Sexy Shrimp: Care, Tank Mates, Feed & Full Details!

Sexy Shrimp (Thor amboinensis), also known as Squat Shrimp or Anemone Shrimp, are fascinating creatures that captivate hobbyists with their radiant coloration, engaging behaviors, and unique dancing movements.

Hailing from the warm tropical waters worldwide, from the Red Sea to the Indo-Pacific, and as far as the Caribbean and Canary Islands in the Atlantic, the Sexy Shrimp is a highly sought-after aquarium inhabitant.

Renowned for their striking beauty and intriguing behaviors, they serve a practical purpose as diligent cleaners in a reef tank.

These intriguing creatures are found in coral reefs and lagoons, at depths ranging from 6 to 160 feet, showing preference for calm waters but also demonstrating resilience in stronger currents.

They form a mutually beneficial relationship with sea anemones, providing cleaning services to their host while enjoying the safety the anemones offer. These peace-loving shrimp live harmoniously in groups without showing territorial tendencies, making them an excellent choice for community tanks.

Despite the challenges of breeding these captivating invertebrates in captivity, they make a stunning addition to any saltwater aquarium. This guide provides an in-depth exploration of the Sexy Shrimp, including its lifestyle, feeding habits, recommended tank setup, and longevity.

The ‘Sexy’ Shrimp Thor amboinensis

Quick Stats About Sexy Shrimp

Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Peaceful
Color: Orange, white, blue
Lifespan: 3 years
Size: 8 inches
Diet: Carnivore
Family: Hippolytidae
Minimum Tank Size: 5 gallons
Tank Setup: Saltwater with coral reefs
Compatibility: Peaceful community

Appearance of the Sexy Shrimp

The aesthetic charm of the Sexy Shrimp comes from its distinctive and vibrant coloration. They possess a remarkable combination of orangish rust-brown bodies punctuated with white spots, outlined by a deep blue shade.

This striking blend not only contributes to their attractiveness but also serves as a disguise, enabling them to blend effortlessly into the reef, thereby concealing them from potential predators.

The unique structure of the Sexy Shrimp further enhances its appeal. Unlike other shrimp species, the Sexy Shrimp’s tail is elevated and its abdomen is relatively short. Intriguingly, the tail tilts forward, curling in the direction of their heads.

They possess ten pairs of legs, five pairs of pereopods emanating from their thorax, and five pairs of pleopods utilized for swimming. The anterior set of pleopods also function as claws for gripping and manipulating objects.

Their tails, beautifully fan-shaped, add an extra burst of speed when needed. Tiny snouts and white-colored eyes perched on short stalks give these shrimp their distinctive look.

But what really sets the Sexy Shrimp apart is their unique manner of movement. Observing their “dance”, characterized by an exaggerated and undulating way of crawling, is a sight to behold.

Though the evolutionary purpose of this dance remains a mystery, it’s speculated to be a form of communication.

Natural Habitat of Sexy Shrimp

Sexy Shrimp, like many sea creatures, thrive in their natural habitats that mimic the serene beauty of the sea floor. They are typically found in the comfort of coral reefs and lagoons, inhabiting depths between six and 160 feet.

The Sexy Shrimp form a mutual symbiotic relationship with sea anemones, living among them peacefully in groups.

This relationship is advantageous to both parties: the shrimp receive protection, and in return, the anemone gets cleaned of harmful microbes and organic remnants of meals.

Origin and Distribution

The Sexy Shrimp, known scientifically as Thor amboinensis, is native to tropical waters across the globe. Their geographical range extends from the Red Sea, traversing across the Indo-Pacific region, and in the Atlantic, they are found from the Caribbean to the Canary Islands.

These crustaceans display resilience and adaptability, thriving in calm waters and enduring stronger currents.

Growth, Size & Lifespan of Sexy Shrimp

Despite their flamboyant moniker and vibrant appearance, Squat Shrimps are small creatures. Females can reach a size of approximately 2 cm, while males are a tad smaller at about 1.5 cm.

The females are distinguished by a wider rear abdomen, a physical adaptation to carry fertilized eggs before they are released.

In terms of lifespan, Sexy Shrimp can live for about five years in the wild, but in captivity, they usually live for around three years. The Sexy Shrimp are quick to mature, reaching maturity just 40 days after they hatch.

With proper care and optimal tank conditions, they continue to molt and grow until they reach their full size.

Sexy Shrimp’s unique characteristics and behaviors make them a delightful addition to any saltwater aquarium.

