Please visit our Sponsors

FAQs about Harlequin Shrimps 1

Related FAQs: Gnathophylliids 2, & FAQs on: Gnathophylliid Identification, Gnathophylliid Behavior, Gnathophylliid Compatibility, Gnathophylliid Selection, Gnathophylliid Systems, Gnathophylliid Feeding, Gnathophylliid Disease, ** Gnathophylliid Reproduction, & Marine Shrimps 1, Marine Shrimps 3, Shrimp Identification, Shrimp Selection, Shrimp Behavior, Shrimp Compatibility, Shrimp Systems, Shrimp Feeding, Shrimp Reproduction, Shrimp Disease, Cleaner Shrimp, Banded Coral Shrimp, Dancing Shrimp, Harlequin Shrimp, Pistol Shrimp, Saron Shrimp, Mantis Shrimp, Anemone Eating ShrimpCrustacean Identification, Crustacean Selection, Crustacean Behavior, Crustacean Compatibility, Crustacean Systems, Crustacean Feeding, Crustacean Disease, Crustacean Reproduction,

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

Family Gnathophylliidae, Harlequin Shrimps   3/9/09 Hi all, I should start out by saying I love wetwebmedia.com. I think I have learned more here than from all other online sources combined. <Ahh, Landon... it is comments as yours here that have driven me on, inspired my efforts> After reading the entire page on Harlequin Shrimp, I have a few questions regarding a pair I have had for about a month and a half, but first, some background info. I had my LFS order me two Harlequins and luck would have it they turned out to be a pair. I sexed them using the information from Charles and Linda's page on Harlequin Breeding to verify this. One of my Harlequins lost a defensive claw within the first few days of being placed in the tank, a result of getting it caught on something, or maybe transport damage I assume. This loss has not affected his health otherwise, and although he did not grow another with his recent molt, I am certain that it should grow back in a successive molt. <Agreed> The two reside in a 8 month old 12G Aquapod Nano that has been modded a bit to provide stability for the system. I have a ReefKeeper 2 controlling the tank. I have a fan to cool the water if necessary and replaced the stock pump with a MJ 900 to reduce heat also, so the system stays within .5 deg F of 78. I have put some acrylic in place to make the overflow skim the surface to eliminate the problem of surface scum. Chemical levels are fine, and a refugium with LR rubble and Chaeto has been setup with LED lighting in the back chambers (reverse cycle). I also have a small bag of De*Nitrate for extra bacteria growth space and another even smaller bag of Phosguard to help with the filtering process. I have several colonies of Zoanthids, Palythoas, mushrooms, and one LPS torch coral along with some star mats in the tank. The only fish in the tank is a Ocellaris clown (his buddy became a victim of the pump intake after jumping over the back wall and I believe I will be content with 1 fish, since this tank is more about the shrimp). Other than the Harlequin Pair and the Ocellaris, the only other motile stock are a constantly spawning pair of Cerith snails, and about 6 small blue hermits. Now that all background information is covered, on to a few questions: 1.) How often should I be feeding a mated pair? <Mmm... depends on the type/amount of food... some folks use small Seastars, urchins... that live/last for quite a few days. but once a week, two weeks> Specifically how often so as to keep them well fed, and/or should this be increased to facilitate spawning? <Mmm, again... "they" will let you know by their behavior> Currently I feed them legs off of chocolate starfish I keep in a refugium for my large tank. I feed them 1 leg a week minimum, sometimes two. <Brings to mind a joke about a dog named "Lucky"> They eat the leg in about 3 days, so should I let them wait a few days, or should I immediately replace the eaten leg with another to keep up with their appetite? <I'd wait about four days...> I only feed the legs (usually 2-2.5") and never place a whole chocolate or the central piece in the tank because I do not want it eating my coral. <Good point> 2.) I also have another tank that has been growing Asterina stars like crazy, I pull out about 50 a week and just toss them in a plastic container where they dry out. Can I feed the Harlequins these dried Asterinas? <Don't know if they'd accept these dried... I would feed them live> I don't want to place them in the Aquapod alive, because I fear they might take over like they have virtually done in my other tank. <Not much of a risk I assure you> I thought they might make a good supplement to their diet of chocolate stars, but have wondered if it would be healthy to feed it to them after they dried. <Me too> 3.) The tank is small as only has two pieces of LR in it (see attached photo), and the Harlequin Pair usually hang out behind the two pieces under a slight overhang, or under an overhang on one side. Should I provide them some sort of cave? Or is this partial cover enough? Remember I would not mind facilitating breeding if possible. <Mmm, I do think what you have is enough> 4.) Would it be best to remove the one clown and feed nothing to the tank other than the starfish leg? <I'd likely leave the clown in... for interest, picking bits about> I assume this might help in water quality, and the snails can just eat the algae that grows on the glass, but what about the hermits? Currently I feed the clown a few drops of my thawed Mysis/Brine that I feed to my other tanks. <Sounds fine> 5.) What would be considered the best salinity to have in this tank for shrimp considering their other tankmates/corals? I currently keep the tank at 1.024, or ~33ppm. <I'd raise this to 1.025-1.026... 35 ppt not million> 6.) Is there anything else I should be doing to take of my Harlequins that you can think of? <Mmm, nothing that "jumps out"> I assume the only other major issue would be making sure the iodine levels are perfect, and I have ordered a Salifert test kit to begin testing that. <This (I2) I would only supplement on a punctuated basis... likely timed with water changes> I really want to thank you guys for creating such a unique place to learn about reef keeping and hope that you guys can keep up the good work. Thanks in advance, Landon <Welcome my friend. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. Bob Fenner>

Shrimp ID help please - 06/29/08Hello WWM crew. Attached is a picture of a shrimp that I would like some help verifying its ID, please. This shrimp was found by a friend of mine while diving in Panama City, FL (northern Gulf of Mexico). She found it when she picked up a long spine sea urchin to show to a student (she is a dive instructor). She came to me and to a biology teacher for help in identification. The biology teacher thought it to possibly be in the Periclimenes family or possibly the Gnathophyllum family. <The latter... though at first I too thought it was a Palaemonid... faulty memory... more so all the time> I did a lot of Google work and also searched your site but found little info. Based on a few difficult to see photos, I believe it is Gnathophyllum elegans. This seems supported (at least down to the Gnathophyllum family) by the fact that it was found on the bottom of an urchin, and Julian Sprung's book "Invertebrates: A Quick Reference Guide" reports that Gnathophyllum may feed on the feet of urchins and sea stars. <Mmm, nah! Must> The best photos I could find with the full scientific name came from not what I would consider highly reliable sources and most of them were not written in English, but they were the closest matches I could find and did indicate the scientific name of Gnathophyllum elegans. Any help you could give towards a definite ID would be greatly appreciated. Also, what are your opinions as to their aquarium suitability (given that it would almost certainly require a species only biotype). I realize their natural diet would be difficult to replicate and not desirable to replicate in my opinion. Mr. Sprung recommends feeding finely chopped meaty foods and even flake foods; <No... like most of its family, this animal feeds on the tube feet of certain echinoderms found in its range. An interesting remark... it is recorded as a facultative cleaner, removing parasites from fishes, when young> however, I think he is somewhat overly optimistic on some animals' aquarium suitability. Thanks for all your help (past, present and future!). Sincerely, Rob Watson <Am almost sure this is Gnathophyllum panamense... found from the lower Sea of Cortez in Mexico's Baja to Ecuador... Bob Fenner>

Harlequin Shrimp, fdg.  6/1/08 Hey crew, I am truly intrigued by the species *Hymenocera elegans, *and its their eating habits that fascinate me even more. From the FAQs on your page, and various other sources, it seems they are very specific to consuming live echinoderms such as starfish and urchins. <Yes, usually confined so> My question is that do you know of any successful attempts of feeding the shrimp an alternative source of food. <Yes... have read accounts> While this may sound ridiculous, I was wondering if they have the ability to distinguish from a living and a replica starfish? <Interesting speculation> To me, it seems that in the wild, in it natures way of eliminating excess reproduction of starfish. But to replicate the same in captivity by having to by a starfish for the sole purpose of feeding seems unethical. <One can extend such thoughts to include keeping ornamental aquatics period, or over-populating, polluting the planet with our species to the largest extreme> On the side note, are there pests or perhaps faster reproducing starfish which can be easier to attain, while the shrimp gets its benefits as well? Thanks <I don't "know" well-enough re alternative feeding success to relate others claims directly. All the Gnathophylliid shrimps I've seen kept long-term have been fed live echinoderms. Bob Fenner>

