Cleaner Shrimp: All You Need to Know for a Thriving Aquarium

Cleaner shrimp are fascinating creatures commonly found in the ocean’s coral reefs. Known as the “dentists of the sea,” these tiny invertebrates play a significant role in maintaining a healthy reef ecosystem. By dining on parasites, dead skin, and leftover food bits stuck in the mouths of fish, cleaner shrimp provide essential cleaning services to their larger aquatic neighbors.

The spotted cleaner shrimp is one example of this remarkable group of organisms. They willingly enter the mouths of potential predators, like fish, without fear, thanks to their reputation for being excellent cleaners. Fish often line up and wait their turn to have their mouths cleaned, creating a mutualistic relationship that benefits both parties.

These shrimp species come in different sizes and colors, making them a highly diverse group. But one thing they all share is their uncanny ability to form partnerships with fish. This fascinating behavior not only showcases the shrimp’s unique role in nature but also sheds light on the complex relationships that exist in the underwater world.

Diverse Cleaner Shrimp Species

Skunk Cleaner Shrimp

The Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, also known as the Spotted Cleaner Shrimp, plays a vital role in maintaining the health of reef-dwelling fish. They specialize in:

  • Eating parasites
  • Removing dead skin
  • Cleaning food bits from fish mouths

Fish willingly approach these shrimp, despite the risk of predation, due to their excellent cleaning services.

Fire Shrimp

The Fire Shrimp, or Blood Shrimp, is a visually striking species characterized by:

  • Vibrant red coloration
  • White spots and whiskers
  • Ability to clean fish

In comparison to the Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, Fire Shrimp tend to be more reclusive and can be sensitive to water quality.

Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp

The Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp is another attractive species. They are recognized by:

  • Red and white striped color pattern
  • Cleaning behavior similar to Skunk Cleaner Shrimp
  • Social nature, often found in pairs or groups

These shrimp get along well with other reef inhabitants and can coexist with various fish and coral species.

Coral Banded Shrimp

Coral Banded Shrimp stand out due to their:

  • Red and white banded legs and antennae
  • Pincers for defense and catching prey
  • Less focus on cleaning, more on scavenging

Unlike their cleaner shrimp counterparts, Coral Banded Shrimp can be more territorial and aggressive towards other shrimp species.

FeatureSkunk Cleaner ShrimpFire ShrimpScarlet Skunk Cleaner ShrimpCoral Banded Shrimp
BehaviorCleaningCleaning, ReclusiveCleaning, SocialScavenging, Territorial
ColorationSpotted, WhiteVibrant Red, White SpotsRed, White StripesRed, White Bands
Compatibility with OthersHighMediumHighLow

Physical Features and Behavior

Size and Appearance

The cleaner shrimp is a small, colorful invertebrate with a distinct look. They typically grow to a length of around 2 inches. Known for their bright colors and markings, these shrimp have a unique appearance that includes:

  • A vibrant red or orange body
  • Numerous white spots scattered across their exoskeleton
  • Thin, striped legs

Antennae and White Bands

One notable feature of cleaner shrimp is their long, white-banded antennae. They have two pairs of antennae:

  • One long pair, responsible for touch and taste
  • One short pair, used for smell

The white bands on the long pair of antennae help them be easily recognized by fish seeking cleaning services, signaling their role as a cleaner shrimp.

Peaceful Nature and Compatibility

Cleaner shrimp are known for their peaceful and non-aggressive behavior. They have a unique relationship with many fish species as they provide cleaning services by eating parasites, dead skin, and leftover food from the fish’s mouths. Their compatibility with a variety of tank mates makes them a popular choice in the aquarium hobby. Here are some of the most popular cleaner shrimps for a saltwater aquarium.

Some key aspects of their peaceful nature include:

  • Forming symbiotic relationships with fish
  • Helping maintain a healthy aquatic environment
  • Non-aggressive behavior towards other tank inhabitants

In conclusion, cleaner shrimp are small, colorful invertebrates with distinct physical features and a peaceful nature. Their compatibility with various tank mates and their role in maintaining a clean environment make them a fascinating addition to any aquarium.

Role in Reef Tank Ecosystems

Cleaning Stations

Spotted cleaner shrimp are essential in reef tank ecosystems, as they offer cleaning stations that provide benefits to various organisms. At these stations, the cleaner shrimp remove parasites, dead skin, and food particles from fish, ensuring their health and hygiene.

