Scientific Name: Hymenocera picta
Ease of Care: Difficult
Approximate Arrival Size: Small: .5" to .75"; Medium: .75" to 1"; Large: 1" to 1.5"
Native Region: Red Sea, Indo-Pacific
Reef Safe: Yes
Harlequin Shrimp, Hymenocera picta, has beautiful mottled coloring that makes it strikingly noticeable. It has a white carapace that is mottled with pink markings and outlined with a darker black-maroon. It is a native of several of the reefs of the Red Sea and the Indo-Pacific region. This shrimp is a highly effective scavenger, which helps to keep the aquarium clean of uneaten debris. This shrimp is considered reef safe, but it does require a monthly feeding of a starfish, for best health. Hardy once adjusted, the aquarist can assure best success for a successful transition of the Harlequin Shrimp by extending the acclimation over a period of a few hours or more. Harlequin Shrimp do fine singularly. If more than one is to be placed in the same aquarium, they must be added as pairs, to avoid fighting over territory. This species must molt in order to grow. Molting generally occurs at night, the shrimp will lay on its back and exit its exoskeleton. A new exoskeleton is excreted and will harden over a period of several hours. The animal is vulnerable at this time and should not be disturbed. The shed exoskeleton will often look complete and may fool you into thinking you gained a new shrimp. Proper iodine levels assist with successful molting.
Notes: Shrimp are sensitive to changes in water conditions such as temperature, pH, and salinity. Acclimation should occur over a period of a few hours to ensure best chances for a successful transition.