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FAQs about Cleaner Shrimp Compatibility

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

Related FAQs: Cleaner Shrimp 1, Cleaner Shrimp 2, Cleaner Shrimp Identification, Cleaner Shrimp Behavior, Cleaner Shrimp Selection, Cleaner Shrimp Systems, Cleaner Shrimp Feeding, Cleaner Shrimp Disease, Cleaner Shrimp Reproduction, Coral Banded Shrimp, 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,

Who ate the cleaner shrimp? My cleaner shrimps keeps getting eaten by a/some fish. Who did it is the mystery? Was it the clown trigger, purple tang, small moray eel or the queen angel? <<Could be most anyone of the above characters. In order, I'd suspect Clowny the Butler, Mr. Eely, The Queen of Decapods, and lastly, the not so vegetarian Yellow Tail Tattler. Bob Fenner>>

Moving Cleaner Shrimp; beh., comp.      2/14/15
Hi, I have a 75 gallon reef tank with two clown fish, a coral beauty, and a canary wrasse. I recently added a skunk cleaner shrimp. I have had them before and really like having shrimp in the system. The problem is this shrimp has decided to hang out about an inch underneath the clown fishes' territory. The coral beauty is constantly going near the shrimp to get a cleaning (which the shrimp refuses to do, but that is another issue). The problem is that the clown fish are not happy with the coral beauty being in their territory. Today the larger clown fish fins are torn. I'm worried they will continue to injure each other if the shrimp stays where he is. Is there a way to get the shrimp to move to a different area of the tank?
Thanks. Ann
<Mmm; yes. Given the choice to make the present spot less attractive or further away more; I'd opt for the latter. Do build a nice bommie of rock, and consider adding another Lysmata or two of the same species. They are social and will want to hang together in the nicer digs. Bob Fenner>

Cowfish Cleaner shrimp questions, comp. in large sys.      7/28/13
Hi Crew,
My system is a 500g soft coral and LPS tank with about 20-25 small reef safe fish. I added a cowfish to the mix almost 6 months ago and absolutely love his personality.
<Neat animals>
He must be around 2.5-3 inches long with horns and tail. So far he hasn't bothered anything. Two days ago I decided to get
some skunk cleaner shrimps (body length 2 to 3 inches without the antennae) and completely overlooked the fact that I had a cowfish in my tank. After 2 hrs of acclimation I released the shrimp into the tank. As they were sliding down the front glass, the cowfish immediately went straight for them as he does for just about anything I drop in the tank. He looked at them
curiously wondering what they were and then came back to the top of the tank begging for food again. The shrimp were out for a few hrs on the first day and I did not see the cow bother them. They are larger than he is.
<Interesting; fishes sometimes recognize cleaners and don't consume them...>
My questions:
1) the shrimps have disappeared after day 1, I have not seen them since (day 3 now), except for one full body molt floating around. Is this normal?
I thought they were quite sociable from all the reading I did before.
Should I be worried yet?
2) do you think the cow poses a threat to them?
<Oh yes>
they are much larger than he is but that may change in time.
<Oh; it will. A Lactoria cornuta will grow to more than a foot in this setting; and consume all shrimps>
 have cleaners been kept successfully with cows before?
<Don't know>
I feed my fish chopped shrimp time to time, should I stop doing this?
<I wouldn't stop>
Many thanks
<As many welcomes. Bob Fenner>

best mail order place... SW lvstk., mixing Halichoeres and clnr shrimp    2/10/11
Hello Crew!
I am looking for a good mail order place to buy fish.... I have tried my local fish stores, but when I request certain fish, they just don't come in. I am not asking a lot... looking for Auriga Butterfly, Four Line Wrasse, Canary Wrasse Blackcap Basslet etc... I just feel they talk a good game like they know everything in the world about fish and supplies and seem like they talk down to me.. Like saying you just can't keep a Flag Fin Angel, they are just too hard.... Which I find humorous, because I have kept one before for years...
<Is not an easily kept species...>
anyway, back to the question....(leaves this spot open for a sarcastic comment :)) I know about Live Aquaria, Blue Zoo, Saltwater fish..... Have you ever dealt with or heard of people buying from Marine Garden out of Florida...
<I have not... don't even see such on the Net!>
they seem to have good prices on some fish. Are you able to lend some info to me or am I stuck going to the fish store that is overpriced and stuck buying damsels (which I won't if you know what I mean) and Clownfish and Yellow Tangs.... Every shipment they get in is the same thing every other week... Grr... thank you for your time... again and again and well, again :)
<Mmm, I'd "cast your net" out a bit further... Ask this sort of question on the larger bb's>
One final note.... Canary Wrasse, Radiant Wrasse, Christmas Wrasse and Cleaner Shrimp success stories... Do you know of stories where they have all coexisted together?
<Mmm... Halichoeres spp. I've seen together... but think Shrimp would be meals at times with them>
Cleaners in first and the wrasses introduced all at the same time... or just the Cleaners and one type of wrasse??? I guess I must say thank you again and in this case mention that you are levels and levels ahead of local LFS knowledge... hummm maybe that was not as much of a compliment comparing you to my stores :):):) but Thank you very much..
<Welcome. Bob Fenner, who would "plug" Dr.s Foster & Smith (LiveAquaria.com) in general>

Shrimp And Goby/Blenny/Compatibility 2/15/10
Hi, James (salty dog)...
<Hello Jordan>
Anyways I have 2 questions, 1st can a skunk cleaner and a Coral Banded Shrimp live peacefully in a 37 gallon FOWLR?
<No, your cleaner shrimp will be at risk.>
(at my LFS I've seen a gold coral banded shrimp and a skunk cleaner live together in a tiny tank, but the gold CBS in that tank was much much smaller than mine.) and my 2nd question is whether a Bi-Color Blenny and Diamond Goby can peacefully in that same 37 gallon?
<Your size tank will not support a Diamond Goby long term. The Diamond Goby requires a larger system (50+ gallons) with an active live sand bed to supplement prepared offerings of food. You may want to read the FAQ's here on Valenciennea/Sleeper, Sifter Goby systems.
thanks for your insight.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Puffers and Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, comp... as food    1/23/10
Hello All,
Quick question for you guys/gals. In a 100 gallon tank can Puffers of any variety (tank size appropriate of course) be kept in the same tank with a Skunk Cleaner Shrimp with out fear of it being eaten?
<Not really, no. Shrimps = pufferfish food. Kind of like grass and sheep, gazelles and lions, or ramen noodles and teenagers. One eats the other.>
Maybe if it has plenty of crabs and snails that it could eat it would be ok?
<Good luck on that... you'd be adding crabs daily to keep up with the average Arothron appetite.>
Puffers are my great love however I worry that my Cleaner Shrimp will meet his end. Your thoughts are trusted and respected greatly.
Thank you,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Brown Serpent Starfish ate Cleaner Shrimp -- 11/17/2009
Hi, I've been reading your site for awhile now and I'm fascinated by all the information. I browsed through and searched but couldn't find the answer to my query.
<Lets see if we can't help!>
I came home from work yesterday to find my brown serpent starfish eating one of my cleaner shrimp. The shrimp was still alive and I tried to stop it but it wrapped it up in its arms and almost inhaled it.
<Yes, is always a possibility with these scavengers.>
I have a 38 gallon tank with a 3" regal tang and a 3" Foxface fish. I'm already working on a bigger tank for these 2 as I know they will outgrow this tank quickly.
<Indeed -- I'll spare you the typical rundown here then :)>
Anyways, I had 1 cleaner shrimp, 1 camel shrimp, 1 emerald crab and various hermit crabs with the sea star for 4-5 months now and never had any problems. Then this week I added the 2nd cleaner shrimp. Do you think maybe
this shrimp was already sick or dying and the starfish took advantage or should I be worried about my other shrimp and crabs at this point?
<I would be worried about anything the star could potentially wrap up and consume, yes.>
My P.H. is 8.3, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 0. Should I start target feeding the starfish or take him back to the LFS?
<Target feeding may help some, but will not provide a guarantee that it won't happen later... Best bet would likely be a return, in my humble opinion.>
Thanks for any help you can provide.
Jeff Smith
<Glad to provide it! -JustinN>

Cleaner Shrimp Disappearance 6/1/09
I've been reading several of your articles and cannot quite get my answer.
I've had a 120G tank for 3 years. It has
-pair of Clarkii Clowns
-a couple of Green Chromis
-2 Yellow Tail Damsels, 1 Sergeant Damsel, and 1 other damsel (don't know name but it's white with yellow along the top, and blue petorial <pectoral> fins)
- 1 each, Purple Tang, Yellow Tang, Kole Tang, and Vlamir Tang
<Yikes, all those tangs in a 120, problems ahead my friend.>
-1 Flame Angel
-1 Six Line Wrasse
-1 Molly Miller Blenny
I used to also have 2 cleaner shrimps. For a long time they kept reproducing and my soft corals looked great. Then one disappeared, then a month later the other. No dead bodies- I searched and moved rocks, looked on the floor, just in case.
I just bought another cleaner shrimp and he's gone already. I was wondering, since my current fish have grown, could their diet change to include shrimps?
<The fish you have should be compatible with cleaner shrimp. Is possible the shrimp were not getting enough food to survive.>
I didn't realize how large my fish have gotten over the years, and how small fish and shrimps are at the store. The tangs and Flame Angel used to be 'cleaned' here and there, and no fish showed aggression towards then (that I know of). I really liked my shrimps feeding the corals.
Also, this time, a yellow tailed damsel is tending to eggs. The shrimp did wonder <wander> close to her, and I shooed it away. The damsel kept picking at it. I don't know if this was the problem this time.
<Likely, damsels are very defensive when tending to eggs.>
While I'm asking you questions, do damsels raise young,
<No.><<Actually, one species is known to. RMF>>
or do I need to add a special food to feed them? I have DT's and phytoplankton, and my LFS now carries copepods. Or is it even worth trying to raise fry.
<Copepods are too large for a first food, and trying to raise the fry in a community tank would be fruitless as the newly hatched fry will be quickly consumed.>
Thanks for any info, especially about the cleaners. I enjoyed having my ams <arms> cleaned, and them getting in my way every time I cleaned the glass and rocks.. I would like to replace them.
<Do read/learn more about cleaner shrimp here, Robin.
In future queries, please capitalize names of fish, saves me much time if I do not have to do it for you.
James (Salty Dog)>

Re: Cleaner Shrimp Attacked  06/03/09
Thank you Josh. So far, the other shrimp has not been attacked, but it has not ventured out of it's cave as of yet. I'll monitor them closely and try to intervene if and when anything happens again. Luckily we have two tanks to do some relocation when and if necessary.
<Excellent, that is good news.
Josh Solomon>

Lemon Peel Angel eating decorative shrimp 5/28/2009
Good afternoon WWM crew,
<Josh here.>
I was wondering if it was unusual for a lemon peel angel to kill a cleaner shrimp?
<Not necessarily normal behavior, but not unbelievable either. Each fish has it's own personality.>
My wife and I had just observed one of our cleaner shrimp with a clutch of eggs when our recently added lemon peel attacked it by eating its' eyes off, then returning later nonchalantly and eating the eggs. It was very disappointing watching this as we were happy to see our cleaners were doing so good. The lemon peel has been vigorously grazing on all the LR algae growth in the last three days since he was introduced and has ignored the daily feedings of frozen mysis and copepods.
<This fish likely should have been acclimated to prepared food prior to addition to the display tank. He is likely hungry and more comfortable with a live shrimp than with prepared foods. Give him time, and patiently offer him prepared foods.>
We are afraid he's going to do the same to the remaining cleaner which is in hiding right now as it has just molted.
<Quite possible, or even likely based on the behavior you just observed.>
Was this killing done to feed on the eggs only?
<It is possible, I hope so.>
Please help,
<Good Luck Tom.
Josh Solomon>

Banggai Cardinal Fish Comp. with Lysmata 12/17/08 Hello All, <Mike.> Long time reader, first time questioner. <Welcome to WWM!> I have a Banggai Cardinal in a 90Gal reef tank. I've had him for 4yrs and he is doing well. Recently, I've added 3 skunk cleaner shrimp to the tank. Over the past 2 weeks, the numbers have seemed to dwindle. Today, when I went to do a water change, I noticed the long white antennae sticking out of the mouth of the Cardinal. From what I've read on other websites, the Banggai should be reef safe. <They are.> What has been your experience on Cardinal fish kept with cleaner shrimp? <No issues, the fish was likely taking advantage of a free meal, either a dead shrimp or possibly even cleaning up after a shrimp molt.> BR, Mike Becker <Scott V.>

BTA/Cleaner Shrimp symb. Question 4/13/08 Good morning WWM crew, <Hi Mike, Mike I with you today> I have been going through the FAQs and various articles on your site looking for something that might help me figure out what's going on here, but haven't come across anything regarding this situation, so I'm hoping you might be able to enlighten me. <We'll try!> I recently (2 weeks ago) added a L. amboinensis to my 36 gallon mixed reef tank. Within a day of putting the shrimp in the tank it took up residence in my BTA which has been in the tank for 3 months now. <OK> The shrimp stays in the anemone (right in the middle of the disc) for the whole time my lights are on and retreats into the live rock once the lights go off. Needless to say, my fish are rather hesitant with regard to trying to take advantage of his cleaning services in that location. <I'm not surprised!> I haven't seen or read anything that would have lead me to believe that this shrimp would choose to make an anemone his home. <Not *ordinarily*, but i have known this to happen in a few other examples> I've been through some trials and tribulations with my BTA for the 1st two months and I'm happy to say, it's looking like I've finally turned the corner during the last month and have a happy anemone. (I know a month isn't very long, just an observation of noticeable improvements based on what I've read and learned.) <Good to hear, and long may it last!? So here are my questions.... 1. Is this shrimp in danger of being eaten by the anemone? <Very possibly, but BTAs aren't that voracious an anemone, so it's likely the shrimp would be able to make a get away under good circumstances. A twist of fate may change that though> 2. Is there any way you might suggest to get the shrimp to relocate? <Have always found shrimp to be creatures of habit, and stubborn when you need them not to be. BUT, I would suggest that you start target feeding this shrimp a little more than usual, and always present the food in the same place (away from the anemone) - it may well make the association and being greedy blighters that they are, it may well decide to move> 3. Is there a possibility that the shrimp could harm or stress out the anemone? <Again, possibly - particularly at meal times. If the animal starts stealing food form the anemone then there's an obvious detrimental effect. If it starts doing it during ingestion, then the shrimp could irritate the anemone to the extent it stresses. Combat this by feeding the shrimp first, then the anemone. The anemone may move it feels stressed or irritated, and i would let that be my cue to perhaps think in more detail about allowing this relationship to remain> Any thoughts or ideas you may be able to share would be greatly appreciated. Mike  <Hopefully give, and good luck! But come back to us with any other queries you may have. Regards, Mike I>

