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FAQs about Pistol (including Goby) Shrimps, Identification

Related FAQs: Pistol Shrimps 1, Pistol Shrimps 2, Alpheid Behavior, Alpheid Compatibility, Alpheid Selection, Alpheid Systems, Pistol Shrimp and Goby Biotopes, Alpheid Feeding, Alpheid Disease, Alpheid Reproduction, & Shrimp Gobies, Shrimp Gobies 2, & Marine Shrimps 1, Marine Shrimps 3, Shrimp Identification, Shrimp Selection, Shrimp Behavior, Shrimp Compatibility, Shrimp Systems, Shrimp Feeding, Shrimp Reproduction, Shrimp Disease, Cleaner Shrimp, Banded Coral Shrimp, Dancing Shrimp, Harlequin Shrimp, Saron Shrimp, Mantis Shrimp, Anemone Eating Shrimp, Crustacean Identification, Crustacean Selection, Crustacean Behavior, Crustacean Compatibility, Crustacean Systems, Crustacean Feeding, Crustacean Disease, Crustacean Reproduction,

Related Articles: Alpheid Shrimps, Shrimp, A Few Common Shrimps for the Marine Aquarium by James W. Fatherree, Shrimp Gobies,

Pistol Shrimp ID      6/5/19
Hey all!
<Hey Luis>
I’ve had a pair of pistol shrimp that hitchhiked into my tank some years ago - maybe 3-4 years. I would constantly hear them snapping away and would lose hermits and snails to them. A while ago I took out a suspect rock and gave it a FW bath. Some time later I found a pistol shrimp, unfortunately dead. This one was pregnant- so obviously a mate somewhere in the tank as well. Sure enough, the clicking continued.
Today, I finally discovered the second culprit. Rinsed a different suspect rock out, and found him. Tiny in size as you can see here. He survived the freshwater wash that blew him out of the rock. Any idea on the species? His mate was roughly the same size, a bit larger. Never grew bigger than this over all these years.
<Appears to be from the Alpheidae family, probably Betaeus sp. Cheers. Wil.>

Pistol shrimp ID please       1/28/16
Hi Crew!
I came across a pistol shrimp at my LFS (pic attached).
<See you've included it/this later>
They claim it is a tiger pistol but I have not seen a color variance like this one.
<Mmm; Alpheus bellulus do vary
It is lighter and the claws are bluish with purple tips. It is acclimating right now but I am hesitant to release into my DT without confirmation. My tank is very peaceful and I was a tad shocked they had this little guy (~1.5 inches) with a purple lobster at least 3 times his length, so I am guessing he can hold his ground lol.
<Yikes; I wouldn't mix these>
Ultimately I would eventually like my yellow watchman and him to pair. I appreciate any feedback, thank you for your help!
Dani :)
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>

Green pistol shrimp?       6/10/15
I found a couple of what appears to be green pistol shrimp on some sps corals and have been unable to find any information on them and was wondering if you might know what they are and if there safe for sps/reef tank or if they should be removed?
<Will have to look; looks like a member of genus Coralliocaris... An Acropora commensal... I'd leave them be. Do see LynnZ's resp. re here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/alphidf.htm
Bob Fenner>

Snapping Shrimp ID? Nope, Thalassinidean - 8/26/10
Hello all!
<Hello Donna, Lynn here today!>
I own a saltwater reef store in Las Vegas
..and can't count how many times you guys have helped me silently.
<That's great, I'm glad we've been able to help.>
I was sent an "assorted snapping shrimp" and before selling it I would like to ID it if possible.
<Good for you! The more you know, the better chance that little shrimp has of ending up in a system that suits its needs.>
It is without a doubt one of the coolest ones I've ever seen.
<It is, indeed.>
It does look to be Alpheus Sp. judging by the claws but I can't find anything that even remotely resembles it on the web.
<Yep, although the claws do look similar, and are unequal in size, this is another creature entirely. It appears to be a Decapod crustacean in the infraorder Thalassinidea, aka 'Ghost', 'Mud' or 'Sponge' shrimps. This group is typically comprised of deposit/detritus-feeders and filter-feeders. I believe your individual belongs in one of two families: Callianassidae ("Ghost shrimps": big-time burrowers, combination deposit and filter-feeders), or something in the family Callianidaeidae, (shrimps associated with reef/rubble habitats that tend to burrow or hang out under rocks/within rockwork). I wish I could narrow it to one family or the other, but I can't quite see enough detail to make that determination. At any rate, I'm leaning towards the latter family, namely those species in the genus Callianidea. If your individual came from the Indo-Pacific region, it could easily be Callianidea typa as it seems to be a fairly common, widespread specie. As far as diet, I couldn't find any specific information, but it's likely another deposit/detritus-feeder that would do best in a mature system with a deep sand bed, rockwork, and rubble. As with any potential burrower, there's always the possibility of undermined rockwork and rearranged aquascapes, so that should be kept in mind for anyone wishing to take this little fellow home. Please see the following links for examples of Callianidea typa:
Family Callianassidae, genus Calianassa: http://www.marinelifephotography.com/marine/arthropods/shrimps/callianassa-1.htm
Good basic information link re: Thalassinidean shrimps: http://museumvictoria.com.au/crust/thalbiol.html >
Thanks in advance for your help.
<You're very welcome.>
<Take care, Lynn Z>

