Sexy Shrimp: Appearance, Lifespan, Size, Diet, Care, Tank Mates, Breeding & More

The Sexy Shrimp (Thor amboinensis), also known as Anemone Shrimp or Squat Shrimp, are highly desirable tank inhabitants due to their striking appearance and engaging behavior.

In this concise blog post introduction, we will delve into the appearance, lifespan, size, diet, care, tank mates, breeding, and more of this intriguing species. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced aquarist, this guide will provide valuable insights on keeping and enjoying these tiny but alluring creatures in your marine tank. So, let’s explore the world of the ‘Sexy’ Shrimp!

Overview of Sexy Shrimp


They can be found in tropical waters worldwide. These vibrant creatures inhabit coral reefs and lagoons from the Red Sea to the Indo-Pacific and even in the Atlantic, from the Caribbean to the Canary Islands.

What truly sets them apart is the way they move. Their crawling style is so distinct and mesmerizing that it earned them the name “Sexy Shrimp.”Watching their graceful dance is undoubtedly one of the most delightful aspects of owning these unique creatures.They contribute to the overall aesthetic of the tank as they scuttle about, adding movement and vitality.

As well Sexy Shrimp have a significant impact on the tank ecosystem. They form a symbiotic relationship with sea anemones, where they clean the anemones by consuming slime and microbes while receiving protection in return.


The combination of their coloring and distinctive shape makes them stand out in any aquarium. These small shrimp are with bright orange-rusty brown bodies decorated with white spots outlined in deep blue. They have raised tails and short bellies, with upturned bellies and tails that curl back towards their heads.

Their tails have a beautiful fan-like shape that adds an extra boost of speed whenever they flap them. Their eyes are a striking shade of white, perched on short stalks, subtly protruding to capture the world around them.

One of the unique characteristics of sexy shrimp is their dancing behavior, which involves waving their upturned bellies in the air. This behavior attracts attention and is thought to serve as a form of communication between the shrimp.


Sexy Shrimp are small in size, typically measuring less than 2 cm in length. Female Sexy Shrimp are usually larger than males. Males are usually around 1.5 cm long, while females can grow up to 2 cm. Despite their diminutive stature, they are easily identifiable due to their unique appearance and vibrant colors.


The lifespan of Sexy Shrimp is around three years in captivity. In the wild, they can live for up to five years. These small shrimp reach maturity at about 40 days after hatching and continue to molt and grow.  Proper care, maintenance of tank conditions, and feeding habits are crucial for maximizing their lifespan.

Diet and Feeding Habits

Feeding Sexy Shrimp is relatively easy as they are omnivores in nature. They will accept a wide range of food options, from commercial sinking pellets to meaty proteins like fish or shrimp. They are also known to eat sea anemones, but it is important to ensure that they receive a balanced diet.

When feeding your Sexy Shrimp, it is recommended to include some algae-based foods, such as nori, to provide them with the necessary nutrients. Additionally, high-protein foods are beneficial for their overall health, especially if you plan to breed them.

It is important to note that their feeding habits may vary depending on the presence of sea anemones or other suitable hiding spots in the tank. If your tank lacks these natural shelters, it is essential to offer them supplemental feedings to ensure they receive enough nourishment.

Tank Setup and Care

Tank size and requirements

Regarding tank size and requirements for Sexy Shrimp, it’s important to consider their small size and specific needs. Due to their diminutive stature, Sexy Shrimp can thrive in smaller tanks such as pico tanks (5 gallons or less) or nano tanks (30 gallons or less). A tank of this size provides ample space for these tiny creatures to move around and explore.

To dedicate a separate tank for Sexy Shrimp to maximize their quality of life and ensure they have enough room to exhibit their fascinating behaviors. Monitoring water parameters becomes even more critical in small tanks, as slight fluctuations can have a greater impact due to higher concentrations of pollutants.

Keeping Sexy Shrimp in a dedicated tank or a community tank with compatible tank mates and meeting their specific tank requirements will ensure they live a happy and healthy life in your aquarium environment.

Water parameters

Maintaining proper water parameters is crucial for the well-being of Sexy Shrimp in your aquarium. Here are the recommended water parameters for keeping Sexy Shrimp:

  • Salinity: Sexy Shrimp are marine organisms and require a salinity level of 1.023-1.025 (specific gravity) in their tank. The salinity should be stable, and changes should be avoided.
  • Temperature: Keep the water temperature in the range of 75-79°F (24-27°C). Use a reliable aquarium heater to maintain the desired temperature.
  • pH Level: The pH level of the water should be maintained between 8.1 and 8.4, which is the typical range for a reef aquarium. Regular monitoring and adjustment of pH levels may be necessary.
  • Water hardness: 7 to 12 dKH
  • Iodine: Iodine is important for molting Sexy Shrimp. Add iodine supplements according to the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure proper growth and molting.

Remember to regularly test your water parameters using reliable test kits and make any necessary adjustments to ensure optimal conditions for your Sexy Shrimp.

Tank decorations

These shrimp are naturally adapted to hide, so providing them with ample hiding spots is essential. This is especially important for young shrimp, who are more vulnerable and often seek shelter. Creating varied rock formations that establish a system of tunnels or channels can provide multiple hiding spots and enough room for the group to explore simultaneously. It’s also important to ensure that the decorations offer sufficient hiding spots for the shrimp to feel secure and comfortable.

