Saltwater shrimp make wonderful additions to fish and reef aquariums. There are many species and each has its own unique characteristics. Some have striking colors or unique patterns, a few eat nuisance pests, while others clean parasites off fish. Let us look at some popular shrimp that do well in a reef or peaceful fish aquariums.
If you plan on adding shrimps to your tank, you must take into account compatibility, as there are some fish species that will eat your shrimp or nib on them.
Blood Red Fire Shrimp
Fire shrimp have a striking deep red body with white dots, long white antennae, and white front legs.
This shrimp can grow to two inches in length and spends most of its time hanging upside down in a favorite spot in a cave or under a ledge. Fire shrimp can be kept alone, in pairs, or in a group, and can also be kept with other peaceful shrimp. This shrimp uses its long white antennae like a neon sign to attract fish that want to be cleaned. These cleaning shrimp will pick parasites and dead tissue from the scales and gills of tank mates.
Peppermint shrimp are hardy and stay small, only growing to two inches long. They can be red or a light pink with dark red stripes and bands on its body. Peppermint shrimp are peaceful and can be kept alone, in a group and with other peaceful shrimp. These shrimp are beneficial for live rock aquariums since they eat nuisance aiptasia or glass anemones.
These anemones are considered a pest since they multiply quickly and sting corals. There are several species sold under the trade name peppermint shrimp, but choose only shrimp collected from the Atlantic and Gulf coast region if you want them to eat aiptasia.
Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp
Scarlet skunk cleaner shrimp are easy to identify. They have two red stripes with a white stripe in the middle going down its back. It has long white antennae used to attract fish that need to be cleaned. Like the fire shrimp, they will clean off dead tissue and parasites that attach to saltwater fish. Scarlet skunk cleaner shrimp are peaceful, hardy and grow to two inches in length but adults appear much larger because of their long antennas. You can keep one or several together in your aquarium.
Banded Coral Shrimp
The banded coral shrimp’s attractive red and white striped pattern makes this shrimp a popular choice of many saltwater hobbyists. Banded coral shrimp often hide during the day and are active at night or when food is added to the aquarium. They make great scavengers, searching through rock and sand for uneaten meaty foods and other detritus. The banded coral shrimp is one of the larger aquarium shrimp with a body growing up to 3″ in length and antennae growing up to 3″ long.
These are just a few of the many shrimp available for saltwater aquariums. Spend a few minutes looking at pictures of these unusual creatures and see which ones catch your eye. Then do a little more research to make sure they will thrive with the livestock in your aquarium.