Pistol Shrimp Species ID Help, Please: Likely Alpheus parvirostris or Alpheus bannerorum -- 7/7/10
<Hello AM, Lynn here today.>
Love your work, have spent many hours enjoying the FAQs.
I have a question of my own today:
<Fire away>
Attached are three photos of [what was sold as] a "Green Pistol Shrimp", however I am not confident that this label was anything other than a guess on the part of my LFS.
<It happens.>
The beastie's appearance is not entirely unlike a Tiger Pistol, but he is distinctly *green* with white bands; the green was not reproduced well in the photos, however I can assure you he is somewhere between "an Army Jeep" and "an overripe lime". Is there perhaps a greenish variety or morph of a Tiger Pistol?
<Not that I know of, but there are plenty of pistol shrimps out there with banded abdomens of various colors.>
I also found a single photo on the internet of Alpheus euphrosyne - "Green Pistol Shrimp" - but the resemblance is not close.
<Nope, I think what you have is more likely one of two closely related Indo-Pacific species: Alpheus parvirostris (aka the Green-Banded Pistol Shrimp) or Alpheus bannerorum (no common name that I know of). The two are differentiated by the presence of four spots (not sure what color) on the abdomen (the banded/segmented section) of A. bannerorum. It's hard to tell from your photos but I do see what could be at least two, dark, bilateral (on both sides) spots. Take a close look at the little fellow and see if you can see those four spots. If you do, it's likely A. bannerorum. If not, it's probably A. parvirostris. I can't tell you much about A. bannerorum. The best information available is within a 1987 study by A. J. Bruce titled: 'A new species of Alpheid shrimp, Alpheus bannerorum, from northern Australia'. Unfortunately, I don't have access to this publication and have been unable to find a photo of the species anywhere in books or on the net. Thankfully, the same cannot be said of Alpheus parvirostris. Size-wise, they can reach 1' (2.5cm) and from what I can tell, usually live in pairs and may not form symbiotic relationships with shrimp Gobies. Please see the following links for photo comparison (note variations in color/claw pattern):
Differences between the two species mentioned on pg. 67 of this study: http://biogeodb.stri.si.edu/bioinformatics/alpheus/PDFs/AA2001a.pdf >
Another unusual feature, you'll notice, is that he has *two* big claws.
<Yes, I saw that. That's double trouble for anyone, or anything, foolish enough to mess with him!>
This would seem to be quite a clue, but I haven't had any luck on the Google's isolating a species that is known for having *two* of the
snapping appendages (I *have* heard him snap) - one wonders how he eats??
<They have other smaller claws they can use.>
Is this possibly the result of an injury and less-than-perfect regenerative logic?
<Something like that, yes. Apparently, Alpheids can 'switch hit', so to speak, when it comes to their snapping claws. For example, if a snapper is lost then the smaller claw ('pincer') will be replaced by a snapper, and what was the snapper will be replaced by a pincer. This happens within a molt or two, depending on when the larger claw was lost. That explains why Alpheids aren't consistently right or left-handed. Having two snapping claws is reportedly due to injury/nerve damage. For more in-depth information on this, please see the following link: http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-297403_ITM >
He has shown no interest in bonding with my Orange Spotted or Watchman Gobies (despite their repeated advances) - I understand sometimes love simply does not blossom, but I offer this as grist for the mill anyway.
<Yep, I saw one bit of information stating that A. parvirostris doesn't form partnerships with shrimp gobies but I was unable to confirm it elsewhere. I guess time will tell!>
Thanks for your time, and opinion.
<You're very welcome, enjoy your shrimp!>
<Take care, Lynn Z>

Re: Pistol Shrimp Species ID Help, Please: Likely Alpheus parvirostris or Alpheus bannerorum -- 7/7/10
<Hello, Drew!>
Thanks Lynn, that looks like a winner!
That Berkeley photo side is a big win as well,
<Yes indeed, it's a wonderful site.>
<You're very welcome!>
<Take care, Lynn Z>

