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FAQs about Cleaner Shrimps 2

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

Related FAQs: Cleaner Shrimp 1, 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, & FAQs on: Hippolytid FAQs, FAQs 2, Hippolytid Identification, Hippolytid Behavior, Hippolytid Compatibility, Hippolytid Selection, Hippolytid Systems, Hippolytid Feeding, Hippolytid Disease, Hippolytid 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,

Lysmata debelius

Skunk Shrimp... repro. f'  -- 07/17/10
I have two skunk cleaner Shrimp. One is about 3-3.5 inches long and the other is 2.5-3 inches long. They both live my 30 gallon tank with a few clown fishes. For about a month or so now the bigger shrimp has these green little sacs underneath its belly.
<Likely eggs...>
I was just wondering what they are and if the are healthy for the shrimp to have on it. I was told they where eggs but they haven't hatched or laid them. What would be the best thing for the shrimp.
<? Best thing? Please read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> 

Cleaner shrimp, beh., reading  9/30/09
It is necessarily a bad thing if I see my cleaner shrimp cleaning my pink tail trigger?
<Mmm, no. BobF>
None of the livestock seems to have white spot or anything like that, they all act normal, eat fine, but from time to time the pink tail will go to the shrimp and be cleaned.

Re: cleaner shrimp follow up 9/30/09
Should I be worried or QT him and treat him or is it possible that the shrimp is cleaning him or dead scales?
<I wouldn't worry. I would read: http://wetwebmedia.com/hipshrpbeh.htm
and the linked files above. BobF>

Cleaner shrimp question, hlth.  7/11/08 I have had my cleaner shrimp for more than a month now. He has been doing great. Tank just tested the tank and ammonia was 0ppm, nitrate 0ppm, nitrite 0ppm, and ph is 8.3. Specific gravity is 1.023/1.024. Yesterday, he was acting strange. He was twitching and just moving around very weird. I read that twitching could have been part of molting but he was doing it all day. I woke up this morning to find him dead at the bottom. He didn't molt because it wasn't just an empty shell. The both sides of his head were very puffy and dark and when I removed it from the tank, that part was very loose and under it you could see that it was like black goop under the shell. <Decomposition> At first sight I just thought it molted but it didn't. Like I said it wasn't just the shell. Now yesterday I did introduce a new clownfish into the tank after quarantining it for a month with no problem. However Im pretty sure that wasn't the problem because the shrimp was acting strange before the fish ever came into the tank . I don't think alkalinity could be a problem because I use Reef Code A&B as directed to maintain a good buffering system. <These are added, fully mixed into/with before new water its introduction?> Im just at a loss because it was doing great. Maybe it was a bad molt? <Mmm... but what about it/this?> I don't supplement with iodine but my salt mix is reef crystals and has iodine in it and I only did a water change a like 3 days ago. My hermit crabs have been molting fine and they have molted many times already with no problem. Please help. Thank you very much <Well, nothing "jumps out" here... and this animal did live a month in this system... Do please have a read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/marind5_5.htm The Shrimp, Cleaner Shrimp Health, Systems, Nutrition SubFAQs files... to see if there's something that becomes alive in your conscience re. Bob Fenner>

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 I?m trying to figure out who most likely snacked on a couple of $25 shrimps. It?s 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 (conch?s, 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. >>   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 try to clean any of the fish in my 100 gal reefer (4 assorted small, apparently all retarded.) None of them seem to know what to make of the shrimp and don't allow it to get too close. <some fish don't like little pesky cleaner shrimp> None have any visible parasites, but the shrimp's been in there 6 weeks now and the fish don't seem any more interested in utilizing the shrimp's services. <some don't like shrimp and some shrimp don't like fish...some dogs like cats and some don't>  I stick my hand in the tank often, and this shrimp just tackles it, cleaning and pulling and scouring all over my fingers and forearm. <yes, they tend to do that>  This may be the poor shrimp's only cleaning exercise that it gets, so I feel obligated to do this. <You can do this if you would like. As long as the little shrimp eats he should be fine, no worries my friend (its cleaning services are just a bonus. they don't need to clean to survive. they are very content with eating leftover food> Any idea why the fish don't care? <good luck, IanB> Thanks,  SLC

Cleaner shrimp 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 water source is. -Kevin>

Get a Claw!  5/5/03 Hi, I got scared today as I noticed an empty skeleton left after my Banded Coral Shrimp...<Oh no...> But the shrimp was still there! The skeleton looked like the real shrimp: body, legs etc etc! Is this normal for the cleaner shrimps?<Yes> How often do they do that?<Somewhat depends.  I've had one of my shrimp molt once every 4-6 weeks.  Then he didn't molt for another 6-8 weeks.  Read more on cleaner shrimp on WWM for more info.> Thank you,<No problem> Luke<Phil>