Yellow Tang And Cleaner Shrimp 3/7/08 Just one quick question...Why is my Yellow Tang picking the feelers of my cleaner shrimp down to the nubs? Bored, something to graze on...is it needing something nutritionally? <Is probably wanting to be cleaned, may have a parasitical disease.> Water parameters are good... nitrates 0, Nitrites 0.0 Ammonia 0.0 pH 8.3-8.4 maintenance once every 5-6 days, 10% H2O change. I bought 2 shrimps at the same time...now they look pitiful.. Oh, the quilt! I have LR coming, but will not be cured for several weeks I am hoping the tang will have other distractions and leave the shrimp alone... geeze now the tang is leaning along side like he'd like to be cleaned...the shrimp is not interested...not that I blame him! Any info would be so appreciated! <I'd keep a close eye on the tang, may very well need to be moved to a quarantine tank and treated.> Thanks, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Kathy

Cleaner shrimp and anemone.  1/8/08 <<Hello, Andrew here>> I have a long tentacle anemone and a cleaner shrimp that is purposely touching it and climbing on it in some cases. It appears that the anemone doesn't like it because he shrinks in that area. It looks like the shrimp is then scraping the nematocysts (stinging cells) off of his forward limbs and eating them. I have never seen this, the anemone seems to be doing okay except he has not yet settled in one spot. Do you think there is cause for concern? <<Had a similar experience, nothing to be concerned about>> Thanks, Nick <<Thanks for the questions, A Nixon>>

Pajama Cardinal and Cleaner Shrimp'¦ Not In a 12 Gallon Tank.   9/2/07 Hello, <Hi Amanda, Mich here.> I have a 12g with only one fire fish in it right now, <And overstocked at that. Even this fish should be in a bigger tank!> and am looking to add a pajama cardinal <No, you shouldn't. There is not enough room.> and a cleaner shrimp (due to a recent ich outbreak that killed off my Chromis and my false perc. clown fish). <This would be a fine addition.> However, I have read that cardinals tend to eat shrimp. <Can.> I have also read that cleaner shrimp services are valuable to fish and many won't eat them. <Most times.> Is the cardinal one of these or should I a different fish? <You should not add any more fish to this system. It is too tiny for nearly all fish with the possible exception of a Cleaner Goby (Gobiosoma spp.). Thanks in advance! <Welcome, Mich> -Amanda

Question about Ornate Wrasse and cleaner shrimp    8/26/07 I have heard so many different stories about how the Ornate Wrasse and cleaner shrimp either get along or don't. I have just added 2 skunk cleaner shrimp to my 90g tank after being in their own quarantine for 3 weeks. The other fish that I have are all still in quarantine and all are peaceful fish that I KNOW won't attack cleaner shrimp. Now, I purchased the Ornate wrasse a bit ago and he's been in quarantine with the others and is getting along great. But I've heard from my own LFS that they either are fine with cleaners or might "sample" them. <This is a valid statement... re the genus Halichoeres and Lysmata (and even some Stenopids) in general> Is there a real authoritative take on this? <Mmm, well... would you define "authoritative"? These species are found within the same geographical range... in Hawai'i for instance... and generally do "get along"... but if the labrid is large/r, hungry... it might go after an impugned shrimp... particularly one that is undergoing ecdysis/molting> I would assume not simply because the information I've found everywhere has pretty much said it's a toss-up. As always, you guys give me the best info so I'm coming for help yet again! <I'd toss more toward the end of them getting along... particularly if there's room, decor to hide amongst, good feeding/maintenance> Also, if there really is an "authoritative" view on this and the wrasse will eat my shrimp if not fed well, is there a preventative measure for this or something I could feed the wrasse to take his mind off the shrimp? <This latter> I would assume he'd only go after the shrimp if he was a very hungry fish at the time, but again -- I bring the questions to you guys. Thanks a ton -- you've made my relatively short venture into the hobby a much easier time than I would have ever had otherwise. - Jonathan <Don't hold too long or dear for absolutes in this very relative universe Jon... You'll only waste time and make yourself unhappy. Bob Fenner> Cleaner Shrimp killing my fish? Crypt, lack of reading, understanding...    7/2/07 Hello All, This is quite distressing. I've recently had a rash of fish dying after they've been in contact with my cleaner shrimp. First was my Coral Beauty. It had what looked like Ich parasites all over its body, and seemed very happy to see the addition of my a Cleaner Shrimp. <Mmm, what species?> The shrimp set up shop and began to pick at the Coral Beauty. I also had a Lawnmower Blenny who didn't show any signs of infection <Infestation... and the condition was/is likely just sub-symptomatic> that the Cleaner Shrimp liked to pick at as well. The shrimp would like to dig up into the blenny's gills. I also have a Clownfish that the cleaner can't seem to get it's hands on, and it's the only one that is still alive. First the Coral Beauty went, it was swimming straight up and down, and by the time I got back from my LFS with a QT setup, it had stopped breathing. Two days later, I got home in time to see the Blenny breathe its last breath. Freaked out, I put the clown in the QT and dosed the water <... Not a quarantine tank... is a Treatment tank... and what did you dose this with?> to prevent any infection (it's not showing any signs of anything). I took the Blenny and some water to the LFS to get checked out. Needless to say, my water quality <What? if perfect and the Blenny is going under the scope tomorrow. <How was this fish preserved?> Long story short, could my cleaner shrimp be doing something that is causing my fish to die? <Possibly...> I won't know until tomorrow if the Blenny had any kind of infection, but it just seems odd that the fish that were "serviced" by the shrimp wound up dead. I appreciate any help or advice you can give me. Thanks a lot, Zach Kemp <... likely these deaths are unrelated to the shrimps presence, activity... You can read on WWM re their Compatibility, use... and Cryptocaryon... which I'm assuming is what you're dealing with here. Learn to/use the indices, search tool. Bob Fenner>

Re: Cleaner Shrimp killing my fish? -- 07/03/07 Thanks Bob for the quick reply. The blenny I took to the LFS was in a bag with tank water, and I suppose they refrigerated it overnight. I added a UV sterilizer to my arsenal of battling this infection. Also overnight, my clownfish because really lethargic, and I noticed a stringy substance hanging from its pectoral fins. <Mmm, can you send along a well-resolved close-up pic?> Immediately after I noticed this, I took it out of the tank, and put it into my hospital tank. I called the LFS and they informed me that the blenny died of a bacterial infection, likely the reason the Coral Beauty died and why my clown is now sick. They gave me some of their proprietary meds called Furazone-Green (methylene blue, Nitrofurazone [monofuracin], and Furazolidone) and Neomycin (Neomycin Sulfate). They also advised me to soak its food in garlic. At one point I noticed the clown struggling to breathe so I gave it a pH buffered fresh dip and it has been responding very well. It still is laying low on the tank, but its breathing seems less labored and the stringy substance appears to be gone. I've learned my lesson and will not be putting my clown back in the main tank for at least 2-3 weeks while the sterilizer zaps the bacteria, and it gets back into good shape. And, I will definitely utilize a Quarantine tank for all future additions. A little over two months into the hobby, and many lessons learned. Thanks again for your advice and quick response. Regards, Zach Kemp <I do hope your efforts pay off. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Cleaner Shrimp killing my fish? -- 7/3/07 Hey Bob, Well, I guess I don't need to worry about saving my clown as it has died. It made it through the night, but took its last breath this morning. I have attached some pictures, <RMF decision not to post... not of use>  but they aren't very good (my camera isn't the greatest). What you can see is the paleness of the coloring, and the erosion of its fins. Now all I have left are my inverts. I suspect Brooklynella, but I am by no means an expert. <Hard to discern... need microscopic examination> Upon a close inspection, I noticed little holes around the clown's eye socket and on the top of its head. I assume those aren't supposed to be there, but I've never inspected a dead fish up close like that. Probably because I've never had an infection in my fresh tanks before. This being my first salt tank, and the cost of the hobby, I'm a little more into the details. Thanks for the replies, I'm sure I will need you in the future when I decide to repopulate my tank again. <The holes may be totally unrelated... Bob Fenner>

Small SW... Incompatible shrimp jamming  -- 06/14/07 Dear Crew, <Catherine> I have had an established reef tank: 29gallon BioCube with 3 small fish, many invertebrates and lots of coral. I do weekly partial water changes (6 gallons) I have had lots of shrimps. At one point I had 2 skunk cleaner shrimps (1 inch), 2 fire/blood shrimps (1 inch), 1 coral banded shrimp (3/4 inch). <Wow... these are tiny> A month ago I added 2 peppermint shrimps (3/4 inch) <These are not mix-able... esp. in such a small volume> to the tank and they were fine for 3 days, the next day the two peppermint shrimps had gone and so had one fire shrimp. <... Was it/this the Stenopid? Mmmmm> I waited for 3 days to see if anything reappeared but nothing reappeared. I went and brought another fire shrimp and got replacements for my peppermint shrimps. <Food> Once again they lasted a few day then vanished without a trace along with one skunk cleaner shrimp. I left it for 3 weeks then I bought a new cleaner shrimp and a Harlequin shrimp <A Gnathophyllid? You do know re their limited food preferences?> to add only the cleaner shrimp died in transport. I added the harlequin and the next day my two fire shrimps appeared to be gone with my harlequin. The harlequin has reappeared only the fire shrimp haven't and it has been 4 days. They were always in the front of my tank and always came for food. Now I have a small coral banded shrimp, a medium skunk cleaner shrimp and a harlequin shrimp. Do you know what could be causing all these deaths? <Yes my friend... and you would too had you searched... the CBS. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marind5_5.htm Scroll down to Crustaceans, Shrimps... read re their Systems, Compatibility... Bob Fenner> Thank you, Catherine T, NY

Cleaner Shrimp Killer...Those Tangs Are NOT 'Reef Safe' Fishes After All! -- 05/21/07 Hey!!!! <<Hi Linda!>> I've been wondering why I have not been able to keep cleaner shrimp. <<Oh?>> Well - now I know....I'm not believing this, but my Blue Hippo Tang (He's about 4" long) is a bad boy! <<Ahh...not a surprise really>> I never dreamed he is the cleaner shrimp culprit!  I am so mad...I had bought a beautiful and very large cleaner shrimp to add to the tank but this time kept an eye out on it for awhile to make sure he was doing ok in the tank and noticed right off the bat my Blue Hippo Tang was really interested in it. <<Cue 'Jaws' theme music>> I kept thinking that he was just excited and was nudging the shrimp for a cleaning. <<A reasonable conclusion>> I thought it was cute...walked out for an hour and came back in and the shrimp was in half! <<Yikes!>> Just thought I would share this surprise....guess I won't be able to put shrimp in this tank. <<Tangs are far from being 'reef safe' fishes.  Aside from ornamental crustaceans, I have known tangs to go after clams and stony corals...and have seen them pluck the occasional Acropora polyp as well...though these incidents are often related to lack of adequate feeding/nutrition.  I'm not saying this is the case in your situation.  There are some individuals/species more prone to what we as aquarist may deem unacceptable 'reef' behavior with Paracanthurus hepatus being among those, in my opinion...especially as they mature/get large>> Hope all is well...Linda in GA <<Mmm, suffered some tragedy with my own system this past weekend.  But otherwise, yes...am doing well.  Regards, EricR>>

