The emperor shrimp is a small commensal shrimp, about a 3/4-inch in length. They can be easily identified by their orange sides, white back which is flecked with tiny orange dots, and orange claws that are tipped with purple. It's an interesting creature that forms symbiotic relationships in order to maximize its chance of survival. The Emperor Shrimp is an incredibly awesome, yet nuanced invertebrate in the home aquarium trade. It is not a great choice for beginner aquarium-keepers.
The emperor shrimp develop a symbiotic relationship with a range of nudibranchs and holothurians, or sea cucumbers. The shrimp live on the surface of the host, which offers him protection from predators and an extra source of food. The relationship benefits the host, as the shrimp consume any parasites on its skin. The shrimp doesn't stay still, but constantly moves up and down his host, looking for food from the substrate or that has been disturbed by the host.
Emperor shrimp can be kept as pets in a home marine or reef aquarium. They will, however, need to be kept with an appropriate host, such as a nudibranch, sea cucumber or Medusa worm. They don't need much space themselves, a 2-gallon tank is enough, but when caring for an Emperor Shrimp, you are effectively caring for a sea slug which will in turn care for the shrimp. So, the size of the aquarium will be determined by the size and space requirements of the host. These are the nuances that make the aquarium trade so fascinating.
Tanks should be well stocked with algae and detritus for the slug and the shrimp. Avoid housing with larger fish that will see the Emperor Shrimp as a nice meal. Keeping snails rather than crabs is safer. Porcelain crabs or small hermits are also less of a risk. Anemones can eat shrimp, especially the notorious Condylactis which many people are unaware of its hungry nature and lack of symbiosis. Overall, the nuanced tank environment required for the Emperor Shrimp must be met before this animal can thrive. If so, this is a beautiful specimen and a truly fascinating piece of nature found inside a tank.
Like all crustaceans, these guys do need calcium. They absorb the calcium into their exoskeleton, which is not a fast process. During molting times they will be vulnerable to predation if they are in a tank with fish or other crustaceans because of the odor produced during this process. They also require at least a low photosynthetic light to allow their bodies to utilize important elements, kind of like how people need sunlight to process Vitamin C. When a shrimp molts, it will eat part of its shell to use some of the nutrients its body just lost. Leave the shell in the water. It will be gone before you know it. Like all molting creatures, death is a possibility. During the “undressing” they can get stuck, the shell can prevent them from breathing and reduce O2 levels in their body. A leg or claw can easily be ripped off, however, they usually grow back within 1 or 2 moltings. In a tank with no predators this is fine, but sometimes this can be dangerous if the shrimp cannot swim full speed away from its threat.
Diet & Nutrition
The Emperor Shrimp pairs in a symbiotic relationship with nudibranchs and other sea slugs in order to best obtain nutrients in the form of fecal matter and detritus. However, the emperor shrimp is both a carnivore and a detritivore, so it eats a range of different foods. In the wild, it eats parasites from its host, in addition to algae and detritus from the substrate, and any small meaty foods that come along, such as smaller shrimp or fry. In captivity, they will eat fish flakes, brine shrimp, pellet foods and other small alive or frozen prey. You just have to make sure some food reaches the substrate, where they will pick it up.
Emperor shrimps are common all over the Indo-Pacific region. They tend to be found anywhere their hosts can be found, such as on slopes and reef flats, or in lagoons and bays. They live on the seabed, because they like to find their food among the sand or substrate on the ocean floor
Please Note: Due to variations within species, your item may not look identical to the image provided. Approximate size range may also vary between individual specimen.
Arrive Alive Guarantee Policy:
We have close to a 99% success rate on our livestock shipping due to our picking and packing techniques.
However, the unfortunate event that an item is dead on arrival you must follow the below procedure to prevent your claim from being declined.
- You must make contact with us via email within 2 hours of receiving your order. You do not need to call us as we are not always able to answer the phone immediately due to the nature of our work with our hands in water majority of the day.
- The email must contain a clear photo of the livestock in the original bag still sealed. The photo must be clear and show the entire bag.
This allows us to review your claim and refund accordingly. Due to the nature of your purchase, should you not make contact within 2 hours, refund claims will not be considered.
Once your claim has been processed a refund will be honoured for the cost of the item EXCLUDING the cost of postage within 72 hours.
Please note that the acclimatisation process and how the livestock settle into your aquarium is your responsibility as this is out of our hands. There are a number of factors out of our control such as
- Existing fish becoming aggressive towards your new additions
- Incorrect water parameters - PH / Ammonia / Nitrite Levels.
- Incorrect acclimatisation process carried out, introduced livestock too soon which will cause too much stress to the livestock.
Therefore we are unable to cover the livestock once they have been delivered and introduced into your aquarium.
Claims will NOT be considered if you miss delivery and your order is taken to the sorting office. Returns are not accepted on livestock.