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 clich?) Marina

Pregnant cleaner shrimp 3/14/03 Good morning, well I realized that I have a pregnant Cleaner Shrimp, I would like to some how isolate her to keep some of the babies. <Interesting tidbit about cleaner shrimp... your "she" is actually is an "it". While most shrimp have separate sexes... cleaners are hermaphrodites... thus any two can breed successfully together> Is it possible?? <challenging but possible... the move to an isolation tank was helpful> what should I buy? I saw a breeding unit online- Let me know Thanks, Athena <successful rearing really cannot be summed up in an e-mail. Let me suggest you buy and read a book on a similar species: "How To Raise & Train Your Peppermint Shrimp -- April Kirkendoll. Its available from Amazon.com and many other places. The rearing tips will be quite similar. Also, do a keyword search on this topic on a search engine for find specific articles perhaps on this species... alas, we do not have one on WWM. General info on the group can be found here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/shrimp/cleaner.htm Best regards, Anthony>

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

Cleaner Shrimp Question - 2/12/03 Hello, <cheers> I just found your site and I love it. <thanks kindly... do keep reading, sharing and growing! Tell a friend too please> I have one cleaner shrimp right now...I plan to get at least one more but I was wondering how often the shed their shells? <varies by feeding and nutrient levels (iodine)... but not by gender like some other shrimps. Cleaner shrimps are hermaphrodites... any 2 can breed together> I've had this one 2 weeks and he has shed 2 times. <awesome! Once or twice monthly is common> He seems very happy and healthy. He eats, cleans himself and cleans my damsel. (My Regal Tang won't go to him...yet) Is this normal for them to shed so much? <a very good sign> Thanks for your help. Kit "In the end, we conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught." <best regards, Anthony>

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

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

Re: cleaner shrimp Hi how's it going <Doing good... just check'n the questions...> I just setup my 75 gal reef tank about 10 days ago it has about 70 lbs. of live rock in it and I am waiting for it to cycle. A  friend gave me a couple pieces of live rock from his tank to make room for something else in the process I ended up with 1 of his cleaner shrimp in the rock and I can't catch it does it stand a chance of living and if so does it need to be fed anything <Well... if the tank is just starting to cycle it most likely will not survive.  But stranger things have happened!  I feed my cleaner shrimp: in the morning, marine fish flakes, in the afternoon a small amount of krill/silverside.  He loves it!!  If you want to try and catch the shrimp, take an old panty-hose and put some food in it.  My shrimp always rush right into it.  Hope this helps!  Phil>

Cleaner shrimp feeding Hi, I've had cleaner shrimp in the past and I usually lost them after about 4-5 months from what I think was lack of nutrition. I had the right amount of calcium and iodine etc to let the skeletons shed but I don't think the shrimp were getting enough to eat because the food would always get eaten by the fish first since they swim much faster. What would u recommend I do in order to make sure they get something to eat? <A practice of feeding the fishes, more aggressive invertebrates first and at one end of the system (at the surface likely) and using a "feeder stick" (dowel of wood or plastic) that you can/could quickly dunk the food to the shrimp directly down in front of them. Bob Fenner> Thanks for your time -Matt

Re: Feeding Cleaner Shrimp Bob: <Steve> Saw your post about feeding cleaner shrimp with a feeding stick. I though I'd share a method that works great for me. <Great> I use an air tube with a medicine syringe (from the drug store) on one end. I glued the tube into a larger rigid tube with aquarium silicone (before finding narrower rigid tubing available at a different LFS). I put various frozen foods in a finger bowl with some tank water and suck it into the tube. I then squirt the food down near my jawfish's burrow so he gets food. Otherwise, the other fish eat it all an he doesn't get any. <Yes> Anyway, I discovered that if I gently approach my Lysmata shrimp wit this tube and slowly eject the food, they will grab on and voraciously pull the food right out of the tube with their front legs and eat it. They really chow down this way. (Impressive appetites!) They'll eat brine shrimp, Mysis, krill, mussels and squid. <Very good> Perhaps this will help for the person whose shrimps starve. <Thank you for this input. Bob Fenner> Steve Allen

