These very brightly colored animals are much appreciated by hobbyists for the theatrical flourish they add to a tank. They are relatively easy to keep if the water quality is good and the aquarium is equipped with hiding places. New species regularly crop up on the market. Stenopus hispidus

This is one the most common shrimps in the aquarium trade. In their natural habitat (several tropical seas), the barber shrimps live in couples and serve as cleaners, especially for angelfish (Pomacanthids). They abandon this role, totally or partially, in an aquarium if they are well fed. Like many shrimps, they pick up the food rejected or ignored by fish. The male searches for food and gives it to the female.

It is best to keep a couple in a tank and provide them with hiding places, where they will take refuge by day, as they are most active in the dark. In good conditions, this shrimp molts several times in a year, particularly if it is well fed. Size: 7-8 cm. Lysmata amboinensis (formerly L. grabhami)

This very sociable cleaner shrimp tolerates the presence of other shrimps and can also live in groups. It cleans the skin of certain fish with its antennae, which also detect the presence of the specimen to be "cleaned." Apart from the usual food, you can also try providing filamentous algae for this shrimp, as it searches for microorganisms in them. Size: 7-8 cm.

Lysmata amboinensis

Lysmata debelius

This is a timid species that lives in couples and prefers temperate waters to tropical ones. The red shrimp is still rarely found on the market, like other species of the same genus, such as Lysmata wurdemanni. The latter resembles the L. seticaudata, which is native to the Mediterranean and also to tropical regions, and is very popular in Europe. Size: 7-8 cm.

Lysmata debelius


Some small species can occasionally be found in the aquarium trade. In captivity, it is best to keep a single specimen, which can be fed on nauplii of brine shrimps or very fine slithers of mussels. Species of the Neopetrolisthes genus (porcelain crabs) live in symbiosis with anemones (for example, Stichodactyla gigantea) and feed on small particles using a pair of claws equipped with tiny fringes. Size: 4-5 cm.

Hermit crabs (or pagurids)

These are sometimes considered the garbage collectors of the aquarium as they eat a wide range of detritus. It is not advisable to introduce them into a tank with other invertebrates (except, perhaps, the smaller species), although there is little risk in an aquarium inhabited by fish, as they can withdraw into their shell. The names of the species found on the market are often not known. Size: 4-6 cm.

• Neopetrolisthes sp. cannot live without an anemone, such as one from the Stichodactyla genus.

Other crustaceans

Odontodactylus scyllarus

The aggressive mantis shrimp spends much of its time prowling and swimming in search of food, but, even though it can bury itself in sand, it also needs a hiding place. In the light of its behavior and feeding habits (small crustaceans and fish), the mantis shrimp must not be kept in an invertebrate aquarium. Its size and agility make it suitable for cohabitation with certain fish. Size: 10-15 cm. Enoplometopus occidentalis

Contrary to what may be inferred from its common name of lobster crab, this decapod, closely related to the langoustine, is not aggressive. By day it remains hidden in a shelter, coming out at night to feed on the bed of the aquarium (leftover fish food, especially mussels, and sometimes filamentous algae). This is a crustacean worthy of a place in an invertebrate tank. Size: 10-15 cm.


hese invertebrates are the hardest to find in the aquarium trade, although they are fairly resistant and survive well in a tank.

Sea urchins

These crawl over the decor to graze on the algae which form their diet. Be careful, because they are highly prized by Balistids, puffers, and some Labrids, which have teeth strong enough to break the internal calcareous skeleton of sea urchins, and do not seem to be put off by their stings. The names of the extremely few species available are not known with any precision. Size: 10 cm.

Eucidaris tribuloides, native to the Caribbean.

• Linckia laevigata, a microphage starfish that can cohabit with other invertebrates.


These survive well in an aquarium. Worthy of note among the carnivores are the Protoreaster and Oreaster genera, which feed on other invertebrates, especially the bivalve mollusks. They must not be kept in a tank with other invertebrates. Feed them with raw or cooked mussels. Other genera, such as the Echinaster, Linckia, and Fromia, are microphages and feed on the assorted debris found on the aquarium bed. They are preferable to the carnivorous starfish in an aquarium. The ophiuroids are attractive echinoderms in a marine invertebrate tank; they can be accidentally introduced with live rocks. Size: 10-15 cm.

Aquarium Guide

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment