Camel Shrimp Care Guide [2023]

Fact Checked by
Sheldon Myers, MS / Aquarist

Camel shrimp (Rhynchocinetes spp.) are a type of marine crustacean that belongs to the family Rhynchocinetidae. These small, colorful shrimp are often found in coral reefs, where they play an important ecological role as both predators and prey. Camel shrimp are also a popular species in the aquarium trade due to their attractive appearance and interesting behavior.

Scientific name:Rhynchocinetes durbanensis
Also known as:Camel Shrimp, Camelback shrimp, Hingebeak shrimp, Dancing shrimp, Candy shrimp, Rock shrimp, Humpback shrimp
Origin:Pacific Ocean, Indonesia, Philippines, and northern Australia
Size:1.5 – 2.3 inches
Life expectancy:2-3 years
Color:Striped bright red and white dots
Minimum tank size:10 gallons
Temperature:71-80°F (22–27°C)
pH:8.0 – 8.5
Hardness:8 – 16 dGH
Care level:Intermediate

Physical Characteristics

Camel shrimp are small in size, typically reaching a maximum length of around 2 inches (5 cm). They have a distinctive body shape, with a long, slender abdomen and a pair of large, fan-like antennae. Their bodies are usually brightly colored, with patterns of red, orange, yellow, and white that provide camouflage in their natural habitat.

One of the most unique features of camel shrimp is their eyes, which are mounted on long stalks that allow them to see in all directions. This adaptation helps them detect predators and potential prey, and also makes them popular among aquarium enthusiasts.

Camel Shrimp Care Instructions

If you’re interested in keeping camel shrimp as pets, it’s important to provide them with the right care to ensure their health and wellbeing. Here are some basic care instructions for camel shrimp:

Aquarium Setup

Camel shrimp are native to coral reef habitats, where they typically live among rocky crevices and coral structures, and they require a similar environment in captivity to thrive. A sandy substrate is ideal for these shrimp, as they like to burrow and create their own hiding places in the sand.

In addition to a sandy substrate, camel shrimp also need plenty of hiding places to feel secure in the aquarium. This can include rocks, caves, and coral structures, which can provide shelter from potential predators and help create a naturalistic environment for the shrimp.

In terms of water flow, camel shrimp prefer aquariums with a moderate to strong water flow, which mimics their natural habitat on coral reefs. This helps to provide oxygenation, filtration, and circulation throughout the aquarium, and can also help keep the shrimp healthy and active.

It’s important to note that while camel shrimp prefer moderate to strong water flow, care should be taken not to create a flow that is too strong, as this can stress the shrimp and make it difficult for them to move around the aquarium. A good rule of thumb is to aim for a flow that is strong enough to provide adequate circulation, but not so strong that the shrimp are being constantly buffeted by the current.

Overall, providing the right aquarium setup is essential for the health and wellbeing of camel shrimp in captivity. By mimicking their natural habitat as closely as possible, you can help ensure that they are comfortable, active, and thriving in the aquarium.

How many gallons are needed for Camel Shrimp?

The minimum aquarium size for camel shrimp will depend on the number of shrimp you plan to keep, as well as any other fish or invertebrates in the aquarium. Generally, it’s recommended to provide at least 10 gallons of water per camel shrimp, although a larger aquarium may be needed for larger groups or for larger species of shrimp.

It’s important to note that overcrowding can cause stress and health problems for shrimp, as well as potentially lead to aggressive behavior between individuals. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that the aquarium is not overcrowded and that there is plenty of space for the shrimp to move around and establish their own territories.

Water Quality

As with many aquarium inhabitants, camel shrimp are sensitive to changes in water quality and require a stable and well-maintained aquarium environment to thrive. Here are some key factors to consider when maintaining water quality for your camel shrimp:

  1. Water Chemistry: Camel shrimp prefer aquarium water with a pH between 8.0 and 8.4 and a salinity of 1.023-1.025. It’s important to regularly test the water chemistry to ensure that these levels are maintained within the acceptable range for the shrimp.
  2. Temperature: Camel shrimp thrive in aquariums with a temperature between 72°F and 78°F. It’s important to avoid sudden temperature changes, as this can be stressful for the shrimp and negatively impact their health.
  3. Filtration: A high-quality filtration system is essential for maintaining water quality in the aquarium. This helps remove waste and toxins from the water, preventing the build-up of harmful substances that can negatively impact the health of the shrimp.
  4. Water Changes: Regular water changes should be performed to remove accumulated waste and replenish essential nutrients in the aquarium. The frequency of water changes will depend on the size of the aquarium and the number of inhabitants, but a general guideline is to perform a 10-20% water change every 2-4 weeks.

Feeding Camel Shrimp

As omnivores, camel shrimp have a varied diet that includes both plant and animal matter. In the wild, they feed on algae, detritus, and small organisms such as zooplankton and small crustaceans.

In the aquarium, camel shrimp can be fed a variety of prepared foods, such as shrimp pellets, flakes, and algae wafers. These can be found at most pet stores and are specifically formulated for shrimp and other crustaceans.

In addition to prepared foods, live and frozen foods can also be offered to provide additional nutrition and variety to the shrimp’s diet. Some good options include brine shrimp, krill, and other small invertebrates. These can be purchased at most pet stores or ordered online.

It’s important to avoid overfeeding your camel shrimp, as excess food can lead to a build-up of waste in the aquarium. As a general rule, feed your shrimp only what they can consume in a few minutes, and remove any uneaten food from the aquarium.

