Bamboo shrimp Atyopsis moluccensis

Bamboo Shrimp Care: Owner’s Guide to Keeping and Breeding Them

Bamboo shrimp are a type of freshwater shrimp or crustacean that is native to the Indo-Pacific region. They have been bred in captivity and they thrive in small tanks with live plants and freshwater fish.

In this article, we will discuss bamboo shrimp care from setting up the fish tank and feeding to breeding them! For more care guides like these Follow our Facebook Page.

Origin of the Bamboo Shrimp (Atyopsis Moluccensis)

Bamboo shrimps are mostly found in the waters of central, east, and are native to southeast Asia.

Their natural habitat is in slow-moving streams with a soft flow rate along with rice paddies that have lots of plants where they can hide or burrow into which makes them very comfortable living in aquariums too.

The scientific name of Bamboo shrimp is atyopsis moluccensis. However, they are most commonly known as:

  • bamboo shrimp
  • wood shrimp
  • flower shrimp
  • Singapore wood shrimp
  • Asian Filter Feeding Shrimp
  • and Fan Shrimp
wood shrimp singapore
Image Source: YouTube Michael Crane

Bamboo shrimp Appearance

Just like any other shrimps, bamboo shrimp has a carapace covering their head and front parts of the body. Some species only cover up to their abdomen but still maintaining an elongated shape appearance. They keep this appearance when they come out from hiding themselves during feeding time or when they want to molt.

Unlike most freshwater crustaceans that are colored red due to the presence of carotenoids; bamboo shrimp has a color that varies from bright yellow to red depending on their species and geographical location.

They also have many white dots all over the body which makes them look like they are wearing polka dot clothes.

Some of the particular varieties like black bamboo shrimp are very beautiful but hard to acquire because it’s uncommon in pet stores that mostly only carry the usual colored bamboo shrimp for sale.

Difference between male and female

Bamboo shrimps males are larger than females and can be identified by their claws that will look like boxing gloves. The males also show a broad abdomen where the eggs or sperm sacks develop into a mature shape which is visible on an adult male.

Females do not appear to be so large as compared to males but they too carry eggs under their abdominal region. Their claw appearance is similar to those of the other small crustaceans such as ghost shrimp with pointed tips unlike those of Painted Shrimp’s blunt tip claws.

This means that fish who prey on ghost shrimps would never touch these small members of freshwater invertebrates found in aquariums.

Bamboo Shrimp

Bamboo Shrimp Size

2-3 inches. Bamboo shrimps can grow as big as 3 inches in length.

Just like any other freshwater crustaceans, male ones tend to be bigger than females. The males tend to have longer antennae than the females do but this isn’t always true for all species. Male bamboo shrimps are generally smaller too, about two inches long while females reach up to three inches when fully grown.

Bamboo Shrimp Life span

2-3 years. Bamboo shrimp have a life span of about two to three years. This is because they are constantly growing during their lifespan, molting once or twice every month depending on the species and maturity stage.

Females tend to grow faster than males do so it’s important that you can determine if your bamboo shrimps are male or female.

What Bamboo Shrimp Eat

The natural diet for bamboo shrimp consists of algae, plant leaves, or stems which include plant cuttings from aquarium plants, fish food flakes, vegetables like zucchini slices among others. But these crustaceans won’t eat anything without knowing what it is first. They will only feed on something new when they feel comfortable with its smell and taste before they start eating it. Bamboo shrimps also feed on any leftover food from the water column.

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What Bamboo Shrimp Should Avoid Eating

Bamboo shrimps should not be exposed to any chemicals that you use for cleaning your tank. Some of the most common and dangerous chemicals used in aquariums include Ammonia, chlorine, and bleach which can immediately kill or harm these freshwater invertebrates.

The filtration system is a good alternative because they provide clean water without putting at risk bamboo shrimp’s health or life span.

Avoid feeding them with leafy vegetables like spinach since this contains oxalic acid which makes conditions worse for their growth rate and molting process during their lifespan consumed regularly on a monthly basis.

aquarium bamboo shrimp
Image Source: YouTube Michael Crane

Bamboo Shrimp Behavior and Temperament

Bamboo shrimps are generally peaceful towards other tank mates in the fish community but they can become aggressive when threatened, startled, or looking for a mate. This is why it’s best to keep them with non-aggressive species that won’t bother your bamboo shrimps during their molting period which usually lasts a few days up to a week depending on the size of each individual crustacean concerned.