Breeding Peppermint Shrimp Greetings and salutations everyone: Around 11:00 last night I was giving my reef tank one last check and noticed one of the Peppermint Shrimp was acting rather erratic.  So I turned on my blue actinic light to make a closer observation, just in time to see one of them giving birth to hundreds of tiny Peppermints.  What a beautiful sight.   <wow... how wonderful!> Is there any way to ensure any survivals?   <absolutely. It is somewhat tedious to rear the larva but very possible and done by many aquarists. Some articles have been written on the subject like here: http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2002-10/nftt/ Thee is also a new book written on the subject for interested aquarists just like you: http://www.lysmatapublishing.com/shrimp.html > I think my LPS corals had a feast last night because I do not see any left this morning.     >indeed...very good food. Many aquarists keep breeding peppermint shrimp in fishless refugiums for this purpose> I also have noticed quite a few of white semi-transparent larva's around 1/8" long with a large mouth and a dual tail on the other end sliding around on the glass.  Does this sound like some kind of Nudibranch?  They seem to be multiplying rather rapidly, should this be a concern?   <hard to say without an ID or image> I've also noticed several small brittle stars (around 1/2 inch in length) hanging around in the live rock.  Do they pose any threat? <nope... very beneficial filter feeders and detritivores> Besides the obvious physical beauty of our underwater ecosystems, don't you find it truly inspiring that life always just seems to "find a way"?  What a tribute to our creator! <remarkable by any definition :) > My Tube Anemone is growing a little too fast and its tentacles  were getting too close to my candy coral.   <wow... I'm not thrilled about such an aggressive anemone in a tank with coral or other anemones... I'd remove it to a species tank for proper feeding any way (without polluting coral tank or starving anemone in the long run> The Candy Coral has not been a happy camper lately (nitrates got a little high the other day, .40 PPM, so I quickly made several water changes and things are already looking a lot better).  I relocated the Candy Coral on the sand.  Is this an acceptable location?   <perhaps not... they cannot purge sand easily and may suffer if sprinkled or buried. Its an unnatural place for this coral> I wasn't sure it would be happy there as I am rapidly running out of space since all of this is going on in a 5 gallon nano reef. <oh, my heavens! Brother, please remove that tube anemone from this tank ASAP or pull all else to a reef. There are serious issues here with chemical warfare on your coral beyond issues of actual contact> I've read your information regarding the feeding of corals and it was very informative.  I purchased some DT's Phytoplankton to supplement the Corals (one Euphyllia, one Candy, one Hammer, one leather tree coral and assorted button polyps).   <hmmm.... only the leather tree coral eats (perhaps) a little phytoplankton. None of the other corals here feed much if at all on phyto. They are zooplankton feeders. I suspect that the only thing your phyto is feeding is nitrate levels> If I feed according to directions, that would be 1/3 tsp in 5 gallons every other day.  Will this amount increase my nitrates or should I just be concerned with the freshness of the phytoplankton?   <a fine food but inappropriate for these corals> More along the line of twice a week sounds more reasonable given the size of my tank.  Can you recommend a product for zooplankton that is equally fresh, besides using a refugium?   <indeed the refugium is best, frozen Cyclop-eeze would be a fine runner up (hard to find though... an Argent product), fresh hatched baby brine is good after that (less than 9 hours old). After that, minced meaty foods (Gammarus PE Mysis shrimp, Pacifica plankton)> I have been also feeding a frozen food rich in Kill and Sponge but, again, am concerned with nitrates (is twice a week on this one also acceptable?).   <way too little food for the LPS corals and definitely not enough for the tube anemone> Please don't suggest an upgrade in equipment, we are in the process of adopting two otherwise homeless children and at this time any upgrades just is not in the budget. <no worries bud... but I must say that you need to remove the anemone or the corals for both to have a chance at surviving long term> Nitrates are my big concern, <in such a small tank, a weekly water change of 2-3 gallons should make it all go away nicely> but I still want to give the corals everything they need and still keep nitrates as low as possible, considering the size of my system.  I try to keep Nitrates around .10 PPM, which is quite a challenge and still feed everything. You guys perform a great service and I can't thank you enough for your assistance.  I called the LPS where I bought the coral frags and all I got was "I am too busy".  How sad for them.  I think they're missing out in the real meaning in all of this. <agreed. You'll do fine here my friend if you are simply realistic about the limitations of the tank and what is humanely possible. With kind regards, Anthony>

Scarlet cleaner shrimp and clown triggerfish together I am thinking of getting a saltwater fish tank and buying a scarlet cleaner shrimp and a clown triggerfish. Do you think I will be able to put them in the same tank or will the clown triggerfish nip/ kill the shrimp. Thanks Josh <Have seen stranger things, but the vast likelihood is that the trigger will consume the shrimp. Bob Fenner>

Re: Scarlet cleaner shrimp and clown triggerfish together I just went to a store and they had very small clown triggerfish about 2-3''. The Scarlets there were almost bigger without their antennae. do you think that, that would make a difference? <Mainly just smaller bites, longer meal. Please read through our Triggerfish sections (articles and FAQs files) starting here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/triggers/index.htm on to "selection", "compatibility". Bob Fenner>

