Feeding Harlequin Shrimps alternative

Discussion in 'Invertebrates' started by FDB, 25 Nov 2009.

  1. FDB

    FDB

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    [FONT=&quot]Hi guys and girls.
    To continue on a previous post about starfish, i thought I’d start a new one around the harlequin shrimp.
    A lot is said online about these creatures only taking sea stars as those are it's natural foods.
    I fed mine sea stars too, and they quite happily consumed them.
    I keep my sea stars in a tank next to theirs with an overflow from the one to the other.
    After 2 weeks, i noticed them getting excited and was "hunting".
    But this time, i decided to move the sea star to my refrigium so they cannot smell it that well.. I then wanted to test alternative foods[/FONT]

    I have removed the sea star from the neighbouring tank yesterday afternoon, and placed it in the refrigium.
    I have then thrown a muscle, a piece of Crabstick and a piece of Hake into the harlequin tank.
    This morning, the hake was a 10th its original size and was right by the harlequin's cave.
    So potentially, this is good news.
    The harlequins share their tank with a very small 3cm watchman goby, and one small hermit crab.
    There is no way the hermit and goby could have eaten the hake that much so I’m almost quite sure that harlequins takes fresh hake when they cannot smell a sea star and they are hungry.


    I'll try this again with the goby and hermit removed from thier tank to make sure.


    Please note that i'm not saying you should feed harlequins hake only... It's just an alternative to thier natural diet which i'm sure they still need to consume once in a while.


    If it is them that takes the hake, i'll try other fish as well.


    It could also be that the hake i gave them in the past was too small. They seem to prefer a blob of food that is at least as big as them, or slightly bigger. But, size may not have been the issue as much as the close proximity of the seastar was.



    I'll continue my research and keep you guys up-to-date because i beleive that if we can rather feed them mostly hake than starfish, so much better.


    Lemme kow if you guys do actually want to be kept up-to-date with this.

    Cheerz
    Me
     
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  3. Tobes

    Tobes Retired Moderator

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    I'm looking forward to this, thanks for sharing. I love harlequin shrimps and would love to keep them, but because of their diet I prefer to stay away as I don't live next to the ocean to fetch starfish once a week or so.
    If there is a possibility to keep them properly fed on something else, well then I might just think about keeping them one day ;)
     
  4. Sentari

    Sentari

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    Cool! Interesting to see.

    One think i can say. Is my hermit is a pig. He will munch a HUGE piece of hake in no time. So i wouldnt be surprised if it was the hermit.
     
  5. FDB

    FDB Thread Starter

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    I doubt it was the hermit.
    He has been in there for quite some time and never has teh small pieces of hake gotten any smaller.

    But i'm not sure so i will test it again without the hermit and goby.
     
  6. Slummies

    Slummies

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    pictures and a journal will be good to keep in order to prove this! then get more harlequins and do the same test
     
  7. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    just make sure that a big piece of hake, de-composting in your tank, do not throw the water parameters totally out of whack. Ensure skimmer is running a little more wet and remove food after a while. How long, can't say but with more experience in this test you should know. Rather remove it the next morning for now.
     
  8. Marlin Fischer

    Marlin Fischer Mutantfish

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    Will a harlequin shrimp nail a serpent star in a large (2m) tank or u think the serpent is too fast?

    I have witnessed 2 taking out a sand star but they slower?

    And could one feed a harlequin starfish from Cape Towns coasts and still maintain thier nutritional requirements.
     
  9. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    Hi Marlin - the cushion stars that you find on Cape Town's coastline, are directly family of the cushion starfish in the tropical coastlines, and seas...... They have just adapted to colder water.....
    Cushion stars are the only stars that would and could adapt from cold water to warm water. Believe me - I have tried. Unfortunately the more beautiful and colorful starfish in the cold and temperate Cape waters, can only handle a maximum of up to ie. 22 degrees water temperatures.

    The harlequin shrimp will not survive under water temperatures under 24 to 25 degrees celsius.
     
  10. Marlin Fischer

    Marlin Fischer Mutantfish

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    Thanks jaques

    So you could feed the harlequins cushion stars however the cushion star once put in the tank and not eaten would die?

    Could one collect and freeze some local cushoin stars and feed that every once in a while?

    Also Do u know if a harlequin will eat a serpent star, or be able to catch one in a large say 1300L display?

    Thanks!
     
  11. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    Marlin - as far as I know, the harlequin shrimps barely ever kill the starfish..... They "harvest" the starfish's feet for food. The feet of the starfish regrow extremely quickly.....
     
  12. jacquesb

    jacquesb Retired Moderator

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    Sorry Marlin - I did not answer your questions. NO - the cushion stars would not die. They adapt very easily to tropical (warm) water.... they will NOT die. They will most likely end up breeding....

    No - you would not need to "freeze" the cushion stars.... they adapt readily to warm water.

    Regarding a serpent star - I only think that harlequin shrimps would choose serpent starfish as their first choice. Only if they don't have anything else to eat - and are left to the ONLY choice of the serpent starfish, that they MIGHT go for the serpent starfish's feet....
     
  13. FDB

    FDB Thread Starter

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    Hi all.
    Harlequins are timid creatures and do not usually take fast moving stars.
    You can freeze a star and feed to them, they will take it.
    My harlequins polished a whole star in about 4 days. I think it depends on supply. If they don't get fed for 2 weeks, and you give them a star, they will probably sit on that star and polish it over time. But maybe if they are in a tank full of stars, they will chow on just a leg, and let the star go.
    Mine caught both stars in their tank, dragged both of them to their cave and as soon as they broke the skin on the first one, they let the other one go.

    Onto the good news.
    I sat and spied on my two last night hoping to document what happened for you guys. I left the goby and hermit in the tank so that i can see who ate what.
    At around 9:00, my two harlequins found the piece of hake (i cut a big piece off for them again as that seems to be the trigger).
    They ate a bit of it, then moved it to the top of a rock behind another rock. They ate on it there. They then moved it to their cave where i found the leftovers this morning.
    I tried to take a photo, but the angle they were sitting at was so bad, the photo sucks, but hey. Here it is.
    I looked at the photo and decided that it's not much proof by itself, so i fetched the video camera and documented them moving and eating it. I'll see if i can digitise the video tonight and upload it somewhere.

    Photo:
    [​IMG]
     
  14. Sentari

    Sentari

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    Managed to get hold of a Harlequin Shrimp this weekend. He's doing well so far. He just took a starfish from me this evening.

    I have a few cushion stars so I'm going to get him to eat and use the method that FDB used to get his Harlequins to eat hake. If that doesn't work i might have to make a trip down to durban or ask a friend to send me some cushion stars up.
     
  15. Steve Warren

    Steve Warren

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    I would get the cushion stars anyway and not rely on being able to convert it onto hake.
     
  16. Sentari

    Sentari

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    Doing just that Steve.

    Have just organised a friend to collect for me next time he's at the ocean. He will ship me some i'll make sure he's always fed well.

    I fed him a star last night. He chowed down nicely.
     
  17. Kunhardt

    Kunhardt

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    Does anyone know if those Hake fed Harlequins landed up living long term?
     
  18. Sentari

    Sentari

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    Would be nice to find out.
     
  19. Qaiser

    Qaiser

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    i have these small stars about 5mm in diameter, not sure what they called but they were pests at first because there was like more than 50 in my tank and they just kept on multiplying and eating all my coraline algea. i added a harlequin about 3 months back and he's been finishing them off slowly and my coraline now has a chance grow. i also added them to the sump so they could breed as i find this a could method of feeding the shrimp without any decomposing taking place while these stars also clean the glass.
     
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