Solo Harlequin -05/11/08 Hi Crew I purchased a solo Harlequin shrimp and put it on my 10 g tank 3 days ago, I threw in a choc chip star and right away it grabs the star and start munching on it... since then the shrimp never let go, for 3 days now its just sitting on top of it (day and night). <This is very typical/normal behavior.> Will it ever let go of it at least once in a while or after it consume the whole thing? How many days before I remove the star from the tank cause I'm worried that it might foul the water since it's very small system? <The "cruel" thing about these shrimp is that, even while feeding, they have an interest in keeping the star alive as long as possible (I believe they might even feed the star). So it might be quite some time before the starfish actually dies. To know when to remove it, monitor your nutrient levels frequently and regularly. When your nutrients spike (or when the shrimp lets go of the poor creature) that's the time to take the star out.> The shrimp is the only inhabitant in the tank (at least for now ?) and it is a SOLO! I've read somewhere in this site that this type of shrimp will not live long unless they are in pair? <Nah, they're fine by themselves. But do be VERY diligent with top-offs, maintaining salinity at 35ppm. They don't like salinity swings.> pls pls pls advise as this tiny creature fascinates me and my family . If ever, can I purchase another one? and take my chances if they will pair...not even sure how you can tell the male and female? how can you tell? Also, will they fight ? I mean, if it so happen that they're both male or female? <I would not risk adding another to a nano tank. They don't need to be in pairs and if the resident shrimp doesn't like the new addition (or vice versa), they can be quite mean (kill each other even).> How many of this species can you keep in this size of tank? <I wouldn't keep more than two. But again, since you already have one, I wouldn't add another.> Can I also add at least 1 goby? maybe a yellow watchman? <Probably, but please read about them first.> how 'bout a clown fish? <I wouldn't.> or some corals too? <Some small soft corals and/or a hardy LPS coral could work. Please see our pages on nano tanks.> I think I'm asking too much for such a small tank! pls enlighten me before I start killing these livestock and my wallet...not to mention my wife. <Nano tanks are tricky, please start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/small.htm> 10 g , 2" sand, 2 -10g whisper filter(1st w/ carbon, 2nd w/Chemi pure), 20 lbs LR, heater, 1 Sm Rio (for added circulation) and 15w 50/50 coral life fluorescent. Thanks in advance.... Nemo 1 <De nada, Sara M.> Harlequin Shrimp And Serpent Stars? - 03/25/08 Hello, WWM Crew! <<Hey, Kirk!>> I have a plague population of Asterina stars. <<Oh?>> I have had no issues with them until lately, when they decided to start eating my Zoanthids <<Perhaps you're not feeding the tank enough>> ...they sit on top of the polyps, extend their little guts, and start digesting the polyps from the top down. <<A problem, for sure>> I have been told that harlequin shrimp would help, <<I have heard/read this as well>> BUT, I also have a very large, beautiful crimson red serpent star in my tank (about 11" across), as well as a 5" tiger striped serpent. Will harlequins eat these too, or, do they mostly stick to chocolate chip stars and similar. <<Hmm…if hungry, I suspect most any Echinoderm is at peril…unless motile enough to get away (maybe by digging in to the sand)…or big and scary enough (like a large Serpent Star) to possibly pose a risk to the shrimp themselves>> Someone told he that they fear serpent stars and will leave them alone, <<Mmm, haven't heard that myself…but let me tell ya, if big enough, "I" would be afraid of Serpent Stars! [grin]>> but, I do not want to risk losing this, what I consider to be rare (this is the first one I've seen in 5 years of being in the hobby), bright red serpent. <<I have seen a few of these (bright orange too)…beautiful creatures>> Any input would be appreciated. Thanks, Kirk <<The two larger species you have are possibly safe, if only due to their mobility…but perhaps a visit to one of the marine forums (Reef Central, Reefs.org…or even…Wet Web Media's newly revised forum!) to inquire/chat with someone who has kept these animals together will yield a more definitive answer. Cheers, EricR>>

Asterina Seastar Populations, control  - 03/20/08 How to control these creatures? They multiply so quick. They eat the purple algae; make the tank look weird and ugly because of white spot. Thanks. Vinh <<I have seen postings where it was reported Harlequin Shrimp (Hymenocera sp.) will eat/reduce populations…but be aware; once the Seastars are gone the shrimp will starve. Regards, EricR>>

Re: Asterina Seastar Populations, & Gnathophylliid f'  - 03/21/08 Thanks Eric. <<Welcome Vinh>> Do Harlequin shrimp is reef safe, and peaceful with other inverters? Thanks, Vinh <<Depends on your definition of "reef safe" I suppose…but other than Echinoderms, your other inverts should be spared from the shrimp's diet.

Question on Harlequin Shrimp... Price Gouging... - 08/26/07 Hi Guys : <Hi there! Mich here.> I'm in Australia (if it matters), <In that case, G'day mate!> and I have seen a pair of Harlequin Shrimp for sale at a local aquarium. <OK.> I have done a lot of research on this species, and I have been keeping marines now for over 20 years, so I feel I can adequately care for them, <Hopefully you have don't all you homework re their specialized care requirements, i.e. a diet of echinoderms, primarily live seastars.> but my question is - Do you think that $350.00 is over priced for a pair of these? <RIDICULOUSLY OVERPRICED!!!! At that price, take the money and go to the GBR and collect yourself! http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=749&N=0 Approximately $A73 from this website, you may be able to find cheaper. Happy shopping! Mich>

Re: Question on Harlequin Shrimp... Price Gouging... - 08/27/07 Hey there Mich : <G'day apparently nameless Aussie marine aquarist ;) > Love your sense of humour ... <Heehee! Thank you!> Thanks so much for your reply. <Welcome!> I appreciate it immensely. <In that case, you are immensely welcome!> I have been doing lots and lots of additional research on these little guys, so that I am assured I provide the best care possible. The species I see for sale on the net is Hymenocera picta, but the species for sale here is H. elegans. Would that make a difference to the price issue, or am I still being extremely ripped off? <I'm sticking with the latter! http://aquaticaonline.net/shrimp.html Still under $A100 for two.> (I must say though that I have never seen any for sale before, and these little guys are just gorgeous). <They are quite pretty... I just have a hard time with their eating habits personally. More info here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/harlequinshrimp.htm > The other issues are - 1. It's illegal to collect them myself, or I damn well would  <Heehee! Me too at that price!> (I've been a scuba diver (Divemaster) for as long as I have been keeping marines), <Am not familiar with collection practices there, but sometimes there are variances for personal or educational use. You might want to explore this option if the GBR is a possibility.> 2. The species for sale here is different to what is for sale on the net, and <I still don't think this justifies the price difference.> 3. If, (and I do mean IF, though I would put all efforts into it), I could get them to breed, my return would be worth the effort. <Mmm, I would caution you here, generally any breeding is quite challenging for most aquarists, and profitability is seldom the motivation for dedicated breeder. You can read of some trials and errors here: http://www.projectdibs.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1112 I am not aware of harlequin shrimp being successfully raised by the hobbyist.> Just wondering if you know of somewhere else I can get H. elegans that would export to Australia, because these guys are extremely rare to see for sale over here. <I'm sorry, but I am not well versed in import/export issues. But I do see them being offered for sale on line http://www.thatpetplace.com/pet/prod/213707/product. the website picture shows H. elegans but is not specific as to the species.> Like I said previously, I have never seen a pair for sale before. <I'm not sure what the reason is for this. I know they are not terribly uncommon here in the USA and frequently see them at the LFS. Wish I could be more helpful. Good luck to you, my nameless friend, I would do more research before parting with that kind of cash for these lovely creatures. Mich>

