Mr. Saltwater Tank

Terrible Advice Tuesdays (T.A.Tues): Lethal Isopod Carrying Shrimp

Terrible Advice Tuesdays (T.A.Tues): A shrimp with an isopod should be removed from your tank because the isopod can attack your fish.

The rest of the story: This advice has a small bit of truth to it. Certain types of isopods – Cirolanid Isopods- can attack fish.

However, shrimp carry Epicaridean Isopods which won’t attack fish. In fact, these isopods aren’t overly harmful to the shrimp other than they can reduce the number of eggs an infected shrimp produces. (For those of you that have my Fish Disease & Quarantine guide, see page 85 for a full explanation on the different types of Isopods).

You’ll know if a shrimp has an Epicaridean Isopod as it will have a tan or white blob on its body. And unless you have very steady hands, a whole lot of experience and want to breed the shrimp, just leave the Isopod on the shrimp. Your shrimp will be just fine with the hitchhiker.


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Comments for this article (6)

  • Pierre -Yves Bouic says:

    I’ve not seen these before but have seen parasitic isopods in the gut of small mackerel bait fish, that we used for live bait fishing, are they similar Mark, the ones I’ve seen sometimes take up the entire stomach cavity of these fish we call slimies on the east coast of OZ for marlin & general live bait fishing. The largest ones get the size of a golf ball & the body is identical to those deep sea isopods that resemble a cockroach with segmented plates on their backs & lots a legs.

  • jpownz says:

    I have a reef tank 75 gallon now iam starting a seperate tank for seahorses I have a hob filter and a sponge filter in the tank should I do anything else

  • David L. says:

    I bought a coral banded shrimp that had one on its side, we cut it off with a pair of scissors and everything went fine.

  • Andre C. says:

    I think that the isopod attaches underneath the hard shell, you need to extract it with fine tweezers, then remove any air bubbles trapped in the residual cavity, so that the shrimp keeps its balance.

  • Wouldn’t it come of when the shrimp moults?

  • dee…unfortunately no. The isopod is underneath the shrimp’s exoskeleton.

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