DX offer a 'Change Your Delivery Date' HOWEVER, YOU MUST NOT CHANGE THE DELIVERY DATE OF YOUR LIVESTOCK ORDER. IF YOU DO YOU WILL VOID YOUR ARRIVE ALIVE GUARANTEE COMPLETELY AND NO CLAIM WILL BE CONSIDERED.
We strongly recommend that you quarantine any new additions before introducing to your main tank. As with any livestock, we cannot be 100% sure of their condition once they leave us, therefore you should always carry out your own quarantine process and monitor the livestock closely before you make the decision to introduce the livestock to your main aquarium.
As of the 1st May 2021, we will be issuing a credit code rather than a monetary refund, should a livestock item not arrive alive. You must still follow the procedure as normal which is stated in our policy, for your claim to be considered.
The credit code will be issued via email to the email address given on your order.
The credit code will be for the value of the livestock only (excluding postage costs)
This only applies if your item is covered by our Arrive Alive Guarantee policy.
The reason we have made this change is because our livestock prices are one of the cheapest across the industry and we want it to stay this way. We do not have any cover or insurance if an animal does not survive the journey to you, so in order for us to maintain our low prices we will now be offering credit notes instead of cash refunds.
If an item is out of stock at the item of packaging your order, we will issue a refund as we were unable to fulfil the item prior to dispatching.
Tank mate compatibility is crucial to a successful and healthy home aquarium. Incompatible species will increase stress in the tank which could result in disease and considerable loss. Use our compatibility charts as a guideline when selecting fish.
Remember, no guarantees can be made about the compatibility or incompatibility of any particular species of fish. Also, particular species within a group of fish vary in temperament and may not correspond with the guidelines below.
Proper acclimation is the key to successful introduction of new aquarium arrivals. The Floating Method is undoubtedly the most widely practiced method among hobbyists. However, a more exact method of acclimation provided by the Drip Method is required for fish, corals or invertebrates sensitive to sudden changes in water chemistry.
The reason why acclimation is necessary is simple: the chemical makeup of the water in which the aquatic life is packaged is different from your aquarium water chemistry (i.e. water temperature, pH, and salinity). Aquatic life such as fish, and especially invertebrates (including corals), are very sensitive to even minor changes in water chemistry. The goal of acclimation is to gradually introduce your new aquatic life to the water chemistry found in your aquarium at a controlled rate to avoid distress.
The acclimation process is complete when equilibrium is reached, where the temporary container housing new arrivals shares the same water chemistry as your aquarium, and your new arrival appears adjusted to these conditions. Since different species have varying levels of tolerance, different methodologies are required to control the rate of change experienced during the acclimation process.
We recommends employing the Floating Method or the Drift Method of acclimation. The Floating Method of acclimation, where aquarium water is added to the floating bag in 1/2 cup increments, is a great choice when acclimating most types of aquarium fish. However, for more sensitive fish, invertebrates, and corals, it is recommended to employ the Drip Method of acclimation. Keep in mind, no matter which acclimation method you choose, be sure to take your time and never rush the process.
The Drip Method is considered more advanced. It is geared toward sensitive aquatic life such as snails, corals, shrimp, sea stars and wrasses. You'll need a drip acclimation kit (sold separately) and must be willing to monitor the entire process. Gather a clean, 3- or 5-gallon bucket designated for aquarium use only. If acclimating both fish and invertebrates, use a separate bucket for each.
- Be patient – never rush the acclimation procedure. The total acclimation time for your new arrival should take no longer than two hours.
- Always follow the acclimation procedure even if your new arrival appears to be dead. Some fish and invertebrates can appear dead when they arrive and will usually revive when the acclimation procedure is followed correctly.
- Never place an airstone into the shipping bag or bucket when acclimating your new arrival. This will increase the pH of the shipping water too quickly and expose your new arrival to lethal ammonia.
- Keep aquarium lights off for at least four hours after the new arrival is introduced into the aquarium.
- Most invertebrates and marine plants are more sensitive than fish to changes in specific gravity. Please acclimate invertebrates to a specific gravity of 1.023-1.025 or severe stress or trauma may result.
- Some live corals produce excess slime when shipped. After the acclimation procedure is followed, hold the coral by the rock or skeletal base and gently shake the coral in the shipping bag before placing into the aquarium. To avoid damage, please remember never to touch the "fleshy" part of a live coral. Many species of coral will not open for several days after introduction into their new home.
In some instances, a new tank mate will be chased and harassed by one or all of your existing tank mates.
Solution 1: A clean plastic spaghetti strainer (found at a local store) can be used to contain a tank bully within the aquarium for several hours until the new arrival adjusts to its surroundings. Just float the perforated plastic basket in the aquarium. Net the tank bully and place in the floating basket for approximately four hours while the new arrival adjusts to your aquarium. Never place the new arrival in this basket; the new specimen must get familiar with your aquarium. By placing the tank bully in a perforated basket, you’ll reduce the stress on the new arrival.
Solution 2: A perforated plastic lighting grid can be purchased at the local hardware store to cut down the width of your aquarium. This grid may be used to section off a small portion of the aquarium to separate territorial or aggressive fish from the newest tank mate.
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