If you choose to house Sexy Shrimp with anemones, that can serve as their primary hiding spot. They naturally live in symbiotic relationships with sea anemones, seeking protection within their tentacles. Anemones such as Entacmaea quadricolor, Macrodactyla doreensis, Stichodactyla tapetum, and Zoanthus sp. are viable options for housing Sexy Shrimp. These structures can create ideal conditions for the shrimp as they seek shelter in the familiar confines of the anemone’s anatomy.

If you decide not to house them with anemones and opt for a species tank, providing structures and decorations with hiding spots is still important. Creating a diverse and stimulating environment will help keep the shrimp active and engaged. Additionally, secure all rocks and structures in the tank to prevent collapses or rock shifts that could crush the shrimp.

Overall, the key to tank decorations for Sexy Shrimp is to create a safe and stimulating environment that allows them to exhibit their natural behaviors and feel secure.

Tank Mates

When choosing compatible tank mates for Sexy Shrimp, it’s important to consider their small size and peaceful nature. They are generally docile creatures that get along well with other non-aggressive fish and invertebrates.

However, they are best suited for a species tank, where they can thrive in their small, peaceful nature and enjoy the company of their own kind. Placing them in a community tank requires careful consideration to avoid exposure to larger, more aggressive predators.

Here are some fish and invertebrate species that can be good tank mates for Sexy Shrimp: Boxer Crabs, Bumble Bee Snails, Cerith Snails, Clown Gobies, Conch Snails, Emerald Crabs, Nassarius Snails, Peppermint Shrimp, Porcelain Crabs, Pygmy Angels, Red Fire Shrimp, Red-white Cleaner, Shrimp, Saron Shrimp, Skunk Cleaner Shrimp.

Snails and crabs can serve as beneficial tank mates for Sexy Shrimp. They help clean up excess food and detritus, keeping the tank clean and healthy.

Remember to monitor the tank closely when introducing new tank mates, especially if they have aggressive tendencies. It’s important to ensure that all tank inhabitants are compatible and that no bullying or harm occurs.

Breeding Sexy Shrimp


Breeding conditions

Breeding Sexy Shrimp can be challenging and labor-intensive, but with the right conditions and care, it is to breed these fascinating creatures successfully creatures. Here are some key factors to consider for breeding Sexy Shrimp:

  • Separate Breeding Tank: Set up a separate tank specifically for breeding purposes. A cylindrical recirculating tank is the perfect choice for optimal performance. The clever shape of the tank ensures that the current guides the larvae away from the glass walls. So, no worries about any unwanted collisions!
  • Water Parameters: Maintain optimal water parameters for the breeding tank. Regular water changes and the use of iodine additives are also recommended.
  • Lighting: Provide the larvae with approximately 14 to 16 hours of light per day. This can help stimulate their development and growth.
  • Feeding: Feed the larvae freshly-hatched baby brine shrimp at a density.
  • Larval Development: The larvae go through multiple stages before reaching adulthood. The entire process typically takes around 26 to 28 days, with an additional 10 to 12 days for complete transformation.

Successful breeding of sexy shrimp in captivity can be challenging and requires specific conditions and expertise. Overall, it is recommended that only experienced aquarists attempt breeding sexy shrimp.

Common Issues and Troubleshooting

Sexy shrimp have relatively few health concerns and are generally resilient creatures. However, they can be sensitive to changes in water quality and salinity. It’s important to maintain stable tank conditions and monitor water parameters regularly to ensure the well-being of your sexy shrimp.

High copper and nitrate levels can be detrimental to their health, so it’s crucial to control these levels and perform regular water changes to maintain optimal water quality.

It’s also important to provide a proper diet for your sexy shrimp. While they are natural cleaners and feed on the slime and microbes of sea anemones, they should not be solely relied upon to scavenge for food in the tank. Supplement their diet with sinking pellets, flakes, or gels that sink to the bottom, and include protein-rich foods such as fish, squid, and clams.

If you notice any signs of stress or changes in behavior, such as slow movement or refusal to eat, it may indicate a problem with water quality or inadequate nourishment. Promptly address any issues and consult with a knowledgeable aquarist or veterinarian if needed.

Overall, with proper care and attention to water quality and diet, sexy shrimp can thrive and make a delightful addition to your aquarium.

Final tips for successful Sexy Shrimp care

Successful care of Sexy Shrimp requires attention to their specific needs and behavior. Here are the top tips to ensure their well-being:

  • Tank Setup: Provide hiding places such as corals, anemones, and rocks so the shrimp feel safe and confident. A pico or nano tank is perfect for its small size. Avoid adding territorial fish to the aquarium, which can harm the shrimp.
  • Water Parameters: Maintain proper water quality by regularly monitoring ammonia, nitrite, and phosphate levels. Salinity should be between 1.023 – 1.025; temperature should be between 72 to 82°F (22 to 28°C).
  • Feeding: They eat a variety of shrimp or sea anemones. It is important to feed sinking foods such as pellets, flakes, or gels and ensure they get the right nutrition. Avoid overfeeding and provide enough food to prevent them from feeding on corals or polyps.
  • Tank Partners: Choose tank partners carefully, considering their compatibility with Sexy Shrimp. Peaceful fish and coral-friendly species are suitable options. However, avoid mixing them with aggressive or territorial fish that can harm the shrimp.
  • Acclimatization: Take your time when acclimating shrimp to their new tank, ensuring a slow and gradual introduction to prevent stress and maintain stable water conditions. This can be done through a drip acclimatization process over several hours.

Monitoring their behavior and providing a suitable environment is key to successful Sexy Shrimp care. Following these tips can create a pleasant and thriving home for these adorable creatures.