Posted by: Brenda Kula | July 24, 2008

Death Of A Shrimp


I have (had) two shrimp in my small saltwater aquarium. Last night after the couple who own Lonestar Aquariums came to do their monthly deep cleaning of the tank, (and bring three new residents, dart fish), I decided to take a few photos of the aquarium.

Andrea and Jeff own Lone Star Aquariums. They are a sweet couple who have a very good little business going. They work from their home, and travel all over the region setting up and servicing aquariums for folks like me. And they keep their customers happy. They are prompt, polite, and Jeff has even started cleaning the filters on my garden pond monthly. I am very pleased with their professionalism. (And the fact that they take my frantic calls at strange hours when I perceive something amiss in the tank and (of course) panic.)

Well, it was good I took those snapshots last night. I have had this tank since December, and have not lost one occupant. I really don’t know if the above photo is Shrimp or Shrimpy, since I had two and they looked exactly alike. But let’s just pretend we know. And let’s say it was Shrimp. Because the name "Shrimpy" is more catchy. And I’d rather get to keep using that name.

Anyway, I get up early to let the construction men in, and the aquarium lights have not yet come on. Jeff has them on a timer so it goes through three light changes. (Fish do have to sleep, by the way.) I walk past the aquarium and I see that one shrimp is belly up. I wait one hour (all I could contain myself to) and call Jeff. Pretty sure I woke them up! I tell him my predicament, and that I am shining a flashlight into the tank. And that it does not look good.

You see, the shrimp, which are considered medics of the tank and keep the other fish clean, shed their skin every week or so. When this happens, the long white whiskers are actually shed too! It is a weird sight. So Jeff asks me if I’m sure it isn’t just this shedding occurring. I tell him no. I don’t think so.

I tell him that the other shrimp has cozied up to the little dead critter and looks grief-stricken. He tells me no, he’s likely about to eat the carcass.


I ask him, "Do you think he’d be kind enough to drag it to the back of the tank before he does this?" He tells me no. "But what if it’s just asleep?" He tells me this is very unlikely. And kind of laughs.

I reluctantly take the dead shrimp from the tank. I thought about taking a photo of his final day in my tank, but it seemed disrespectful to take pictures of the dead. I knew Jeff and Andrea were coming in a few hours to bring some new coral for me. But I couldn’t take the chance that that poor dead fish, that had done its job well over the past months keeping the tank clean, would get consumed. Just didn’t seem right.

Just before noon, the duo arrive with my new coral, and they check out the tank. Everything looks fine. I am relieved. I don’t like things dying on my watch. The three dart fish are hiding some, "settling in."

The photo below didn’t turn out well. (They move so fast!) But I wanted you to get a good look at the Lawnmower Blenny, the odd gray fellow with bug eyes on the far right. He’s not pretty, to say the least. But he sure is interesting to watch.


I just took these photos for you. Below is the lone shrimp. Probably angry because he didn’t get to eat the carcass of his friend. And the yellow character who looks like he’s pouting is a Goby. I call him Toby.


Below is a view of the zinnia coral (the one on the left that looks like a peach flower), and the other is white (on the right) and to me looks like brain matter. And in the middle, one of my three new dart fish.


Isn’t it interesting, this little world contained in my 26 gallon tank?

All that rock you see is "live" rock. Which means it comes from the ocean. And has to be in water until it goes into the tank.

Actually, everything in my saltwater tank is live.

Jeff and Andrea drive the 90 miles to Dallas every week or so and meet a plane around 12:30 a.m. to get the new fish shipments. They want as little time to lapse as possible between the time the fish leave the ocean, and get to them and then their customers. This causes less stress on the fish. Isn’t that sweet and really thoughtful! These are remarkable young entrepreneurs!


Above, one of my True Perculas, or the clownfish. Looks like Porgie. Porgie’s tail is less rounded than Georgie’s.


The new coral they brought today is the one on the far right. It looks like Goldilocks with pink curls. There is Toby, who pretty much stays in his little hollowed-out hole.



