Skunk Cleaner Shrimp

Updated August 6, 2019
Author: Mike - FishLore Admin
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The Skunk Cleaner Shrimp is probably the most sought after of the common cleaner shrimps simply because it really does clean fish. These Skunk Cleaner Shrimps will setup a cleaning station on top of a section of the live rock and will wave their antennaes until a larger fish stops by and they commence their cleaning tasks.

What exactly are they cleaning you may be wondering? Well, they are looking for small parasites (i.e. marine ich) and dead tissues. They will probe all over the fish, along the gills and sometimes even inside the mouth of the fish removing the parasites and dead tissues.

Skunk Cleaner Shrimp Skunk Cleaner Shrimp

The Skunk Cleaner Shrimp should do fine if you want to keep them in multiples but they should not be kept with more aggressive fish species such as Hawkfish, Lionfish and Triggerfish who may go after them.

Feeding them is relatively easy because they will eat nearly any meaty type of fish food that you put in the tank. You just need to ensure that they are getting their fair share. They may even take flake foods once they realize they can eat flakes.

Lysmata amboinensis Lysmata amboinensis

The Skunk Cleaner shrimp is 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.

Don't be alarmed if you look in your tank one day and see what appears to be a dead shrimp. Look around the tank and if you see that the shrimp is indeed still alive, then what you're looking at is the exo-skeleton that they shed every once in a while. You will need to periodically add an iodine supplement to the water because they use iodine in building their new exo-skeleton.

Skunk Cleaner Shrimp on rock Skunk Cleaner Shrimp on corals

A cleaner shrimp that actually does a decent job of keeping tank mates clean.
Cleaner Shrimp actually cleaning! Cleaner Shrimp and Yellow Tang

Cleaner Shrimp Actually Cleaning a Tang

Skunk Cleaner Shrimp Care

Scientific Name : Lysmata amboinensis

Common Names : Skunk Cleaner Shrimp

Care Level : Easy, needs to be slowly acclimated to the tank. Take an hour or longer and use a slow drip acclimation.

Size : Up to 2 inches (5 cm)

Life span : 3 years or longer

pH : 8.1 - 8.4

Temperature : 75°F - 82°F (25°C - 28°C)

Specific Gravity : 1.023 - 1.025

Carbonate Hardness (dKH) : 8 - 12°

Origin / Habitat : Indo-Pacific

Temperament / Behavior : This is a very peaceful little shrimp that should make a great addition to nearly any peaceful tank. Watch them closely in reef tanks because they may sometimes pick at corals and may even take food from your corals. They may also chase away other shrimps that invade its territory.

Breeding : This invertebrate has been bred in the home aquarium. They are functional simultaneous hermaphrodites. Also see: How to Raise and Train Peppermint Shrimp for a complete how-to on breeding saltwater shrimp. Feeding the larvae enriched rotifers shows better survival rates.

Aquarium Size : 30 gallon (114 liters) minimum

Tank Mates : Use caution when selecting tank mates. Don't keep them with more aggressive fish species such as Triggers, Hawkfish and Lionfish that may munch on them. You should be able to keep multiple skunk cleaner shrimps in the same tank. They seem to tolerate each other well.

Fish Disease : Saltwater Fish Disease - Diagnose, Symptoms and Treatment

Diet / Foods : Omnivorous, try to give them a variety of marine foods. They should accept most meaty types of frozen and live foods.

Tank Region : Usually stays close to its chosen territory in the live rock or any other tank decor that can provide shelter. They should come out when food hits the water.

Gender : Hermaphrodites - has both male and female reproductive organs.

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

Site References :

More Saltwater Invertebrate Profiles
Nassarius Snail
Nassarius sp.
Nassarius Snail
Good scavengers that will burrow under the sand and come out when they detect the smell of food entering the water.
Peppermint Shrimp
Lysmata wurdemanni
Peppermint Shrimp
Does a great job at eating aiptasia and you can keep multiples and even breed them in a dedicated saltwater shrimp breeding setup.
Red Fire Shrimp
Lysmata debelius
Red Fire Shrimp
An amazing looking shrimp and one of the most popular. The fire shrimp don't seem to be as active in the cleaning fish department as the skunk cleaner shrimp but they do in fact clean fish.