One of the most colorful and easiest to keep shrimp is known as the White banded Cleaner Shrimp. This exotic inhabitant of the tropical Western Indo Pacific and Indian Oceans is readily available and can be found in most aquarium shops.

The scientific name for the White banded Cleaner Shrimp is Hippolysmata grabhami. Adults can reach a length of approximately 6 cm (2 1/2″).

In nature the white banded cleaner shrimp can be collected at a depth of about 15 feet using snorkels and goggles. However, most of the shrimps have their territories at about 50 to 65 feet. Collecting in deeper waters requires the use of diving equipment and air tanks. The word “cleaner shrimp” describes the role H. grabhami plays in the natural environment. Groups of 20+ can form, a “cleaning station” in an area of 2 to 3 meters (6 to 9 feet). Various sizes of different types of fish come to visit this cleaning station to have naturally occurring parasites removed by the cleaner shrimp. Fish literally stop swimming and most of the time open their gills so the cleaner shrimp can clean and groom them. The same activity can be observed in the marine aquarium.

Like all shrimps, the Hippolysmata have five pairs of thin legs, with claws as the first pair. They appear to walk about resembling a man on stilts. If necessary they can move rapidly to avoid capture by predators with the use of their entire body and fast movable legs. A fan shaped tail can assist in movement and for use as a possible rudder.

In captivity, the cleaner shrimp is ideal for display in reef aquariums. It likes to be housed with live rock, corals, algae, sponge and lives well with many other invertebrates available to reef keepers.

In fish only marine aquariums, the cleaner can be added without too many concerns. Most fish will allow themselves to be picked clean of parasites, like in nature.

Great products for your reef aquarium.

CORAL REEF & MARINE FISH VITAMINS™ offers essential vitamins to captive marine animals that are not found in traditional flake , frozen or pellet foods.

GREEN ™ promotes the development of macroalgae, by introducing nitrogenous ions. It also adds bio-available calcium, which is essential for positive reef development.

HYDRO-SAFE ™ removes chlorine and cletoxifies heavy metals found in most tap water supplies. It reduces stress and maintains the protective slime coat of all marine fish and reef invertebrates. It should be used with mixing new water, making water changes and transporting marine animals.

MACROALGAE IRON ADDITIVE™ is formulated with iron and without the use of nitrogenous compounds. It contains proven essential manganese and various trace elements. An established growth of macroalgae aids in controlling harmful waste buildups of nitrates.

INVERTEBRATE APPETITE SUPPLEMENT™ stimulate the appetite of some corals, sponges and various inverts. IAS™ helps make reef keeping easy.

The above products, as well as other supplements can be removed by various forms of filtration, protein skimmers, chemical resins and carbon. These types of supplements should be replenished on a regular basis for optimum results.

It is always best to use a True Seawater Formula™ (BIO-SEA®) when employing additives or supplements.

However, lion fish, groupers and trigger fish are some fish that could see the white banded cleaner shrimp as a tasty snack!

Acclimating the white banded cleaner shrimp into our marine aquarium should be a slow and considerate process for your new pet. I recommend the following procedure to introduce this and all marine fish and invertebrates into your aquariums.

    1. Be sure the quality of your aquarium water is at its best.

    2. Turn off your aquarium light(s).

    3. Float the bag with your new pet on the surface of your aquarium water for 20-30 minutes.

    4. Discard 1/3rd of the delivery water.

    5. Acclimation can be done in the delivery bag, if large enough or a clean plastic bucket.

    6. Slowly add water from your aquarium into the delivery water with shrimp.

    7. In 30 to 45 minutes have about 75% aquarium water into your acclimation solution. This will reduce the possibility of further stress or shock to your new pet that may occur when being introduced into its new home. Hydro-Safe™ has been proven valuable in acclimation of shrimps, invertebrates and marine fish.

    8. Net out your new pet and gently add it to our marine aquarium. Discard all acclimation water, in a few hours resume your regular lighting schedule.

The white banded cleaner shrimp will except a variety of flake and frozen foods and can live for years in captivity with the proper care. Enjoy your cleaner shrimp and your marine aquarium.