Possible Help in Identification, Alpheid -- 4/11/10
Hi all,
<Hi Deana, Lynn here today.>
Hope you are having a good day.
<I'm having a great day, thanks, and same to you!>
I had an idea about the identification of one of the pistol shrimps marked as unidentified.
The caption reads "Unidentified Alpheid in a Crinoid. N. Sulawesi pic. Yes, it really is THIS red!".
<Ah yes, I know this photo.>
I believe I have the answer (but of course could be wrong). I think it is actually a Feather Star Squat Lobster, Allogalathea elegans, (or very close relative). It seems to be nestled in a Feather starfish. These particular lobsters reach about 1 1/4 in and form a symbiotic relationship with this particular starfish even changing their colors to blend with it.
<Yes, while most individuals in this species show marked light and dark bands running the length of the back/carapace, there is an exception. That is, an all-red version that lives on red hosts. Pretty cool, huh?>
They hide within their arms. I remembered seeing a pic almost exactly like this and went back to my books. *Encyclopedia of Aquarium and Pondfish* by David Alderton, ISBN 978-0-1566-3678-4, published 2008, lobster, pg291, starfish pg297. Don't know if I'm right, but, your site is all about gathering knowledge and this is just too cool a species (if that's what it is), for hobbyists not to know about.
<It is indeed an extremely cool species and we very much appreciate your interest and help. I particularly appreciate it because I know the time and effort it takes to research these neat little creatures! In this case, though, the shrimp in question really does appear to be some sort of Alpheid. You can tell by the large Popeye-worthy claw arm and distinctively shaped/rounded claw. Allogalathea elegans has long slender arms with slender claws. Beyond that though, the two do indeed look very similar, given what you can see in the photo. Here's a good example of an Alpheid arm and claw. http://www.biology.ualberta.ca/palmer.hp/People/Pics/Anker-Alpheus.jpg That thing looks like it would make a good can-opener, doesn't it! >
This is the link with the "unidentified" shrimp. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pistolshrimps.htm Hope you guys are enjoying yourselves.
<I am indeed. It's always a pleasure to share information with another hobbyist, particularly one interested in ID work! With that in mind, I'll pass along something that I think you'll appreciate. I looked at that same shrimp photo years ago and tried to ID it. I'm still looking!>
Thanks for all your hard work!
<You're most welcome and thank you!>
<Take care, Lynn Z>
Re: Possible Help in Identification, Alpheids -- 4/11/10

<Hi Deana!>
Oh just another note about this. If I am right, this shrimp that's name says "lobster", is technically a crab.
<Both are common names that are useful as broad terms, but that's about it. For example, although the common name for Allogalathea elegans is a squat lobster, it actually belongs within a Decapod Crustacean infraorder called Anomura, otherwise known as 'false' crabs. The species itself is in the family Galatheidae and is related to hermits, porcelain crabs, mole crabs, King crabs, etc. Although most of those common names include the word 'crab', they're not considered 'true' crabs at all. There aren't any 'true' lobsters in there either. Lobsters/crayfish as well as 'true' crabs have their own infraorders (Astacidea and Brachyura respectively). Basically, Allogalathea elegans is a 'false crab' that's not a 'real lobster' either! That's the problem with common names. They can be shared with a myriad of different species and lead to a lot of confusion! Take care and thanks again. Lynn Z>
Follow-up: Re: Possible Help in Identification, Alpheids -- 4/14/10

<Hi Deana>
You are right, I do appreciate that.
<I appreciate your interest and enthusiasm! Identifying organisms can be a real challenge and goodness knows I've been wrong before and will be again. It's a continual learning process made easier by virtue of an interesting topic.>
This will be a "white whale" for me too.
<Heee! Happily, we don't have to end up like old Ahab!>
You are right though. I didn't see that.
<Oh please, I wish I had a dime for everything I've missed along the way!>
Hmm. As coincidence, BlueZoo started offering the squat lobsters within the last couple days on their site. Must have been reading my mind.
Glad for all you do. I am just starting to learn.
<Aren't we all!>
If I ever figure out what it is, I'll let you know.
<Please do.>
Thanks for your time.
<It was a pleasure.>
<Take care, Lynn Z>

