Coral Banded Shrimp

Updated August 6, 2019
Author: Mike - FishLore Admin
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The Coral Banded Shrimp is a very popular saltwater invertebrate that is kept in many marine aquariums. They are usually found in small crevices or hanging upside down from live rock in the aquarium.

Most of their time is spent in hiding and you won't see them walking around very often. It is important to make sure they are getting their share of food around feeding time. This may mean that you have to use a feeding stick and place the food directly in front of them so they can grab it. It's probably not a good choice for reef tanks because they have a tendency to pinch at corals and anemones looking for food.

Stenopus hispidus Stenopus hispidus

If your shrimp loses one of its arms or claws, don't worry. They will regenerate it the next time they molt. Iodine supplements may need to be added to your tank water to help with the molting process.

This shrimp is usually lumped in with the other cleaner shrimps but this behavior is not often seen in the home aquarium. Many hobbyists have noted that they have never seen this shrimp clean fishes. A better cleaner shrimp is the Skunk Cleaner Shrimp

These shrimp are usually very hardy if they have been acclimated slowly. It's recommended to acclimate them to your aquarium water over a period of an hour or more to avoid pH shock. Also, carefully read any medications before using them in a tank with invertebrates. Many fish medicines will kill your invertebrates, especially medicine that contains copper.

Stenopus hispidus Stenopus hispidus

Stenopus hispidus Stenopus hispidus

Coral Banded Shrimp Care Details

Scientific Name : Stenopus hispidus

Common Names : Banded Cleaner Shrimp, Banded Boxer Shrimp, Barber Pole Shrimp

Care Level : Easy, good invertebrate for saltwater beginners, use a slow drip acclimation to introduce to your tank.

Life span : 2 - 3 years, maybe longer

Size : Up to 2 inches (5 cm)

pH : 8.0 - 8.4

Temperature : 72°F - 80°F (24°C - 27°C)

Specific Gravity : 1.022 - 1.025

Carbonate Hardness (dKH) : 8 - 12°

Origin / Habitat : Indo-Pacific

Temperament / Behavior : Peaceful if not mixed with other shrimps, especially other banded coral shrimps. The exception to this rule is a mated pair of Banded Coral Shrimps.

Breeding : Difficult to breed them in the home aquarium because the larvae either gets eaten or sucked into the filtration system. Females can be recognized by the green ovaries visible through their transparent carapace. Also see: How to Raise and Train Peppermint Shrimp for a complete how-to on breeding saltwater shrimp.

Aquarium Size : 30 gallon minimum

Tank Mates : Avoid keeping them in an aquarium with Lionfish, Snappers, Groupers, Triggers, Eels or any other predatory fish large enough to eat them. We would not recommend mixing them with other shrimps. You will probably see much better results keeping only one CBS in your tank.

Reef Tank Compatible? : If you have other shrimps in the tank, you might see some aggression from the banded coral shrimp. Others report that they have no problems with keeping this shrimp in a reef aquarium with other shrimps. They may steal food from anemones and corals. So given that information, I would not consider them reef tank safe.

Diet / Foods : Omnivore - try to give them a variety of foods. They will take vitamin enriched flake foods, frozen and definitely live foods. You may have to use a feeding stick to place the food directly in front of them so they don't have to compete with the faster fish.

Tank Region : Bottom, often hides

Gender : The male is slightly smaller and the female has bluish colored ovaries that can usually be easily seen.

Photo Credit : Photos copyright

Shimek, R. L. (2004). Marine Invertebrates - 500 Essential to Know Aquarium Species. T.F.H. Publications.
Calfo, A. (2003). Reef Invertebrates - An Essential Guide to Selection, Care and Compatibility. Readin Trees Publications

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Coral Banded Shrimp

Coral Banded Shrimp Comments

From: Stefan
I recently purchased a coral banded shrimp to add to my reef tank and i have not yet witnessed the aggression they are famed for. He has settled well with my two occelaris clowns.

From: Chuck
I found my new Coral Shrimp eating my Long Polyp Toadstool last night. I thought these were reef safe? It ate a hole as big as your thumb into the side of the coral. I watched for about 10 minutes, then made arrangements to lose it.

From: JR
I caught my coral shrimp on the reef about 2 months ago, in the time that it has been in my tank it has eaten both of my arrowcrabs, both of my neon gobies, and the other coral shrimp, who were all caught on the reef.

