There are numerous marine shrimps in tropical seas throughout the world. The actual number of species that reach the aquarium market is comparatively miniscule. However, there are some spectacular species that are available regularly, and they make fascinating additions to the reef tank. As well as scavenging from tiny waste food particles the fish will not bother with, they may also perform as cleaners, picking over willing fish lined up for the service, removing any loose mucus or tissue.
The Painted or Cleaner Shrimp (lysmata amboinensis) is a firm favourite, being very tolerant of other species and ready to set up its own “cleaning station”, where it sits partly hidden, waving the fine white feelers to advertise its presence and services to those fish looking to be cleaned.
The Blood Shrimp, or Fire Shrimp (lysmata debelius), is a spectacular species, with white “socks” tipping its otherwise maroon legs. In nature this is a shy species that tends to hide away from sight most of the time. It tends to be more gregarious in the aquarium, however.