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FAQs about Coral Banded Shrimp (CBS), Other Stenopids/Boxers Health/Disease

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

Related FAQs: Stenopid Disease, CBS FAQs, CBS ID, CBS Behavior, CBS Compatibility, CBS Selection, CBS Systems, CBS Feeding, CBS Reproduction, Cleaner Shrimp: Cleaner Shrimp Identification, Cleaner Shrimp Behavior, Cleaner Shrimp Selection, Cleaner Shrimp Compatibility, Cleaner Shrimp Systems, Cleaner Shrimp Feeding, Cleaner Shrimp Disease, Cleaner Shrimp Reproduction, Dancing Shrimp, Harlequin Shrimp, Pistol Shrimp, Saron Shrimp, Shrimp Identification, Shrimp Selection, Shrimp Behavior, Shrimp Compatibility, Shrimp Systems, Shrimp Feeding, Shrimp Reproduction, Shrimp Disease Crustacean Identification, Crustacean Selection, Crustacean Behavior, Crustacean Compatibility, Crustacean Systems, Crustacean Feeding, Crustacean Disease, Crustacean Reproduction,

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Coral Banded Shrimp Die, Cause Unknown, 4/20/10
Hi and good morning,
I am impressed with the wealth of knowledge offered in the countless pages of your website. Thank you so much for your service.
Recently I added a marine tank to my collection; I've had 5+ years of experience with freshwater aquariums but have just now started to dabble in saltwater systems and as such, there is a lot of learning along the way (albeit, plenty of initial research/prep was done before such investment). So, please bear with me if some of what's to follow is not pertinent.
<No problem, more information is better than not enough.>
Three (3) months ago I launched my first saltwater aquarium. It's a 30 gallon, bow-front setup with a 24" footprint powered by a Penguin 200 bio-wheel filtration (Penguin 150 is for ~30 gallon tanks, and it was recommended to upgrade one size larger for marine purposes). A local fish store got me underway with appropriate equipment and chemicals and said a sump pump was not required for such a small tank (the smallest set they sell is for a 75 gallon tank).
<Is not necessary.>
I also do not have a skimmer (not sure if this is needed for this tank size, but admittedly, that's further research needed).
<I would not run a tank without one, more important than a power filter in my opinion.>
I have 2" live sand bed (and have purchased a second bag to increase this to 3-4" per reading about the benefits of deep sand beds), lava reef rock ("dead") making up ~40% of the tank interior (very little, but starting to show signs of coralline algae!), and a few small pieces of live rock scattered about.
<Lava rock could be a problem, it has been known to leach toxins, mostly heavy metals, which can cause all sorts of problems, especially with invertebrates.>
To help cycle the tank, I purchased 3 yellow-tailed blue damselfish, and the tank cycled in about 1 month.
<Next time look into a fishless cycle, easier on you and the livestock.>
At this time a brown dusting began to appear (diatoms I believe based on my web searches).
I bought a sleeper banded goby and a nice cleaner crew hoping it would help combat the nuisance (which initially was identified as brown algae from a different LFS).
<Most likely either diatoms or Cyanobacteria, not much eats this stuff but can be controlled with proper nutrient export.>
This same LFS said that weekly water changes of 1-2 gallons would be sufficient as the cleaner crew would take care of the rest.
<Mmm no, the clean-up crew still adds to your bioload, I would bump up these changes to 5 gallons weekly.>
I was told also that there was no need to siphon the sand (b/c cleaner crew) and just to take 1-2 gallons from the middle-lower strata.
<Generally sand beds to not need cleaning like in freshwater, however I would siphon off any detritus that you do see.>
I keep up with my weekly water changes, various chemical tests (will be more specific a little later), and do not over-feed. The cleaning crew consisted of about 20 hermit crabs, 20 assorted snails, and 2 coral banded shrimp (mated pair).
<Seems like too much for a 30 gallon tank.>
The LFS said that the CBS are akin to a miner's sparrow - when they start showing signs of problems, water levels are beginning to be dangerous.
<True of invertebrates, they tend to be more sensitive to water quality issues than fish.>
A lengthy background (sorry!), but what follows are (some in hindsight) observations of concern. I never see the goby eat the food I feed (some flakes and some pellets by Ocean Nutrition, with an occasional supplementary blend by Instant Ocean).
<Try frozen Mysid or bloodworms.>
The live rock brought with it a few hitchhikers (roly-poly like critters: copepods?)
which are now no more (I assume the goby is the culprit!).
<Probably, or the shrimp.>
Nevertheless, he's been in the tank for 2 months, so he must be getting adequate food somewhere. I see him sifting occasionally, but that has slowed to almost never and just hiding.
<Something wrong here.>
One of the CBS would eat flake food, pellets, and the Instant Ocean supplement whereas the other would pick up the food and spit it out (he - as the male was the picky eater - did enjoy the occasional hermit crab, however - much to my dislike). I decided to try a different supplement (Emerald Entree frozen blend as recommended by the LFS) just 4 days ago. Since then, the goby has been almost an entire recluse and yesterday, both the CBS died.
I also am still fighting a light dusting of diatoms and did a 5-gallon water change (first time I siphoned the sand) and scrubbed off all the brown nuisance off the glass. Approximately 30 hours later, I found the CBS in bad shape. The female (belly full of little eggs) was on her back convulsing and the male beside her, too convulsing. Legs were folded up and some of the cleaner crabs had begun to move in to feast. I took both CBS and put them in a breeding net to protect them and measured all water conditions. This morning, both CBS were dead.
Water temp: 78; pH: 8.1; Ca2+: 520; Nitrate: 40; Phosphate: 0; salinity: 1.023.
<Ammonia and nitrite? Nitrate is a little high, but I would not expect it to be toxic. Your calcium is very high, what is your Alk?>
I use a buffer to keep pH at 8.3, but obviously 24hr after the water change, the tank pH had dropped to 8.1.
<Several articles here to understand pH, Calcium and Alkalinity http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/maintenance/maintindex.htm .>
Tap water is relatively basic (pH 7.8) and I can only imagine that I didn't add enough buffer to the replacement 5-gallons. Can this difference of .2 in global pH be the cause?
<Possible but unlikely.>
Did I stir something up in the siphoning of the sand?
<Maybe released a large amount of detritus which then caused a water quality issue.>
I'm concerned about the remaining livestock and certainly won't add any more fish until I can get a handle on what's happening in my aquarium. Please help!
Thank you kindly,
<Tough to say exactly what happened, I would be interested in seeing what your ammonia and nitrite levels are. Something toxic is going on here, I would step up water changes, maybe 5 gallons every 2-3 days for the next week and see how that goes. If you can get some Polyfilters I would be running them, see if they change color which could indicate a toxin present, otherwise some fresh carbon might help.>