Re Mandarin hlth., was fat lip, now swollen pooter... Alpheid ID, Diatoms 3/11/10
Hey Bob,
Thanks for getting back to me so quickly.
The mandarin seems to be acting completely normal but his issue persists. I wanted to take this time to ask for some guidance on a few issues I'm having. I believe I told you that I recently down-sized from a 75 gallon to a red sea max 34 gallon all in one. I kept about 20 lbs. of live rock from the big tank and added to it about 25 lbs. of new live rock from the LFS. I also saved about 2 cups of sand from the big tank and added 20 lbs of black pacific reef sand to the new setup. I used 2-3 gallons of water from the big tank and added new RO/DI salt water in the new set up. Well the tank has been set up for a month now and I am pulling my hair out dealing with one issue after another. So I hope you can help with a few things because I'm losing faith in my ability to maintain my tank. So here is my current set up:
34 gallon red sea max all in one
20-24 lbs sand
45-50 lbs live rock
I replaced the regular carbon bag from this package with Chemi-pure elite and also added a bag of Seachem Purigen.
I am also running a Aquaripure nitrate filter.
I change 5-7 gallons of water about every two weeks, replace with RO/DI salt water and top off with RO/DI fresh water all bought at the LFS.
Livestock includes:
Mystery wrasse (moved from old set up)
Green mandarin (moved from old set up)
Yellow watchmen goby (added to new set up after 2 weeks)
Scarlet cleaner shrimp (moved from old set up)
pistol shrimp (added to new set up after 2 weeks)
pink tile sea star (added to new set up after 2 days but died after 2-3 weeks)
orange sun coral polyp frag
green starburst coral frag
green Zo frag
Astrea, Nassarius, and turbo snails
water parameters:
ph 8.3
nitrate 0-5ppm
nitrite 0
ammonia 0
calcium 420
<Magnesium? I would test for this...>
Alk 14dkh
I feed the fish frozen Mysis and brine shrimp, and blood worms all soaked in Selcon.
I feed the coral zooplankton or reef chili
I also dose with iodine, purple up, and Seachem liquid buffer as needed.
Alrighty then, I was wondering what species of pistol shrimp I picked up.
<... looks like an Alpheus sp., but I don't see it in my print ref.s or on the Net. There's summat similar on Keyscritters.com, but I don't see this listed elsewhere.>
I have been looking around online and have not found any that look like him. I bought him so that he might pair up with the goby but this doesn't seem like its going to happen
<And can even be dangerous. See today's "Daily FAQs">
and even wondered if he might be responsible for the goby's injury I noticed yesterday.
<Oh yes, could well be>
Secondly, I was hoping you could tell me what caused the sea star to perish.
<See WWM re... there is little hope for this Fromia>
He was in the new tank for nearly three weeks albeit he didn't move around too much and suddenly he has a hole in his disk and what I can only guess were his guts hanging out. And last, I have this reddish brown stuff growing all over the sand bed and the glass and a spot or two on the live rock. Is this Cyanobacteria or what?
<I think "what"... Diatoms likely. Do you have a microscope?>
I can clean off the glass or stir up a spot in the sand and within hours its back. I do water changes and as far as I know keep the water parameters in check so what could be causing this stuff to grow so fast?
<... again... learn to/use WWM:
Well I'm sure you are tired of reading by now so I will post some pics for your viewing pleasure and I hope to hear back from you soon. Thanks again for all that you guys do...
<Wish I could be of more direct, complete help Frank. BobF>

Pistol Shrimp ID 3/1/10
<Hello Frank>
I was wondering if you could possibly help identify what species of pistol shrimp I recently purchased.
<Sure, I'll take a shot in the barrel.>
Sorry I can't get a pic now cause he stays in his burrow. He is a bright orange color, similar to color of clown fish, with light blue legs with no body markings. He also seems to have no interest in my yellow Watchman Goby nor does the goby seem to care about him. I bought this guy hoping he would pair up with the goby but that doesn't appear to be happening.
<Can take some time before/if this occurs.>
All he wants to do is dig out burrows under all my live rock. If you can help me identify so I can decide whether to keep him or not, since he won't pair up with the goby. But it's only been a few weeks so I want to be patient.
<Please do, as both of these animals are reclusive, it may take some time before they find each other. As to identifying without a pic, I could only guess, as there are about 500 documented species of Pistol Shrimp.
My guess would be the Tri-Color or the Striped Pistol Shrimp. You state no body markings but the Striped Pistol Shrimp has a stripe running laterally on each side of the body but this is not pronounced.
You might want take a look at our Alpheid ID FAQ's here.
Anyways thanks for your help!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

Strange Creature In Reef Tank...What Is It? 1/21/10
I found a weird creature in my fish tank last night when I was feeding the fish and corals. This thing measures about 1' long, it is like a transparent dark brown/green color similar to a bait shrimp, the head is like in a flat arrow shape, it has claws that was using to move the crushed seashells from under the rock, it has pretty long antennas for his size, I'll say about 1cm, it moves very fast, it will start crawling out very slow to try to reach some food pellets but I never got to see the full body out, I saw most of it but never got completely out of the rock. I used to have an Engineer Goby that dies and I thought it was a baby but now, this has a mixed look like a lobster+shrimp+cockroach <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" / >
I managed to take some pictures (attached) but they came a little blurry and I was only able to get the head , I circled in the image the creature so you can see it. It moves very fast when goes back inside the rocks so it took me about 10 minutes to take the picture.
What is this thing?
<Well, as you say, the pictures aren't resolved enough for an accurate ID, but by your description, I'm guessing you likely have a shrimp of some type, possibly a Pistol Shrimp or Mantis Shrimp. Are you hearing any clicking/snapping sounds?>
Thank you.
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>

an Alpheid
Re Strange Creature In Reef Tank...What Is It? 1/21/10
Yes, I do hear some clicking sounds sometimes
<Then you likely have a Pistol Shrimp of some type, but not to rule out a Mantis Shrimp.
You may want to trap and photograph, and send a couple of pics to us or ID yourself by Googling. Traps for this purpose are rather inexpensive and can be had on-line. If it is a Mantis Shrimp, trouble lies down the road as it grows. For more info on both, read here.
James (Salty Dog)>

Re Strange Creature In Reef Tank...What Is It? Alpheid 1/21/10
I'll try to take more pictures tonight.
<Sounds good, may want to increase your ASA and use a tripod. James (Salty Dog)>

