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FAQs about Cleaner Shrimp Disease/Health

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 Compatibility, Cleaner Shrimp Systems, Cleaner Shrimp Feeding, 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 DiseaseCrustacean Identification, Crustacean Selection, Crustacean Behavior, Crustacean Compatibility, Crustacean Systems, Crustacean Feeding, Crustacean Disease, Crustacean Reproduction,

Most "lost" cleaners go from predation, poor and abrupt water quality changes, or errant "treatments" for disease, supplementing... Use tested, pre-mixed, stored water... administer chemicals carefully, slowly, only as necessary

Mystery shrimp deaths...     2/20/16
Hi Crew!
<Hey Dani>
I am hoping you can help me with an issue I have been having the last few weeks. My tank is about 3 months old, LED lighting 96w, 28 gallons, 1.025 spg, nitrate, nitrite, ammonia are at 0.
<? How is Nitrate rendered zip?>

I have a small percula, a yellow watchman, a variety of about 10 snails, and 6 scarlet hermits.
The issue is I got a cleaner shrimp a few weeks after cycling. Did awesome, very active and ate well--too well at times lol. However, one day while gravel vacuuming I noticed her legs curled up and she later passed a day later. She was twitching and would try hiding in caves, very weird for her.
After a large water change, I attempted another shrimp with the same results. It was fine, then legs seem to weaken, then twitch, followed by hiding then dying the next day. I tried letting the tank go fallow for a few weeks, did routine water changes, but the next shrimp also passed the same way. I have searched through forums and did research to no avail.
Please advise, I don't want to kill shrimp needlessly. Thank you crew!
<Well; "something" in the water here is toxic, dangerous to shrimp; but not hermits or snails... Can't say what though. I would try a pad of PolyFilter, placed in your circulation, filter flow... and see/report what color (if any) it changes here.
Bob Fenner>
Re: Mystery shrimp deaths...     2/20/16

<Big D!>
I actually run a PolyFilter 24/7 unless I have done a water change. It usually is light tan to progressively dark as it nears water change time.
<Brown? Am wondering if you have an iron issue here. I'd take a water sample to a fish store that deals in reefs, or a QA lab... have them test for Fe +2,3>

I usually wait a day before replacing the PolyFilter so the system can better absorb new elements. Is it possible that's why I get zero for any nitrates?
I have noticed compared to my past tanks that my hermits don't seem to molt much...I don't think I have even noticed one come to think of it. I haven't lost one hermit though. I did a test for copper today which also came up to zero. Is it possible I have a iodide deficiency?
<For sure... I would only switch the PolyFilter out every month or two.... same with GAC here>
I do weekly water changes with premixed red sea salt RO water--I figured that would be enough supplements?
<Mmm; no; not really. Need to test for what you're concerned with, AND anything you're adding>
I also use reef builder by SeaChem once a week with the water change (which is half the dose really as it advices twice a week).
<This should do it for your Alk. and Alk. earths>
I do have corals, both lps and sps.
<Oh! They're likely NO3 starved (as well as HPO4, K...). Again, I'd cut back on your chemical filtrant use. Cleanliness is NOT sterility in biological systems>
They seem to all be fully extended, growing although slowly.
<... see on WWM. ALL life needs N, P, K>
I'm really baffled. My acclimation is by drip method over 30 minutes at least by the way. Hope you can guide me on this one!
<Either a deficiency syndrome at work here (on your lost shrimps, slow growing corals, non-molting hermits) or the Cnidarians negatively reacting to a lack of essential nutrient/s; reacting allelopathically here. Bob Fenner>

SW shrimp w/ white bubble      11/1/15
Hello I have a cleaner shrimp here he's about 3 months new to my tank it have a 120gl and everything is doing fine. He seems to have a white bubble on his left side and its getting quite large is he safe to keep in my tank or what should I be doing with him ?
<Please use the search tool (on every page) on WWM with the string "Shrimp, Bubble, Iodide"
he seems to be fine living his life out like the other 2 shrimp I have…?
<Could be a molting issue on the one.... the iodide-ate should fix this; prompt the molt. Bob Fenner>

Question about Lysmata amboinensis; hlth.        4/14/15
<Hey Nic>
I'm amazed by the ton of valuable information posted on the FAQ dedicated to L. amboinensis, but unfortunately did not find any for my case, which I will describe below.
My three L. amboinensis died (one died first, three weeks ago, and remaining two passed away yesterday). Symptoms were similar : they had some kind of brown algae on the antennas and the thorax, and considerably reduced their activities since then. I assume this is a disease or a parasite, but could not find any related resource on the web. Have anyone ever heard about such case ?
<Ah, yes... methinks this may be due to overall lacking circumstances: Most often an imbalance of N,P,K and alkaline earth components... some that may be made up from feeding; some through dosing (particularly iodide-ate); secondarily from accumulation of shrimp-toxic materials (again, from supplements mainly). Bob Fenner>

Cleaner shrimp molted but part of exoskeleton still attached 8/28/12
Hi WWM Crew,
I have another question for you.  This one about my Cleaner Shrimp.  I will have had him for a year on Sept. 9.  He has done fine during that time, molting regularly.  I add Iodide daily (as per the instructions on the bottle).
<Mmm, I'd add every few days, not daily. Too likely a chance for overdosing, and not necessary>

 The night before last he molted.  Nothing unusual about that.  This morning I saw him out on top of a rock swaying back and forth (advertising for cleaning) like normal.  I also noticed right behind his head is a small piece of his old exoskeleton that is still attached to him on one end and kind of floating up on the other. It looks like part of what used to cover his back. It’s no bigger than 1/4 inch square.  He didn’t eat yesterday, but that’s not unusual for him right after a molt.  He seems fine otherwise.  Is this a concern? 
<Could be... time to check for measures of alkalinity, alkaline earth concentration... and/or do a large water change>
Thanks for in advance for this answer and all of your wonderful help.
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Cleaner shrimp molted but part of exoskeleton still attached - 8/28/12

Hi Bob,
Thanks for the rapid answer.  I just did a 25% water change on Saturday evening.  On Sunday evening water tests were AM 0, NI 0, NA 30, CA 400,
<[Mg]? Needs to be in ratio>
SG 1.022
<I'd raise, keep at near seawater strength (1.025, 1.026). See WWM for rationale>

, pH 8.1, dKH 13 (I know this is a little high, but my tap water has a high dKH (10 to 12).  Before the WC it was 11 dKH).  I am at work now, so I
can't do any more current testing until later.  I don't have tests for the other alkaline earth concentrations, but I used Instant Ocean Reef Crystals (which is supposed to add trace elements, right?).  
<Correct; but over time the amounts of various components can/does drift>
On Saturday I also added the first layer of sand in order to build a DSB.
<Ah good>
 I added a half an inch to the back third of the aquarium.  Could this have something to do with it?
 Should I do another big water change, so soon, or just wait and see?
<When, where in doubt, change water. BobF>
Re: Cleaner shrimp molted but part of exoskeleton still attached - 8/28/12

I'm sorry, I forgot to put my name at the end of the email I just sent, and say thank you again.  I'm so grateful for your efforts.
<Am glad to assist your efforts, add to your useful knowledge. B>

Cleaner Shrimp - Mysterious spot/lesion!  4/9/12
Hi guys! In urgent need of some help here!
I've had these two cleaner shrimps for about 5 months, and they have been at the peak of health.
But today suddenly while re-aquascaping a bit today I suddenly noticed that one of my cleaners had this strange unknown spot/blotch or lesion.
<I see this/these>
His behavior is fine, he does not seem in any kind of distress and is acting completely normal, just like any other day.
Water parameters are all fine, and my cleaners have no prior history of health issues during the entire 5 month period.
And I have not added anything at all to the tank, period, since then, no livestock, no rock, nothing!
This mark seems to have cropped up out of nowhere in the last 24-48 hours.
Specific gravity: 1.026
PH: 8.3
Alk: 9 dKH
Calcium: 400 ppm
Magnesium: 1350 ppm
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
Phosphate: 0
<How are NO3 and HPO4 rendered zip?>
Would be really happy if someone could shed some light on this, thanks!
Kindest regards,
<Mmm, the most likely "explanation" for this/these mark/s is environmental... Do you administer Iodide, -ate regularly? I would. Oh, and read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clrshrpdisfaqs.htm
Bob Fenner>

Re: Cleaner Shrimp - Mysterious spot/lesion!    4/20/12
Hi again.
Sorry to trouble you again, but there's been a complication.
My shrimp or some other tank inhabitant has scratched off the bubble/cyst from his carapace.
He now has a hole open into his gut, and some of the food he eats ends up spilling out.
For the moment he seems chipper, but the hole is decidedly not a good thing.
Is there anything I can do for him? Can the injury heal itself?
Or is an injury like this inevitably terminal?
<I do hold out hope that this wound will self-heal. I would "step up" your iodide-ate dosing to help>
<And you, BobF>

Re: Cleaner Shrimp - Mysterious spot/lesion!  4/9/12
Hi! Thanks for the quick reply!
My fear was because of the oval shape that it could be some kind of parasite,
<Mmm, highly unlikely>
although thought it odd if it would pop up now.
I have to admit that I do not know what the abbreviation "zip" means.
<My apologies... as in "nothing" "zero", "zilch"... In other words, am wondering if you're utilizing chemical filtrants (there should be "some" measurable nitrate and phosphate in all biological systems...), or perhaps there is an aggressive pest algal issue here scavenging up all available>
And no, I don't supplement Iodide, mainly because I have not found a test kit to reliably test for it in my tank.
<Mmm, please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/IodineSWArt.htm
and the linked files above. I would "under add" if nothing else here...>
Plus I have been told that it should be enough with regular water changes, to replenish the trace elements.
<And you, BobF>
Re: Cleaner Shrimp - Mysterious spot/lesion!  4/9/12

Wow thanks! That clears up a lot!
So happens that I do have a fair amount of macro algae in my tank, and I run a refugium loaded with Chaetomorpha on a reverse daylight cycle.
Correct me if I am wrong, but I guess this is likely the reason I have a "0" reading, and I suppose could also be depleting my iodine levels.
<Ah yes... a likely scenario. B>

Re: Cleaner Shrimp - Mysterious spot/lesion!    4/18/12
Hi Bob!
Just thought I would give a follow up on my shrimp.
After I last wrote the discoloration on his carapace turned completely black, and took on a somewhat "dented" appearance in the middle.
Though after a few days most of the black discoloration faded only the edges of the anomaly remained black.
Today he finally molted, and there is nothing black left, though a slight discoloration and scarring seems to remain, in particular something that looks like a tiny clear cyst-like disfiguration in the middle of where the black spot was in the images I sent you.
To me this almost seems like it could have been some kind of physical trauma to his carapace and maybe some minor complications with it during his molt.
But then again that's just me guessing as I have not been able to find any comprehensive information on shrimp injuries or what scarring would look like on critters with an exoskeleton.
<Thank you for this follow-up Mark. BobF>
Re: Cleaner Shrimp - Mysterious spot/lesion!   4/25/12

