Camel shrimp

The camel shrimp, Rhynchocinetes durbanensis, is a colorful and fascinating species that is commonly kept in aquariums around the world. In this article, we will explore various aspects of this shrimp, including its size and appearance, region, behavior, diet, and how to keep them at home.


The camel shrimp is a relatively small species, growing to a maximum length of around 5 cm (2 inches) in captivity. They have a distinct appearance, with a bright red body and striking white stripes along their legs and antennae. Their eyes are also quite prominent, with a dark, almost black coloration that stands out against their otherwise vivid colors. Overall, the camel shrimp is a beautiful and eye-catching addition to any aquarium.


The camel shrimp is native to the Western Indian Ocean, particularly along the eastern coast of South Africa. They are found in rocky crevices and other sheltered areas, where they can hide from predators and scavenge for food. While they are not particularly common in the wild, they are widely bred in captivity and can be found in aquariums around the world.


The camel shrimp is a relatively peaceful species that will coexist well with other aquarium inhabitants. They are active and curious, and can often be seen exploring their surroundings or scavenging for food. They are also known for their ability to climb, using their powerful claws to grip onto rocks and other surfaces. Additionally, they are known to be excellent cleaners, helping to keep the aquarium free of debris and other unwanted material.


In the wild, the camel shrimp is primarily a scavenger, feeding on algae, detritus, and other organic matter. In captivity, they will readily accept a variety of foods, including commercial shrimp pellets, frozen or live brine shrimp, and other meaty foods. It is important to provide a varied diet to ensure that the shrimp receive all of the necessary nutrients.

Keeping a camel shrimp at home

Camel shrimp are relatively easy to care for and can be a great addition to a reef or marine aquarium. If you are interested in keeping camel shrimp in your aquarium, there are a few things to keep in mind. First of all, they require a relatively stable and clean environment, with good water quality and plenty of hiding places. A tank size of at least 76 liters (20 gallons) is recommended for a small group of shrimp. Additionally, they will appreciate a sandy substrate and plenty of rocks and other surfaces to climb on.

Water parameters should be kept in the range of 23-27 °C (73-81 °F), with a pH of 8.1-8.4 and a salinity of 1.023-1.025. Regular water changes and maintenance are important to keep the shrimp healthy and happy. They can tolerate a range of temperatures, but fluctuations or extremes can stress them and make them more susceptible to disease. Yet, it’s still a very hardy species, which makes them suitable for beginners.

In terms of tankmates, camel shrimp will generally get along with most other peaceful species, including other shrimp and small fish. However, they may become territorial towards other shrimp of the same species, so it is important to provide plenty of hiding places and space. It is recommended to keep them in a tank with live rock, which can provide a natural source of food and shelter. They also prefer a moderate to strong water flow, which can help distribute food and oxygen throughout the tank.

You will not see them often move around and about during the day in your tank as this species is nocturnal. They frequently hide in crevices and rest during the day and do most of their activity during the night. It’s debated if this species of shrimp is actually reef safe. There have been reports of people saying they completely destroyed their tanks while others had no problems at all. Just use caution when adding these shrimps to a mixed reef tank.

It is also important to avoid adding any predators to the tank, as they may harm or even consume the camel shrimp. Additionally, they should not be exposed to any copper-based medications, as this can be fatal to them.

In conclusion, the camel shrimp is a beautiful and fascinating species that can make a great addition to a home aquarium. With the proper care and attention, these shrimp can thrive and provide enjoyment for years to come.

Scientific nameRhynchocinetes durbanensis
Type of aquariumMarine
SizeUp to 5 cm / 2 inches
RegionIndian and Pacific Oceans
Ideal tank sizeA minimum of 76 liters / 20 gallons is recommended
Ideal water temperature23-27 °C / 73-81 °F
pH8.1 – 8.4
sG1.023 – 1.025
DietOmnivorous, primarily feeds on small crustaceans and plankton.
Life spanUp to 2 years in captivity.


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