Bamboo Shrimp: A Comprehensive Care Guide

Bamboo shrimp, also known as Atyopsis moluccensis, are a unique and low-maintenance addition to any freshwater aquarium. This striking species comes from Southeast Asia and is not only visually appealing but also beneficial for your tank’s ecosystem.

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the care, size, lifespan, and breeding aspects of bamboo shrimp. With their peaceful nature and intriguing feeding habits, they’ll surely become a favored resident in your aquatic haven.

So, let’s get started on your journey to understanding these amazing invertebrates and providing them with the best possible environment to thrive within your aquarium.

Species Overview

Bamboo Shrimp, scientifically known as Atyopsis moluccensis, are a popular invertebrate for freshwater aquariums. Originating from Southeast Asia, they are known for their unique filter-feeding behavior and peaceful temperament. No sub-sections will be given here, but here’s a table outlining important information about Bamboo Shrimp:

Property Information
Scientific name Atyopsis moluccensis
Common names Wood Shrimp, Singapore Shrimp, Asian Filter Feeding Shrimp, etc.
Distribution Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Thailand
Size Up to 4 inches
Lifespan 1-2 years
Diet Filter feeder
Temperament Peaceful
Minimum tank size 20 gallons
Temperature 72-82°F
pH 6.5-7.5
Water hardness 3-11 dKH
Care level Moderate
Filtration/Water Flow Moderate to high
Water type Freshwater
Breeding Best in freshwater
Breeding difficulty Not common
Compatibility Peaceful freshwater community

These shrimp thrive in well-maintained freshwater tanks with a moderate to high water flow, as it helps them filter feed efficiently. Providing hiding spots such as caves and plants will also be beneficial for your Bamboo Shrimp. Remember to keep them with peaceful tank mates to ensure their well-being in your aquarium.

Bamboo Shrimp Basics

In this section, you’ll learn about the basics of Bamboo Shrimp, including their origins and natural habitat, size and shape, color and markings, and lifespan.

Origins and Natural Habitat

Bamboo Shrimp (Atyopsis moluccensis) are freshwater invertebrates that originate from Southeast Asia. They are commonly found in fast-flowing rivers and streams with abundant vegetation. This habitat provides them with the strong water currents they need for filter-feeding and places to hide if necessary.

Size and Shape

Adult Bamboo Shrimp generally reach around 3-4 inches (7.5-10 cm) in length, making them one of the larger freshwater shrimp species found in the aquarium trade. Their body shape is similar to that of other shrimp, with a long, narrow body, a distinct head, and multiple legs.

Color and Markings

The color of Bamboo Shrimp can vary, but it is typically a brownish or reddish hue. They can also exhibit more vibrant colors, such as green, blue, or yellow, depending on their environment and diet. Their body is covered in faint lines or markings that mimic the look of their natural surroundings, helping them blend in with the environment. This camouflage helps protect them from predators and keep them hidden while they filter-feed.


With proper care and a suitable habitat, Bamboo Shrimp can live for up to 3-5 years in an aquarium. Maintaining a stable environment, proper water parameters, and a diet suitable for filter feeders will increase the likelihood of your Bamboo Shrimp reaching their full lifespan potential. Remember that bamboo shrimp are sensitive to changes in water conditions, so it is essential to monitor your aquarium’s water parameters regularly.

Diet and Feeding

Bamboo Shrimp are fascinating creatures due to their filter feeding habits. As you set up your aquarium, it’s crucial to understand their dietary needs to keep them happy and healthy.

Your Bamboo Shrimp will thrive off small organic matter and organisms in the water, such as microalgae or plant matter. Luckily, if your tank has enough plants and a suitable water current, feeding your Bamboo Shrimp can be quite passive. In the right tank setup, they can effectively sustain themselves.

However, if you’re concerned about not actively feeding them or your aquarium lacks sufficient resources for their diet, don’t worry. You can grind up algae-based food and add it to the tank, ensuring your shrimp have access to the nutrients they need. Just remember not to overfeed them, as this can lead to high nitrate levels and other issues in your aquarium.

By maintaining a proper balance in your tank and understanding your Bamboo Shrimp’s feeding habits, you’ll be providing a supportive environment for them to thrive.

Behavior and Temperament

Bamboo Shrimp are fascinating creatures that are continuously engaged in scavenging and filtering the water for food. Observing their behavior closely is truly captivating as they extend their fans to catch food. You might even spot them using their hands to sweep surfaces, such as rocks or plants, that contain organic matter.

Many people find the commitment of Bamboo Shrimp to scavenging quite adorable. They are relatively active for a shrimp and often reposition themselves to find optimal places for food. So, if you have a chance to watch them in action, you’ll see how dedicated they are to their task.

If any substrate work is done or there are fish that dig, your Bamboo Shrimp will gladly join in and search for edible items in the substrate. This adds a unique element of interaction to your aquarium and highlights their friendly demeanor in the aquatic community.

Care and Tank Requirements

Tank Size

Caring for bamboo shrimp is relatively low-maintenance without any unique requirements, but it’s essential to provide them with a suitable habitat. For a single bamboo shrimp, a 20-gallon tank is recommended. A larger tank is beneficial for bamboo shrimp as it gives them more space to find food. Opt for a long tank layout over a deep one to facilitate a suitable current for feeding.

Water Parameters

Consistency in water parameters is crucial for bamboo shrimp. The recommended ranges for temperature, pH levels, and water hardness are:

  • Water temperature: 72°F – 80°F
  • pH levels: 6.5 to 7.5
  • Water hardness: 3-11 dKH

Regular monitoring of water parameters is particularly important during the initial adjustment period. Be aware that significant changes in water parameters can lead to severe health complications for your bamboo shrimp.