Re: Question on Harlequin Shrimp... Price Gouging... No Supply and Demand  8/28/07 Hey again Mich - <G'day Ray! My no longer nameless friend!> I'm really beginning to like conversing with you. <Nice to hear and I with you.> Your sense of humour is very appealing. <Heehee, if only everyone thought that... :) > My name is Ray Grinberg (no longer nameless) ... ; ) <Nice to meet ya Ray!> While I was waiting for your last reply, I did some extra research on the availability of H. elegans, <Glad you could be productive!> and I discovered that for some unknown reason, Harlequin shrimp are incredibly rare to get in Australia. We do have very, very strict laws about collecting on the GBR. <As MarthaS. would say, "a good thing".> You require a permit, and there is no getting around it. The government is very strict on that issue, to stop exploitation, and I agree with it, having dived it for 20 years now. <So you likely see the benefit.> The other big problem is that we are not allowed to import invertebrates into Australia from other countries, <Was not aware of this, thank you for edifying me!> which is why aquariums don't out-source their stock, and Harlequins very rarely appear on stock lists for sale, therefore, they are very rare and expensive here. <Ahh, makes sense.> It looks like I may just have to live with that... <Yikes, better you than me!> I am aware that breeding these guys is rare and very difficult, (and I wouldn't do it specifically for profit), but the challenge of breeding and raising them would, (for me at any rate) become a natural progression to paying such a high price. <Understandably.> For something so rare over here, I would have to take the challenge and try. <Couldn't hurt.> If you ever see a site that sells in Australia, or can somehow export over here, I think there would be a lot of people that would love to know ... <I would imagine.> Thanks for all your help, and friendly conversation. <You are most welcome, the pleasure is mine.> Ray Grinberg ... <Michelle Lemech>

Re: Question on Harlequin Shrimp... Price Gouging... No, Supply and Demand... What the Market Will Bear... 8/28/07 Dear Michelle - <Hello Ray.> It seems our conversation is nearing its unfortunate, though inevitable end. <Possibly.> I wish there was more I could write to you about, as I have loved communicating with you, but, alas, I don't wish to waste your valuable time talking rubbish. <Communication/interaction/sharing is seldom wasteful.> It seems that the price for the Harlequins I have seen is a little extravagant, even by Australian standards, <Yes.> but I doubt I will ever see another pair for a very, very long time, so I may have to just accept it. <Is your choice, lies with in your control ultimately.> These little guys are extremely beautiful though, and in perfect condition, so I may as well get them as someone else. <That's one way to justify it! Heehee!> I will be dedicating a tank just to them, and be assured that with such a high price, the greatest care will be given to provide for their every need and desire. I think they may well become the most spoiled, pampered shrimp in the world... <Sounds like they could be in the running!> May I keep in touch, and ask questions on their care if needed? <Of course! Why we're here! Please let us know how any breeding attempts fair.> Thank you for all your help. <You are quite welcome Ray. Mich> Ray

Re: Question on Harlequin Shrimp... Price Gouging... No, Supply and Demand... What the Market Will Bear... Future Breeding Efforts   8/30/07Michelle - <G'day Ray!> I just had to reply ... (any excuse) <Heehee!> I guess it is just a justification for paying so much, but if I don't get them, someone else will, and I will miss out. <It's OK. It is up to you. It is your decision. It is your money (I'm presuming you didn't rob a bank! Or if you did, then it is not your money and give it back!) and your decision as to whether you choose to use that money to have the privilege of being solely responsible for the care and health of these beauties.> I think these little critters are worth getting hold of, and I do so knowing full well that I am being taken for the ride of my life. <You are making an informed decision. You know that they sell for significantly less in other countries, but that does help you when importation is not possible (or doesn't appear to be possible). So this price, thought exorbitant elsewhere, is likely what your current market will bear.> I will be trying to breed them, and rest assured that I will indeed let you know how the breeding attempts fair. <Look forward to that! I do wish you much success. The Project Dibs (Desirable Invertebrates Breeding Society) website may be a good resource for you. Their mission is to create an online community collaborating on openly sharing knowledge of how to breed marine invertebrates. They do have a good deal of information and is a worthy project.> I don't expect to be successful, but if I pamper them enough, you never can tell. <Well, I can tell you it will take a lot more than pampering! There is a lot of work that is required of such an effort. At this point the care requirements of the fry is not understood. Success may come, but only after a lot of trial and error, and likely a good bit of frustration and perhaps heartbreak. But, hopefully success will be achieved!> I have been looking for all the info I can get on the subject and I think feeding will be the greatest challenge (as it usually is with fry). <Mmm, feeding the fry is a challenge, but from what I read, I don't think that is the biggest challenge; the unexplained deaths would be my biggest concern. Feeding might be less of a challenge if you are near tropical water which perhaps you (hopefully) you are.> I've bred a few marine species in my time, <Then you may have some good experience to draw from. It is likely good that you are considering purchasing these beauties. You have the means, experience and desire to perhaps advance the reproductive efforts of these lovely shrimp.> and I definitely think they will be well worth the challenge. <Will be a challenge for sure! I wish you much enjoyment and much success! Mich> Ray.

Re: Question on Harlequin Shrimp... Price Gouging... No, Supply and Demand... What the Market Will Bear... Future Breeding Efforts My dearest Michelle - <My dearest Ray, how shall I start the love letter? Heehee!> Rest assured, I did not rob a bank in order to afford the Harlequins <Whew! I can sleep now!> ... but a bank loan was definitely an option ... <Heehee... such is this hobby/illness/addiction...> Actually, it was plain old desire. If you want something enough, you'll find the money. <So has been said.> The DIBS will be a place I will frequent, in my search for knowledge. Thank you very, very much for that little gem. <My fellow crewmember, Brenda, pointed me to this little gem, so we must thank her as well!> I think that success in breeding such a difficult species may well lie in scientific rationale + trial and error, rather than hope and heartbreak. <Oh I absolutely agree, hope and heartbreak are often the emotional products of trial and error for those who are gifted enough to connect to their emotional being.> I don't assume to be the person the "break the code", but I may achieve some limited success, and in doing so, pass on what I learn, so that the progression of knowledge will lead to success for someone else in the future. That is my realistic view, <A noble goal.> but my heart still wants me to be the one (we can dream anyway) ... <The dream is often the first step.> I appreciate, and thank you for your encouragement. <You're very welcome my friend, and I do hope your dreams come true. Mich> Ray Grinberg.

Re: Question on Harlequin Shrimp... Price Gouging... No, Supply and Demand... What the Market Will Bear... Future Breeding Efforts... A $A350 Purchase! More breeding thoughts... 9/5/07 <Ray, my friend! Mich with you again.> WOW .... what a wonderful resource to get started with. He certainly provides some valuable knowledge that would only otherwise come by doing it yourself firsthand. I think that if I can get my guys to produce eggs, I will be "up there" very quickly. He mentions several things that I had already guessed at, but he provides infinitely valuable info that would otherwise take ages to figure out on my own. So thank you (and thanks to Brenda too), for such a great page. <You are welcome! Must credit Brenda here, was her find, she though it would benefit you.> I didn't realise you had such an adverse reaction to Harlequin feeding habits, and I promise not to mention it again. <Yeeaah... I've gotta couple of issues... perhaps about same number of issues as National Geographic...> I used to live in an area right on the coast, with coral gardens only a short walk from the beach at low tide, <Ahh... heaven :D > but I have since moved too far south, and the reef flats I used to frequent are now 1000 miles away. <Now why would ya go and do that?> I still live just a short drive from fresh seawater though, so collecting fresh water and copepods is no problem there. <I think this will be a great benefit to you and your new babies!> My new little companions lack the large luminescent eyes of cuteness, <Heehee!> but they have much greater appeal to me than that. <Ahh, good!> I find myself sitting and watching them for hours, totally awed by their graceful beauty <The underwater world holds some amazing things... can hold ones attention for hours if allowed.> (and the fact that I can't believe I have them). <I'm pinching you! You are awake!> I do water quality checks daily, but I am sure that will settle down when I finally get used to seeing them every day. <Heehee! A bit of an overprotective parent are we?> I'm still in shock ... but it will pass. <Heehee! Yes undoubtedly.> The journey has already been thrilling, so I can't imagine how good it will get should I be successful in breeding, and raising even a single one. <As I said before can be a journey of highs and lows, but hopefully more success than heartbreak.> I think there is much joy to be had in the successful accomplishment of each step, <Assuredly!> and if I can do something small to contributing of captive bred species around the world, then I will have paid my dues for all the wild stocks I've kept in the past. <Each step makes a difference.> Here's to hoping. <Cheers! I'll toast to that!> Ray. <Wishing you all the best my dear friend! Michelle>

