Bamboo Shrimp: Care Guide

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The Bamboo Shrimp (Atyopsis moluccensis) has many varying names -- fan shrimp, wood shrimp, Singapore flower shrimp, etc. It is in demand for freshwater aquariums, but they can be difficult to care for.

Bamboo Shrimp are native to Southeast Asia but are also found in Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and there have been reports that they have been seen in the Philippines too. In the wild, they thrive in large groups living in slow rivers and streams and feeding on different types of microorganisms, which are tiny food particles.

Possessing a calm and peaceful demeanor this shrimp does well whether you place it in a tank of small fish or a large tank with a mixture of big fish.

One important thing you must do before buying a Bamboo Shrimp is to carefully examine your potential new addition to your aquarium. Bamboo Shrimp come in small, medium, and large sizes. You need to check that your Bamboo Shrimp has the proper coloring, is behaving energetically enough, and altogether seems to be a healthy specimen. You also must be certain that he has all of his legs, antennae, and even his eyes. If your selected Bamboo Shrimp appears to be maimed, do not buy it.

Having discussed the above, let's now move on to find out what you can do to provide proper Bamboo Shrimp Care:


Out of the many kinds of shrimp that you can keep in a freshwater aquarium, Bamboo Shrimp are among the largest. They can easily grow as long as 4 inches but are normally of a smaller size. Their general lifespan is around 2-3 years but can be longer if kept under the proper living conditions.

Their coloring can be brown, yellow, red, or a sandy green with a light-yellow or white stripe on their back. How their color turns out is determined by a variety of factors, such as the area where the shrimp was captured, what its diet has been, the process of shedding, and the type of plants you have in your aquarium.

Unfortunately, many of these shrimp die after being placed in a new tank. This may be due to the stress they undergo when being transported to the tank, as well as having to accommodate themselves to the new environment. Be sure to watch your Bamboo Shrimp for signs of listlessness. If they keep floating aimlessly around the tank without attempting to explore their new surroundings or eating then you should be concerned. You don't have to jump into action right away, as it does take shrimp and fish a period of adjustment before they are comfortable in their new tank, however, monitor the shrimp carefully and be aware if you think it's acting like it might be sick.

Water and Habitat

Bamboo Shrimp care isn't complicated, but it can be a delicate undertaking. They can only exist under certain conditions. A word of caution, unless you have an aquarium that is 75 gallons or larger, it's highly recommended that you keep only one shrimp per tank. The reason for this is because an aquarium will have a hard time supporting just one filter feeder, and having more than one would lead to food shortages.

Aquarium pH: 7.0 - 7.5, perhaps the range could be a little wider.

Hard-Soft: Water on the hard side.

Lighting: Normal lighting for a tropical tank.

The tank should be filled with various plants and have lots of hiding places. Bamboo Shrimp love tanks where the many plants give them lots of areas to climb on, explore, and hide under. Be certain there is sufficient filtration, aeration and water flow. The water temperature should be within a range of 75-81 F (24-28 C). Use driftwood and even smooth river stones to replicate their natural environment, as they normally live among plant roots and rocks.

Furthermore, Bamboo Shrimp enjoy a habitat where there are plenty of rocks because of their tendency to climb up on, around or even under them as they settle into a position facing the movement of the water.


When it comes to Bamboo Shrimp care, it's interesting to note that cleaning the tank bottom or washing your tank filter can send them into a frenzy of joy. This is because fine pieces of dirt and food mix into the water and they get to dine!

Bamboo Shrimp are detrivores, the translation of which is that their manner of feeding is to filter out particles from the water column. A shrimp will place itself right in the path of the current, grabbing particles from the water and putting them into its mouth. Since they are used to being in the wild, you have to be careful to ensure that your shrimp doesn't starve because it isn't getting enough food, or doesn't know how or where to find it.

Also, keep in mind that Bamboo Shrimp often do not receive enough food when they are kept in pet stores. This means that when you bring your Bamboo Shrimp home it may actually be starving. Be sure to feed it immediately and to add supplements to its diet in order to be certain that it will be healthy and happy.

You should give your Bamboo Shrimp a regular diet of quality dry food for tank fish. You might also consider supplementing their food with small amounts of crushed algae wafers or spirulina just to be sure they are getting enough nutrition. Take note that if your shrimp is hungry it will roam along the bottom of the tank seeking food.

Since Bamboo Shrimp feed constantly all day long, you will have plenty of opportunities to watch them. This can prove to be a really fun activity. These shrimp filter food from directly from the water current by four little hand-shaped claws that they keep positioned in front of their faces. In a continuous pattern, every couple of seconds the shrimp puts a little hand into its mouth and eats the tiny pieces of food that come off.


This is no easy task to accomplish. The females carry around several hundred very small eggs for about 22 days. The small larvae which is hatched do not take after their parents in the sense that a Bamboo Shrimp is a freshwater shrimp, while their larvae need brackish water to survive. Feeding them and keeping them alive in a home aquarium is extremely difficult to accomplish.

When born in the wild, Bamboo Shrimp can usually find an outlet from a freshwater location to the saltwater they need in order to live and grow to adulthood. That's the secret to how they survive being born in freshwater. They simply don't stay there.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Bamboo Shrimp Nocturnal?

Almost all shrimp are primarily nocturnal creatures. So if you keep a close watch on your Bamboo Shrimp you will see that occasionally it can become very lively during the night. In these instances, it is essential that you have a proper cover for the tank and use it correctly because these shrimp may actually climb out of the tank at night. If they fall or climb out of the tank and are out of the water for too long, they will die.

Can Bamboo Shrimp Live With Cherry Shrimp?

If you're worried about providing proper Bamboo Shrimp care, then you might wonder whether or not Bamboo Shrimp can live companionably alongside Cherry Shrimp. They certainly can. The Bamboo Shrimp doesn't eat other shrimp and the two types should get along just fine.

Can Bamboo Shrimp Live in Saltwater?

Your Bamboo Shrimp should do just fine in saltwater, but do not require it to survive. You might not know this, but they require saltwater to breed, but don't rush off to try this idea because it's notoriously difficult to successfully breed them in a home tank.

How Many Bamboo Shrimp Can I Put In a 20 Gallon Tank?

It is advisable to only keep a single Bamboo Shrimp in a 20 gallon tank, as they are on the larger side for freshwater shrimp, and need enough algae and detritus food to survive.

Can Bamboo Shrimp Live Alone?

They certainly can be kept by themselves, but if given their preference, they'd rather live in groups. Interestingly enough, they do not really have a lot of interaction between themselves, but the group seems to make them feel more secure.

So, to sum things up, Bamboo Shrimp Care really isn't all that difficult or time consuming. The main issue you'll face is ensuring that your shrimp get enough food so that they don't starve. Otherwise, they are a pretty hardy lot who don't create a disturbance when among other fish or groups of their own kind. And there's no denying that they can certainly be entertaining to watch at mealtimes, with their fan-like hands and interesting way of feeding.

That said, if you like Bamboo Shrimp and want to purchase a few, go right ahead. They can make an exciting and fascinating addition to any home aquarium.