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How to Care for Cleaner Shrimp
written by Dave Burr
A more suitable name would be Cleaner Shrimp M.D. Adding Cleaner Shrimp to a reef aquarium is an effective and natural method of combating disease.
Behavior: Cleaner Shrimp will clean parasites, such as ich, from the bodies and gills of fish in the aquarium. Fish value it's service and will approach the shrimp to wait for a free cleaning. Some large fish in the wild allow the Cleaner Shrimp to clean the insides of their mouths without harming it.
Predators: Triggers, Larger Hawkfish, Groupers, Lionfish, and large predatory wrasses may eat Cleaner Shrimp. House larger cleaner shrimp with smaller fish to help even the odds if housing with these types of fish.
Feeding: Offer mysis shrimp or small bits of meaty foods.
Growth: Maintaining proper pH, Ca, Alk, & Mg levels is important for shrimp. Providing additions of iodine will help the shrimp to molt and grow.
Acclimation: Take the time to do a drip acclimation with any shrimp as they do not tolerate rapid changes in water chemistry very well.
Care Level: Easy
Reef Compatible: Yes
Range: Indo-Pacific, Indian Ocean
Water Conditions: 75-80° F; sg 1.024-1.026 (1.025 is ideal); pH 8.1-8.4 Ca 420-440 ppm, Alk 8-9.5 dKH, Mg 1260-1350, Nitrates <10ppm, Phosphates < .10ppm
Water Chemistry: It is important that proper calcium (420-440 ppm), alkalinity (8-9.5 dkh - run it 7-8 if you are carbon dosing) , and magnesium levels (1260-1350 ppm) are maintained. Raising magnesium levels gradually up to 1400-1600 ppm can help to combat algae outbreaks, just keep CA and Alk in line as you raise the Mg. Nitrates should be below 10 ppm and phosphates should be below .10 ppm. We recommend doing a water change when Nitrate levels rise to 10 ppm. It is important to replace your phosphate media when phosphates rise to .10 ppm. Media Reactors make the most efficient use of your phosphate media by fluidizing it.
Dosing: Vivid Aquariums uses and recommends dosing pumps to automate the dosing of additives and keep your levels more constant. A dosing pump can alleviate the chore of manually dosing your aquarium with Ca, Alk, & Mg 2,3, or 4 times per week and will benefit your aquarium by keeping your levels constant through frequent small additions of Ca, Alk, & Mg. Our tanks all progressed when we switched from 3 manual dosings per week to 70 automatic dosings per week and we got a lot more work done.