Their vibrant colors, fascinating movements, and symbiotic relationships with anemones offer aquarium enthusiasts

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Behavior and Temperament of Sexy Shrimp

The Sexy Shrimp is not only admired for its aesthetic appeal, but also for its intriguing behavior. These small yet agile creatures are known for their peculiar ‘dancing’ movement, hence the name ‘Sexy Shrimp’.

By lifting their abdomen and swaying side to side, they exhibit an appealing, rhythmic dance-like behavior. The purpose behind this entertaining display is still unclear, though it’s thought to be a form of communication among their kind.

Despite their flamboyant movement, Sexy Shrimp are generally peaceful in nature, often living in groups within the protection of sea anemones. They form a mutually beneficial relationship with their anemone hosts, cleaning them in return for shelter.

Tank Setup for Sexy Shrimp

Creating a suitable home for your Sexy Shrimp is essential to their well-being. Here are some elements to consider when setting up the perfect tank.

Tank Size

Although Sexy Shrimp are small, they thrive best in a tank that allows ample room for exploration. A tank of at least 10 gallons is recommended. This size will comfortably accommodate a small group of these shrimp.


In their natural habitat, Sexy Shrimp dwell in and around coral reefs and anemones. To replicate this, use a coral sand substrate in your tank, which mimics their natural environment and helps maintain the tank’s pH balance.

Decorations and Hiding Spots

Sexy Shrimp adore hiding spots. Providing them with caves, crevices, and other hiding places can help them feel secure. However, the centerpiece of their habitat should be sea anemones, as they form a crucial part of the shrimp’s lifestyle.

Water Parameters

Sexy Shrimp thrive in stable water conditions. The water temperature should be between 72-82°F, the pH between 8.1 and 8.4, and the specific gravity should range from 1.023 to 1.025. Regular water checks are necessary to maintain these parameters.

Filtration and Aeration

An efficient filtration system is important to ensure a healthy living environment. It keeps the water clean and helps maintain a stable nitrogen cycle. For aeration, a standard aquarium air pump will suffice, ensuring the water remains well-oxygenated.


Moderate lighting is sufficient for Sexy Shrimp. It’s worth noting that if you include live anemones in the tank, they will need appropriate light levels to thrive, often more than what the shrimp require.

Tank Mates

When considering tank mates for Sexy Shrimp, peaceful species that do not pose a threat are ideal. They can coexist with small, gentle fish and other invertebrates. Remember, large or aggressive fish might see these small shrimp as a snack.


Sexy Shrimp are omnivorous and their diet can include small pieces of fresh or frozen seafood, as well as commercial flake food and pellets. Their diet should be supplemented with brine shrimp, daphnia, or plankton. Feed them small quantities, but frequently, to keep them healthy and active.

The joy of watching Sexy Shrimp in a well-prepared aquarium setting is worth the effort. By providing the right tank setup, you can ensure they live a long, healthy, and ‘dancing’ life.

Tank Maintenance for Sexy Shrimp

Keeping your Sexy Shrimp healthy involves more than just feeding them and observing their playful dance. Tank maintenance plays a pivotal role in their well-being.

A well-maintained tank mirrors the shrimp’s natural habitat, making them feel secure, comfortable, and healthy.

Here are key aspects to consider:

Regular Water Changes

Regular water changes are crucial to keep the tank environment clean and healthy. Aim to replace about 20% of the tank water every two weeks. This helps remove waste and toxins while refreshing the water’s minerals and trace elements.

Remember, sudden water changes can stress your shrimp, so always ensure the new water matches the old in terms of temperature and pH.

Cleaning the Tank and Decorations

Cleaning the tank and decorations is not only about aesthetic appeal but also about ensuring the health of your shrimp. Algae build-up on tank walls should be gently scrubbed off using a soft algae pad.

Decorations, too, may need an occasional cleaning. Be cautious, though; over-cleaning can remove beneficial bacteria. Thus, a balance needs to be struck between cleanliness and the preservation of this helpful microfauna.

Filter Maintenance

The filter plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy water environment, but it too needs maintenance. Rinse the filter media in the tank water you remove during the water change.

Avoid cleaning it under tap water, as this may kill the beneficial bacteria living in the filter. Replace the media as per the manufacturer’s recommendations, ensuring you don’t disrupt the tank’s nitrogen cycle.