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

Snail health, shrimp nutrition Mr. Fenner thank you for the quick response.  Regarding the questions below: (2) "Help, my snails have fallen and can't get up!!!"  (a) I noticed many references in the "Marine Snail FAQs" to two products (I) B Ionic and (ii) Sea Balance.  I have not been able to locate these products (although I did find Kent Marine products at DrsFostersSmith.com).  Can you point me in the right direction? <These calcium and carbonate products are sold by many e-tailers and retailers. If interested in them you might try the folks listed on the Marine Links page: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marlinks.htm>   (b) I also noticed that you recommend 4 watts of appropriate lighting.  I only have 22 watts of "cool white" on a 29G.  Is the lighting contributing to the snails issues? <Not directly> (3) Cleaner shrimp and damsels have not developed the relationship I had hoped. (a)  What exactly is a "feeding stick"? <A store bought or DIY device (a wood or plastic dowel, length of rigid tubing) for delivering food down to the animals> (b) the scarlet cleaner has been in the tank 5 weeks and has never been target fed.  How can I tell if he is properly nourished and healthy? <If it's out and about, looking like it's trying to eat (other organisms) it is likely hungry> Thank you <You're welcome. Bob Fenner> Rex.merrill

29G FO Husbandry Season's greetings to all of the WetWebMedia Crew!!! <And thou> Ok, thanks to all of your support I am now on the path that will hopefully bring health and happiness to all of my marine "guests".  I would be grateful for clarification on a couple of questions: (1)  Santa is bringing an Eheim ECCO 2233 (rated for 60G) and a CPR BakPak skimmer for the 29G tank.  Would live rock find enough "food" to remain alive with the implementation of the Eheim and the skimmer?  Would 30lbs still be a reasonable amount? <Yes, and yes> (2)  "Help, my snails have fallen and can't get up!!!"  What's the deal with my turbo snails, are they handicapped?  I keep finding them upside down.  If I don't upright them will they be able to right themselves?  How long can they survive "upside down" before they expire? <Please see WetWebMedia.com re "Marine Snail FAQs"... a few possibilities here. Likely alkalinity anomaly> (3)  Cleaner shrimp and damsels have not developed the relationship I had hoped.  One of the damsels began to show an interest in the scarlet cleaner shrimp.... unfortunately I have discovered it is not the "cleaning" that he is interested in.  The damsel periodically tries to kick the shrimps butt.  Charging, nipping, even swam under his tail and tried to up-end the shrimp one time.  Is my shrimp in danger?  Oh why oh why couldn't I find all you helpful people before the LFS told me to put damsels in my tank? <Give them more time together. Purposely feed the shrimp with a "feeding stick" in a corner, on a daily routine> Thanks for any advice you can share. <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Raising Cleaner Shrimp Babies Dear crew: I have just collected the larvae of my cleaner shrimp on a net. I don't know what to do with them. It is a pity to watch them get "filtered out from my overflow. Right now, I have them in my net in the main aquarium, with no fish, since the tank is fallowing. Is there anyway to successfully culture little cleaner shrimp? What do I need to feed them? And do they need a separate tank to raise them? Were there any successful breeding trials? Please tell me what to do! <It must be that time of year or something. We have received a question about spawning cleaner shrimp everyday for the past several days. Please take a look here http://www.breeders-registry.gen.ca.us/Reprints/FAMA/v17_aug94/scarlet.htm? Sincerely, Eric <Have a nice day! -Steven Pro>

Shrimp Follow Up and Pods Hello again! Thank you! My fish and crabs will probably eat whatever eggs these shrimp deposit, eh? Caviar to the salties! <Them and your corals, too. Excellent food for all!> Another quick question, do 'pods come in all colors, or just gray? <I have seen mostly tan to gray.> I have some REALLY big black ones, twice the size of the gray. <Interesting, could you send us a picture?> They love the filter pads and my refugium. I'm not sure what eats them (in my tank), but I have tons. Here's the fish list, one of each: bi-color blenny, Foxface, engineer goby, blue/yellow tail damsel, maroon gold bar clown, Firefish, and the junior angel (Pomacanthus). None are mentioned to eat these "bugs" in my books. <Actually, they will all eat some.> Should I get a mandarin to eat them, or just leave the 'pods? <I would leave them. They and their spawn are excellent food for fish and corals as well as having the added benefit of consuming a fair amount of algae, detritus, uneaten food, etc.> Thanks once again, your patience is outstanding! -Cathy in Texas <>< <Have a lovely day! -Steven Pro>

