Hotel for shrimp, inspired by NASA

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This unusual ecosystem for shrimp has apparently been inspired by the Opae'ula (Halocaridina rubra) that NASA took on the Space Shuttle in an enclosed 'biosphere'.

These tiny Atyid shrimps are endemic to the Hawaiian islands, where they are found in anchialine pools (landlocked bodies of water with a subterranean connection to the ocean).

Opae'ula shrimp (pictured by Joel Carnat, Creative Commons) rarely reach more than 1.5cm/0.6" and the common Hawaiian name Opae'ula means "red shrimp". They're a long-lived species and there are reports of them living for 20 years in captivity.

The Space Hotel from Oh My Opae is sold as a complete ecosystem for this species of shrimp. It's made up of either three or four cylindrical vases, depending on the system you choose, which are connected via a tubular bridge for the shrimp to cross.

The aquaria come with gravel, rocks, black coral, sea shell, a choice of plastic plant colours, a nylon plug and a group of either seven or nine Hawaiian red volcano shrimp.

The cylinders are 17.5cm/7" high for the Space Hotel 3 and 15cm/6" high for the Space Hotel 4. Prices start at $55/£35.

This is just one design of habitats for these shrimp from Oh My Opae.

The company says it has been working with Opae'ula shrimp for 10 years and has developed responsible, sustainable and breedable Mini-Ecosystem environments with proven population increase of over 800 times with minimal to no feeding and occasional water replenishment with distilled water.

It says: "We at OH MY OPAE, treasure these Opae‘ula and try to make it our responsibility to ensure that they are properly used in a sustainable environment which will benefit our pleasures and their continued existence."

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