Hi Bob.
Time to close the book on this sad chapter.
I am sorry to report that the shrimp did not make it, he succumbed to his injury this morning unfortunately.
Can't say I'm surprised as he was unable to retain the food he consumed.
Just wish I knew what the cause of his original injury that lead to this was.
<Me too>
Though In my search for answers I came across an interesting piece of documentation, the "Handbook of Shrimp Diseases" by S.K. Johnson from 1995.
My beautiful cleaner may be dead, but maybe this experience can be of help to someone else some day.
<Thank you for this follow-up Mark. BobF>

Ocellaris Clown/cleaner shrimp Question (aggr., beh.)   6/2/2011
Hi, you have a great website and I have been reading up on Clownfish behavior and it is really helpful. I have a 29g BioCube with about 25-30 lbs of live rock that I purchased second hand (the whole tank setup that is).
I have a few hermits, snails, a skunk cleaner shrimp, large feather duster, a Firefish Goby, one Green Chromis, a Lawnmower Blenny,
<Needs supplemental feeding in this small volume>
and two juvenile Ocellaris Clowns. I purchased the clowns about 3 months ago and one has been the larger more dominant one (female) since the time I purchased them from a LFS. She has always been slightly aggressive with the male but I've never seen her attacking him or harassing him to any extreme. In the last week or two the female has taken to attacking my hand anytime I work in the tank, which, from what I've read, seems pretty normal.
<Yes; tis so>
The Clowns "host" the pump return nozzle as far as I can tell but she will go after my hand regardless of where it is in the tank.
This week, my Scarlett Skunk cleaner shrimp has been hiding in the live rock. He usually comes out to visit when I watch the tank or I will see him cleaning the Blenny. I haven't seen him molt in the last few days and at first I thought that he was just about to molt and that was why he was hiding. Yesterday, I noticed that a piece of my Firefish Goby's tail fin was missing and she's moved to live under a different rock than she normally does. Could my Clownfish be attacking the Goby and the shrimp?
<Yes; too likely so>
Is my tank overstocked and that's what has caused the aggression?
<Mmm, yes>
The Blenny was the last thing I added but it was a month and a half ago. The odd behavior in my fish didn't start until the beginning of last week. I haven't seen the Clownfish act aggressively towards any tank mates other than the male Clown (and my poor hand of course) so maybe I'm jumping to conclusions about the Goby and shrimp?
<Best to be observant, pro-active>
My nitrates are at 0, temp kept between 78-80 degrees F, salinity at 1.025 (slightly above but below 1.026), pH at 8.0 (my LFS has told me this is low, but I've read that it is low normal.
<Is fine>
I'd rather not add chemicals to raise the pH unless
really necessary). Only major problem I have right now is hair algae, but I'm battling it with Chaeto, Chemipure Elite, and manual removal (aka getting my hand attacked by the Clown).
<Good reflex training>
I feed pellet food once a day but
I'm careful not to over feed. I also do Rod's food once a week, max, to feed my Duncan coral.
Any help would be appreciated!
<Mmm, Erin... as you point out, you need a larger system. Bob Fenner>
Re: Ocellaris Clown/cleaner shrimp Question  6/2/2011
I was afraid I had pushed the stocking limit on my 'cube. I foolishly followed the advice of a LFS and added the Blenny [?]. If I take him back, does my stocking look ok?
<Doubtful... other than your hands, if the female Clown continues to intimidate your other livestock... You and they will need more room. Cheers (and biers!), BobF>
Re: Ocellaris Clown/cleaner shrimp Question 6/3/2011
Hi Bob,
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions I really appreciate it. I just got home and all of the fish are out and about. The cleaner shrimp is out of hiding but not acting like he usually does. I fed everybody pellet food today and I tried to give the shrimp a few pellets with the tongs and normally he would snatch them up pretty greedily. Today it was like he couldn't even see the pellets or tongs. I had to touch his whiskers with the tong for him to go after the food. It's almost like he can't see! I don't see any visible signs of damage or discoloration. Any suggestions about what I can do? He is due to molt in the next week or so.
<Do you use/administer supplements to foods, the water? What sort of balance twixt biomineral concentrations and alkalinity? Have you read on WWM re shrimp health, the use of iodide/ate? I would. BobF>
Thanks again!
Re: Ocellaris Clown/cleaner shrimp Question 6/3/2011

Thanks for you help but there's no need to reply about the shrimp...he died maybe 40 minutes after I sent the email last night. I'm pretty bummed to lose him he was a favorite in the tank. I wish I knew what happened to him.
The only changes in the tank were that I added the large feather duster a week ago (which is doing fine) but I don't know if that could have been related or not.
<Not likely. Again, please learn to/use the search tool, indices on WWM. The more common sources of mortality of these crustaceans I've hinted at, are covered over and over on our site. B>
Re: Ocellaris Clown/cleaner shrimp Question 6/3/11

I have been reading up on cleaner shrimp since last night on your site since I was able to narrow it down to a shrimp problem. I use premixed RODI salt water from the LFS (always get it from the same store), and add Kent Nano Reef A&B
<How is this added? I would only do so in the new/make-up water, NOT placed directly into the tank>
about once a week or whenever I see the calcium levels drop.
<From, to?>
Usually my 5 gallon weekly water changes keep the minerals and calcium at good levels.
<A good technique for small volumes assuredly... What is the ratio twixt Ca:Mg? Again, I2 addn.s? >
Thanks again for all of your guidance.
<Welcome. B>
Re: Ocellaris Clown/cleaner shrimp Question 6/3/11
Hi Bob sorry I wanted to wait to reply until I could test my water today.
Calcium is at 500
and I try to keep it between 400-500. Mg is at 1280. I haven't been adding any iodine and everything has been molting pretty regularly.
<Let the Ca conc. drift to about 400... more is not useful, is out of balance w/ the Mg and makes it too hard to keep sufficient alkalinity/alkaline reserve is sol'n>
I have been putting the Kent AB into the tank per the labels instructions but can start adding to mixed water instead.
<Do so>
<Welcome. BobF>

Cryptocaryon and Sudden Cleaner Shrimp Death, 10/26/10
Hi WWM Crew. I really like your site; it's really informative and helpful.
So here's my story: I had a 29 gallon tank running for about 2 months. Everything was fine; my ocellaris clownfish, Firefish, and Falco Hawkfish were doing well. Then the problems started to begin when I got a royal gramma.
<Not a good tankmate with the Firefish, there may be aggression issues here.>
Well, I'm 14, and as a teenager I acted stubbornly and just decided to acclimate and put him in the tank.
This ended up being a very fatal mistake to my aquarium. When I bought the Gramma, he was in a tank with another Gramma that was very sick and had many cuts on it. Even a clarkii clownfish had Popeye in the same tank'¦ very stupid of me to buy from there.
<Live and learn.>
So I acclimate him properly and put him in the tank, and he's just swimming around, looking for a "territory" I guess; he would usually stay behind a rock after a few days, so it became his spot. After about a week, I see white spots on his fins. I ignore it for a while and the next day Crypto is on my clownfish; my Firefish and Hawkfish were fine, but my Firefish started acting weirdly and started going to the very top of my tank.
<Most likely all are infected.>
He would never do that; He's usually stay near the sand. Anyway, I finally decide to quarantine, knowing that I should have done that a very long time ago. I'm using hyposalinity, which is working well for my fish; they lost all the spots after a few days.
<Watch the salinity closely, otherwise the treatment may not work.>
During this time I got a cleaner shrimp and put him in the main tank, which also has a hammer coral frag, some yellow polyps, 4 hermit crabs, and a coral banded shrimp. I dealt with that issue by putting my CBS in my other tank which as a 20 gallon. So after a few days, I notice that my cleaner shrimp starts to stay in the same spot; he looks fine, but he doesn't move around as much. I feed him frozen food and flake food. Then he starts to tip over easily; the water flow just takes him to some part of my tank; he's still alive but not moving. Finally, he died (unfortunately). So I have 2 questions: how long will it take for Cryptocaryon to die in my tank without a host?
<Minimum of 4 weeks, 6 to 8 is much better.>
I'm using a UV sterilizer for any free floating parasites too.
<Of limited use.>
Also, why did my cleaner shrimp die?
<I would guess due to acclimation issues, they are very sensitive to environmental changes.>
He was doing perfectly fine until a few days after I bought him. Could it have been that there wasn't enough algae?
<They are not really algae eaters.>
I really miss him, and I'm going to try and just wait until I add anything in my tank for a while.
<Probably a wise move.>
Also, my ammonia was 0, nitrites 0, and nitrates at about 5 ppt.

cleaner shrimp dying during molt - 10/09/10
Hi WWM crew:
I have a question about my cleaner shrimp, and I don't want to get another one (or two) until I am sure about something:
I had the shrimp for 6 months; he was about 2-1/2" (body size) when he died at night during molting. He had been molting about every 3 weeks. I keep reading about low iodine, but I do a 5% water change twice a week (suggestion I read on your website) so I thought iodine would be at a good level.
<Mmm, not unless this element is a part of the salt mix make up... Should be added exogenously... once a week will do... Iod-ide/ate... like Lugol's solution or a commercial prep.>
I don't have a test kit, at present. Otherwise, my information is as follows: 90g FOWLR + turbo snails, a couple green star polyps, and previously, one cleaner shrimp. I have 1 tomato clown, 1 flame angel, 2 Chromis, 1 fire fish, and 1 watchman goby.
The shrimp died during the night when the goby was still in his den under the sand - he is the only fish who sometimes seemed to threaten the shrimp, with his mouth wide open, but no contact made.
My water parameters are: ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates at 0, salinity 1.025, temp. 80-81, filtered by sump, protein skimmer in sump, two power heads in tank. I feed Emerald Entree, Marine Cuisine and Spirulina Brine Shrimp, alternating between the three. The shrimp has always eaten enthusiastically, and I usually target fed him, too. He rarely cleaned the angel, and the other fish weren't interested in cleaning services.
Please let me know your opinion on why he died. Do you think he was just old?
<Could be. These species doesn't live all that long...>
As I said, he had about doubled his size to 2-1/2", plus feelers, in nine months when I found him this morning still partly attached to his molt.
Thanks again for your assistance.
<Thank you for writing so well, complete. Bob Fenner> 
Re: cleaner shrimp dying during molt, I2 use  -- 10/9/10

Hi Bob,
Thanks so much for your rapid reply, and for so much helpful information regarding my cleaner shrimp.
<Welcome Edie>
I looked on the website of the salt product (Seachem ReefSalt) I have been using
for twice weekly, 5% water changes. It lists iodide at 0.060. Is that sufficient?
<Ah yes... a good brand and sufficient for all's use>
Does that differ from iodine?
<Mmm, yes... not to be confusing... these are both/all the same element (their atoms have the same number of protons), but different valence states (differing numbers of electrons...) but elemental iodine, I2 is not useful... is actually quite toxic. Suffice it here to state that the SeaChem brand has the "right type" of Iodine>
Or should I be adding an additional amount of iodine?
<Not necessarily, no>
Should I have a test kit of some kind (I have the basic test kit for a fish-only tank, so nothing for other elements.)
<Mmm, maybe a read over our collected FAQs:
and the linked files above. Am going to ask MarcoL here to write a review piece re. BobF>
Thanks again for taking the time to help me.

