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FAQs about Hippolytid Cleaner Shrimps 1

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

Related FAQs: Hippolytids 2, Hippolytid Identification, Hippolytid Behavior, Hippolytid Compatibility, Hippolytid Selection, Hippolytid Systems, Hippolytid Feeding, Hippolytid Disease, Hippolytid Reproduction,  & by species: Atlantic Cleaner Shrimp (L. grabhami), Blood/Debelius Shrimp (L. debelius), California Cleaner Shrimp (L. californica), Pacific Cleaner Shrimp (L. amboinensis), Peppermint Shrimp (L. wurdemanni), Saron ShrimpsSexy Shrimp (T. amboinensis), & FAQs on All Cleaner Shrimp 1, Cleaner Shrimp 2, All Cleaner Shrimp Identification, Cleaner Shrimp Behavior, Cleaner Shrimp Selection, Cleaner Shrimp Compatibility, Cleaner Shrimp Systems, Cleaner Shrimp Feeding, Cleaner Shrimp Disease, Cleaner Shrimp Reproduction, & Coral Banded Shrimp, Dancing Shrimp, Harlequin Shrimp, Pistol Shrimp, Saron Shrimp, Shrimp Identification, Shrimp Selection, Shrimp Behavior, Shrimp Compatibility, Shrimp Systems, Shrimp Feeding, Shrimp Reproduction, Shrimp Disease Crustacean Identification, Crustacean Selection, Crustacean Behavior, Crustacean Compatibility, Crustacean Systems, Crustacean Feeding, Crustacean Disease, Crustacean Reproduction,

Baby shrimp and their little umbrellas (04/06/03) hello, <Hello! Ananda here tonight...> My first question is- I am wondering if the cleaner shrimp carry eggs at a certain time of the season or if this happens all year round? <All year round...> I am going on my 4th pregnancy between 3 shrimp. It seems so bizarre, but maybe this is normal- I'm not sure. <It's completely normal in a healthy tank. Cleaner shrimp are hermaphroditic, so anytime you get two or more, you get baby shrimp -- which make excellent food for the other stuff in your tank.> second question- there are tiny white little particles along the bottom of the glass inside the tank and also on the furniture-it looks like lil' umbrellas?? <Those would be a type of feather duster. Very common in newish tanks, and completely harmless. --Ananda>

Cleaner shrimp, Ammonia Hello, I have a 29 gallon tank with about 30-35 pounds of LR.  I have had the setup for nearly 2 months and according to my nitrite tests, it is finished cycling.  I have gotten rid of the damsels I had to help with the cycle and added a percula clown and a Firefish along with 2 large and 2 small turbo smalls and a few blue legged hermit crabs, (not including some stowaway snails and at least 1 crab in the LR). That's not overcrowded, right? <right>  I recently noticed that my clown was developing Ick and since I don't have a QT ( soon to get one) I lowered SG raised the temp and even gave him a freshwater dip.  He looked better for a while then the spots returned (I realize I'm treating the symptoms , not the cause).  I then bought a indo-pacific cleaner shrimp the other day but the clown hasn't gone near it.   Is there anything that I can do to entice the clown into recognizing the shrimp as a cleaner? Granted I have only had the shrimp for a few days. The clownfish is tank raised, so does that play a part? <  Just give them time>Also, the ammonia is at about 0.25-0.15 ppm and a little concerned.  I saw some contrasting points in your FAQ about this, so is it better to let my LR and bio filtration get used to the lessened bio load or should I do a water change, ( I do 10 percent changes weekly regardless since the tank cycled). One last thing, I was considering a royal Gramma and/or a coral beauty angel.  What are your thought on that as far as compatibility with the live stock I have, bio load, etc. Love the site and the info is life saving.  Thanks for any advice, Joshua Wells < If you have livestock in there you will want to lower the ammonia to zero ASAP.  I would choose the Gramma over the angel as the angel will need more room than this and will probably terrorize the rest of the fish.  Wait at least 3 weeks before adding anymore fish to let the system stabilize and to be sure and make sure the tank is Ick free.  Cody>

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

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

Tank safe for sexy anemone shrimps? - 02/09/2007 Greetings! <Evening> As part of an order headed my way, I will be receiving 3 sexy anemone shrimps (Thor amboinensis). <Oh yes... am wagging my tail in emulation> My plan was to put them in my 65 gallon reef tank, but since placing the order, I have begun to wonder just how vulnerable they actually are given their small size (I've only seen them at my LFS but never kept them in my own tanks).  I think all of my fish will leave them alone... with the possible exception of the Banggai Cardinal (who seems to LOVE "anything meaty looking" that he finds in the water column - though I've never seen him "hunt" anything hiding in the rocks/coral). <Mmm, I'd separate the shrimp (and their anemone for a few days...)> Here's the complete lineup of fish in the tank: '¢ 2 clownfish (one percula, one ocellaris - they've paired up and spend most of their time in my branching hammer coral!) '¢ 2 purple Firefish (Nemateleotris decora) '¢ 3 "bar gobies" (Ptereleotris zebra) '¢ 1 Banggai Cardinal (Pterapogon kauderni) '¢ 1 Rainford's Goby (Amblygobius rainfordi) '¢ 1 spotted mandarin (Synchiropus picturatus) '¢ 1 red headed goby (Elacatinus puncticulatus) '¢ 2 green-banded gobies (Elacatinus multifasciatus) (yes, before I get in trouble, the mandarin and Rainford's goby are both getting plenty to eat... my refugium is rockin' with 'pods, and both fish also have taken to eating processed food as well <g>). <Good> While there are no anemones in the tanks, <Uhh... no good... this animal lives in close association...> there are several Acropora and Montipora colonies in the tank (and a few other types of SPS as well) for the sexy shrimp to find homes in (I am under the impression the shrimp will be content with these corals as "homes" since that's how I've seen them at my LFS?). <Mmm, no, not likely> Anyhow - do you think the Banggai (or perhaps the Bar Gobies) will have them for lunch if I put them in the tank... or should they be fine as long as they are placed near a good coral colony to start? <Need to be placed with a symbiotic anemone... the fishes will avoid this> I do have 10- and 12- gallon tanks set up as well that the shrimp could go into if you think the 65 will be "unsafe" for them after all, though those two tanks are dedicated to lower light soft corals (Capnella, etc. which don't seem as conducive to becoming homes for   the shrimp?)... <I would place the shrimp elsewhere...> What say the gurus of WetWebMedia?  Thanks for your help!!  -Nate <Bob Fenner> Tank safe for sexy anemone shrimps? - II - 02/11/2007 Thanks for the reply... and confirming my suspicions! <Welcome> I appreciate you giving me "the real scoop," since, as mentioned, I have seen the shrimp on Acropora before at my LFS (I am now guessing it was only because there was no anemone provided by the LFS?!), <Yes> and this blurb on LiveAquaria's site certainly implies that corals are "fine homes" for these shrimp (see end of the first paragraph). <Mmm... maybe w/o potential predators present... love that ona mata peia...> Either way, thanks for the insights - if I decide to track down an anemone for the shrimp (and set up another tank - I do have a 20   gallon sitting vacant and I'm sure my wife would LOVE it if I set up ANOTHER tank in the house <g>), <Heee!> is there an "ideal" anemone I should try to find for these  guys? <Mmm, yes... depends on where your specimens originated... could be a Condylactis if from the TWA... other if from the Pacific... is posted on the Net, WWM> Thanks again for your insights and wisdom... Nate <Mmm, little to no wisdom... some accumulated knowledge. Cheers, BobF>

