One of the most essential cleaner shrimp molting facts is that cleaner shrimps are crustaceans. They use their claws to remove parasites from other animals, including fish and mammals.
Cleaner shrimp molting can live for up to two years. This species typically grows to be about 1 inch long at maturity, but sizes vary depending on the environment in which they live. Cleaner shrimp molters will molt as many as six times over a lifetime before dying out of old age or disease!
5 Facts You Didn’t Know About Cleaner Shrimp
Lysmata amboinensis, also known as the Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp, Indo-Pacific Cleaner Shrimp, and White Striped Cleaner Shrimp, usually lives in coral reefs from the Indo-Pacific and the Red Sea.
Cleaner Shrimp Reef Safe
Skunk cleaner shrimp do not harm coral reefs. The symbiotic relationship with the client fish means they are typically perfect additions to your tank since they are not known to eat coral. They will remove parasites from any fish that is willing to allow them to do so. They are their client fish.
Known as cleaning stations, these shrimp hang out with other cleaner shrimp and fish in the wild. They can approach these stations to be cleaned, and some even open up to have the insides of their mouths cleaned.
Cleaner Shrimp Eat
Skunk cleaner shrimp are omnivorous, so that they will consume a healthy mix of algae growing in your tank and small invertebrates living on and in the rocks. Besides eating parasites and dead flesh from any willing fish, they will also eat good nutrition.
My favorite thing about watching them eat is watching them chew. When they pick at the side of a fish, their front legs will go super-fast, picking and scraping at anything that may be there. But the coolest part was when I saw it grab a worm or brittle star from the rocks. There seems to be a blur of legs in motion when it happens so quickly.
Cleaner Shrimp Shedding Skin
Most beginners mistakenly believe that their aquarium is filled with dead shrimp. Most often, these aren’t dead shrimp; they’re exoskeletons shed by the shrimp. Dead shrimp tend to be pinkish, while a shell will appear almost identical to a living aquarium shrimp.
Throughout a shrimp’s development, it is necessary to undergo molting many times. Shrimp shed their skin around once a week when they are young.
When they shed their shell, they become very vulnerable because their new body is quite soft at first. For the following few days, they usually hide away until their shells have hardened.
Acclimating Skunk Cleaner Shrimp
Most invertebrates are sensitive to rapid fluctuations in the environment, including skunk cleaner shrimps. Doing drip acclimations has been the most successful for me. All of the conditions of the water your shrimp came into are slowly adjusted to your tank’s needs. Once your shrimp is comfortable with the water parameters, you can move him into the tank.
Behavior Of Cleaner Shrimp
In your tank, these shrimp will select a rock outcropping, cliff, or cave to set up shop. It is within this small area where they will spend most of their time.
Scavenging and hunting for food will be their primary activities. They will also clean any fish that need to be cleaned. In general, they are not aggressive to tank mates and would most likely pick on the other person rather than being the bully.
Usually, they are curious about your hand, and mine is the same. I can reach in anywhere near his rock, and he comes out to play.
Sexing And Cleaner Shrimp Molting
In cleaner shrimp, molting (the process by which they shed old exoskeletons) goes hand in hand since they are protandric simultaneous hermaphrodites. Initially, they develop as males and then become simultaneous hermaphrodites.
Therefore, during a reproductive cycle, they are capable of functioning as both sexes. An inter-molt shrimp (that functions as a male) can mate with a newly molted shrimp (that plays the role of a female). The “male” will mate with the one that has molted (“female”) and fertilize the eggs.
During its maturation process (as a male), Cleaner Shrimp reach a height of 34.0 mm in length. The average inter-molt period is about 18 – 20 days. They act like males during the inter-molt cycle, but immediately after molting, they act like females.
Staggered molting and reproduction are common among paired shrimp. In the middle of their partner’s inter-molt period, these animals begin molting. During staggered synchronization, individuals do not molt and reproduce as females simultaneously, so they are ready to fertilize their partners at the appropriate time. In this way, they can reproduce every 10 – 12 days.
Why is my cleaner shrimp molting?
A single shrimp kept alone will molt every few months. They molt more when they are smaller because they are growing.
How many times do cleaner shrimp molt?
These shrimp, regardless of whether they are paired up, usually molt every two weeks.
Do cleaner shrimp shed their skin?
Molting is a necessary process that shrimp must go through numerous times as they grow. When they are young, shrimp will shed their skin around once a week.
Lots of people are afraid of cleaner shrimp molting because they think the cleaner shrimp will die. This is not true. The cleaner shrimps have a part-time job as cleaners during their larval stage and then become full-time predators in their adult stage.
The cleaner shrimp’s natural predators include crabs, fish, and lobsters, so becoming prey to other creatures isn’t such a massive risk for them since these predators don’t eat cleaner shrimp when they’re adults!
Annette M. Chaney is an experienced marine biologist with over 20 years of experience as an aquarist and fishkeeper. She started her first aquarium at a young age, filling it with frogs and goldfish obtained from the ten-cent pet store.
Annette grew up caring for and breeding African Cichlids, which led to a hobby in high school that doubled as a profitable means. Attending Reed College gave her time to solidify herself as an accomplished aquarium caretaker with an eye for sales. After that, from 2009 – 2013, she studied at Roger Williams University – one of the most prestigious universities for Aquaculture and Aquarium in USA. She is the founder of AquariumCircle since 2010.