Monitor Fish Health

Monitoring the health of your Sexy Shrimp regularly is key to early detection of potential issues. Pay attention to their behavior, color, and eating habits. If you notice anything unusual, like loss of color, erratic behavior, or loss of appetite, it might be an indication of stress or disease.

Take necessary action promptly, which might include adjusting water parameters, changing diet, or seeking professional advice.

Tank maintenance is a continuous task that demands your regular attention. By providing a clean, well-maintained tank, you create an environment in which your Sexy Shrimp can thrive, dance, and bring joy to the onlookers.

After all, a happy shrimp is a dancing shrimp!

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Acclimating Sexy Shrimp

The process of acclimating Sexy Shrimp into a new tank environment is vital to their survival. Due to their sensitivity to sudden changes in water conditions, an improper acclimation process can lead to stress or even loss of life.

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Preparation: Before introducing the shrimp into the tank, turn off the aquarium lights. Dim lighting will help minimize stress during the acclimation process.

  2. Float the Bag: Upon arrival, float the sealed bag containing the shrimp in the aquarium. This should help equalize the temperature in the bag to that of the tank water over a period of 15 to 20 minutes.

  3. Slowly Introduce Tank Water: Open the bag and add a small amount of tank water to it. Repeat this process every 10 minutes over an hour. This slow introduction of tank water will help the shrimp adjust to the new water chemistry.

  4. Gently Transfer the Shrimp: Use a net to gently move the shrimp from the bag into the tank. Avoid adding bag water into the tank to prevent any potential contamination.

  5. Monitor: Keep a close watch on your shrimp during the first few hours. Monitor their behavior and ensure they are adapting well to the new environment.

The Diet and Feeding of Sexy Shrimp

Sexy Shrimp are omnivorous scavengers. Their diet, therefore, is diverse and encompasses a variety of food sources.

Live Foods

Sexy Shrimp show a preference for live foods. They will eat small brine shrimp, daphnia, and other microorganisms.

Prepared Foods

Prepared foods also play a part in their diet. Flake foods, pellet foods, and frozen or freeze-dried foods, particularly those enriched with marine proteins, are excellent choices.

Vegetable Matter

Being omnivores, they consume not only meaty foods but also vegetation. They will pick at algae and should accept finely chopped vegetables like spinach and zucchini.

Feeding Routine

Feed your Sexy Shrimp once a day, providing enough food that can be consumed within two to three minutes. Overfeeding can lead to poor water quality, so be mindful of the quantity you’re providing.

Ideal Tank Mates for Sexy Shrimp

When it comes to selecting tank mates for Sexy Shrimp, careful consideration is required. These small crustaceans can be vulnerable to larger, more aggressive species.

Here are five types of fish that make ideal tank mates:

  1. Clownfish: These vibrant fish are known to cohabitate well with Sexy Shrimp. They offer a colorful, energetic companionship in the tank.

  2. Firefish: Known for their peaceful temperament, Firefish can make great tank mates for Sexy Shrimp.

  3. Cardinalfish: These fish are generally peaceful and are compatible with Sexy Shrimp.

  4. Gobies: Small species of gobies are well-suited companions due to their calm nature.

  5. Seahorses and Pipefish: These unique creatures are non-threatening to Sexy Shrimp and add a sense of wonder to the tank.

Sexy Shrimp Tank Mates to Avoid

When considering tank mates, there are some species best avoided. These typically include larger, predatory fish who may see Sexy Shrimp as a meal.

Here are five types of fish to avoid:

  1. Lionfish: Known for their predatory nature, Lionfish can pose a threat to Sexy Shrimp.

  2. Triggerfish: While colorful and intriguing, Triggerfish are known to be aggressive and might harm your shrimp.

  3. Groupers: These large fish can easily swallow a Sexy Shrimp whole.

  4. Eels: With their predatory nature and ability to slip into small crevices, eels are a definite no-go.

  5. Large Wrasses: Despite their beauty, large Wrasses can be a threat due to their size and dietary habits.

Breeding Sexy Shrimp

Sexy Shrimp are known to breed quite readily in aquariums, given the right conditions.

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Identifying Males and Females: Females tend to be slightly larger and fuller than males. When carrying eggs, the female’s underside will appear greenish due to the eggs she carries.

  2. Mating: Males will typically court females by performing a “dance”. After mating, the female carries the fertilized eggs under her tail.

  3. Egg Care: The female carries the eggs, which can number in the hundreds, for approximately 10 to 14 days. During this time, she continually fans them to ensure they receive plenty of oxygen.