Cleaner shrimp  - 02/20/06 Hello, <Hello RC> I have a 29 gallon tank with a yellow tailed damsel, 4 striped black and white damsel, a fire fish, a chocolate chip star fish, hermit crabs, and some snails. There's also plenty of live rock. I wanted to know if it would be a good idea to put a cleaner shrimp in this environment. And also, what's their diet? Thanks for the help.  
<Will add a splash of color along with scavenging for uneaten food which aids in keeping the tank clean.  The shrimp will eat anything the fish will.  James (Salty Dog)> RC

Cleaner Shrimp - 05/05/2005 Hi again - one last question - I was watching my cleaner shrimp tonight, and it did an odd thing.  It's in my 45 gal tank, with 5 green Chromis, a flower pot coral, two frogspawn and a green star polyp coral (also many little star polyps that are growing on the rock), and a large feather duster.  Every thing seems fine and happy.  Tonight, the cleaner shrimp was cleaning one of the Chromis fish, then actually got onto the fish's face and put it's little white leg things into the fish's mouth! The fish endured it for a minute, then swam away.  It returned later and the shrimp attempted to do this again.  Is this normal cleaning behavior?   <Yes very much so.  A cleaner shrimp will completely clean a fish.  they will get in the gills, mouth, scales, etc.. This is a great way to help control parasites on your fish. As long as they will let the shrimp pick at them.  They even like to clean the cuticles on your fingers if you let them :).  Thanks EricS> It was pretty funny! 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 Percula's 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)>

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

Snowflake moray and cleaner shrimp. hey, I was  wondering if a snowflake moray would eat my cleaner shrimp. Or if he would leave  it alone because it is a cleaner. best  regards Miles >>>Hey Miles, Based on experience, I'm betting he'll eat it. :) In captivity, you really can never tell with these things. Cheers Jim<<<

Cleaner shrimp Is a 29g tank enough to house two cleaner shrimp?... <Most definitely> I already have one but thinking about adding another...or will they eat each other? <They should not eat each other. In fact, Cleaner Shrimps are hermaphroditic and pairs commonly breed in marine aquaria, but the fry are next to impossible to rear. Check this link for more general information on Cleaner Shrimp: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/shrimp/clnshrpf.htm  Good luck, Mike G>

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

How does a cleaner shrimp eat those parasites? Dear Bob & All <Peter> Happy New Year and thanks for the helpful reply on the sea-squirt.  I will now sit back and enjoy the little fellow. Could you answer a daft question?  How on earth can a cleaner shrimp eat e.g. Ick parasites??  My tang loves to drift near the shrimp.  Would you expect to see a shrimp eat parasites with its jaws (sic??).  Or do they retain parasites on their antennae and pass them to the mouth? Best wishes Peter Hosier The whole thing is a mystery to me. <Mmm, me too... I do think these shrimp species can actually see the resultant raised spots on the fish, and pick away at these general areas... and maybe they get clues from the host fish... like twitching when the area is cleaned up... Bob Fenner>

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. >>  <I can... just opportunistic algal growth... Passes with molting. RMF> Gratefully yours              Tristan <<  Blundell  >>

Feeding a cleaner shrimp Hey crew, I acquired a new specimen in kind of a hurry to help with a small Ick outbreak.  fortunately, the Ick seems to have cured itself, well at least no more white dots on the fish are visible. << Good news. >> But alas, I'm not sure what to feed the new guy?  Although the new cleaner shrimp tries to reach out to clean the fish in my tank (blue jaw trigger and a Sailfin tang and some Chromis) none of the fish want to go near the shrimp. << That is okay.  Cleaner shrimp eat just about everything, and I wouldn't worry.  He will scavenge and find bits of food. >> also, when I feed, I don't see the shrimp going after the food, usually a combination of flakes, frozen form 1 or 2. << Cleaner shrimp are quite hardy and collect left over organics.  You may not see him eating, but he is always out picking over little items. >> Please advise, thanks. << Don't worry. >> <<  Blundell  >>

Lonely Shrimp? (9/7/04) Greetings all. <Greetings to you. Steve Allen tonight.> I have a Skunk cleaner and two Camel shrimps in a 75 gallon system, with about 70 lbs. of live rock.  The Cleaner has been in there for about 2 1/2 weeks and is finally starting to show himself more often.  When I reached in the tank today to move some things around, he got all excited and started trying to clean my arms and hands.  Is this normal?  <Yes. Tickles, doesn't it?> I am not too worried, as he only tried to bite the scars once or twice, but is he that desperate to clean something? <Simply engaging in natural instinctive behavior. Mine do it all the time too. I doubt such neurologically-simple creatures experience or act on "desperation."> I am guessing that he or she would probably benefit from having another companion Cleaner, but should I get a fish or two for them to clean? <Again, there is no reason to believe that shrimp would experience loneliness. Although they are usually peaceful, there is some risk of territorial aggression if you introduce another. As for needing fish to clean, these shrimps eat just about anything, including flake and pellet foods.> The only fish in there are two small (3") surf smelt I brought home from work to start cycling the tank a month ago, and they will not let the Cleaner clean them.  If it matters, Ammonia levels were 0, Nitrites almost 0 (like .1 ppm), and Nitrates were 10 ppm.  (The elevated Nitrites were probably due to the addition of some small rubble-sized pieces of live rock added 4 days ago.)  I am not particularly worried, everything seems healthy, just wondering if having a companion and/or cleanable fish would make his "stay" that much more comfortable. <Neither of these are needed. However, since cleaners are hermaphroditic, they will likely mate on an ongoing basis in your tank, thereby supplying live food.> Thanks for your time. <You're welcome. Hope this helps.> Jeremy

