Saltwater Shrimp for Aquaria

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Fire Shrimp

A Look at Shrimp:

Shrimp are personally my favorite member of a clean up crew. Not only are they fantastic at eating food your fish may have missed, they have beautiful colors, and are a joy to observe.


 Since saltwater shrimp are scavengers, they will greedily consume most anything you feed your aquarium (i.e. flakes or frozen shrimp). Additionally, shrimp are pleasing to watch when they eat. For example, my Cleaner Shrimps display an eye-catching behavior each time I feed my aquarium. When I drop the food of my choice into the tank, the shrimps will use their swimmerets to reach the surface of the water. Once they have arrived at their destination, they will “walk” under the water while upside-down to collect their food. If you look at your specimen when it performs this act, you will see its little legs popping in and out of the water.

Commonly Seen Shrimp

There are numerous kinds of saltwater shrimp, but there are three that I believe to be most common and available in the hobby. As always, be sure to do your research and make sure the current species in your tank will not make a snack out of these delightful little creatures. A few fish to avoid housing with your shrimp are as follows; Lionfish, Groupers, large Dottybacks (Pseudochromis), Triggerfish, Harlequin Tusks, Squirrelfish, Anglers etc. Also, I would like to note that saltwater shrimp generally don’t respond well to poor water parameters, so remember to test your water to be sure that it is acceptable.

Cleaner Shrimp: These specimens are a favorite of many hobbyists. They are translucent with two red stripes, and a white one in between the red. Furthermore, they carry six pearly white antennae. This lovely invertebrate will generally cost you approximately twenty to thirty dollars, and I believe it is a great specimen for captivity. You may also see this shrimp being called “Skunk Cleaner Shrimp”

Fire Shrimp: In my opinion, the Fire Shrimp is the most beautiful, stunning shrimp you will ever lay your eyes upon. It is covered in a vivid red with clean white dots on its back and swimmerets. While this particular invertebrate is beautiful, it does come with a downside. Fire Shrimp are nocturnal, which means that they will not be seen as much as other shrimp like the Cleaner. This shrimp will almost always be the most expensive of the four I selected, generally priced at $35.00 +.

My Fire Shrimp, underneath his rock.

Peppermint Shrimp: This is a great shrimp to have in an aquarium. They generally aren’t pricey, and they still perform their duty of cleaning up your aquarium. I have read before that this shrimp actually is a cooler water species, however, mine has been in my tropical tank since August of this year, and is still thriving.

As you may know, it is certain shrimps’ duty to clean a fish. They will do so by picking tissue and parasites off of the fish at “cleaning stations”. It is certainly a fun activity to observe, and some shrimp will even clean your hand! However, I will warn you that this may not be the activity for everybody, as they sometimes give a “pinch”, that is hurts more than others.

To conclude, saltwater shrimp are a fantastic addition to the appropriately sized aquarium.

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