Re: Question on Harlequin Shrimp... Price Gouging... No, Supply and Demand... What the Market Will Bear... Future Breeding Efforts... A $A350 Purchase! More breeding thoughts...  9/10/07 Lovely Michelle - <Precious Ray> Glad to know I'm not annoying you too much. <Nope! Not at all.> Charles contacted me and we have e-mailed a few times since I wrote you last. <Oh, Terrific! I am glad to hear this!> He says that I am the only other person he knows of that is attempting to breed these creatures. <Really!?!? I am quite surprised by this, perhaps there are others who are just not "vocal". Have you searched other forums, ReefCentral etc?> No one else has contacted him through his page, <This I can believe. Was a challenge to find his email on his site. Perhaps better email placement may encourage more contact.> and we are going to keep in contact regarding our efforts, <Very good!> and see if we can figure it out. <Often two heads are better than one.> The biggest problem we face it seems is feeding the larvae. <From what I've read, does seem to be a challenge, finding appropriate and small enough foods. Not knowing the natural diet is a challenge.> Once we crack that, we will be world famous breeders of Harlequins... <Hey, ya never know! Could be your 15 minutes of fame! You should at least be able to get published! I want an autographed copy! ;) > I am trying to condition my guys by providing a completely stress free environment (including stress by less than perfect water quality), <Good.> and plenty of their favourite food (which I won't mention). <Heehee! Thank you! Much appreciated!> Also, I am taking into consideration other factors often overlooked such as temperature range (and/or variance) plus water movement, as these sorts of things are often triggers for breeding behaviour. <Yes and the phase of the moon is often quite an important breeding queue as well.> I will get more information from Charles, regarding conditions on his tanks, so that should go a very long way to getting them producing eggs. <Yes, to have someone who has had some degree of success will be most helpful. You should be able to help each other quite a bit. There are others out there who may be able to assist.> Once I get them happy enough to produce eggs, half the battle will be won, <Yes.> but the most challenging part will begin. <Absolutely. Raising the fry is challenging to say the least!> I have no delusions of getting it right straight away, but if I can have even limited success before they get too old, I will be happy. <Ahh, good.> Tons of gratitude to you once again, <Glad I could be of help! Please continue to send updates.> and if you were close by, I would hug you. <I always appreciate a hug! Michelle> Ray.

Re: question on Harlequin Shrimp - 09/05/07 <Hello Charles and Linda, Mich from WetWebMedia here.> Thanks, it was very nice to see the effort I put into that page was of use to someone. <Likely more than you know! I thought you might enjoy seeing. This will be posted on the www.wetwebmedia.com website which averages around 20,000 unique visits per day, more than www.reefcentral.com so hopefully more will find their way to the wealth of information you have provided. Thank you for your work here. Mich> Charles & Linda Raabe

Re: Question on Harlequin Shrimp... Price Gouging... No, Supply and Demand...What the Market Will Bear... Future Breeding Efforts... A $A350 Purchase! More breeding thoughts...  9/7/07 Darling Michelle - <Sweet Ray> I really, really love to write to you, but please let me know if I am wasting your time. I don't wish to become a burden on your time, so you must tell me if you are too busy. <Not currently...> I just wanted to let you know that I have e-mailed Charles and Linda to thank them for their page on Harlequin breeding, <Very thoughtful of you. I'm sure your kindness will be meaningful and appreciated.> and thank you and Brenda for sending me there. <You are quite welcome and I have informed Brenda as well.> You asked me why I moved so far away from my coral world ... The answer is life. I needed to get out of the small town I lived in, and find a life with better opportunities, so I move to our state's capital. <Ahh, yes, I can very much relate and am making strides toward such a move myself... but hopefully towards the octopus' garden, not away.> I can tell you that had I not moved, I doubt I would be e-mailing you now ... so it's all a progression, <Yes, I understand, growth and change are indeed good.> as it will be with breeding "my" Harlequins. The first thing to do is set up a tank to raise the larvae in while mom and dad are settling in properly, <Acclimation and time is good> and then try to condition them to produce eggs. <And just how you gonna try to condition them to do that? Heehee!> So .... here goes ... <Are you ready?> It all begins ... <Excellent! As Confucius said: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."> *Hugs and Gratitude for your support* <Thank you very much Ray, been a while since I've received much of either and they are appreciated. Michelle> Ray. Re: question on Harlequin Shrimp - 09/14/07 Beautiful Michelle - <Dearest Ray> My little Harlequins seem to be very shy. <I'm sorry. Makes it more difficult to enjoy them.> They rarely come out of their cave, so observing them is often difficult, <perhaps more time to acclimate will help these guys get more comfortable.> but they seem happy enough, and feeding well. <Oh good!> Water quality is spot on, so all I can do now is wait. <Time and patience...> I've only had them a week and a half though, so I may have to wait a while yet. <Yes, Hopefully they will become more secure and outgoing with time.> I don't think the food issue for the larvae is the biggest problem. <No, I didn't think so either from what I had read on the DIBS board, the unexplained deaths are more concerning in my opinion.> Charles seems to think that his water quality has been to blame for all the losses of larvae, <Again from what I read, this does seem like a reasonable/logical conclusion.> because he has observed them feeding ravenously on copepods in his rearing tank, but he just can't get them to live longer than 7 days. <Could be something else as well.> The water quality issue may well be true, <Yes.> but he is awaiting a new batch, due to hatch any time now, <Excellent! Please keep updating.> so it will be a big leap forward if he can make it work this time, even if it's just a few. <Oh! Yes! Most definitely!> I intend to do things a little differently to Charles, <Trial and error... doing things slightly different is called experimentation ;) and is often how we learn and at times succeed. Just document what you do and how you do it.> but he has found a suitable food, <A large obstacle to overcome!> and I'm hoping he has more success this time. <Me too!> The challenge is worth it, <I'm glad you feel this way.> and I'm just excited to have mine produce eggs at this stage, but who knows if and when that will be. <One hurdle at a time.> You know a little about what makes me tick, so what's your interest? <After many years of longing I was recently certified to SCUBA dive and I have much enjoyed doing this, though I'm not doing it as much as I would like. It is wonderful to see so many of the creatures I am familiar with, in their natural setting... and the "tank" maintenance is so much easier ;) I am also quite a passionate above and underwater amateur photographer. I have much to learn in this area. I enjoy traveling and have been quite fortunate to do quite a bit this year and hope to continue this trend. Perhaps making it to your country at some point in the not too distant future, I would really love to see the GBR. My father spent over 33 month in the South Pacific including Australia, New Guinea, the Philippines and I believe he made it into Japan as well fighting in WWII. So I grew up hearing many stories about the wonders of your country. My first "research" paper (in 6th grade mind you) was titled The Marsupials of Australia. I also enjoy interior decorating; swimming, actually diving more so; hashing, running of sorts; spending time with friends; helping and sharing with others; and philosophizing, laughing, and chatting with interesting people.> Do you keep marines yourself? <Barely... my tank is more of a nuisance algae farm at the present moment. I hope to be relocating soon so it has been rather neglected.... Michelle, hanging her head in shame...and grateful that no one can see her tank.> Ray.