  • Examples: Cleaner shrimp cleaning mouths and gills of fish.
  • Comparison: Cleaner shrimp vs. cleaner wrasse – both offer cleaning services, but shrimp are less likely to harm fish.

Mutualistic Relationship with Fish

Cleaner shrimp establish a mutualistic relationship with fish in reef tanks. Fish willingly approach and cooperate with the shrimp, often lining up for a cleaning session. This interaction allows shrimp to obtain food resources while simultaneously offering essential cleaning services for fish.

  • Examples: Shrimp cleaning clownfish, tangs, and other reef inhabitants.

Influence on Coral and Invertebrates

In addition to benefiting fish, cleaner shrimp also contribute positively to the overall health of coral and other invertebrates in reef tank environments. Their presence helps maintain a cleaner environment for these sensitive organisms.

  • Pros: Cleaner shrimp can help reduce the growth of algae on coral, contributing to a balanced ecosystem.
  • Cons: Overpopulation of cleaner shrimp may lead to competition for resources with other reef tank inhabitants.
FeatureCleaner ShrimpCleaner Wrasse
Cleaning Services
Impact on Coral and InvertebratesPositiveVariable
Cooperation with FishExcellentGood

These qualities make cleaner shrimp an essential component of healthy reef tank ecosystems. So, incorporating them into your tank can ensure the well-being of fish, coral, and invertebrates, creating a harmonious and balanced environment.

Diet and Nutrition

Natural Food Sources

Cleaner shrimp, such as the spotted cleaner shrimp, are known as the “dentists of the reef.” Their natural diet consists of:

  • Parasites: They help remove parasites from fish, keeping the fish healthy.
  • Dead skin: Cleaner shrimp consume dead skin, which assists in keeping fish clean and prevents infection.
  • Food bits: They remove leftover food particles stuck in fish mouths, promoting better oral hygiene.

Feeding in Home Aquariums

In a home aquarium setting, cleaner shrimp require a variety of foods to maintain proper nutrition:

  • Frozen shrimp: Offer them a diet that mimics their natural food sources like frozen shrimp, which provide essential nutrients.
  • Flake or pellet food: This helps ensure that they receive a well-rounded diet.
  • Reef safe: Make sure that the food you give them is reef safe, meaning that it doesn’t harm coral or other tank inhabitants.

Supplemental Nutrition

Aside from their primary diet, cleaner shrimp can benefit from supplemental nutrition:

  • Vitamin supplements: Specially formulated shrimp supplements help maintain good overall health.
  • Iodine supplements: These are necessary for proper molting and growth.

To summarize the dietary needs of cleaner shrimp, an easy to understand table is provided below:

AspectCleaner Shrimp Details
Natural foodParasites, dead skin, food bits
Home aquarium dietFrozen shrimp, flake, pellet food
SupplementsVitamin, iodine supplements

Always ensure proper nutrition for cleaner shrimp, as it is vital for their health and the overall well-being of the fish in your aquarium.

Setting Up a Suitable Environment

Tank Size and Live Rock

  • Tank size: A minimum 10-gallon tank is required for cleaner shrimp.
  • Live rock: Incorporate live rock to provide hiding places and extra filtration.

Cleaner shrimp thrive in a saltwater home aquarium environment with enough space and surroundings like a natural reef. It’s essential to ensure they have adequate live rock to create a secure environment.

Water Parameters

  • Salinity: 1.023-1.025 specific gravity
  • pH: 8.1-8.4

Maintaining proper water parameters is critical for the health and longevity of cleaner shrimp. Ensure that the specific gravity and pH remain consistent within the recommended range.

Temperature and Specific Gravity

ParameterIdeal Range
Temperature72°F-78°F (22°C-26°C)
Specific Gravity1.023-1.025

The optimal temperature for cleaner shrimp matches that of a typical reef tank setup. Maintaining the right specific gravity helps promote better health and movement in the tank.

By following these guidelines, you’ll be on your way to creating an ideal habitat for your cleaner shrimp. They’ll reward you with their engaging behavior and their valuable role in a healthy marine ecosystem.

Caring for Cleaner Shrimp

Acclimation Process

When introducing cleaner shrimp to your aquarium, proper acclimation is crucial to ensure their well-being. Follow these guidelines:

  • Use the drip acclimation method over 1-2 hours.
  • Gradually increase water temperature, avoiding sudden changes.

