Peppermint Shrimp, also known as Lysmata wurdemanni, are popular additions to saltwater aquariums. These small, colorful shrimp are known for their ability to control pests such as aiptasia, an unwanted and hard-to-get-rid-of aquarium pest. However, many hobbyists are under the impression that these shrimp do not need to be fed as they will find enough food on their own. In reality, this is not always the case, and peppermint shrimp should be fed regularly, especially if there are no aiptasia to eat.
Peppermint shrimp are omnivores, meaning they will eat both plant and animal matter. In the wild, they feed on a variety of food sources such as algae, small invertebrates, and detritus (dead organic matter). In an aquarium setting, they are often introduced as a solution to aiptasia problems. While they will certainly eat aiptasia, they are not solely reliant on this pest as their only source of food.
In the absence of aiptasia, peppermint shrimp may start to look for alternative food sources, which could lead to them eating your soft corals. Soft corals are delicate and slow-growing, and they do not respond well to being eaten. If your peppermint shrimp are very hungry, they may start to nibble on your soft corals, causing damage that could be difficult to repair.
To avoid this, it is crucial to feed your peppermint shrimp regularly. A variety of food sources, such as frozen brine shrimp, frozen mysis shrimp, and seaweed, should be offered to ensure a balanced diet. You can feed them once or twice a week, and it is important to monitor their feeding habits and adjust the amount of food accordingly.
In conclusion, feeding your peppermint shrimp regularly is essential to their survival and overall health, especially if there are no aiptasia to eat. By providing a variety of food sources, you can ensure that they are well-nourished and less likely to damage your corals. With proper care and attention, these colorful shrimp can be an excellent addition to your aquarium and help maintain a healthy and balanced ecosystem.