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Investigating Anemone Shrimp

Learn about the biology and care of this unique group of crustaceans before adding them to your tank.

By Scott W. Michael |

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One of the most fascinating features of tropical reef ecosystems is the many symbiotic relationships that occur between organisms. From the corals and the unicellular algae that live in their tissues, and act as a solar-powered energy source to the hitchhiking remoras that clean sharks of parasites, the coral reef is a venue where such partnerships are ubiquitous. As the common name implies, the anemone shrimp utilize sea anemones (class Anthozoa) as a place to refuge. Somehow, they are able to live among the tentacles armed with nematocysts (stinging cells) of cnidarians without getting stung or eaten. But does the anemone benefit from the presence of these little crustaceans?

Fortunately for aquarists, a handful of species from this crustacean guild make their way into the ornamental fish trade. It therefore makes good sense for us to investigate how to best care for these amazing little creatures in our home aquariums.

Want to read the full story? Pick up the September 2010 issue of Aquarium Fish International today.

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