Monitoring Health

Cleaner shrimp health can be maintained by observing their behavior and appearance:

  • Look for active cleaning behavior and molting.
  • Ensure their exoskeleton remains vibrant in color.

Tank Mates and Compatibility

Cleaner shrimp are compatible with various tank mates, but some are more ideal than others:

Ideal Tank Mates:

  • Peaceful fish such as clownfish and cardinalfish.
  • Other crustaceans like peppermint shrimp.

Less Ideal Tank Mates:

  • Aggressive or carnivorous fish, as they might eat the shrimp.
Tank MatesCompatibility
Clownfish, CardinalfishGood
Peppermint ShrimpGood
Aggressive, Carnivorous FishPoor

Remember to research compatibility with your specific fish species before introducing any new tank mates.

Common Issues and Solutions

Dealing with Parasites and Diseases

Cleaner shrimp can be vulnerable to parasites and diseases, especially when sharing an environment with infected fish or invertebrates. Quarantine any new tank mates for 2-4 weeks to minimize the risk of introducing infections. Cleaner shrimp also have a symbiotic relationship with fish, removing parasites, dead skin, and food debris from fish. The spotted cleaner shrimp is an example of one species known for their cleaning capabilities, which can help maintain a healthy environment.

Managing Water Quality

For cleaner shrimp to thrive, water quality is an important consideration as they are sensitive to changes in water parameters. It’s essential to maintain consistent levels of:

  • Nitrates: less than 20 ppm
  • Copper: 0 ppm
  • Salinity: 1.023-1.025 specific gravity

Perform regular water tests and changes to keep conditions in optimal ranges.

Addressing Aggression

Cleaner shrimp are generally peaceful but may exhibit aggressive behaviors in some instances, like when competing for resources or territory. Provide them with plenty of hiding spaces, such as sea anemones, within your aquarium to reduce aggression among shrimp and other tank mates.

Cleaner Shrimp Characteristics

  • Lifespan: 2-4 years
  • Species: Stenopus
  • Reproduction: Hermaphrodite
FeatureCleaner ShrimpOther Shrimp
Susceptibility to parasites and diseasesModerateVaries
Aggression levelGenerally peacefulVaries
Mucus production levelLow to moderateVaries
Compatibility with sea anemonesHighly compatibleVaries

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Freshwater Amphipod

an aquatic lawn shrimp?
Wed, May 6, 2009 at 3:11 PM
hi, i have found these swimmers in a stray cat’s drinking bowl that someone has set up in the woods, not far from a busy road. ill take it as the bowl is never dumped out if these lived in them. fortunately i had a big ziploc bag and collected the specimen, and was kind enough to wash their bowl and poured bottled water in it, and was greeted by two grateful beautiful longhaired cats. i was able to collect 11 of them but some died in transit, i placed the little guys in my fishtank and its been a few hours and theyre still okay. i took pictures and a couple videos with my fujifilm camera aided with a 10x triplet magnifier with the intent to send in the photos here, i am actually surprised that on the frontpage was a photo of dead lawn shrimps and they looked very similar to what i have found, except i found my little guys a live and swimming in a kitty bowl.
dogafin
pensacola, fl

Freshwater Shrimp
Freshwater Shrimp

Dear dogafin,
Your observation that your specimens resembled the Lawn Shrimp was quite astute. We are certain that your specimens are also Crustaceans, quite possibly Freshwater Shrimp in the genus Gammarus. Gammarus and Lawn Shrimp are both in the order Amphipoda. We located a fishing website that has information on Gammarus which are also known as Scuds. The The Backyard Arthropod Project A Field Guide to the North Side of Old Mill Hill, Atlantic Mine, MI also has some good information. We might be way off base here with the genus ID because the location was so odd. We can only guess that at one point the cat bowl was filled with water from a pond inhabited by the Crustaceans. We gladly welcome a professional identification on this somewhat odd sighting.