Bamboo Shrimp Tank Size

20-gallons. The minimum tank size for the bamboo shrimp would be 20- gallons. but if you are a beginner you might want to read about our guide for best fish tanks for beginners.

20 large bamboo shrimps can live comfortably in a 20-gallon tank without any problems at all but you can easily upgrade the tank size as long as your water parameters meet their requirements. you can later build a new tank of 30 gallons which is okay since this doesn’t contain too many shrimps that may cause overcrowding.

However, remember that these freshwater invertebrates need plenty of space, especially during molting periods when they dig through the sand at the bottom of the tank.

Bamboo Shrimp Tank Conditions

Bamboos shrimp need to be kept in a saltwater environment with specific pH levels. They also require brackish water that is mixed with freshwater due to their particular nature because this helps them breathe better by allowing more oxygen inside the gills where most of it gets absorbed during feeding time or other physical activities performed by these little guys.

Water Parameters

Water Parameters of the freshwater aquarium for Bamboo shrimps should be anywhere around 20 liters or bigger. It is important for the first few shrimp to have a water column with enough space to keep them calm. They are very territorial and will fight to the death if kept in too small of an aquarium so it’s best to keep them by themselves.

Water quality

The water quality in a bamboo shrimp tank must be kept perfect for them to live a happy and healthy lifestyle. Parameters that need extra attention include high levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate which can reduce your bamboo shrimp’s lifespan significantly.

Water hardness should be kept at around 3 and 12 dGH.

PH levels should be a solid 7.0 and should only raise at max 7.5 which is the average level for most fish tanks and aquariums. you must reduce the PH levels if its higher than recommended level.

Water Changes

It is recommended that you change one-third of the total water volume from your bamboo shrimp aquarium every week. This will keep a great balance between healthy and harmful bacteria in their habitat which can lead to disease, molting issues, and even death if not kept at a proper level for them to thrive comfortably.

Cleaning Process

A weekly 20% water change is required when keeping Bamboo shrimps so it’s best that you do this on a regular basis by siphoning out about 25% of the existing tank water with gravels included.

Replace it with fresh tap or well waters filtered through de-chlorinator to remove any chlorine present within its content before using it into your bamboo shrimp home tanks.

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You should also use an algae magnet because these crustaceans usually feed on the algae found in gravels and it’s best to keep them at a clean level so they can live healthily.


72-82 Fahrenheit or 22-28 Celcsius. The temperature of the bamboo shrimp tank must be kept within 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit or 22 to 28 Celsius.

These freshwater invertebrates enjoy tropical climates that are similar to their natural environment which is why they thrive in waters with ideal conditions such as these parameters listed above for you to mimic when keeping them in your aquarium tanks.

If needed, use a heater during cold months but remember not to place it directly on top of their habitat because this will have an adverse effect on water chemistry which may kill your Bamboo shrimps faster than usual.

Lighting Conditions

Lighting conditions should be around 30-35 watts per gallon because they love bright lightings during their molting periods when looking at food at night time crawling through the sand at the bottom of the tank. However, while buying aquarium light do not forget that these creatures come from dimly lit waters. Therefore, they may not adapt to overly bright lighting conditions so most aquarists recommend using regular tropical community tank lighting.

Plants in a bamboo shrimp tank

It is imperative to introduce some plants in an aquarium filled with bamboo shrimps to replicate their natural habitat.

For a healthy bamboo shrimp one must look for plants like Cryptocoryne x willisii, vesicularia dubyana or fissidens fontanus. These are the most reliable plants to keep in a bamboo shrimp tank as you can easily tame them down with some effort.

vesicularia dubyana
vesicularia dubyana (Image Source: Aquasabi)
Cryptocoryne x willisii
Cryptocoryne x willisii (Image Source: Tropica)
fissidens fontanus
fissidens fontanus (Image Source: Pinterest @amitm101)

Decorating gravel and substrate

For decoration purposes, people usually prefer using fine-grained substrates which not only provide good ground cover but also help maintain water parameters for themselves. Good examples of such decoratives include black sand, leonardite coal dirt, etc.

However, it is important to research these products prior to purchasing them because different regions have different types of soil compositions so buying anything without proper knowledge might prove out to be a fatal mistake.