Re: Coral Banded Shrimp Die, Cause Unknown 4/26/10
Hi Chris, thank you for your reply.
Since the time of our last communication (5 days ago), I've installed a skimmer, added 2" of cured live sand, and performed two 5-gal water changes.
At the time, I didn't have an ammonia test kit, and haven't checked nitrites since they fell to 0 after cycling. I've also increased tank pH to 8.3. Major upgrades/changes (addition of sand, and increasing pH) were made very gradually. No other livestock has died, fish or invertebrates, and the current chem. levels are as follows:
pH - 8.3
salinity - 1.023
calcium - 500 (note: no supplemental Ca2+ is used; Oceanic Sea Salt has Ca2+ included)
nitrates - 20
nitrites - 0
ammonia - 0
phosphates - 0.25 (phosphate rise likely due to new sand, skimmer has only been installed 1 day)
<This may cause algae problems, try to determine the source of the phosphates, tap water, food, or what have you.>
The goby has been a little more active, and the fish are swimming around fine. Snails are busy moving around, but the hermit crabs are idle. They don't explore the rock and sand like they were before last week. Now, they stay in one place (but they are alive). Anytime movement nears, they dart into their shells. I placed them in a group and put some seaweed between them, and they all ate plentifully. Yet, they will not roam about, staying in the same place (for 3-4 days now). Once phosphates come back down, would you expect them to pick up their level of activity?
<Probably not directly related. They are pretty sensitive to water changes to even the gradual rise of pH may still be effecting them, give them a few more days before doing much else besides water changes.>
Thank you.