Freshwater Shrimp

Fri, May 8, 2009 at 6:34 AM
Dear WTB,
I’ve worked on benthos of the Great Lakes and inland lakes in Michigan for close to ten years now and have seen a few amphipods in that time. From these pictures its difficult to say much more than an amphipod. If there’s a pond or lake near by its possible that these could, at the very least, be in the family gammaridae but the could also be Hyallela. The way to determine this is to see if there are accessory flagella (small segmented appendage) on the 4th segment of the first (top pair) of antennae. If there’s no flagellum its Hyallela; if there is a flagellum its more likely to be Gammarus or at least in the family gammaridae.
carterg,
Ann Arbor, MI

Letter 2 – Mantis Shrimp

Help ID this creature please
Hi Mr. Bug Man,
We were out baoting on the Halifax River in Central Fl (brachish water very near the shore) (its actually more salt than freshwater) and found this prehistoric looking bug that looks like a cross between a crawfish and a lobster with no pinchers. It had a long body with the legs of a centipede. Its head is arrowhead shaped with the eyes and short antennaes like a shrimp. Its body measures about 4 inches long anf the tail is more rounded. There are also five pointy stinger like appendages that are on the tip of his tail and there are also one on each back leg (2). It also curls up like a roly-poly. Below are some pictures for you to review. Please get back to us as soon as you can.

This looks to us like a Mantis Shrimp. It is neither mantis nor shrimp, but a Crustacean in the order Stomatopoda. You can read about them on Wikipedia.

Letter 3 – Shield Shrimp from Australia

Subject: Strange bug found near dam
Location: Southern NSW, Australia
September 12, 2013 2:40 am
Hi from Down Under,
My husband was planting bushes with some colleagues near a dam in Southern NSW when they saw this very strange bug. He said that it is approximately 7 centimetres long and as you can see from the photos has a type of helmet shell on it’s back.
Signature: Regina Knight

Shield Shrimp
Shield Shrimp

Hi Regina,
This primitive crustacean in the genus
Triops is commonly called a Shield Shrimp in Australia, and in other parts of the world including North America it is called a Tadpole Shrimp.  The Project Triops Australiensis website is still active and has some local information for you, though incorrectly it seems to use family and genus names interchangeably. 

Shield Shrimp
Shield Shrimp

Letter 4 – Cleaner Shrimp

New Species???
Location:  Juno Beach, Florida
August 12, 2010 3:59 pm
Hi, I recently discovered what I think is a new species of brine shrimp. I found it in June and am now glad to have found this site. I found it in some seaweed at the beach. I saw you guys had a crustacean section. I’m not sure exactly how professional you guys are but if this is indeed a new species and you are true professionals can you please help me classify it or something? Thank you.
Roman

Gleaner Shrimp

Hi Roman,
We consider ourselves to be professionals and we conduct ourselves in a professional manner, but we do not have a degree in entomology, nor in any of the natural sciences for that matter.  We are not experts in the identification of arthropods.  We do not recognize your shrimp and the photographs are not ideal for illustrating the morphology of the creature you have discovered.  Actual inspection of the specimen would be needed to determine if this is a species new to science.  We would suggest contacting your local natural history museum for assistance in the identification of your transparent shrimplike creature.  We will post your letter and image and perhaps one of our readers will recognize this fascinating looking marine invertebrate.

Karl supplies an answer
Hi Daniel and Roman:
I would definitely defer to an expert on such creatures but I think this may be a Cleaner Shrimp (Hippolytidae), possibly in the genus Tozeuma. Members of the genus go by a variety of names (arrow, toothpick, gorgonian, needle, sawblade and razorblade shrimp, for example), and they are more or less globally distributed. There are three identified species along the USA Atlantic coast; T. cornutum, T. carolinensis and T. serratum. They are typically attached to eel grass and similar marine plants, as well as gorgonians or coral, where their cryptic coloration and slender shape help them to hide. As Daniel suggested, you should probably seek out someone with real expertise, but I believe this is the right track. Regards. Karl

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Freshwater Amphipod

an aquatic lawn shrimp?
Wed, May 6, 2009 at 3:11 PM
hi, i have found these swimmers in a stray cat’s drinking bowl that someone has set up in the woods, not far from a busy road. ill take it as the bowl is never dumped out if these lived in them. fortunately i had a big ziploc bag and collected the specimen, and was kind enough to wash their bowl and poured bottled water in it, and was greeted by two grateful beautiful longhaired cats. i was able to collect 11 of them but some died in transit, i placed the little guys in my fishtank and its been a few hours and theyre still okay. i took pictures and a couple videos with my fujifilm camera aided with a 10x triplet magnifier with the intent to send in the photos here, i am actually surprised that on the frontpage was a photo of dead lawn shrimps and they looked very similar to what i have found, except i found my little guys a live and swimming in a kitty bowl.
dogafin
pensacola, fl

