Coral Banded Shrimp: Stenopus hispidus

Phylum: Subphylum: Class: Order: Family: Genus: Species:
Arthropoda Crustacea Malacostraca Decopoda Stenopodidae Stenopus S. hispidus

Common Names:  Banded Coral Shrimp, Coral Banded Shrimp – CBS for shorthand, Barber Pole shrimp

Scientific Name:  Stenopus hispidus

The Coral Banded Shrimp is easily recognized by the red & white bands that circle its body and its very long front claws.  It also has very long white antennae which are used to flag down passing fish that may be interested in a cleaning. It belongs to the cleaner shrimp family which setup cleaning stations and pick parasites and damaged tissues off of fish.

Females are larger than males and they pair up for long periods and possibly for life.

Natural Environment:
Coral reefs near  rocky ledges or crevices in the Indo-Pacific region and the western Atlantic

Reef Tank Suitability:
The Banded Coral shrimp is a very striking specimen and usually does OK in a reef tank.  They can be somewhat aggressive and pull at corals to get food out of the corals tentacles and mouths.  Many aquarists, including myself have kept them with all forms of reef tank inhabitants including clams, SPS, LPS, softies and other shrimp and have never had a problem, but their temperament seems to vary from individual to individual, so be sure to keep an eye on a new addition in your tank for a while. They will normally stay back in the rockwork and come out only to forage and feed, mostly at night. The only possible casualty that I have observed is with a Peppermint shrimp with the resulting picture below, but it may have already been deceased rather than killed by the Coral Banded shrimp.  As with all potentially predatory shrimp and crabs, keeping them well fed will tend to reduce the chances of having any issues.

Their cleaning behavior is typically not observed in the reef tank like they are in the wild.  I have only observed one instance of one of my Coral Banded shrimps cleaning a Yellow Tang.

If their nutritional requirements are met, they are suitable inhabitants for smaller tanks down to about 20 gallons, but they will tend to walk over corals and disturb them.

Will aggressively go after food, but otherwise are not usually very aggressive.  You can not keep more than one in a tank unless they are a known mated pair or else they will fight to the death.  Mated pairs are sometimes offered in the hobby.

Coral Banded shrimp spend their day and night scavenging and usually learn to come out during normal feeding times and get their share.  They will eat any of the meaty foods offered like Mysis shrimp.

Very hardy.

Does well within normal reef tank temperature ranges of approximately 74-84°F.

Body length of about 2.5″ with antennae that are longer than the body.

All photos public domain or by ReefCorner © All Rights Reserved