I think I know the answer but I should check, Sm. SW mis-stocked  -- 02/02/10
<Hello Carter.>
My cleaner shrimp is brand new to the tank. its a 30gal with live rock, blue devil, two mated clownfish, 4 green Chromis, and a blue tang.
<In a 30? See the little animated smiley beating his head on the keyboard and then: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/StkgSmSWsysArt.htm.>
I placed them in last night. I wake up this morning and the shrimp is acting fine. I get home this evening and I can't find the shrimp. Finally I look for it under a plastic castle. I find him sitting there but doesn't try to run. I picked him up and I really think he's dead. I don't see anything wrong with him physically, and last night he was not cleaning though the green Chromis was begging. I'm kind of wanting conformation that he is dead or if he is in shock, or molting, I don't know I thought I'd ask I've gotten great answers to my questions from your site before.
<I don't know, you are there observing the shrimp. I am not, nor do I know anything about your system except that it is very overstocked! Good chance it is gone.>
Keep up the good work!
<Will do.>
Thanks, carter shank
<Welcome, Scott V.>

Cleaner Shrimp Dying/Shrimp Health 1/28/10
I have what I suppose would be considered a micro salt tank ~10 gal. with 3 small non-aggressive fish,
<I believe you are pushing the fish load in a 10 gallon tank.>
a couple of snails, healthy live rock, and there was until recently a cleaner shrimp. Very stable, constant tank for over a year with regular conditioned water changes (use Instant Ocean), minimal other input. Like an idiot, I purchased a Kordon product ("Tidy Tank") on sale at the store that purported to help "clean the tank" - basically an anaerobic bacteria supplement - and added a bit during a water change.
<Basically heterotrophic bacteria, Bacillus species.)
Immediately things went haywire, with snails getting sick for several days (recovered) and algae growth increasing dramatically. Finally after about a month, just when I thought I had things back to normal, the previously very active cleaner shrimp molted for the second time in a month (unusual frequency), then suddenly died. I was puzzled, checked every chemical parameter I had means to (NH4, NO3, PO4, Alk, pH, Sal), and naively chalked it up to old age, though I had fears of some residual effect from the bacteria infusion. So I added another cleaner shrimp (acclimated, etc.) a few days after the first's demise. This one didn't last more than 24 hrs before it too molted and died. Now I'm really bothered. What is killing these shrimp? Am I incorrectly blaming the Tidy Tank (doubt it based on reviews)? Do I dare ever put shrimp in the tank again?
<I'm not a fan of these type additives, isn't necessary in a well maintained tank. As to the shrimp, there may be an iodine deficiency in your tank, a trace element needed by these shrimp to aid in molting. Too much iodine can be negative as it can cause premature molting. Ornamental shrimp require a long period of drip acclimation, just acclimating to water temperature and releasing can result in the shrimp's death.
Do read here and related articles/FAQ's.
Thanks for any help or clues you might offer.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Cleaner Shrimp WITH Ich 10/17/09
I have searched high and low with no result. All I need to know is can/do cleaner shrimp carry ich, or can they be sick with it.
<Anything wet can convey ich, but they are not affected with it (marine or freshwater)>
I have two in my tank. They have been in my tank for 3 days. They are happy and hungry. One of them has 5 or 6 small white spots that look like ich on it's exoskeleton.
<Oh, this is something else. Generally indicative of low alkalinity, and/or a lack or disproportionality of biominerals (Ca and Mg)>
A few are on the red stripe, a few on its sides. This is nothing like the black spots others have explained in your forums. Should I pull this shrimp out or am I freaking out over nothing? THANK YOU. _Ryan_
<You should search, read on WWM re whatever species, type of water Shrimp these are... "Health" in the subFAQs. Bob Fenner>

Cleaner Shrimp died overnight 03/11/09
I have had a 30gal tank for over two years so it is well established. I have had a raccoon butterfly
<Needs more room than this>
and a tomato clownfish for a better part of that time. I recently got a coral beauty
<This too...>
and two clownfish
<... not likely acceptable to your extant clown...>
from my sister-in-law
who did not want to keep up her tank so she gave them to me. I went and got a cleaner shrimp, my third since opening my tank, previous ones have died of natural causes. I drip acclimated the shrimp for a couple hours, as I do all my new fish. I introduced him and immediately my butterfly and beauty went to him. The shrimp seemed distant, which my other shrimps were after being introduced.
<Yes... take a while to "settle in">
I kept an eye on him for a while and all seemed fine. He climbed up by my drip filter, a little unorthodox, but a secluded area to be by himself to get used to the tank. The next day he was dead. And he was being eaten by bristle worms. I took a water sample to the store I bought him from and they say the water is perfectly fine. I did not add any medication to my tank in a very long time, such as copper. The store said they had him for over three weeks and he was fine.
The only thing I can think of is the bristle worms but they have never attacked a live fish before. (For some reason my butterfly is not eating them.) What could have cause the shrimp to die so suddenly?
James Weiss
<Could be a few things water quality wise (that folks don't have tests for even), or "just stress"... Please read here:
and the linked file above on Systems... Your system really needs to be larger to house the species you list... Please see WWM re. Bob Fenner>

Cleaner shrimps Death!, FW Dipping Shrimp 8/7/08 Hello. <Hi> I have recently bought a Cleaner Shrimp from LFS and a Blue Hippo Tang along with it, the problem is, is that as I was observing them in the bag I realized there was a high chance the Tang recently suffered from Ick, so I floated the bag (15min) than gave them both a freshwater dip (8.3 ph). <Uh oh, shrimp cannot handle fresh water dips, it is quite deadly to them.> After about 3-5 minutes I put them into the QT for further inspection. The Tang swam around with joy, but the cleaner just sat there (as if it were shocked). <Osmotic shock.> If my tang is alive after the dip why should my shrimp be any different? <Because the FW dip has the same effect on shrimp as it does the ich parasite.> (water parameters are perfect sg 1.025, Alk 4meg/L, Cal 440ppm, mag1300ppm, ph8.3, phos amm nIte undetectable, nAte <0-0.2, tanks running stable for 2 years) Thank you for your time, Serop. <Be aware that FW dips are not cures of ich, the tang will need to be treated in the QT.> <Chris>

Confused about cleaner shrimps death, reading    4/24/08 Hi. I've been searching the internet for possible answers and so far nothing. I've had two cleaner shrimp for about a year. They seemed happy and healthy and have been shedding every 2-3 weeks. One was continuously pregnant and kept throwing out baby cleaner shrimp, but I saw most of them get eaten or sucked up by the filter. <Typical> However today both my cleaner shrimp died and I can't figure out why. My boyfriend actually caught one of our shrimps shedding their skin today and said it looked as it if it was having trouble shedding his skin. <Ahh, also a common occurrence...> However, since we've never seen a shrimp shed his skin, we don't know if he was actually having trouble or if this is the norm. <There is some apparent "jerking" and struggling in the best of circumstances... but this is over in a few minutes, with the shed exoskeleton in obvious good articulation... the new one a bit larger...> Anyways, it seems strange that both of them would die on the same day. <Agreed> All my fish aren't at all aggressive except for my coral beauty who seems to have his moments when a new fish is introduced to the tank (I have two percula clownfish, a mandarin goby, a Firefish goby, two cardinals, a coral beauty, four catfish, a yellow wrasse and a leopard wrasse). But all the fish seemed to get along fine with the shrimp, and a few let the shrimp clean them. What could have caused their death? <... Very likely either a matter of nutrition (lack thereof) and/or water quality (generally an imbalance of biomineral and alkalinity). There are other accounts of this nature archived... You can either learn to/use the search tool on WWM or read more widely here: http://wetwebmedia.com/clrshrpbehfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Cleaner shrimp--Cured my fire shrimp of the black spot disease---please help spread the word   9/27/07 7/9/07 We've had our red fire shrimp for about a year and a half now and recently he hasn't been the same. I first noticed these black spots he has on the white portion of his legs. He tries to clean them off, but to no avail. He's also been doing a lot of twitching, more than he usually does. He recently molted (about 2 weeks ago) and the black spots went away with the molt, but now they're back. Other than the spots and twitching, he's been acting fine and eating well. going to feed him daily. add iodine and see if I can't molt it out of him. 7/15/07 So the plan/treatment is working. got him to molt 2 days ago now and the spots are gone but I'm sure they will come back. We feed him krill each day and this causes him to grow and molt rapidly. 7-10 days. with each molt the spots disappear. 9/26/07 UPDATE My plan seems to have worked. I fed him daily causing him to grow and molt about every 7 days. Now he has no more signs of the black spot disease on him and he's doing great. For about a month Posts about it for reference http://forum.marinedepot.com/Topic70528-11-1.aspx http://www.bostonreefers.org/forums/showthread.php?p=494344#post494344 <Thank you for sending along! Bob Fenner>

Bad Shrimp Molt?; Cleaner Shrimp   3/11/07 Hello! <Hi Jenn.> I had a quick question for you about one of my two cleaner shrimp's! <Okay.> I have a new 20 gallon tank with only two cleaner shrimps, about 10 snails, and 4 hermit crabs. Both my shrimps have been molting properly for the past month. However, today I looked into the tank and saw that one of my shrimps was in the middle of molting, and it looked like his legs were stuck to his skin that he was shedding. He was at the bottom of my tank and he was twitching in order to attempt to free his legs from his shed skin. I was wondering if this sometimes happens, if he could possibly die, or if I should help him free himself? <I would just let him be, molting can be a harsh experience for crustaceans that we sometimes take for granted. Every once and a while they go through "bad" molts...could loose a leg or two but recovery usually happens with the next few consecutive moltings (death and long term damage may occur during molting in extreme circumstances I wouldn't stress yet).  It could be that you just caught him/her in mid molt.  Just feed a varied diet and don't be surprised if they hide over the next few days or so.  Keep in mind iodine is important with he molting of crustaceans, usually iodine levels can be maintained with frequent water changes though the occasional additional dose wouldn't be a bad idea (But if you do dose test for it as well).> Please answer quickly as I'm not sure what to do at the moment!! <Adam J.>