Clownfish beh. CBS Molt Prob. 1/28/07 Dear Crew, Hello, Leif. (I like that name) GrahamT here.>         I have a problem. <Continue...> I have a 55 gallon marine aquarium with the following;   2 Black Percula Clownfish.   1 Yellow Tailed Blue Damsel   1 Royal Gramma   1 Coral Banded Shrimp (2 until earlier this week when one passed) <Bummer, sorry for that.>   a few snails and hermits with approx 40lb of live rock. various macro algae.   Water Change - 10-20% every 1-2 weeks.   Specs are (tested this morning)   pH - 8.1 (consistent   Nitrite - none detectable   Ammonia - none detectable   SG - 1.025/1.026. <No nitrate levels???>   These are all in line with how my system has been for at least the last year. All inhabitants have been in there for at least a year with no visible problems.   Now, I lost the female CBS last week to a molt that looks like it went horribly wrong, arms all limp and tangled with its molt still partly attached, I had to hand feed for a while but she didn't make it. The other (male) CBS also lost an arm during this period which made me suspect a fight but they were a true pair and had spawned in the aquarium and shared food etc. <There are posts here on WWM that make mention of the importance of trace elements to the crustacean-molting process... Google turns up a few useful links for you.>   Now, this morning my lights have come on to reveal the female clownfish lying on a rock at the back of the aquarium, laboured breathing, no visible physical trauma, not coming up for food, not very responsive to stimuli. Very worrying. I have had this pair of clowns for about 18 months from when they were tiny<.> <T>hey went through the pecking order punch up about a year ago and rank was established, there have been no problems between them since then. <Without more for you or myself to go on, I would recommend you either quarantine this individual, or observe very closely. I would QT. This doesn't sound like a happy clown, but *sometimes* clowns behave oddly, and are fine and dandy. Ignoring food is a cause for concern, though. In the meantime, read http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clownfis.htm and ANYTHING that catches your eye here. I know you will find something that seems like what you're seeing. If this persists, don't hesitate to write again.>   Please help if you can, the CBS was my first ever marine loss of life and if I lose the clown as well within the same week it would be heartbreaking. I have a spare aquarium that I could set up as a QT if you recommend but I don't want to cause any undue stress. <This reminds me, It seems possible that something may be out-of-whack with your water-quality. If you aren't testing for nitrates, consider their importance in the micro-reef. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm -GrahamT.> Thanks as always for your valued response.   Leif.   UK.  

Re: Clownfish Behaviour/Death + CBS Molt follow-up 1/30/07   Hi Graham, <Hello again, Leif.>                Thanks for your response. Unfortunately the clown passed away that night. I had to take her straight out because the CBS and hermits kept closing in on her. I'm gutted. <I'm so sorry! I wonder what might be at play here...>   Sorry for the missing info. <No prob, wouldn't have helped, as it turns out.> I do test for Nitrates and have always had them under 10ppm. I use RO/DI water for water changes (salted and aged). The reason I didn't include them in the mail is because I didn't test them immediately after noticing the problem, I just tested the things which I thought could change drastically and quickly enough to cause the problem I was seeing. I have since tested it and it is below 10ppm.   I feed them a mixture of frozen omnivore mix (incl. algae), frozen squid, frozen Mysid, frozen brine (all thawed and rinsed) <How is this rinsed? Tank-water?> and occasionally flake.   All the other inhabitants are still ok with no signs of stress. I have got the QT set up and ready in case it's needed. I just hope it was not infectious, whatever it was that killed the clown.   I keep up with regular water changes and maintain calcium levels about 300ppm using Tropic Marin Bio Calcium and Alka Balance (measuring both alkalinity and Ca levels).   I agree that there isn't much to go on, just thought I'd give it a try as I was pretty desperate. Thanks again. <I am truly sorry for your loss, Leif. I hate watching my friends waste away, and so quickly, too! I wonder if you might investigate and find some contaminant has gotten into the system? I wonder based on the two factors: CBS molt affected, and the clown mortality. Is quite possible these are two isolated events, but it does make you wonder. Sometimes things just get sick, or they accumulate a certain lethal level of toxins and their bodies quit in short-order. Again, I empathize with your loss. If there is anything that occurs to you, drop a line! -GrahamT>

