Aquarium Invertebrates

Invertebrates are animals that do not have any backbone or spine.  Familiar examples of invertebrates include insects; crabs, lobsters and their kin; snails, clams, octopuses and their kin; starfish, sea-urchins and their kin (which includes corals); and worms. The vast majority of animal species are invertebrates and so it’s not surprising that they are a very important part of almost any aquarium system.

Even though there are more insects than any other invertebrates, there really are not any insects commonly kept in aquariums although occasionally an insect larvae might pop up and “water fleas” which are not actually insects but a type of microfauna called isopods that can occasionally get big enough to clearly see with the naked eye are not that uncommon to find.  It would be possible to have an aquarium for the purpose of keeping an aquatic insect but generally you would be on your own and hard pressed to find anything commercially available.  You’d have to be pretty hard core and dedicated to get into such a thing.  Below is a cool video of some isopods in an aquarium.  They aren’t actually insects but more closely related to the “Roly-Polys” everyone should be familiar with.  These guys would actually make for a good clean up crew … if they don’t creep you out too much! Be forewarned! 😀

Soooo, now we can see why Shrimp, Snails, Crabs, Lobsters, Clams, Starfish, Urchins, and even worms and other invertebrates are more popular choices in most aquariums!  However, the invisible, microscopic version of those critters are a great thing to have in your aquarium … I go over those in the Aquarium Microfauna webpage.

Marine aquarists have a wide variety of invertebrates to choose from to add to their tank.  These include various crabs, snails,  shrimp and other crustaceans similar to their freshwater counterparts.  However, there are also a wide variety of other invertebrates available in a marine aquariums such as starfish, urchins, various worms, cucumbers, scallops, clams,  sponges, anemones, cephalopods and more!