Bamboo Shrimp (Atyopsis moluccensis) are popular freshwater filter-feeding shrimps that can come in a few different colors. They are usually red, or brown, or may have a creamy yellowish color. Unlike other types of shrimps, these guys will help you clean the floating debris in the water column. This is why they are also known as Fan Shrimps.
Bamboo Shrimp is also known as Wood Shrimp, Singapore Shrimp, Singapore Wood Shrimp, Asian Filter Feeding Shrimp, Flower Shrimp, and Fan Shrimp. Regardless of what you call them, these shrimps are one of the best cleaning shrimps you can get for your aquarium.
In this guide, we will walk you through all the information you need to successfully care for Bamboo Shrimps.
Bamboo Shrimp Overview
Bamboo Shrimp is native to southeast Asia and can be found in large numbers across many countries there. They can be found in Sri Lanka, India, Singapore, and all the surrounding regions.
Since their introduction to the aquarium hobby in the 1980s, they’ve gained a lot of popularity among aquarists. They however are a little bit of a mystery type of shrimp as they are not yet researched as much as other types of aquarium shrimps.
Unlike other types of shrimp, bamboo shrimp grows to a larger size and mainly feeds on floating particles in the water. This sets them completely apart from other aquarium shrimps and snails that are mainly kept to clean uneaten food.
They are known to be one of the best shrimps to keep with smaller species in a community tank. Despite their giant size, the bamboo shrimps are very gentle and will not harm their tank mates. Basically, most people call them the gentle giants of the shrimp world.
Bamboo shrimp are peaceful freshwater invertebrates that grow very large. They are usually found in creamy yellow, brown, or even red colors. They, however, are able to change color and become more red or lose their coloration. This is a normal thing for bamboo shrimps and they do it to match their surroundings or attract mates.
Unlike other shrimps, bamboo shrimps have fan-shaped organs instead of claws. The first 8 legs, close to their mouth, evolved to have fan-shaped organs instead of claws like other types of shrimps. These “fans” are the organs they use to catch any floating algae or other foods.
They usually have horizontal darker lines that make them look like wood, this is why some call them wood shrimp. These lines are stretched from head to tail and cover almost all their body.
Other than their massive size and their fans, these shrimps match the general mold of aquarium shrimps.
Males and female bamboo shrimps look very similar but females tend to have slightly larger abdomen and pleopods (limbs). This is because females will hold their eggs under their abdomen and hold the eggs with their pleopods.
Bamboo Shrimp’s lifespan is around 1 – 2 years. This is a normal age for most shrimps available in the hobby. They can reach the 2-year mark only if water parameters are in pristine condition and they get all the nutrition they need.
However, there are reports that these shrimps can even live longer in the wild. If you keep your Bamboos at lower temperatures and feed them all the nutrition they need they can live longer. The temperature has a direct effect on the lifespan of shrimps. Higher temperatures will increase the metabolism of the bamboo shrimp and thus lowers their lifespan.
Bamboo Shrimp can grow to about 2 – 3 inches in length. When you first see them in your local pet stores they might be around 2 inches. Female bamboo shrimps are usually slightly bigger and more round in comparison to males.
Behavior and Temperament
Bamboo Shrimps are probably the calmest shrimp you can find on the market. Shrimp are generally calm species but some types are slightly aggressive and can harm other shrimps of fish fry. But Bamboo shrimps will never pick a fight or disturb other tank mates. At least in our experience.
These shrimps are amazing at keeping the water clean of particles. When they find their favorite spot, they will stop moving and hold their fans to catch floating particles like algae or fish food. It is normal to see them staying in one position without moving. So do not panic or try to check on them, just let them enjoy their time.
Because of their large size, these shrimp need more food. So you will need to keep an eye on them to make sure they get all the food they need. More on this is in the Diet and Feeding section of this article.
Bamboo Shrimp Care
Bamboo shrimp care is easy and simple. These shrimps are hardy and can withstand a wide range of water parameters. This puts these shrimps on the list of beginner-friendly types of shrimps.