Cleaner shrimp with parasite? - 02/09/2007 Afternoon WWM... hope you are all well. <Yes, thank you> I have searched your dizzying array of illness related FAQs with no joy and Google gave me loads of links about shrimps that are supposed to have black spots. <Oh yes> OK. So I have a cleaner shrimp in my small tank that has developed a load of irregular black or dark patches on the carapace and in the gills. He spends a lot of time rubbing at these with his legs and those he can reach with his pincers. I can't see that they are raised at all, looking more like some sort of mold growing on him. It is in all areas of the shell. I attach a picture that I took a moment ago when he was well positioned. <I see this... a nice image of a Lysmata amboinensis...> He wasn't like this when I bought him and it seems to have developed suddenly. <As in a few days?> Tankmates are: 2x small ocellaris clown 2x small domino damsel <Yikes... keep your eyes on these... do become territorial> 1x false Gramma 1x bicolor blenny 5x blue legged hermit 70 liter tank; <Especially in such a small volume> Ammonia is 0 Nitrite is 0 Nitrate is 5 Ph is 8.0 salinity is 1.020 <I'd slowly raise this back to about 1.025> Any ideas? I really don't know if I should isolate him at this time - other than being clearly irritated he seems cheerful enough. All the best -Hendy p.s.  if you reply could you include the URL where I can find it in your forums please? <Mmm, well, we respond directly to all... this will go under Marine Shrimp, Disease... I do think this is an algal growth situation... that might be solved with the elevated SPG alone... a BGA likely... or the next molt... Not "treatable" per se, or likely dangerous. Bob Fenner>

Cleaner shrimp with parasite? - II - 02/09/2007 Thanks for replying Bob - it is great to get proper help and responses in a timely fashion. <Glad to help> I carried on searching and did find two references to this same sort of  thing - both seem to be associated with molting (although in on case the poor beastie failed to moult successfully) so I'll keep a watch on him. He doesn't seem overly bothered other than having a good scratch. <Good> I run the salinity at that level as there seems to be evidence it improves disease/parasite resistance - have you found this contrary? <I have with most non-vertebrate life... and quite a bit with fishes in the longer haul> Once again, Thanks to you all and I'll let you know what happens. <Ah, good> PS, the dominoes are territorial already but they just annoy each other (just what damsels do) and the false Gramma doesn't take any nonsense from them :o)  Cheers.  -H <Just the same; if Dascyllus trimaculatus got a foot long I wouldn't dive on their reefs! Bob Fenner>
Re: cleaner shrimp with parasite? And useful input re "pod" culture     2/23/07 Afternoon Crew... I hope you are all well. <Yes. Thank you> Update on the cleaner shrimp: It did indeed moult and seems to be doing well - now a pristine beastie with all the dark spots on the shed carapace. <Ah, good> Strangely, they don't look anywhere near as dark now. <We could speculate a while here...> Since this I have been looking at all shrimps much more closely and have noticed it on friends cleaners and on blood shrimps and cleaners at LFS near here - most of them hadn't noticed and didn't have a clue what it was. Except for GM in Northampton (well done lads). <Ahh!> On a slightly different but still fishy tack... many people seem to have difficulty keeping Dragonets due to their specialized food requirements. <Yes> Can I encourage you all to start a marine "pod farm". It is very easy. I have a 5 litre mineral water bottle with 4 litres of my tank water in. I bought two inoculums from www.reefworks.co.uk and stand the whole thing on my south facing window-sill in my workshop. 3 weeks later I had a mass of pods all zipping around like mad. They are very un-demanding, I give then a level tea-spoon of plain flour each week to supplement their diet of algae and detritus. Put an airline in and let nature take it's course. Now, each week I give the bottle a gentle shake and pour two litres of the mix into my tank and replace it with two litres of pristine indo-pacific from the tank. A week later the pods have made up their missing numbers. I do this at night so the pods can get established without the Chromis getting in on the act - they love them too. <Ah, yes> Some of them are bound to survive so each week I am bolstering the existing population - I might even get to a stage where I can dispense with the "farm", but not just yet. I'd rather have these helpful little creatures at plague proportions than my Mandarin getting skinny. <Agreed> The filtration copes with the grunge from the water (discoloured but not smelly) with no problems - the only sign being the next day my skimmer gets a good head on it from the waste protein from the flour :o) <I see> Take a look at the attached pic, on a 2x2 inch square of the bottle there are perhaps 200 pods of varying sizes from tiny specs that I can just about see to 2mm long fat females with egg pods in tow (the doubles) - I reckon 16 or more in this one shot - and every surface of the bottle is similarly covered All the best and keep up the good work Hendy <Very nice... and thank you! For sharing. You've greatly added to many peoples success, enjoyment by relating your observations, success. Bob Fenner>

Twitchy Cleaner Shrimp   12/14/06 Hi, <Hello Matt> The site is great- very helpful thanks! <Welcome> My cleaner shrimp is behaving a bit strangely lately, and I'm beginning to get worried.  The shrimp has been in my tank (29 gallons, 6 months old) for nearly three months and until recently seemed to be doing very well (eating, cleaning my hand, setting up a cleaning station I think, cleaning fish, etc.). <Good signs> Not much has really changed in my tank recently (though the lights were off for a few days causing some algae to die off).  Water parameters all seem to be within their normal ranges (ammonia, nitrite and nitrate = 0ppm; 79 degrees F; alkalinity = 9).  The other inhabitants of the tank (two clownfish, one diamond goby, a few crabs and a conch) are all doing well. For the past week or so, the shrimp has been "twitching" pretty often. Folks at the local fish store suggested vibrations (subway...?) as a reason for the jumpiness, <Mmm, maybe> but the twitches don't seem to have to do with events in the outside world, and are very large- sometimes it appears his whole body is "thrown" by a twitch.  His legs are sometimes crunched up underneath him or contorted and thus rendered useless.  When this happens, he hangs on to rocks with whatever legs do still function.  Sometimes it looks as if he's hanging from one leg while the others rigidly assume some curled position beneath him.  He has very recently stopped eating and won't get on my hand. <Bad changes> On occasion I've recently seen him scratching a bit at the back of his "head."  I've changed the water recently, but no change in the shrimp's behavior is apparent. There are no visible markings- just this weird behavior. I haven't been able to find any information about this at all.  Everyone I've talked to seems to be pretty mystified about the whole thing.  Have you ever heard anything like this?  Is there anything I can do?  Thanks so much! Matt <My best guess here with the provided information is that there is either a deficiency (likely alkalinity and/or biomineral) or an over-abundance of something (organics, a trace metal...) present that is mal-affecting your crustacean... You need tests for the former, possibly adjustment... and some means... dilution, chemical filtration, bio-accumulation... for the latter. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clrshrpdisfaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Black spots on cleaner shrimp   12/11/06 Hello, <Hi there Brian, Mich with you tonight.> I discovered a few black spots on the back of my cleaner shrimp, Bubba Gump, and would like your advice.   <Doubtful that this something to worry about.  Have seen this occur before molting.>   I also noticed the reaching and scratching behavior described by another user.   <Would be consistent with a molting event.> From the articles I've found on your site no one knows much about this.  My question is this.  My wife and I are going on vacation for 2 weeks in a few days.  I have someone coming to feed the tank (25gal with one small yellow tang, live rock and invertebrates, no coral 50 gal BioWheel filter 30 gal pump) every few days.   <Yellow Tang in a 25 gallon!?!?!  Hope you're getting a bigger tank soon!  Yellow Tangs (Zebrasoma flavescens) shouldn't be kept in anything smaller than a 75 gallon!> Should I try to catch the shrimp and get rid of it?   <No, leave it be.> I didn't get a good sense of likelihood of recovery from the articles.  If it dies in the day or two between feedings will that cause a significant spike before the crabs or starfish eat it? <You should be OK even if you loose the shrimp, which I think is unlikely.> Sorry if I have left out important info or missed relevant postings in FAQ's-still learning to use the site. <Info provided was fine, but keep reading, especially about the care requirements of your livestock before you purchase!  Enjoy your time away and don't worry about the shrimp.  -Mich> Brian Sanders SC

When acclimating Lysmata amboinensis - 11/09/06 Alight thank you  I will read on WetWebMedia.  One more quick question When acclimating Lysmata amboinensis.  What is the best method to use? <Very slow drip into an open container... a length of air-line tubing either tied to reduce flow, or a nut, couple of washers, and bolt to pinch/restrict. Bob Fenner>

Cleaner shrimp bubble - 3/30/2006 Hey Lisa, <<Hey Elise>> I got a skunk cleaner shrimp a couple of days ago.  He found a home and has been hanging out on a rock.  He molted yesterday.  Today, he ate a flake.  Shortly after that, I noticed a large bubble on the side of his body, as though a balloon had been inflated under his skin.  It looks clear, as though it could be popped and air would be released (of course I wouldn't do that, just trying to describe what it looks like). He is still hanging out on his rock, and looks a bit yellow.  All other fish look well and tank is well cycled.  I've searched FAQ's, and can't find anything regarding a shrimp with a bubble.  Thoughts? <<Perhaps due to molting.  I would not worry, but do keep an eye on him for odd behavior.>> Thanks! <<Glad to help. Lisa.>> Elise

Lysmata parasites?    3/24/06 My recently purchased Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp (through mail order) arrived with 3 asymmetrical black spots on its back that it   constantly stroked and picked at.  It did not eat and last night it looked like it was really struggling.  It was dead by morning and 2   of the 3 spots are now holes completely through the exoskeleton.  Was this a parasite or infection? <Does sound/read as if...> I called the company and the lady did an info search and said all she could come up with was a possible   parasite disease, and recommended that I raise my tank temp to 81 and keep it there for 2 weeks.  I bought 3 peppermint shrimp at the same time and they all seem to be doing well.  Is there a shrimp parasite that eats through them? <As stated elsewhere: http://wetwebmedia.com/clrshrpdisfaqs.htm the parasite fauna of this group and most invertebrates is widely unknown... with the exception of some food species> My theory is it died of some sort of wound or infection and my Nassarius snails ate through the soft spots over night. What do you think?   <Seems a reasonable explanation> Should I raise my tank temp? <Wouldn't hurt, though I doubt it will help> My only other inhabitants in my 2 month old 55 gal are 2 green Chromis, hermits, snails, and a tail spot blenny. Thanks! Angela Collison <I do hope/trust your other shrimp will be unaffected. Bob Fenner>

