Fire Shrimp Vs Cleaner Shrimp – 7 Attributes You Should Know

Cleaner shrimps are a good addition to any aquarium as they help to eat algae and keep the tank clean. However, when you are thinking about adding other shrimps, it is important if the two species can get along.

This article will examine if fire shrimp will be a good tankmate for cleaner shrimps.

Specifically, one of the main differences between fire shrimp vs cleaner shrimp is how they behave. Fire shrimp tend to hide more around the edge of their caves while cleaner shrimp will come out and look for food. It is not unusual to see cleaner shrimp staying awake overnight to ‘clean’ the tank.

Check out the article for more information on how these 2 breed behave and whether they will kill each other off 🙂


7 Main difference between fire shrimp vs cleaner shrimper


  1. Appearance

In terms of appearance, fire shrimp has a more beautiful outlook, with its red color shell.

Fire shrimp

Cleaner shrimp is a common name for a number of shrimp species that clean aggressively. The most common breed is probably the scarlet skunk shrimp, which tend to be more transparent in appearance with spots of red. it is handsome but not as striking as fire shrimp.

Cleaner shrimp

  1. Size

Both breeds tend to be around the same size. Their maximum size is around 2 inches so a bit bigger than breeds such as ghost shrimps.


  1. Aggressive level

Both types of shrimps are pretty non aggressive in general. I never see any of them trying to attack each other or tank mates. In case you are unaware, both belongs to the lystmata species so they are sort of related in a way.

Fire shrimp tend to hide most of the time while cleaner shrimp is busy cleaning the tank.

With such non aggressive behavior, it is safe to keep both species in the tank.


  1. Behavior

As mentioned in the opening, fire shrimp tend to stay hidden. This is because their natural habitat tend to be deep caves so they are used to staying in them for long periods of time.

If you want to see out in the open, the best way is to feed them more frequently. They are still attracted and you might get them to eat off your hand if you are lucky.

In terms of cleaning, the cleaner shrimp wins hands down. They are a hardworking bunch that seems to be always eating away. Some owners think think they are mentally off since they are so active and crazy. No matter how you interpret their behavior, cleaner shrimps are definitely more fun to watch.

However ,if you have corals in tank, there might be issues as the cleaner shrimp will ‘steal’ the food from the corals. Here are the 2 tips that you can use if this is a problem for you

  • Shoo the shrimps away before feeding the corals. However, your cleaners might get angry at this.
  • Create a coral dome by cutting the top of any 2 litter bottle and placing it over the coral. Use a turkey baster to feed food directly into corals dome so that the shrimps can’t touch it.

If you have aggressive fish in the tank, do expect both species to be more ‘shy’ and hide in their caves more frequently.


  1. Price

Prices for both breeds are also pretty similar. Long time ago, the fire shrimp is more expensive (in the $40 range) but it seems pricing has come down a bit.

On average, a fire shrimp cost between $30 while a cleaner shrimp will cost around $20.


  1. Living habitat

Both fire and cleaner shrimp can survive in both big or small aquariums.  As long as you fully cycle the tank well, they should be easy breeds to keep.

One thing you need to note about fire shrimp is that they are more sensitive to lights, due to their deep water attributes which have been mentioned above. If your aquarium lights are too bright, they will tend to hide even more.

In terms of tolerance to changes in water perimeters, cleaner shrimp are more resistant. That is not to say fire shrimp will die off easily as they can still tolerant pH, gH or nitrate increases.


  1. Life span

On average, a cleaner shrimp has a longer life span of up to 3 years. A fire shrimp will live to between 2 to 3 years.


If you are considering which type of shrimp to keep, here is a summary advice:

  • cleaner shrimp are more hardworking and are fun to watch
  • fire shrimp are more beautiful but tend to hide. They also clean less.

If you are thinking of keeping both and are worried if they will clash with each other, the answer is mostly no. Both belong to the same species and pretty peaceful so as tank mates, both fire and cleaner shrimps should get along well.

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