Tank Setup and Decorations

An essential aspect of your bamboo shrimp’s habitat is incorporating plants. Plants provide natural food sources and hiding spots for your shrimp. Additionally, adding rocks, driftwood, and other elements to the habitat can offer more hiding spots and variety.

Filtration and Aeration

Maintaining a decent current in the tank is vital for your bamboo shrimp’s well-being, as it allows organic particles to be moved around for the shrimp to catch. This might take some getting used to, but it’s essential to observe and adapt to their feeding behavior to ensure they are getting adequate nutrition. The right filtration system and proper aeration will help in creating a suitable environment for your shrimp.

Suitable Tank Mates

Bamboo shrimp are peaceful creatures, making them excellent additions to a community aquarium. When considering suitable tank mates, it’s important to ensure they share a similar peaceful nature and are nonpredatory towards shrimp.

It’s best to avoid housing bamboo shrimp with naturally aggressive fish or species that view shrimp as food. With this in mind, here’s a friendly list of compatible tank mates for your bamboo shrimp:

  • Cherry Shrimp
  • Mystery Snails
  • Cory Catfish
  • Black Skirt Tetra
  • Otocinclus
  • Sparkling Gourami
  • Ghost Shrimp
  • Nerite Snails
  • Amano Shrimp
  • Honey Gourami
  • Ember Tetra

These options offer a variety of species with similar care requirements that will coexist harmoniously with your bamboo shrimp. By selecting from these compatible tank mates, you’ll be well on your way to fostering a thriving and peaceful community in your aquarium.


As a bamboo shrimp enthusiast, you’ll notice that these fascinating creatures go through a molting phase every 45-65 days. Being aware of this process helps to avoid any surprise or confusion regarding their behavior. During molting, your bamboo shrimp become more vulnerable and will actively look for suitable hiding places. After observing them a few times, you’ll easily recognize when they’re molting based on their tendency to hide.

In your aquarium, the molted shells don’t need to be removed manually. They’ll naturally degrade and disappear over time. Moreover, any other scavengers in your aquarium will assist in the decomposition process of the molted shells. By understanding the molting process of your bamboo shrimp and being mindful of their needs during this time, you can provide a friendly and supportive environment for these fascinating creatures.


Breeding Bamboo Shrimp can be quite a challenging task, mainly because their larvae require saltwater for development. It’s essential to note that adult Bamboo Shrimp cannot survive in saltwater, creating a tricky situation for breeding.

At present, there are no specific guidelines available for breeding Bamboo Shrimp in captivity. While some people have tried to use a separate brackish tank for the larvae, these attempts have unfortunately not been successful.

It’s important to be aware that the failure rate for Bamboo Shrimp breeding is extremely high. Given the difficulties, it’s recommended not to attempt breeding these shrimp unless you’re an experienced breeder who happens to discover a successful method.

For now, successful Bamboo Shrimp breeding in captivity remains unlikely. If any breakthroughs occur, you can expect those recommendations to be added to future care guides. Until then, it’s best to focus on providing a comfortable and healthy environment for your existing shrimp. Remember to stay friendly and patient; these fascinating creatures deserve the best care possible in their current state.

Common Diseases and Treatments

Bamboo Shrimp are sensitive creatures, and changes in their habitat can lead to health complications. You may notice that sudden shifts in water parameters can be dangerous for your Bamboo Shrimp, so be cautious when introducing them to a new tank. To ensure their safety, test the water parameters and slowly acclimate them to the new habitat.

One significant concern for the health of Bamboo Shrimp is copper. Even trace amounts can be lethal, and many tank medications contain copper. This poses a risk of unintentionally poisoning the shrimp. If you need to add medication containing copper to the water, it would be best to temporarily remove your Bamboo Shrimp from their original habitat.

While returning the shrimp to their original habitat, make sure that the water parameters match their previous tank, and all traces of copper are eliminated. By taking these precautions in addressing common diseases and treatments, you can help ensure the health and longevity of your Bamboo Shrimp.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are bamboo shrimp hard to keep?

Bamboo shrimp are relatively easy to care for, as long as you have a stable and well-established aquarium. They do require a gentle water flow, stable water parameters, and a reliable food source. Keep an eye on them and maintain good water quality.

What is the best group size?

Bamboo shrimp can be kept either individually or in small groups. If you decide to keep a group, start with about three or four shrimp in your tank. This will allow them to establish proper territory and interact with each other without overcrowding.

What does bamboo shrimp eat?

Bamboo shrimp are filter feeders, meaning they use their fan-like appendages to catch small particles of food floating in the water. They feed on algae, microorganisms, and other organic debris. It’s important to supplement their diet with fine-powdered shrimp pellets or other filter-feeder-specific foods.

How many bamboo shrimp should be kept together?

You can keep one bamboo shrimp alone, but they may feel more comfortable with some companions. It is generally recommended to keep at least two bamboo shrimp together, but you can keep more, depending on your tank size. For a 20-gallon tank, you could keep up to four bamboo shrimp.

Do assassin snails eat bamboo shrimp?

Assassin snails are carnivorous and primarily feed on other snails. Although they might occasionally snack on small invertebrates, it’s unlikely that they will attack a healthy, full-grown bamboo shrimp. To ensure the safety of your bamboo shrimp, maintain good water quality and provide them with ample hiding spaces.