Re: Lysmata parasites?   3/28/06   Thank you for your response.  The peppermints seem to be unaffected and have eaten almost all of my pest anemones. I greatly appreciate your website and will visit often. Thanks again for putting my mind at ease. Angela Collison <Thank you for this update. Bob Fenner>

Shrimp... disease? Env., pathogenic?   3/15/06 Hello folks, <Campbell> I've have a Cleaner Shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis) which has strange black marking on it's sides, see attached photo. It has been suggested that this is Black Gill disease but after a thorough Google search and a further search on WWM, I can't be sure. <Mmm, is of concern... coloring does outline the gills... as opposed to "spots" that comes and goes (with molts/ecdysis)> There is mention of Black Gill in one of your FAQs but the trouble is 1, I can't find any mention of the location of a Shrimps gills in any anatomy info that I can find via Google and 2. I could only find 1 picture of a shrimp with BGD but it wasn't a Cleaner and the disease looks nothing like this. Can you help with diagnosis and treatment? Many thanks in advance, Campbell <The animal does appear healthy... do you dose iodine/ide/ate? Iron? Do you measure these? I would cut back and hope this animal self-cures. Bob Fenner>

Cleaner Shrimp Parasite  - 03/13/2006 Hello! I read through the FAQ at WetWebMedia and couldn't find a case similar to mine. I purchased two cleaner shrimp from a display full of them at my local fish store. (I didn't look at them closely I'm sad to say) When I added them to my display (120 gal) I realized one of them had a peach colored bump on it's side. <Not uncommon actually> The shrimp is about 2 inches long and the bump is almost circular and 1/4" in diameter. The bump almost looks like some sort of bug like parasite hooked onto the shrimp...! <Could be> I've browsed around but found no documentation on such a parasite. <The parasite fauna of most marines is poorly elucidated... to put this mildly> I'd have to take down all my LR to catch the little bugger. <Mmm, I would not do this> What I really want to know is if it could be a parasite and if it is, if this parasite could possible attack/attach to one of my precious fish and hurt them!!!???? <Highly unlikely... might be just a "growth" (endogenous)... or something with a complex life history that will pass on its own by lack of an intermediate host... I would leave all as is... treat your water once a week with an Iodide/ate solution (Lugol's likely)... and not worry. Bob Fenner> Thank you very much Petro Kostelidis

New Tank, Dead Shrimp...What Gives? - 03/11/2006 Hello. <Hi.> I just started a saltwater tank. I prepared my water, tested the levels to make sure everything was good. <Before or after the cycle. If before, they must've looked perfect.> I put 2 zebra crabs, a red crab , 2 small snails and a Cleaner shrimp. Well, after 2 days of them in the tank, my cleaner shrimp was on his back not moving. <I presume this tank wasn't cycled then.> He seemed to have died. Don't know what I did wrong. <?> Is there any suggestions on what I didn't do or what I can do? <Aside from not having cycled the tank...osmotic shock...poor acclimation. Easily fixed with a little reading.> Thanks for your time. <You're welcome. - Josh> Shrimp Not Molting/Regenerating Correctly - 11/21/05 I am very upset, as my beautiful cleaner shrimp 'Shrimpy' is not feeling so good. <<Uh-oh>> About 2 weeks ago he molted and it seems he lost all of his antennae, I thought based on my reading that they would grow back. <<Yes, usually with the next molt.>> But it seems that he molted again a couple of days ago and 2 of them grew a little longer but looked all kinked and only got a little longer. <<Hmm...>> Is he sick and dying? <<Possibly>> Why did his parts not regenerate? <<Likely something missing in the water composition (earth elements) and/or in the shrimp's diet.>> I know that he is unhappy as he has not been coming out and will not clean me or the fish anymore. I have a 24 gallon nano-tank - if you think that it's my water quality I can give you the details, but is it just something else? <<The best thing you can do with this size system is step up the water changes (15% weekly). This will help to ensure the water chemistry/composition is correct for a healthy molt...you might also consider an iodine supplement. And...be sure the shrimp is getting enough to eat (not brine shrimp). Thanks for the help. <<Regards, EricR>> Copper sulfate in food  11/19/05 Hi, <Hello> I recently noticed that Dainichi has a pellet food for marine fish. The label says that it contains copper sulfate. Do you think this would be harmful to my cleaner shrimp? <Mmm, nope. Not high concentration, and will become insolubilized quickly...> They often eat some of the food that I feed to the fish. I was attracted to the product because it is formulated with Cyclop-eeze. I currently feed a variety of foods- frozen Mysis shrimp, krill, Cyclop-eeze, Ocean Nutrition Formula II and Prime Reef flake. I e-mailed Dainichi and they said that the amount of copper sulfate was too small to be harmful to shrimp or corals, but I wanted to get your opinion before I tried it. Thanks! Joy <I agree with them... and have met one of the principals of the company... a mighty fine woman, good products. Bob Fenner>  

Shrimp trouble, environmental-water quality  9/19/05 Hi Gang, <Mark> Awesome site you have here.  It's been very helpful to me, being a newbie. Here's my setup for a little background. I have a 75 gal. FOWLR with: 3 Ocellaris clowns 1 baby Hippo Tang 1 Pearlscale Butterfly 1 Black and White Heniochus Butterfly 2 Electric Blue Hermits 1 Chocolate Chip Sea Star 1 Scarlet skunk cleaner shrimp. Water Parameters: Temp: 78.5 SG: 1.024 pH: 8.2 Ammonia: 0 Nitrite: 0 Nitrate: 0 Phosphate: 0.5 Iodine: 0.0 - 0.1 (I Supplement with Kent Iodine, but the levels diminish fairly rapidly as I understand Iodide will do). <Yes> Alk:  1.0 (I just started measuring this and am wondering if this is a problem with fish only and the inverts). <Is... do read re on WWM> Here's my question:    The shrimp appears to be sick.  He was the "entertainment" of the tank. He now hides behind the rock most of the day and refuses to eat or clean me (or anything else, for that matter). <Not good> He also suddenly developed a bunch of small black spots under his carapace, at and around the base of his legs and he is always reaching up there trying to scratch or grab at the spots. He molted about a week and a half ago with no probs. I've read other people's accounts of black spots, but I'm worried that perhaps it's some sort of parasite.  What do you think? <Not likely a problem by itself... but perhaps indicative of a difficulty with low biomineral and/or alkaline content in your water... a real issue with molting...> Are there any treatments I could attempt? I've enclosed a photo of the spots FWIW.. <Need to correct your water quality... Please read re calcium, biominerals, alkalinity... on WWM. Bob Fenner> Thanks a Bunch,

New tank set up Hi, <Hello Paul>            May be you can help me I have just set up a marine tank for the first time and it is about 2 weeks old at the moment how long do I need to wait before I can add a cleaner shrimp to it  as I got one the over day but  it die within  about 10   minutes after being let into the tank, this is all new to me as I have  kept tropical fish for the last   seven years.  <Cleaner shrimp need to acclimated very slowly, preferably the drip method.  This can be found on our site.  You really need to get a handbook and read it from cover to cover.  The Conscientious Marine Aquarist/Bob Fenner will give you the info you need to be a successful marine aquarist.  Also search on our site.  Tons of info is available here.  James (Salty Dog)>    rgds Paul

Cleaner Shrimp Hello again! I have a question about our one-eyed cleaner shrimp. (No, he's not some sort of Cyclops, he had a full complement of eyes when we acquired him five months ago but about three months back one eyeball mysteriously disappeared overnight!) <This will "come back" (regenerate) next molt cycle> During the last week we have noticed that he has developed small, black, irregular shaped markings on his body and legs, almost like freckles. They are not raised and don't seem to be bothering him at all.  <Are they symmetrical? Likely just coloration, natural markings> My husband has been feeding him by hand since he lost his eye just to make sure he didn't lose out food wise. I was wondering if you have any ideas as to what these marks are and whether we should be concerned. Our other three cleaner shrimp are all fine and mark free (although none of them have ever cleaned a single fish since we've had them!) <Maybe a sexual, size, age difference... the others may be a different species even> Also (sorry, this is a second question), we have spotted a bristle worm - Aaargh! After reading through your site we have decided not to panic but it is exactly like the photo on your website. It came out of the substrate briefly, saw us staring at it in horror and burrowed back in!  <It may have felt the same way> It was just over an inch long. As far as we can tell, all corals and inverts are fine and unbothered (so far!) Are we ok just to keep an eye on things whilst containing our panic or should we be actively trying to remove it? <I'd leave it for now... and not worry> We do have a Pseudocheilinus wrasse but he's only a bit bigger in length than the worm. I imagine he's too small to view the worm as a tasty snack. Your views would be appreciated! Many thanks (again!) Lesley <Enjoy this life. Bob Fenner>

Re: Cleaner Shrimp Hi again! And another prompt response - thank you, you work so hard! The markings are not symmetrical, one side of his body has more than the other (so far). <Mmm, likely "old age" sorts of markings next in line of probability...> I expect he's looking forward to his new eyeball though! <Yes... this animal will get the new eye, lose the markings next molt... you might want to try feeding it a bit more, and checking on alkalinity to "speed things up" here> Thanks again! Incidentally, will you be coming to the UK anytime soon to give talks, etc? <Most anytime am invited. Am on way past there a couple of times this year... for a big tradeshow in Germany in May and to visit with friends, my business associates family (they live in York) at some as yet undetermined time. Bob Fenner>

Cleaner shrimp and crab not surviving in my tank Hi Craig, <Hi Jun!> It's me again. I purchased a cleaner shrimp and a sally light foot crab today (third or fourth cleaner shrimp and the second light foot crab in the last 6 weeks). Within several hours they're already dead. What am I doing wrong? Water parameters are all good. I followed the acclimation process and still no luck. Please help!!!!!!! Thanks.....Jun <Hmm, did you purchase these from a local fish store or have them shipped? If shipped, this could be from adding a normal pH water to a waste laden shipping bag, perhaps affecting the toxic ammonia levels.  Also, these guys are incredibly sensitive to salinity changes. If there is a big difference in salinity it needs to changed very, very slowly, like over a day or so. A drip line works well for this and changes water very slowly. These guys are sensitive! I sure hope this helps you. Craig> 

Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp Sudden Death after Water Change? Hello Just wondering if you have any information on scarlet cleaner shrimp that relates to water changes.   <its extremely common with all arthropods and many mollusks. They are all quite sensitive slight errors in temperature and especially salinity differences between new and old water. Are you sure the new water SG was exactly the same?> I Never had a problem before. The only thing that I did different from before is that I switched to Coral Reef Red Sea http://www.redseafish.com/Products/Coral_Reef_Salt/body_coral_reef_salt.html from my Kent brand.   <actually... I don't hold either brand in high regard for their quality control/consistency compared to Instant Ocean, Tropic Marin and Omega brands> Is there something that could be in that mix that causes instant death to shrimps?    <not likely... but if a batch had too much of a common metal like magnesium... that would do it> I just finished doing a water change (about 10 gal out of a 55 gal - new water temp perfect match, chlorine removed and matched salt density). My shrimp was fine when I was siphoning the tank, but as soon as I finished filling it back up again he looked listless and was slightly on his side.   <has the water been mixed and aerated over night or was it raw? If raw... you've been dodging bullets for a while> He jittered a bit and everything stopped "running" inside him and that was it.  He molted last night and I fished out his dead skin first thing this morning.  Was the water change too traumatic for his freshly molted self?   <not at all likely> I am very concerned as I wish to do a water change in my other tank containing 2 shrimp and I don't want them to suffer the same instant death.  For age - I am guessing a year to year and a half (I've had him for about 8 months and he was medium sized when I purchased him).  Nothing in the tank is threatening so I can rule that out.  I would greatly appreciate any advice you have to offer.   <I am sorry to hear of the loss... but be assured that they truly are strict and sensitive about water chemistry issues. It could even have been the simple change between brands of slightly different composition. 10 galls was not too much... all else sounds like good husbandry. Let me suggest you try another bag or brand of salt for a water change on the other two tanks for perspective then follow later with the current bag (perhaps even blend it to wean from the old Kent mix).> My complements on the best site out there!  Kudos! <best regards, Anthony>

-Can't keep cleaner shrimp alive- I have purchased individual cleaner shrimp on two separate occasions, and both have died within a month of buying. <Unlikely that it's acclimation; they'll die right away. Hmmm...> one of them died tonight, in fact, after molting yesterday for the second time in a month. <Death during molting has been linked to iodine deficiency, not sure if this is the case here.>it was a voracious eater, feasting on the algae on the back walls of my 20-gallon hex tank.  the water quality is pristine - ph is 7.8, ammonia, nitrate and nitrite levels are all at 0.0 ppm. <pH seems low if it is like this all the time. You may want to check your carbonate hardness.> its only tankmates are a Sebae clown and a royal Gramma.  what am I doing wrong that my shrimp do not survive? <Not sure, since there are no other inverts in the tank, it is possible that a heavy metal or some other contaminate has been introduced into your water. If so, the fish would probably remain unaffected. I may have a better guess for you if you describe your setup more in depth and let me know what your water source is. -Kevin>

Another Dicky Shrimp and Mandarin Question >Hello hello!  Good-day to all!  Arg, I must be going through a transitional phase with my tank because I am just swimming (hehe, or is that "oh no"?) in questions!  This is going to be a long one, so please forgive me! :)   >>We shall try.  ;) >I wrote in about a very sick Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp recently -- I thought it might be a lack of iodine, but I failed to mention that I do weekly water changes, about 5 gallons (from a 55 gallon tank) and in asking around I hear this should be sufficient to keep the iodine in the tank at respectable levels.  If that's true then there's definitely something else going on with my shrimp because he's looking worse every day.  (Btw, I have had a miserable time finding an Iodine test kit so I added the lowest suggested dose as a precaution until my LFS can get a kit, Wednesday -- if the planets align properly). >>Honestly, it would be better not to dose at all until you can properly measure.  In the meantime, you should be able to feed it raw shrimp as a dietary source of iodine.  Another question for you is - Is this the only arthropod in the tank?  If so, then we might look to insufficient iodine/calcium levels as the culprit.  If NOT, then that is far less likely (assuming the others are healthy). >>In addition to the symptoms mentioned in my first email (weak legs that bent in funky ways, missing leg and antennae tips) I noticed that one of his little body parts -- something like a pair cilia-type deals located directly above his gills, inside his clear carapace, are moving *very* slowly in comparison to the much healthier looking shrimp I have in the tank.   >>That just answered question one.  I would have to surmise that there is something wrong specifically with this one shrimp, and unfortunately for it and the hobbyist, there is a real dearth of information on diseases of these animals.  I would recommend isolation (separate system) and watching the other animals. >(The healthy shrimp's "cilia" move impossibly fast, faster than I can count, the sick one's cilia flop up and down less than once per second).  I've searched for some sort of identification so I could give you the proper name of the part, but I could barely find pictures that were detailed enough to mention maxillipeds much less this tiny little inner appendage thing.  At any rate, this little gadget seems to have some brownish gunk at it's base.  Before he shed the last time the gunk was *very heavy* and the little thingie barely moved and it seemed it moved with great difficulty.  The gunk disappeared when he finally shed but it almost immediately re-infected him and is seemingly getting worse than the last time.  So, if this isn't an iodine dilemma what is it and do you think it's contagious?   >>It could be a bacterial, parasitic, viral, or other infection.  It's really very difficult to tell.  Isolate, and should you like to experiment with antibiotics I recommend Spectrogram. >My other shrimp doesn't seem to have any related problems and I'd like to keep it that way.  eek. >>Then definitely separate the sick one. >Whew ok, now to less-stressful things.  I have a minor (so far) problem with Cyanobacteria.  I used to keep a golden-headed sleeper goby (until I lost him in a very unfortunate heater mishap over a weekend when I was out of town) and he kept all that under control, but since that sleeper goby died I purchased a psychedelic mandarin dragonet to keep the prolific and newly-unchecked microfauna (namely Planaria) under control.   >>You, my dear, have a terrible nutrient export/control problem.  I suggest upping the weekly changes to 50% minimum, starting with one full water change (do be sure it's properly aged and matched for temperature, salinity, pH). >The mandarin eats just about anything it can find, including the Mysis I feed, but my concern is that those two fish seem to fill very roughly the same niche and I worry that adding a sleeper goby might take away a lot of the mandarins "wild" food, do you think these guys could happily live together?   >>They won't quarrel, but your system is likely slim as it is for just the mandarin.  Deal with the excess nutrients that are likely the cause of the Cyano issue, and the rest should fall into place.  Along with water changes, consider the addition of a refugium (make it approximately 1/3 the volume of the tank).  If you don't skim, a good skimmer might be very helpful.  You may also have an issue with phosphate/phosphorous (I don't know anything about the source water for your w/c's). >Like I said, the mandarin eats the food I feed the rest of the fish in addition to the "wild" stuff he finds in the tank, and my old Sleeper did the same.  When I kept the Sleeper he was fat and sassy and now that I have the Mandarin *he* is nice and rotund, but I don't want to compromise that by keeping them *together.*  And on that same note, I'm partial to the beauty of the V. strigata, but I've seen some other sleepers that seem to be just as dutiful, for my purposes (stirring the sand bed) would you suggest something else instead?  I don't mind the way sleepers re-arrange things at will, I just want something to shake up the sand a bit. Thank you for your patience and time!  Have a fantastic week! >>For the time being, I really think you should deal with these other issues first.  Worry about adding a fish to stir sand later, as a 55 is rather small.  If you MUST have sand stirring, consider an Archaster typicus (sandsifting sea star).  One ONLY. >Rachael >>Have a good weekend.  Marina

Cleaner Shrimp Deaths Hi Bob Very informative website you have. <Hi! Ananda here today....> I have a 30 gallon tank with only 2 small - less than 1 inch blue tang and clown fish, with skimmer, live rock and dead corals. (planning a bigger-75 gallons once the grow) <I'd suggest something even larger so you can give that tang some space to swim in....> Trying to add a cleaner shrimp, 1st try - died the next day, after moving a bit stood in a corner and died the next day. acclimate for 2 hours, 2nd try - acclimate using the drip method for 3 hours - he looks very happy for 2 days eating and walking around. then died again. PH - 8.3, Salinity 1.23. <Hopefully, you mean 1.023 for that specific gravity...! Anyhow, at this point, I'm wondering if you've ever used a copper-based medication in the tank, or in any tank that the dead corals had been in. Any other substances that may have contaminated the tank or those dead corals might still be present in concentrations that are lethal to the shrimp but weak enough that the fish are not obviously affected. Also check your water quality (ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, etc.); inverts are particularly susceptible to poor water quality. You might also find out what the water parameters are at the store where you purchased the shrimp, so you can compare data. If there's a big difference, going even more slowly with the acclimation may help.> Thanks Henry <Hope this helps. --Ananda> 

Black spots on cleaner shrimp Thank you so much for all this wonderful information, when my cash flow will be a little better, I do intend to give money. I have had 2 cleaner shrimp for 6 months that seemed to be thriving up until last week when I noticed little black markings on its body.  like little black specks here and there and scratch like blackish markings? Now he is on his side in the back of the tank and I think he is dead :(  all seems good in my tank from what I can test. 35 gal with 40 gal sump,  display filled with live rock, DSB with plenum, high turn over Ammonia: non detectable nitrite:    non detectable nitrate:   non detectable KH:  15 ph:  8.2 night time calcium: 340 salinity: 1.023 now bringing it slowly up to 1.025 temp: 78 to 80 3.5% daily water change small granular, flake, Mysis and as a treat brine once a week, any idea what this could be? << Unfortunately no.  I've seen this a few times before as well.  I think it may have to do with an Iodine deficiency causing molting problems.  However I've also seen it in tanks with lots of Iodine.  So unfortunately I haven't figured out what causes this. >>   Gratefully yours              Tristan <<  Blundell  >>

Cleaner shrimp death Hey crew, how are you guys today? <Still kicking, James here.> Well you recently helped me with my tank concerning my  2 false Perculas and royal Gramma with ich. Everyone is doing well in the QT tank except for the male percula, he seems to always have it. At one point he was so badly covered that I had to give him a 10 minute freshwater dip. After that he seems better but still has some spots. Anyways I went to go buy a cleaner shrimp on Friday for my main tank while its going fallow. I bought him and acclimated him very slowly over an hour. He seemed to tolerate it well. So this morning he looks fine, nothing appears wrong but I come home 5 hours later and he's on the sand dead! I immediately see a medium sized bristle worm close to him, but not touching him. I removed the bristle worm and began examining the shrimp to see if it was his molt I was looking at. Nope it was the actual thing. I tested the water and it was as follows: Ph: 8.4 SG: 1.023 ammonia and nitrites: 0 nitrates : around 7 or so. As you had suggested I raised my main tank to about 85 to speed the parasite cycle along and I did so. Again I acclimated him very slowly. Could the high temperature seem to have done it?<Unlikely> He seemed fine with it for the last 2 days. Also when I found the body the eyes were missing no where to be found. What do you think happened to him? <Do you have anything in your tank that would include shrimp on the menu?  James (Salty Dog)> Thanks again crew! <You're welcome>

Cleaner shrimp death Hello again James thank you very much for your help. No, I don't have any shrimp predators in my tank just a couple of turbo snails and hermit crabs. So it's probably unlikely that the bristleworm killed him? It is still a mystery to me. What do you think?   Thanks again! <Chase, after getting more information together, I would have to tell you the short acclimation period may have killed the shrimp.  Shrimp along with starfish require much longer acclimation periods as they are very sensitive to changes in temp, ph, etc.  James (Salty Dog).