Pistol Shrimp Hitchhiker: Coral Commensal -- Coralliocaris spp. 5/24/09
Hi Guys, Janet here.
<Hi Janet, Lynn here today>
I bought a colony of Acropora last week and have found 2 hitchhikers in it.
I know that Acropora generally will come with an Acro crab, but these little guys are shrimps.
<They sure are. They're small coral commensals, in the genus Coralliocaris (only around 8-9 species recognized at this time). Unfortunately, I was unable to find photos of each species for comparison, but I did find one that looks similar enough to be a definite possibility. This species, Coralliocaris graminea, varies in color, but has the same thin, longitudinal lines on the body, as well as orange-ish tipped legs and claws. Please see the following links for comparison/more info:
Also, if you happen to have Helmut Debelius' book, Crustacea Guide Of The World (2nd edition), see page 189. Reportedly, this Acropora commensal reaches about 1cm in length and is indigenous to the Indo-West Pacific region.>
They were inside the Acropora colony, and I managed to "spook" them out and get them into a container for a picture and to make sure they were reef safe etc. I am attaching a picture of one of the two.
<Super, thanks>
The other one has no claws, but is identical other than that. The 2 of them must have had a tussle and one ended up with no claws out of the deal?
<Perhaps yes, or it could have been due to rough transit/handling when collected, shipped, etc.>
I currently have them in a 10g emergency tank. Do these guys eat Acro?
<Not according to what I've read. They're commensals that likely have little negative impact on the colony.>
It is even a pistol shrimp?
<No. Although these shrimps do use their claws to make clicking/snapping noises, they're not actually what we consider pistol shrimps (family Alpheidae). They belong to another family: Palaemonidae, subfamily Pontoniidae. This group of shrimps doesn't have the same formidable snapping ability of the Alpheids. Also of note is that the claws of Coralliocaris species are matched in size, whereas those of the Alpheids are markedly different. For more in-depth info on snapping claws, please see this pdf file: http://decapoda.nhm.org/pdfs/27238/27238.pdf  . It's probably more than you ever wanted to know, but it's interesting!>
The Acro colony has had some die off which occurred after getting it home a few days later.
<Can happen sometimes>
I have another smaller colony of Acropora, but this piece is fine.
Because of the die off I started taking a look at the colony to see if I could determine what may be happening to it. This is when I noticed these little guys. I actually managed to nab both of them in my 75 gallon tank without losing them and then moved them to the 10 gallon tank. As you can see by the picture of the shrimp in my hand, they are very tiny.
<Yep, that's typical for these guys. The genus as a whole generally ranges in size from 1-2cm.>
This is a picture of the larger one too. Can you provide any information as to what they are, and if they are reef safe or not. Do they prey on Acropora only or any sps coral?
<I haven't come across anything indicating that they're parasitic, or harmful to corals at all, so you should be okay.>
Thanks, Janet
<You're very welcome. Take care, LynnZ>