Freshwater Shrimp
Freshwater Shrimp

Dear dogafin,
Your observation that your specimens resembled the Lawn Shrimp was quite astute. We are certain that your specimens are also Crustaceans, quite possibly Freshwater Shrimp in the genus Gammarus. Gammarus and Lawn Shrimp are both in the order Amphipoda. We located a fishing website that has information on Gammarus which are also known as Scuds. The The Backyard Arthropod Project A Field Guide to the North Side of Old Mill Hill, Atlantic Mine, MI also has some good information. We might be way off base here with the genus ID because the location was so odd. We can only guess that at one point the cat bowl was filled with water from a pond inhabited by the Crustaceans. We gladly welcome a professional identification on this somewhat odd sighting.

Freshwater Shrimp

Fri, May 8, 2009 at 6:34 AM
Dear WTB,
I’ve worked on benthos of the Great Lakes and inland lakes in Michigan for close to ten years now and have seen a few amphipods in that time. From these pictures its difficult to say much more than an amphipod. If there’s a pond or lake near by its possible that these could, at the very least, be in the family gammaridae but the could also be Hyallela. The way to determine this is to see if there are accessory flagella (small segmented appendage) on the 4th segment of the first (top pair) of antennae. If there’s no flagellum its Hyallela; if there is a flagellum its more likely to be Gammarus or at least in the family gammaridae.
carterg,
Ann Arbor, MI

Letter 2 – Mantis Shrimp

Help ID this creature please
Hi Mr. Bug Man,
We were out baoting on the Halifax River in Central Fl (brachish water very near the shore) (its actually more salt than freshwater) and found this prehistoric looking bug that looks like a cross between a crawfish and a lobster with no pinchers. It had a long body with the legs of a centipede. Its head is arrowhead shaped with the eyes and short antennaes like a shrimp. Its body measures about 4 inches long anf the tail is more rounded. There are also five pointy stinger like appendages that are on the tip of his tail and there are also one on each back leg (2). It also curls up like a roly-poly. Below are some pictures for you to review. Please get back to us as soon as you can.

This looks to us like a Mantis Shrimp. It is neither mantis nor shrimp, but a Crustacean in the order Stomatopoda. You can read about them on Wikipedia.

Letter 3 – Shield Shrimp from Australia

Subject: Strange bug found near dam
Location: Southern NSW, Australia
September 12, 2013 2:40 am
Hi from Down Under,
My husband was planting bushes with some colleagues near a dam in Southern NSW when they saw this very strange bug. He said that it is approximately 7 centimetres long and as you can see from the photos has a type of helmet shell on it’s back.
Signature: Regina Knight

Shield Shrimp
Shield Shrimp

Hi Regina,
This primitive crustacean in the genus
Triops is commonly called a Shield Shrimp in Australia, and in other parts of the world including North America it is called a Tadpole Shrimp.  The Project Triops Australiensis website is still active and has some local information for you, though incorrectly it seems to use family and genus names interchangeably. 

Shield Shrimp
Shield Shrimp

Letter 4 – Cleaner Shrimp

New Species???
Location:  Juno Beach, Florida
August 12, 2010 3:59 pm
Hi, I recently discovered what I think is a new species of brine shrimp. I found it in June and am now glad to have found this site. I found it in some seaweed at the beach. I saw you guys had a crustacean section. I’m not sure exactly how professional you guys are but if this is indeed a new species and you are true professionals can you please help me classify it or something? Thank you.
Roman

Gleaner Shrimp

Hi Roman,
We consider ourselves to be professionals and we conduct ourselves in a professional manner, but we do not have a degree in entomology, nor in any of the natural sciences for that matter.  We are not experts in the identification of arthropods.  We do not recognize your shrimp and the photographs are not ideal for illustrating the morphology of the creature you have discovered.  Actual inspection of the specimen would be needed to determine if this is a species new to science.  We would suggest contacting your local natural history museum for assistance in the identification of your transparent shrimplike creature.  We will post your letter and image and perhaps one of our readers will recognize this fascinating looking marine invertebrate.