Whose eating the feelers? <Cleaner Shrimp comp.>-- 4/2/07 Hello!,    My name is Kathy Swiger, originally born in Hawaii (Tripler, too) but am a native.   <Hi Kathy.  Alex here, originally from Canada, now in Alabama.> I live in Kansas now, (please no jokes about Dorothy or Toto, okay maybe a few)  :) I've been reading your website for several weeks now.  Thank you, Thank you! <You are very welcome.> Anyway, have had tanks in my life for as long as I can remember. My father is a great enthusiast of fresh water, it's where I got my passion. Almost twenty years ago I set up my saltwater tank (FO), started with damsels and went more difficult. My local pet store was going out of business, so the owner offered me a 55 gallon extra long and a powder blue tang for an exceptional price.  I have two powerheads at either end and two bio-wheel systems (Emperor 280s) and a protein skimmer, crushed coral for the substrate, about 50lbs of rock, very basic lighting ( 2 - 15 watt GE freshwater/saltwater bulbs).  My powder blue (we called him Capt. Jack) lived for about 12 years and then, alas, passed on.  He had a cleaner wrasse for quite a few years, then I lost him, tried to replace several times with no success, kinda gave up on them (then when I read your web site, I know I will not buy another, will boycott). I had a tomato clown, yellow tailed damsels(3), and a Huma Huma (since passed on).  After the loss of the powder blue, I was bummed and kinda let the tank go for awhile (like a year!) doing just bare minimum and I am ashamed to say, neglected my tank.  Since the beginning of the year my enthusiasm has returned,  I've done a major water change, purchased new fish ( I really like going to LiveAquaria.com. My success rate is great, even though shipping is a little harsh, but worth it.) <Thanks for that info.>   I have added a Regal tang, a yellow tang, <These tangs are going to need a lot more space, especially the Regal.  Read here re Paracanthurus tang system requirements: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/paracsysfaqs.htm > a royal Gramma, a coral beauty, and blue neon goby to my tomato clown and yellowtailed damsel.  All doing great (for about a month now).   <What about your water parameters?  After a month with several new fish, you could have some water quality issues.  You need to be testing and sharing ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, salinity, pH, etc.  What about water change schedules?> Have added a cleaner shrimp, he's okay, but here's my question (finally)'¦ Whose been eating the cleaner shrimp's feelers? <antennae.> They are down to nubs!  I have had him for about 3 weeks,  the first time I noticed it was about the first week, (they "grew" back almost over night).  Is that normal to grow so fast? Was I just seeing things?, or were they tucked in somewhere? (okay that's two questions) <If the antennae reappeared, he must have molted.  They only come back after a molt.  The molted shell may have been eaten by others before you noticed it.> It has happened again, this morning, turned on the tank lights...no feelers! Down to about 1/2 inch!   <Broken antennae can be a result of low iodine.  But don't go adding iodine without testing the level first.> He has been cleaning everyone, even now he cleans, eats good (hasn't molted yet, kind of concerned just a little).   <Slow molting can also be a sign of low iodine, but since he probably did already molt once, this may be fine.> I have observed my yellow tang kind of picking, he seems to be a bully... <They are often bullies.> Or my Royal Gramma ( I read in one of your articles, something about a royal Gramma picking at the feelers), or is it the yellowtailed damsel he's sorta beasty, but then my regal looks suspect, too. <It is unusual for them to pick on a helpful cleaner.  But if you are seeing bullying, it is likely so.  You will have to watch from a distance to try to catch them in the act.  The tangs especially are probably bored in the confined space.  With both antennae disappearing at the same time, that does indicate picking as opposed to weakness. Do read here about the potential iodine issues, although it does sound more like aggression'¦ http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shrimpdisfaqs.htm . The cleaner shrimp are nice in pairs.  They will breed (free fish food) and give each other moral support, or at least twice as many antennae to confuse the fish.  It does sound like a full tank with the fish you have.  Declining water quality could be causing fish stress.  If you want to keep the Regal tang, it is time to think about a larger tank. >   I can't seem to catch the culprit in the act...(I've spent so much time with my new "babies" my husband swears he's neglected, imagine being jealous of a fish tank (eyeball roll), tee hee). <Can relate'¦> I feel I have read everything you have, but I know I haven't, any more info would be most appreciated. I've been with you for about a month reading, reading, and reading so if I'm a little forward it's because I feel I know you guys. <It happens quickly'¦> I know I said a question, then it turned into two, so let's go for three...When will I be able to register to log on the your chat forum? <This one I don't know.  I see registration is unavailable.  I will confirm that someone is looking into this.> I wanna yap with other marine lovers. :) Thanks for all you do! ~Kathy Swiger, Wamego, KS <We hope to help.  Thanks! Alex>

Coris vs. Shrimp... I'll take the wrasse...  4/1/07 Hi crew, <Jana.> I'm sorry if this has been asked before. I have two skunk cleaner shrimps in my reef tank and am thinking of adding a Coris gaimard. Do you think that is okay or will the wrasse have the shrimps for a snack. <It is surely a risk. The Coris gets plenty big enough to make an easy snack of the Lysmata and most invertebrate life for that matter. I have heard of instances where pre-established Lysmata have been able to co-exist with rough and tumble predators because the predators makes use of their janitorial behavior.  In most cases, however; though (those in captivity) the shrimps will likely be consumed. Again I reiterate it is a risk....a large risk which increases as the wrasse gets larger. The one thing to keep in mind is that their are NO guarantees and there are SOME exceptions. However I always say the same thing when it comes to exceptions; some people jump off a 20 story building and live...but that doesn't mean it's a good idea though.> thanks for all you good advise, regards, Jana <Adam J.>

Cleaner Shrimp with a Coral Banded Shrimp in a 45-gallon?  Mmm, No.   03/23/07 <Hello, Mich here> Can I put a cleaner shrimp with a coral banded shrimp together in 45-gallon tank or will they attack each other and ill end up with no shrimp at all. <Likely the case.> I know that I could put two cleaner shrimp together. <Yes, without a problem, as long as the tank is fed regularly.> Please help. <Coral Banded Shrimp (Stenopus hispidus) are quite aggressive, especially toward other shrimp.  I think placing Cleaner Shrimp or any Lysmata sp. with the Coral Banded in a tank this small would be a mistake.  -Mich>

Thor amboinensis, comp.   -- 03/15/07 Hello Bob, I was wondering if you think it would be worth a shot trying to keep a  few Thor amboinensis with a Euphyllia glabrescens in my  90 gallon reef. Would the coral benefit from the shrimp? Are any "critters" I  can or should add to the tank that will benefit the other animals? <Too likely that some of the fishes listed below would consume them. BobF> My tank inhabitants are: 1 Zebrasoma Flavescens 1 Pseudocheilinus hexataenia 1 Cirrhilabrus solorensis 1 Synchiropus splendidus 1 Amphiprion percula 8 Chromis viridis 1 Pterapogon kauderni 1 Centropyge bispinosus 3 Stonogobiops yashia 1 Pseudanthias ventralis Inverts: 3 Lysmata amboinensis 3 Sabellastarte sp. 11 Sabella species 2 Sabellastarte magnifica 3 Tridacna Crocea 7 Clibanarius sp. (red tip hermits) 7 Nassarius sp. 5 Astraea tecta 11 Trochus sp. 18 Nerita sp. Coral: 2 Caulastrea furcata 1 Caulastrea curvata 1 Euphyllia glabrescens 1 Briareum sp. 1 Xenia sp. 1 Cespitularia sp. 1 Cladiella sp. 2 Sinularia sp 2 Acropora (bushy Acropora) Thank you again for your time, Brian

Sudden N. decora death   3/7/07 Dear WWM Crew, <Hello Brandon today.> As always, thanks for all of your help along the way. <Thank you for your kind words.> We have a 72G reef tank with about 80 lbs. of LR.  Our water parameters are (Temp=77deg F, Sg=1.025, pH=8.3, Ca=380ppm, Mg=1290ppm, dKH=6.75, Ammonia & Nitrite=0ppm, NO3= 5ppm).  The tank was set up and cycled last May.    <Cool.> For about the last six months our live stock has consisted of a pair of clowns (A. ocellaris), a purple firefish (N. decora), a fat mandarin (S. splendidus), and a school of 9 Chromis viridis.  Various corals, a tube worm (Protula magnifica) 2 turbo snails and some blue legged hermit crabs. In addition to this we have 3 peppermint shrimp (L. wurdemanni) & one big, beautiful fire shrimp (L. debelius). On February 17th, 2007 we added another fire shrimp (L. debelius) and a pair of cleaner shrimp (L. amboinensis).  Everything seemed great for the last two weeks or so, until this last Sunday morning (the 4th). Our purple firefish, which had looked fine & had eaten heartily Saturday night, showed up Sunday morning looking very roughed up.  There were two whitish abrasions on its left side, its left swimming fin, dorsal and ventral fins as well as its tail were damaged. <Sounds like fighting.  Or a close escape.>  It died Sunday night and was subsequently eaten by the fire shrimp. <Mmmm.  Sorry to hear that.> This fish had an excellent home inside a small cave (see attached photos) that it had lived in since last August. What could have happened?!?!  None of our research, including your excellent site, indicated that any of our shrimp types attacked and ate healthy fish. Could a disease have done this?  All of the rest of the fish look fine and are eating well and the corals look great. <It is possible that it and the clowns could have been fighting.  More likely than that you could have a predatory creature in your tank that you have not seen.  Try feeding the tank after dark, and watching with a flashlight to see what comes out.  This is what I would do.  I have not heard of a disease that manifests that quickly.  There is even a possibility that the shrimp that you have are at fault.  There is no such thing as a truly safe shrimp.> We are broken hearted over this loss and need to know, if possible, what killed this sweet little fish (our favorite, actually).  Any help would be greatly appreciated. <To be honest, I am not 100% sure.  Bob?  Mich?  Any ideas?> <<Mmm, I do think the Debelius' shrimp was involved here. RMF>> Thanks so much!
<You are welcome, Brandon>
Jan & Ellen

Re: Sudden N. decora death   3/8/07 Dear WWM Crew/Brandon, <Hello Brandon again.> Thanks so much for your reply. <You are welcome.  I do my best.> As a follow up, the only creatures that we have observed of any size that have "hitchhiked" into our tank are some bristle worms.  <I was thinking that if you fed the tank after dark, you might see a Mantis Shrimp.  Did you try this?>  Some of these are quite large, about 2 inches in length and only seem to be in the same area that our firefish inhabited.  <Even at this size, I would not worry about them.  They will generally only go after dead creatures.>  We have not added any LR since setting up the tank in May 2006 so the killer, if a hitchhiker, has been in the tank all along. Could these worms have had anything to do with this? <Please see above.> Right now, all suspicion is falling on the new fire shrimp which was seen feasting the firefish. <It is a possibility.  If you will check out http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clrshrpcompfaqs.htm.  You will see where Bob has posted that he believes that the L. debelius was at fault here.> We are afraid to add anything to our tank with an unidentified killer on the loose! <I would look to the L. debelius.  You could move him to another tank, take him back to the store, or not keep small fishes with him.> Thanks again for all of your help, <Any time,  Brandon.>
Jan & Ellen

Shrimp Stocking Density, English Corrections.....   3/4/07 can <Can> i <I> put two cleaner  shrimps in a 45 gallon tank  with lots of  live rocks and crevices to go in. <?> <Assuming your aquarium meets the necessary needs of invertebrates/crustaceans then a density of two in this size tank should not be a problem. Please see Wetwebmedia for the specific care of these crustaceans.> along <Along> with a false  clownfish  and a yellow tang bright and healthy eats great! <Long term the tang/surgeon will be to large for this size tank but as far as compatibility, it should not be an issue.> please <Please>  help <,>  thank you. <Welcome, Adam J.>

Shrimp Stocking Density, Tank Stocking Issues... Mich's go...    3/4/07 <Greetings!  Mich here.> I have a 45-gallon tank with a false clown fish (Amphiprion ocellaris) and a yellow tang (Zebrasoma flavescens) bright yellow and healthy name Bubbles.  I was wondering could I get a cleaner shrimp? <Is the cleaner shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis) compatible and appropriate for your system?  Yes.  Unfortunately, Bubbles should be in a much bigger home, 75 gallons at a minimum, preferable larger.  I hope you're considering upgrading to a larger tank sometime soon.  -Mich>

Cleaner Shrimp Compatibility   12/29/06 Dear WWM Crew, <Hello> I appreciate your web site, loads of excellent information.  I think I already know the answer to my question but need confirmation from you. <Ok>  I have a 125g tank with plenty of live rock, the live stock consists of 1 bi-color Angel, 1 Imperator Angel Juvenile, 1 flame hawk, 1 blue tang, 1 neon Pseudochromis , 3 yellow tangs, 1 yellow tail damsel and a small clown. <A lot> I plan to upgrade to a bigger tank when this one gets too small.  <Soon I hope, already too small for all those tangs.>   Having plenty of rock in the tank, do you suppose a (Skunk) cleaner shrimp will be compatible? <The Hawk will probably be a problem for the shrimp at some point, I would skip the shrimp.> Thanks in advance, Steve <Chris>

New Tank Mates and a Dead Cleaner Shrimp... Coincidence?   12/21/06 Hey guys, <Hi there, Mich with you today.> First of all, thanks for putting up this great site.   <Welcome!  Glad you find it valuable.> It has helped a lot of people including me. <This is good to hear.> Yesterday I introduced a copperband butterfly and a lunare wrasse in my tank and this morning I could not find my cleaner shrimp, I searched everywhere and found him dead. <Uh oh!> Could it be that one of the new fish ate him, or could it be that both of them ate it. <Yep.> I really need to know. <Yes, unfortunately it is certainly possible that one of your fish took out your shrimp.  Many possible causes ranging from aggression to hunger to defensive behavior.  I would tend to suspect the Lunare Wrasse (Thalassoma lunare) as the more likely culprit.  They can be highly predatory.  Sorry for your loss.>   Thanks guys. <You're welcome.  -Mich>

Lysmata amboinensis comp., sys.  11/16/06 Hi WWM crew <Hello, Michelle here>   Can I have 2 Lysmata amboinensis in a 30 gallon tank with ample live rock and hiding places?  <Should be ok provided they are well fed.  If they get hungry enough they will eat one another.>  I have one Lysmata amboinensis in the 30 gallon tank right now.  Would it have to be bigger or smaller or could it be the same size?  <Same size would be most ideal>  Would this work?   Thanks a million! <Welcome>

Without a Trace - 11/02/06 Hello Crew! <<Hi Carol!>> Just one quick question.  I know it is Halloween but I can't figure out what happened to my Cleaner Shrimp. <<Uh-oh>> He has been a resident for 4 months (replacing the previous one who died after nearly 2 years).  He has disappeared without a trace!!! <<As sometimes happens...>> My inhabitants are a Majestic Angel, Purple Tang & 2 clowns.  Could one of them had a late night supper? <<Possible...though I doubt it...unless the shrimp was very small>> I really enjoyed my shrimp but hesitate to replace him until this mystery is solved.  Thanks for your advice. <<Will likely remain a mystery...  Perhaps the shrimp was already "old" when you bought it, perhaps you have inadvertently introduced another predator, perhaps the shrimp had a genetic abnormality that foreshortened its life, perhaps you medicated the tank, perhaps the rockwork shifted and trapped/crushed the shrimp, etc., etc...infinite possibilities.  But based on what you have posted, I see no reason not to try another shrimp>> Carol <<Regards, EricR>>

Re: Without a Trace - 11/02/06 Thank you, Eric, for your reply. <<Quite welcome Carol>> What worries me is I moved all the rock etc ...the shrimp just vanished. <<Honestly, this is not uncommon.  There are many micro- and macro-scavengers (bacteria, worms, crustaceans) that can scavenge a carcass very quickly>> He was a decent size (not small).  Also, I told you I had a Majestic Angel but he is an Emperor Angel.  Are they shrimp eaters? <<Not normally...sessile inverts/sponges are more to their liking>> Thanks so much for your advice. Carol <<Happy to assist, Eric Russell>>

