Phuket’s Underwater Health Spa’s

Phuket’s Underwater Health Spa’s

A Great Place To Observe Natural Behaviour When Diving In Phuket

Every Phuket diving site has one of these blissful little places where the food chain is put on hold for a little while and everybody just gets along, a Utopia under the waves. Most divers will swim over them completely unaware that it’s the best place on the reef to witness natural behaviour, species interaction, some killer dance moves and even marital disputes.

Why Do Fish Need Cleaning?

You’d think spending your whole life swimming around in water would negate the necessity for a spruce up but without hands then cleaning your teeth, cleaning wounds, removing parasites or simply exfoliating are all a bit of a challenge to say the least. This is where the legion of little helpers come in. It’s a competitive world down there and everything needs to be in perfect working order to survive.

As well as the daily wear and tear from constantly dodging teeth, poisons and flailing divers. When a fish tucks itself into a crevice for the night it picks up annoying little hangers on called ectoparasites (think bed bugs that don’t let go), they usually congregate around the gills and fins where the blood is easier to access. This is where you’ll see the most vigorous attention and very often the spa customers will flair their fins and gill covers to allow easy passage. For this reason early mornings are the best time to visit the stations but there’s usually activity throughout the day.

The Cleaners

The most obvious and a fish that everyone has seen is the bluestreak cleaner wrasse (Labroides dimidiatus). They flash their distinctive stripe pattern (blue streaks if you’re wondering…) in an eye catching dance routine above the cleaning station that lets all the reef fish know that they’re open for business. These industrious little fish can eat more than one thousand ectoparasites in one day as well as dead skin and rotten flesh around wounds.

Adult And Juvenile Bluestreak Cleaner Wrasse

Adult And Juvenile Bluestreak Cleaner Wrasse

The blue streak team comprises of either and adult pair, a bunch of unruly youngsters or a group of females with a dominant male. The difference between adults and juveniles can be seen in the picture above. In the adult groups the male runs the show and has been seen to chastise the females if they nip a sensitive area and scare off the client, some fish have their favourite cleaning stations and have been known not to return if they receive poor service. The customer is always right…

Pacific cleaner shrimp (Lysmata amboinensis) are another one of the common therapists we see in Phuket. They also have a display dance and their long white antenna can often be seen waving around outside their holes letting any passing fish know that space is available.

Pacific Cleaner Shrimp

Pacific Cleaner Shrimp

Amnesty From Predators

The cleaners are left alone by most predators (except frogfish, frogfish don’t follow rules) and predator and prey often mix at the stations. Sometimes an orderly queue can be observed, it’s quite possible that a gaping wound on the side of a fusilier was caused by the sheepish looking barracuda who’s next in line. Some fish are a bit greedy though and moray eels will often sit in the same cleaning station for hours.

So confident are the wrasse and shrimp that even divers can be treated to a little attention. The wrasse will often nip at any wounds a diver may have and they also have an annoying habit of going in your ears, possibly thinking it’s our gill openings. If you put your fingers near cleaner shrimp they’ll jump on and start picking away at the dead skin around your nails.

Next time you go diving in Phuket, spend a minute or so hanging around a cleaning station and you’ll see a lot of activity and many of the interactions mentioned above.

Contact Us Now

Posted in Rare & Peculiar Critters on .

Popular Services

Thailand Liveaboard MV Pawara At The Similan Islands

MV Pawara

MV Pawara is one of the most popular liveaboard boats cruising the Similan and Surin Island National Parks. The spacious and comfortable saloon, sundeck and shaded dining area ensure that guests always have plenty of space to relax between dives. The air-conditioned saloon has free wi-fi, TV/DVD player and an extensive library to help you log the names of all the species you can encounter on the fabulous dive sites such as Richelieu Rock, [...]

Find Out More
Juvenille Ghost Pipe Fish Myanamar - Local Dive Thailand

Myanmar Liveaboards

The Mergui Archipelago in Myanmar is made up of something like 800 Islands, most of them uninhabited. This seldom visited wilderness is as beautiful under the water as it is above. To get the chance to explore the amazing dive sites around these islands is a once in a lifetime opportunity, with so many creatures waiting to be discovered & adventures to be had, this is sure to be the highlight of any holiday, so get scuba diving Myanmar aboa [...]

Find Out More

Daily Schedules

M/V Kepsub Schedule

Jobs @ Local Dive Thailand

Local Dive Thailand is one of Phuket's fatest growing & most vibrant scuba diving operations, we are always looking for quality staff to join us, so feel free to have a look at our jobs listing page.

Job Listings

Contact LDT

Local Guides, Local Knowledge, Local Experiences

Don't trust your diving to amateurs or freshly minted dive guides, dive with local experienced experts from Local Dive Thailand. Our Scuba Diving Phuket Tours will take you to see the rarest of the rare critters, you will be amazed by the macro life our guides can find, in the secret places only they know. To put it in perspective, if you were going to climb Mount Everest you would certainly hire a local sherpa to lead the way & keep you safe. Diving is similar because there is absolutely no substitute for local experience & local knowledge, Local Dive Thailand's guides are Phuket's Sherpa's of the Andaman Sea!

Learn More About Us

Scuba Diving Phuket, Phi Phi & Thailand

When talking about Scuba Diving in Phuket, you should believe the hype, many seasons we have had Whale Sharks grace us on our regular and easy to reach dive sites and on a good day you can add Sea Horses, Sea Moths, Snake Eels, Frog Fish & Octopus to what you can see on any given dive and so much more. If we are heading to Phi Phi Island for the day, you can possibly see Hawksbill Sea Turtles and Black Tip Reef Sharks, also don't forget the King Cruiser, 84 meters of beautiful wreck and the most amazing reef nursery for fish and nudibranch. Local Dive Thailand day trip tours to these locations are not to be missed when you are scuba diving Phuket, get in touch with us and book an 'awesome' day of diving.

Book Your Day Trip

Related News From Local Dive Thailand

See why we are Thailand's leading scuba diving Phuket tour provider, stay up to date & watch out for news & special liveaboard offers!

Teaching Scuba Diving In Phuket The Archives

How Do I Become A PADI Scuba Diving Instructor In Phuket?

White sand beaches, palm trees and blue skies need not be just the description of your yearly holiday. With a little hard work and determination it can be the narrative for your daily life. The life of a PADI pro can be idyllic, most opportunities are in amazing tropical locations with clear blue water and year round sunshine. You'll make new friends from all over the world and most importantly get to see the big smiles on the faces of your s [...]

Read Full Story
flying after scuba diving has restrictions Scuba Diving For Beginners

Flying After Scuba Diving

Uncertified divers will not be aware that flying after scuba diving is potentially hazardous but why? Well DCS is the why. Certified divers will be aware of the dangers but PADI Discover Scuba Diving students will certainly not. Without going into decompression theory we'll outline the do's and don'ts. The PADI Open Water Course will outline set times for flying after scuba diving: Dives within no decompression limits 1 dive - [...]

Read Full Story
reef-friendly-sunscreen-reef-repair Scuba Diving Health

Why Reef Safe Sunscreen?

We all know that our oceans are under siege, big time! Some of the issues facing our oceans are difficult for us to solve, some require a complete life style change. The good news is that there is one thing we can all do from the comfort of our computer screens and that is changing the type of sunscreen we use. Actually it's a no brainer if you are a scuba diver. Why is changing your sunscreen a "no brainer" for divers? Well that is b [...]

Read Full Story

Local Dive Thailand Office In Phuket


Find Us On Google Maps