However, these shrimps need a mature tank that has been up and running for quite some time. This is because the tank has to be stable enough to keep stable water parameters. Fluctuations in the water parameters are the main cause of death in these shrimps.
Bamboo Shrimp can live in an aquarium as small as 20 gallons. You should only keep them in this size tank if you have only one shrimp and your tank is not overly populated with other species.
That being said, these shrimps will thrive in larger aquariums. So if you want to keep more bamboo shrimps or you have more fish you should definitely house them in a larger aquarium.
Larger aquariums are easier to maintain and at the same time, they keep more stable water parameters. This is a very crucial fact that you will need to consider when it comes to keeping fish and shrimp.
Bamboo shrimps love to have a tank that is full of plants. So it is important to add a lot of plants to your tank. This is because they can explore more areas in the tank and find the right spot to get maximum food. Plants are also living organisms and die from time to time so your bamboo shrimps can enjoy eating the decaying plant matter.
In the wild, these shrimps live in densely planted areas and hide in the cracks and crevices of rocks and boulders. Recreating such an environment in your tank is the ideal way of caring for these shrimps.
By integrating live plants and natural rocks into your tank, you can create beautiful scenes that are beautiful for humans and livable for bamboo shrimps. When aquascaping your tank you should provide your shrimps enough hiding spaces so they can hide if they feel threatened.
These shrimps usually like to have larger and big leaf plants that can hold their weight. So when selecting your live plants make sure to get some, if not all, large plants. Plants like Jungle Val, Amazon Sword, and anubias will help your shrimp have a place to hide or climb to find better food scavenging areas.
You can decorate your tank with driftwood and rocks to make beautiful scenes and hide spots for your pet shrimps. It will make them feel at home and reduce their stress levels. However, make sure not to add too many driftwoods as the tannins released from driftwoods will make the pH go down. These shrimps live in neutral and slightly alkaline areas so you must avoid low pH levels in your tank.
In their natural habitat, these shrimps live in super clean and stable tropical waters. The water remains clean and the light can reach the bottom of the lake and rivers. The water is well-oxygenated and has enough organic particles to feed large communities of bamboo shrimps.
Consistency in water parameters should be your first goal when it comes to keeping these shrimps. Slight changes in parameters are normal and bamboo shrimps can forgive you. But That said, below are the best range of parameters to keep your Bamboo Shrimp in:
- Temperature: 70 – 82 Degrees Fahrenheit
- PH: 7.0 – 7.5
- TDS: 100 – 200 PPM
These are the ideal range you should keep your bamboo shrimps in. They can tolerate slightly different parameters from what we mentioned but not long-term.
Bamboo Shrimps are accustomed to bright areas as their natural habitat has a lot of light reaching the riverbed. They can easily tolerate intense lighting but you must have them in a peaceful tank with enough hiding spots.
This is because when the light is on these shrimps will become hyper-aware of their surroundings to make sure no predators are around to hunt them. If they don’t have enough plants or decorations to hide, they will start showing signs of stress.
So since these shrimps love to have plants in their tank, you should select the best light for your plants as bamboo shrimps can adjust easily.
Bamboo shrimps need super clean water so a strong filter should be used to keep their aquarium clean. However, these shrimps are filter-feeding shrimps so they need to have access to floating particles in the water. So your filter should not mechanically remove larger particles. Your bamboo shrimps will do this job for you.
When selecting a filter make sure to avoid filters that create a strong current in the tank. These shrimps are coming from slow-moving waters and do not appreciate fast-moving waters. Internal filters and some of the canister filters that have a strong pump are examples of bad filters you can pick for your bamboo shrimps.
Our top choices of filters for bamboo shrimps are sponge filters, hang-on-back filters, and canister filters that have less powerful pumps. These filters will create the right amount of water circulation in the tank and will keep the tank clean.
Common Diseases and Prevention
Bamboo shrimp are hardy species but they are sensitive to changes in water parameters. They are also at risk of bacterial or fungal infections when the aquarium has poor water conditions. They are also at risk of getting internal or external worms that can happen in dirty tanks.
