I decided to choose the peppermint shrimp because this guy is the most sought after shrimp in the industry right now. This is because of the fact that it is a natural way to combat aptasia. Now the feelings are mixed on wether this is a successful method or a crap shoot. I have heard people sit on both sides of the fence on this one.
There are several types of the peppermint shrimp. The 2 that I have read and studied about are the 2 that are actually clinically proven to eliminate and actively consume aptaisia. They are both considered the same type: Lysmata wurdemanni. One is collected off of the coast of Florida which is called Lysmata Florida. The second is one that is collected off of the coasts of Haiti which is called Lysmata Haiti. They are both colored in the same fashion, a light pink to red in color. The easiest way to tell L.florida from L.haiti is that the L.florida has green gonads whereas L.haiti has pink gonads. Often also in local fish stores camelback shrimp will be sold as peppermint shrimp. This is easily seen, the Camelback shrimp has a very pronounced hump on the tail whereas the peppermints back is smooth.
The peppermint shrimp is considered a reef same invert. Speaking from personal expiernce I do agree with this. I have never had one nip at any of the corals. But there are reports out there that they will nip at different corals and also clams. They are a reclusive shrimp. Very rarely coming out in the daylight hours. You can observe them with a flash light after lights out, scurrying about the tank actively foraging for food.
I read an experiment* testing L.florida and L.haiti in a controlled environment seeing how well they would eradicate aptaisia. The results of the test concluded that a group of 9 shrimp of both types were introduced into 2 seperate tanks containing 10 aptaisia. The test concluded that the L.florida 90 minutes to consume all 10. The L.haiti same scenerio it took them 48 minutes to consume all 10.
I found this to be pretty interesting. For one I did not know that there were 2 types that actively battled aptaisia. I know that Don (purple Ardvark) has some good information about hurricanes in Florida wiping out shrimp farms and washing shrimp out to sea and goofing up the species. I am sure he will chime in with some input also.
I hope that you all take a little something away from this. I know I did. Stay tuned next month will feature another species in the spotlight.
Shad, from what I gathered they are pretty adapt at seeking out the aptasia and eradicating it. it said they will locate the aptasia and then agitate it to where it retracts its tentacles and then they go to town on it.
and for the gonads I bieleve they are where the tail meets the main body.
First of all... Camelbacks have also been known to be nasty to coeral and polyps!!
Now to the beef: If you find that you have peppermint shrimp that do NOT eat aptasia, you could have a differing species all together...
This is a problem in the hobby right now. There are soo many "look alike" to the true peppermints shrimp that just don't have ANY interest in consuming aiptasia. It's really no fault of the LFS (for the most part) but of the distributors. You want to ensure that you are getting shrimp from the Western Atlantic, Caribbean area to ensure that you are getting Lysmata Wurdemanni.
There are TONS of stories of people buying shrimp only to find that they were Lysmata Rathbunae (found off of the Atlantic Florida coast) and not Wurdemanni. The tell all check sum between the two (besides the obvious dietary differences) is different tail markings. The Rathbunae has a dark tail, with no stripes, and a darker body.
Lysmata Californica, another imposter DOES NOT eat aiptasia. Also, for what it's worth, these other shrimp come from cooler habitat and their longevity in a reef system is questionable.
There are more 'look alikes' but I can't remember them off the top of my head right now. There was a great article in either Aquarium Fish, or Tropical Fish Hobbyist that goes into great detail about this. I forget which magazine, I get so many. If I find it, I'll post back here.
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