Cleaner shrimp death part II James, You think that even though he lived for the other two days that he still could of died from acclimation? Why is that? Thanks (sorry to keep sending) <Even though the shrimp are a hardy invert, they just don't take well to sudden changes in water chemistry.  James (Salty Dog)>

Fire Shrimp Died Something killed my Fire Shrimp a couple of days ago. One minute he was on the gravel grazing (which I found rather peculiar, since he's usually underneath something where it's dark), then the next he was on his side. I pulled him out and put him in a specimen tank to see if he'd molt, or whatever. He died very soon thereafter. He had some sort of "erosion" on both sides of his body where the guts are, behind the head, and also on the left side in the middle of the tail. Not sure what it is, but I'm assuming it can only be some sort of parasite / fungus / bacterial thing. I recently started feeding live brine (but I soak them in fresh water for about ten minutes or so beforehand!), and last night I thought that maybe the metal in the net I am using had something to do with it, except for the fact that the hermits and my duster are OK. This doesn't look to be a copper related death, but I'm too new to know. He had also molted a couple of days before this. And he wasn't getting picked on. Also please note the white spots on top of the shrimp are probably because he started to get covered in fungus; he was dead for about a day when I took the pics... I tried to take him out of the water and he split in half, and all this gray goop came out of where his guts should have been. I included it only because it may help you put a finger on the problem. It's a wonder he hung on as long as he did with this kind of erosion of his innards. Kinda gross... Sorry. Any ideas? Also, I had my Yellow Tang get a whole bunch of little black spots on him, so I pulled him out, dipped him (about 3 minutes. Freshwater, about 5gals, a fair amount of Methylene Blue added, PH and temperature corrected) and quarantined him (had to net him - that was nasty. He evidently has quite a few pointy protrusions that like to get stuck in the net...). The spots went away entirely, but I'm going to dip him again, just to be sure. After I dip him, I'll put him back in quarantine and let him get a slime coat up before I put him back in the display tank. The other inhabitants aren't affected, by the way. One of the contributing factors is possibly that I had tried to clean the algae from the back of the tank and when I did that he started fighting with his ghost. It was shortly thereafter that I noticed the spots; maybe he was getting stressed to the point that his defenses were down and that gave them the ability to attach. ??? Please let me know what you recommend. Like I said, the spots DID go away, and I don't really think it was ich (I thought it was the Oodinium (or whatever), but somebody told me it was another parasite, I forgot the name). I also have some pics of my tank and the sump, if you'd be interested in seeing them. I didn't send them right off because: A: AOL has a 3MB limit, and I might get real close to that as it is with the limited shots I'm sending you here, <got them, just fine> B: Since I'm assuming you're downloading all this stuff via modem, this message alone will take you quite some time to download, so I'm already being intrusive enough, and <Never a bother, a treat actually> C: You've seen a million of 'em, anyway, so you just may not care.  <Not in the last 32 years in the trade... always amazed at what is new... everyday> I'm only trying to send you the pics I think are critical for the diagnosis for the cause of the death of my shrimp. I'm holding off on all further stocking until I get the parasite thing wrapped up (well, maybe not; maybe I'll get them now and just have a little more lengthy quarantine duration, until I identify the cause... Can't hurt!). Any thoughts you may have are, as always, greatly appreciated. Thanks. Bruce Webster <<Hmm, well, regarding your Fire/Scarlet Shrimp (Lysmata debelius)... the root cause of the loss is hard to pin down... Do agree that from your description (the animal being out and about in the open... especially so close to having molted...) and images (the body seems secondarily decomposed... difficult to ascertain if the appearance has much to do with the real cause of death) but does seem "soft" as if the animal didn't have the wherewithal to remake its exoskeleton... Did you see it ingest its old skeleton (this they do as a valuable source of biomineral to build the new, larger one... and it should be left for such purpose in the tank)? Do you do much, anything to supplement minerals, alkalinity in the system? This over, under abundance could adversely affect the animal... The Tang complaint is actually a flatworm, a Turbellarian of the genus Paravortex... my old grad. school roomie worked on their life history... you can read bits about this animal and its control (mainly just found on Yellow Tangs), in an article about its host posted at www.wetwebmedia.com Your treatment thus far sounds fine... I would continue with the dipping procedures and quarantine for all new fish livestock.... and not worry about infectious agents re the shrimp. Bob Fenner>>

Black Spots Two days ago I noticed some fairly good sized black spots on my cleaner shrimp. They don't appear to be raised and it almost looks like someone spattered him with paint. I'm not sure of his scientific name, but he has a white stripe down his back with a red stripe on either side. He acts normal and has been eating frozen food and riding around on the fish a lot. Then, last night, I saw that my Yellow Tang has very tiny little black dots spread evenly on pretty much his whole body. It looks like a very fine black pepper. I removed the shrimp and the tang and they are both in my quarantine tank. None of my other fish seem to have it (Powder Blue, Purple, and Kole Tangs, Tomato Clown, Green Chromis, Damsels, and tiny Snowflake Eel.), but the Purple and Kole Tangs are dark enough that I don't even know if I will be able to see it.  <The black spots on the Shrimp and the Yellow Tang are two different cases... the first, "just" markings from age, growth, conditions in your tank. I would leave this (probably) Lysmata amboinensis, Pacific Cleaner Shrimp in with the Tang though... For about a month (watch their water quality)... to let the Tang's problem animal (a Turbellarian worm called Paravortex) die off in the main tank... And after that month, freshwater dip the Tang on its return to the main tank, and simply net and move over the Shrimp... If you don't know what I'm getting at... (can be confusing, for sure), please take a look at the "Shrimp", "Yellow Tang", "Dips/Baths", "Quarantine" pieces et al. stored in the Marine Index at the URL: www.wetwebmedia.com for much more> What is this stuff and how shall I treat it? My main tank is a reef, and I have never had any diseases before. Will my other fish probably get it too, and how will I tell if the darker colored fish have it? <The other fishes will not "get it"... pretty species specific, and easily defeated... Take a few minutes and peruse the WWM site... All will be well. Bob Fenner>

Cleaner shrimp-high mortality Greetings Bob: I have a 37 gal (tall) salt aquarium with a Eclipse 3 system. It has been up and running for almost two and a half months. It has approximately 35lbs of LR as well as a Yellow tang, Saddleback Clown, and a Yellow-face Goby. I have gone through 3 cleaner shrimp in the past 4 weeks, 2 pacific cleaners as well as a peppermint. I acclimate the shrimp as quickly as possible. I normally take about 30 minutes to acclimate. All my water parameters are checking good, except the kH level. Its pretty high. Can you give me some clues on what water conditions as well as food items these shrimp require? I have read many articles, many posts on boards. I have supplied the shrimps with frozen brine as well as flake food. They keep dying, and I just can't figure out why! Thanks for your help Bob <<Thanks for writing, and I do agree, the Shrimp losses do appear anomalous... I suspect either one of two of the common causes of their captive mortality are at work here: too low specific gravity/big change from normal seawater, or too little biomineral at the expense of alkalinity... Do review what you can re your supplement usage and its probable harmful side-effects... At this juncture, if the supplement-imbalance is the/a cause, a massive water change is the direction to move the system back towards center. If low spg, augmenting daily with hypersaline solution. Bob Fenner>>
Re: Cleaner shrimp-high mortality
Greetings Bob: WOW! A marine celebrity like yourself taking time out to answer a newbies crazy water question.  <Hoboy... some strokes now! This and five bucks and we can get coffee at Mickey D's> Thanks for the reply. I have you book ordered, " The Conscientious Marine Aquarist". It should be here any day now. It came highly recommended from many knowledgeable marine aquarists I have met online, especially on the various saltwater discussion boards.  <Thank you for the input. Am sure you will enjoy and benefit from the reading> I had a hard time with the conversion of ppm to dKH ( I'm a product of public education). <Hmm, divide ppm by 2.8...> I finally grasped the formula, and came up with a dKH of 5.4. A little high according to the test. <But not excessive... are you running into a situation of precipitating out biomineral as a consequence?> I think I will let this dKH level ride it out for now. I was told that it will come down shortly. <Yes, assuredly... the reductive activity, over activity(?) of captive aquatic systems results in this> My specific gravity stands at 1.022. I will mix up some new water & salt and raise the SG a little to 1.023-1.0235. I will let the tank stabilize for a week, then go out and buy another cleaner shrimp and see what happens. Once again, thanks for your help Bob................................................ <Sounds good... but do consider raising the spg to 1.025 or so... this would be ideal> Regards, Kevin <And thou, Bob Fenner>

Cleaner Shrimp Hi Bob, Over the past two weeks I've tried to keep two Pacific Cleaner Shrimps unsuccessfully. As soon as I would release them in to the tank, after acclimating them for about a hour they would land on one spot and sit there for about two hours and die. My pH, nitrite, and salinity are fine except my nitrate. Could this be the problem? If so could you tell me how to reduce the nitrate. Thanks  <<Hmm, nitrates could be the problem... as could a myriad of biomineral and alkalinity causes... All can be addressed by the culture of some macro-algae in your system, and/or better in a connected sump/refugium... A constantly or reverse light photoperiod system to boost the algae growth will take up anomalous material, produce food, and make your overall water quality better... Do look into this possibility... among other ways by a long read through the pertinent parts stored on the site: Home Page  Read up, and we'll be chatting. Bob Fenner>>