Georgie, above.


The above are little creatures that come from within the live rock. They have their little "arms" out to grasp particles of ocean debris (?) that comes past them.


A close up of the zinnia coral.



The lone shrimp eating gunk off of the rocks. Every time the tank is cleaned, the shrimp and the Lawnmower Blenny will zap all over the tank to eat up debris. Benny the Lawnmower Blenny is a vegetarian.


A close up of the coral that to me resembles brain matter.


At night the corals sort of "close up shop." To me the ends look like hands, and at night they seem to close up into something that resemble fists. If you clean the tank, they do the same thing. Apparently they don’t like you messing around in their world!



I hope you three little schooling dart fish are happy in my home!




  1. I’ve never had any luck with aquariums. We had tried when the kids were young. It seemed like something was always dying and the kids were disappointed. So we finally gave up.

    Georgie is beautiful, though I must say.

  2. You have a delightful tank!! Wow I would spend all day just staring at it, but maybe that’s the idea.
    So many colors I just love it,we have friends who keep tanks like this huge things.
    My daughter had a turtle a red neck slider, she called it Miles,turns out he was a she, and my daughter sweet child that she was went away to school and left me with this *~^#@$(%*)!!!! turtle, it would only eat goldfish and needed its tank cleaned very often ((GAG…. Choke….. etc.. ))it was the smelliest thing, I truly resented having to look after it, finally after 3 years of babysitting I gave it away, she barely noticed it was gone…… sigh…. that’s my story and I am sticking to it.

  3. Wow you have a beautiful aquarium!!! We had a fresh water one while the kids were growing up but they are boring compared to salt water ones. Sorry about shrimp passing. I know things like do happen. It is nothing that you did I’m sure.

  4. Oh what lovely fishies! You were able to get really good photographs of them too! My dream is to one day have a beautiful aquarium like this. Thanks for sharing! ~ xoxo ~ Joy

  5. Your saltwater aquarium is so interesting. Georgie reminds me of Nemo. Have you seen the movie Finding Nemo? And there the shrimp. I have never seen one like that before!

    BF is still keeping his freshwater aquarium. I’m just glad I don’t have to clean it.

  6. I love your detailed pictures. They are beautiful. How do you keep shrimp, which is a salt water fish,, in a fresh water tank? Or is that a special type of shrimp? Forgive my ignorance.

    I would love to have a fish tank but I am still traumatized from the first one I had. I was young and foolish and sprayed this air freshener around the room near the tank. They started to die and I couldn’t figure out why. The tank man said it was the air freshener falling on the water. I don’t know, maybe he sold me sick fish, but they did die and I have felt guilty around fish in a tank, ever since.

  7. OH, it’s saltwater tank…never mind..I need new glasses or to learn how to focus when I read.

  8. I love your aquarium!! The pictures were awesome and the fish posed so nicely for you.

  9. Brenda, that was so interesting, reading about all the fish and the salt water aquarium. It must be a beautiful sight after the sun sets before the fish go to bed for the night. xo, suzy

  10. Your aquarium looks great! My hubby has 2 reef tanks. We love the name Toby for the Goby. We were commenting on your blog and saying theres Toby the Goby. We also have cleaner shrimp and quite an assortment of fish and coral. One of the tanks is 140 gals and we just love watching all the life in there.

  11. It’s a wonderful little world in there! My daughter has a salt-water tank and she loves it.

  12. I’m sorry about Shrimp! Your aquarium is spectacular! Patti

  13. Ooooh Brenda, what a beautiful, fascinating little world you and your talented helpers have created.

  14. Hi Brenda 🙂

    Thank’s for your support. My head is up my butt these days LOL

    I love your fish world. I could never snorkel in the ocean (chicken), but I love looking at tank life 🙂

    I’m sorry about your shrimp 😦


  15. I am flabbergasted at your photography! Just beautiful, and all you teach with your post. Thank you! We had a large fresh water aquarium in our youth. Loved it. So enjoyed seeing yours.

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