harlequin shrimp

6 Sensational Saltwater Shrimp

Looking for an interesting invertebrate that will add some elegance and character to your tank? Take a look at these 6 sensational saltwater shrimp

6. Coral banded

coral banded shrimp

By Alexander Vasenin (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Probably the first shrimp I owned, because of the price, the coral banded shrimp comes in at # 6 on the list. The position of their claws makes them look a bit like a boxer (or a tough bro who just got done working out his lats and wants to impress you).

5. Peppermint

Peppermint shrimp

The sweetest of the sensational shrimp here is the peppermint shrimp. Small and delicate with red stripes and a taste for those dreaded aiptasia anemones.

4. Skunk Cleaner

skunk cleaner shrimp

Perhaps the most iconic invertebrate on the list, the skunk cleaner shrimp is famous for picking parasites off of fellow tankmates.

3. Blood red fire shrimp

blood red fire shrimp lysmata debelius

The name of the #3 sensational saltwater shrimp sounds a lot more macabre than it really is. Take a look at the blood-red fire shrimp gets its name from the color of its shell (before cooking…) and not because of the carnage it creates in your tank. If you’re looking for carnage…take a look at the #1 shrimp

2. Pistol

Synalpheus pinkfloydi (full res) by Arthur Anker

Reach for the sky, you filthy varmint. The pistol shrimp is an extremely popular saltwater shrimp species and is fun to watch, especially when paired with a fish.

1. Harlequin

harlequin shrimp

However, the # 1 sensational saltwater shrimp is easily the harlequin shrimp. It is arguably one of the most beautiful saltwater creatures you could even keep in your tank–and it has reached celebrity status because it’s preferred food is live starfish. Gruesome and amazing at the same time.


Four of the shrimps on this list are perfectly suited for life in a saltwater aquarium. They are gorgeous and often times even practical. One will clean up pesky aiptasia. Another will clean up your asterina starfish problem, and if you’re lucky a few of them will even clean your fish of parasites.

But buyer be warned that the pistol shrimp and harlequin shrimp do have some special care requirements that don’t make them a great fit for every situation.

For more information

Check out the 20 most popular saltwater fish species

Learn about these functional fishes


Do you have a favorite? Please leave a comment below and share it with us.

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