Re: question on Harlequin Shrimp  7/21/07 Dearest Michelle - <Hi there Ray of sunshine!> It's always so nice to hear from you, <And you as well... brightening up my day!> so I thought that I would include a small picture of myself for you to put a face to the letters. <Ah, yes, thank you. It is indeed nice to put a face with the name. We, the crew, are familiar to many, as most of us have our pictures posted on the meet the crew page. I am just returning from an international conference, MACNA, which was held over the weekend and it is always surprising to meet some of the people who I have heard about or corresponded with on-line. You never know what to expect.> Bad news about Charle's Harlequins I'm afraid. <Uh-oh!> He did a too hasty transfer to his rearing tank and they all died from not being acclimatised properly. <Darn. A shame.> Sad news, but his Harlequins have eggs every 3 weeks or so, so he won't be waiting too long to try again. <This is good. Charles's name came up a couple of times in presentations at the MACNA conference over the weekend. Took me by surprise. I actually saw some pictures of some of his tanks! How funny is that? I was like wait, I know that name! Also attended a lecture on breeding and micro-foods. You and your little shrimp were first and foremost on my mind.> I on the other hand have not had so much luck as yet ... (not that I was expecting any mind you). <Yes, sometimes low expectations can protect our wellbeing.> One of them did shed for the first time though, and I suspect it was the female because she has been hiding completely out of sight for 2 days now, and didn't even come out of hiding to try to grab the new food I put in their tank today, but left the little male up to the task. She got involved only when it was safe in the hole they live in. <Well at least she had a safe molt.> I hoped that she may have been protecting new eggs (as I have read they will do), but she isn't carrying any yet, so I suspect it is because she still feels too "soft" after shedding to come out. <Likely so.> Thank you so very much for the personal info. It's great to know something about you, and I think we are very similar with regards to our diving history. <Oh, I only wish. You undoubtedly have many, many more dive than I do, likely several magnitudes more.> I learnt when I was just 19 (geez ... that's 20 years ago now), and it was about a year and a half to two years after I started keeping marines. <With over 20 years of experience keeping marines why aren't you writing on WWM?> Ultimately, I learnt to dive because I wanted to see what I was keeping in their natural environment, so I could better take care of them, <I actually wanted to dive before keeping an aquarium. If anything, I started to keep an aquarium as a means to satisfy this urge.> plus I just wanted to experience the thrill of diving a coral reef, <Initially, I would have been happy just being able to be underwater for a prolonged period of time, just to see what I could see. Now I'm a little more spoiled. I want to be in warm, clear water, with a camera.> and I got hooked like I never thought I would. <I'm hooked, but I can't say I'm surprised. I have always loved being in the water.> I spent the next 8 years in the diving industry, <How awesome!> eventually becoming an instructor (though I haven't taught for a long time now), but it still thrills me to get wet and see what's under the water. <It's a whole different world. I love it! Though, I can hardly bear to go without a camera. I love seeing what images I might capture.> Some of my happiest memories are the times I sunk to the bottom of the reef after a few weeks away, and looking around, feeling like I was home again. <A wonderful feeling.> My mum (sorry ... mom) always said that one day I would find a mermaid and never come home again... Well... I never found a mermaid, but I still keep my eyes open for one... <You may still find her.> It would be an experience of a lifetime for you to come out here and see the GBR. <I would absolutely love to. Is one of my life goals.> I can definitely tell you the best places to go, and who knows ... I might even come with you to see the places I love and haven't seen for so long. <That would be wonderful! This is the best way to do it, with an experienced and knowledgeable friend.> Much hugs. <And to you!> Ray. <Keep updating! Mich>

Re: question on Harlequin Shrimp - 09/29/07 Dearest Michelle: <Ray, my dear, I apologize for the lengthy delay.> I wasn't aware that you had your picture on the WWM site, so I just went to take a look (to put a face to the lovely words). <Yes, most of the past and current crew is pictured on the site. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/wwmcrewpix.htm > I have been trying to get some good shots of my little Harlequins to send to you, but they just aren't the catwalk type. <Maybe with time they'll be out there vogueing> They are so shy that I rarely see them outside on the rocks, and if I ever do, no sooner do I have my camera out than they run back into their cave and hide again. <I hope they become more social so you can enjoy them more easily.> I feel honoured that you thought about my little guys while you were at the conference. <Oh yes, several times. I sat in on a lecture given by Dr. Frank Marini which was quite thought-provoking on foods for fish fry. He talked about the difficulty in getting appropriate foods. The first challenge is finding small enough foods that would fit in the mouths of the fry. Next is finding foods that produce appropriate movements so the fry could recognize these creatures as food items. Lastly he discussed the potential food sources having sufficient nutritional content. It was quite interesting all the different facets that one might not think about. He also mentioned sacrificing a few of the fry in order to do gut analysis to determine what the fry were eating as this could allow the aquarist to possibly culture the selected food item. Fascinating stuff.> The copepod population in my Harlequin tank has exploded over the last couple of weeks, but any information on cultivating them in consistent quantities will be much needed information, as I am sure that just one batch of larvae would decimate what I have, and leave none left for future breedings. <Well I am far from an expert in this realm but you will likely need to do some reading here: Green water phytoplankton: http://advancedaquarist.com/issues/aug2002/breeder.htm Rotifer Culture: http://advancedaquarist.com/issues/sept2002/breeder.htm Ciliates: http://advancedaquarist.com/issues/oct2002/breeder.htm Artemia: http://www.advancedaquarist.com/issues/dec2002/breeder.htm > I am greatly relieved that the moult went without trauma, as I can't afford to lose either of my shrimp. <That would be very, very bad.> There is no way I would find a replacement, <Would be extraordinarily difficult to say the least!> so my breeding efforts would be completely devastated. <Possibly.> I still can't believe how accessible they are in other countries, <Yes, they are quite common here in the USA.> when we have the greatest reef system in the world at our doorstep. <I do hope to see this reef!> While I was looking through the WWM site today, I noticed that you have posted some of our conversations. <ALL queries sent in to WWM are posted. All responses are generally made public and posted on the website as well. Some personal emails sent to Bob make it onto the site too! Fair warning to all that write to Bob... you never know where your personal conversation might end up!> Let me know if anyone else reads them and comments. <I am certain they have been read, but we have not received any comments of which I am aware. We have some 20,000 unique users per day who access the site, this is more hits than www.reefcentral.com according to the stat servers each website maintains. Many log on daily to read the Q & A's. All queries and responses are published here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/daily_faqs3.htm > I think there would be a lot of people stunned at the price I paid. <Undoubtedly!> If you ever get out here, <I do hope to get there!> I would be delighted to show you the best places to dive. <I would very much enjoy this! Which areas are you most familiar with?> Like all best experiences, they aren't always the most commercial places, or the most accessible, <These are often the best!> but I can guarantee you experiences you will never forget <That I am certain!> (especially if you bring your camera). <I don't like diving or for that matter doing much of anything without a camera! Even in murky fresh water there is always some image I'd like to capture.> Take care. <You as well!> Ray. <Be chatting, Michelle>

Re: question on Harlequin Shrimp - 10/04/07 Hi again dear Michelle : <Hello sweet Ray!> Thank you so much for the awesome links. <Welcome! I hope they were helpful!> I am sure they will be valuable to my efforts. <I hope you have the need for them in the near future!> I just tried to feed my Harlequins on thawed frozen food last night, and they took to it without hesitation. <Oh! Wonderful! I hope that continues!> That will make feeding them a heck of a lot easier from now on, <Definitely!> but I think they will need live food from time to time as well. <Yes and I think you are likely wise here.> (sorry about that, but it's nature at work). <Yes, and thanks for passing on the gory details ;) > I am most familiar with the reefs off a small town I grew up in, about midway up the Queensland coast. The town is called Mackay, (if you wanted to Google earth it) <Oh I will look this up! I am leaving in less than 12 hours for a live aboard and will be gone for the next 10 days so, I will have to look this up when I get back.> and the reefs there are the best you'll see. <Wow! Cool! Good to know! I would very much like to see these reefs.> Mostly because they are far enough off the mainland to be largely unaffected by coastal run-off, <Ah, yes, this makes a huge difference.> and it's not a well-known tourist destination, so it's largely untouched by the myriad of senseless gawkers. <This makes a huge difference as well.> I will take you there, <I would very much like this!> if you ever visit. <I do hope to!> Hugs ... Ray. <Thank you Ray and back to you! Michelle>

Re: Question on Harlequin Shrimp - 10/04/07 Michelle : <Hello my friend> I hope you get this in time ... <I did, but just barely! I leave in 3 short ours from now!> I write, feeling very much like an amateur. <Uh-oh!> I went out last night (Wednesday) and got back rather late. I used a flashlight to check on my shrimp before I went to bed, <Tuck them in!> and the tank was a mass of larvae. <WOW! YAY! I'm so happy for you!> I couldn't figure it out at first, because I didn't even know she had eggs, but after a closer examination, I found them to be shrimp larvae. I was both gleefully surprised and pitifully ashamed at the same time. <Heehee! Mixed emotions indeed! But a fantastic discovery!> I check the female nearly every day for evidence of eggs, but I never saw them. How foolish I feel, but how excited for the future. <Heehee! Great that they are reproducing so soon! Well, it would likely help to know exactly what the eggs look like, which I doubt you've seen before and you may not really know what you're looking for until your little guys have had a couple of spawnings. Pictures help, but until you've seen such with your own eye... But this is wonderful news! I am much looking forward to your updates! Feel free to write as I'm gone thought I won't be about to respond for a while. > It looks like those links will be coming in handier sooner than I thought. <I guess! Glad I could get them for you!> Enjoy your trip, <I sure hope to! I am very much looking forward to being in the warm, clear, water with a camera!> and please take care, and be safe. <Thank you Ray. I appreciate your concern. Looking forward to hearing about the future developments! Hugs, Michelle> Ray.


Harlequin Shrimp Update 8/3/07 Hi there, <Hello Syd> I was reading your information page on harlequin shrimp http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnshrpfaqs.htm I am raising and selling these shrimp ( you refer to me when I did this at Waikiki Aquarium, but I now have my own farm). Your answers to people seemed good to me. I can assure you that the shrimp eat pieces of frozen starfish, and seem to do fine on dried starfish. I use only crown-of-thorns stars, for political and cost reasons. Because they are large, it is not good to stick the whole star in the shrimp tank. It is ok to do that with small stars. Anyway, if you want to use any of the info on my website, feel free to do so. <Interesting, and thank you for sharing. Will post for others to see. James (Salty Dog)> Syd Kraul www.sihawaii.com/sydkraul/harly.html

Harlequin Shrimp Diet  6/9/07 I have a recently acquired pair of Harlequin Shrimp and I was wondering if they could survive on a diet of pincushion sea urchins. <Have seen this done, yes... If your pair of Hymenocera will accept these> These are easily collected in my area and would be cheaper than buying starfish almost weekly. Also, how much of the urchin do they consume. <A good deal over time... likely a whole animal's complement in a week or so> I'm worried that if they just eat the feet and leave the rest of the body, <This is correct> it will foul up the water too quickly. <... depends on your system, maint...> I don't mind buying the starfish but it would be nice if I could just pick an urchin off the seawall every few weeks. Thanks for your time. <Only experiment, experience can/will tell. Bob Fenner>

Hymenocera Dining on Ophiuroids and Diadema?   12/27/06 Hello Crew, <Lev> I have an inquiry about Harlequin Shrimps. Do these guys feed on Ophiuroids? Serpent Stars <I have seen this in captivity> and the like seem to be too agile for these little shrimps, but I don't know. Another inquiry, Are they brave enough to tackle a Diadema Urchin? <I would think so, yes> Your article states that they eat urchins, but do they eat any species they get their claws on, or do they pay attention to their tough armor? <Eat their tube feet... piercing them...> Thanks Very Much in Advance, Lev. <If hungry, these Gnathophylliids will consume most any echinoderm they can find, though in most cases will choose Asteroids as their food item of choice. Bob Fenner> Multiple pairs of Harlequin Shrimp  9/6/06 I recently bought a pair of Hawaiian Harlequin shrimp that I've had for a couple months.  I'm looking at buying another mated pair and keeping them in the same tank.  I currently have my pair in an 8 gallon nanocube.  Do you know anything about the compatibility of multiple pairs of Harlequin shrimp? Thanks! <Yes... Gnathophylliids are not compatible in such small volumes. Bob Fenner>

Propagating Asterinas for Harlequins?   8/21/06 Currently, I have two saltwater tanks. One is a 6.6 gallon nano reef in which I have a small (1.5-2 inch each) mated pair of Harlequin Shrimp along with soft corals and a few other reef critters (Neon Goby, 1.5 inch Emerald Crab, 1 inch Porcelain Crab. <Don't think I'd want the Emerald Crab in the same neighborhood as the Porcelain Crab, may become a meal.> My other tank is a 20L dedicated to my 4.5 inch peacock mantis shrimp. The only other resident of that tank at the moment is a 4 inch reddish Chocolate Chip Star. Currently I have been feeding my Harlequins Chocolate Chips. <Mmm, no Lorna Dunes?> (well, I fed them once so far. I've had them 2-3 weeks. Been told to feed them about every 2 weeks.) <Could go up to four weeks if necessary.> In fact, the star in my Mantis tank was to be a feeder, but I decided he was too big and I didn't want him getting out of hand and munching on my corals. I am still determining how appropriate of a permanent tank-mate he is for my mantis shrimp. All build up aside, he is my question: I found can buy Asterinas on eBay. I assume some one is cashing in on a pest-ridden tank, just like you see "tulip anemones" for sale there. How feasible would it be to grow a herd or Asterinas in my mantis tank to feed daily or so to my Harlequins? Most people want to lose all their Asterina, I can't find any info on how to grow them. <They multiply like weeds.  No special care needed.  Read FAQ's here for more info.  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/asterinafaqs.htm> That tank gets pretty high in Nitrates from chunks of meaty food being discarded, hidden, then decomposing. Is that a problem or is a dirty tank the way to grow these guys? <Would do a little more maintenance than you are doing.  Asterinas are rather small and are not going to consume large hunks of food in one sitting until you have hundreds of them.> Can you think of any other reason why or why not to try this? <Absolutely not, they will reproduce faster than the Harlequins can eat them.  Keep in mind, they don't always go after Asterinas. Try it out, see what happens.> If I do, can you imagine any way to keep a bunch of these guys without them reaching "plague" proportions? <Discard them if they get to plague proportions.> I like to see inside my tank. I am in a position to set up a separate (simple) system to grow these guys. If you can clue to me in to ideal parameters for these guys, I may try that. <Nothing critical here, drop in some decent flake food and you are on your way.  Just keep normal parameters up such as salinity, pH, etc.> Thanks, <You're welcome.  James (Salty Dog)> Andrew Harlequin Shrimp   8/19/06 Hi Crew, <Hello Michael> Hope all is well with everyone! <Good with me, do not know about the rest of the crew.> I have a quick and painless question that I just can not find the answer for.   How long is the life span of Harlequin Shrimp in captivity assuming it has a suitable habitat? I have had a pair for about 1.5 years and curious how long my friends can be expected to stay with me. Thank you in advance for your help. <My first question is...what are you feeding these guys?  These shrimp feed exclusively on Seastars in nature.  Some people have had good luck feeding them sea stars of the Asterina spp.  These type starfish reproduce rapidly in the home aquarium and should maintain a good food supply. I'm guessing that this is their diet.  These shrimp can exist with feedings of sea stars as long as three to four weeks apart.  As far as life span, years, again, depending on the environment and food supply.  They have been raised in a captive aquaculture project at the Waikiki aquarium.  I'm thinking Charles Delbeek (spelling?) had something to do with this.  Bob may be familiar with this project.  James (Salty Dog)> Michael J. Bukosky Re: Harlequin Shrimp   8/19/06 Thanks for the response James. <You're welcome> I have been feeding mine strictly chocolate chip starfish.  They seem not to be to interested in any other type. <OK> The female lays her eggs on her tail but I have never seen fry.  Will they release unfertile eggs? <Could> If not are you aware of how to raise the fry. <I'm not, but I'm guessing the fry would possibly feed off starfish in the planktonic stage.  Bob may inject something here.   <<Mmm, no, yes and no. RMF>. You may want to do a search on this or go to your public or large library and ask for some help in this regard.  Bob may also know who conducted the aquaculture experiment on this species at the Waikiki Aquarium, and may put you in contact with him.> I have breed many freshwater fish but these guys I cannot figure out. <Would not be an easy task.> Thank you for all the knowledge that Wet Web has given us hobbyists.  You guys and your web site are a valuable resource. <You're very welcome.> Now its time to finish the acclimation on my new 8 inch Stigmatochromis pleurospilus.  Lets hope he isn't to aggressive for his tank mates! <Good luck, James (Salty Dog)> Fab tips for feeding Hymenocera Harlequin Shrimp 8/9/05 8.9.05 Mornin' Anthony <cheers, my friend> Many thanks indeed for such a speedy and affirmative response to my query. <Always welcome mate> I was looking just now on your page re. Hymenocera and thought I'd relate this to you. I used to keep these 20 years ago and what I did (contrary to what was then current thinking) was to collect small specimens of our native starfish, Asterias rubens and wash and freeze them. Easy for me as I live by and work on the sea. To feed the shrimps I just snipped off enough for that feed. As soon as I dropped it in this true pair strode round the tank, following the scent trail, then pulled out and at the hydraulics, leaving behind just the spiny skin! By the way, I've looked at loads of forums of late and in truth WWM is the dogs wotsits!! Kind regards Steve. <Fabulous tips for feeding Hymenocera! Thanks kindly for sharing this... we will duly post them on the dailies page and archies for the benefit of all. Anthony> Sudden Harlequin Shrimp death Hello, I am totally astounded to why my harlequin died today in the afternoon when it was perfect and lively just in the morning. I have had my shrimp for about 2 months now, and I have fed it chocolate chip Seastars since the beginning. It already molted about a month ago, and I just gave it a new Seastar last week. (The shrimp took over a month to devour the first Seastar). Since it molted, it has gotten huge, in my perspective, that it could actually almost lift and drag the starfish with him.  When I gave it the new starfish last week, the harlequin appeared from its hiding place, quickly turned the starfish over and started dragging it to the back of the tank. Within a couple days, the starfish was ripped to pieces. Just yesterday, the harlequin ripped out part of the leg and I could see the meaty white strings as the shrimp tried to pull the meat on top of a rock. Now today, it just died. All of a sudden died. My corals have been acting funny too. <Oh oh> My water parameters are just fine, but there was one thing that I think I might be able to blame it on. My powerhead temporarily shut off, and I had to fix it today. It is now running, but could this be the reason for my dead shrimp? thank you, Paul <Mmm, perhaps the death, decomposition of the Seastar is a factor here... and may be a bit of the powerhead as well... These shrimp are very sensitive to water quality changes... Bob Fenner> 

