The popularity of keeping cleaner shrimp in various aquarium setups is becoming increasingly popular with a wide range of different setups using cleaner shrimp to help eat the algae, detritus, and leftover food in the tank.
This can help to reduce the amount of tank maintenance that is required by you to maintain consistent water parameters with cleaner shrimp also being very low maintenance making them a very popular clean up crew member.
Unfortunately, there is a distinct lack of information out there about cleaner shrimp though so we constantly see people reaching out with a wide range of different questions about keeping cleaner shrimp in their tanks.
One of the more common questions that we have seen time and time again recently is about how often cleaner shrimp molt.
With so many people reaching out with various questions about cleaner shrimp molt, we decided to publish this article going over all of the common questions we see people asking to try and help as many of our readers as possible.
Is It Normal For Cleaner Shrimp To Molt?
Yes, it is actually very normal for cleaner shrimp to molt on a regular basis with most healthy shrimp molting every 4-6 weeks.
This is due to the fact that as they grow, their hard outer shell becomes too small for their body meaning that they need to shed their exoskeleton in order to continue growing.
Molting also helps cleaner shrimp to get rid of any parasites or diseases that they may have come in contact with which can help to keep your aquarium population healthy.
When Do Cleaner Shrimp Molt?
Most cleaner shrimp will go through their molting process at night time when there is less light as this helps to reduce the stress on them during the molting process.
You may notice that your cleaner shrimp spend more time hiding away in caves or under rocks during the days leading up to their molt as their body is preparing for the molting process.
How Do I Know When My Cleaner Shrimp Is Molting?
There are a few different signs that you can look for which will help you to know when your cleaner shrimp is getting ready to molt.
One of the most common signs is that the shrimp will start to turn a white or translucent color as their old shell starts to break down.
You may also notice that the shrimp becomes less active and does not eat as much during this time as their body is focusing on the molting process.
What Happens If My Cleaner Shrimp Cannot Molt?
If your cleaner shrimp is unable to molt properly, it can actually be fatal for them as their old shell will start to restrict their growth.
This can cause a number of different health problems for the shrimp including organ damage, starvation, and even death.
It is important to make sure that your cleaner shrimp has plenty of hiding places in their tank so they can molt properly without being disturbed.
You should also avoid using any harsh chemicals in your tank as this can cause problems with the molting process.
How Often Do Cleaner Shrimp Molt?
Most cleaner shrimp will molt every 4-6 weeks, but this can vary depending on a number of different factors.
The age and health of the shrimp can play a role in how often they molt with younger, healthier shrimp molting more frequently than older shrimp.
The water parameters in your tank can also play a role in how often the shrimp molt with higher temperatures and salt levels causing them to molt more frequently.
How Long Do Cleaner Shrimp Hide After Molting?
After molting, cleaner shrimp will usually spend a few days hiding away while their new shell hardens.
During this time, you may notice that the shrimp are not as active and do not eat as much as they usually do.
It is important to make sure that your shrimp have plenty of hiding places available so they can stay safe during this time.
If your shrimp is not able to hide during this time, it may end up becoming a quick and easy snack for some of the larger fish in your tank.
Should I Remove Cleaner Shrimp Molt From My Tank?
The old cleaner shrimp shell can actually be a good source of food for other creatures in your tank.
Some fish and invertebrates will actually eat the old shrimp shell which can help to provide them with extra nutrients.
You can also leave the old shrimp shell in your tank as it will eventually break down and provide your plants with extra nutrients.
If you do decide to remove the old shrimp shell from your tank, you can do so by using a small net or siphon.
Will Cleaner Shrimp Molt More When Stressed?
Cleaner shrimp can actually molt more frequently when they are stressed.
This is because their bodies are trying to rid themselves of any parasites or diseases that they may have come in contact with.
It is important to try to reduce the stress levels in your tank as much as possible so your shrimp can remain healthy.
One way to do this is to make sure that they have plenty of hiding places available so they feel safe and secure.
You should also avoid using any harsh chemicals in your tank as this can cause stress for the shrimp.