Re: Pistol Shrimp Hitchhiker: Coral Commensal -- Coralliocaris spp. 5/25/09
<Hi Janet>
Well, thanks for the great info on my little shrimps.
<You're very welcome.>
I have left them in the 10 gallon as I don't think they will keep up with my 75 gallon crew of fish and crustaceans. I have a maroon clown, with a rose bubble anemone and she is rather a misery and huge! I love her though and would not part with her.
<I can sure understand. I used to have a tomato clown with all the charm of a rabid wolverine but I loved her anyway.>
Also a Yellow Tang, tiny Hippo Tang, 1 Coral Perch and 2 Chromis, 2 blood shrimp, 1 coral banded,
<Watch out for this guy. They've been known to kill other shrimps, hermits and the like.>
..and 1 cleaner shrimp as well as the regular snails, hermits, serpent stars (also finding baby serpent stars by the dozen, and also moving them too), and last, 2 sand sifting stars.
<These are neat creatures, but don't do well in most systems. Unfortunately, they wipe out the sandbed fauna then starve.>
I also have a Yellow Watchman Goby, and he is paired with a tiger pistol shrimp.
<Love this combination>
That's another reason why I questioned if these 2 were in fact pistol shrimps. I did notice that the little guys' claws were the same size each, but had what looks like the little snapper.
<Yep, the claws look just like a pistol shrimp's.>
I don't think that whoever shipped this colony of Acropora would have known they were in there do you think?
<I seriously doubt it. Those shrimps are small, cryptically colored, and know how to hide within the coral's branches.>
Sadly there has been more die off and I don't see the Acropora crab in there anymore.
<Oh? I didn't realize you had a crab hitchhiker as well - neat.>
Do the Acropora crabs leave the colony if it's not doing well, or do they die?
<I imagine they stick with the coral until it's pretty well dead, then move on to another.>
This particular piece was large and nice. It may have been in rough shape when I bought it, hence the "sale" price.
<Yep, that's usually a clue that's something's not quite right.>
I may be able to salvage some by fragging it. Does this make sense
<Yes, that is if you can't return it for a refund/credit. Be sure to look over the "Coral Pests and Disease" page (link below) so you can get a better idea of what's going on with the coral. If it's rapidly turning white/losing tissue, it could be RTN (rapid tissue necrosis) or 'white band disease'. If that's the case, you'll want to remove the coral and frag it immediately. In the case of pests, follow the instructions given for each: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/corldisart.html
More info on Acropora selection, issues, here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acropt3.htm
Good site with a key for diagnosing coral disease: http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/mccarty_and_peters/coral/Stonyq0.htm >
..and how should I frag it?
<If it's RTN/WBD, break off healthy pieces well away from any white areas.>
I have a 30 gallon tall seahorse tank too, but there is also a blue pistol shrimp in with them. What is your suggestion about where I could keep these guys?
<Optimally, I'd recommend keeping them with an Acropora colony. I wasn't able to find any information regarding the exact diet of these shrimps. They may be like some commensal crabs in that they feed, at least partially, on the mucus produced by the coral. I honestly just don't know.>
What about feeding?
<I would try offering a variety of foods and see what they like, including small meaty bits of marine origin (Mysis shrimp, silverside, etc), along with some good quality sinking pellets or even flake food.>
I can just leave them in the 10 gallon as there is nothing detrimental to them in there. If they are fine in the tank I don't want to part with them. Did I end up with a rare find!!???
<Well, it's not something you see every day, but I have run across other reports of hobbyists finding these shrimps within their corals. I do believe however, that this is the first time we've ID'd them here at WWM!>
If the Acropora doesn't make it should I give the skeleton to them for cover?
<Sure, as long as there's no lingering disease or pests that might be introduced to any other resident corals.>
It would be a shame to have the entire colony die, I hope to salvage what I can.
<I sure hope you can too.>
You see when I got it home from the store, I obviously dripped it and then added it to the large tank. Sometimes I take a turkey baster and clean the rock of detritus and such. When I did this around that colony, a lot of the "flesh" pretty much just blew away exposing the white skeleton.
<Ouch, not good>
I'd only had it a few days. I have a T5 HO lighting system. Are these sufficient for this type of coral,
<Given enough bulbs and good placement, sure.>
..because I don't want to buy something that won't survive in my tank, until I can change the lighting system if required.
<Good thinking. For more information on SPS system requirements, please see this link: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/acropt3.htm >
This is a great site! And thank you so much for the extremely quick response.
Thanks LynnZ
<You're very welcome. It's always nice to chat with fellow hobbyists about such neat little creatures! Take care, LynnZ>

Re: Pistol Shrimp Hitchhiker: Coral Commensal -- Coralliocaris spp. Follow-up 5/25/09
Janet here again:
<Hi Janet>
I noted that you stated the sand sifting stars deplete the sand bed and eventually starve. I have had mine for at least 2-3 years now and they are still doing fine.
<That's terrific. They don't fare well in most systems, long term. Two to three years though, is definitely long term!>
Although I have heard that theory as well. You weren't referring to the brittle/serpent stars were you?
<Nope, just the sand sifters.>
I have also heard that the coral bandeds can be devils, but mine has been ok.
<Good, hopefully he'll stay that way!>
However, that said I did lose a cleaner shrimp. Actually never found it again at all and did think it may have been him that nabbed him.
<It's possible, yes.>
The cleaner shrimp was fairly small. As per your suggestion, I did frag up the rest of the coral that was salvaged from the Acro colony.
<What was one colony can now turn into many!>
I also fed the little shrimps some or rather a few mysis shrimp.
<Sounds good>
Thanks again for your help.
<You're very welcome. Take care, LynnZ>

Mantis or Pistol 9/22/08 Hi Crew! <Craig> This is an awesome site 'great job. <Thanks> My question is regarding a clicking noise in my 55G reef tank. I know the likely culprit is a Mantis or a Pistol shrimp. I have scoured your site and others and have seen many times the pistol shrimp's clicks are typically single or in two's. I have noticed the clicking for a couple of months only after the lights go out. It was normally one click at a time and sometimes as many as two clicks every 30 minutes or so. Tonight I distinctly heard three clicks in a row. Five or ten minutes later I heard only a single click. Should I be concerned? <If you're missing valuable animals, yes. This is likely a Pistol> I had recently written the clicks off as a pistol shrimp. But the frequency exceeded the normal one or two clicks for a Pistol. I have not lost a fish or invert in this tank for many months. The only losses were the result of an uneducated purchase of Banggai Cardinals that refused to eat. My biggest concern is over my Tiger Sleeper Goby and by Blue Spot Jawfish (which was well worth the high price tag and is easily my favorite fish). I have not seen any burrows (other than the one my Blue Spot resides in) or any molts (other than from my hermits and Skunk Cleaner Shrimp). What should I do 'if anything? Craig <I'd hold off for now, continue observing... There may be an Alpheid here... that the fish are steering clear of, perhaps the Tiger Goby conspiring with. The Pistol can be baited out some time later should it prove problematical. Bob Fenner>