Invert problems Hi- I have had two shrimp die on me, one coral banded, and one blood shrimp. Here is my set up: 72 Gallon tank, Millennium 3000 filter, two power heads, and 100 lbs Fiji live rock. Tank is two months old, and I have the following fish, 6 percula clowns, 1 yellow tang, 1 bi-color dotty back, and 1 watchman's goby. <May be the Dottyback... perhaps the Goby... any bodies left? Chewed on?> The water tests are normal. I tested the copper level as well. I use DI water. The fish are doing fine, but the shrimp, and will as the crabs have done so well. (Some of the crabs are still doing ok) <Ah... > A couple of questions. 1. Are any of the fish I have incompatible (I was told before buying them that they were, and everyone I ask seems to have a different opinion. <Yes to different opinions... likelihood that these animals were eaten... killed by the two fishes mentioned exists> 2. Should I avoid shrimp, starfish, or sea urchins? <Perhaps> 3. I feed them 2 cubes per day, (one daphnia, one brine or 1 shrimp) I feed them once per day to make sure some gets to the bottom for the goby. Is this too much food. <Don't know... what sort of measures of... nitrates, phosphates do you have? Any food left over after a few minutes?> 4. What type of protein skimmer would you recommend. <Many choices here... hang on, sump models... for a seventy two gallon system that's up and going... Maybe a AquaMedic product like a Turboflotor T-1000...> 5. Looking ahead what might be some compatible fish to consider adding? <Too big a category... read over the Reef and Marine Selection articles and the many survey articles posted on the www.WetWebMedia.com site> Sorry to pile on the questions, but I'd appreciate any help you could give me! Thanks!! Ron :) <Ron, do you pour in "supplements"? The crustacean losses (if there are no signs of outright foul play (could be from Alpheid shrimp, Mantis... hiding without your seeing them... nocturnal), I strongly suspect the "additives" as a/the cause... especially if all are dying, soon, about the same time. Bob Fenner>
Re: invert problems
Hi Bob- Thanks for the reply. I bought the goby after both the shrimp had died. The Dottyback was around for both. The coral banded seemed to be able to take care of himself. After he died I took the body out and it was intact. I did see the dotty pecking at the blood shrimp. When he died he was between the rocks and I couldn't get a good look at him. <Thanks for this info.> Nitrates are low, so I guess I need to check the phosphates. I don't add any supplements. The only thing I added was a chlorine neutralizer after the DI process to make sure there was no chlorine, and I used about half the recommended dose. <Hmm, maybe trouble here... I would dispense with the water conditioner period, and strongly suggest you pre-make and store your new synthetic water for a good week. Please take a read through the seawater use sections posted on the www.WetWebMedia.com site re this protocol and the rationale for it> I use instant ocean for sea salts. The algae was brown, now I am starting to get some coralline algae. (at least I assume it is as it is purple) <Likely, yes> Thanks for the help! Ron :) <You're welcome. Bob Fenner, who is working on the "shrimp" areas of WWM in part due to your prompting.>

Lost Cleaner Shrimp Mr. Fenner, As you suggested I added a cleaner shrimp to my tank. I left it in the bag for 10 minutes than poked two small holes in the bag to get the shrimp used to the climate and salt content. I than opened the bag and added about a cup of the tanks water in the bag and waited a few minutes till I put it in the tank. None of the other creatures seemed to bother it, so I turned the lights off and kept an eye on it. I turned on the lights 2 hours later and it was dead. Why do you think it died? I have never had a creature die on me like that before. I guess I will try the goby instead. Thank You, Jason Cohen <Hard to say... often these losses can be traced to differences in just specific gravity... I would/do suggest you read over the "acclimation" sections on the www.WetWebMedia.com site, as well as the "Shrimps" ones... and develop a protocol for more slowly adjusting invertebrate life to your systems (like a controlled drip line... of airline tubing and a knot to slowly add your system water to the shipping... and throwing away the mixed water...). Be chatting my friend. Bob Fenner>

Cleaner shrimp parasite and coralline algae questions Dear Bob, <Lorenzo here, responding for Bob-in-Indonesia> Well we survived ick thanks to your recommendations and now we have a cleaner shrimp problem. I mentioned that our shrimp had a growth on its side and you said there was nothing we could do about it but live with it. Now the shrimp's antennae are starting to look like they are becoming brittle. Is this related? Could the parasite be depleting the nutrients the shrimp needs? I've started feeding it vitamin enriched flakes (any vitamins we need to look specifically give it?) directly and added some calcium to the water. We can test the calcium levels since we purchased a kit (rather expensive). Our tang visits his shrimp regularly so I suspect he's eating parasites. <Sounds like you're doing pretty everything you reasonably can, for this shrimp.> I've also noticed that the beautiful coralline algae on our live rock from Fiji is dying off. We have fluorescent lights (2 actinic 2 full spectrum) and given the heat and blackouts in California, we're reluctant to upgrade to metal halide since we'll need to get into chillers. Do you think that increasing the calcium level would help? Our LFS recommended we add some every day. <Hmm. Coralline usually does fine under fluorescents, unless your tank is particularly deep, or the bulbs are quite old (>1 year) Metal Halide is definitely not necessary for healthy coralline. Yes, increasing the calcium level may help, especially if it's quite low, and if the 'full-spectrum' bulbs are more than 10-12 months old, I'd replace those as well. My favorites for standard fluorescent fixtures are the 180 degree (internal reflector) 'Trichromatic' from Coralife, the 'full-spectrum' from the local Home Depot definitely won't do. If you really want to upgrade your lighting without moving to MH, look to Power Compacts, or compact fluorescents, as they're sometimes called. Most modern, efficient lighting currently available to the hobbyist. Not cheap. But cheaper than MH! (especially the electricity!) -Lorenzo>

Only in cocktail sauce... <Hi Cheryl, Lorenzo-for-Bob again...>
Earlier I told you about having a tang (with ick) in another tank (5 gal.) and you told me to get Lysmata shrimp and/or goby for my main tank before putting the tang back in the main tank If I get them I won't have a place to quarantine them...is it just alright to fresh water dip them and then put directly into the main tank. What are the common names for these two...is the shrimp just called a cleaner shrimp?
<Yes, you can do a freshwater dip on the goby (3-5 minutes is plenty) - read Bob's article(s) on prophylactic dips before you get started. - DO NOT FRESHWATER DIP THE SHRIMP! - Yes, they're commonly called 'Common Cleaner Shrimp' - a nice translucent/white with scarlet stripes and long white 'whiskers'. - Great addition to any tank. Float the bag in your main system for 15-20 minutes, and, if you're really obsessive, gradually pour some of your system water into the transport bag with a cup. You can then scoop the shrimp from the transport bag with a small net or your hand, and just plop him into the main system. -Lorenzo>

Cleaner Shrimp Deaths Hi Bob.....I have got a problem which I can't figure out. Three days ago, I bought 3 cleaner shrimps and it died the next day. <"It" or they?> At that instance, the only cause that I can think of is the SG level. Immediately, I measured the SG level and the reading was 1.024. Thinking that it might be due to stress because of the long hours in the bag, I bought one more cleaner shrimp the next day. Sad to say, it died also. Strange........all the corals and fishes in my tank are ok. Any clue to it? Thanks. <Could be the acclimation gap, your practices, the source of the shrimp... Not enough data offered here to render much more. Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnshrpf.htm and beyond. Bob Fenner>

Cleaner Shrimp I hope you can answer my question regarding 6 cleaner shrimps that recently died. I have a 125 gal reef tank that is a year old. Recently I purchased some new fish (1 purple tang, 1 yellow tang 2 maroon clowns and a mandarin). Two weeks later I discovered small white spots on my purple tang. One day after that I noticed them on my 2 regal tangs. I was informed that it was the marine equivalent of ich.  <Yes... this is another holociliate protozoan species, Cryptocaryon irritans> Within a couple of days the symptoms cleared and all was well only for them to re-appear a number of days later.  <What you describe is the "cycling off" of the parasites as they become temporarily free-living, and possibly resting stages... a mechanism of further dispersal.> After calling my local aquarium store I was told that I should consider purchasing cleaner shrimp and cleaner (neon) gobies. I informed them that I already had 2 cleaners but they said I could use some more. I purchased 4 cleaner shrimp and 2 gobies. One of the shrimp died right away so I replaced it with a new one. I saw no fighting or unusual behavior. Within a few days I would have a shrimp die. Within 2 weeks they all died. I noticed that they would become lethargic and would stay in one spot. Overnight they would die. The rest of my tank looks great. I did have another mild bout with the parasite but the worst seems to be over and they (store clerk) said that it is not unusual to have a reoccurrence while the parasite goes through another life cycle. <Yes... did you place a chemical of any sort in your system to treat the crypt/marine ich?> I also have two peppermint shrimp that I believe are still alive but they are quite shy and I do not often see them. I heard that there were cleaner shrimp coming in from the pacific that were being attacked by a parasite. Is this possible in my case?  <Doubtful> I would like to buy more shrimp but I am nervous about buying more until I can figure out what went wrong. I tested my water and everything seemed normal. Salinity was 1.022-1.023. My pH was 8.0. Calcium was 450ppm. My water temp. runs from 78-80 degrees. I would appreciate any information that you have. Sincerely, Lori Reiss <Strange that the shrimp died as you relate. Or that by their use alone the ich was cured permanently. Again, what other "treatment" did you render? Bob Fenner>
Re: Cleaner Shrimp
Thank you for your quick response. The only chemical that I used to help reduce ich was Coral Vital. <... this shouldn't make much difference... the equivalent of adding a bit of apple juice.> I use this on a regular basis but I increased the dose when I first noticed the first stages of ich. Normally I would add a 1 capful per week. I increased this dose to 1 capful (approx. 1 tsp) every other day. I do not believe that the ich is cured but I was hopeful to reduce the number of parasites. I stopped using the Coral Vital a few days after I added the shrimp and Neon Gobies. I can not think of anything else that has changed. I believe that shrimp I originally had were a mated pair. When I cleaned out my powerhead I found what I think were shrimp larvae. This is as much information as I know to give you. I am trying to come up some possible reasons for their death. I realize that there may be some things that may never be explained but I consider this a way to learn more about my tank. Thank you.-Lori Reiss <Curious... more curious. Bob Fenner>

Coral Banded Shrimp/Maxima Clam Injury Does a maxima clam ever appear ripped... open to expose the inner portion of itself?  <Yes>  My clam has me a bit perturbed. There is a rather large area that just doesn't seem right. The clam is about 1in. long and the tear is 1/3-1/4 in. in length. If this is a tear, you see it most when it is fully opened under the halides. I'm assuming it's ok... until he doesn't open up.  < Melissa, here is a link on clams you should read. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tridacnidart.htm  Also my coral banded dropped his arms off (both)... will they grow back?  <Either one or both will appear at his next molt. Both should be back within two molts. James (Salty Dog)> Thanks for your time. <You're welcome> 

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