Cleaner Shrimp Howdy! <Hi Cathy! How's it going down there?> Just yesterday (I think) there was a question regarding Cleaner Shrimp on the Daily FAQ page - now I can't find it. The reason I am looking for articles - I have two Lysmata amboinensis (cleaner shrimp with white markings on the tail) - and both are carrying green matter in the lower part of the tail and that look like the tiniest of green dots. <These are eggs.> Does this mean I have two females? <It means you have two males and two females, but only two shrimp total. Confusing? You should try being the shrimp. They are hermaphroditic.> They have been carrying these "dots" for about two weeks - maybe it is something else? <No, it is a textbook description of eggs. They should change color to an orange/red in a few days.> I've tried using the google search for WWM, but nothing about this shows up. At first, I thought this was because I had a green algae bloom in my tank, and they ate the algae. But the bloom is gone, and the green remains. Any ideas, help would be appreciated! If a picture is needed, I can get one :-) Cathy in Texas <>< <The article I referenced on the Daily page is here http://www.breeders-registry.gen.ca.us/Reprints/FAMA/v17_aug94/scarlet.htm Chat with you later! -Steven Pro>

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

Breeding Shrimp We have a pair of Lysmata amboinensis in our tank, the large of the 2 has been in there for about a year now - the 2nd one we added about 4 months ago, and is a little smaller than the other. A few days ago - the larger one appeared to have lots of little green "eggs" (for lack of another term) in the swimmerets under the backside. <No better term needed, in this case, that is what they are, fertilized eggs.> It was interesting - we saw her (assuming) perched on a piece of live rock, "playing" with them, she had the swimmerets tilted out, and it was almost like she was moving the "eggs" around. Well, this morning - the other shrimp has em now. They both do! <Yes, they are hermaphroditic, both able to function as both sexes simultaneously.> The interesting thing is that this morning, we caught the larger one almost chasing the smaller one - going at the smaller one with her pinchers. In fact, she got the smaller one in the tail, and the smaller one jumped and some of the little things came out of the swimmeret's. <Now that sounds kind of strange.> Are they eggs, and if so - can we do anything with them? Bill Yazji <I can give you a couple of leads if you wish to pursue raising the babies. The Summer 2002 issue of SeaScope, a free newsletter from Aquarium Systems that comes out quarterly, has a related article on breeding Lysmata rathbunae. Also, check out the Breeder's Registry, an online source for captive rearing information. -Steven Pro>

Breeding Shrimp II I would be interested in attempting to raise them. Is it something very difficult? <I would not describe the process as easy, but it could be worth the effort.> I had attempted to view the Breeders Registry, but the link wasn't working for me. <It did not work for me, either. Perhaps a problem with the server this evening. I did find a few online articles with a quick search. http://www.breeders-registry.gen.ca.us/Reprints/FAMA/v17_aug94/scarlet.htm http://www.breeders-registry.gen.ca.us/Reprints/SeaScope/v11_sumr/shrimp.htm Thanks - as usual! ~Bill <Good luck! -Steven Pro>

Gourmet Shrimp! Kind Sirs, <Hi there! Scott F. with you today!> I recently purchased a cleaner shrimp. From the tail markings it looks as though it's the Pacific White Stripe Cleaner Lysmata amboinensis, I read through the FAQ's and If I may, pose a few questions to see if I understand shrimp care correctly. Tanks size, 30 ga, His future clients consist of 2 percula clowns (2" and 1 ?" ) and a 1 inch yellow damsel. Because as much as the shrimp tries, the fish currently don't want anything to do with it. From what I read, It's a learning process and in about 2 weeks the fish should be forming a line to the cleaning station? <All depends on the fish!> As for the molting process, It was mentioned once in the FAQ's, But the way I understand it is, I should leave the molted shell in the tank and the shrimp will eventually eat it? <Wow! If it were me, I'd remove anything from the tank that has the potential to decompose and add to the level of dissolved organics in the water> Feeding? My impression, at first, was that the shrimp would scavenge for food. After reading more about it, It looks as though I should turkey baste some food in his direction? <Always appreciated!> Daily? I did that this morning and he had a feast with the blood worms. Not sure how to get flake food to him, except maybe crumble, mix with tank water and baste it to him. <Not a bad technique, but I'd stick to frozen, marine-based foods instead.> I slowly released the blood worms and he was able to catch them. My current feeding habits consist of  2 times daily of a mix of the following:  blood worms (thawed, and every 3 days soaked with 5 drops of vita-chem vitamins), marine flakes, Spirulina flakes, freeze dried plankton (krill) as a treat, (also soaked with Selcon ? twice weekly), DT's (blended) and clam juice for the dusters (two). 2 days of each through the course of a week. My guess is that the vita-chem soaked blood worms would pose no problem for the shrimp? As well as the Selcon? <Certainly couldn't hurt- but I'd try to give more 'marine-based" foods as mentioned above. Do feed the clam juice sparingly to your 'dusters, as excessive amounts can pollute your water horribly!> My plans for this weekend are to mix up some fresh shrimp, clams, Spirulina flakes and vita-chem (need to check bob's recipe again) and freeze to feed the clowns as well as  have the juice in the tank for the dusters. <Good stuff! Again, I urge caution not to overfeed the "juice".> Should I look to add anything for the shrimp? <I think your mix sounds just fine!> From what I've read on your site, Mysis(?) shrimp is the choice of frozen, but seems to be lacking at my LFS. I've found the fish take to the blood worms but feel I should switch to more of a marine type food. <My recommendation, exactly!> I have found frozen krill, squid (I think) and pro green at my LPS, would any be recommended over the other or should I stick with the blood worms and soon to be homemade stuff? <They all sound good- even the bloodworms, but I'd try to vary the diet as much as possible, again stressing the use of marine foods> As for the  crew's Reef Invertebrates book, Will it be available for pre-order up  to around Christmas time? <Sure! And it looks to be a good book! you can even get an autographed one if you preorder!> I kind of got "the look" when "Clownfishes" showed up after purchasing, and continually reading both Mike Paletta's "New Marine Aquarium" and  Bob's "CMA". <All are great books!> And figured I'd better curb some on-line purchasing for a bit. <After you order the Crew's new book, of course!> Again my fish as well as myself thank you. Dave <And thank you for writing, Dave. Your animals seem to be in very capable hands! Good luck!>

