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This weeks Fish of the Week is not actually a fish at all, it’s a shrimp! Bamboo shrimp (Atyopsis moluccensis) really are a fascinating addition to a tropical community aquarium for 2 reasons. First, their size: they grow to around 12 cm (4.7 inches) so larger than most shrimps commonly seen in the hobby. Secondly: the way they feed…

Unlike most shrimps which scavenge on the bottom, bamboo shrimps are filter feeders, waving their large fan-like appendages to capture food particles as they pass by. They are omnivores, which means they aren’t overly fussy about what they eat. However, just make sure that the food is small enough for them which may require the crushing up of your usual granules and try to distribute the food upstream of where the shrimps feed.

These shrimps are usually reddish brown in colour, but can be much lighter and occasionally much darker, almost black. Females are larger than males and have smaller front legs.

These shrimps originate from fast flowing inland streams in south-east Asia, so this is the type of environment you should try to replicate for them. As they are filter feeders, they benefit from several ‘outposts’ made from strategically placed ornaments, rocks or bogwood, placed in areas of good water flow. Here, they will rest, with feeding fans outstretched, waiting for food to come to them.

Bamboo shrimps, like all shrimps, have an exoskeleton which they need to shed or moult to grow. They do this roughly every 4 weeks, and for a coupe of days afterwards, they will feel very vulnerable as their new exoskeleton hardens, and for this reason, several hiding places should also be provided.

These fascinating critters are an excellent addition to a community aquarium provided you don’t have anything too boisterous such as angelfish or Siamese fighters which could see the shrimps as food. They also prefer to be kept in groups and will be much more active in the company of others; the old ‘safety in numbers’ adage certainly applies here!

Image credit: The ifish store

Tagged in: Fish of the Week Archive

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