and knocks prey unconscious, where it then drags the body into it's burrow for consumption. <<< did not know it was an air pocket that made the noise. I thought it was the two pinchers that came together as it was slamming them to shoot the jet of air, that made the noise. As you can imagine it would have to be a super powerful "snap" to be able to shoot air through such a restrictive medium as seawater. So I figured that the noise of the two surfaces coming together would make a very loud noise. Hmmm you learn something everyday>>>  That's cool. Anyways the question is how does the Goby communicate to the shrimp? It seems like the shrimp keeps one antennae always in contact with the Goby. From what I have seen, the Goby makes certain motions with it's fins to communicate. It's like there is a motion for the shrimp to retreat and then there's another motion to let the shrimp know it is safe to return. <<<Exactly! That really is the gist of it. Quite an eye for observation eh?>>> It is so cool to watch these two interact. <<<Agreed>>> Do you think if the shrimp ever got hungry enough it would turn to his own pal for a meal? <<<Not likely>>> What is the mutual relationship here? The Goby provides the shrimp with protection by being it's eyes, but what does the shrimp do for the Goby? I guess it may bring food, though I have never witnessed this. <<<Not sure about food but being that the shrimp is blind (I believe that is what the studies are saying), the Goby is the alerter. If he sees trouble he is the one to alert the shrimp. In return for this service, the Goby gets a clean home. Have you noticed how the shrimp is constantly rebuilding and moving stuff out of the burrow? What a little homemaker dude, eh?>>> How dangerous can this Alpheid be on a reef tank? <<<Depending on the animals kept, could be a problem but normally not a very destructive force if well cared for (i.e. food, water, environment)>>> I know they are scavengers, but I'm sure they wouldn't pass up a chance at a Chromis resting on the sandy bottom at night. <<< I think this is doubtful as again, it is a scavenger and it requires quite a bit of energy to try and hunt down a large fish like a Chromis. Trophic levels I believe apply here. Plus being that it is blind, it usually relies on its sense of smell and taste to know if food is near. In any event, don't give him a reason to want anything more than what you are leaving for him outside his home. =)>>> Sorry so long.>> Thanks for any insight, Charlie

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

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>

Target Feeding/Shrimp Compatibility Thanks, you guys are awesome.... have been a tremendous help. <really glad to hear that! That's why we're all here!> So how do you directly feed a fish in your tank...  for example, I am afraid of overfeeding my tank but some days- not enough food falls to my shrimp goby...  Should I just trust that he gets his food over time? How do I directly feed my mandarin goby this Mysis shrimp without it being stolen from other critters??? <A great method to "target feed" these animals is to utilize a turkey baster to shoot a little food down there where he is. Also, you can "skewer" larger items, like krill, crab meat, or squid on a wooden kebob skewer, then carefully put the food in front of the fish's "nose". Do this at the same time that you are giving the other fishes in your tank food, to help eliminate some of the "competition" Even shy fishes will eventually learn to accept food this way.. Oh, you will be happy to hear that my Coral Banded Shrimp and Cleaner Shrimp are best buddies... ok, well not exactly.  I have seen the CBS take a swing at him once...  The Cleaner Shrimp seems to walk on water... he bounces off of everything and floats...  He was walking upside down underneath the top of the water level - if that makes sense. <Yep- a bizarre, entertaining behaviour! Glad to hear that they are getting along with a minimum of squabbling> It seems as though as long as the Cleaner stays outta the CBS's face, he is left alone. <Like with any animals, these guys have their own territories, and tend to display their bravado, so just keep an eye peeled to make sure that everyone stays intact! Take care! Regards, Scott F>

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>

- 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>

- Symbiotic Gobies and Circulation - Hi Crew!! <Hello, JasonC here...> First off, I have been reading TONS on your site and have learned an incredible amount.  I read something today that has me concerned, regarding water flow and soft corals.  I have a small (2-3") brown star polyp colony in my tank.  The water motion in their present location is mostly in one direction.  I can put them almost anywhere in my tank, which would mean potentially less flow but a more changing direction.  I have had this colony about 4 weeks, and they are doing great, even seem to be growing nicely. Do I fix it if it's not broken (move them)? <I would... do consider perhaps another power head in the tank to help stir things up some more - variation in flow is very important for long term success.> My next question has to do with a Pistol Shrimp - Goby tank I am considering for the office. What is the ideal substrate for burrowing? <Sand.> Best (most likely to bond) Goby? <Chances of getting a non-paired set to "bond" is lower than winning a high-stakes lottery. Unless you obtain both as an existing pair, it's not going to happen. Alpheids are incredibly diverse, and the pairing between the goby and a particular shrimp is very specific. You can't put a random goby and random shrimp together and expect them to get together... unless you get them as a pair via expert collection, even then one or the other probably wouldn't make the trip... it's just not easily feasible.> Because they are both low in the tank suggestions for other occupants? <Based on the size you mention... I wouldn't put anything else in this tank.> What is the best clean up crew for this tank, I know pistol shrimp are formidable hunters? <You would be the best clean-up crew.> Any other sound advice for this concept? <Learn to dive and go see them where they live... not to be crass, but it's just not realistic in a captive system.> BTW, this tank will be a smaller, probably ~20g, and dedicated to this idea. Thanks again for offering such sound info time after time, Bill <Cheers, J -- >

