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Amusing Crustaceans

If you think the cleanup crew of a reef tank contains mostly skunk cleaner shrimps and blood shrimps in the category of crustaceans, here is something to give you a second thought. There are many enchanting and vivid little creatures that go disregarded even to the trained reefer. It is very important that a reef tank must provide habitat to some crustacean life to add another dimension of liveliness and turmoil on a micro scale. Rocks and coral are coming alive with the waving of long antennae and colorful glimpses of that mysterious shrimp perhaps. This article is all about some really neat shrimps to add a little zing to your reef tank.

Other than the omnipresent shrimps of the cleaning crew, you can consider the well-known and highly amusing commensal coral shrimps belonging to the genus Periclimenes. There are tons, of all sorts, and most are commensal creatures that survive on corals, anemones and a variety of echinoderms. The simplest and the most fascinating are those that live on corals and anemones. The first of three highlighted here is P. magnificus, a beautiful shrimp with metaphorical white markings on a transparent body.

P. magnificus, though mostly transparent, features striking markings on the body and head. Its antennal scale is huge and colored white with a hint of blue. Both eyes are white and joined by a band, giving it a shrouded manifestation. Like most other in its genus, P. magnificus spends much of its time sitting on the coral or anemone of its choice. They do sporadically offer cleaning services, and publicize by bopping and shaking their bodies in an amusing and flashy style.

The next equally colored species is P. venustus. P. venustus shares the same surface markings with many other species such as P. holthuisi. Like the rest, they live on corals, and in the wild are often connected with Euphyllia and various other large polyped stony corals. As with the rest, they do not move much and spend much of their lives perched on the favorite coral, waving and swaying around.

P. venustus may sometimes be called “clapping shrimps” for an atypical behavior that they intermittently display. Apart from the swaying and dancing behavior, these shrimps occasionally wave their claws in a clapping fashion. That is a view totally enchanting to see. Care for these shrimps is easy and they do not require specific feeding. They eat scraps and whatever fish food they can get their claws on.

Another gorgeous species to consider is P. pedersoni, which swanks a beautiful purple spotted stripe along its back.

Maybe the most familiar species is P. brevicarpalis. This species is slightly more tough in built and is more solemn in behavior. They do not dance, nor do they clap, but they are just as pretty. The tail margins are bedecked with orange spots aside from the normal white blotches. The genus Periclimenes may be large and confusing, but a few species such as these are highly suited for the coral tank. A little movement and commensalism on your corals can add a more natural feel and touch, without compromising much on cash. These shrimps are not overly expensive and are relatively easy to find.