Does your Saltwater Aquarium Need Cleaner Shrimp?

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cleaner shrimp in a saltwater aquarium

If you are looking into a saltwater aquarium, you may hear a lot about cleaner shrimp. Does your tank really need them?

The answer in many cases is yes, but you do need to do your research.

Cleaner shrimp are small crustaceans who clean not just the environment of your tank, but in some cases will even clean the other inhabitants, removing parasites. They are also brightly colored little guys who look good, if a little alien, in your aquarium.

For example, the scarlet skunk cleaner shrimp will actually set up shop in a corner of your tank and the fish will swim by when they need a good cleaning. In addition to removing parasites and cleaning any injuries, there’s evidence to suggest that fish enjoy being cleaned and it may reduce their stress levels. Meanwhile, the peppermint shrimp will chow down on detritus and other organic material, helping keep your tank clean.

For smaller tanks or lower fish populations, you may find that the cleaner shrimp annoy the resident fish by trying to beg to clean more often than necessary. In this case, you may find it necessary to feed the shrimp a supplemental diet of small bits of crustacean. You should also be aware of the fact that shrimps are hermaphroditic and any two can, and will, lay eggs and breed. Before introducing cleaner shrimp, make sure that none of the fish in your aquarium are the kind of predator that will eat cleaner shrimps. Most fish, but not all, will recognize cleaners as their friends and not bother them.

When choosing a species of cleaner shrimp for your saltwater aquarium, consider the size of the aquarium, whether you have coral, and what kind of fish are in the tank. You need to make sure that the cleaner shrimp are compatible. However, cleaner shrimps will help your fish stay healthy and many will also eat the organic detritus in the tank, which can save time when cleaning. For more information about cleaner shrimp and other ways to keep your fish healthy and happy, For more information check out Aqua Creations.

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