Aquarium Equipment

Bamboo shrimps need a little bit of specific equipment to survive. The most important ones are filters, heaters, and lights. In addition, one must also buy an air pump for the filter because it helps in maintaining good water conditions which is essential for bamboo shrimp’s survival.

If there are some other fish species living in the same tank then make sure that you provide proper cover to them too. As Bamboos Shrimp hunts down smaller fishes from time to time more so when they feel threatened or insecure about something inside their environment.

Tank Mates for Bamboo Shrimps

Bamboo shrimps are generally peaceful towards other tank mates in the fish community but they can become aggressive when threatened, startled, or looking for a mate. So it’s best to keep them with non-aggressive species that won’t bother your bamboo shrimps during their molting period.

Ideal bamboo shrimp tank mates include small-sized fishes like tetras, hatchetfish, as well as shrimp species such as Bee shrimp (caridina cantonensis).

Tank Mates to Avoid

The worst tank mates for bamboo shrimps include those who are larger in size or nippy towards them since they might end up hurting each other if left alone without any proper care from the owner’s side.

Some examples of these types of dangerous tank mates would be barbs and cichlids because both have a tendency to attack smaller organisms inside their environment when there is no proper cover provided. Also, avoid keeping predatory fish species inside an aquarium containing Bamboo Shrimp unless you want your newly bought crustaceans dead within days after adding them into your community tank.

Breeding Bamboo Shrimp

Bamboo shrimps are relatively difficult to breed in captivity and nearly impossible to care for. As the larvae need brackish water to survive. However, this is not the only difficulty that you may face while breeding a bamboo shrimp.

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As you must have proper knowledge of the conditions needed to breed bamboo shrimps in captivity, you must first have an understanding of their reproductive cycle.

Bamboo Shrimp’s Breeding Cycle

The reproduction cycle for Bamboos shrimp is different from other invertebrates as they are not seasonal breeders.

The reproduction cycle for Shrimps happens once a year but again, this differs with each individual shrimp as some breeds can easily reproduce within six months while others take two years to mature sexually before they start reproducing.

How to breed Bamboo shrimp?

The breeding process generally starts after molting (shedding their outer shell) and the male shrimp will start looking for a place to mate with the female counterpart.

  1. Add a male and female bamboo shrimp into a breeding aquarium with some plants for hiding purposes.

  2. Wait until their mating period starts which usually lasts from one hour up to a few days depending on the size of bamboo shrimps.

  3. Once they mate successfully remove the male as it will start chasing away any other males that approach its partner.

  4. After mating, the eggs are released and they generally attach themselves onto any suitable surface available in their environments such as rocks, plants, and even filter tubes and heater cables.

  5. Remove any larvae immediately if you find any on heater cable etc.

  6. The lifespan of Bamboos Shrimp is around two years and they can breed twice in a lifetime. Therefore, you must take extra care when breeding them to prevent their eggs from being eaten by other fish species.

Special Requirements

Bamboo shrimps need brackish water with at least SG of around 0.03 and this is very important if you want your shrimp population to remain healthy and alive. You must also have a suitable setup for them to reproduce with the right temperature of around 26-30 degrees Celsius.

Common Diseases in Bamboo Shrimps

Bamboo shrimps are relatively hardy when it comes to disease and problems but if not given proper care then they can easily die off in your aquarium. So be sure to check the condition of your shrimp on a daily basis while keeping their tank clean at all times. common symptoms that your bamboo shrimp is sick include lethargic behavior, molting issues, loss of appetite

Some common diseases include Ammonia poisoning because of the accumulation of toxic ammonia inside your aquarium. You can prevent this by making sure that you do regular water changes to keep the nitrate levels low in your tank. Also avoid overfeeding them which can lead to excess food rotting at the bottom, releasing ammonia into their environment. However, if you already over fed them you can ea

Another major problem with bamboo shrimps is their extremely low immunity to disease which is why they are prone to infections, parasites, and bacterial diseases. You must immediately remove any dead animals from your tank as their decaying bodies release harmful toxins into the water that can easily kill your shrimp within days if not removed on time.


Bamboo shrimps need a lot of care in order to survive and reproduce in captivity. They are an extremely sensitive species that require the perfect water parameters for them to live a healthy life. So be sure to do your homework before buying these creatures as they’re quite expensive (around $20-$40 each). Their pricing is why most beginners don’t prefer keeping them.

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