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

REFUGIUM FLOW & OTHER QUESTIONS Crew, <Hi John> Definitely appreciate the support you guys do for the hobby every day! <As the newest member on here, I'm continually amazed at the people I am honored to work with>  I read your site pretty continuously to keep up to date & learn as much as I can. <Very nice.> I have a few, somewhat unrelated questions that I've spooled up that I couldn't find direct answers to on your site (or are specific to my setup). My setup is a 120 gal (4'x2'x2') FOWLR with 180# LR.  The tank's been established 6 years with improvements made over time (upgrade to 520W of PC lights, LR addition, added refugium, upgraded skimmer, etc.).  Water params are 1.024 salinity, 8.4 PH, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 10-20 nitrates, 4.0 Alk, 450 calcium. Stocked w/ Emperor Angel (5yrs in tank), Regal Blue tang, Foxface, flame angel, lawnmower blenny, cleaner shrimp & numerous snails/hermits. Here's my questions: - Refugium GPH?  I've got a 15gal refugium with Miracle Mud, a couple different types of Caulerpa, hermits, snails & some small frags of LR in-line via 2" pvc with my wet/dry sump.  Skimmer & UV pull from the sump & empty in the front chamber of the fuge.  Due to room constraints, my Iwaki pump (a little over 2000gph) is at the end of the refugium returning to the display tank.  Yes, the water is seriously flowing through the fuge, but everything looks great in there & water params have improved over the months since it's introduction. <Nice to hear.> We are moving to a new house & I'll have a room dedicated to my sump/filters, so I have the opportunity to optimally adjust plumbing. <Wonderful, I am jealous.> I'm thinking of changing the setup to have my Iwaki return pull from the sump, skimmer pull & dump back into the sump, and have my UV pump (250 gph) pull from the last chamber of my fuge & return to the sump. This would lower my fuge gph more in line with what I think most would recommend? <It would definitely take the flow amount down.> I'm struggling having my UV pull from the sump due to killing off some of the "beneficials" exiting the fuge vs. a separate/dedicated pump. <I have to say honestly I think you would loose a lot of the benefit that you are gaining from the refugium. Personally I would consider going with a dedicated pump.> The dedicated pump drawback is that in the summer, my temps are 81-82 & adding another pump would probably increase the heat. <I see what your concern is but I think it might be worth the addition of a small fan or two to take care of the additional heat problem.>  Your thoughts?  FYI - the 15gal has made such a difference that in the new setup, I'm going to eventually add another 30 gal refugium to increase the overall health of the system (either extended off the 15gal or on the other side of the sump). <I'm a major proponent of refugiums. I have seen them make a huge difference on many peoples tanks.> -Reducing Caulerpa in refugium?  My Caulerpa is going gang busters & I need to cut it down. <Ah a common problem. Let me just caution you, if your Caulerpa is going gangbusters there's more to the story than that. There's LOTS feeding the Caulerpa, usually phosphates and that can be a problem.>  What's the best way? <I can tell you my method. Every couple of weeks I climb up on a step ladder and just pull out Caulerpa. I don't take scissors, I just pull it out. Usually it comes out in specific bunches at a time, and I'm lucky I have a distributor who I sell it to and he sells it to stores.>  Actually remove several of the plants or prune the excess? <When I pull sometimes it does take out whole plants but usually it takes bits and pieces of the plants and it seems to be natural places it is ready to split. Let me warn you if you see anything in the Caulerpa turning white pull the entire plant.>  I think pruning would be easier, but I think I remember hearing that cutting Caulerpa can sometimes cause degradation of the whole plant?  Also, when removing it, should I place some in the display for food or flush it to eliminate the extra nutrients/nitrates in the whole system? <I always put some in my tank for the tangs to eat and they devour it. But it does release some of the nutrients and yes nitrates back into the tank. Lots of people just toss the entire plant.  One thing I always try to do is make sure I have at least some of each type of grass or Caulerpa I have in my refugium still there.> -Refugium lighting?  What's better ... alternate lighting with display or 24/7? <Lots of people use the 24/7 because it keeps the ph higher and prevents the Caulerpa from going sexual.> I've heard arguments for both. 24/7 is what I'm doing, but it is probably not the best for the snails/hermits. With alternate lighting I run the risk of the Caulerpa going sexual, right? <If you do proper culling you won't have problems with it going sexual but both methods work.> Any preference?  Probably don't use Caulerpa & go alternate, right? <I know lots of people who use grasses instead of Caulerpa. Personally my refugium has a mix of both the grasses and the Caulerpas.> -Clown for BTA?  Probably my last fish to this tank will be a clown.  I know the maroon is the natural fit for BTA's, but I really prefer true Perc's (looks & less aggressive).  I've always known true Percs to inhabit a lot of anemones outside of the natural selections.  However, I just personally have never seen true Percs in a tank with BTA's.  What's your thoughts on the pairing/selection? <I have not seen true Percs take to a  BTA but others have. I know my black Perculas from Australia totally ignore it.> BTW - I've only had the BTA 6 months and it's almost doubled in size from the LFS, only wandered the first night & I believe has increased it's color intensity.  The only set back was a 6 hour power outage last week that resulted in a 25 gal water loss (painful lesson - unclean check valve<OUCH>) that I had to replace with hastily made up salt mix (RO water already made, but not salt). Better of 2 evils I thought - quick mix water vs. airstones/powerheads dropped in display. The BTA did shrink after the outage & only recently has made it to close to pre-outage size. <Lately the skunk clowns appeal to me and I know they will go to a BTA. Just a different idea.> Not a question, but interesting comment.  I just introduced my Flame angel & cleaner shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis) to my display after a month in quarantine.  The cleaner never touched the flame in QT - probably due to the fact that they're almost the same size.  However, I was really worried about my Emperor having a $40 cleaner snack. The Emperor knocks around any new snails/hermits that are introduced & hasn't seen a cleaner shrimp for at least 5 years (had her that long). <Wonderful> I killed the lights upon introduction & got the shrimp to go into a nice crevice.  The Emperor showed immediate interest, despite the lights not being on. Tapping on the tank didn't push her away. I decided to intervene with my hand (algae scrapper didn't work) to make sure the cleaner was deep enough in the crevice that if the Emperor bite it would only get the antennae.  Well, the Emperor moved up close (mouth first), the shrimp stepped right out (I thought it was it's last move) and it climbed right on the Emperor's head with no altercation.  The Emperor was cleaned for an entire hour right there only 5 minutes after the shrimp was introduced! Today she has spent more time being cleaned (no lie - 6+ hours) than her usual free swimming.  She's actually hounding the shrimp & keeping the tang & Foxface away - which both keep swimming in sideways into the area.  The introduction of a 1.5" shrimp has completely changed the entire behavior of my whole tank.  Really amazing hobby & animals! <Such a wonderful experience, thank you for sharing.> Sorry for the long mail. <Wonderful email and thank you so much for sharing all of this. Good luck, Mac> Thanks, John

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

Cleaner Shrimp 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> 

Cleaner Shrimp Mating (4/29/04)  I have 2 cleaner shrimp in my tank and have just noticed that one has a large sac on it's side, it actually looks like it is filled with something...could it be eggs???
<Eggzactly. Lysmata amboinensis are hermaphrodites and two of them will usually mate. The other one will eventually have eggs too. These eggs & the resultant larvae make great live food, so don't expect any baby shrimp. Steve Allen.> Kelly Aiello

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

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 overuse? 3/8/04 Greetings!  Thanks again for providing a wonderful site!  I always learn so much while reading through the FAQ's. I have scanned and have not found anything like what I have now so perhaps you could shed some light on it. <Hi Ray. Adam here.  Let's see what we're dealing with...> I have a 55gal mini-reef.  I got a coral beauty last Sunday after waiting 5 weeks for one to come in with the right colors (I love him!).  He is in my main tank now after only 3 days of QT (damn dog, knocked over lamp and broke QT tank, lucky I was home to respond).  I did do a quick fresh water & formalin dip (didn't like it past 1 min). <What an unfortunate event!  I am sure you know that a quarantine period of more like 3-4 weeks is optimal.  Also, FW dips less than about five minutes are very ineffective.  The fish often appear to be very stressed, but it is best to tough it out.> Thursday (day after putting in coral beauty) I saw that both he and my yellow tang (been in there a while and was doing fine) were scratching.  On closer exam I saw several small black dots (10-15) on my tang.  I did a quick search on WWM and realized that it was most likely black spot disease.  After a long and wet battle, I managed to get the tang out and gave him a 5 min dip of pH and temp balanced RO/DI with formalin.  Thinking my Coral beauty was infected the same, I did the same with him and he tolerated the 5 minute dip well this time.  By Friday, no black spots were visible on the Tang and neither was scratching on the rocks. <"Black spot" is very common in yellow tangs.  It is an external parasite and as you have seen, it responds very well to FW dips.  Your five minute dip is still at the very minimum.> Friday I went to my LFS and the guy that works there was kind to my situation.  He sold me a scarlet skunk cleaner shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis ) from one of his display tanks (been in there months) so I could bypass my now destroyed QT with little chance of introducing anything. <This is very bad advice.  Biological cleaners like shrimp, neon gobies and wrasses are helpful, but in an aquarium environment they don't have a chance of preventing or stopping outbreaks of common parasitic diseases.  Quarantine should still be considered a mandatory practice!> It took all of an hour for my Coral Beauty to find the cleaner shrimp and he visited it almost every 5 minutes for the remainder of the day.  He will go up to it, tilt on his side and open his mouth and gills for it.  Now for my questions (thanks for sticking with me this long).  Can a fish over use a cleaner shrimp?  Will too much use hurt my fish?  Is there still something infecting my coral beauty and if so, will the shrimp get rid of it?  He is eating great and everyone else in the tank is doing fine.  Tank parameters optimal. <If the fish is still infected with something, the cleaner shrimp might help, but it will likely be too little too late.  All biological cleaners have the potential to injure the subject they are cleaning, but in the case of the shrimp, the fish would simply swim away and regulate it's own cleanings.  It sounds like you are likely safe in terms of disease, but please do replace your q-tank for future additions and don't rely on cleaner shrimp to prevent outbreaks!  Best Regards.  Adam>  Thanks -Ray