Coral Banded Molting or Dying?  - 1/18/07 <Hey Jennifer, JustinN with you on this mighty chilly day!> Love this website...it is literally my Bible for saltwater!   <Thank you for this.> I need some help with my coral banded. She's been listless for a couple of days, not eating.  She twitches like she has Parkinson's. <Mmm, not good signs.> She's been trying to hide but the green crab keeps finding her.  Water param.s are good. <Actual numbers/data is much more helpful here, Jennifer, especially in this situation. Knowing what parameters you are testing for, what supplementation you are currently dosing and how often can help us determine where a potential deficiency or imbalance could be.> I have a 55 gal and I did a small water change the other day and added iodine on Sunday. Is she dying or molting? Is there anything I can do to help her (maybe separate her)? I did have a porcelain crab die yesterday but I think that was due to a low ph (which has been fixed). <Low pH fixed overnight? This alone could be your problem...> All other inverts are doing good. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you!! Jennifer <Well, Jennifer, the loss of the porcelain crab and mentioning of the low pH readings are disconcerting, for sure... Not boding well, IMO. The way you describe it reads to me like a potential biomineral deficiency (or potential overabundance, as the case may be). If you're not testing for things such as alkalinity, calcium content, and iodine levels, these could be quickly indicative of your problems. Hope this helps! -JustinN>
Re: Coral Banded Molting or Dying?
 - 1/18/07 Thanks for quick response! OK, I tested my ph last night and again first thing this am (before lights on) and it was at 8.3. Calcium has been at 340 which I've added SeaChem Calcium to increase it. Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates, Phosphates all at 0. I don't have an iodine testing kit.. none to be found at any LFS.  I have been following directions to the letter..1 drop per 25 gal 1x per week, so I've added 2 drops (which is actually a little low).  She still is moving a little.  Should I try a water change or anything? Thanks! <The problem with following the directions to a T, is that they really don't tell you how to properly administer such supplements. If your tank is not consuming the iodine at the levels you are adding it, this could lead to problems, and is a side effect of blindly dosing when you are not testing for the result. Another item you should be testing for is alkalinity. If you performed a water change after the porcelain crab died, I would not jump too quickly to do another. Instead, try to get your hands on the tests I've mentioned. Online vendors can be helpful when you can't locate specific items, otherwise you could request a specific item from your LFS. -JustinN>
Re: Coral Banded Molting or Dying?
 - 1/18/07 Man, Justin.. you're fast! Many thanks! Alkalinity is 161.1 ppm KH. I'm going to call around and see if I can find an iodine test.  Thanks! <Excellent, Jennifer. That is a good reading for alkalinity. I wish you luck! -JustinN>

Quarantine <<Hello - I know you wanted me to disregard this email, but I feel like I should answer so you have the information for the "next time">> Thank you JasonC, now I have another question.  <<You are welcome.>>  Since it's most likely a fungal infection (on my domino damsel, remember?), should I just quarantine the domino and let it get better on its own, or should I treat?  <<best to isolate, observe, then treat if necessary.>>  And if I treat, what would be a good treatment?  <<this is topical - depends on what we're trying to eliminate.>>  I really don't want to use copper for anything, ever, if possible.  <<well, this is why a separate quarantine tank is so vital - you can treat your illin' fish and not worry about polluting your main system with the various toxic therapies.>>  I plan on having quite a few inverts in the near future and don't even want to take the smallest chance. Also, if I were to treat him with copper, wouldn't he transfer some to the main tank when I put him back in? <<again, a round in quarantine would last anywhere from two to four weeks, during which time you would treat, observe, and then run an activated carbon to remove the copper, etc.>>  I've got a coral banded shrimp I'm really fond of...Going to quarantine him today. If I need to medicate him, will you please let me know as soon as possible? I know you're busy, but I'm really unsure of what to do. Thank you so much in advance!  <<I'm not that busy, and it's absolutely my pleasure. Cheers, J -->>

Coral Banded Shrimp is algae-covered and schizophrenic Hi Robert. <Anthony Calfo in your service> I recently moved my 50 gal reef tank to a new house and fortunately everything survived. In transit, the CB Shrimp was jostled quite a bit and remained listlessly upside-down on the substrate for a few days. I thought it had died, but it suddenly recovered and seems to be OK after 3 weeks. <wow...severe temperature or (more likely) salinity shock. Probably sunk like a rock going into the new tank from admittedly poor acclimation (crustacea suffer osmotic shock from slight differences in salinity)> The strange part is that the personality of the CBS has completely changed.  <its called "dain bramage"> It used to hide under the rocks and react to any slight movement. During feeding, it would come out a aggressively snatch food. Now, however, the shrimp is always in the open and seems very lethargic. <did you ever see the "Handy-man" skit on "Living Color"> I can even touch it whereas in the past it would dart away. While it seems to forage slightly on the rocks, it isn't very responsive during feeding time. Greenish algae has also grown over most of its body. <wow...that's all I can say...wow> It's just so weird because other than being a bit lethargic, the CBS seems to be fine. Any thoughts? TD <yes...but none polite...hehe. I'm sorry your BC shrimp has suffered so. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be picked up and transported from a warm tropical beach to a perch in the high Alps in a millisecond? Hmmm...just me. I'm certain that there was a change in water quality parameters that caused this. Live and learn. Do the best you can with him, my friend. kindly, Anthony>

