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Lysmata debelius


 


 
Lysmata debelius (scarlet cleaner shrimp) 

With plenty of cover and conscientious feeding, cleaner shrimp can be kept more than one to a tank; though all shrimps identified as cleaners will consume one another to a degree, given a lack of alternate food or cover. Of the five species in three families of cleaner shrimp most often available to aquarists (there are others) (Periclimenes, Lysmata, and a Stenopus; all with long white antennae); the only ones I’d personally try in more than a "pair" (best as a male and female) are L. amboinensis and L. grabhami in a 75 gallon system.

In my opinion, the small Periclimenes are best left in the sea due to their strong association with hard-to-keep anemones. Should you not be dissuaded, do study up and arrange a biotopic presentation with these shrimp... along with their symbiont anemones.

Should you have big bucks and the stomach for your livestock possibly consuming each other, Lysmata shrimps can be crowded together. The scarlet shrimps, L. amboinensis from the Indo-Pacific and L. grabhami from the Caribbean, and the blood shrimp, L. debelius, are often jammed together en masse at wholesalers. The former two are hardier and less expensive.

Of the boxer shrimps, the Coral Banded Stenopus hispidus is a standard in the trade/hobby; but quite territorial. In a tank of your size, any other than a matched pair will seek out others for snacking. These are best purchased as a "mated pair", ideally being housed together as such at your dealers. Ditto for other boxer shrimp species.

Know also that these shrimp may "sample" your live corals as well as each other, that they cannot live on just what they "clean" from their fishy tank-mates, and that they won’t necessarily clean anybody (they’re picky about being "picky").

BTW, for coldwater marine aquarists, there is occasionally offered a sixth cleaner species hailing from California (Lysmata (Hippolysmata) californica); often photographed in association with our endemic moray eel (Gymnothorax mordax).

All Cleaner Shrimp species prefer subdued lighting, plenty of rocky cover, nooks and crannies, molt every 3-8 weeks normally, consume most all foods in addition to cleaning, and are sensitive to fast changes in water chemistry, particularly salinity...  New synthetic water should be pre-made, stored for a week and matched to their systems specific gravity. 

Family Hippolytidae, Cleaner Shrimp

Lysmata amboinensis (De Man 1888), the Indo-Pacific White-Striped Cleaner Shrimp or Ambon Shrimp. Can be kept singly or in groups. A hardy Cleaner. Need hiding places to avoid predators during molting periods. Conds: temp. 20-27 C.

Lysmata californica (Stimpson 1866), the Catalina Cleaner Shrimp. Found along the lower coast of the western USA. Found in small to  large groups. Best kept this way. To about two inches in length.  A temperate species (10-20C.)

Lysmata debelius Bruce 1983, the Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp, Blood Shrimp. Found in the Indo-Pacific; Maldives, Japan to the Society Islands. Best kept in pairs. Peaceful toward most all aquarium species. Accept all types of foods. Aquarium image.

Lysmata grabhami (Gordon 1935), the Atlantic White-Striped Cleaner Shrimp. Tropical East and West Atlantic coasts. Generally gets along with all fishes and other crustaceans. Best kept in pairs or small groups (no sexual distinguishing marks externally). A hardy Cleaner species that accepts most all foods. Conds: temp. 18-28 C.

Lysmata wurdemanni (Gibbes 1850), Peppermint Shrimp, Caribbean Cleaner Shrimp. Tropical West Atlantic. Lives singly or in groups. Gets along with all aquarium species. Commercially produced. A reclusive, sometimes misidentified species (there are other shrimp from the area that are similar) used in the fight to limit Aiptasia Anemones in aquariums.

Saron marmoratus (Olivier 1811), Marble or Saron Shrimp. Found throughout the tropical Indo-Pacific. Usually collected out of Hawai'i for the U.S., the Red Sea for European markets. Usually found in pairs in the wild. Will fight to the death if same sex individuals are placed together. Males with much longer first pair of walking/fighting legs.  Get along fine with fishes, other crustaceans. Female shown. Eat all types of food, reclusive, nocturnal. 

Thor amboinensis (de Man 1888), the Squat Anemone or Sexy Shrimp (in reference to its usually-raised tail). 1/4-3/4" long. Common in the tropical West Atlantic. Found in association with Giant, Sun, Elegant Anemones. Here is one in a Condylactis gigantea in Cozumel, Mexico. 

Common name: Pacific white-striped cleaner shrimp. One of the most common shrimps found in marine aquariums. Will reach a maximum (body) length of approximately 5 cm. These shrimps can be kept in small groups and will get along with most other aquarium residents. Care should be taken not to include invertebrate eating fish in such a tank (like Pterois volitans). Perfect addition to any reef aquarium which should include enough hiding places. Likes to clean a large number of other fish including morays - an action seen in the aquarium, too. Will accept a variety of frozen and dry foods. Questionable for marine fish - only tanks unless extensive rocky formations are present.

Photos: G.Reclos / MCH, Text from Wetwebmedia with permission.

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