By Bob Goemans
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Lysmata amboinensis

(de Man, 1888)

Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp, White-striped Shrimp, Skunk Shrimp

Likely Reef Tank Suitable

Likely Fish-Only Tank Suitable

Range: Indo-West Pacific Ocean: Red Sea to Hawaii.

Size: 2.5 inches (6 cm)

Natural Environment: Inhabits coral reef environments, e.g., reef caves, holes, and ledges and usually seen at depths between 3 - 35 feet (1 -10 m).

General Husbandry: Common in the home aquarium trade and one of the most popular of all cleaner shrimp.

This beauty has two red longitudinal stripes separated by a white stripe that terminates in a white blotched inverted "T" on the tail fan. It also has extremely long white antennae.

Will set up cleaning stations.

Can be kept in small groups and will come directly onto your hand to take pieces of clam, shrimp, krill, mussels, frozen mysis, fresh fish flesh and the hair off the back of your hand.

Frequently in view during the day, yet may pick/steal food from corals, but does not seem to be destructive.

Sensitive to temperatures above the low eighties.


    Kingdom: Animalia

    Phylum: Arthropoda

    Class: Malacostraca

    Order: Decapoda

    Family: Hippolytidae

    Genus: Lysmata

FYI: Since these shrimp are hermaphroditic spawners (possess both male and female sex organs), all adult members of the group produce eggs and are fertilized by another member of the group. Therefore, any two of these shrimp is sufficient to propagate the species, if they like each other! Readily breeds in the home aquarium, yet I don't know of the availability of captive-bred specimens. In the aquarium most of the larvae are either eaten by fishes or drawn into filters.

There's also an Atlantic morph, L. grabhami, that is almost an exact copy, except its white stripe goes all the way into the tail area, whereas the central body white stripe on L. amboinensis stops at the top of the tail.

See the 'Introduction' to this Group for more information as to safety with other species of cleaner shrimp and the molting process.

Experience Level: Beginner

Diet: Carnivore

Temperament: Peaceful

Aquarium Environment: Reef or fish-only aquarium

Coral Safe: Yes

Fish Safe: Yes

Invertebrate Safe: Yes

Acclimation Time: Shrimp are 'very' sensitive to specific gravity/salinity changes. Therefore, be sure to adjust the bag's water to that of the aquarium in which it will be placed by slowly adding small amounts of aquarium water to the bag every few minutes. In most cases, this process should take at least 15 minutes.

Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy

Calcium (Ca): 380 - 430 mg/l

Alkalinity: 2.5 - 3.0 meq/l

Phosphate (PO4): <0.05 mg/l

Magnesium (Mg): approx. 1350 mg/l (relate to specific gravity) Extremely important for molting!

Strontium (Sr) 8 - 10 mg/l

Iodine (I) Trace element additives containing iodine should be used as recommended by their makers, as iodine is also vital for the molting process.

Temperature Range: 68 - 81°F (20 - 27°C)

Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons

Lighting: PAR ratings N/A

Water Movement: WM 1 - 2

Specific Gravity: 1.023 - 1.025

pH: 8.0 - 8.4

 Lysmata amboinensis (Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp, White-striped Shrimp, Skunk Shrimp)
Photo © Craig Dolphin
Parhippolyte uveae Lysmata ankeri
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