With a name like “bamboo shrimp,” you’d expect this species of shrimp to look a little bit like its namesake. And you’d be right! With their distinctive abdominal segments and dark side stripes, bamboo shrimps do, indeed, resemble a bamboo plant. Their extensive color range prevents these crustaceans from looking like a complete replica, but we think the resemblance is uncanny as it is.
This article takes a look at the interesting world of bamboo shrimp. From their unique feeding behavior to their tankmate preferences and water requirements, you’ll learn everything you need to know by the end of the article. Let’s dive right in!
Common Name (species)
Bamboo Shrimp, Singapore Wood Shrimp, Singapore Shrimp, Asian Fan Shrimp, Flower Shrimp (Atyopsis moluccensis)
Easy to Intermediate
Bottom and Mid Level
Minimum Tank Size
75 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit
3 – 10 Dkh dG (Medium-to-Hard)
7.0 to 7.5
Gets along with peaceful
OK, for Planted Tanks?
Good with all plants
It’s unanimous – everyone loves watching the active bamboo shrimp go about their day. As part of their natural behavior, these guys love swimming from end to end of their tank in every direction, looking for every bit of extra food they can find in the water column. This is precisely why they need to be kept in a larger tank – but it’s well worth the payoff of being able to watch these unique creatures on a regular basis.
There may be different versions of adult bamboo shrimp available on the market, but they’re all peaceful species that will keep themselves busy looking for food. The only potential problem is that these guys will find it extremely difficult to survive in a tank that’s too small. As long as you meet their habitat-related needs, everything ought to be smooth sailing.
Bamboo shrimp are extremely peaceful freshwater shrimp that tend to keep to themselves. They’ll be perfectly happy housed solo, and will do just as well in peaceful community aquariums. However, you should note that these guys aren’t going to be the most social creatures out there. Depending on the type of interactions you hope to observe in your community tank, this might be an important factor to consider.
Generally speaking, we recommend keeping bamboo shrimp with snails, fish, and shrimp that share their introverted personalities. Mystery snails and otocinclus catfish tend to be great matches if you’re looking to cultivate an interspecies friendship. They can also be housed with other shrimp species, such as:
- Ghost Shrimp
- Vampire shrimp
- Cherry shrimp
- Amano Shrimp
- Dwarf shrimp
As long as you provide enough space to keep everyone happy, your bamboo shrimp should get along just fine with their tank mates. These gentle giants are great community tank inhabitants that will be respectful when it comes to other species.
What to feed
Bamboo shrimp are filter feeders. This simply means that these guys feed on particles of food they find in the water column. Much like a filter, they hang out in areas with a relatively strong current, and trap any food particles that come their way. In the wild, they usually rely on plant debris, algae, and other microorganisms as a source of food. In captivity, you should do your best to replicate these conditions.
Frankly speaking, a properly established bamboo shrimp tank would be somewhat self-sustaining. If you have enough algae and plants in your tank, as well as a good amount of water movement, your pets should be able to get everything it needs from your tank water. However, many people opt for supplemental feedings to make sure these guys have all their nutritional needs met.
When feeding your bamboo shrimp, remember that these omnivores need a mix of plant matter and animal-based protein sources to stay healthy. We find that specialized shrimp food works best, as they are usually tiny and easily dispersed throughout the water. However, ground-up shrimp pellets, algae wafers, and fish flakes work decently as well.
Just make sure not to overdo it – as you might’ve already guessed, too many uneaten particles of fish food would lead to water quality issues down the line!
Bamboo shrimp feeding should only be done on a supplemental basis. If your tank is able to provide your pets with everything they need, you might not need to feed them at all. However, if you’re unable to meet their special requirements, then feed them once every two days to start with, testing your water quality as you go along.
If your water parameters remain relatively stable, then you’re on the right track and can consider upping your feeding frequency marginally. However, if you notice your ammonia and nitrite levels creeping up, then it’s a sign that you need to tone it down. Decrease the amount of food you’re feeding at each session, and see if that helps.
Bamboo shrimp only grow up to 3 inches in length, which may lead some to believe that a nano tank would be large enough for these guys. This could not be further from the truth. Because of their filter-feeding nature, bamboo shrimp need a large area with plenty of water flow and aeration. You can only accomplish this with a large tank, which is why these shrimp have a minimum tank size of 30 gallons.
30 gallons of water is just enough space to accommodate 2-3 fully-grown shrimp, giving them plenty of space to move around and feed. It also provides enough space for a water pump, filter, and air stone, which are essential for keeping the water clean and well-oxygenated. We’ll discuss setting up a tank for bamboo shrimp later on, but for now, it’s important to remember that these shrimp need lots of space.
