Sexy Anemone Shrimp

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Species group:

Other common names: Squat Shrimp, Sexy Shrimp

Scientific name: Thor amboinensis

The basics:
This eye-catching little shrimp has several unique qualities that endear it to invertebrate fans, not the least of which is its “carapace-swaying” mode of walking (which, of course, gives rise to its unique name!).The Sexy Anemone Shrimp is also small enough for Nano Aquariums, sociable, symbiotic with several anemones and has been bred more frequently than most other shrimps.

The huge range includes the Red and Caribbean Seas, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Indo-Pacific Region, where it is found on and near coral reefs. It most often lives within the tentacles of any of several anemone species, but may also form a symbiotic relationship with various corals. Biologists speculate that several distinct species may be described in the future.

Appearance / health:
The body is olive brown in color and attractively-marked with blue-outlined white spots. The Sexy Anemone Shrimp reaches 1.3 cm (0.5 in) in length.

The Sexy Anemone Shrimp, although quite hardy when provided proper care, is sensitive to ammonia, nitrates, copper-based medications, and changes in pH. Inadequate iodine levels, which inhibit molting, and predation by fishes are among the most common causes of death in the aquarium.

Behavior / temperament:
The Sexy Anemone Shrimp will take up residence in many anemone species and is also quite social, so many interesting observations await its owners. It is generally harmless to other marine animals, but may prey upon coral polyps if under-fed.

Sexy Anemone Shrimps do best in groups and when housed in established, well-filtered Nano or larger aquariums. Live anemones are their preferred retreats, but they will also utilize coral and rock caves. Anemones will, however, afford a degree of protection from other invertebrates and fishes, many of which regard “un-guarded” individuals as an easy meal.

The following water quality parameters should be maintained in order to assure long-term health: Temperature: 22.7-25.5 C (73-78 F); Specific Gravity (salinity):1.023-1.025; pH: 8.0-8.4; Alkalinity 8-12 dKH; Calcium: 420-440 ppm. Iodine, essential to the molting process, and other trace elements should be added as suggested by the product manufacturer.

In addition to scraps of food gleaned from their “home” anemones, Sexy Anemone Shrimps will consume nearly all marine aquarium flakes, pellets, and frozen foods.

Sexy Anemone Shrimps often reproduce in captivity, and their tiny larvae can be successfully reared by careful owners. All young individuals are males, with the largest of the group becoming a female upon maturity. Females carry their eggs below the abdomen, and release the planktonic (but visible) larvae after dark. The larvae are attracted to light and hence may be collected via a small bulb shone above a dark aquarium. They can be housed in a small aquarium fitted with an under-gravel filter and reared on a diet of enriched, newly-hatched Brine Shrimp and any live planktonic creatures that may be available. Metamorphosis to the adult form takes place in 5-6 weeks.

Written by Frank Indiviglio

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