The deep red colour of the blood shrimp is unmistakable and it is easy to see how it got its name. Also known as the Fire Shrimp, or Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp, the blood shrimp is one of the most popular
ornamental shrimps in the hobby. It only has one colour morph but thankfully it is an eye-catching red with white dots that may cover its whole body or just its carapace. Blood shrimp are found in the waters off Indonesia and Sri Lanka. In fact, the distribution of white dots on their bodies are indicative of their location. In its natural habitat blood shrimp are found in tropical reef environments where they search for food amongst the corals. In a home aquarium, they appreciate ample rockwork with caves and overhangs. They are nocturnal, so will be most active during the night and will often find a covered spot to rest during the day. The blood shrimp is also a cleaner shrimp, so it will often set up a “cleaning station” and remove dead tissue and parasites from fish.
Not only does the blood shrimp offer a stunning splash of red to any reef tank, they also serve a number of useful functions. As a cleaner shrimp, they can help keep fish free of parasites and it is fascinating to watch them in action at their “cleaning stations”. Blood shrimp also will consume leftover meaty foods as well as any dead organisms in a home aquarium. Despite their aggressive sounding name they are completely reef safe and will even help to turn over your sandbed as they forage for food. If needed their diet may be supplemented with chopped squid or pellets, but this is not usually necessary. Like other shrimp, the blood shrimp’s exoskeleton does not grow so they will molt periodically. Don’t panic if your shrimp disappears after molting, it is likely just hiding while its new skeleton hardens. Like many invertebrates they are not tolerant of copper based medications.