Pistol Shrimp ID and commensal host 8/4/03 Good morning, <cheers> Just a quick id question. I have a small tank that as made up of "dead" rock, it is stocked with a few hermits, and a couple of sergeant majors I netted in Florida. <hardy but ferocious fishes> I also collected some various Caulerpa in Florida (palm beach area). Here is the kicker now I have a new little friend who just sort of appeared (my guess hitch hiked in with the Caulerpa). It is definitely a pistol shrimp, but I can't find any info that has helped to identify the species. <do seek "Reef Creatures: by Humann and DeLoach> It has a bright blue head, and bright orange "arms" and claws. Just to satisfy my curiosity do you have an idea on the species? <hard to say without a pic> Also I was thinking of sticking one of the shrimp gobies in with him, which would be the best species? <you may very well have trouble finding a Pacific shrimp goby to accept this Atlantic pistol. The pistol you have may not even be commensal with gobies/fishes. They are often commensal with echinoderms or other organisms altogether. Lets get a positive ID first and then seek a buddy> Thanks for your help! <best regards, Anthony>

Synalpheus stimpsonii Hi Bob I am interested in pictures of the Crinoid-associated Synalpheus stimpsonii posted on your website. I work on taxonomy of the family Alpheidae and believe that S. stimpsonii is a species complex (5 species have been described and later put in synonymy of S. stimpsonii but I doubt that they are all the same). By the way, Alpheus bellulus is a species complex, too, with at least 2 new cryptic species to be described. I would greatly appreciate if you could send me slide duplicates or high resolution jpgs of these 3 pictures and other Alpheid shrimps; of course, all photos will be used exclusively for scientific purposes and all photographers will be acknowledged. All the best Arthur -- Dr. Arthur Anker Department of Biological Sciences - Zoology University of Alberta Edmonton Canada T6G 2E9 <You are welcome to the use of any/all of my slide work on this group. Am about to scoot out of town, so am asking Jason Chodakowski here to follow-up with you re re-scans, searching the files here for what we have. Cheers. Bob Fenner>

Bob, Take Some Pictures For Me, Please? - Synalpheus stimpsonii Bob, I hope you'll have a chance to take some pics of shrimps and other crusties in the Marquesas, for instance, I have nothing from this region my friend Joseph Poupin did some work on Decapod crustaceans of the French Polynesia (he has a website, too), but as usual shrimps (especially Alpheids) are really poorly represented and illustrated today I also saw your wonderful pontoniine shots. cheers, A -- Dr. Arthur Anker Department of Biological Sciences - Zoology University of Alberta Edmonton Canada T6G 2E9 <Will do my best. Am taking 35mm rigs with macro diopters, mainly Velvia (ISO 50) film... and some tried/true Nikonos and 28mm. framer sets... so we'll see. Would you like me to cc you on the above groups image work vis a vis scans of what is deemed worth scanning? Bob F>

Pistol Shrimp Hello all, In my 3 month old 12g tank with 20lbs of Marshall live rock, I've had clicking or popping noises coming from one area of my tank from the beginning. Early on after first hearing the noises I pulled my rock and dipped it in carbonated water in the hopes of shaking loose a mantis or pistol shrimp but no luck. I've been reading all sorts of posts on noises like this and the consensus seems to be that its either a mantis, pistol or my hermits might be slugging it out. I'm leaning toward ruling out the hermits as the cause as my two Scarlets are the most lazy creatures in my tank and I don't see them putting forth the effort to sling their shell at anyone and my dwarf blue hermits are so small that I can't imagine they can generate enough oompf to make such a loud clicking. So I figure it has to be one of the two shrimp. What confuses me is that its been almost three months of this and my head count for all my critters appears ok so if its a mantis what's he beating on? Also, I've been peeking at my tank after lights out almost every night (about 2 hours after lights off) and usually in the morning too (about 5am) - wouldn't I get a peek at who ever this is or would they lay that low? And the stupid things have to grow so won't it eventually have to out grow whatever space he's in thus possibly revealing himself? And I guess the last thought was could it be something else? I hear everything from 1 to 4 clicks in some sort of succession almost every day and usually more than once. I've read that Pistols usually click in twos and Mantis will beat on something until they get dinner. I have not tried to trap yet as I'm not sure its really a Mantis I'm dealing with. And having past my cycle I'm not excited about the idea of pulling my rock again but I will if I find evidence that something has been killed. Currently the tank has 2 very small false Percs, a dozen snails, 7 hermits and a Skunk cleaner shrimp - all happily going about their business as best as I can tell. Thoughts? <Matt I am almost sure it is a pistol shrimp, I have one and know what you're talking about. If it were a mantis, your cleaner shrimp would be history along with some hermits and possible the clowns. Pistol shrimp aren't bad to have in the tank. You will very seldom see them during the day. If mine smells food I can see his antennae waving out his hole. They do occasionally move from time to time setting up new quarters. This will be evident by gravel looking like it was bulldozed around his hole. James (Salty Dog)> Much thanks, Matt Selchow <You're welcome>