Emerald crab and cleaner shrimp  - 09/01/06 Hello! <Hi Christy, MacL here today.>  Thank you for all of your help from the past, present and future! <You are so kind and we all appreciate it.> Three days ago I added an Emerald Crab to my 25 Gallon saltwater tank, 1.022 spg, ammonia 0, nitrite 0. I bought him to control my Bubble Algae. My current residents are a Scarlett Cleaner Shrimp, 2 Blue-Green Chromis, 9 Purple Mushrooms, 2 Red Leg Hermit Crabs, 8 Turbo Snails. Before I purchased the Emerald Crab, I researched and came to the conclusion that large Emerald Crabs could possibly pose a threat to small fish or crustaceans if it was hungry, but most likely a small Emerald Crab would do no damage to the other residents of my tank. <Unfortunately Christy, small ones grow to large ones and to be honest I have seen them cause problems at all sizes.>  I haven't seen any sign of aggression between the shrimp and crab. My shrimp molted last night, and I didn't notice his antennas being any different earlier today, I'm not sure if I just hadn't noticed or not, but now tonight.. I've noticed that all of his antennas are considerably shorter than before, except for one which is the same length. <It is definitely possible for something to have occurred during the molt which caused the antenna length to change.> I'm having a difficult time believing that my less than one inch Emerald Crab could have done that. I also can't find one of my Chromis anywhere! I'm now worried that I've got a little green goblin in my tank! My question is could anything have happened to my Shrimp's antennas other than the crab getting hold of him? While molting, could he have lost his antenna length?  <My philosophy on this is pretty simple, if things were good before I add some creature then I start having problems after I add them, then I usually take the new creature out.> On a different note.. I have a question about my shrimp's molting regularity. He molts almost every week the morning after a water change. Is it bad to molt so regularly?  <In my experience he's molting way too frequently. Are you adding supplements to the water like iodine?  That can cause them to molt more frequently.  There is a great section on molting in general in shrimp on site, I'd encourage you to take a look at it.  MacL>

Feeding FD Cyclop-eeze, Cleaner Shrimp (conspecific) deaths,   7/30/06 Hello there.  I hope all is well in your neck of the woods.  I am enjoying a little cooler weather here in PA (about 80 today versus the 95 it has been for a week). <Yikes, even warmer in S. California, but likely with much less humidity> Anyway,  I have some questions on separate topics I am hoping to receive some assistance with.  I recently purchased a yellow clown goby who is in qt right now, just hanging out.  Before the purchase I did much research about feeding this little cutie and, of course, subsequently developed a bit of anxiety I would have trouble getting it to eat.  I picked up some items I came across on your site that were suggested to entice eating.  He is eating frozen mysis shrimp and Sweetwater zooplankton. <Good> I also bought some Cyclop-eeze, however, herein lies the issue.  The maker is Argent.  They do not provide any info on how to administer it, and I checked their site out, and it doesn't provide anything on that either.  For some reason they do not give you any sort of insert with it, even though they say to check it out, nor does the can tell you anything...other than to read the insert or check out their site.  GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! <Strange... I would write them re> I did find an inquiry on WWM regarding this matter, however I continue to be feeling dumb about it.  I should mention it is the freeze dried type, and it is a fine powder. I tried to add it directly to the tank, but it floats.  I then tried mixing it with some mysis, but as soon as it put it in the tank, it separates.  The shrimp slowly sink, but the Cyclop. remains at the surface.  Any suggestions? <Try soaking overnight, adding the bits/parts/organisms that sink... sucking them up with a baster> Now, on to my other issue.  I am new to the hobby, about 8 months.  I have a 46 G bowfront FOWLR system.  Inhabitants are 2 TR Ocellaris clowns, one Royal Gramma, one Allen's damsel, some snails and hermits, plus one remaining skunk cleaner shrimp.  I initially had one cleaner, but thought maybe he'd like a friend.  My husband thinks I tend to put human emotions onto animals, <Mmm, a human trait...> but what does he know? <Would/could likely guess if he were another animal...> Anyway, I purchased a second skunk cleaner maybe 2 months after the first and they quickly became buds and were so for months.  One morning as I was checking everyone out, I saw the molted shell of one, saw one of them hanging where he usually does, but didn't see the second one right away.  Then under a piece of the live rock, I saw, what looked to be another molt being devoured by "pods."  And, I mean being devoured.  I knew then it was my other shrimp.  In the past whenever either of them molted, no amphipod went near it. <Mmm... likely consumed by its conspecific> I do not know which shrimp it was, the first or second purchased.  They were both the same size, although the second one was smaller than the first upon purchase.  I was devastated.  I decided I wanted another one, so we got one a couple weeks later, probably half the size of the existing one.  All was well now for 3 days, until this morning.  I saw a molted shell, and a few inches away, the little guy being devoured by those darn pods under a piece of live rock. <Not by them directly... they're just cleaning up the bits that were left> All I could see was his little legs sticking out.  Of course, in my mind I am picturing an organized group of pods had picked him up and carried him off.  Again, my husband says I am too dramatic.  Do you think they are killers preying on a vulnerable creature? <No... tis the other Cleaner... not able to be easily added to in such a small world> I do not know if it is a coincidence.  Maybe a bad molt?   <Not likely> I am just really sad now.  I think the cleaner shrimp are so cool.  After the first death, I read that iodine will help with the molt, <Yes> so I did purchase a bottle thinking maybe a low level led to the first demise, but actually just dosed yesterday for the first time according to the directions.  And voila, a molt already.  It has been about 2 weeks since the larger one molted though. <I see> The other inhabitants are all thriving.  Temp 78, SG 1.023, Ammonia and Nitrates 0, Nitrites may be a little high, at <20, but that practically has been the case since day one.  No matter what I do, I cannot lower it. <You will, in time> It has never fluctuated, except when my tank was cycling in the beginning.  It was very high initially, then dropped as my tank was cycling.  I do a water change of 9 gallons every 2 weeks.  Would I be better off doing smaller, more frequent ones?   <Possibly... though I would look into adding a refugium, DSB, macro-algae there> I also want to note I change the filter media as recommended.  It is a Fluval 304, plus I have a Super Skimmer, which I think is useless.  Every once in awhile a little grime will coat the neck, but never once have I collected foam.  It will collect water after a water change for some reason, but I think that is due to the use of Prime, my dechlorinator.  At this point, I feel the skimmer is a waste of swimming space, and I would love to get rid of it altogether, but I guess that is not recommended.  This is my second skimmer actually, the first was a Seaclone...USELESS!  That only collected water too.  Sorry for the tangent. Can you tell I am frustrated? <A bit> If you have any advice, it would be greatly appreciated.   Thank you for your time and expertise on these issues and for compiling such a wonderful knowledgebase.  I reference your site so often.  Have a good day. Sincerely, Tiffani <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/nitratesmar.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Killer Pods?????   7/30/06 Hello, <Tif> Here I go again.  Let's hope third time is a charm.  Well unfortunately since I sent this both times, my remaining skunk cleaner has passed.  This actually happened within the past hour or so.  He was fine this morning, ate, swam, etc.  Then a couple of hours ago, he was just lying on the bottom on his belly.  It looked like his legs were just twitching a bit.  My first thought was he almost looked paralyzed in a way.  The one thing I did notice was what I could normally see inside his body area now looked different.  I could always see something almost "fluttering" inside, <Mmm, yes... the "gills"> if you will, until when he was just lying there . . . then that wasn't happening.  I just now feel like such a failure and am so saddened.  Happily, all other fishes are perfect.  Water parameters are as they were Sunday. I hope this time it comes through.  Even if I am to be chastised for something, at least I will feel comforted in the fact that someone listened and can maybe steer me in the right direction. Tiffani <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/clrshrpdisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. This loss likely related to a water quality issue. Bob Fenner>

Fire Shrimp/Hermit Crab/Compatibility  7/15/06 Hi there, thanks in advance for the great advice. <You're welcome, Angela> I have a 55 gallon fish only tank. Inhabitant are: 1 ocellaris clown 1 yellow tail blue damsel 1 yellow watchman goby 2 green clown gobies 6 turbo snails I suspect I'm a bit overcrowded but am moving soon and will be getting a 100gallon tank then. <You're fine in this regard.> Tank has an external filter (canister), and air powered protein skimmer. My question is can I add a fire shrimp.  I had thought it would be fine but my other half says it would be a bad idea and it would eat my fish, specifically the 2 green clown gobies.  Also I have had problems in the past when I have added hermit crabs, inevitably either some of the crabs had died or some of the fish!  I don't know why this was possibly just bad luck with either mean or sick crabs. <If you are referring to a Lysmata type shrimp, and I'm guessing you have the Lysmata debelius, your fish will be safe and may even benefit, as some species will clean parasites from fish.   They may be harmful to small tridacnid clams though. As far as the hermit crabs, some species such as the Striped, Hairy, and Spotted Hermit Crabs will catch and eat smaller slow moving fish.  These would be the Ciliopagurus, Aniculus, and Dardanus types.  The Red Leg Hermit (Calcinus), Polka dotted Hermit (Phimochirus), Red Reef Hermit (Paguristes), and Blue Leg Hermit (Clibanarius) for example, are all reef and fish safe.> Please help. Angela Thanks again. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)>

Maroon Clown with fin problems   7/7/06 Hi Bob and crew, I have been trying to find the answer to my question on the site but am unable to... hate to bother you with it. <Not a bother... actually a help> Anyway, I have a 80 gallon FOWLR tank since Jan. It has had 1 Maroon and 2 Chromis for 6 months. All get along great and have been very healthy. The only addition we have had is 2 Peppermint Shrimp 1 week ago. I have been noticing a problem with my Clown's fins over the past week, she looks like she has small "bites" or "wedges" taken out of several. <Can happen> They are not frayed, she eats great, she shows no other signs of problems. She is alert, eyes clear, skin looks great. Any clue of what is going on? Thanks, Beth <Likely over-eager "cleaning" by the new shrimp. This should "fix itself" in a short while (a few weeks). I would change nothing here. Bob Fenner>

Cleaner Shrimp/Neon Goby Compatibility  6/20/06 Hello, I have <Hello Paul> A question regarding compatibility of cleaner shrimp and neon Goby.  My son is new to salt water aquariums.  In his tank are a tang, fire fish, neon goby, 2 clown fish, several turbo snails, 2 peppermint shrimp and a cleaner shrimp.  About a month ago, the peppermint shrimp ate the neon goby (yes, my wife saw it in it's mouth).  We got rid of the peppermint shrimp and bought another neon goby.  Now my son is worried the cleaner shrimp is going to eat the neon goby.  Should he be worried?  I don't think the shrimp were under fed but they were voracious eaters. <None of the shrimp you have are known to attack/eat live fish.  I'm guessing the Neon Goby was already a goner.  In that case, the shrimp(s) will scavenge/eat dead fish.> Thanks for your help. <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Regards, Paul M.

Shrimp incomp.  - 06/02/2006 Roy. You had a cleaner shrimp eat your peppermint shrimp? Interesting... very interesting indeed! This would explain the loss of both of the shrimp in a tank that only contained the Skunk Cleaner and a Powder Blue tang. I noticed the Cleaner chasing the little guys but I wouldn't suspect him of eating them... maybe it was not the Christmas wrasse that got the last one (Peppermint shrimp that did eat only Aiptasia) during QT after all. James <<James:  Yes I had a killer Skunk Cleaner Shrimp.  I have also read stories of Peppermints eating Skunk Cleaner Shrimp.  Though it's not common, it happens.  Best of luck, Roy>>  

Cleaner Shrimp Compatibility   6/2/06 Bob, <Jonathan> I have a 72 Gallon FOWLR tank set up.  The current stock is a juvenile hippo tang, a pair of clowns, a punctatum butterfly, and a pinstripe wrasse.  I was just wondering how a pair of skunk cleaner shrimps would do in this tank? <Likely fine> My main concern is the wrasse. <Mmm... is this Halichoeres melanurus?> I have done some research and found that most wrasses must be monitored with shrimp.  So, I am just looking for some guidance before going out and spending $40 on what could potentially end up being as an feeding session for my fish.  Thanks, Jon. <Likely this fish will recognize the cleaners for what they are and leave them alone. If you have sufficient rock for them to hide, I would not be concerned here. Bob Fenner>

Jumping Goby & Greedy Shrimp  - 04/27/06 Hi Crew, Two quick questions. I just found my citron goby lying on the floor. It bounced when I touched it so I gingerly picked it up after rinsing my hands in system water (not drained back into the tank either) then cupped it in the tank. I let it catch its breath and it seemed to gain its bearings and find a place to rest and recuperate. Scared me, I love this little ball of attitude.<they are quite interesting!> I had no idea that they were jumpers and I am concerned as to why it jumped out, especially considering that there is no easy way for it to escape. Other tankmates are a skunk cleaner, 2 ocellaris clowns, 1 neon goby. Weekly 15% water changes. I have had an increase in water temp from my usual 78-80F to a higher 82F. Any insight, and do I need to do anything else for the poor fellow? <he should be alright! sounds like you keep the tank maintained well!> Next, I am deciding if I should return my skunk cleaner. 1 month in the tank and doing phenomenally well. Has already molted 3 times, tries to clean the fish, actually cleans my hand when I let it. An absolutely greedy animal. Devours several Mysis shrimp at each twice-daily feeding plus as much Spirulina flakes as possible while swimming upside down at the surface. Actually very quick learner and has taken to harassing my frogspawn (3 heads, added 10 days ago) during feedings to steal any Mysis that may fall into it or that I place purposefully. I am concerned that the frogspawn will suffer for the "attention" and not adjust to it. I have noticed a tentacle that does not get full during the day anymore. The shrimp is over zealous, but has not directly hurt anything, not even my small xenia. Your opinion. <I would keep a close eye on this. It is a judgment call. If you feel the frogspawn is not doing well I would definitely return either the frogspawn or the shrimp....good luck with this decision, IanB> Thank you for the website, individual attention to emails and your two books I have purchased. Invaluable and interesting. I really appreciate my friend that introduced me to your website. Keep up the great work. <thank you and good luck to you!> Jeff Morgan