From: Lisa
These creatures are so fun to watch. I am told that they mostly hide during the day under rocks, but not mine. My CBS runs around my tank all day long. When its feeding time she attempts to climb up the glass to get the food. She also climbs up all the rocks until she reaches the top of the tank to get the food. They are very hardy, had mine for about 4 months now, and they are very fun to watch!

From: Kosty
Our Coral Banded Shrimp is almost 4 years old. He molts all the time and we were surprised the first time he lost a claw. It grew back within about 3 weeks. It is very cool and it will be a real bummer when he passes.

From: Jim
We've had our Banded Shrimp for about 2 years now. We hardly ever see it since it likes to hide out in a small depression on the back side of a mound of live rock in our tank. It does come out at night when the tank lights are off and the room lights are subdued. I can see it walking around the front of the tank looking for food. I'm not sure that we would have purchased it ($15) now knowing its reclusive habits.

From: Elliot Stamey
I have had at least 5 different Coral Shrimp during my aquarium keeping days. The first used to try to catch my cleaner shrimp by sneaking up on him, but the CBS was never successful. When Hurricane Katrina knocked out my power I lost one. I once had to remove one since he was overly aggressive. I introduced a Niger Trigger and they lived peacefully for months until I ran out of trigger food and they trigger ate all of my shrimp with the CBS fighting him off and was the last to go. Now I have two CBS that are a mated pair (they bonded at the store) and I can clearly see the green ovaries in the larger female! They often parade around the tank not bothering anyone. I moved my trigger to another tank because I missed the sight of their swaying attenae.

From: Joanne
My CBS actually comes to the surface on the nights that I feed my fuzzy dwarf lions. My tip to anyone who has fuzzys, don't add a CBS, not for the fact that the fuzzys might eat him, but for the fact that the Coral Banded Shrimp is constantly shreding their fins. He rules the tank.

From: Rob
If your Banded Coral Shrimp is eating other inhabitants, you may not be providing enough food for the shrimp. Feed a little more and the shrimp will likely leave the other animals alone. Make sure the shrimp gets food, preferably some meaty chunks. I recently discovered that I have a pair and she's pregnant (my wife got her for me on Valentine's Day of all things and didn't know she was a she)...probably food for the fish. The 2 shrimps get along and he even acts as a responsible father.

From: Chelsea
I have had my coral shrimp for 5 years now, and I have seen no problems concerning any other shrimps or coral. If you are having problems with him bothering anyone, maybe you should feed him a little for often so he doesn't feel the need to get in anyone's business. My coral banded (named Cruz) is very peaceful toward everyone, including his smaller tank mates. Maybe all he wants is more food. Mine LOVES polychaete worms. He happily devours those, maybe you should try them.

From: Daytonareef
I am 90 percent sure it's a feeding problem. Full predators rarely go on the prowl. Try giving him a small piece of silverside that he can carry off and munch on for more then 2 seconds like flake and other prepared foods. Also if you feed your tank your flakes or whatever before you add the chunk of silverside the rest of the fish won't steal his little chunk of happiness and he can scurry off into the rocks and take the 30 minutes to eat what will satisfy him and he wont bother anyone anymore.

From: Ladipyg
I agree with Daytonareef in that a well fed CBS will not be aggressive or bother anything else in the tank. I usually take a piece of silverside or sardine or threadfin shad and rubberband it to a rock that has a fishing line tied to it. I can lower it into the cave where the pair of CBS hang around and they eat to their hearts content. They seem to have set up a "cleaning station". The pair hang under a rock that forms a large cave and I have observed both tangs, and a couple of wrasses (one clown - one blue sided) hang under there while the shrimp clean them. I have had the same fish for years and quarantine any corals entering the tank, so I think they are just grooming them. I can't see clearly enough, but I think the female has eggs under her abdomen.

From: Corey
I've had my CBS for about 5 months now. Fantastic addition to the tank by far. He is very hardy, survived a 3 day power outage which killed all my fish, he kept going like a champ even at 60 degree water temp and no current/filtration. I'd recommend one to anyone, he is a blast to watch and when I am in the tank he runs over (literally) to try and fend me off, it makes me laugh!

More Saltwater Invertebrate Profiles
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Clibanarius spp.
Hermit Crab
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Will graze on algae but is not considered reef tank safe.