Tiger Pistol Shrimp (Alpheus bellulus)
Max Size: 3 inches
Reef Compatible: Yes
Minimum Tank Size: 15 gallons
The Tiger Snapping Shrimp, also known as the Symbiosis Shrimp and Snapping Shrimp, showcases a tan body adorned with broken rust-colored stripes running across its back. These shrimp serve as valuable additions to a reef aquarium, constantly moving the gravel and effectively stirring the sand. They also scavenge for any uneaten food, contributing to the overall cleanliness of the tank.
The distinctive sound produced by the Tiger Snapping Shrimp originates from an appendage on its pincer. This appendage moves when the pincer opens or closes, resulting in the ejection of water and the characteristic snapping sound. However, it's important to note that this snapping sound can often lead to confusion with the potentially harmful Mantis Shrimp. Unlike the Mantis Shrimp, the Tiger Snapping Shrimp is not a threat and generally poses no danger in the aquarium, except possibly to very small shrimp.
The term "Symbiotic Shrimp" stems from the mutually beneficial relationship the Pistol Shrimp shares with gobies such as Amblyeleotris or Stonogobiops. The goby, possessing better eyesight, acts as a warning system, alerting the shrimp to potential predators. In return, the shrimp shares its food with the goby, establishing a symbiotic bond.
Tiger Snapping Shrimp thrive in environments equipped with sand, rock caves, and subdued lighting. When present in pairs, one shrimp often stands guard at the burrow while the other remains inside. It's important to note that Pistol Shrimp are intolerant of copper or high nitrate levels, but require an appropriate level of iodine in the water to support proper molting.
In terms of diet, Snapping Shrimp readily accept various meaty freeze-dried and frozen foods, as well as bottom feeder tablets, ensuring they receive the necessary nutrition for their well-being.