Tank setup is the most crucial component of bamboo shrimp care. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for people to discover dead shrimp lying at the bottom of their tanks in the ear-immediate aftermath of bringing their shrimp home. Therefore, it’s crucial to learn how to create a habitat that supports their unique feeding habits. This section tells you everything you need to know about tank setup.
You will need the following:
- A pump
- One or two filters depending on the efficiency
- Aquarium decorations of different heights
- Aquatic plants
- An air stone
- A 30-gallon tank
- Aquarium test kit
Step 1: Select an appropriately sized tank. You should opt for something that accommodates at least 30 gallons of water, and is shaped a little taller than it is wide.
Step 2: Install the filter. Make sure the filter is powerful enough to create a strong current within the tank. This is important for keeping the water quality high, and is also necessary for these filter-feeding species.
Step 3: Add decorations. You’ll need to place these pieces of décor along the direction of the water currents. Your bamboo shrimp will perch on these ledges to filter food from the water. Aquatic plants work as well! Opt for mid-to-long-stemmed specimens that can withstand strong water currents. It
Step 4: Install the pump and air stone. This will help to aerate the tank and ensure the water is properly oxygenated. Most importantly, it ensures enough food in the water column for your shrimp. If your pets are foraging for food at the bottom of the tank instead of hanging out near the currents, it’s a big sign that you need to increase the strength of your water flow using these tools.
Step 5: Test the water parameters. Make sure the pH, temperature, and other water parameters are in the appropriate range for bamboo shrimp. Remember that bamboo shrimp are extremely sensitive creatures, so please monitor every parameter carefully.
Step 6: Add your bamboo shrimp! Once the tank is set up and the parameters are in range, you can introduce your shrimp to their new home.
The most important component of bamboo shrimp care is making sure that the aquarium water is tailored to their specific needs. Like most crustaceans, bamboo shrimp need moderate to medium-hard water to maintain the health of their exoskeleton. Water hardness is a measure of the mineral content of water, and using water that’s too soft can result in a weakened exoskeleton and susceptibility to infection.
In addition, bamboo shrimp should be kept in water with a pH range of 7.0 and 7.5. This leaves you with little to no room for ammonia spikes, which can lower the pH of the water. To ensure that the water stays within this range, please be sure to test your water religiously. This is especially important as you’re starting out. Water tests will give you an accurate picture of how your pets are doing in their new home.
Bamboo shrimp hail from the fast-flowing rivers of Southeast Asia, which naturally makes them one of the pickiest little guys when it comes to water quality and water flow. But that’s what you’re signing up for when you decide to bring one of these guys home. You’d definitely need to invest in an efficient, good-quality filter that will take proper care of your water parameters.
Thankfully, efficiency doesn’t have to come at a steep cost. The most important factor to look for is the filter’s flow rate. You’ll want to choose one that can handle the amount of water your aquarium holds and has a flow rate of at least six times the water volume per hour. Assuming that your tank holds 40 gallons of water, this means you’ll want something with a flow rate of 240 gallons per hour.
To accomplish the rapid flow rates and pristine water quality that bamboo shrimp need, many fishkeepers opt to use a combination of external and internal filters. For instance, they may use a sponge filter to get rid of large particles of debris, then add a power filter to take care of smaller particles, bacteria, and other contaminants. This combination of filters can ensure that your bamboo shrimp stay in good health.
Heat and Lighting Requirements
A common source of stress for these delicate crustaceans comes in the form of inappropriate water temperatures. The goal of every captive habitat should be to replicate your pet’s natural environment. In the bamboo shrimp’s case, this means keeping things as close to a tropical freshwater setting as possible. These guys are happiest when your water temperature range hovers between 75-88 °F.
Because these temperatures are relatively high, you’ll need to invest in a reliable heater, regardless of where your tank is placed. Even if your tank is placed in a temperature-controlled home, it’s unlikely that your bamboo shrimp would thrive without a heater. We rarely say this, but a heater truly is non-negotiable when it comes to these shrimp. Be sure to take this into consideration before bringing them home!
In terms of lighting, bamboo shrimp aren’t too picky. All you need to do is establish a day/night cycle for your shrimp – this means turning the lights off for about 12 hours a day. Most people opt to use a light with a timer setting, but you can opt to do so manually if you prefer. Just be sure to stay consistent if you’re going the manual route.