Camel Shrimp Tankmates

When selecting tank mates for your camel shrimp, it’s important to choose peaceful and compatible species that won’t harm or stress out the shrimp. Here are some options to consider:

  1. Small Fish: Many small fish species can make good tank mates for camel shrimp, as they are unlikely to harm or harass the shrimp. Some good options include neon tetras, guppies, and dwarf rasboras.
  2. Other Shrimp: Some other species of shrimp can also be compatible with camel shrimp, as long as there is enough space and hiding places in the aquarium. Amano shrimp, cherry shrimp, and ghost shrimp are all good options.
  3. Snails: Snails can be a great addition to a shrimp aquarium, as they help keep the tank clean and can coexist peacefully with the shrimp. Nerite snails and mystery snails are both good options.
  4. Coral and Invertebrates: Camel shrimp can also coexist with a variety of coral and other invertebrates, as long as there is enough space and hiding places in the aquarium. Some good options include mushroom corals, zoanthids, and various types of starfish.

It’s important to avoid larger or more aggressive fish species, as they can be a threat to the shrimp. Additionally, it’s important to ensure that the aquarium is large enough to accommodate all the inhabitants, and that there are enough hiding places and natural algae growth to allow each species to thrive. By selecting peaceful and compatible tank mates, you can create a harmonious and thriving community aquarium that includes your camel shrimp.

Observing Behavior

It’s important to observe the behavior of your camel shrimp regularly to ensure they are healthy and active. Signs of illness or stress may include lethargy, loss of appetite, and changes in coloration or behavior. Any signs of illness or stress should be addressed promptly to prevent the spread of disease or further health issues.

By following these basic care instructions, you can help ensure the health and wellbeing of your camel shrimp in the aquarium. It’s important to do your research and consult with a knowledgeable aquarium professional before setting up an aquarium for camel shrimp or any other species.

Habitat and Distribution

Camel shrimp are found in tropical and subtropical waters throughout the world, including the Caribbean, the Indo-Pacific, and the Red Sea. They are typically found in shallow waters near coral reefs, where they hide in crevices and cracks during the day and emerge at night to feed.

While camel shrimp are not currently listed as endangered, they may be vulnerable to the effects of climate change and human activities such as overfishing and habitat destruction.

Behavior and Ecology

Camel shrimp are omnivores, feeding on a variety of small marine animals and plants. They are also known to scavenge on dead or decaying matter, playing an important role in the nutrient cycling of coral reef ecosystems.

In addition to their role as predators and scavengers, camel shrimp are also preyed upon by a variety of larger marine animals, including fish, octopuses, and crabs. To avoid being eaten, camel shrimp use a range of defensive strategies, including hiding in crevices and using their long antennae to detect predators from a distance.

Camel shrimp are also known for their social behavior, and may form large groups in areas with abundant food resources. During the breeding season, male camel shrimp will perform elaborate courtship displays to attract females, which then lay their eggs on the underside of rocks or other hard surfaces.

Interaction with Humans

Camel shrimp are an important species in commercial fishing, particularly in the Caribbean and the Indo-Pacific regions. They are typically caught using small nets or traps, and are prized for their meat, which is considered a delicacy in some cultures.

Camel shrimp are also popular among aquarium enthusiasts, due to their striking appearance and interesting behavior. They are relatively easy to care for and can be kept in small groups in a home aquarium.

However, it is important to note that overfishing and habitat destruction can have negative impacts on camel shrimp populations. To promote sustainable fishing practices and protect these important species, some countries have implemented regulations on the harvest of camel shrimp.

Conservation and Management

To protect camel shrimp and other coral reef species, a range of conservation and management strategies have been implemented in recent years. These include the establishment of marine protected areas, which limit human activities in important coral reef habitats, and the development of sustainable fishing practices that aim to maintain healthy populations of camel shrimp and other species.

Ongoing research into the biology, behavior, and ecology of camel shrimp can provide valuable insights into the factors that affect their populations, and can help inform management decisions aimed at promoting their long-term sustainability.

For example, research on the reproductive biology of camel shrimp can help identify key breeding grounds and spawning periods, which can inform decisions about when and where fishing activities should be restricted. Similarly, studies on the ecological interactions between camel shrimp and other species can help identify important predator-prey relationships and food web dynamics, which can guide the development of conservation measures aimed at protecting these important species.

Overall, a combination of research, conservation, and sustainable management efforts will be needed to protect camel shrimp and other coral reef species in the face of ongoing environmental challenges. By working together to promote the long-term sustainability of these important marine animals, we can help ensure that they continue to thrive for generations to come.


In conclusion, camel shrimp are fascinating and important marine animals that play a key role in coral reef ecosystems. Their unique physical characteristics, social behavior, and ecological interactions make them a subject of ongoing research and interest among scientists and aquarium enthusiasts.

However, like many other marine species, camel shrimp are facing threats from human activities such as overfishing and habitat destruction. To promote the conservation and sustainable management of these important species, it is essential to continue studying their biology and ecology, while also implementing measures to protect their natural habitats and reduce the impact of human activities.

By working together to promote the sustainable use and protection of marine resources, we can help ensure the survival of camel shrimp and other important species for generations to come.

Elliot Galindo
Elliot Galindo
Elliot Galindo is a highly educated expert on freshwater shrimp and their care as pets. He received his Bachelor's degree in marine biology from the University of Oregon and has used that knowledge to become an authority on shrimp care.



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