The coral banded shrimp is a shrimp-like decapod, but not a true shrimp. It is a member of the family, Stenopodidae and the genus, Stenopus. The scientific name of this decapod crustacean is Stenopus hispidus . It is also known as banded coral shrimp, banded prawn, banded boxer shrimp, and barber-pole shrimp.
Apart from the regular banded coral shrimp (Stenopus hispidus), you can find three other types - yellow coral banded (steponus cyanoscelis), blue coral banded (Steponus tenuirostris) and gold coral banded shrimp (Steponus zanzibaricus). The banded coral shrimp are immensely popular among aquarists. What makes these shrimp-like invertebrates so attractive is their colorful body. Moreover, they are so easy to maintain and care for that they can be an excellent addition to any marine aquariums.
It is one of the most widely distributed shrimp-like decapods in the sea, though it is basically a native to the oceans of Indonesia. Usually, it can be found hanging upside down in the caves and crevices. It normally reaches a size of 5 cm. The female is usually larger than the male. Its body is covered with short spines.
The banded coral shrimp is colorful with striking red and white bands all over its body. It also possesses long and white antennae and pincers, which are usually held erect. This gives this crustacean the appearance of a boxer who is ready to fight. This is the reason why it is also known as 'banded boxer shrimp'.
This crustacean has an unusual power of regenerating its arms and claws at the time of molting. As far as the temperament or behavior is concerned, it is usually peaceful. It is not aggressive, unless it encounters any other members of its species and small shrimp.
It is territorial, and it can kill and consume shrimp. It can be kept with aquarium fish, corals, and other invertebrates. But it can pinch the corals and anemones, and steal their food, for which many do not consider it a very good choice for reef aquariums.
The banded coral shrimp is omnivorous, which means that you can feed it a variety of food. It simply devours anything, right from dry and frozen food to dead fish, shrimp, pellets, and flakes. The sinking pellets are ideal for feeding this decapod. In addition to these, it can eat polychaete worms as well. The ideal method of feeding is to place the food in front of it with the help of a feeding stick.
If you are considering to keep the banded coral shrimp in your aquarium, then it is better to acquire some basic knowledge about its care and maintenance. As mentioned already, this shrimp-like crustacean is very easy to be taken care of.
If you have decided to keep a banded coral shrimp in your aquarium, then first of all make sure that the pH of the water is in the range of 8 to 8.4. The ideal temperature is 72 to 80°F. The minimum tank size should be about 30 gallons, so that it gets enough space to move around freely.
It is usually recommended that this crustacean should be slowly and gradually acclimatized to the environment of the marine aquarium. Usually, one hour acclimation is enough, so that it can get adjusted to the environment of the aquarium. Like many other invertebrates, the banded coral shrimp cannot tolerate high levels of nitrate and copper.
This decapod crustacean is territorial, and it can literally attack other members of the same species, along with small shrimp, worms, and other crustaceans like snails, corals, and hermit crabs. It is usually kept singly or as a mated pair. Do not keep it along with lionfish, eels, snappers, and triggers. These fish are large and they can eat up the small banded coral shrimp.
The banded coral shrimp usually do not breed in captivity and even if they do, either the other members of the aquarium consume the larvae, or the larvae get sucked in by the filter. Moreover, aquarists usually do not try to breed them, as they are readily available. They usually live for about 2 to 3 years.