What You Should Know Before Adding Camelback Shrimp to Your Aquarium

camelback shrimp
Bernard Dupont/Wikimedia CC 2.0

Camelback shrimp are easily identified by their characteristic "hump" for which they are aptly named. Species coloration and markings may vary, but usually, these shrimp are vibrant cherry-red in color and the body is accented with markings of various patterns of bright white dots and/or stripes. Males have larger pincers.

Rhynchocienetes spp. shrimp are often misidentified or misrepresented and sold as peppermint shrimp (Lysmata wurdemanni), but these two species are not the same, and therefore, proper identification is important.

Camelback Shrimp Fast Facts

Here's some helpful information about camelback shrimp.

Scientific Names

Rhynchocienetes uritai, R. brucei, R. durbanensis, R. haitti, R. regens, and R. rugulous.

Other Common Names

Camel shrimp, humpback shrimp, hinge-beak prawns, and often mislabeled as peppermint shrimp.

Average Size

To about 1.6 inches.


Found in tropical seas around the world.

Camelback Shrimp Characteristics and Compatibility

Generally, peaceful communal shrimp that are very active at night, it's not unusual to see them picking materials and debris from rocks and other hard surfaces in the aquarium. For this reason, they are desirable tank cleaners, however, because they eat corals and other polyps, this makes them unsuitable in reef tanks. Even a few of these shrimp can decimate a healthy colony of star polyps or zoanthids for example in no time at all.These shrimp are excellent tank cleaners, which makes them desirable, and are attractive due to their vibrant cherry-red color with contrasting bright white stripes or dots, but beware!

These shrimp will eat corals and other polyps, and therefore are not reef safe.

Like most all shrimp, it is a nocturnal crustacean that usually hides during daylight hours, coming out at night to feed.

To help with proper molting of this or any shrimp, supplemental iodine should be added to the system, but with caution.

Too much iodine can cause premature molting and shorten its expected life span, which is normally about two to three years in captivity. As with other crustaceans, Camelback Shrimp cannot tolerate exposure copper sulfate and are sensitive to high-level ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.

Diet and Feeding

This shrimp is a carnivore, scavenging the bottom of the aquarium, and sifting sand for food. In captivity it will accept a varied diet of prepared fresh and frozen foods suitable for carnivores, vitamin enriched flakes, freeze dried krill, or live adult brine shrimp or nauplii. Best fed at least once per day. Sometimes an individual has been reported as seen eating aiptasia anemones; however, Aiptasia doesn't appear to be a preferred food source for this shrimp, and may or may not eat them.

The true peppermint shrimp is the real aiptasia eater. Camelback shrimp are nocturnal crustaceans that primarily come out at night and search for things to eat. They are scavengers that eat all types of foods, including waste materials and debris that settles on rocks and other hard surfaces, but also eat corals and other types of polyps.

What You Should Know Before Adding Camel Shrimp to Your Aquarium

As with all marine animals in captivity, the behavior of any individual can be unpredictable, and shrimp are no exception.

It's not impossible for any shrimp to become an opportunistic predator when it cannot find enough food to eat. We give the camelback shrimp a 1-star care rating but with caution.

Even though they are easy shrimp to care for, it is advised not to put them in a reef aquarium due to their appetite for corals and other polyps.