Raising a Pistol Shrimp (3/23/05) I have a few questions regarding a pistol shrimp. <Shoot. BTW, please capitalize the proper noun "I" and the first letter of sentences. Also, please use punctuation like periods and question marks. We post all queries and replies on our site permanently and want them as readable as possible. Our volunteer crew will have a lot more time to answer queries if they don't have to proofread them. Not only that, some of us older presbyopics have a hard time reading unpunctuated text. Thanks, Steve Allen.> I just got him from my LFS and he is a baby I want to raise him and then pair him with a watchman goby... <I have a pair in my tank. They're very attractive and interesting to watch.> ... but I am not sure how long it will take to raise him large enough. What he should be eating as a baby and if the species I have is compatible with a watchman? <What species do you have? Many genus Alpheus burrowing shrimps will for this symbiotic relationship. As for foods, if the shrimp is very small, then you will need something very fine such as Cyclop-Eeze. If big enough, it will take just about any frozen food such as Mysis. Many will take ground flake foods or tiny pellets. The shrimp should be big enough to be with the goby when it's too big to be eaten and is burrowing.> He is opaque with black stripes and he looks like he's wearing a prison jumpsuit. <I'd suggest you compare with pictures in a book that has a lot of shrimp pictures. If you can send me a clear picture, I may be able to help, but I cannot make an identification based on this description. I hope this info is helpful.>

Pistol or Mantis? and adding fish 12/28/05 Hi Crew! Hope you all had a great holiday. So since the 6 months from my first e-mail to you, things have gone very well. Tank is very stable, and my skeptical wife now loves it. We spend at least an hour every evening after we put our daughter down for the night just watching the tank and talking. <Ahhh!> She has named all the fish and has identified personalities in all of them. Even the dog gets into the act. (Dog barks when my smaller ocellaris "surfs" the current from my Sea-swirl from 1 side of the tank to the other, which at night it will do 15-20 times in the last hour before the light goes out!) She has protested any time I talk about moving rock around. So my point of all of the above is that the tank is really in a great place and I don't want to do any major overhauls. <Okay> Tank basics: 72 Bow Front, 100lbs LR, 20g refugium with 8" DSB, 40g sump, 3/4 sand in display, 2x175w 10K MH on for 9 hours a day, 2x96W PC 420nm Actinic on for 12 hours a day. 2 Ocellaris Clown (2" and 1 3/4"). Foxface Rabbit (4"), Hippo Tang (2 1/4"), Starry Blenny (4 1/2"), 2 cleaner shrimp (3 1/2" each), 2 peppermint shrimp (1 1/2" - new adds) 2 Mithrax crabs. Oh and 24 Astrea snails, 4 Mexican turbo, 10 Nassarius. So for the last 4 months I have heard a popping from the tank. I tried trapping, but I kept catching the Mithrax crabs (damn them). I hear two types of popping. 1 loud popping that occurs sometimes at full light and definitely under just the PC and dark. The pops only come in 1s and sometimes in 2s, but I would characterize as loud. Usually several minutes between pops. The 2nd type of popping is more of a quiet clicking. Happens just after light goes out. Happens in multiples, but not rapid fire, usually 15 to 30 second spacing. So my question is Pistol shrimp, mantis, or maybe both? <Likely Pistol/s... from the loudness, frequency, absence of dead crustaceans (the Mithraculus would be gone)> What exactly should I be looking for? <Small Alpheid/s... they hide, especially during light hours> I have not seen either of them and I have spent many the hour with a flashlight scanning the tank. Nothing has yet been killed. I have a healthy population of amphipods that could be feeding one or both. If they were small to begin with would they have gotten much bigger in 6 months? <Likely so... most only get to less than an inch and a half total length> I have herd stories of people having mantis shrimp in a reef and it never killing fish. Nothing has died should I just wait and see? <I would, yes> Could I have lucked out? I have a healthy population of coral too. My rock is secured to a frame so I have good circulation in front and back (at your suggestion). So, the only thought I have is to slowly pull out rocks 1 by 1 and rotate them into the fuge until I hear the popping coming from the fuge. My concern is that I will stress the heck out of the fish pulling a new rock out every night and of course anything with coral attached will take a potential hit. <You are wise to consider this "cost" here... the "alternative hypothesis"... and to choose the null... to do nothing> My final question is w/ respect to adding fish given this situation. I am only planning on adding a few more. 1 Flame Angel (of course my coral and clam may hate me), 1 mandarin goby when the time is right, and a couple of open water swimmers: fairy wrasse or 2, a Chromis or 2, etc... Thanks as always, you all are the best. Oh and Tom from the Fish Doctors in Michigan sends his best (I got lucky and now have a great LFS). <Ahh! Please do mention back to Tom that I say hello as well! Bob Fenner>

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