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Lysmata Amboinensis for a Parasite-Free Saltwater Aquarium


Employing natural forms of parasite control in a reef aquarium is a necessity and will many times prevent disease and parasites from becoming a problem and gaining foothold. The use of natural predators for parasites such as cleaner shrimp is a good idea. The commonly used medication for fish only aquariums contain copper which is deadly in very low concentrations to corals, invertebrates and microbial life and cannot be used in a coral reef bio-type aquarium. The safest method for controlling fish parasites in a reef aquarium may still be the utilization of natural forms of predation. The Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp acts like a medic of any saltwater aquarium. This active cleaner will set up shop on live rock or coral outcroppings and wait for fish to come and be cleaned of ectoparasites or dead tissue. Many fish love their service so much that they allow the Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp to clean inside of their mouths without harming the shrimp.

This shrimp is also known as the Red Skunk Cleaner Shrimp. It has distant pair of bright red stripes that outline the single white stripe running down its back. It is also known as Indo-Pacific White-banded Cleaner Shrimp. The Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp is found amongst live rock or coral and it requires similar habitats and peaceful tankmates in the home aquarium, too. Hawkfish and Lionfish or predatory shrimp or crabs are to be avoided as they may see this shrimp as food.

The Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp is intolerant to copper-based medications, high nitrate levels, and fluctuating water parameters. It requires the drip-acclimation process when first introduced to your system. Proper iodine supplementation is necessary to promote molting and growth. The shrimp should be supplemented with dried, frozen, and flake foods.

This Shrimp can reach a length of 5 – 6 cm. The vivid white and red colors are signals for conspecifics as well as for the fish to be cleaned. The Pacific Cleaner Shrimp will moult every 3-8 weeks, especially after spawning which may occur all 11-15 days in this tropical, non seasonal species. Individuals start as males but with age, androgen glands stop producing male inducing hormones and the specimens become females after some moults. The 200-500 greenish eggs are attached to the finlets and bred for 5-7 days. At dusk the 3-4mm long newly hatched larvae are set out at a place of the reef which is exposed to current. The larvae are planktonic and will metamorphose after 5-6 months when they are 2cm long.