Harlequin shrimp in a tiny pico tank?

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Willbiker

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Hi all.

I'm super exited to receive and assemble my 2.3 litre pico tank and I would love to populate it with a pair of harlequin shrimp.

ClassicV2-TAB-Light.jpg

I have a 6 foot and 4 foot tank populated with lots of Asterina star fish so I was thinking I could harvest them and provide a regular food source. Id like you thoughts on the idea...

1) do you think a pair of harlequin shrimp would live comfortable in a 14cm cube!? They would be the only inhabitants other than 1 or 2 turbos.

2) how many starfish do harlequin shrimp need per day? I know they can demolish hundreds in weeks but if i manually add to the pick tank at a steady daily rate, i could maintain numbers in my main display tanks.

Thanks!
 
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DeniseAndy

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I would not unless you plan on stocking starfish constantly That means a lot often. They eat a lot and even in larger systems can die rapidly without their diet. I know you have a large tank, but still a lot of work.
Instead get sexy shrimp or if you want to supply starfish, but on a smaller scale think of a bumblebee shrimp.

Harlequins get quite large. Mine is well over 3" (seems like both tall and wide) in my 210g. It would be huge in that tank.
 
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SlugSnorter

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Hi all.

I'm super exited to receive and assemble my 2.3 litre pico tank and I would love to populate it with a pair of harlequin shrimp.

ClassicV2-TAB-Light.jpg

I have a 6 foot and 4 foot tank populated with lots of Asterina star fish so I was thinking I could harvest them and provide a regular food source. Id like you thoughts on the idea...

1) do you think a pair of harlequin shrimp would live comfortable in a 14cm cube!? They would be the only inhabitants other than 1 or 2 turbos.

2) how many starfish do harlequin shrimp need per day? I know they can demolish hundreds in weeks but if i manually add to the pick tank at a steady daily rate, i could maintain numbers in my main display tanks.

Thanks!
yes

depends. IMO, you should get a shipment of a choco star every other week and feed it to the shrimp
 

ISpeakForTheSeas

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1) I don’t know, so I’ll defer to others here.

2) I actually discussed this in a different thread which I’ll quote below, but I would try offering 3-4 Asterina (Aquilonastra) stars per shrimp the first day and see how much they eat. If they eat all 6-8 of them, I would try adding one more star per shrimp the next day (8-10 total). If they don’t eat all 6-8 the first day, I would say offer them 6 the next day and see one more time, then decrease or increase the amount offered daily afterward as needed. Increase or decrease the number offered until you’ve found the max number they’ll eat per day (typically, there should be very little to nothing left over by the next day), then feed them that. You might need to offer an extra star or two every now and then as the shrimp grow/age just to see if they start needing more at any point, but otherwise that max number should be a pretty good guide to live by.

P.S. If/When you find that number, please let me know what it is - I’m genuinely very interested to find out. Also, if your shrimp start spawning on an Asterina (Aquilonastra) diet, let me know that too - especially if the eggs hatch into viable offspring.

Anyway, my quote where I discussed #2 :
Most people just add a Chocolate Chip Starfish leg and wait for the shrimp to eat it, but, if you want some specific advice, I'd recommend feeding them daily with two 3 cm pieces of starfish. Let them eat as much as they want and add more the next day after they've finished the previous feed off. Repeat the process. If they don't finish the food within two days, I'd pull the uneaten food and replace it with new food.

If your water quality is good enough and the starfish you're using for feed is of high enough nutritional value to the shrimp, then they should spawn and produce viable offspring on this regiment. I have no idea if Chocolate Chip Stars, Sand Sifting Stars, or Asterina (Aquilonastra) Stars are of high enough nutritional quality, but they're the go to starfish for feeding Harlequin Shrimp in the hobby (Linckia Multifora being the preferred diet of the shrimp for breeding purposes, but they're prohibitively expensive and are harder to keep alive).

Edit: Just to add, they will eat as many Aquilonastra Stars as are in your tank over time, so I don't know that I'd try the two 3 cm pieces part if using them as feeders, but it holds for other types of starfish. If you go with Aquilonastra Stars, I'd say add something like 6-8 at first and watch to see how many get eaten in a day to see if you can't find a good number to feed them daily.
 

Baldguy

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I had a single harlequin clear my 120g in a couple months. I was surprised how quick given the numbers of asterinas I had. When there were no more asterinas I started feeding one chocolate chip leg every two weeks. Been doing that 6 months or so. Again, this was a single Harley.
 
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SlugSnorter

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I had a single harlequin clear my 120g in a couple months. I was surprised how quick given the numbers of asterinas I had. When there were no more asterinas I started feeding one chocolate chip leg every two weeks. Been doing that 6 months or so. Again, this was a single Harley.
you can feed the whole star. they will eat it slowly and keep it alive until the last moment.
 

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I have the same tank. I absolutely love it. I've stocked mine with a trio of sexy shrimp and a friend who also has the same tank keeps bumblebee shrimp in hers.

I can't answer your question about feeding asterinas as I've never kept harlequin shrimp but I do know that they go through a lot of them so I think you would need a heavy population of them that are frequently reproducing to be able to keep up with demand.

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LordofCinder

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maybe have a look at sexy shrimp, I think they would be more suited to such a small tank. I've never had a harlequin, but sexy shrimp are a lot more lively and entertaining than any other kinds of shrimp I've ever had.
 
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ISpeakForTheSeas

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Do they not only eat the tube feet of the starfish, meaning there could be a lot of decomposing starfish bodies for a tank that small?
They eat the tube feet first, but it might be a preference thing or a prevent the star from escaping thing. Either way, they do eat the whole star.
 
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I did a similar thing. Had 300+ asterina stars in my 125G tank and I purchased 1 Harlequin shrimp. Put it in my 40G and fed it. I gave it about 3/4 asterina a day. It grew and did well. When my supply of asterina was gone, I returned the shrimp to my LFS. Bought it very tiny for $50, returned it much bigger and got $20. back. I consider it renting my shrimp.
I will repeat the process when needed.
Shrimp does not need a big tank so it should be ok. But 2 shrimps would of course at least a double supply, make sure they are of different sex when you purchase them.
 
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