Minimum Tank Size 20 Gallons (76 Liters)
Care Level: Difficult
Water Conditions: PH 6.5-8.0 (Moderately Hard)
Temperature: 75-81°F (-°C)
Maximum Size: 3 inches (7.6 cm)
The bamboo shrimp (Atyopsis moluccensis), also known as the Wood Shrimp, Singapore Shrimp, Fan Shrimp, and sometimes as the Asian Filter Feeding Shrimp, is a popular, but somewhat finicky freshwater shrimp.
Bamboo shrimp are native to Southeast Asia and a found in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and several reports state they are found in the Philippines as well. These shrimp inhabit fast-flowing streams and creeks, generally in the upland areas of their habitat.
One of the larger shrimp in the freshwater aquarium hobby, bamboo shrimp can grow up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) in captivity, though a smaller size is more common. Malnourishment and even starvation are very common with these shrimp and will often affect their size. It’s also quite common for them to die shortly after being added to a new tank, so bamboo shrimp should be slowly acclimated to the water using the drip method.
Bamboo shrimp are excellent for community tanks and are renowned for their peaceful nature. However, unless they’re kept in a very large aquarium (75 gallons or larger), it’s recommended to only keep one shrimp per tank. It’s difficult for an aquarium to support even one filter feeder, and more than one would inevitably result in food shortages.
While there is some disagreement over the minimum tank size for bamboo shrimp, it’s recommended to provide them with at least a 20-gallon (76 litres) aquarium. The tank should be heavily planted, with plenty of hiding places. Driftwood and smooth river stones help to recreate their natural environment, as they live among rocks and plant roots in the wild.
Hiding places are very important as the shrimp molt approximately every two months, shedding its exoskeleton. During this time, the shrimp will be totally defenseless, and will usually hide until its shell has hardened again.
Before choosing a shrimp, carefully exam it to make sure it is intact. Many things can cause a shrimp to lose eyes, antennae or even limbs, so it’s important to examine it closely. Never purchase a shrimp with any sort of injury or one that seems to have poor coloring.
When choosing a filter, a hang-on-back is the best choice for a bamboo shrimp tank. Not only does it keep the water quality high, but the current helps to stir up the tank to feed the shrimp. I personally recommend Aquaclear Power Filters, and I use them on all my smaller aquariums. They are incredibly rugged and usually last for years without any problems. And they do a great job, keeping the water crystal clear.
Bamboo shrimp are detrivores, which means they feed by filtering out particles from the water column. In the wild, they live in fast-flowing streams, which gives them plentiful food sources. This is difficult to recreate in an aquarium and is part of the reason why they are difficult to keep.
While a single shrimp will usually receive enough food in a larger aquarium, it’s sometimes a good idea to supplement their food. Small amounts of spirulina or crushed up algae wafers can be added to the water column, which they will feed upon. I personally recommend feeding them Omega One Veggie Rounds, as it provides both high quality plant and animal matter.
Normally, a bamboo shrimp will position itself in the current, catching particles from the water and placing them into its mouth. A sign the shrimp is hungry is that it will roam the aquarium, searching for food.
While the bamboo shrimp is a freshwater shrimp, their larvae require brackish water. It’s easy to find claims of them being successfully bred online, but currently, all the reports are unsubstantiated. And even if the shrimp could be bred successfully, it would be incredibly difficult to feed and raise the larvae in a home aquarium.
Fertilizer and Bamboo Shrimp
Copper is exceedingly dangerous to bamboo shrimp and care should be taken to avoid any fertilizers containing copper. While there’s no consensus on when the level of copper in an aquarium becomes dangerous to shrimp – and virtually all aquatic fertilizers contain it – it seems smart to limit it as much as possible.
Any large, aggressive tankmates should be avoided with bamboo shrimp. Most of the large cichlids should be avoided, as well as any predator fish, like arowanas and peacock bass. Crayfish also shouldn’t share a tank with bamboo shrimp as they hunt them relentlessly and will eventually kill them.