Randalls Snapping Shrimp (Alpheus randalli)

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Randalls Snapping Shrimp
Alpheus randalli
Randalls Snapping Shrimp (Alpheus randalli)
Name Randalls Snapping Shrimp
Name Lat. Alpheus randalli
Family Snapping Shrimps
Family lat. Alpheidae
Order Decapoda
Order lat. Decapoda
Origin Indo-Pacific
Diet Omnivore
pH 8.1-8.4
Hardness 8-12 °KH
Lighting Medium
Current Moderate
Behavior Peaceful
Keeping Individual, pair
Care Level Moderate
Life Span N/A
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 3 cm
Temperature 22-28 °C
Salinity 33-36 ‰
Aquarium 100 l
US Units
Size 1.2"
Temperature 72-82 °F
Salinity 1.020-1.025 sg
Aquarium 25 gal

Distribution and habitat

The distribution area of Alpheus randalli is the Western Pacific, from Japan over Indonesia to the Marquesas Islands as well as in parts of the Indian Ocean (Seychelles). There they live in self-dug burrows in the sand, under stones or loose rubble, in symbiosis with partner gobies.


They need a well-structured aquarium with a reef structure (crevices, caves, shelters) and stone slabs on sandy areas, with live stones that they can graze on (algae, small crustaceans) and that act like a biological filter. Tubes made of clay or plastic can also serve as living caves. The graveable substrate of fine to medium coral sand should be at least 10 cm deep. Only lime-rich, heavy metal-free substrates may be used as substrate. Filters, skimmers and heaters are necessary to ensure water quality, as well as pumps to simulate tides, swells and bottom currents. Lighting must match the species-appropriate day-night rhythm of the animals

Salinity: 33-36 ‰ pH value: 7.9-8.5
Carbonate hardness: 6-10 °KH Nitrate content: 2-8 mg/l
phosphate content: 0.01-0.1 mg/l nitrite content: 0.0-0.05 mg/l

Regular addition of trace elements, especially calcium, iodine and magnesium is recommended. For salinity, an average value should be aimed for, which may only vary slightly by +/- 0.5 ‰. Ammonia and ammonium must not be measurable. Special attention shall be paid to consistently good water quality and water values.


In the wild they feed on small invertebrates, detritus, algal growth and leaf algae. In a community tank, special feeding is only occasionally necessary, as they partake of fish food (small mysis, krill, artemia, bosmids, dry food, etc.). Once or twice a week, phyto- and zooplankton, available as ready-made food in specialized shops, should be offered.

Regular and varied feeding promotes health and increases resistance.

Behaviour and compatibility

They should be kept in pairs with a pair of partner gobies from the Stonogobiobs or Amblyeleotris family, and should only be introduced into the aquarium together. The crayfish share their burrows with the goby, which keeps watch at the burrow entrance during the day and warns the crayfish of enemies, which then immediately retreats into the burrow. In the evening, the crabs close the cave entrance after the goby has slipped in. Gobies and crayfish find each other very young and stay together in symbiosis for life

Socialization with fish and invertebrates by which they are not considered food is very possible. However, smaller shrimp may be eaten.

Reproduction and breeding

The males usually have a larger bangscissors than the females. Reports about successful reproduction in the aquarium are not known


They have an enlarged claw with which they can produce a very loud bang by closing extremely quickly (10 m/sec). This bang, which led to the name bang crab or gun crab, serves as a deterrent and also for communication among themselves. If this claw is lost, the opposite feeding claw grows into a new bang claw after 1-3 molts

With not appropriate water values (e.g. iodine content) it can come to moulting problems.

Special care is required when placing them in the aquarium. They are very sensitive to different water conditions. Newly introduced animals must be accustomed slowly to the water in the aquarium.

If different species are kept together, care must be taken to ensure that fish and invertebrates match each other in terms of water quality and temperature requirements, as well as their social behavior, and that the setup meets the ecological needs of all species kept together

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: Werner Winter; Image: Franz Lowak

Source: FOSSÁ & NILSEN (1995): Korallenriff-Aquarium Bd. 6, Birgit Schmettkamp Verlag; ENGELMANN & LANGE (2011): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Wirbellose, Verlag Harri Deutsch