Missing Blood Shrimp/Skunk Cleaner/Peppermint  - 04/05/2006 Hey Crew, <Dr. E> It has been a while, thanks again for your never ending support. My 120g reef tank has been doing very well. Fish/LPS/LTA/and soft corals are doing well. I am having a problem with some of my missing invertebrates, namely my blood shrimp, (2) skunk cleaners and (2) peppermint shrimp. I have not seen any of them for weeks. I have a fair bit if live rock, approximately 120lbs, (hiding places) but they usually have been more social. I have not lost any other living creatures. Water parameters are good. SG 1.026, ph 8.3, Nitrate- Nitrite both 0, ammonia 0, Calcium 400, Alkalinity 4.4. Could I have a predator I don't know about? <Yes... but you should see "parts" unless it's the LPS/LTA...> Maybe a Mantis eating my inverts? <Perhaps> My fish shouldn't be eating them (yellow tang, hippo, tomato clown, Bangkok cardinal, flame angel, 2 fire fish. Also my other inverts (hermits and snails) seemed to be alright. Any words of wisdom? Should I set a trap if I suspect a Mantis? Dr. M <Should see legs if this was the case... but you might want to "bait a trap" here and see. Bob Fenner>

Our Lysmata amboinensis attacked & ate a snail! Happens  - 04/05/2006 We absolutely love your site and refer to it all the time!! We have a 135 gallon tank, 240 lbs of live rock, Pistol shrimp & Goby, Mandarinfish, Flame & Cherub Angel (they get along beautifully) Yellow Tang, "baby" Hippo Tang & 4 green Chromis. We also have 3 Sally lightfoot crabs, a dozen hermit crabs and lots of snails. As well as a variety of soft corals. We added a couple of Lysmata amboinensis cleaner shrimps several months ago which delighted the Flame & Yellow Tang! Then last night we witnessed the Shrimps attack and rip apart a Stomatella snail. We've noticed that the shrimps are rather aggressive. <Most crustaceans would be considered such by most western humans> We also have a brown brittle sea star (hitchhiker on the live rock) that we've been treating to bits of clam. Since adding the shrimp we've learned to treat the shrimp first or "Molly Brown" never stands a chance! The question is whether or not this snail was in the process of dying and that's why they went after it? <Might have been fine... just tasty> Or if it's within their nature and might go after our other snails as well? <Correct> We have Turbo's and Nassarius snails that have all reproduced and the tank if full of little babies! We would hate to lose these baby snails or disappoint the fish, we know they provide a valuable service! We also had 4 Feather Dusters, one went several weeks ago and now another hasn't opened for several days and we are just beginning to wonder? Just exactly what all could these cleaner shrimps attack? <Mmm...> I've read all kinds of stuff about the Sally Lightfoots and so far from our experience, they've gotten a bum rap. Our Sally's are great. Recently one of them lost a front claw. We've never had problems with molting before and they are not aggressive. My husband doesn't think the shrimps would win in a fight but I'm not so sure. I've watched them chase the Sally's away from their cleaning station a few times. I have also read comments posed by other people claiming their shrimps killed their hermit crabs. I hate to get so worked up over a hitchhiker snail and I'm so sorry for the length of this letter but in your expert opinion could we have a potential problem with these shrimps, are they prone to aggression toward inverts.   Thanks a bunch, Kim & David <How to put this... most all marine organisms can/are opportunistic feeders... will consume other organisms if they can... are hungry. Some groups (in this case larger crustaceans) are more opportunistic than others. Bob Fenner>

Skunk Cleaner Shrimp vs. Dottyback - 2/20/2006 Hi crew! <<Hi Chris.>> I'm just researching the possibility of adding a Lysmata amboinensis to my 30gal (UK) FOWLR tank. I have 2 Tank Bred Amphiprion ocellaris and a Pseudochromis porphyreus, a few Nassarius Snails, a Bumble Bee Snail, a Super Turbo and a Blue Legged Hermit Crab along with a few Actinodiscus and a very small Sarcophyton.    I really wanted to know if it's at all likely that the Dottyback would eat or attack a skunk cleaner. I think it would make a really cool addition to my tank, but I don't want to add one if it's likely to end up as an expensive meal for my Dottyback. I've looked through the FAQs but no-one seems to have asked the question. <<Tough call.  I have never personally had a problem with this fish and shrimp. That said, some have.  If I were you, I would remove your Pseudochromis to a quarantine tank, add the shrimp to the qt, and watch carefully to see how the fish reacts.  This way if it goes poorly, you can more easily separate the two without having to tear apart your display tank.  Just a suggestion.  Alternatively, add a larger shrimp, watch closely, and be prepared to separate/lose a shrimp.>> Thanks again for a fantastic resource. Whenever I'm planning something for my aquarium I always spend a few hours/days trawling through the WWM site, reading up. <<Me too.>> Warm Regards, Chris. <<Lisa.>>

Peppermint shrimp to rid Aiptasia? Or feed a wrasse? - 02/16/2006                   Hello again and thanks for the quick reply guys. <Hello Trever, sorry for the delay on this one.> One thing I don't recall mentioning is that I also lost a Lawn mower blenny about a month ago. I had him for almost two years, and as with my cleaner shrimp, one day he vanished. I spoke with someone who asked if I had ever heard any loud "cracking" noises coming from the tank, particularly at night. Sure enough, I have. One or two loud cracks and then silence. She said I most likely have a Mantis shrimp? <Could be.> I checked out your site and read all the information possible on these beautiful pests. I've yet to see him and have tried traps unsuccessfully. Here's the dilemma. How do I rid myself of the Aiptasia,( which is spreading like weeds), with peppermint shrimp when that Mantis shrimp is going to eat any newcomers?          <Other ways you can attempt. Here's a good read for you http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/cav1i3/aiptasia_impressions/aiptaisia_impressions.htm . - Josh>
Re: Peppermint shrimp to rid Aiptasia? Or feed a wrasse? - 02/27/2006
How's it going Josh! <Doing well thank you.> I hope all's well. I went with your advise on the Berghia and have decided to wait until I get my friends eclipse 12 set up as a separate tank specifically for the Berghia and individual rock stripping of the Aiptasia. <Glad to hear it.> I'm happy to hear that bristle worms are generally not a problem. I think you may have found the root of my problems when asking me about the cleaning of my skimmer. <Ahh...> It's a CPR Bak-Pak 2R with a Rio-600. I've had it since The get-go, approximately 2 years now. I clean out the Rio as well as replacing my air lines regularly, but I do get a rather large quantity in my cup on a daily basis. I would say a 1/4 to 1/2 cup daily. <This could double after you clean the skimmer itself.> As for cleaning out the actual skimmer itself, I've never done so in the two years I've had it. I was actually told not to by a friend as he insisted it acts as a type of refugium. <Nope.> But it seems to me, a skimmer is a skimmer and a refugium is a refugium. <Yep.> Each being and having their own purposes. The main compartments of my skimmer look like a refugium. I've got just about anything and everything growing and living in my skimmer. Should I pull it and do a complete cleaning on it? <Absolutely. With all of this in the skimmer it can not function very efficiently.> I also use a wide variety of supplements & additives, such as Kent Marine Zooplex, Micro-vert, and Coral-Accel. Bionic 1 & 2, Liquid Life Bio-Plankton, Reef plus, etc. . <Whew...say that five times fast.> I've tried to use them as directed, or even slightly on the low end, but perhaps to much of a good thing is bad? <Yes, if ya' don't need it (read test) don't dose it.> Isn't that always the case? I have not heard any late night cracking lately, but have found two spots in my tank where it appears holes have been dug out right at the base of my live rock. Would you conclude home to a Mantis shrimp? <Could be...or Pistol.> How big do they get? <Quite variable.> I realize that there are several different species, but it can be narrowed down to a smasher, and most likely from the vicinity of Fiji. I did go with some peppermint shrimp, and although I see a slight decrease in my smaller Aiptasia they appear to stay clear of the larger ones. <Usually the case.> Unfortunately I found one peppermint shrimp laying on it's back on the bottom of my tank yesterday, being picked apart by my 6-line wrasse. <Hmm...it has been a couple of days since you sent this, still two left?> Well Josh, as you eluded too, I've taken the route of the tortoise. And with some patience and perseverance hope to find my way through these obstacles. Leaving me more informed and my tank one step ahead. Thanks again Josh. Trever <Quite welcome Trever. Enjoy the journey. - Josh>  
Re: Peppermint shrimp to rid Aiptasia? Or feed a wrasse? - 02/28/2006
Hello again, My apologies for the never ending supply of questions. <No need to, you know we always manage to sneak in a couple of our own;)> You're correct, I have only two peppermint shrimp left. <No, actually I'm relieved. I was implying you likely didn't have any.> It appears to me that their survival may be due in some part to their placement in finding good homes in my tank. Both have remained in the original spots they took within separate holes in the live rock since their introduction. Whenever they are finished feeding, they always return to the same spots. Perhaps the others made shelter too close to the mantis shrimp? <Or they weren't the only ones hungry when they came out.> You pointed out that I may have a piercer as apposed to a smasher, but the cracking noise I used to hear would indicate a smashing type of mantis, would it not? Or do both make a similar noise with different weapons? <Yep, be it Alpheid or Stomatopod, they can make quite a pop.> Also, As it seems possible to have both species/varieties in one tank. <I'd say it's not likely.> Will one eventually kill the other? <Most likely in a small tank.> Or can they live within the same tank given enough room? <If large enough, they would probably never meet.> As for my skimmer, I took it apart and was completely amazed at the amount of life I found within it. I found so many different shapes and sizes of what appeared to look like fish fry, I couldn't keep up. <Micro crustaceans I'm sure.> Not to mention a variety of algae, and several different snails, both with and without shells. I actually felt bad about cleaning everything out. <No worries, the population wasn't generated by the skimmer. Still more in your tank. Be careful of those snails though. Small, like a grain of rice, white, cone shaped?> As you mentioned, the moment I set the skimmer back up I saw a noticeable increase in waste. <Keep a close eye on it. May find it "to the brim" otherwise.> I've also cut back on my smorgasbord of additives. <Good.> I've seen a decrease in the amount of algae growth. Which makes my weekly cleaning and water changes easier to deal with. So far, so good. I'm still waiting on my friends 12 gallon tank, but should have it this weekend to start my Berghia bash, all out Aiptasia BBQ.( Can't forget the brew! ). <Woo hoo! I'll pour one out "for the homies" (poor little buggers).> One more question for you, all wise and mighty one. <Whoops! Looks like you've got his cousin Mise and Whitey.> The Eclipse 12 I will be getting has a CSL smart- lite retrofit which I believe to be in the area of 36W,(18W daylight & 18W ultra actinic). Should this suffice for the Berghia & Live rock during the inevitable feast? <Should be fine.> Thanks for all the help Josh. <You're quite welcome Trever.> Keep up the good work and pass on a word of praise to all the WWM Crew!!!!             Trever, Santa Barbara, Ca.     <Ahh, you already have. - Josh>

Cleaner shrimp dilemma... removal   1/22/06 Hello, my partner Martin has had his marine tank for about three years now, he has a lot of soft corals and gorgonians.  Our problem is his cleaner   shrimp.  Recently the shrimp has worked out that to get an easy meal, all  he has to do is jump onto the gorgonians and steal the food from their  polyps! <Smart> We are worried that the gorgonians will suffer from lack of food  so we decided to catch the shrimp and return him to the shop we bought him from.  We thought this would be the quick and easy answer to our problem but we  can't catch him!   <Really smart> I know I sound stupid, but we've just spent the last four  hours trying to catch him!  Nets don't work, we've tried to tempt him into  a bag in the tank with food inside it.  He has gone into the bag, but no  matter how slow we are at trying to get the bag, he suddenly flicks himself out  again.  We would be so grateful if you have any special shrimp catching  techniques or ideas. Thank you, Amber. <There are pretty sensitive all-plastic small rodent-traps re-sold in the trade that would likely work here. See Dr.s Foster & Smith (.com) re (I know they list them). Bob Fenner>

Cleaner shrimp compatibility ... not 1/16/06 Hi Bob, I found your website and it looks like you can help me with my question.  I have a 40 gallon long coral tank [almost a year old] with only 2 fish, about 12 small corals, 2 emerald crabs, a sea urchin, snails & 2 star fish [one red & one serpent like star.  I also had a skunk cleaner shrimp & still have a small peppermint shrimp [that I got to control the Aiptasia] Yesterday, I introduced a fire shrimp <This is too small a system to mix these...> & when I looked in my tank today, the skunk shrimp was dead.  The peppermint & fire shrimp are still alive & hanging out together under a rock.  I suspect the skunk & fire had a fight over territory as the skunk shrimp was quite possessive about his tank.   <Maybe... but many such shrimp are lost due to either poor-acclimation, and/or consequent stress from being captured/moved. These last are at least co-factors> Every time I put my hand in, he came over and pinched me.  I am very sad, because the skunk was quite comical.  I thought it would be OK for them both to be together in the tank because the dealer had the two species in her coral tank together, no problems. <Often there are significant individual differences with these species>   I think the skunk may have initiated the confrontation because it was "his" tank & when I originally bought the peppermint shrimp, I had two of them & right away one was gone.  I wish I had not bought the fire shrimp as he hides during the day & if I wanted to return him, I could never catch him as he has a lot of rock under which  to escape.   <Perhaps could be baited out, then netted...> I would like to get another skunk cleaner, but I don't want him to be killed.  If I got a smaller one [like the peppermint], might the 2 shrimps be compatible? <I would not risk this> Also, will the fire shrimp hurt anything else in the tank [crabs, star fish, etc.] <Not likely, though not impossible were it hungry, the other animals impaired> Thank you for your time, Linda Campbell - beginner coral tank enthusiast <Your mail shows intelligence and caring. I thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Shrimp Aggression 12/31/05 I have a 25 gallon Nano with 45lbs of live rock and some live sand.  The residents are 10 (less now) Scarlet Hermit Crabs, some snails and I added a Skunk Cleaner Shrimp last week.  Everyone seemed to be doing great (Shrimp molted two days ago) and getting along.  I was keeping an eye on the snails to make sure the crabs were behaving and I saw my cleaner shrimp ripping a crab out of its shell.  The shrimp tossed him around and then savagely began using its two little limbs to tear the crab apart.  I am sure the crab was alive before the attack; is this common? I thought the shrimp were peaceful. I am sure it is a skunk cleaner shrimp. Have you seen or heard of this before? <<No. Lysmata sp. are very peaceful. Please double check the identification.>> Should I remove the shrimp? <<If this shrimp is capable of extracting living hermit crabs from their shells and killing them, either remove the shrimp or be prepared to lose all of the hermits.>> Oh the humanity! Thanks for your help. Charlie <<You're welcome - Ted>>