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

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

Why's he doing that? Response to Cleaner Shrimp Good morning WWM crew! Hope all is well!  <and to you as well> One quick question for ya this morning... My yellow tang has finally started using the cleaner shrimp (boy are they happy!) and they have gotten virtually all of the remaining black spot off of him (I am pleased, but still watching carefully in case of an "outbreak" that they can't handle).  <very well> He sometimes seems to buck while they're cleaning him though. Earlier today I watched him buck quite a bit, actually. Is this just because they get a little rough?  <perhaps... still a vulnerable position for the tang to be sitting still. Naturally nervous> (I know from experience that sometimes they do pick a little hard) He won't (intentionally) hurt them if he's going over to their "station" to be cleaned will he?  <doubtful... no worries here> Thanks! TJ the Novice :) <Kindly, Anthony... the apprentice>

Why's he doing that? Good morning WWM crew! Hope all is well! One quick question for ya this morning... My yellow tang has finally started using the cleaner shrimp (boy are they happy!) and they have gotten virtually all of the remaining black spot off of him (I am pleased, but still watching carefully in case of an "outbreak" that they can't handle). He sometimes seems to buck while they're cleaning him though. Earlier today I watched him buck quite a bit, actually. Is this just because they get a little rough? (I know from experience that sometimes they do pick a little hard) He won't (intentionally) hurt them if he's going over to their "station" to be cleaned will he? Thanks! TJ the Novice :) <<Hi TJ, Craig answering your question. I wouldn't worry about this at all. If the Tang doesn't like it he won't go to the station or stay long. This is fairly common behavior for fish and cleaners. Kinda like a really good scratch. My Sailfin Blenny took one of my cleaners for a ride in response to something like this. Just imagine if they were like dogs and had rear leg scratching spasms....Enjoy the show! Craig>>

Lysmata amboinensis Hi there! Hope you all are well! Quick question... well, ok maybe a couple of questions... but I promise they're quick! :) #1 - I purchased some cleaner shrimp (L. amboinensis) yesterday (2 of the little critters) & have noticed that on one of the shrimp both of those legs they have in front of their little pincher claws are white and on the other only one of the legs is white, and the other one is clear. Does this mean anything re sex of the critter or is it just something that's eventually going to turn white like the other leg? <hmmm... interesting. I honestly don't know the answer to that question but I will look into it! My educated guess is that is has nothing to do with dimorphism> #2 - I have a yellow tail blue damsel who's a little feisty. He's in quarantine right now (the whole ich escapade) so I'm assuming upon return to the main tank he'll have "forgotten" where his "house" used to be... so maybe he won't be so territorial at first?  <hahahhahahhaa.... that's a good one. My turn... , "I just flew in from Pittsburgh and boy are my arms tired!" Ba-dum-bum. OK... your turn again...> What I'm really getting at here is... is he going to mess with these shrimp in an adverse way?  <seriously... if he messed with them before, he'll do it again. As sure as a bear brings a Reader's Digest into the woods> (he's been in the main tank for 4 years prior to his removal to QT) Thanks a lot for the input guys! TJ <my pleasure... take care, my friend. Anthony>