Plants and Decorations
Plants and decorations play an essential role in your bamboo shrimps’ feeding habits. As we’ve mentioned, these guys are filter feeders. They enjoy hanging out close to water currents, because this gives them easy access to food particles suspended in the water. Strategic tank décor and plant selection can make this process go smoothly by providing spots for bamboo shrimp to rest while feeding.
The types of décor and plants you choose should be relatively sturdy, as they will be placed in the direct path of your tank’s water currents. Opt for plants that can be anchored to rocks, as they are far more likely to stay in place compared to plants anchored in a substrate. As for the rest of your décor, just be sure to choose something that’s aquarium-safe and heavy. Solid pieces of driftwood are a popular choice.
You should also opt for a coarse substrate that wouldn’t be disturbed by water currents. Pebbles and gravel are good options as they are sturdy enough to withstand high flow rates. On the other hand, sand makes a terrible choice. You don’t want your substrate to be dispersed throughout your tank!
Common Health Issues
Bamboo shrimp do not suffer from prolonged bouts of illnesses as fish do. However, they do suffer from potentially fatal complications due to the following issues:
Presence of Copper
Bamboo shrimp cannot tolerate copper. Even the slightest trace of copper can be fatal, which is why you need to test your water thoroughly before using it in your tank.
These shrimp are sensitive to sudden changes in their surroundings. If you must make any changes, be sure to do so gradually.
Subpar Water Parameters
Water that’s too cold, soft, or polluted can cause significant stress to these delicate shrimp. These complications will shorten their lifespan.
Ich (White Spot Disease)
Symptoms or Causes
Ich is a very common disease that’s caused by an aquatic protozoan parasite.
Fish infected with Ich develop a sprinkling of tiny white spots on their fins, gill covers, and bodies. They also flash against the gravel and other solid objects in the aquarium.
Raise the water temperature to 82o F for three days. Use an OTC White Spot Disease medication to treat the tank.
Symptoms or Causes
Flukes is the term used to describe various types of external fish parasites. These macroparasites can often be seen with the naked eye attached to the fish’s skin or gills.
Treat the fish tank with an OTC antiparasitic medication.
Symptoms or Causes
White fluffy growths on the fish’s body, mouth, and head.
Quarantine infected fish, and treat with an antifungal medication.
Symptoms or Causes
Sores and ulcers on the body and head, ragged, bloody fins.
Treat the tank with OTC antibacterial treatment.
We have to be frank with you – breeding bamboo shrimp is not an easy task. In fact, we’d even go as far as to say it’s near-impossible, though you may occasionally hear about shrimp breeders who are successful in their efforts. If you’d like to give this your best shot anyway, here’s what you would do:
1. Place a male and female bamboo shrimp together in a breeding tank. It can be hard to tell if your shrimp are male or female, but this guide ought to help.
2. The male will climb on top of the female shrimp during copulation.
3. After the eggs are fertilized, they will develop in the female’s abdomen for 30-40 days.
4. When the eggs are about to hatch, they start changing colors from orange to brown. At this point, you should gently remove the eggs from the female and place them in the nursery tank.
(Note: Some shrimp keepers prefer to let the eggs hatch first, before quickly transferring the larvae to the nursery tank. However, this can be extremely tricky because newly hatched larvae can’t survive in freshwater for extended periods of time. This is precisely why breeding bamboo shrimp is notoriously difficult)
5. Ensure that the nursery tank contains brackish water, which is crucial for larval development.
6. Feed the larvae with crushed spirillum tablets. Each granule should not measure more than 5 microns in size.
7. The larvae will undergo molting several times and develop into shrimplets within 3-4 months. At this juncture, they should be transferred to a freshwater tank and acclimatized using the drip method.
And there you have it! Challenging as it may be to get the hang of breeding bamboo shrimp, it can be an extremely rewarding process!
- Penn-Plax Max Flow Canister Filter: Great way to keep your water clean while maintaining a strong current.
- Seaclear 30 Gallon Tank: Bamboo shrimp need large tanks like this one!
- Majoywoo Large Driftwood: Perfect perching spots for these filter feeders!
We hope this article gave you a comprehensive look into the enigmatic bamboo shrimp! These unique little critters have super-specialized needs, but are actually fairly easy to care for once you give them everything they need. Of course, that’s where the bulk of the work lies, and where we hope this article came in handy. Feel free to let us know if you need additional info or support in this regard!
Did you find this article helpful? If you did, please share it with a fellow fishkeeping enthusiast! In our experience, most people find the quirks and habits of the bamboo shrimp interesting, so please spread the love on our behalf! Thanks for reading, and good luck with your pets.