Better Contact a University >Re: Lysmata amboinensis I need to find out what temperature ranges they can tolerate, and what diseases or parasites they are prone to or are know to be able to carry. >>Alright, "tropical" temps are best, in Fahrenheit that's going to be in the 74F-84F degree range, comfortably.  Let me whip out my Palm with the new conversion calculator (freeware, thank you very MUCH!) to sort out this range in Celsius <tapping away on her Palm> and that would be from 23C - 28C.  Wow! I LOVE freeware!   >I live in Hobart Tasmania Australia, which is an Island State having very strict import controls, and any information I can find about Lysmata amboinensis will further my chances of being allowed to import a few. >>Aaahh.. well, unfortunately, there is indeed a real dearth of this information available to the hobbyist.  I would contact some universities, there's one in Arizona that's done quite a bit of research on a couple of different Lysmata spp.'s, but don't expect too fast a response.   Try some of the contacts on this page, too (seems to me that aquaculture facilities would have a great deal of experience with such things, yeah?) http://www.phone-soft.org/layout-3/cyber-world/make-frame.php3?framename=0876i.htm http://www.ecotao.com/holism/agric/aqua.htm http://cgi.botbot.com/dir/$/Business/Industries/AgricultureandForestry/Aquaculture/ http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-05/rs/ Best of luck!  Marina >Cheers, Simon

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cleaner shrimp escapes powerhead intake! Hi Bob & Crew, <Hi! Ananda here this morning....> I just found my cleaner shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis) stuck in the intake of a powerhead. I turned the pump off and the shrimp scuttled off under the rocks. He's come out since and looks OK, touch wood. <Indeed. I've heard of creatures going through powerheads... not a pretty sight.> My question is this : do you think the shrimp will be smart enough to avoid the powerhead in the future? <Goodness, no...if it has happened once, it is likely to happen again, eventually.> If not I'll try to place a foam baffle of something in front of the intakes. <If you have a bio-ball, that would work and would not require cleaning as frequently as foam. Also check the pile-o-stuff that came with the powerhead -- the ones I have include a grid-like cover for the intake.> Many thanks for your continuing efforts on Wet Web Media - it's a fantastic resource for learning and research.  John Kellett <And many thanks to you for your kind words. --Ananda>

-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

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

Pacific Cleaner Shrimp eggs Bob, I think my two Pacific Cleaner Shrimp are carrying eggs in their swimmers (swimmerets?). Clusters of tiny round eggs. Is this really what's going  on? Can I expect any new shrimp out of this? <<Very likely are eggs, maybe some young you can save... food culture, system preparation is necessary... take a look at the articles stored on the genus Lysmata through www.breedersregistry.com Bob Fenner>>

Ich in reef tank Hi, Bob I have a problem I just notice that may fish have Ich I have a 200 gal. reef tank. My question is how would I treat the whole tank without removing the fish? Fish consist of 3 Tangs( yellow, purple, Desjardini) 6 Perculas clowns, 8 Lyretail Anthias, flame angel, African flame back angel, Brazilian pygmy angel , multicolored pygmy angel, 10 green Chromis, Flame hawk. and a  pair of saddleback clowns. I don't what to tear down the tank to catch all the fish. tank has 380 # of live rock and a ton of soft corals. The tank has be running for 2 yrs. And I always quarantine all fish and corals before placing in the main tank. But recently the temperature has been up and down hear 75 in the day and 30's in the evening. I think that's how the problem started. So any information would help me greatly.! (I live in Florida) Hope to hear from you soon. Ken  <<Umm, if it were me, I'd try the combination environmental manipulation (lower specific gravity to about 1.018, a thousandth per day... or thereabouts till the invertebrates showed signs of duress... And raise your temperature to about 82F.)... and add some biological cleaners... Lysmata shrimp and Gobiosoma oceanops gobies.... and hope that this does it... There are NO safe and effective chemical treatments for ich/Cryptocaryoniasis in established reef systems. Bob Fenner>>

Cleaner shrimp question I have three cleaner shrimp. Two of them spend all of their time together. Recently, I noticed on the underside of the tail, there appears to be many egg looking "things". These "things" are a light yellow in color, and cover the entire underside of the tail. Lately, this particular shrimp seems to always hide in the rocks except when it's feeding time. I am not at all worried about this but, I was wondering if you could explain what's going on or if there is anything that I should be doing. Thank you for your time. <<Does sound like your Cleaner Shrimp is "berried", that is, carrying eggs... You might want to start at the www.breedersregistry.com reading about the genus Lysmata... if you'd like to know more. Bob Fenner>>

Strange cleaner shrimp phenomenon Hi Bob, I purchased 2 cleaner shrimp from FFExpress about 5 months ago. Now  about 3 weeks ago, I noticed that one of them had a bunch of egg-like shapes  forming in it's belly. I was surprised but heard that these shrimp did in  fact breed in captivity. The 2 shrimp had never hung out together and always  stayed on opposite ends of my 75 gallon reef setup. Now they were together  and seemed more like a couple. Now here's the clincher. About 5 days ago, I  noticed that now BOTH shrimp had this "belly full of eggs". I haven't heard  that these shrimp were hermaphroditic. Is this possible? Have you ever  heard anything remotely like this? What should I do to try to save the  babies, or is this impossible? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks a lot, -Jay PS - I'm a big fan of your daily Q&A...keep up the great work! <<Hmm, do take a look at this URL: http://www.breeders-registry.gen.ca.us/Reprints/FAMA/v17_aug94/scarlet.htm An article by friend/author Joyce Wilkerson on Lysmata... Yes they are hermaphroditic cross spawners... much can/needs to be done... particularly provision of a grow out facility and food production... read the article and if you have further questions... ring me. Bob Fenner>>

