Do Peppermint Shrimp Eat Coral? Do They Feed on Aiptasia Anemones?

Aquariums and their mesmerizing beauty can have a profound effect on every onlooker. The marine creatures living happily together with each other is so relaxing to look at.

Often, aquarium owners overlook the fact that all creatures don’t live harmoniously together. You need to be careful about the flora and fauna you add to your miniature underwater ecosystem. After all, the last thing you want is one organism endangering the existence of another.

This may well be the case if you own coral. You need to know whether anything you add to the tank will harm your coral. If you are thinking about purchasing peppermint shrimp, then this is a valid concern.

While it may appear that peppermint shrimp do not eat coral, there are other aspects that you must look into. This blog will help answer any questions you may have related to the topic.

Meet peppermint shrimp

Peppermint shrimp are a shrimp species commonly found in the Caribbean Sea, The peppermint shrimp gets its name from the horizontal crimson stripes that run down the length of its off-white body. They are active at night, coming out from the rock work and forage to eat.

Why do people buy peppermint shrimp in the first place?

Like any other pet you may own, it’s essential to ensure that every organism in your aquarium is comfortable and well looked after. For this reason, the peppermint shrimp is one of the most popular shrimps in this hobby.

They consume detritus, uneaten food, and decomposing organic material as they pick their way around the aquarium and live rock.

Peppermint shrimp and Aiptasia

Using peppermint shrimp for Aiptasia-control is quite popular. That’s because this shrimp has a well-known reputation for eating the Aiptasia anemone. Moreover, it means you don’t have to use harmful chemicals or remove the anemone from your saltwater tank by hand.

Furthermore, peppermint shrimp thrive in captivity and do not need special care. Just be careful not to add any predatory fish that might want to have them for dinner. Fish that you should avoid include lionfish, large wrasses, and large Dottybacks.

Why are Aiptasia anemones so bad?

The most important reason aquarists want to get rid of Aiptasia anemones is that they have a potent sting that can kill coral and fish. Additionally, they breed and multiply super-fast, quickly overtaking the entire tank.

Do peppermint shrimp always feed on Aiptasia anemones?

Peppermint shrimp can sometimes ignore Aiptasia anemones, especially when there is a lot of supplemental food. So, you need to limit the quantity of food you give so that they continue to feed on the Aiptasia anemones.

Is peppermint shrimp a threat to your coral?

Generally speaking, peppermint shrimp pose minimal threat to aquarium inhabitants, including coral. They even get along pretty well with each other.

The only complaint you may have is that a peppermint shrimp might steal the coral’s food. While they are stealing food, the shrimp may tear at the coral’s flesh. This can cause cuts to form as the shrimp pulls the food out of the coral’s mouth.

You can resolve this issue and avoid damage to your coral by chasing the shrimp away until the coral has completely engulfed its meal.

Do peppermint shrimp eat coral?

Peppermint shrimp have a notorious reputation for eating coral. You need to understand that peppermint shrimp are scavengers. That means that they consume dead organisms.

Peppermint shrimp only eat dead or dying coral flesh. A lot of people don’t realize that this is actually beneficial for the coral. By eating the dead tissue, the shrimp stops it from spreading and helps save the coral.

Sometimes, peppermint shrimp have eaten soft corals and polyps. This can happen when the shrimp eliminates all the Aiptasia anemones and is still hungry. You can prevent this from happening by placing a physical barrier over the coral.

Peppermint shrimp vs Camel shrimp

It’s easy for anyone to get confused between a peppermint shrimp and a camel shrimp. That’s because a camel shrimp also has a white and red pattern, but theirs is slightly more erratic.

A novice aquarist may not be able to tell the difference between the two. The problem surfaces when you place a camelback shrimp in the aquarium. This type of shrimp does not consume Aiptasia anemone. Even worse, they are not reef safe. That means that they will harm your coral.

How to catch peppermint shrimp, and take him out?

Trapping him is going to be tricky as this little fella is fast. You can try luring the shrimp up to the surface with Mysis while simultaneously placing a big white net behind it. Or you can try to scare it from the front with your hands while you feed it.

That way, it will shoot right into the net. It may take a couple of attempts to get it right, but don’t give up. These shrimp can be rather destructive, so the sooner you get the camelback shrimp out, the better.

If you are still unsuccessful, create a simple bottle trap to catch the shrimp. That way, you won’t disturb the entire tank. Cut the top off a plastic Coke bottle, invert it, and tape the two pieces back together. Put some food in the trap, place it in the tank, and wait. You should be able to catch it soon enough.

Final thoughts

There’s a lot that goes into maintaining a healthy aquarium. It begins with having the right information. 

When it comes to keeping your tank clean, you can depend on peppermint shrimp. They’ll pick at dead things and keep those troublesome Aiptasia anemones under control. 

Peppermint shrimp usually do not eat coral, but they can make exceptions to this. Make sure to be vigilant and monitor your peppermint shrimp so that they don’t bother your coral.

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