Harlequin Shrimp diet 9/28/04 I had a few questions regarding the eating habits of the harlequin shrimp.  First would the shrimp eat brittle stars? <They target primarily the tube feet, so brittle stars should be safe (safer?).> <<Uh, no. RMF>> Second when the harlequins eat the chocolate chip could the chocolate chip eat any of my corals?   <Chocolate chips are fairly indiscriminate feeders and may damager corals.> Third, are the shrimp reclusive?  I've seen some mixed opinions on the last question and was wondering your opinion.  Thanks, Willis   <IME, they are no more reclusive than other ornamental shrimps, especially once they become comfortable with their surroundings.   Best Regards.  Adam>

- Harlequin Shrimp Live Food Alternatives? - Good morning I am a French aquarist with some success (A ocellaris (1977 !) then, later on, Hippocampus kuda and Lysmata rathbunae). I am gathering info about Hymenocera and read your articles and FAQs about it. Very interesting! <Yes, fascinating animals.> But concerning feeding, either on WWM or elsewhere, it is always said to put LIVING Seastars in the tank. That means that a regular supply have to be put in place. Not easy when seashore is several hundred miles away! <Yes, this is the downside to keeping these animals and the leading reason we often suggest that folks not keep them unless they can provide this food consistently. Generally speaking, a higher cost animal to keep.> A much more easy method would be to have the Seastars frozen and to give regularly SMALL pieces of them to the Hymenocera shrimps. <"Would" be, but I've seen no evidence of this to date... as far as I know these shrimp will eat only live food.> With of course the necessity to draw out what has not been consumed, in order not to foul the tank. 1) Would it be a convenient method of feeding (as it is for other meals given to fishes)? <It would if the shrimp would take the offering, but I don't believe that it will.> 2) If not, for what reason? <Hard to say specifically - very little hard research on these shrimp available to the aquarist. Anecdotally I can tell you that these shrimp have a very strong chemo-sense - a live sea-star dropped into the tank will cause the appearance of the shrimp, even if out of sight and separated by several hundred gallons of water. A frozen sea-star probably would not elicit this response. Additionally, there just isn't much to a sea-star and the chances are good that the freezing process would be quite destructive to the parts the shrimp needs to derive its nutrition.> Best regards     Roger PS1 : Apologize for my "approximate" language <No worries.> PS2 : I am not sure that questions have to be sent to this address. <They did. Cheers, J -- >

- Copepods & Harlequin Shrimp - Hi! My harlequin shrimp recently molted (there were several pieces of shell and all her legs).  I don't believe she survived. <Hold out hope, shrimp often go into hiding after a molt.>  My tank has a significant population of copepods - can copepods attack a vulnerable harlequin shrimp? <I suppose that is possible, but not probably. What is most likely is that the shrimp simply didn't live long after the molt - molting is an exhausting process and many crustaceans succumb during and after the process. Still, I'd hold out for it to still show up - best way to find out is to toss a Seastar in there... it will need nourishment after molting.> Thanks for your help! Tracy L. <Cheers, J -- >

NMA RI Book and feeding Hymenocera To Anthony Calfo or Bob Fenner  <Howdy>  I having been reading your book for the past two months. You both did a great job and I wanted to thank you personally. There is something I wanted to ask you about it.  I was reading about the shrimps. Most of all the harlequin shrimp. I have wanted them for a long time but don't like that they ate Linckia or CC sea stars.  <Hymenocera spp. can be trained to eat other foodstuffs... mainly other live echinoderms>  In your book you said they can eat those small stars that people get as hitchhikers. Can they really do that?  <Yes... akin to Antoine and I and hamburgers... we prefer the half pound (pre-cooked weight) artery-busters, but will inhale a dozen or two White Castles in their absence>  If they can would you explain to me how to get enough of them to feed the harlequin shrimp?  <Ahh, there's the rub... either grow them (hard to do) or have access to many hobbyists close by who can/will supply them. In actual practice folks with Gnathophylliid shrimps generally buy less expensive "chocolate chip stars">  Do you know people who have done this or is it real rare? If it is rare for the harlequins to eat those stars do you think it is worth the risk to try?  <Mmm, worth the risk, but would be prepared for the long haul investment to provide other fare>  Where do you find them and do you have to do anything to get the stars to breed?  <Asterina species just "show up" on S. Pacific LR sources... might be able to be cultured with a razor blade (ouch!)>  I am sorry for all of the questions. I would really like to have the shrimp.  Thank you for the great book again. Josh  <Thank you for your kind, encouraging words and message. Bob Fenner>

- Harlequin Shrimp Food - Hi Crew I was reading on a message board about harlequin shrimp and they eat star fish. How big of a star fish do they eat and how often? <I used to feed mine a small [2"] chocolate chip star which would last about two weeks - I'd wait a week and then add another chocolate chip.> Also do they eat all kinds of star fish or just some kinds. <As far as I'm aware - all the Asteroidea.> There are star fish that are real small and you can order for Detritivore Kits can they eat those? <They can, but as you might guess, they don't add up to much. Have seen these small Seastars dissolve when touched by a harlequin shrimp. Would need a population of 1,000's to be a useful food source.> Thank you crew, Karl <Cheers, J -- >

Re: Harlequin shrimp Thank you Mr. Fenner. I think I'm going to get them. Do you or Mr. Calfo know how to cut those hitchhiker stars or where to get them? <Cutting them is pretty easy... a single edged razor blade... through the approximate middle... Procuring initial specimens is a bit harder... ask your LFS re... maybe they have some or if they know others who do... or if you have a local marine club...> I will have other stars ready too in case they don't like the small ones. Can you ask Mr. Calfo if he knows how to do it too? <Will do, but he's out of town for a few days> James PS I am sorry it took me a long time to write back. Hot mail is having a bad lag time. <I see... and if you look at the FAQs, someone has written in to help you... though we didn't retain your email address, they did post theirs. Please see here: http://wetwebmedia.com/clnshrpfaqs.htm in a day or so. Bob Fenner>