Eggs I have a cleaner shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis) that is holding eggs. This is the only shrimp in the tank. I read that they are hermaphrodites.  Is it possible that the eggs are fertile. Could you please give me any information that would be helpful in rearing the young. Thank you, Connie Wehler <<Hmm, interesting topic... Well... Lysmata spp. shrimps are hermaphroditic (both functional sexes in one individual), but they are "synchronous" versus simultaneous hermaphrodites... that is sequentially males turning into females. And don't think they can/do self-fertilize... but, this is where the whole situation may make sense yet, these animals can store a "sperm packet" from mating some months back... Otherwise, these eggs may prove to be infertile... You might want to consider adding a small(er) individual or even more... if your system size will accommodate them... 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 with Eggs I have a question about my cleaner shrimp. I have had this cleaner shrimp from the first moment I set up my 125 reef about a year ago. I have noticed  that it has some white/green dots on the under side of its tail that has  never been there before. To tell the truth they looks like eggs but here is  the situation. I have no other cleaner shrimps in my tank. The only other  shrimp is a fire shrimp which I have had for about 6 months. My questions  are: 1) Could the cleaner shrimp and fire shrimp mated? 2) If not, could the dots be eggs? 3) If not, what are they? Thanks, Kris <<Well, I'd bet the dots you're seeing under the Cleaner Shrimp are eggs, but even if the Cleaner is a Lysmata genus member and ditto for the Fire (Lysmata debelius), there probably is not a cross-species mating going on... Lone Shrimp females can/do lay eggs on their own, and they're sterile. If you're interested, you might want to try introducing a male of the species; otherwise the solo one will be fine. Bob Fenner>>

Cleaner shrimp Bob- Which Cleaner Shrimp do you prefer: Pacific Cleaner Shrimp or Scarlet Cleaner? Rob <<The Pacific (Lysmata amboinensis) over the more expensive L. debelius (Scarlet, as in O'Hara)... the former is cheaper and hardier sez me. Bob Fenner>>

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

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>>

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

Pacific Cleaner Shrimp Hi Bob, I was wanting to get a cleaner shrimp but before I did I wanted to ask you a couple of questions before I do. So my first question is how should you acclimate the cleaner shrimp into my tank. For example how long, should lights be off, <For the day, night that they're installed> those kind of things. And secondly should the amount of salinity in my tank be the same as the store's tank from where I got it from, to avoid shock in the shrimp. Thanks <Yes, important here... and then to be on guard to not change it too much too soon. I am in favor of a "drip" type of acclimation for these and most crustaceans, with the animals ultimately "poured" into the main system (not exposed to the air). Please see the "Acclimation" sections and FAQs and "Cleaner Shrimp" areas of our site: www.WetWebMedia.com for much more. No dips necessary or suggested. 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>

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

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

Cleaner shrimp species check Hi Mr. Fenner, Sorry to bother you, but I couldn't seem to get the right info from any other source, and you are unusually responsive and knowledgeable. We have Aiptasia cropping up, which at first seemed pretty until we realized exactly what kind of a tank dandelion it was.  <Very lucidly put> I decided to use the natural approach and find something which would munch it before subjecting them to lethal injection. Already have a Pacific cleaner amboinensis (Whiskers), which is great at free-loading on the fishies, but not much at cleaning Aiptasia. So I got several peppermint shrimp from the LFS. I couldn't get a good look at them in the store tank, as they took a bit of capture and things got stirred up. Once in my tank, they disappeared. I spotted one under an overhang a few days later and it didn't look like ones on the WetWebMedia site. <Then probably not...> I have never seen the other one. Another LFS (I use about 4 to bounce questions off) <Good idea>  suggested that for my size tank, I could use 5-6 of the peppermints. So I bought 4 more wurdemanni (Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Zeppo) from a very clean tank where I could identify them. When introduced, they acted very much different than the first two, being much more visible and active. <Yes... do a sort of side to side dance> Could the first two be a different species entirely? <Definitely... there are a few others that are very similar in static appearance> Tank specs: 55 gal, 40 lbs Fiji LR, 1.5" crushed coral bed Livestock: Domino damsel (very small), (2) Firefish, Fiji damsel, Valentini puffer, Orange Clown (percula or ocellaris - I can't tell), Pajama cardinal, Pacific cleaner shrimp, Condy anemone, (4) peppermints, and (2) suddenly unidentified shrimp. All species are small and non-aggressive (except occasional outbursts from the Fiji). Questions (at last) 1. What could the first two shrimp be? From peering into their hidey-hole, they are red with no markings. <Many choices still... do you have access to a large college library?> 2. Is it a mistake to have small cleaner shrimp at all with the Valentini? <Hmm, not usually... if enough space, food for the Toby, hiding spaces during molts for the shrimp...> They are supposed to like shellfish - does that include the wurdemanni and the poor missing variety? <In the "right/wrong" circumstances assuredly yes> 3. If peppermint shrimp do indeed eat Aiptasia, how many is appropriate for a 55-gal tank and how quickly do they get around to it? <A couple or three... a few weeks to a couple of months or so> 4. I'm sure the Valentini would like Nori. Does leaving it in the tank muck up your conditions, or do you remove it when he is done feeding? <Puffers don't eat much of this sheet algae... should be removed after an hour or so> 5. Is the Marine Conference you are speaking at this summer in Baltimore appropriate for the home hobbyist, or just marine professionals? <For home hobbyists specifically... There are "scientific" and "business" associations as such... the hobby groups ones are for hobbyists in particular.> Thank you so much in advance. Kevin. West Virginia <Be seeing you my friend. Bob Fenner>

Re: Cleaner shrimp species check Dear Bob, Oh me, oh my. Thank you so much for the info on peppermint shrimp and other topics. Why can't I learn to do my homework before purchasing, as I am not yet familiar with the subtleties of species ID. Judging from the pictures I now found, my latest were 4 Candy shrimp (Rhynchocinetes uritai), not the peppermint shrimp (Lysmata wurdemanni) I was expecting. They are definitely clever little things, but now I have my doubts whether they will eat the Aiptasia. <They won't> Thank you so much for your patience and wisdom. Kevin Milne. West Virginia. <All attainable through study, discipline my friend. Bob Fenner>

Some questions about reefs (Lysmata) Hi Bob, Thanks for the answers :) I brought a 2228 Eheim this time. I will also leave the shrimp shell in the tank. I'm very lucky to have this shrimp and I really like it also. When I do tank maintenance he sometime jumps onto my hands and start picking at them. Very cute these cleaner shrimps. <Yes, and very useful> I will leave the pictures until I get the whole thing setup, including the new tank. When that happens I will let you now where to find the pictures on the net. <Okay> Thank you again for your patience and help :) Warmest regards, Lucien <You're welcome my friend... Bob Fenner>

Cleaner Shrimp Question Bob, Can you tell me a positive way to tell the Indo-Pacific Cleaner Shrimps from the Atlantic variety? <Of the genus Lysmata? Yes... differences shown, link provided to more... on the Cleaner shrimp files, FAQs... on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com> I had one cleaner shrimp in my tank and decided to buy a second so they would possibly produce fry for fish and coral food. I am suspect as to whether the two that I have are actually the same species. The only difference between the two of them is the coloration on their tail. I have read on several web sites that the Indo-Pacific variety has the inverted "T" at the base of the tail and the Atlantic variety is supposed to have the white stripe go all the way from head to the end of the tail. I am assuming that the Atlantic variety is not supposed to have the inverted "T". Is that correct?  <Yes...> I have been looking for pictures of both of the species on the Internet to try and find a definite answer, but all of the pictures I have found look the same or don't show the tail area good enough for a positive identification. <See our site or Baensch Marine Atlas v.1...> Also, if one is Indo-Pacific and the other is Atlantic will they still mate or did I just waste my money? <They will not produce viable young as far as I'm aware... you may want to posit your question to the folks at "The Breeder's Registry" as well... link on WWM. Bob Fenner> Thanks for your help. Chad N.

Re: Cleaner Shrimp Question I have seen the pictures on the " http://www.wetwebmedia.com/cleaner.htm" age on your site. However, it appears as if both pictures of the cleaner shrimps on that page have the inverted "T" shape at the base of the tail and start of the tail fin. That is what's confusing me. And yes we are talking about Lysmata cleaners. Thank you for your fast response! <Sorry to seem so daft... but is this Lysmata grabhami and L. amboinensis you're trying to discern? And the telson markings shown on the above link unclear? Or are you sorting through wurdemanni et al. from the tropical Western Atlantic... and something like californica from the Pacific? Bob Fenner, still jet-lagged from yesterday night>

Re: Cleaner Shrimp Question Yes I am trying to discern Lysmata grabhami and L. amboinensis. The markings on that link are at least unclear to me anyway. It appears in the picture as if both species have the inverted "T" mark where the tail and tail fin meet. I had assumed that grabhami was not supposed to have the "T" mark, but it looks as if it does in that picture. <Ah... Hmm, perhaps I should suggest stressing the markings on the "tail" itself... notice the four distinct white dots on L. amboinensis... and connected "U"s on the tail of L. grabhami? This is definitive difference and one easily seen. Bob Fenner>

Re: Cleaner Shrimp Question Thank you very much. That's what I was afraid of. I was hoping it was only a matter of whether the "T" shape was present at the end of the tail (before the telson). But apparently that is not the case. Thanks for your help. I will try to return the one I bought today and find one that is a match for the one I already had. <Ah, good. Sorry again for the confusion. Do take a further look at the references listed on the "Cleaners" and "Shrimps", and "Cleaner Shrimps" files for more. Bob Fenner>

About cleaner shrimp. Hello Robert Fenner. I am wondering if you have additional, in depth info on cleaner shrimps. (the skunk). I have read the ones at your site. Just want additional info. on cleaner shrimps. <Put the family names in your search engines... read over the links (to TMC, the Breeder's Registry, Liquid Life... posted on the WWM links pages and bibliography/further reading sections... on Cleaners> I have a 6-gallon w/ a Sebae clown and 2 glass shrimps. Do you think the cleaner will be ok in such a small tank when it molts? Don't want things to harass it. <Perhaps... if there is enough cover... not too much in the way of hungry predators... enough biomineral and alkalinity, food to help the specimen reform its exoskeleton...> Should I add more rock work? <If it "will fit", sure. Bob Fenner>

Lysmata debelius Hi. I am writing from the University of the South Pacific (USP), located in the Fiji Islands. I am about to begin my Masters Program on Shrimp aquaculture and was hoping to work on Lysmata debelius. Part of my funding is being provided by Walt Smith International, an Aquarium Goods exporter and they are also very keen at aiding work on this species. <I know Walt... we are old friends, well, middle-aged friends> At USP we do not have very sophisticated equipment to carryout many large projects. however we are developing our lab systems and we have great access to the natural coral reefs and relatively untouched ecosystems to study. we have access to seawater of good quality, are developing new equipment and hence can carry out some good experiments. <Hmm, you may want to contact friends at TMC who have bred, reared Helmut's shrimp through all cycles... their address, a review of their business can be found on our site: www.WetWebMedia.com> I have obtained some information on this species. However more information is required by myself before I can begin. I was hoping that you could provide me with more information regarding the reproductive biology and feeding behaviour of these shrimps - or of any contacts of people who could provide me with this information. Thanking you in advance, Avinash Singh. <Have Walt contact me, or you can contact Derek Thompson et crew through me... at TMC. Bob Fenner>

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 then 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>

Lysmata wurdemanni  Hi there  We here in SA are trying to get e few of these specimens into our Country,  All other types of Shrimp gets imported but for some reason not this one ..  if it does it disappears so fast it's mind boggling.  <Eaten by other livestock?> Now 3 of us are keen on trying to breed this shrimp but we need the shrimp  to begin with, so I was hopping that you may be of help to us.  If you can could you please contact me ASAP.  Thanks in advance, Jaco  <Believe I can be of service here. Please contact, have your suppliers contact Tropic-Marine Centre in the UK re this species (they breed it and L. debelius, and have had great success with other shrimp, invertebrates... fishes...), and read over the husbandry, production notes posted on the "Breeders Registry" (the link posted on the www.WetWebMedia.com links pages) for a few people's telling of how they've kept, bred this species. 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.>

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

Sexing peppermint shrimp Dear Bob; recently one of two peppermint shrimp in my reef tank died in a tragic powerhead accident. This pair of shrimp have reproduced in my tank and I would like to replace the dead shrimp but I don't know what sex it was. I saved the carcass. Is it possible to easily identify the sex of a peppermint shrimp? I was unaware of any pairing when I bought the two. Thanks, Doug <Can be sexed like the ever tasty local Panulirus... modified uropods and fifth pair of legs on the males as you know...> P.S. Great book. Your text along with Ron and the boys at Octopus Gardens got me hooked on reef aquariums. I've learned a ton over the last two years. I graduated from SDSU in 1972 with a BS in Zoology so we probably had some classes together. Glad to see that someone retained all of that info. I've read about MASLAC and it sounds like a very informed, active group. Is there anything similar around San Diego? Thanks again for your help. <Yes, and have sent this msg. to our fearless leader (he works for the local futility, SDG&E...) Maurice, so, am sure he'll be contacting you as well. See you here and there, your fellow alma mater, Bob Fenner>

Question on cleaner shrimp I am trying to acclimate cleaner shrimps from the LFS that keep them in natural seawater. What is natural seawater salinity anyways? My tank is now at 1.024-1.025. <Right about here specific gravity wise... Not important that this be a particular density, but that the Spg be kept more or less constant... best to check on daily, learn to adjust simply (like by adding freshwater from a jug next to the tank to a predesignated water level...> What procedures do I need to take in order to acclimate cleaner shrimps to my tank. <I would "drip" acclimate them... Protocol stored on site: www.wetwebmedia.com. No need to dip/bath, and generally, if they're in good apparent condition, no need to quarantine> Right now I'm trying to get a LFS water sample to match salinity. Then I will try the cleaner shrimp. <Theirs will likely be much lower... to save money on salt mix, allow for higher gas solubility (and hence stocking capacity), and reduce likelihood/spread of pathogens/parasites... If more than a thousandth, do acclimate the shrimp in a quarantine system slowly to your standard> Do you think you can keep a cleaner shrimp in tap water tank? <What? If you mean, salt mix made with tapwater... this will likely work, unless your tapwater has real troubles... See the tapwater use for marine systems works on the WWM site re... If you're suggesting placing these animals directly in tap/freshwater, no... this will likely damage them to the extent of causing their deaths.> Thanks. <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>>

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

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

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

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

Shrimp molting I've had a Pacific Cleaner shrimp for about a month and a half. In that time it had molted twice. Is it normal for them to molt with such frequency? <<Not too unusual... given plenty of food, growth, and good "water quality"...  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>

