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Blue Harlequin Shrimp

 
The Harlequin Shrimp was first scientifically described in 1852. The Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean Harlequin Shrimp have a white body with large light blue spots, and the males are slightly smaller than the female. It differs from its close cousin, the HawaiianH. picta which has purple and red spots. It has large claws (chelipeds) which are for show only; it does not u... The Harlequin Shrimp is best kept as mated pairs in an aquarium with moderate light. The Harlequin Shrimp can not tolerate copper or high nitrates, and iodine levels must be correct and maintained to ensure proper molting. - - It is very particular about what it will eat, dining only on echinoderms, primarily starfish, and a few urchin species. It will eat starfish (Linckia, Fromia sp.) by starting at the tip of the arm and working its way to the central disc. The starfish may shed the arm, but is often mortally wounded. - - As its primary source of food, you will need to supply the Harlequin Shrimp with starfish (Asterias rubens for adults, and Linckia for juveniles). The adults may also eat sea urchins.


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My favorite reef inhabitant, ever! featured

Comments This is such a beautiful shrimp with a cool personality. And it is a starfish eating machine! I originally got mine when I had a major outbreak of the tiny starfish and the lfs suggested I try a harlequin shrimp to control them. He offered to take the shrimp back after the shrimp had cleaned my tank up. "Harley" (not a very original name, I know) cleaned my 29 gallon biocube of the nuisance starfish in about a month, by which point I decided I wanted to keep him.

He would eat an entire chocolate chip starfish in 3-4 weeks. On this diet he grew very quickly. It was really cool to watch him hunt the starfish when it was first put in the tank. The downside was I now had a dead starfish in the tank during the 3 week period it took for Harley to completely consume it. This naturally caused a huge water quality issues and my corals suffered for it.

I finally had to re-home Harley when I relocated for a new job and didn't know when I'd have a new tank set up. He's now at a public aquarium in Phoenix in a much bigger tank. I will not be getting another one for my biocube, as they really need wither a much larger tank that can handle its feeding habits, or a dedicated species tank.


Liked about it Very interesting hunting behavior
Beautiful shrimp
Takes care of nuisance starfish very quickly and efficiently


Didn't like Unique feeding requirements


Overall rating:
 
3.8
Overall satisfaction:
 
4.5
Would consider buying it again:
 
3.0

By jnotjane
Sep 15, 2013
 
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Beautiful shrimp but not for your average aquarist, even experts featured

Comments There's no doubting the beauty of the harlequin shrimp, perhaps only the fire shrimp can be compared to it. The unique morphology and coloration make this a show species for anyone who decides to keep one.

If you plan on keeping one, plan on keeping sea stars as well because that's what they eat, and it isn't pretty.

There are a couple of things an aquarist can do to keep this shrimp fed:

1. First, and certainly the most expensive, is to buy sea stars as needed and place them in the tank, this can get a bit costly to be sure.
2. Keep a second tank of just the sea stars this shrimp eats with several sea stars in it. Cut off one of their arms and feed it to the shrimp. The arm will eventually grow back. While you are waiting for that sea star to heal, cut the arm off a different one at the next feeding. Have enough sea stars in the food tank to rotate through them so you aren't killing any of them, just removing single arms at a time and giving time to heal.

There are reports of them eating the tiny astrina sea stars many of us have in our tanks, but they don't provide the nutrition required by the shrimp and are usually not available in sufficient quantities to maintain the health of the animal. While there are also reports of them eating other types of sea stars, Live Aquaria states the following, "As its primary source of food, you will need to supply the Harlequin Shrimp with starfish (Asterias rubens for adults, and Linckia for juveniles). The adults may also eat sea urchins." While linkia is readily available I have never seen Asterias rubens for sale in my local fish stores, any of them.

To me, my reef tank isn't complete without an urchin or a sea star, having a harlequin precludes that from happening.

If you have a special love for these shrimp and are willing to go to the lengths necessary to keep it alive then certainly this is an animal for you. However, if like most, you aren't into chopping off legs or spending steady amounts of money on an animal you know is going to be eaten, then perhaps there are some other ornamental shrimp you can enjoy. For me, I like my sea stars too much to sacrifice them.

I cannot recommend this shrimp to anyone, it isn't a matter of the aquarist's ability but rather the animal's unique habits.

As with all invertebrates use a long, slow drip acclimation.


Liked about it 1. Very attractive and unusual species


Didn't like 1. Not very hardy
2. Eats only sea stars which costs money, is a hassle, and keeps you from owning a sea star in the same tank for show


Overall rating:
 
1.0
Overall satisfaction:
 
1.0
Would consider buying it again:
 
1.0

By tcamos
Jun 15, 2010
 
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my favorite shrimp ever!

Comments This shrimp is relatively easy to care for. They eat starfish so you have to keep starfish on hand. I bought about 3 starfish, they say they only eat chocolate chip starfish but mine will eat sand sifting starfish as well.. I just keep mine in the freeze and cut a piece for each feeding with is about once a week. It is a relatively active shrimp that I am grateful stays out in the front of my tank for the most part instead of hiding somewhere in my liverock where i cant see it. It does not seem to be aggressive at all to anything in my tank, the corals, fish, or other inverts including my skunk cleaner shrimp, blue leg hermits, or snails.


Liked about it I love the fact that it stays out in the sand or kinda on the glass of the tank versus hiding all the time. The colors and patterns are soooo cool too.


Didn't like Theres nothing i dont like about this shrimp.


Overall rating:
 
5.0
Overall satisfaction:
 
5.0
Would consider buying it again:
 
5.0

By saltlifefan4278
Oct 23, 2010
 
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great exotic addition!!!

Comments well to start off this shrimps have a nice array of colors and shapes, but their favorite food is nothing else than starfish and in some cases this is the only food this species will accept, so these shrimp are not for starfish lovers...or for those who dont like spending a lot on fish food. they keep them upside down so they cant escape, then they eat off their suckers until the starfish is gone (sounds creepy but thats the way it is). its a cool shrimp to have around unless you dont want to spend a relative amount of time and money on them


Liked about it -color
-shape
-the way they move around the tank


Didn't like -not as hardy as i would like them to be
-if i could keep them from eating starfish i would
-the first one had died on me (but i think thats because i refused him his starfish meal)


Overall rating:
 
4.3
Overall satisfaction:
 
4.0
Would consider buying it again:
 
4.5

By gabranth17
Jun 14, 2010
 
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