Skunk Cleaner shrimp are one of the most useful crustaceans that aid in cleaning fish of parasites. Even before we saw Jacques in Finding Nemo, cleaner shrimp had already become one of the most popular invertebrates in our aquariums.
Unlike cleaner wrasses, Skunk Cleaner shrimp do not depend on fish to survive. They are scavengers and therefore, will pick up leftover food as well as clean fish. The most common skunk cleaner is Lysmata amboinensis but there many different species of Lysmata shrimp, including a nearly identical species in the Caribbean, L. grabhami, which is very rare in the aquarium hobby.
The Skunk Cleaner Shrimp creates cleaning stations around his cove and waits for fish. Once the fish know that there is a cleaning station available, they will continually come to the shrimp to be cleaned of parasites and dead scales. If your hands smell like fish food, they will even clean you.
Its scientific name is Lysmata amboinensis and they are found in the Red Sea and Indo- Pacific Ocean. They begin life as male and turn female after several molts.
The Skunk Cleaner Shrimp should be housed in an aquarium of at least twenty gallons (75 liters). Their tankmates should be invertebrate friendly fish; Hawkfish, Wrasses, Triggerfish, and Pufferfish would find these an easy snack.
If they need extra food to supplement their leftovers, the same food you feed your fish will be just fine. Although, you rarely need to add extra food to your tank for the shrimp.
The usual range of reef tank temperatures (72F or 22C) will suit them perfectly.The skunk cleaner shrimp can be considered a beginner invertebrate. It is easy to care for, does not require special care, and can live in aquariums for many years.
The skunk cleaner shrimp adds both a bit of personality to your tank as well as a purposeful tankmate. They are an attractive invertebrate that does not mind being in plain sight.