Cleaner shrimp I have a 40 gal. tank and 2 weeks ago I noticed a lot of white stuff in my tank. I finally figured out that they were baby cleaner shrimp... of course they got eaten. I have purchased a small tank within a tank that has a small net around it so the shrimp can't get through. How often do shrimp have babies (fry) and how could I try to keep them alive if I'm around when they hatch? <Mmm, please read over all the shrimp materials posted on WetWebMedia.com's marine index... and follow the links to the Breeder's Registry on the Net... and possibly read over the success of Tropic Marine Centre in rearing a few species of Lysmata spp.> someone told me to have" marine snow plankton diet" to feed them. <No. This product is worse than worthless> Can they stay in the same tank as my other fish in that small net tank?  <No> I have a 5 gal. tank I could set-up with a sponge filter, which I would just use water from my main tank, since it would be cycled...I could add some sand and or live rock. Is it possible to keep them alive? <Yes... have been cultured... do need separate tank... As I say, read through what there is known... on the net. Will give you a firm understanding of what's involved. Bob Fenner> Thanks for the info... and " Merry Christmas !" Cheryl

Questions (impulsive cleaner shrimp culturist?) Will other fish eat Cleaner Shrimp eggs? <Of a certainty yes; many if not most fishes will> If so, how should I go about keeping that from happening? <Mmm, if you're involved in culturing shrimp, keep them in a separate system> How many cleaner shrimp should I put in a 55 gallon tank? Assuming that I have some hermits and a coral banded shrimp in there? <... could or should? Coral Banded Shrimp, Stenopus hispidus are cleaners... Please read the Marine Shrimp sections here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shrimp.htm and the linked articles and FAQs files. Bob Fenner>

Re: questions (impulsive cleaner shrimp culturist?) Do you have any suggestions on what types of coral I should combine in a tank? Like so many hard to so many soft? For the aquarium floor, what type of types of live sand should I use? As well as for live rock....how much live rock and live sand would you recommend for a 55 gallon tank? What types of fish should I NOT have in my tank if I have Cleaner Shrimp? <You would do well to invest your money and time into one or more general marine aquarium books. Much cheaper, less destructive to your spare time, budget and the environment, then this approach. Please peruse, read over the site: WetWebMedia.com Bob Fenner>

Inter-breeding of cleaner shrimp Bob, I was wondering if species of Lysmata shrimp can/have breed among their different species.  <Not as far as I'm aware. But do check with the Breeder's Registry site... link on WetWebMedia.com if you can't find it> I have two cleaner shrimp that were both sold as common skunk cleaners. One appears to be ever so slightly darker in color and has a solid white line on the edges of it's tail and the other has two white dots on each edge of it's tail. I therefore assume I have a Lysmata grabhami (the solid white lines on the edge) and a L. Amboinensis (the dots). Other than the tail markings and the slight shade of color difference they are the same. <These do get sold as one, the other quite commonly> Both have been in my tank now for many months. They eat well, regularly clean the yellow tang and even my hands when I reach in the tank. Within the last month I noticed that both have many eggs stored underneath their tails. The L. Grabhami's eggs are a lime green color, and the other shrimps eggs are a clear color and look like salt and pepper under the shrimp. As far as I can tell they have been there for 4-5 weeks. (or they have bred multiple times) <Ah...> Is it possible they are both the same species with different markings, or is it not uncommon for these two different shrimp to breed with each other? <Mmm, these are likely two females... do spawn w/o males present... can/do store sperm packets... or the eggs may be infertile> Also, do you know if the different colors of the eggs means anything? I don't know how long it takes for them to hatch, but I'm assuming they will just be consumed by the fish as a treat or caught up in the filters/powerheads. Thank you for your help and your great site! Kris, PA <Mmm, do read through the Net here re Lysmata... and BR. Much there re these species. Bob Fenner>

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>

Pregnant Cleaner Shrimp Mr. Fenner We just noticed hundreds of eggs on the legs of one of our cleaner shrimps last night. Can we purchase something from our LPS to try to save these eggs from being eaten by our other stock and if so what are the chances of actually getting some that live through the whole process.  Much to relate... I would read over the Breeder's Registry here, and Tropic Marine Centre's accounts of their successful culture of Lysmata amboinensis (and even L. debelius)... their URL's on the WetWebMedia Links pages> Does this mean that the pregnant one is female and the other male, or can both sexes have babies? Do you have info on your website about this? We really want to try to breed them if we can, but we have no idea how far she is and when they will hatch as we just observed her "fanning" these eggs all night last night. It was the oddest thing to see and we were both very excited. Also, my ammonia is 0 but my fish still keep waking up with ich and then it disappears within the first 10 minutes of feeding and does not show back up until either 8:30pm or when they wake up in the morning, any ideas (our ammonia was at .50 a few days ago, but have done many water changes to get it down to zero, we were over feeding. <Study my friend. Bob Fenner>

Re: Pregnant Cleaner Shrimp Mr. Fenner My LPS has a little net type thing to put the shrimp in, is this cruel to lock her in a net (I haven't seen it yet, so I don't know what it looks like. <Not just cruel, but won't work...> Also (I haven't looked at your link yet but I intend to), do I put both male and female shrimp in net as the male has been heavily guarding her and chasing away anyone that comes near. And do I remove them once the eggs hatch? Are there books we can buy on this? Or will our attempts be futile due to the other tank inhabitants(6 fish, crabs, peppermint shrimps and snails) <All this answered where you were sent... Bob Fenner>

Cleaner Shrimp Question Bob, A little over a week ago, I purchased a Common Cleaner Shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis). He seems to be quite healthy and eating well, but in the past day or two he seems to be hiding more than he was originally (although he's still not very reclusive). At the same time the parts of his body which were previously fairly white have turned a yellowish tint. Is he getting ready to molt or do you think he had molted shortly before I bought him or might something else be wrong?? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Again for your help, Phil in San Diego <Very likely just pre-molt behavior and coloration. Please do read through the Cleaner Shrimp FAQs for others experiences: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/clnshrpf.htm Bob Fenner>

Update : Shrimp Mix Hi Bob, I appreciate your encouragement on my fish mix. Here's a report on a past question: I asked what shrimp could be mixed in a 300 gallon reef tank to avoid the Shrimp Wars. You indicated that I should be able to add some Lysmata debelius to the five large L. amboinensis that are already there. I added two L. debelius to the tank. They hide most of the time, <Very typical... the Debelius' Shrimp will become more evident with time... but not as much as the Ambon's> whereas the L. amboinensis are always putting on a song and dance for the tangs. Too bad; those white legs are something! Both types of shrimp even seem to like the same area of live rock; no problems that I have seen. The only time I really see the L. debelius is at feeding time. Once the food hits the water, they are out with their boxing gloves on ready to take on any fish that get in their way! Do you suppose they may come out more as they become more used to the environment? Or are these guys just the hiding types? <Oh! Yes and yes> Next step is to add three more L. debelius and see if the congeniality continues. If I am successful, I am inclined to add a mated pair of Stenopus hispidus. Do you think they would fit in OK with the others? <Yes... likely on trouble might come with molting, possible hunger... Provide plenty of hiding spaces, regular feedings, and leave molts (the exoskeletons) in place for speedier regeneration/hardening of new external structures... by ingestion of old> As always, thanks for the input. It is reassuring. <As the universe is, so should we be, as we are. Bob Fenner> Dale.

