In the continuation of the previous article on cool marine crustaceans for your reefs, we’re sticking with the shrimp theme with Urocaridella. There are many species in this poorly described genus, and a few are available with relative ease for the hobby. Commonly called arrow cleaner shrimp, these are small, hovering communal species that live in overhangs and caves in reef walls.
Urocaridella is a curious and very entertaining genus of shrimps to have. In the wild, these tiny mosquito like shrimps clean the mouths and bodies of moray eels and various other cave dwelling fish that share its habitat. Unlike Lysmata and Periclemenes, Urocaridella are capable of prolonged hovering and free swimming, and prefer doing so than perching. They can be kept in small or large groups without much issues.
One of the neatest things about Urocaridella are their comical way of swimming. The video above shows a quick preview of what these shrimps are capable of doing. When swimming or hovering, these cleaner shrimps hold their claws downward and buzz around the tank in an almost mosquito-meets-hovercraft fashion. There are various species available for the trade, but U. sp-C is the only yellow based one, and is by far the most beautiful.
Majority of the Urocaridella species are transparent with red spots. If you have a peaceful refugium with slow moving currents or a quiet corner in your reef tank, do consider a group of these Urocaridella arrow cleaner shrimp. They are just as beautiful as they are fun, and can be easily obtained by request through your favorite fish store. The yellow ones are especially nice!