SCARLET SKUNK CLEANER SHRIMP
(LYSMATA AMBOINENSIS)


The Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp is also known as the Indo-Pacific White-Banded Cleaner Shrimp, Indo-Pacific White-Striped Cleaner Shrimp, and Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp. It may also be called the Red Skunk Cleaner Shrimp because of the very distinct two bright red stripes surrounding one white stripe running down its back. There are two species usually referred to as striped cleaner shrimp, the L. amboinensis with white spots at the end of the tail and, from the Atlantic, the L. grabhami that has no spots. The L. amboinensis is one of the most popular shrimp for the home aquarium.

Often found in groups, this Cleaner Shrimp will set up a cleaning station on coral reefs or rubble, waiting for fish to come and be cleaned. It feeds on ectoparasites or dead tissue that it picks from the body and oral cavities/gills of these fish (e.g.; Tangs or Groupers) in the wild or in the aquarium. This also helps to protect the fish from contracting diseases and infections. Many fish value its services so highly that they will allow it to clean the inside of their mouths, and not harm it. Some fish, though, such as Hawkfish, Lionfish, and some predatory shrimp and crabs may eat the Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp. It will not tolerate copper or high levels of nitrates in the aquarium, but will require correct levels of iodine in the water to promote proper molting.

In the aquarium, the diet can include freeze dried, frozen, and dry foods.