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

Cleaner shrimp Hey Bob, Been reading your site and FAQ's a long time, and I have learned a lot. <Ah, good> My question is about the Atlantic White-Striped Cleaner Shrimp. I put him in the tank a few days ago (55 gallon) and he's doing fine, moving about probing with his antennae, even jumping up at times to grab food. My only question is there any way to make the shrimp set up a cleaning station? <To "make it"... Not really... but given a bit of time, some prominent rock, with space to get out of the light, "customers"... it likely will establish a cleaning station on its own> The only problem the shrimp has had is a small scuffle with a lightfoot crab which he lost an antennae too. (It was the shrimps fault though, he kept poking the lightfoot till the thing got mad. The shrimp knows now to stay away from him. ) <No worries. It will regenerate the antenna next molt> Could it be that my live stock is too small? I have 4 false percula clowns, a striped damsel, all under 2 -2.5 inches. And two small fire gobies. Any suggestions would be helpful...oh there is 70+ pounds of live rock in the system with plenty of hiding space...Miguel <Not too small per se, but perhaps too young/unfamiliar. Give all a few weeks and you should observe them "learning" to use each other. Bob Fenner>

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

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

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

Cleaner shrimp Hi Mr. Fenner I am writing you once again with yet another question. I know that a cleaner shrimp along with all other types have their antennas for an obviously important reason <Make that for reasons... taste/smell, feeling, balance, defense, communication...> but what I would like to know is how this will affect him. I have a royal Gramma that nips at my cleaner shrimps antennas, and in the last two days, two or three of his antennas have gone down from around a nice 5 inches long to maybe an 1 1/2 and the rest are now about 2 or 2 1/2 inches. He is still out in the open and active, even trying to climb onto the Gramma when he comes near but I'm wondering if this will affect his well being. Or do they just break off every so often, and grow again, <More like be like new when they molt...> and even though I see the Gramma nip, it's not really him that's making them shorter?  <Likely is> He hasn't molted recently, so he's not in that sensitive stage at the moment. Thanks again Greg <Do keep up your alkalinity and calcium levels... and have plenty of cover... especially for molt times. Bob Fenner>

Re: My Aquarium Good morning to whoever is listening today. <Hello, Steven Pro online now.> Over the past week or so Bob Fenner has been helping me to recover from many problems in my aquarium (I've attached some of our correspondence below for you reference). I know Bob is away for a week, but he asked me to still send through if I have any input during this week. <Sure, Anthony and I have things under control as far as Q&A's go.> Out of all Bob's recommendations I have managed to get most done over the past couple of days - I replaced the substrate with fine coral sand (phew), added a bag of activated carbon to the sump, installed a light above my sump and introduced some Caulerpa (which seems to have grown a little), removed the lobster/hermit crabs. I also added one cleaner shrimp (Lysmata grabhami) and did a 20% water change. I traded the Carpet anemone and the triggerfish. So the only practical challenge I have left for the moment is to modify my sump into a refugium. The only question I have for you is about the Lysmata - I introduced him to my aquarium 2 days ago. Immediately my Tang and the 2 Angels started begging him for a cleaning, but he just ignored them and found a hiding place under a rock. All day yesterday he kept hiding there and continued to ignore the fish who are still constantly begging to be cleaned. This morning I noticed that the Lysmata has molted during the night, but it is still hiding. <Probably just settling in.> From what I've read in your cleaner shrimp articles and FAQ's, it seems normal for the Lysmata to hide just before and after it molts and also to take a couple of days before it feels comfortable enough to start cleaning new tankmates etc. <Yes> I was just wondering if you have any comments regarding this? <Nothing extra to add, in time your shrimp will relax and come out more and more.> It doesn't come out of hiding when I feed either and I'm not sure if I should specifically feed him or just leave him be for the next couple of days. I can see the shrimp in its little cave and its very much alive, just not coming out. <No worries yet, my friend.> Thanks for all the help over the past couple of weeks. Chris Cronje <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Lysmata debelius -fire shrimp larvae Hi Everyone. Well thanks to your advice I have finally got pairs of fire shrimp to breed and produce few larvae. however so far I have got so few larvae- less than 10 .. not good. <Actually, not bad... took the folks at TMC a good many tries, dollars/Pounds to get this far> I have had a look at a latest molt and have seen that there are hundreds of unhatched eggs present on them. the eggs are at their last development stage.. the eyes being clearly visible. I don't really know what went wrong... the larvae that are there are healthy but too few to work with.... <Could be infertile eggs, not enough viable sperm/atophore, some aspect of water chemistry...> (Fire shrimp adults naturally release the larvae into the water and then go on to molt)-- something went wrong here. I'm not certain if physical factor or may be nutrition maybe the key.. but how did the other larvae survive? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks, Avinash Singh USP Fiji islands. <Bob Fenner>

Hello again (shrimp culture) I just posted this on your chat forum but thought that you may have further insight :) <Perhaps. Let's see> Hi All fist post here I have been Harassing Bob and JasonC for a while now so I thought that maybe my fellow hobbyists could take a stab at this one. Here are the usual specs. My Reef tank is 30 gallons, with a new 130gallon tank being delivered tomorrow. The inhabitants are, A Ocellaris, A Frenatus, Banggai Cardinal, Pajama Cardinal and a Scooter Blenny. All are well. There are the usual assortment of hermit crabs, snails and I seem to have colonies of feather dusters cropping up on the rocks all over the place. I also have a Pulsing Xenia and 2 Peppermint Shrimp and 1 CBS. I do daily calcium additions and weeks Iodine drops. The shrimp molt every month and are growing quite large. Hence the new tank as you say larger is better. Tonight at feeding time the larger of the two Peppermint Shrimp came out and her swimmerets are encrusted with eggs. So now the quandary I am setting up the new tank tomorrow and within the next few days planning on moving all of the live rock, sand and inhabitants to their new environs. Do you think I should leave the Mother Peppermint in there and allow her eggs to hatch. What do you think would be the success rate if there were a moved to the larger tank or left where they are? <The "success" rate in terms of hatching, grow out? Not much in either. Please read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shrimp.htm the shrimp articles, FAQs files beyond. Much more to the effective culture of these animals. Bob Fenner> The Emperor bio wheel is staying, but the protein skimmer and powerheads are going. Need advice :) Cheers, Julian Hunt

Thor amboinensis - requirements  - 04/27/06 Hi crew, <Nick> I have a 30g FOWLR tank that has been running for about 15 months. Livestock at the mo is: 2 x Amphiprion ocellaris (tank-bred) 1 x Gramma loreto 1 x Centropyge eibli (still only small but hates my Gramma so its going to a friends new 250g reef) <Too crowded...> When I remove the angel I'm not going to add any new fish as I'm aware I was pushing it livestock-wise. I'm currently thinking of inverts I could add to the tank, I need something that is relatively easy to keep and that preferably isn't a L. debelius or L. amboinensis as I've kept these in the past and fancy a change. I was thinking of maybe a small group of Thor amboinensis but after reading conflicting reports on this species I'm not too sure of its requirements, does it require an anemone or host coral to survive or can it thrive without assuming there are no predators in the tank? <... a risk in this size system... Best kept with host anemone...> Do you think my tank could sustain 2-3 of these shrimps? <Not likely, no> Many thanks
<Bob Fenner>

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