Karl supplies an answer
Hi Daniel and Roman:
I would definitely defer to an expert on such creatures but I think this may be a Cleaner Shrimp (Hippolytidae), possibly in the genus Tozeuma. Members of the genus go by a variety of names (arrow, toothpick, gorgonian, needle, sawblade and razorblade shrimp, for example), and they are more or less globally distributed. There are three identified species along the USA Atlantic coast; T. cornutum, T. carolinensis and T. serratum. They are typically attached to eel grass and similar marine plants, as well as gorgonians or coral, where their cryptic coloration and slender shape help them to hide. As Daniel suggested, you should probably seek out someone with real expertise, but I believe this is the right track. Regards. Karl

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Aquatic Mystery Creature from Fiji might be Mantis Shrimp

fiji rock bug
February 6, 2010
1.aprox 1inch long.
2.tranparent green color.
3.eyes at tip of antennas that open like little mouths…
4.has a hard stinger that snaps at my hermit crabs.
5.seen it attack a hermit crab and pulled it into its rock.
Gisele Villeneuve
cornwall,ontario,canada

Mystery from Fiji or possibly Canada

Hi Gisele,
Despite your itemized description, your letter poses more questions than it answers.  Is this creature in Fiji or Canada?  Is this creature in the wild or in an aquarium?  Also, your photo doesn’t seem to provide much of a look at this mystery creature.  Is it in that hole?  If this is in an aquarium, did you collect the rock or buy the rock?  If you are worried about it attacking Hermit Crabs, why not just remove the rock?  If it is a purchased rock, can you get information from the supplier?

Additional Information
it is currently in cornwall,ontario,canada.
it is in the aquarium.
in picture 1 the bug is not in hole in picture 2 he is right at the hole the only thing you see of him are his antenna like eyes.
I baught the rock at a local pet store.
And i tried asking them for information but they did not know that is why i am asking you…I will and try to get more pics but he does not live the hole unless he is traveling to another hole in the rock in wich case he uses tunnels within the rock…

One of our Readers suggests perhaps a Mantis Shrimp
It sounds to me as if this is a piece of live rock you bought at a local pet store, that also included a live mantis shrimp. (deceptive name it isn’t actually a shrimp) They do feed on smaller aquarium species, and can either be treated as a pest or a freebie. If it continues to kill off your tank though, I would assume you would consider it to be a pest.
A link to wiki for more info… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mantis_shrimp
lttlechkn

Marine Aquarium Mystery Creature

Dear Gisele,
Thanks for sending additional photos.  These images do not look like a Mantis Shrimp, but rather, more like a Coelenterate and the shell looks like a snail.  You did not provide any additional information.  In our opinion, the mystery remains a mystery.

Marine Aquarium Mystery Creature

i know they dont they are something else i found in my tank and you said the shells look like snail how can that be if i have know snails in my tank.

Hi again Gisele,
The people most qualified to identify the creatures in your marine aquarium are the folks at your local pet store where the purchases were made.  Though we attempt identifications, marine invertebrates are a bit beyond the scope of our website.

Update: September 5, 2010
ID for the 2 marine creatures in “Other”
September 5, 2010 7:41 am
I tried to post a comment, but it didn’t show up. I’m unaware of how the comment system here works, or if they need to be approved before they’re posted, but anyways…
In case the message was lost, the 2nd little creature pictured looks to be a Staurocladia hydroid.
The 3rd looks like some sort of serpulid tube worm. I’ve come across the name of it before, but at the moment it escapes me and google searches are turning up dry.
Both creatures are harmless, the former eventually die out as the tank balances out the nutrient levels, and the latter should slowly reproduce, and colonize any shady area of the tank with good water flow.
Signature: Jacob

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

3 thoughts on “Cleaner Shrimp: All You Need to Know for a Thriving Aquarium”

  1. Dear WTB,
    I’ve worked on benthos of the Great Lakes and inland lakes in Michigan for close to ten years now and have seen a few amphipods in that time. From these pictures its difficult to say much more than an amphipod. If there’s a pond or lake near by its possible that these could, at the very least, be in the family gammaridae but the could also be Hyallela. The way to determine this is to see if there are accessory flagella (small segmented appendage) on the 4th segment of the first (top pair) of antennae. If there’s no flagellum its Hyallela; if there is a flagellum its more likely to be Gammarus or at least in the family gammaridae.

    carterg,
    Ann Arbor, MI

    Reply
  2. It sounds to me as if this is a piece of live rock you bought at a local pet store, that also included a live mantis shrimp. (deceptive name it isn’t actually a shrimp) They do feed on smaller aquarium species, and can either be treated as a pest or a freebie. If it continues to kill off your tank though, I would assume you would consider it to be a pest.
    A link to wiki for more info… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mantis_shrimp

    Reply

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