How does one encourage a pistol shrimp/goby to move to a new location? + other?s Hello, >>Hi, Travis. >I started my first reef tank about six weeks ago.  The tank is a thirteen gallon with about fifteen pounds of live rock, some corals, a tube worm, blue legged hermits, and Astrea snails.  The only other inhabitants are a yellow watchman goby and pistol shrimp pair.  Tank has about 60 watts of light, and a protein skimmer that came with the tank.  The tank and skimmer were made by CPR.  I feed my tube worm about a grain of rice worth of Black Powder around once a week.  Is the Black Powder a sufficient food for the worm?  Should I feed the worm more often?  >>I like to see a variety of foods offered, and if you can see your way clear a culture of rotifers offered to all the filter feeders would be helpful, same thing with plankton in general.  Some also really appreciate getting the "juice" that's exuded from foods such as squid, clams, shrimp, and fish.  Also, you would want to keep an eye on both alkalinity (buffering capacity of the water) as well as your calcium levels.  If you feed but have insufficient biomineral availability you might not see the growth you should. >>As for frequency of feedings, I would like to see them feed a bit more frequently--remember, in nature they're feeding daily. >Also, much of the bottom of my tank is covered with live rock except for a small patch of sand (approximately 6"/6").  Unfortunately, my shrimp and goby have decided to set up home behind the live rock where I cannot see them.  Sometimes the goby peeks around the rock and the shrimp snaps, so I know they are there.  How can I encourage them to take up residence in the open spot so that I can see them? >>This last problem is a much more difficult issue, as the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, eh?  The only thing I can offer you is to use a combination of feeding ONLY in a certain area, and possibly recreating the structure that they're so fond of in a more easily viewable area.  Otherwise strategically placed mirrors have been my own solution, though it's never really bothered me that I can't see some things.  I'm just happy to know that they're there and thriving. >>I would also like to encourage you to consider the addition in the future of a refugium.  The development of a 'fuge with a deep sand bed would be of so much benefit you would end up being quite happy with the time and investment.  Good luck!  Marina Thank you very much for your help.  Travis.

Pistol shrimp and goby 3/30/03 I started my first reef tank about six weeks ago.  The tank is a thirteen gallon with about fifteen pounds of live rock, some corals, a tube worm, blue legged hermits, and Astrea snails.  The only other inhabitants are a yellow watchman goby and pistol shrimp pair. How does one encourage a pistol shrimp/goby to move to a new location? <you may encourage the move by providing a tube (plastic pipe) buried in the sand under a rock. They often find this hospitable. Best regards, Anthony>

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>

Pistol Shrimp Sand Question Thank you for your answer to my earlier compatibility question:) One more quick question......my sand bed is fairly new (1 month old)....I had a crushed coral substrate which I removed and changed to 100 pounds of South Down Tropical Play sand. To this I added 2-20 pound bags of Natures Ocean live sand and a detritivore kit. Is this type of substrate okay for the pistol shrimp? Does he need anything else in order to dig and make his burrows? Thanks.......Janey <Should be fine... have found Alpheids/Pistol Shrimps in all sorts of different substrates in the wild... They can/do modify, sort materials to suit themselves. Bob Fenner>

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>

Missing Pistol Shrimp Hello WWM Crew! My pistol shrimp has mysteriously disappeared. He lives (lived?) under a liverock with a banded goby in a burrow, and I have not seen him appear in about 24 hours. Could his engineering abilities have failed him and he's trapped in his burrow? <Possible> The goby seems fine, but I haven't observed him entering the burrow. The tank is 55gal and I just tested the water: pH - 8.4 - 8.6 (slightly high?) Alk - 1.1 meq/L (low) <Yes, both of these are a bit off as you suspected. Probably nothing to do with your shrimp disappearance.> Nitrates (slow react test) 2.5 ppm (ok) Nitrites - 0 ppm Ammonia - 0 ppm Temp - 78 - 82 deg F <I would like to see less of a temperature swing, no more than two degrees in 24 hours.> S.G - 1.024 Salinity - 34.1 - 34.9 ppt These parameters are consistent to what they have been for the past couple of months and everyone in the tank (two damsels, one maroon clown, one bubble anemone, one banded goby, couple of hermit crabs and turbo snails) has been fine. The only other thing that I can think of that could be the culprit is the pump was off for a couple of hours on Wednesday and the temperature was about 2 deg.s lower while the pump was off. Is there anything else that I should look into? <I would look to see if he has not setup another home elsewhere. My pair have burrows under every bit of liverock in my 55.> Thanks! Stella <You are welcome. -Steven Pro> 

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