The Coolest Fan in Your Tank – Atyopsis Moluccensis

By: Leah Luzano

Fan Shrimp - Atyopsis Moluccensis
Fan/ Flower / Bamboo Shrimp On DriftWood

Bamboo or Fan shrimp are great “show off“additions to a friendly community tank. These shrimp originally from Southeast Asia come in beautiful earthy shades of red, brown or beige, striped daintly on their sides and have a large creamy white race stripe down their back. However their beauty is not their best quality. These amazing shrimps charming personality are unmatched by any other species of shrimp. They are called many different names such as Asian Filter Shrimp, Wood Shrimp, Bamboo Shrimp, and Flower shrimp. However, I believe that Fan shrimp and Flower shrimp are the most suitable of those names because of their unique flower like fans they have in place of pincers on their front 4 legs.  These “Fans” are used by the shrimp to filter the current for microorganisms and other food, and this filtering behavior makes them a very entertaining shrimp to keep.  They will sit out in the open in the middle of the filter current in a tank, and looking like a diligent student of Mr. Miyagi they will use their fans to grab micro-particles of food in the water in the epic wax-on-wax-off motion. They then, swiftly close their fans and lick off their catch then continue on with their smooth yet fierce karate kid moves.

Fan Shrimp can live for up to 1-2years and can grow to a significant 3-5 inches, and because of their peaceful and friendly nature they do very well with mid-sized non aggressive fish.  The only times they will be shy is if they are uncomfortable (because of aggressors in a tank), unhealthy or have just molted.  The males are larger than females and have bigger rear legs.

It’s recommended to have a 20 Gallon or bigger tank, that’s well cycled and rich with microorganisms and alge. It’s a must to have a good strong filter to create that current that they love much like how a dog loves to stick his head out of a car window.  Also create platforms for them to sit in the current using rocks and wood. These items as well as live plants will create spaces for them to hide for when they feel vulnerable after molting which they tend to do quite often. Plants will also keep nitrates and ammonia in check.  Keep your water temperature at approximately 73-82 Degrees Fahrenheit and your pH at 6.5 -7.4 and like any other shrimp, avoid anything with copper in it, because it is poisonous.

Fan Shrimp - Atyopsis Moluccensis
Fan/ Flower Shrimp Chilling with their Fans Open

If your water parameters are right and rich with microorganisms, it won’t be hard to keep a close eye on these shrimp because of their non-shy and entertaining nature, they will be out and about your tank. Be aware that if you see them sifting through your gravel it means that they are not feeding properly and are scavenging for food with can damage their delicate fans. If hungry and desperate enough they won’t hesitate to even try to climb out of the tank in hopes for a better place for them to feed. If this is the case for you check to see if your filter is circulating the water in your tank strong enough. Also give them some powdered food (for example Mosura Shrimpton or Borneowild Crimson), newly hatched brine shrimp, cultured green water or other small food particles for them to feed on. (Check out our Green Water Article Here) Use Food that will not sink to the bottom and are small enough to be carried by the filter current through the water. Be careful though make sure you don’t soil your tank with too much food.

These shrimp are not hard to keep but breeding is another on a whole other level.  Like Yamato Shrimp the larvae need brackish water in order to survive, so unless you are an experienced veteran of breeding Yamatos, you probably will only give birth to lots of frustration with your attempts to breed these shrimp. This is why most Fan shrimp are wild caught.  But don’t fret, because these shrimp even on their own as pets are a handful of excitement and entertainment even without the joy of raising them as a family.