  4. Hatching: Once the eggs hatch, the larvae float in the water column. They will molt several times before they begin to resemble small shrimp.

  5. Fry Care: Newly hatched shrimp can be fed a diet of baby brine shrimp or other suitable microscopic foods. Providing hiding places, like small crevices and caves, can also help ensure their survival.

Keep in mind that successful breeding requires excellent water conditions and a well-balanced diet for the shrimp.

By maintaining these standards and taking note of the right and wrong tank mates, your Sexy Shrimp will not only survive but thrive.


Signs of Stress in Sexy Shrimp

Sexy Shrimp, like all marine life, can display signs of stress when conditions aren’t ideal.

Here are some common indications:

  1. Less Activity: If your Sexy Shrimp isn’t as lively or active as usual, this could suggest stress.

  2. Color Changes: Stress can cause a shrimp’s vibrant color to dull.

  3. Erratic Swimming: Shrimp experiencing stress may move unpredictably or try to escape the tank.

  4. Loss of Appetite: A shrimp under stress may show a decreased interest in food.

Common Health Issues in Sexy Shrimp

Healthy Sexy Shrimp have clear eyes, vibrant color, and active behavior.

But there are some common health problems you might face:

  1. Shell Disease: This condition causes erosion and discoloration of the shrimp’s shell. Good tank hygiene can prevent this disease, but if it occurs, separate the affected shrimp and treat with a commercial shell disease remedy.

  2. Fungal Infections: Fungi can cause white, cotton-like growths on your shrimp. Use a shrimp-safe antifungal treatment at the first sign of infection.

  3. Parasites: Parasites like copepods can latch onto your shrimp, causing discomfort. A freshwater dip can often dislodge the parasites.

Additional Tips for a Healthy Aquarium

To maintain a healthy tank for your Sexy Shrimp:

  1. Monitor Water Parameters: Regularly check the pH, temperature, and salinity.

  2. Keep the Tank Clean: Perform regular water changes and clean decorations to avoid the buildup of harmful bacteria.

  3. Feed a Balanced Diet: Ensure your shrimp are getting a variety of nutrients from different food sources.

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Should You Get a Sexy Shrimp for Your Aquarium?

Sexy Shrimp can make a vibrant and interesting addition to any marine aquarium. Their unique color and lively behavior make them fascinating to watch. They are also generally hardy, making them a good choice for beginners.

However, they require a well-maintained and stable environment to thrive. Before adding a Sexy Shrimp to your aquarium, consider if you can provide the care and attention they need.

If you’re willing to put in the effort, a Sexy Shrimp can be a rewarding and colorful addition to your underwater world.

Conservation Status of Sexy Shrimp: Vital Insights

Sexy Shrimp, scientifically known as Thor amboinensis, is not listed on the IUCN Red List, which indicates their population is stable.

However, as responsible aquarists, it’s essential to purchase these fascinating creatures from reputable suppliers who practice sustainable fishing methods. This way, we can play a part in preserving the marine ecosystem.

Availability & Pricing: Where to Buy Sexy Shrimp

Sexy Shrimp are widely available in the pet trade due to their popular demand amongst hobbyists. They are sold in local pet stores and online aquarium shops. Prices can vary based on size and color vibrancy.

As of the time of this writing, the average cost ranges from $10 to $20 per shrimp. Make sure to buy from a reputable seller to ensure you get a healthy specimen.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sexy Shrimp

Here are a few commonly asked questions about Sexy Shrimp:

  1. How many Sexy Shrimp can I put in my tank?

    This depends on the size of your tank and other inhabitants. A general guideline is to allow 2 gallons of water per shrimp.

  2. What do Sexy Shrimp eat?

    Sexy Shrimp are omnivorous. They eat algae, brine shrimp, daphnia, and also accept high-quality flake and pellet foods.

  3. Do Sexy Shrimp need a specific water temperature?

    Yes, Sexy Shrimp thrive in water temperatures between 72°F and 82°F.

Conclusion: Are Sexy Shrimp the Right Choice for Your Tank?

Sexy Shrimp are a captivating addition to any marine aquarium. Their stunning appearance, intriguing behavior, and manageable care requirements make them an attractive choice. However, they do require specific water conditions and a balanced diet to thrive.

So, if you’re prepared to provide the care they need, Sexy Shrimp can bring a lot of life and color to your tank. Their modest price and wide availability make them a feasible choice for hobbyists at all levels.

Remember, always choose a reputable supplier to ensure the sustainability of these delightful creatures. Happy shrimping!