The Bamboo Shrimp (Atyopsis moluccensis)

Bamboo shrimp

Bamboo shrimp (Atyopsis moluccensis), filter shrimp, or fan shrimp are freshwater invertebrates native to Southeast Asia. They are popular among aquarists because of their unique appearance and ability to filter particles from the water using their fan-like appendages.


Bamboo shrimps get their name from their long, thin, and segmented legs, reminiscent of bamboo shoots. 

Natural Habitat

Bamboo shrimps are native to Southeast Asia and can be found in various freshwater habitats, including streams, rivers, and rice paddies. They are commonly found in areas with slow-moving or still water and prefer habitats with plenty of hiding places, such as areas with dense vegetation or submerged logs and branches.


Bamboo shrimp closeup

Bamboo shrimp are small to medium-sized invertebrates with elongated, segmented bodies and long, thin legs. 

Filter Fans

Bamboo shrimp’s filter fans

They are often referred to as “filter shrimp” or “fan shrimp” because of their unique appendages used to filter small particles from the water. These appendages, called “branchiostegal fans,” are located on the underside of the shrimp’s body and are made up of numerous small, hair-like structures. 

When the shrimp extends its fans, they create a large surface area that can be used to capture food particles from the water.

Bamboo shrimp can vary in size, with adults ranging from 2 to 4 inches in length. They are typically brown or tan, with lighter markings on their legs and appendages. Some species of Bamboo shrimp may have distinctive patterns or coloration on their bodies. 

They have two pairs of antennae, which are used for sensing their environment and detecting food.

Bamboo shrimp have an exoskeleton, which they shed as they grow. Bamboo shrimp typically live for 2-3 years.

Tank Setup

Bamboo shrimp filtering (grazing?) the water

Bamboo shrimp are generally easy to care for and can be kept in various tank conditions. They prefer a habitat with plenty of hiding places. Live plants, caves, or driftwood are commonly used for this. They thrive in a well-established tank with good water quality and a stable environment. Here are some specific recommendations for maintaining ideal tank conditions for bamboo shrimp:

  • Water temperature: ideally between 72-78°F
  • pH: can tolerate a wide range of pH levels, from 6.5 to 7.5. Sudden changes in pH can be stressful for the shrimp.
  • Water hardness: not particularly sensitive to water hardness and can tolerate a range of hardness levels. However, they do prefer slightly softer water, with a general hardness (GH) of 5-10 dGH
  • Tank size: small and does not require a large tank. A tank of at least 10 gallons is sufficient for a small group


Bamboo shrimp are detritivores. This means that they get their nutrients from suspended organic particles in the water, which they trap with their fan-like appendages. In an aquarium, there aren’t enough food particles in the water column to keep them well-fed. A pinch of commercially available fish food formulated for shrimp ground to a fine powder twice a day is recommended. Regular fish food can also be used if shrimp-specific food is hard to source.


Bamboo shrimp are generally peaceful and do not exhibit aggressive behavior toward their tankmates. They can be kept with other fish and invertebrates in a community tank as long as the tankmates are not aggressive or predatory. Good tankmates for the bamboo shrimp include:


Bamboo shrimp molt

As an invertibrate, the Bamboo shrimp goes through a molting process. During this process, the shrimp will shed its existing exoskeleton and form a new, larger one. This molting event usually occurs at night, and can take a few hours to a few days. During this time, the shrimp may become more reclusive and hide. Once the molting process is complete, the shrimp will come out with its new exoskeleton and resume its normal activities.


Breeding bamboo shrimp in an aquarium setting is nearly impossible as these invertebrates are not easily induced to reproduce in captivity. 


Bamboo shrimps can get afflicted with bacterial infections, fungal infections, parasitic infections, and shell rot. Almost all of these are caused by poor water conditions. Properly maintaining the aquarium will prevent them. These can be treated with copper-free aquarium medication available at most pet stores.

Final Remarks (Summary)

The Bamboo shrimp is an interesting option as a pet. Its larger size and fan-like appendages set it apart from other freshwater shrimps. They may not be readily available and generally cost more than the other freshwater shrimps, but their uniqueness and interesting mannerisms have made them quite popular in the hobby.

Bamboo shrimp profile
Common NameBamboo shrimp, Fan shrimp, Filter Shrimp, Wood Shrimp, Timber Shrimp, Singapore Shrimp, Marble Shrimp, Mountain Shrimp, Rock Shrimp, Maluku Shrimp, and Flower Shrimp
Scientific NameAtyopsis moluccensis
Care LevelModerate
TankmatesPeaceful invertebrates, small non-aggressive fish, dwarf frogs
Size2-4 inches or 5-10 cm
Lifespan5-6 years

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