CCS vs. cleaner shrimp  12/17/05 Good day, crew. Question about scarlet cleaner shrimp and chocolate chip star. These two lived together and didn't care about each other for 3 months. Now, whenever I try to feed my beautiful star, shrimp comes and plants itself on star, taking food (blood worms, shrimp or raw fish) right from under the poor star, getting into her stomach and everywhere. <Not atypical> I feed the shrimp separately, it eats like a crocodile. Why wouldn't it leave the star alone? I think star is going through some serious stress because of this, and eats less and less. I feel like I want to kill the shrimp for picking on star, but I really like both of them. Help. What do I do? Tatyana Kucherenko <Another tank... need to be separated. Bob Fenner>

Cleaner Shrimp Cocktails 12-05-05 Hello, <Hi> I am having a small problem and thought you might have an idea on how i might fix this. <I hope I can.> Presently I have a six foot long 180 gal marine tank. I am using it as a angel tank. I have approx 100# of live rock on a live sand bed about 4 inches deep. I have always had cleaner shrimp in my tank as a biological deterrent. I have a sub adult French (mid change) and a juv (2-3inch) passer. Well I found my cleaner was missing and figured that it died and was cleaned up by the snails and hermits.  I went to put another in and as soon as I did it was eaten by the French. I tried again placing him in as I fed the angels from the other side but as soon as the food was gone they grabbed the shrimp as soon as it was out of the rock enough. I have had a emperor angel on order from my LFS for about six months now and we finally found one that was just the right size and healthy and eating, and some of the most beautiful patterns on it (it's also just changed.) The new angel is in quarantine and will remain for at least 4 weeks. <Glad to hear you say that. The LFS will hold bigger angels in a quarantine tank they have, if specially ordered. <That is nice of them, but make sure that tank is on its own water line and that they are not adding new fish to the tank. All of those issues would make it so your fish was never truly QT'd.> How do I get shrimp back in my tank. <Remove the offending fish.> As long as I have had cleaners I never had a problem with ich etc, plus my angels looked a lot better and would go get cleaned every day. I've used the gobies but they never even tried to clean. Any ideas? <Gobies are very hit and miss. I have not heard of any that live long term either.> I really like using the shrimp, natural way, but know that as soon as the new angel goes in there will be stress and I don't want to have a problem to get out of hand if it pops up. Any suggestions will be appreciated. <Make sure the fish is properly QT'd and if you need the shrimp then the angel has to go.> Is the 180 enough for the French and emperor? <Sure.> I will be putting the passer in my 100 gal I have. <Good Luck, Travis>

Cardinal swallows shrimp, Legs still sticking out. 12-06-05 Hello Crew, <Hello> A pajama cardinal ate our skunk cleaner shrimp last night after it molted. The shrimp doesn't fit in the cardinal's stomach as legs and antenna are sticking out of the mouth. <I must say this is a first.> My wife called me with this info at work, so I haven't seen it yet. Will the fish die, too? <The fish should be able to evacuate the shrimp on its own. If it does not do so, or looks to be laboring then you may need to help it out.> Anything that can be done to save it? My wife saw the empty molt, so she's sure it's the actual shrimp that got eaten after it molted. The shrimp is full grown and almost as long as the cardinal and I never thought it would try to eat it. <They will try anything that will try to eat anything that will fit in their mouth. Travis>
Re: Cardinal swallows shrimp, Legs still sticking out. 12-06-05
Thanks for the reply, but it turns out my panic was unwarranted. <That is good. Always better to waste worry than to be right for worrying.> Over the course of the day, the legs and antennae slowly disappeared into the fish until they were gone a few hours after my initial mail... and it grabbed the largest piece of food at dinner time when I fed the tank. <Sea pigs.> I assumed the shrimp was too large to fit in the cardinal's mouth. It seems I was wrong.  <It does seem so...> Pajama cardinals won't be going into my next reef.  I'm looking at threadfins to fill the niche instead, in hopes that they won't eat my beloved Lysmata shrimps. <You will greatly enjoy the thread fins. They can also be kept in schools which is nice. Travis> Thanks, Ben 

Dwarf Angel with Rotting Fin Caused by Shrimp? 10/25/05 Hi Everyone, <Hello Casper>  First of all, thanks for the great site, I read it everyday and try my best to follow all the recommendations you all make. First of all I have a Dwarf Flame Angel in a reef tank. He has always been happy and never seems to have a problem. Three days ago I added two Lysmata amboinensis "Skunk Cleaner Shrimp" (?) to the tank.  I was instantly amazed at how the angel reacted and started interacting with the shrimp. He spent the first couple days receiving constant cleaning from the pair. Today when I looked at him, I noticed that one of his side fins was missing about 1/3 of the fin.  The fin does not appear to be diseased as it is very clean looking. The fish is swimming around like nothing is wrong. He is not scratching, eating fine, has no other spots or marks, and this is isolated to only one fin.  Do you think that he is being over cleaned by the shrimp? Could there be some underlying disease that the shrimp are taking care of? Do I need to treat the fish with any medications? I gratefully look forward to any advice you might have.  <Casper, I would let nature take its course. Nothing to be alarmed about, fin will grow back. James (Salty Dog)> 

Over-Zealous Cleaner Shrimp? 10/25/05 Hi Everyone. <Hi there! Scott F. with you tonight!> First of all, thanks for the great site, I read it everyday and try my best to follow all the recommendations you all make. <I hope that they have been useful to you!> First of all, I have a Dwarf Flame Angel in a reef tank. He has always been happy and never seems to have a problem. Three days ago I added two* Lysmata amboinensis "Skunk Cleaner Shrimp"? *to the tank. I was instantly amazed at how the angel reacted and started interacting with the shrimp. He spent the first couple days receiving constant cleaning from the pair. <Not an unusual behavior.> Today when I looked at him, I noticed that one of his side fins was missing about 1/3 of the fin. The fin does not appear to be diseased, as it is very clean looking. <The missing fin section could be a result of the shrimp's activities, or simply unrelated. Hard to be sure.> The fish is swimming around like nothing is wrong. He is not scratching, eating fine, has no other spots or marks, and this is isolated to only one fin. Do you think that he is being over cleaned by the shrimp? <It is possible that the shrimp are causing some damage with over-aggressive cleaning behavior.> Could there be some underlying disease that the shrimp are taking care of? <It is possible. However, I would not discount the possibility of simple damage caused by some unrelated event.> Do I need to treat the fish with any medications? I gratefully look forward to any advice you might have. Sincerely, Casper Rankin <Well, Casper, unless the fish is showing signs of infection, I'd avoid the use of medication at this juncture. Better to keep an eye on the fish, and intervene if signs of obvious infection (i.e.; fungus, etc.) are apparent. Maintain excellent water quality, provide a complete diet, and continue your observations! Regards, Scott F.> 

Killer Pacific Cleaner Shrimp 8/18/05 Hello, <<Hello Justina>> Thanks for your all the info at your site it has been extremely helpful! So back to the matter at hand, I have a 40 gallon tank and three weeks ago I purchased a cleaner shrimp who has adapted nicely.  Regular feedings of shrimp pellets and scallop/Cyclop-eeze mix happen weekly. This week I have witnessed two rather aggressive behaviors and am concerned as I am having difficulty finding any information related. <<Sorry for your losses.>> Several nights ago I was cleaning the tank and had moved a feather duster (worm somewhat exposed); soon enough shrimp was ripping him apart... Then I purchased a (very) small colony of pumping Xenia - and within two nights he has killed them.  I watched him pick at them several times and finally tonight I watched him really pick at them and then my urchin came over and ate their remains. Should the shrimp be exiled from the tank? I would much rather have coral than a nasty shrimp!<<I would remove the shrimp. Shrimp are carnivores and have been know to eat xenia and other cnidarians. Please research on WWM. Here are a couple of links to start you off: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/shrimp/cleaner.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clrshrpcompfaqs.htm>> Thanks Justina <<You're welcome. Cheers - Ted>>

Advice Clown, shrimp compatibility Hi, Mr. Fenner <Steven Pro this evening.> I have a good deal on a cinnamon clown fish and some peppermint shrimp. I want to put them in a 50 gallon tank by themselves, do these two get along and could I add other inverts, fish, and coral later on, <Yes, will get along with each other and many other animals. If you give specifics on what else you want to keep, I can give you a more detailed recommendation.> if not please recommend a better fit for me. I want something that is beautiful but easy to take care of. I only have time to service the tank on the week end but I can do simple feeding every day. Thanks a lot, Ryan Blankenship <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Eels and Shrimp? Hey guys, I've read several FAQs and I've been through the WetWeb moray section several times. I've read something more then once that I was shocked and I just wanted to clarify without you all. Now from what I've read, it sounds like smaller eels like snowflakes will eat any and all inverts (shrimp is what I'm really concerned about.) But, I've also read that most of the Gymnothorax (spelling) seem to leave cleaner shrimp alone while they will eat cleaner wrasses/ neon gobies. I wouldn't get a cleaner wrasse anyway as per your site. My question is, I am thinking of pursuing a Gymnothorax permistus (spelling again!). The one that looks similar to a tessellated but with bigger spots and much smaller in size. I have a cleaner and a coral banded in my FO tank. Would this eel make quick work of my shrimp or would he leave them be? Would a smaller eel of this species be more likely to eat them then a larger one? Thanks ........keep up the great work. Joe <what works/is safe in the wild and what happens in captivity are sometimes two very different things (like yellow tangs schooling in the wild and generally beating the tar out of each other in small groups in aquaria). IMO, the cleaner shrimp will probably be safe... but all bets are off. You really have to be cautious and willing to take the chance. Kindly, Anthony>

Killer Sailfin (& Cleaner Shrimp f') Hi Bob, how do I get my Sailfin Tang to stop attacking, my cleaner shrimp. Got the shrimp today at 12:00 pm, all of the antennas picked off by 5:00pm.  <Put in more rock, hiding spaces for the shrimp and/or remove the Tang from its presence otherwise for a few days. The Sailfin is very likely only trying to "get the shrimps attention" for cleaning services... and the shrimp "suffering from jet-lag". It just needs a rest> Also, I noticed that they get wobbly after there antennas are gone, (fourth one he has killed). What purpose do the antennas serve, is it balance by any chance. Thanks for all the great resources. <At the base of the antennae there are spatial orientation sensors... but not the antennae themselves... These will "regenerate" next molt BTW. Just save it from dying from exhaustion, being knocked about for now. Bob Fenner>

Cleaner shrimp, polyps, Heniochus Hello again, I recently added a cleaner shrimp (Lysmata grabhami, I think) to my 75 gal. setup which includes some yellow polyps and green button polyps. I've seen the shrimp "sampling" the polyps several times, causing them to close up. Do you think this causing harm to the polyps? <The shrimp is probably bugging them more than anything else, I doubt they are in any danger.> On a similar note, I'm interested in Heniochus Bannerfish. I've read that H. diphreutes is reef safe, but H. acuminatus is not. Do you agree? <yes> Would a pair of H. diphreutes be suitable for a 75 gal. that is otherwise lightly-loaded? Thank very much, and thanks for maintaining such a valuable site. John H. <Thank you for the kind words, and I promise, the site is only going to get better. A pair of the H. diphreutes would be much better suited than the H. acuminatus. You can find more information on butterflyfishes at the link below. Best Regards, Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/BFsBestWrst.htm>

Cleaner Shrimp - Reef Safe? Hello how are you? <Pretty darned good Angelo! Hoping you are as well.> My question is how reef safe are Cleaner Shrimp - Lysmata amboinensis? <A popular reef and fish tank inhabitant. Quite safe.> As far as I  know, they are not coral eaters, but they do seem to >steal food from corals. It makes it hard for me to spot feed them because my cleaner shrimp is right there to grab the food! <"Spot" feed your shrimp first, then feed corals. A 1/4" hunk of shrimp, krill, clam, mussel, etc. should keep him busy.> Also it seems to irritate them when it walks on the coral causing them to retract there polyps. Do they cause stress to corals? <Locally, they retract, but it would need to be continuous, in one place, to have a big effect. I wouldn't worry. I have two that are stationed on my Tubipora musica causing some of the polyps to retract on occasion, but it continues to grow vigorously.> Am I better off without it? I originally started my tank as a FO so the shrimp has been there since then. Thanks, Angelo <These shrimp are wonderful little inhabitants. You can train them to come to the surface for food and they will clean and hang on your fingers. It is unlikely he is doing anything negative to your corals but more likely he is keeping things cleaned up.  Craig>

Scarlet cleaner shrimp and clown triggerfish together I am thinking of getting a saltwater fish tank and buying a scarlet cleaner shrimp and a clown triggerfish. Do you think I will be able to put them in the same tank or will the clown triggerfish nip/ kill the shrimp. Thanks Josh <Have seen stranger things, but the vast likelihood is that the trigger will consume the shrimp. Bob Fenner>
Re: Scarlet cleaner shrimp and clown triggerfish together
I just went to a store and they had very small clown triggerfish about 2-3''. The Scarlets there were almost bigger without their antennae. do you think that, that would make a difference? <Mainly just smaller bites, longer meal. Please read through our Triggerfish sections (articles and FAQs files) starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/index.htm on to "selection", "compatibility". Bob Fenner>

- Neon Gobies and Cleaner Shrimp - Hi! <Hello to you. JasonC here...> My question for right now is - Will a Neon Blue Goby attack a cleaner shrimp? <Not in my experience.> I was under the assumption that they would get along (especially in a 38 gallon tank), but a guy at my LFS said that pretty much any goby or blenny would mess with any kind of shrimp. <For the most part untrue, but could happen due to territorial matters. Or perhaps if was a fang blenny, which are worth avoiding anyway.> That leaves me with a choice to make, if he is correct. <No worries.> I really would like to have both, but am now confused if they will co-exist. <Buy them both.> Thank you very much. - Alex Mills <Cheers, J -- > -
Cleaner Shrimp Compatibility -
Ditto for a Firefish Goby. Will it get along? <I think so, sure.> Thanks.  - Alex Mills <Cheers, J -- >