Peppermint Shrimp Dear Mr. Fenner (or WetWebMedia crew), Let me start off by giving praise to "The Conscientious Marine Aquarist", it is the best book ever written. I would also like to thank you for this wonderful website and your feedback to our questions! I know your time is extremely valuable and that you read a BULK of e-mails. I will try and keep this short. I have a question regarding Peppermint Shrimp (Lysmata wurdemanni). Do they clean parasites off of fish like the common cleaner shrimp? <I have seen them clean Moray Eels before.> I know they are known for going after Aiptasia. <Yes, their claim to fame.> The reason I ask is because my Clarkii (Amphiprion clarkii) keeps swimming over to a pair of Peppermint Shrimp I have in the tank. The Clarkii doesn't appear to have any ich (white dots) on his body. <Come on, scratch my back! Please!> If the Peppermint doesn't clean parasites, can I add common cleaner shrimp with the peppermint shrimp? <Depends on tank size and individual's disposition.> I have a 30 gallon setup with 10 gallon sump. <I would put your odds at 50/50. I have seen Peppermint's with Cleaner's, but I have also heard of several instances where one killed the other.> Light bio-load, only the clown fish, a green carpet anemone, two Peppermint Shrimp, and a couple turbo snails. If I can add the common cleaner shrimp, is there an easy way to identify the Indo-Pacific White-Striped Cleaner (Lysmata amboinensis) from the Atlantic White-Striped Cleaner (Lysmata grabhami)? <Yes, the Pacific amboinensis has more dots on its tail. Baensch's Marine Atlas, volume 1, has excellent back to back photos comparing the two.> One last question, if my Clarkii does develop ich, what is the best way to treat him? <Quarantine and daily water changes to start would be my preference.> Move to quarantine? <Yes> Lower salinity, temp? <An option> I read that copper shouldn't be used with anemone fish. <I have seen the same thing in Wilkerson's book.> I've had the Clarkii for over six months, he seems healthy, will the problem go away on its own if I don't intervene? <I am not sure there is a problem.> Is the Clarkii going over to the shrimp a bad sign, or is it just natural behavior? <It could be either.> Thanks for your time and patience, Jeremy <You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

Peppermint Shrimp I recently set up a reef aquarium. It's gone through a number of ups and downs, I asked you about fish lice in another correspondence. <Okay> Shortly after setting it up, I had the usual assortment of Aiptasia anemone. I rid my aquarium of many of them with the solution of Calcium Hydroxide. However, there were a number of smaller ones and several that were difficult to get to. After reading a number of articles on the problem, including yours, I decided to try biological control and purchased half a dozen peppermint shrimp. Also from reading the article, I was aware of the left coast imposters. I am quite certain that these were the wurdemanni species. Appearances are that they did their job rather well. I haven't seen one in months. But, however, ... Peppermint shrimp appear not to be particularly finicky eaters. It shouldn't take a real leap of faith to believe that the similarities between one polyp and another might lead to some problems. Some of my first purchases were yellow polyps, green star polyps, Zoanthus, and a carpet anemone. <Yes> I had seen them acting suspiciously around the yellow polyps, green star polyps, and Zoanthus, but never caught them red handed (pun only slightly intended). However, upon introducing the carpet, they began to show a rather intense interest in it. I also noticed that the anemone was reacting rather severely to their proximity. I got a closer look and they were picking at individual tentacles. The next morning, there were a couple of circular patches about 6mm in diameter that were tentacle free toward the edges of the carpet. The next night, there were a few more such patches. I withheld food from the system after the first night and decided to trap the shrimp. Further, they began to show increased interest in the other polyps and I began to see some damage on them. The shrimp are now out of the system, having learned a lesson in the law of unintended consequences. One of the other Aiptasia eating critters is the Berghia nudibranch. I had chosen the Peppermints because the Berghia are somewhat pricey, due to their small size, they are somewhat less than aesthetically pleasing and once they eliminate Aiptasia, they die off. As it turns out, the quantity of Peppermints was similarly priced to a pair of Berghia, the appearance of the bald spots on my carpet (the one in the aquarium, not the one by the tank I wore on the floor biting my fingernails as I watch my carpet take a beating,, and not many folks seem to want to take back peppermints due to quarantine, etc., so they are likely to meet their demise. In conclusion, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that these were indeed Lysmata wurdemanni and that they were consuming my carpet anemone. Although I have no direct evidence that they do eat Aiptasia, the anecdotal evidence supports that conclusion. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that they were eating my carpet anemone, I saw them on several occasions picking violently at the polyps, distorting the shape of the anemone considerably in the process. <They do, will eat anemones> I would suggest to anyone who still desires to put wurdemanni in a reef tank keep a wary eye on them and that they ensure that the system is overfed. Renaming the species to Lysmata alquaidaii might not be a bad idea, either, they were little terrorists in my tank. :) <Agreed> Thanks for your pages, by the way. With the exception of information on Argulus, your pages seem to be absolutely the best sources of information on the web. <Okay> Best regards, Dale Chatham <Bob Fenner>

Website address change (Note: chg on Shrimp, Lysmata pgs) Hello, Your link to my webpage, "How To Raise & Train Your Peppermint Shrimp" (listed under Business--Publications) has an old URL. The new address is www.lysmatapublishing.com. The old address redirects you to the new URL for now, but it will soon be a "broken link". Thanks for your time, A. Kirkendoll <Thank you for the update. Will change. Bob Fenner>