So by making sure your tank is clean and has stable water parameters you are eliminating most of the diseases that might happen to bamboo shrimps. We highly recommend changing your aquarium’s water regularly but in small amounts.
Changing the water in low percentages is super important as if you perform a large water change the parameters in the tank can drastically change. As mentioned, these shrimps do not like the water to change a lot too quickly.
Bamboo shrimps are also highly sensitive to copper. This is because their blood has hemocyanin and copper will change their blood cells causing immediate death. While most fish decorations and aquarium products are copper-free, some fish medications have copper in their ingredients. So make sure to check everything you place in their tank for copper.
Diet and Feeding Requirements
Bamboo Shrimps can eat almost any organic materials that can float in the water. This is because they are filter feeders and catch their food from the water column. They can eat any small organism or food particles that they can catch with their tiny fans.
Their first choice of food is floating algae in the water column. So if you have a floating algae problem in your tank, having a few bamboo shrimps in your tank will help you with removing the algae. They will also eat decaying plant matter that can cause algae bloom which is another plus point.
While natural food available in the tank can be a great source of food, you should consider that as a snack for your shrimp. These shrimps need to get fed daily.
Because they are filter-feeding creatures, feeding them can be a little tricky. In our experience, the best way to feed your bamboo shrimp is by grinding fish food and sprinkling it in the areas they stay. You can mix a few different types of fish food to give them maximum nutrition. Just make sure the foods are mainly plant-based.
They also love to eat fish flakes. Fish flakes are very thin and these shrimps can catch them in the water column and eat them. Just make sure not to feed too much as most of the flakes can sink and rot.
Calcium for Bamboo Shrimps
Like all shrimps, Bamboo shrimp’s shell is made of calcium and they mold from time to time. Depending on the aquarium’s temperature, they can mold once per month. So it is important to provide them with enough calcium to facilitate the molding process.
The good news is that supplementing your tank with calcium is easy and simple. There are many calcium supplements available in pet stores and online that are designed for shrimp. But our favorite way of adding calcium to our tanks is much simpler and cheaper. Eggshells are a great source of calcium that you can add to your tank. Simply crush a few eggshells and throw them in a corner in your tank. Your shrimp will start eating the calcium and will also absorb the calcium that mixes in with the water.
Having a cuttlebone in the tank is also another way of adding calcium to your tank. Simply cut a piece of cuttlebone and place it in the tank. Cuttlebones are usually sold very cheaply in pet stores and online.
Breeding Bamboo shrimps in an aquarium environment is a little tricky but possible. The female will mate and lay her eggs in freshwater but the eggs have to hatch in brackish water to be able to survive.
In the wild, these shrimps have access to brackish water and breed easily and in large numbers. But in a freshwater tank, it is hard to breed them and only expert breeders should attempt to breed them.
Unlike Neocaridina shrimps that hatch fully developed tiny shrimps, the bamboo shrimp’s eggs hatch as tiny larvae. These larvae need to be in a brackish environment with enough food to be able to develop and become shrimp.
Keeping the larvae alive is also another hard task as they are very tiny and only feed on small microorganisms. Finding food this small is not an easy task.
If you still want to breed them, make sure you have a brackish tank and enough food available for the fry to eat.
Bamboo Shrimps are large and can live with any small and nonaggressive species. When picking tank mates for your shrimp make sure to avoid nippy fish as they might bite bamboo shrimp’s fans thinking it’s food.
Here are our top tank mates for Bamboo Shrimps:
- Malaysian Trumpet Snail
- Neon tetra
- Other types of shrimps
- Apple Snail
- Ramshorn Snail
- Nerite Snail
- Bristlenose Plecos
The Bamboo Shrimps are super calm species that will give your tank a different look. Their hardy nature makes them great pet shrimp in most community tanks. They are great filter-feeding creatures that will clean the water column for you. By following the information we provided you in this guide, you can confidently care after your bamboo shrimps. If
Credites: Shrimp Image by Marrabbio2, CC BY-SA 3.0 (Edited to match the theme of the website)