Wrasse and Shrimp I recently purchased a Pseudocheilinus ocellatus and he is attacking my two cleaner shrimp. Is this normal? <Not uncommon> I expected cleaner shrimp to have anonymity from all fish. <Not so> Did I make a mistake by feeding him fresh cut up shrimp to start him feeding? He just bit one of the feelers off of one, and they are both hugging the side of the tank. <They should be separated post haste. Bob Fenner>

Cleaner shrimp and Liopropoma Thanks so much for the quick reply. Problem is, I have a Liopropoma swalesi in the refugium. Will they fair any better with him? I'm afraid to put the swalesi in the same tank as the ocellatus to avoid fighting, although the swalesi never moves more than a couple of inches from any cave. <Worth trying... a better gamble than with the wrasse. Bob Fenner>

Shrimp Compatibility and Ich Control First off, I want to say that your website has been an invaluable resource to me over the past couple of months.  I can't express my gratitude enough.  Anyway, I have a mini reef with a few corals (bubble anemone, yellow polyps, mushrooms), some snails, hermit crabs, a clam, and two peppermint shrimp.  I would like to add a couple "cleaner" shrimp that can take care of any ich in the event that they may present themselves.  I realize the peppermint shrimp are considered cleaners, but will they also take care of parasites (namely ich)?  I got them in the first place to take care of my glass anemone, which they took care of readily.  So my question is, what specific cleaner shrimp would be compatible with my existing ones to take care of ich (I read about the coral banded shrimp and its violent nature towards other shrimp)?  Or if not a cleaner shrimp, will any other type of animals do the job without disturbing the reef or sandbed?  Thanks in advance.  Sandy. >>Hi Sandy.  The lords and masters are always pleased to know that they and their minions are helpful to all who seek knowledge. >>What you haven't mentioned yet is the presence of the animals that suffer from ich--fish--that would be in need of cleaning services.  If you have no fish in the system, then you have no need to be concerned, as the invertebrates don't suit the protozoan's lifestyle. >>If you do have fish, then as far as cleaners go, Lysmata amboinensis and L. grabhami (the Eel or Skunk Cleaner Shrimp) are the most effective and reliable for these duties.  However, they'll also need to be directly fed (especially in systems with small fishes only). There should be no compatibility issues between these and your other shrimps, assuming you have a suitably roomy tank (minimum 40gals). If possible, please try to find out more specifically which "Peppermint" shrimp it is you have, as some erroneously labeled as such have been known to cause problems with cnidarians, zoanthids, corallimorphs, corals, and anemones.  You don't appear to be having a problem, but it's better to be safe than sorry.  (I apologize for the cliché.) Marina

Puffer + Cleaner shrimp?? (12/16/03) Hello, Big fans of the site  =) <Hey, I resemble that remark! Ananda here...apologies for the delay; I just saw this.> We are keeping a 54G swim tank of fish we saw while snorkeling in Tahiti. We realize that as the fish grow, we will have to remove some of the inhabitants due to overstocking. <Good that you know it now...do consider setting up a "tank fund" at the bank now!> Filtration: 1) Fluval 303 powering a reverse flow UG filter; <Not my first, second, or even third choice for filtration in a saltwater tank. Do read up on these in the WetWebMedia pages.> 2) ViaAqua Multi Skimmer (protein skimmer/UV/power filter). <This is something I have no experience with, and I haven't seen it either, so can't comment on... are you getting dark skimmate, at least 1/4 cup, daily?> Salinity: 1.018. Temp: 76. Status: cycled. Live Rock: 1 lg & 2 smaller pieces. <Initial suggestions: raise the specific gravity to at least 1.020, get more live rock, ditch the undergravel filter....> Inhabitants: 3" porcupine puffer (name: Mr. Puffer/Puff Daddy  =); 2" Humu Humu trigger; 2 2" threadfin butterflies; 1 3" Heniochus butterfly; 2" yellow tang; 1.5" brackish spotted puffer; <How's he doing in this specific gravity? (If he's stressed -- check the belly barometer for grey/dark markings -- try putting him in a tank with a lower specific gravity. I have yet to find any hard data about when in their life cycles the spotted puffers move into near-marine conditions, like those you have in your tank.) Do realize that he's probably going to end up chasing those long fins on some of the other fish.> 1" yellow tail blue damsel; chocolate chip star; several snails & hermit crabs (for janitorial services & food supplement). <Glad you realize the latter. Hmmm. Start tank-shopping now; I think you're already overstocked.> Everyone is happy in this tank & has been for about 6 weeks, we feed a wide variety of frozen Mysis, frozen brine, live ghost shrimp, frozen ghost shrimp, krill, seaweed, flake & plankton. <Yummy.> We are working on a small ich outbreak. The fish do not appear to be in distress, but the spots are visible. We have read extensively on this and have treated mainly by lowering the salinity to 1.012, raising the temperature to 81 and performing daily small water changes to skim off parasites from the bottom. <Ah, good. Drop the salinity a bit more, to 1.010. Do you have a refractometer?> We have added Greenex 2 times. <Eek! That will likely kill all the inverts and the live rock. And I've read reports of it killing the fish, as well.> We did some 1/3 salt and 2/3 fresh water dips on fish that had the most spots. <You really can go with all-fresh-water, as long as you adjust the pH to what it is in your tank. That's less harmful by far than a brackish dip that has a different pH from the main tank.> The 2 worst infected were removed to a hospital tank for copper treatment, did well & were returned. We almost have this beaten by now. <Okay...keep in mind that the absence of spots does not mean the absence of the parasite from the tank!> Would it be safe for the puffer to add a cleaner shrimp/wrasse for the duration of this outbreak? <Nope. The cleaner shrimp would likely get eaten, and the wrasse would likely fare poorly.> The butterflies lean up against the live ghost shrimp as if waiting to be cleaned. We are fully aware of the danger to the shrimp, but are mainly concerned with the puffer (he's one of our best friends  =)  we have heard that cleaners might bother the skin of the puffer. <After you deal with the ich, use some heavy-duty chemical filtration to get the gunk from the Greenex out of that tank. I would try a good activated carbon first, then a Polyfilter. Then you could split the puffers and trigger off into their own tank and get a couple of cleaner shrimp for the other tank. (The live rocks you have are likely dead...but could probably be used in the puffer/trigger tank, where the inverts are going to be snacks anyhow.)> Thx!!! You're the best  =) <Thanks so much for the kind words. --Ananda> Michael & Patty AZ

How big is big (Emperor Angel) and cleaner shrimp tankmates  12/12/03 Good Evening- <same to you!  Adam here by the way.> I have an adult Imperator Angel, approximately 6-7" long, that I've had for 4 years, having raised it from a juvenile.  When I first got it, I had it in a 125 FOWLR, but after reading Bob's advice, bought a 180 where it has been for the last 2 1/2 years. <Congrats on your success with this fish, and kudos for having the dedication to upgrade it's home!> The tank has about 125# of LR, with 7 assorted and much smaller tankmates.  While I have no desire to get rid of him/her, how will I know if it's outgrown the tank?  It does seem very happy and is doing quite well. <You have largely answered your own question.  After four years, you know your fish and your success is a clear indication of your skills.  As long as the fish isn't showing signs of stress, I wouldn't worry too much.  As your fish approaches it's full grown size of 15" or so, you may have to remove some live rock to improve swimming room or start thinking about larger quarters again, but that should be a while down the road.> At some point, will it stop growing and just maintain it's size based on the tanks size or can I expect it to continue getting bigger? <You have fallen for the oldest and greatest fish keeping myth.  Regardless of tank size, fish will continue growing until they reach their natural full grown size unless water quality, nutrition or disease enter as limiting factors.  You do have some time though as most fish grow more slowly as they get larger.> Thanks for the advice.  I couldn't think of how to do a search in the archives, or I would have started there. <always a pleasure.> Are there some fish that don't get along with cleaner shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis)?  I have had quite a few disappear over time and have always thought it was the angel, however during the day it seems to leave them alone if they are out cruising around.  Other possible candidates are maroon clown or hippo tang? <Any predatory fish could potentially turn on a cleaner shrimp, especially if they get a bit too hungry, and all of the fish that you mentioned could be suspects.  If you only had the shrimp for a short period of time, I would look to poor handling or rough acclimation first though.> Andy

How many cleaner shrimp - 10/07/03 What is the absolute minimum tank size a skunk cleaner shrimp can be kept in?  <Well, I have seen them in various tanks with as few as 7 gallons (not recommended)> ... and how big do they grow? <Up to 2 1/2 inches in captivity. Here is some information I found from a great many of sources (try Calfo and Fenner's new book "Reef Invertebrates"): " The Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp is also known as the Indo-Pacific White-Banded Cleaner Shrimp, Indo-Pacific White-Striped Cleaner Shrimp, and Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp. It may also be called the Red Skunk Cleaner Shrimp because of the very distinct two bright red stripes surrounding one white stripe running down its back. There are two species usually referred to as striped cleaner shrimp, the L. amboinensis with white spots at the end of the tail and, from the Atlantic, the L. grabhami that has no spots. The L. amboinensis is one of the most popular shrimp for the home aquarium.  Often found in groups, this Cleaner Shrimp will set up a cleaning station on coral reefs or rubble, waiting for fish to come and be cleaned. It feeds on ectoparasites or dead tissue that it picks from the body and oral cavities/gills of these fish (e.g.; Tangs or Groupers) in the wild or in the aquarium. This also helps to protect the fish from contracting diseases and infections. Many fish value its services so highly that they will allow it to clean the inside of their mouths, and not harm it. Some fish, though, such as Hawkfish, Lionfish, and some predatory shrimp and crabs may eat the Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp. It will not tolerate copper or high levels of nitrates in the aquarium, but will require correct levels of iodine in the water to promote proper molting.  In the aquarium, the diet can include freeze dried, frozen, and dry foods. It is recommend no more than 2 per 50 gallons of tank.">

Cleaner shrimp antennae and xenia pom-pom getting eaten 10/19/03 Thank you Anthony, <always welcome, my friend> I will remove the shrimp. Do you think that the Lysmata shrimp is also responsible for the cleaner shrimp antennae being eaten? <no... peppermint and cleaner shrimp are both Lysmata and not likely to cannibalize each other as such. Your cleaners have lost their antennae due to incomplete molts (lack of iodine/poor water quality) or aggression from a fish> Thanks again for your help!  I'll be removing the shrimp today. Chris <best regards, Anthony>

Cleaner shrimp info - 10/07/03 How many skunk cleaner shrimps can I keep in a 23 gallon tank? And do they require live rock to scavenge off, or do they just feed of the fish, and/or feed from a special food? What do they eat, and also how big do they grow, and would they eat an ocellaris clownfish? <Research my friend It's all here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/shrimp/cleaner.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/shrimp/shrimp.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/shrimp/corlband.htm Be sure to read the FAQs (blue links at the top for even more information -Paul>

Smart shrimp, dumb fish Hello WWM cleaner-shrimp guru :<IanB here> I have a very active white banded cleaner shrimp that is aggressively try to clean any of the fish in my 100 gal reefer (4 assorted small, apparently all retarded.) None of them seem to know what to make of the shrimp and don't allow it to get too close. <some fish don't like little pesky cleaner shrimp> None have any visible parasites, but the shrimp's been in there 6 weeks now and the fish don't seem any more interested in utilizing the shrimp's services. <some don't like shrimp and some shrimp don't like fish...some dogs like cats and some don't>  I stick my hand in the tank often, and this shrimp just tackles it, cleaning and pulling and scouring all over my fingers and forearm. <yes, they tend to do that>  This may be the poor shrimp's only cleaning exercise that it gets, so I feel obligated to do this. <You can do this if you would like. As long as the little shrimp eats he should be fine, no worries my friend (its cleaning services are just a bonus. they don't need to clean to survive. they are very content with eating leftover food> Any idea why the fish don't care? <good luck, IanB> Thanks,  SLC

Cleaner Shrimp in FOWLR (4/20/04) Thanks Steve, <A pleasure> Just to let you know, I took a chance and purchased a cleaner shrimp. The lionfish and Niger can't get enough of the grooming treatment. My tangs aren't interested though. <Give them time. Let us know how long the cleaner lasts. If it has some good spots to hide and provides good service to the Trigger, it may not be dinner after all.> Kind Regards, James. <To you as well.>

Malu anemone and cleaner shrimps <Hi, MikeD here> I would like to know if my 2 candy striped cleaner shrimps could be hurting the Malu anemone? They are constantly picking on it and steeling its food whenever I feed it.<I'm not familiar with a Malu anemone and almost gave this to someone else when I remembered some of my own experiences. Some of the long armed spider and arrow crabs are adept at reaching inside anemones to remove food, almost using them as a personal larder.  I also suspect that if really hungry they might dine on the gut of the anemone itself, but that's just a suspicion.  With the long arms of the Candy Striped  Shrimp there's a chance they might be guilty of this too, and if so spot feeding them specifically might help>. Thank you<You're welcome. I hope this helped> - Grace

Cleaner shrimp pestering anemone 8/1/04 The cleaner shrimp that I have is always in and around my anemone. My long tip anemone is doing very well and is quite large compared to when I first got him. I got him at a very good dealer. but whenever I feed the anemone or even when I haven't, the shrimp either takes the anemone's food or is always digging around in the anemone. I don't know if the shrimp is bothering him- or just cleaning whatever is around the anemone's mouth. <The shrimp is looking for food.  It has been very well trained that a big chunk of food arrives in that spot occasionally.  If the anemone doesn't seem bothered, I wouldn't worry, but some shrimps can turn particularly greedy and damage anemones or corals in their efforts to steal food.  Over all, I would suspect that the shrimp is in more danger than the anemone... my carpet anemone ate both of my cleaners!  It may be best to give up one or the other.> I was also going to ask if bristle worms are a problem in a tank. I get them out when I can and I haven't seen as many as I used to, but they wont harm the anemone or the few mushrooms I have in the tank will they? <Most bristle worms are harmless scavengers.  Only the true Caribbean fire worm and a couple of rare others are harmful to other animals (unless you get a hand full of bristles that is!).  I would leave them in the tank to do their job and consider them innocent until proven guilty.  Best Regards, Adam>

