How to Keep Your New Flower Shrimps

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Flower Shrimp Factoids

Origin

Singapore

Sexual Differences

Males larger

Maximum Size

Two to three inches

Temperature

Bothered a lot by cooler temperatures 

Climber

Thigmotactic.  Likes planted tanks.

Substrate

Thigmotactic.  Hates bare tanks.

Security

Likes planted tank.  Camouflage colors.

Foods

Filter feeders -- micro-algae, infusoria, micro foods.

Threat Big fish and medications containing copper

 

 

LA
Flower shrimp.

LA
Seven flower shrimp in a four-inch bowl.  Different patterns.

LA
These seven flower shrimp blend into this algae-covered ornament.

Flower Shrimps Headon
Indian Ocean flower shrimp (Penaeus semisulcatus) from Salet Seafoods Pvt. Ltd.

LA
This one's from my favorite Chinese restaurant.

Origin.  You’ll find flower shrimp under several names – including wood shrimp and Singapore shrimp.  For this reason, we believe they originally came from Singapore.  There’s also a salt water flower shrimp that comes from the Indian Ocean.  They look similar and tasty.  (The cooked flower shrimp cost less than the live ones.)

LA
Most flower shrimps sport that stripe down their back.  They like moving water.

LA
They change into these different colors when they feel like it.

 

 

Appearance.  Flower shrimps blend into the woodwork.  Another reason they’re sometimes called wood shrimp.  They can “bloom” into different colors very rapidly within the brown/orange/reddish range -- maybe the reason for the flower shrimp name?

LA
Can you see their weird strainer/pincers?  Note how they hang by the filter outlet.

LA
occasionally, one will go into the filter tube.

No Threat.  Their two to three-inch size makes flower shrimps ideal community tank mates.  They don’t chase fish as large as moons/platies but don’t belong in a guppy breeding aquarium.

Good Scavengers?  Flower shrimps are not well known as eaters of excess food that falls to the bottom.  But they will strain out the micro algae that turn your water green and the micro organisms that turn your water a cloudy grey.  

LA
Flower shrimp don't eat attached algae.  They do like walking on it.

Crawlers.  Unlike most shrimps these little guys usually don’t crawfish backwards in twitchy jumps.  They calmly mosey across the gravel at a leisurely stroll (unless you try to pick them up).

Odd Feeders.  As mentioned earlier, Flower shrimp eat micro foods.  Commercial micro foods would probably pique their need to breed.  Second choice – grind up flake foods into a powder. The hermit crab meal looks like a good substitute also.  Dissolve it in water first.  Flower shrimp eat the bacteria that eat the excess food you feed.

LA
Flower shrimp constantly sift thru the water with their rake-like front claws.

LA
Really hard to see those front "claws."

LA
This flower shrimp's food strainers and other legs have been removed by a Geophagus.

LA

Strange “Pincers.”  Take another look.  Those are not really pincers at the ends of their first four arms.  They’re more like leaf rakes that pull small particles into their craw.  They also resemble flowers when you look at them.  Perhaps this gives them the flower in their name?  Consider your flower shrimp harmless to normal fish.

LA
No tiny pincers on the tips of the flower shrimp's walking feet.

LA
Flower shrimp pull their four fan-like front feet into their head area when threatened.

Lotsa and Lotsa Feet.  Underneath their abdomen, you’ll see three pairs of legs they use to walk on the bottom.

Not Algae Eaters.  Most shrimps prey on the algae that grows on the various objects in your aquarium.  Not the flower shrimp.  They eat only the tiny free-floating micro algae.  

LA
There's a snail inside this particular exoskeleton.

LA
Another shed.

Exoskeleton.   Like other arthropods, flower shrimp have no bones.  Their muscles attach to their exoskeleton or hard outer shell.  As they grow, they shed their shell and go into a soft shell phase.  Other critters love to eat them at this tasty phase.  I’m not sure whether they eat their shed shell or not.

LA
Most arthropods eat their shed shells to recycle the calcium.

LA
This shell stayed in their tank four days before I fed it to the turtles (great re-cyclers).
 

LA
Six flower shrimp piling up at filter outlet.

LA

Not Hiders.  Flower shrimp prefer to hang out around your filter outlets.  The stronger ones get the best spots.  Some will pile up in these preferred places.

LA
Male or female?

Breeding.  We have not bred them.  However, if you keep your flower shrimp in a community tank, you will not find the tiny babies before your fish enjoy a tasty shrimp dinner.  

LA
When on a smooth surface, flower shrimp start crawling on each other.

Thigmotactic.  Lots of little critters demand a surface they can crawl on – cockroaches, for example.  Flower shrimp stress out and may die if kept in bare tanks.  

LA
Cute and harmless filter feeders.

LA
Roughly the same size as a platy, they mainly ignore each other.

LA
Flower shrimps do change colors.  His tank mate was grey.

LA
Same exact shrimp trying to blend in (and doing a great job of it).

LA
Lotsa variety in colors.  And they change when They feel like it.

LA
This guy felt like turning red.

Summary.  Flower shrimp fare great in community tanks.  Their chances of breeding go up if you keep them in planted tanks devoid of fish.  LA

Calvin, January 22, 2008
I saw your page on flower shrimp. I never heard of anyone calling it a flower shrimp. One reason is because THEY DON'T LOOK LIKE FLOWERS!!!!!!! They are mostly called fan, bamboo, and wood shrimp. In your page you should mention they have fan like claws. They sit near the filter because of the current.

A:  Did you read the page?  I referred to them as flower shrimp.  They're also called Singapore shrimp and don't look much like Singapore.  Google "flower shrimp" and you'll get 2,250 hits.  (Of course, many of the hits were recipes.)  Just because you never heard of the flower shrimp name does not mean no one else has heard of it.  LA

Andrew Battler, Fort Worth, TX, August 6, 2011
Hey, great site!  Just my two cents: around here the flower shrimp is sometimes called the marble shrimp by chain pet stores because of their striped marble back.  The rest of us call it a flower shrimp, because of the way their feeders "bloom" when they feed.  Thanks!.

A:  Thanks.  They have lots of names.  I'll add your comment to my flower shrimp page.  LA

 

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