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

Candy-Stripe Cleaner Shrimp Will my candy stripe cleaner shrimp be able to handle lower SG, say 1.018? <tolerable if acclimated to very slowly...no lower please> Also - I have a purple tang that every now and again gets "cloudy" in the side fins, almost looks like ick, but I am not sure, I always thought ICK was more like a grain of salt?  <correct... the turbidity could be mucous secreted from irritation by a parasite or other pest> They'll be there one day, and gone the next.. just stress?  <something more> Tank "credentials" are all good, and I rarely see him get aggressive with other fish or vice versa... Thanks & have a happy Easter (if you celebrate!) ~bill <yes... thank you kindly. A blessed day to you and yours as well. Anthony>

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

Breeding Lysmata [Cleaner Shrimp] Dear Bob, <<not Bob, but JasonC - Bob is away diving>> I have several pairs of Lysmata debelius shrimps. I have been trying to get them to mate for a couple of months. they constantly molt and are old enough to mate (3.5-4cm length). conditions are constant.. temp at 27 degrees Celsius, salinity at 34-35ppt. they feed an grow and have shown no major signs of being stressed. however they have not been producing any eggs, which they would carry under their tail. I have added a filter of 1000 micron to the water flowing through my system to catch any larvae if they are produced and have not found anything. should I just be patient or is something not right? how influential is light to reproduction of these shrimps? at present they are under natural light, near a window. <<I'm afraid I don't have any experience with these. My quick guess would be that many of the shrimps need a more salt-marsh/lagoon/tidal pond-type environment to successfully breed. I would likewise guess that the light does have influence... is that the only light on the tank? If I were you, I would pose this same question on the WWM forum which is patrolled by many knowledgeable, friendly folk - and someone just might have done this. http://talk.wetwebfotos.com/ >> thanks, Avinash Singh <<Best of luck in this endeavor. Cheers, J -- >>

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

Peppermint Shrimp Anthony, I like your optimism. Thanks for the response about red algae.  <quite welcome... and its easy to be optimistic when one has faith> I have one question what exactly can you feed peppermint shrimp and how often? OK two questions. <my first choice would be beer nuts... but for your peppermint shrimp... I'm thinking a more omnivorous fare. Truth be told, they will need little or no food in a reef aquarium where fish/coral are fed. Only slightly more food in a FOWLR tank. Only in a "sterile" display would I consider 4-5 times weekly feedings with mixed frozen meaty foods (both meat and plant based). Dry Shrimp Pellets (ironic name, huh?) are an attractive low grade treat...just don't get too frisky with using them (nutrients). They will most likely bring the shrimp (starfish, crabs, etc) out on command for company to enjoy though. Twice weekly with a mixed frozen food like Formula 1/2 should be fine in a tank with live rock. Feed more if trying to breed them. Anthony> Thanks, David

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

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

Cleaner Shrimp and Queen Angel Bob, I have a dumb question. I need to combine two tanks for several weeks to do some work on the one. I have several cleaner shrimp in the one tank , and a 5 inch Queen angel, 3 green Chromis and a mated pair of Tomatoe clowns in the other. I could find no information on if the queen (boss of the show tank) will make a meal of the cleaner or not.  I have seen the angel eat a 2 inch brown colored worm off the live rock in a flash. <Mmm, hopefully not... there is some chance of this, of course... but there are Cleaner Shrimps (e.g. Stenopus hispidus) in the Caribbean... where this Angel species is found... and they are known to develop symbiotic relations with non-indigenous cleaners... You could always do the wholesaler technique of floating a colander, or placing the shrimp in a container with perforations... to keep water coming through, but keeping predators away. Bob Fenner> Thanks for your help.

Cleaner shrimp and Queen Angel Bob, This is not a question, but a follow-up to what I asked you last week. I put the cleaner shrimp in my show tank, and watched the reaction of the Queen Angel. Well to make a long story short, the angel went right up to the shrimp, head up and fins flapping. The shrimp jumped on him and proceeded to clean the inside of his mouth and gills. I was amazed at the symbiotic relationship. It is not uncommon for the shrimp to be on the angel six or seven times a day. There has been no parasite outbreak in my tank, so I wonder what the shrimp is finding if anything on the angel. <Necrotic tissue, bits of this and that...that are not discernible to you and I> I have also noticed a change in the Queen. Before the shrimp was added he would bully the other fish if they even got close to his favorite spot in the tank.. He has calmed down a lot and seems to tolerate them in his spot in the tank, unlike before. Thought you would be interested in the outcome. <Yes> Thanks again for all your help. <You are welcome my friend. Be chatting. Bob Fenner>

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