- Identifying the Hymenocera Shrimps - Hi, How are the various species of harlequin shrimps identified? <Well... to my knowledge, there are only two species: H. elegans and H. picta. Telling them apart is reasonably easy as H. elegans almost always has some blue in its colored spots, and sometimes the spots are entirely blue. Spots on H. picta are typically a pink/salmon color with no blue at all.> Someone has recently discovered some here in South Africa and is trying to determine which of the harlequin shrimp species it is. Any ideas? <Try the colors first.> Many  thanks, James. <Cheers, J -- > - Breeding Harlequin Shrimp - Hey WWM crew, it's me again... <JasonC here...> umm... I was wondering, since you don't have info of harlequin shrimps, except for the FAQs... do you know any good site that have info on them? <This is one of the only ones I've ever found: http://www.sihawaii.com/sydkraul/harly.html > sites that talk about breeding and all... thank you Sokha <Cheers, J -- >

Harlequin Shrimp and Wrasse Dear Crew: <Scott F. here today> I would very much like to put a Harlequin Shrimp pair in my 58 gallon reef.  I realize their eating requirements.....starfish only.  The inhabitants of my tank include a royal Gramma, pajama cardinal, midas blenny, 2 neon gobies and a 6-line wrasse.  It's the wrasse I'm worried about.  Would it bother the Harlequins?  Thanks for your help......Janey <Well Janey, there is no 100% guarantee, but if it were me- I'd feel comfortable with this combination. Keep in mind that a larger Sixline wrasse could potentially attack a shrimp-not likely, but not outside the realm of possibility, either! Regards, Scott F.

Harlequin Shrimp Question I purchased a pair of Harlequins today.  I am aware of their feeding habits.....starfish only.  The female is missing one of her paddle arms.  Will this grow back when she molts, or do they even molt?   <I wouldn't worry about the arm. I do believe it will grow back in time> Thanks for the help.... <Any time!> Janey

Harlequin shrimp/Emerald crab question Greetings, JasonC here. I've not actually heard that Emerald crabs can be a threat to Harlequin Shrimp directly. That being said, there aren't many crabs that can be trusted much farther than you can throw them. They're quite often too opportunistic for their own good, and the well being of other tank inhabitants. I do know from my own Hymenocera that they will use their flat paddle-like forelegs to wave about and chase off the too-curious. I would just keep an eye on the crabs. Good luck, J --

- Harlequin Shrimp - just found out its nor a sexy shrimp it's a harlequin shrimp. <That explains a lot.> What do I feed them besides Seastars? <Ummm, nothing... they pretty much only eat Seastars - I used to feed mine chocolate chip stars, probably the cheapest you can find rather than the really pretty ones like Linckias and Fromias. Cheers, J -- >

- Feeding Harlequin Shrimp - to feed the harlequin shrimp should I cut a Seastar into pieces when it's alive or should I kill the Seastar first, if so how do I kill it, or should I just put a Seastar in the tank? <Just put the Seastar, whole and alive in the tank. The shrimp will know how to handle it.> how often should I feed the harlequin shrimp? <Depends on the size of the last meal and how quickly it was consumed. I would wait a couple of weeks between Seastars.> Sean
<Cheers, J -- >

- Harlequin Shrimp - Hello everyone <Hello to you, JasonC here...> Lately i have been doing research on harlequin shrimp.  I purchased a pair from my LFS  along with a red chocolate starfish for them to eat.  I purchased them one was missing a paddle and the other did not have a paddle (i sent a picture along with it with a circle around what i am talking about). <Am I to understand that this picture you sent along is or is not your pair of shrimp? The pair in the picture looks perfectly fine - or did you just want to point out what the 'paddle' is?> Do you think this will make a difference in the way they live? <I don't think so... I would make sure they do get a good, quiet environment to live in.> i was thinking about bringing them back and trading them for a pair that has both of those paddle like appendages intact. <Nah, the paddles will likely grow back after a molt or two, although I must say I don't think they molt very often. But still, now that you have them, you should offer them a good home.> They have not showed any interest in the red chocolate chip starfish (but i didn't really expect them to yet. since i had them for a day). <Sounds about right.> I read a faq that said to use chocolate chip stars since they are readily available and inexpensive. <Mostly true... do check around for deals, perhaps talk to your LFS and let them know you are buying the Seastars as food - you can sometimes save a couple of extra bucks that way too.> i will send you a picture and show you which appendages i am referring to. thank you for everything and have a nice day. Ian Behnk
<Cheers, J -- >

Hymenocera picta Bob,  I just recently bought your book and have learned much. I was hoping you could help me with a species not mentioned. I recently spotted a pair of Harlequin shrimp (Hymenocera picta) together in a tank at my LFS. They are absolutely beautiful. I see them eating starfish when I am in the shop. These are the first two I have ever seen. I would probably think that because of their diet they would be a species you wouldn't recommend, but how do you feel about these beauties??? I have a 55 gal w/LR , 3 clownfish, yellow tang, anemone, and pulsing xenia. Brad <Well, yes, the two standard statements to make re these shrimp: keep in pairs and they eat only echinoderms (more than Seastars... urchins, etc.)... and so, almost all folks who want to maintain these crustaceans keep them in a "species" tank pretty much by themselves... and develop an expensive, time-consuming habit of providing them with spiny-skinned animal meals and removing the carcasses so they won't foul the water... does this sound THAT interesting to you? IMO, for public aquarium display only. But, to each their own. Bob Fenner>

Harlequin Shrimp I was recently considering purchasing one of the Harlequin Shrimps (Hymenocera picta) from FFE. My question is are they cleaner shrimps and could you tell me a little more about them? Thanks for the info! <<Not Cleaner Shrimp at all... and obligate feeders on Starfishes... If it were me, I'd look into more appropriate livestock... this novelty species hides all the time, drives owners into the poor house with starfish acquisitions...Bob Fenner>>
A Harlequin Shrimp underwater in Hawai'i

Harlequin shrimp <JasonC here, helping out while Bob is away diving.> Sadly, I lost one of my two harlequin shrimp during a molt about a week ago (most likely due to a lack of calcium in the system... haven't missed a Kalk dose since). have you ever heard of a once paired shrimp repairing? <I would think this wouldn't be too hard to get this to happen.> I'd like to get it back with another shrimp but there doesn't seem to be much information out there about the pairing habits of harlequin shrimp. <and there isn't, but provided you can sex them, you should be able to find the opposite for the one you have, and give it a try.> Should I obtain another 'widowed' harlequin shrimp and place both of them in a divided 10 gallon tank and wait until they seem to get friendly? <I recently found a web site, and person who was breeding harlequin shrimp in Hawaii. He was kind enough to respond to some of my emails and this is what he said about sexing, "Females have colored plates under abdomen, male plates are clear or yellow. This is easier to see when female has eggs attached there, under the plates." He also mentioned that same-sex shrimp do fight. I can't recall the URL to the sight at the moment but believe I found it doing a Google search for "Harlequin Shrimp".> Jon Trowbridge <Cheers, J -- >

Harlequin Shrimp <Greets - JasonC here, at your service.> Do Harlequin Shrimp eat Cucumbers too? <not in my experience> I know that they eat Echinoderms but Cucumbers are somewhat different I think, even though they do have the 5 part mouth which is why they are an Echinoderm. <Actually, the phylum, Echinodermata, of which Cukes and Seastars are both members means 'spiny skinned' - you can check them both out on WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seastars.htm  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seacukes.htm > I don't know that's why I am asking. Also, if I got a pair of Harlequin Shrimp, how often should I toss a starfish in the tank for them to consume. <I feed mine one chip every two to three weeks, give or take. It's not really an exact science. I have a single Hymenocera elegans, and this particular specimen is fairly large for a harlequin shrimp. She wastes absolutely no time getting to the Seastar and will usually do-in a 2.5" specimen in two to three weeks, and smaller stars can go quite quickly - nothing left but the chips. I usually then wait until the shrimp makes regular appearances around and about the tank before I drop the next meal, which is usually not much longer than a week or two. Did I mention that I don't see it very often?> (I will be getting some small Blue Linckias and Chocolate Chip Stars) Thanks, Tim

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: