The Peppermint Shrimp (Lysmata wurdemanni) is a popular addition to many marine aquariums. These shrimp go by several other common names, including; Candy Cane shrimp and the Caribbean Cleaner Shrimp. Reaching a maximum length of 5cm, their diminutive size makes them suitable for both small and large marine aquariums. Peppermint Shrimp have transparent bodies with red stripes all over. This shrimp is fairly common and can be bought for anywhere from $5 to $10 dollars.
Peppermint shrimp are often added to marine aquariums to rid the aquarium of unsightly aptasia (glass anemone). Aiptasia is considered to be a pest in the saltwater aquarium because will multiply rapidly in aquariums with high nutrient loads. In addition to being unsightly, aiptasia are able to sting corals and fish, with the latter being a greater concern for many hobbyists.
Although considered a cleaner shrimp, Peppermint Shrimp may not “clean” as often or prolifically as other cleaner shrimp species. (See: Guide to Cleaner Shrimp)
The Peppermint Shrimp is tolerant of members of their own species but may demonstrate aggression towards other shrimp species in the aquarium. Reef keepers have reported mixed results when keeping them in their reef tanks. Some say that they nip at soft corals and others claim that they’ve never witnessed this behaviour. They can be extremely shy at times, seldom venturing out from behind the rock scaping for days at a time.
In a similar way to other marine shrimp species, Peppermint Shrimp require the addition of iodine to the aquarium to assist in the shedding of their exoskeletons, process known as moulting. During moulting, shrimp are vulnerable and will usually stay hidden in the live rock until this process is complete. A word of warning though; only dose iodine if you have an iodine test kit! You can easily overdose and may get negative side effects, such as excessive brown algae growth.
Feeding Peppermint Shrimp should not be a problem since they should scavenge the tank for any uneaten foods and detritus. You may want to give them a sinking shrimp pellet or a small piece of fresh fish from time to time. Some folks claim that they will eat hair algae, however, reports of this are mixed.