Bad molt... here, take my arms! BCS, CBS Never can keep it straight.. Anyway, my banded coral shrimp, who's about 5 years old and meaner than a snake, <heehee... all too common> apparently had a "bad molt" and showed up with both front claws missing.   <no worries... will regrow... feed well in the interim> I don't think there's anything else in the tank that could rip his newly molted claws off.  I have a brittle star, two small PJ cardinals, a mandarin and a Firefish in a 45 high tank .  I also have assorted hermit crabs (small with tiny claws) and snails.  From reading the FAQs I understand that they can drop the claws and get them back in subsequent molts.  Might this indicate a lack of nutrients/minerals?   <indeed... quite possible. Lack of iodine for proper ecdysis/molt is often cited. If this is a non-reef aquarium or any that does not receive weekly iodine and/or water changes or better... then iodine levels are certainly low in your system. Seachem has a nice test kit for this if you like/to confirm. At any rate... a large but gentle water change would likely do wonders> Everything else looks fine. thanks tom <best regards, Anthony>

Can't find my CBS 7/31/05 A week ago I purchased a CBS.  I acclimated it over about a 2 hour period. When I finally released it into the tank, it appeared to be fine.  It moved around just a little and then situated itself under a piece of coral.  Later that night, I noticed that it's body parts appeared to be falling off (I later learned that it was molting).   <Mmm, molts come off in one piece...> The next day it was still sitting in the same place.  Since then, I have not seen it at all (has now been 9 days since I purchased it).  I am trying to figure out if it is even alive.  I have not seen a body floating around. <Might still be in the "hardening" phase of ecdysis/molting> I know that they can apparently get into very small holes (I do have about 34 lbs of live rock in the tank w/lots of hiding places).  Do you think it is still alive? <Can't tell from here... You do have sufficient calcium, alkalinity I hope/trust... and matching spg, pH during the extended acclimation...> Today I am almost positive I saw "something" moving into a hole, but when I shined a flashlight in the hole, I couldn't see anything.  I also have a chocolate chip starfish, a coral beauty angel and a bicolor blenny in the tank.  When feeding, I usually alternate between frozen brine shrimp, Prime Reef flake and seaweed.  If the CBS is still alive, can you recommend something that will bring it out (so I can at least know if it's alive or not).  Thanks so much for your help! LaVonda Black <Only time, patience can tell whether your Boxer is still with you. Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/stenopodidae.htm and the linked files above, where you lead yourself. Bob Fenner>

Boxer shrimp problem 7/20/05 Hi Thanks very much for the advice you gave me last week.  I am pleased to tell you that within 4 days of the iodine going in my tank the boxer shrimp shed his skin and he has re-appeared complete with new claws.  It's truly amazing!!  How long do you suggest I continue with the iodine treatment -- is this a permanent thing I should be doing? <Should be done on a weekly basis.  James (Salty Dog).  I'd also like to apologize for the long delay.  I have been out of town.> Regards Dave

Coral Banded Shrimp, poor English 8/24/05 Dear Bob, <Jason> Thanks for your previous help, always fixes the problem. <Welcome> I've had a coral banded shrimp for 3 months now and its molted id <... there is no such word, as id... unless you're a psychologist...> say 5  times. The other day I <... the personal pronoun "I" is capitalized> saw it stuck upside down next to my serpent star inside a rock. When I tried to help it, it grabbed onto the air hose with its claws and it  turned upright. After that it seemed to not be able to get back out, so I scared  it and it shot its way out of the area and seemed to be ok. The next morning he is very lethargic and doesn't move much. His big claws droop and then he raises them only to droop right back down. It seems he can't walk or do much of anything, not for lack of trying. It does seem to be picking at things and eating though. Is this behavior typical of pre-molting or is he in trouble? <... please see WWM re Stenopus> Attached is a small clip so you can see. <Doesn't open for me> (I moved him to his present location).. I also added extra calcium and iodine, <Good... after testing for...> in case it is molting  behavior and he's having trouble molting. Thanks Jason <Your name is a proper noun... is capitalized. My young friend, learn to write in your native language... you don't want to appear ignorant, nor do I. Bob Fenner>

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