Re:Cleaer shrimp questions/update on Harry & Berniece

Pete Giwojna

Dear Marilyn:

It’s good to hear that Harry and Bernice, your Ocean Rider seahorses, are doing well.

Regarding the pesky cleaner shrimp that has recently taken to probing Bernice’s ovipositor, it’s very unlikely that it could reach far enough into the oviduct to access any mature ova. But the unwanted attention from the cleaner shrimp could become a source of annoyance to the seahorse if the shrimp is persistent in probing around the sensitive vent area. If this becomes a bad habit, it could become stressful for the seahorse at some point, so you might consider relocating the pesky cleaner shrimp if his recent behavior becomes an unwelcome obsession. If that’s the case, Marilyn, then I would recommend replacing the rowdy Scarlet cleaner shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis) with a fire shrimp (Lysmata debelius) instead. You’ll find the red fire shrimp (L. debelius) to be every bit as colorful and decorative as the Scarlet cleaner shrimp (L. amboinensis), if not even more showy, and fire shrimp are a little more shy and therefore much less unlikely to develop any bad habits that could become irritating to your seahorses.

Yes, indeed, Marilyn, a 55-gallon aquarium would be more than adequate to house two pairs of large seahorses. For example, the recommended stocking density for Mustangs and Sunbursts (Hippocampus erectus) is one pair per 10 gallons, so a well-filtered 55-gallon aquarium could safely house up to 5 pairs or 10 adult individuals when it was fully stocked. Of course, it’s always best to leave the aquarium a little under stocked in order to allow for a margin of error, but I would say that when the new 55-gallon 10 Tenecor aquarium is well established, it should be able to comfortably support three or four pairs of large seahorses as long as you build up your herd gradually.

Best wishes with all your fishes, Marilyn! Here’s hoping that your cleaner shrimp does not become a persistent pest that needs to be removed for the seahorse’s peace of mind.

Pete Giwojna

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