-It Was The Brittle Stars In The Tank With The Dead Fish- Please respond at your earliest. Thanks! Dear WWW Crew, <Hello J.D. , Justin here.> I have a 'Who Done It?' mystery in need of solving. <Heehee, I will do my best Sherlock Holmes impression.> I recently lost my second Fire Shrimp/Scarlet Cleaner after it molted. Prior to this loss, I had a smaller Fire Shrimp that disappeared under mysterious circumstances, but prior to that I had a regular Cleaner Shrimp in this tank for years with no problem. So I¹m trying to figure out who most likely snacked on a couple of $25 shrimps. It¹s a 175 g. FOWLR, which at this time only contains: * A Fijian Blue Devil damsel * A 6-Line Wrasse * 4 Blue-green Chromis * A large (1.5" - 2") Electric Blue Hermit * A medium (1") Blue Hermit * A couple of small (<1") Halloween Hermits * A couple of Serpent Stars (Short-spined brittle stars) * A bunch of snail-like critters (conch¹s, turbo snails, et al) that certainly can't be suspects. Any thoughts? Thanks!! J.D. Hill <Well "Watson" I believe that your culprits are those brittle stars. If they are greenish, they are notorious for eating fish and anything else they can get their arms on. I would try to remove them if you would rather have the shrimp. Otherwise feed them meaty foods to keep them satisfied and away from your expensive "snack menu".> <Justin (Jager)> <Editor's note: Ophiarachna incrassata is the infamous Green Brittle Star, but we can expect other brittles to behave in the same manner.>

Snowflake moray and cleaner shrimp. hey, I was  wondering if a snowflake moray would eat my cleaner shrimp. Or if he would leave  it alone because it is a cleaner. best  regards Miles >>>Hey Miles, Based on experience, I'm betting he'll eat it. :) In captivity, you really can never tell with these things. Cheers Jim<<< Cleaner shrimp Is a 29g tank enough to house two cleaner shrimp?... <Most definitely> I already have one but thinking about adding another...or will they eat each other? <They should not eat each other. In fact, Cleaner Shrimps are hermaphroditic and pairs commonly breed in marine aquaria, but the fry are next to impossible to rear. Check this link for more general information on Cleaner Shrimp: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/shrimp/clnshrpf.htm  Good luck, Mike G>

Lysmata are NOT reef aquarium safe 2/3/05 I was given some nice soft coral frags from some other salt water enthusiasts at work (some mushrooms and some branching corals).  The other day, I noted one of the soft corals was withdrawn and looking rather "leathery" rather than "frilly" (not exactly technical terms, but I'm guessing you get the idea).   <yes... no worries> It stayed that way for a couple of days, but started to return to its normal shape. Today, another friend and I noticed that my pregnant Lysmata amboinensis was picking away at the coral that was looking withdrawn.  The coral has withdrawn again.  This same shrimp was picking away at algae on my live rock and even looked like it was eating some of the patches of Cerith snail eggs that recently got laid down (I'm pretty sure it was munching, but it was moving its legs so fast that I couldn't see what it was putting in its mouth). Is this normal behavior for this shrimp? <yes... although often sold for reef aquaria, species of Lysmata are categorically NOT reef safe. They are not that dreadful either... usually just picking away. Really only a problem in small tanks and with LPS corals> Is "she" having food cravings (protein)?   <heehee... no. Er, well... sort of. Just indiscriminate> I've got a single A. ocellaris and a pair of Lysmata amboinensis in the tank (3 month old tank) and I've cut back the feeding of spectrum A to every other day (phosphate and algae issues). Should remove the shrimp and put her in my QT tank and generously stock it with pickles and Ben & Jerry's Ice cream? (Mmmm ice cream) David <put it into QT, but send me the pickles and ice-cream. I'll eat  them separately :) Anthony>

Shrimp picking at clam I placed 6 cleaner shrimp (purchased from FFexpress) in a reef tank with an assortment of hard and soft corals, 2 clarkii clowns, a coral beauty, a Christmas wrasse, a flame hawk, and a turquoise clam. A couple of days later I noticed one of the shrimp picking at the clam, so I moved the shrimp away with a food poker. By the next day the clam was dead and the shrimp had eaten almost the whole thing. Is this natural for cleaner shrimp to eat live clams? I don't remember seeing any warnings to this effect. Clam Lover <<Dear CL, sorry to hear of your loss. Yes, some cleaner shrimps will take to consuming captive clams... especially if they're not offered much else to eat. What species are these, Lysmata amboinensis? (the most common), and why so many? For how big a tank? Except for very large systems, one or two will do functionally... and more are real potential trouble with other invertebrates.  Bob Fenner>>

Compatibility Hi, is one Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp compatible with a Banded Coral Shrimp in a  30 gallon fish-only tank. Thanks <<Yes, if both are fed, given adequate cover so that there are no hassles during molting periods. This being stated, the actuality is that in general the CBS will become larger, hungry enough and sooner or later consume other shrimp species in close quarters. Bob Fenner>>

Peppermint shrimp Bob- I recently purchased a Peppermint Shrimp. Since day 1 it has been missing in action. The only other inhabitants in the tank are a Percula Clown, Yellow-Tailed Damsel, and a host of red legged, blue legged and left handed hermit crabs. The shrimp never comes out when I feed the tank, which is unlike my old Coral Banded Shrimp which aggressively ate. Is it in the nature of Peppermint Shrimps to hide or should I assume he is dead? Thank you, Rob <<Hmm, they (Lysmata wurdemanni) do hide almost all the time... better kept in a small number if they'll fit... I wouldn't give up just yet.... Especially if it is molting... you won't see much of it for a while. Bob Fenner>>

Re: invert compatibility The shrimp I'm suspecting is eating the hermits is Lysmata amboinensis, and there is nothing else in the tank that I have seen bothering the hermits and nothing that I think really would. Is this species of shrimp ever been know to eat hermits?  <<Yes, unfortunately... most don't. Bob Fenner>>

2 Cleaner Shrimp Can I have 2 Pacific Cleaner Shrimp in a 55 gallon reef? My current shrimp is busy in my quarantine tank, but I would like to get another so it can be in my main tank in the meantime. Eventually though, the one in the quarantine tank will move back into the main tank and I'm wondering if the two would get along.  <<Almost always yes... two Lysmata amboinensis should do fine in a fifty five with plenty of live rock. Bob Fenner>>

Peppermint shrimp and Sebae question??? Help :-( Today I bought a sebae purple tip anemone with two tomato clowns. Can't wait for the clowns to get in the anemone, but as soon as I put the sebae in, my two peppermint shrimp, which did a great job eating my Aiptasia 2 months ago, hopped into it. Does the peppermint have a relationship with the sebae? <Not a mutualistic one...> Are they eating it? <Possibly, likely yes> Do I need to remove them? <I would if you can> Will they keep the clowns from entering the sebae? <More likely the other way around if the Clowns would begin associating with the (Heteractis crispa) anemone>... they only naturally occur with Entacmaea quadricolor... take a look through the references listed on the Anemone and Clownfish sections on the www.WetWebMedia.com site... though they may become symbionts with your Sebae... shooing off the pesky Shrimp.> Thanks. Need help ASAP. Michael <Happy netting! Bob Fenner>

My angry little Hawkfish Hello Mr. Fenner! <Howdy> Today, I'm writing about my Cirrhitichthys falco (Dwarf Hawkfish). He's a wonderful little tank mate, that is much more active than others that I've seen. Unfortunately, he just cost me a bit of money. My hawkfish is about 1.5 inches in length, max. I put in a cleaner shrimp that was more than twice his size (I had read your site and made sure that I didn't introduce anything too small, that the hawkfish would eat). He IMMEDIATELY attacked the shrimp until it could get itself into the reef area of my tank (my mistake, I should have introduced the shrimp in a more docile fashion, placing him immediately into the security of the reef). However, the shrimp got away and did fine for about a week. He even molted successfully after 2 days in the tank. I had purchased him with a bicolor angelfish, and the two of them sort of "hung out" together, with the shrimp cleaning the angelfish. Once the shrimp found his "cleaning station", other fish started coming up as well. Surprisingly, the hawkfish even started coming up to be "cleaned" (or maybe to "case" the scene . . .). <Maybe both... but cirrhitids do use as well as consume such animals in the wild> Well, my bicolor angel died about 5 days later, and the hawkfish immediately started attacking the shrimp again. He would come along, overturn the shrimp and attack his belly. I tried to separate them, but it was too late. The shrimp died within a day. So, my question is, is this normal behavior for a dwarf hawkfish, even with shrimps larger than itself?  <Commonly, yes> Furthermore, are there any decorative crustaceans that I could introduce to my tank that would be safe with this little angry fish AND would be safe to my anemones and other fish?  <Crabs, real and false/Hermits...> I don't want to introduce any trouble, but I really enjoyed having that cleaner shrimp in the tank. As always, thank you for your wonderful advice! You've been a great help to me in my marine tank endeavors. <Glad to be here. Bob Fenner> Deborah H. Colella

Shrimps I would like to keep cleaner shrimps will they be eaten by a flame hawk , Thanks Bob, Ron from R.I.  <<Too likely so...Bob Fenner>>

Cleaner shrimp (expensive meals) Hi Mr. Fenner I've written to you before, and appreciated your answers in the past. Now, I have a new question. I'm having lots of trouble keeping my shrimps alive. They, at first were being attacked, and killed off during the night one by one. (if you remember me writing you about an assassin in my tank about two weeks ago). I finally found the culprit, who was my royal Dottyback. After I wrote to you, I decided to try one more shrimp, and this time we actually saw the culprit swoosh right in, and start attacking. <Yes, some pseudochromid species/specimens have unrelenting appetites for shrimps...> Needless to say, the little shrimp guy did not make it. So I took the Dottyback out, and brought him back to the LFS. They even have a big warning on their tank now, not to sell him to anyone with shrimp in their tank. Now my problem is mostly with the cleaner shrimps I put in. They don't last past one day. My water parameters are all good, except I have my salinity low, it's always around 1.017, or 1.018. on purpose. I introduce my shrimp the same way as all my other invertebrates, and fish, yet they go down till they find something to rest on, and there they stay, alive for a while, but they just don't seem right. They don't really move at all, and I find them hours later dead, in the same place. No sign of attack, or anything. Even watching them I see that they just perish. <You are right on target in stating the case of low spg... the new shrimp can't make this chasm/gap in one go... you might try acclimating them to lower salinity/specific gravity over a couple months time from near seawater conditions in a separate tank... and be careful from there on to match the spg of new water> My other types of shrimp, such as my camel shrimps, survive fine. One other thing, I've always been buying my cleaner shrimp on the small side, thinking that a younger one will last longer, and have time to grow. Is this a factor because I've noticed that you don't recommend buying some types of fish on the small side. Is it possible that the LFS that I buy my shrimp from don't get good quality shrimps.  <Possibly, but not usually> (I have another store that I can go to, but haven't yet because they are almost double the cost then at the first store). I know you always say you get what you pay for as far as the catching, transportation, etc..., but it seems like this is more with the fish quality then shrimps, or am I wrong? Is there anything specific that the cleaner shrimps need: water parameters, water quality that differs from fish in general, or other types of shrimp, or should I just try one from a different store. I thank you greatly in advance, Greg N. <You need to acclimate them very slowly... like a thousandth of a point per week. Bob Fenner>

Cleaner shrimp & anemones I just purchased a Scarlet Striped Cleaner Shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis) and he has been spending all of his time around the base of my quadricolor anemone. Will he hurt the anemone? <Possibly, but probably not... may be hanging out there for "protection"... as in the wild> I figure the anemone may eat him but, I was wondering if he would harm it. The shrimp is a lot smaller than the anemone so I don't think he can just eat the anemone but, can he pinch the anemone and cause it to die? <Again, not likely> Also, I was wondering if you might have any idea what the 'blob' is that I have in the same saltwater tank. The 'blob' has been there for like 2 years and has only grown like 1/4of an inch. The 'blob' I'm referring to is a group of gravel and shells from the bottom of the aquarium that are like cemented together. You can kinda see a whitish looking material within the group of cemented shells but other than that it's just a 'blob' of cemented gravel and shells that is slowly getting bigger. Thanks for the help! Ann <Your blob is likely a type of Sponge... Phylum Porifera... nothing to worry about. You can see some of these on our site here: http://wetwebmedia.com/sponges.htm Bob Fenner>

Re: cleaner shrimp & anemones Thanks for the quick response. I didn't think it would hurt it but, I wasn't sure. The Maroon clown who lives in the anemone doesn't seem to care that the shrimp is hanging out there. Thanks again! Ann <Ah, and rest-assured, the Maroon Clown will not tolerate anyone messing with the anemone... even you! Bob Fenner>

Re: cleaner shrimp & anemones I know about the little guy's attitude (Maroon clown) he just loves to charge me and bite me whenever I put my hand down into the tank. I wasn't too sure how aggressive he would be towards the shrimp though because the shrimp is only a little bit smaller than him. He is only like 1 and 1/2 inches long but he is full of attitude! Thanks again! Ann

Cleaner shrimp Hello Zo: Is 100 gal. large enough for a skunk cleaner shrimp and a flame shrimp? <Should be. Bob Fenner, who has returned> Thanks, Ken

Some help with coral banded shrimp Hello whoever is there today, I have a fairly large coral banded shrimp in my reef tank which snacks on any peppermint shrimps I introduce to get rid of Aiptasia. I have tried in vain to catch him - he scuttles behind the rocks as soon as his feelers touch my nets. PLEASE can you give me some advice on how to catch him. <Bait him/it out with a good sized piece of meaty food (a cocktail shrimp?) on a fishing line, and when it's out near the front, net it out> Aiptasia is becoming a problem now and I suspect that he is nipping the tails of my peach Anthias as well. <Could well be> Many thanks for ideas on how to trap him. I want to trade him in for something a bit friendlier. Sharon <Try the bait route now... if this doesn't work, there are all-plastic traps you can resort to. Bob Fenner>

Re: help with coral banded shrimp Hi Bob, This is one clever shrimp. I have tried baiting him but he has got wise to me and I have no hope of netting him. The traps that have been offered to me will kill him (like a mousetrap) - which is not my intent. What type of trap do you recommend? <Take a look (on the Net, LFS), there are "have a heart" type, non-killing traps sold. Bob Fenner> In desperation

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