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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bamboo Shrimp; in Aquarium


By parker002 from the Everything Aquatic Forum Board

I posted my observations about temperature, it's relationship, and how I sensed it was affecting my shrimp.

Several people commented that they appreciated it since there aren't a lot of people here that are keeping them. So I thought I would start a thread to share some of the other things I'm learning now that my bamboo shrimp experience is in full swing. Maybe I can even convince a few of you to get one!

DISCLAIMER: I'm not a scientist or a professional aquarist. This stuff is based on my own observations and some stuff I've read on the internet that is supported by those observations. I AM NOT AN EXPERT.

First of all, if you're not sure what I'm talking about, I'm talking about atyopsis - a "filter feeding" shrimp. At your LFS, you'll see them referred to as bamboo, wood, or flower shrimp. They might also be referred to as Singapore shrimp. They're different from a lot of other shrimp in that they don't have claws, they have 4 feathery front "arms". Rather than killing (like crayfish) or picking (like algae-eaters) with claws, they use their feathers to filter micro-organisms from the water.

Bamboo Shrimp
Here's a picture of mine. The girls call him Pierre. The picture isn't great, but it does show his filters in action.

The only real advice I can give if you are thinking about getting a bamboo shrimp is to remember that he's not a fish. Of course, that fact is probably why you wanted a shrimp in the first place but the flip-side is that you have to treat him differently, too.

Here are some things I've had to deal with:

  1. Fish get sick once in a while, and one of the most common issues is probably Ich. In general, medications that treat Ich and other similar parasites contain things that will KILL your shrimp. Copper and other heavy metals are toxic as are many other substances. If you already use a hospital tank for treating fish disease, you're in good shape. But if your used to just dosing your tank, it gets more complicated.

    Further Resources:
    Aquarium Medications, Information, Facts, Research, Resources
    Aquarium Ich, Ichthyophthirius multifilis and Cryptocaryon, Freshwater, Saltwater
    Aquarium Medications 3, Chemical Treatments

    Otherwise, you might consider products such as Herbal Ich Attack, which although not a strong anti-Ick treatment, it is also safe for Shrimp.

  2. Recommended Product Resource: Herbal Ich Attack from AAP

  3. Water quality is always critical but it seems to be even more so with shrimp. They're extremely sensitive to ammonia. And as I observed previously, low dissolved oxygen is much more apparent with shrimp than with fish.

    Further Resources:
    Water Quality & A Healthy Aquarium
    Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle, Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates

  4. Be careful when doing water changes and cleaning your tank. I've noticed my shrimp is also much more sensitive to stress than my fish. Absolutely DO NOT remove all your ornaments while cleaning your tank. These guys want places to hang out. A bare tank is a sure way to stress them to death.
    Further Resources: Aquarium Cleaning, Water Change Methods

  5. A happy bamboo shrimp will eat almost all of the time. But this doesn't mean you'll see them feeding like you would other shrimp. If a bamboo shrimp is getting enough to eat in my experience, they won't move for long periods of time (even DAYS). They'll sit with their filters deployed and eat continuously by putting the filter in their mouth and pulling debris off of it.
    They depend on their food coming to them (via water currents) much more than fish. If your shrimp is picking the substrate, even though it seem like normal behavior for a shrimp, it's actually not good - he's probably not getting enough to eat. Make sure you have a spot where they can set themselves in the current and they should do well.

  6. On the subject of starvation, you might be tempted to give more fish food, in an effort to feed your shrimp. If you have livebearers like me, all you'll end up with are super fat fish and a shrimp that still isn't getting enough to eat. Also, over-feeding can lead to poor water quality which can create a whole host of problems. Also see my comments in the next bullet regarding scavenging.

    Further Resources:
    Livebearer Fish Information, Guppy, Molly, Play, Swordtail, Endlers"
    Fish Food

  7. I have a 55G tank with several fish. Bamboo shrimp are omnivorous. If you have a setup like that, you shouldn't need to feed your shrimp separately very often. They should get enough to eat from decaying fish waste and other small organisms in your water. I should be more specific about scavenging. These shrimp are NOT scavengers in the sense that they'll pick through the substrate looking for leftover fish food. In fact, if they're doing that, they're probably STARVING. In the strictest sense of the word, scavenger means an animal that feeds on dead or decaying matter and a bamboo shrimp certainly does that. They just do so PASSIVELY (filtering the water column) whereas I think a lot of people hear scavenger and think of the raccoon in their garbage or a vulture picking at a deer on the highway.

  8. It's still fun (if not necessary) to give treats once in a while. To avoid issues with the fish, I use a medicine dropper and introduce "treats" to my shrimp directly rather than putting it in the water where the fish can get it first.

  9. I also try to give my shrimp supplements that are less enticing to the fish in general. I've found if I crush bloodworms into a fine powder, the fish ignore them but he loves it. I also feed small amounts of frozen plankton (copepods) by mixing a small chunk with tank water and squirting it near him. The fish like these too, though, so I have to be careful.
    Further Resources: Freeze Dried Fish Foods, Brine Shrimp, Plankton, Blood Worms

  10. I did stumble onto another off-the-wall treat that he REALLY enjoys. When I bought my tank, the LFS guy gave me some powder called BioZyme to start my tank. It didn't work, I'm guessing because powdered bacteria are pretty dead.
    I ended up using liquid Turbo Start (my tank cycled within 48 hours of adding it) and I've had this BioZyme sealed in a tube ever since.
    Out of curiosity, I mixed a TINY bit of it (the size of a BB maybe) with water and squirted it at him. I've never seen him eat like that, he went crazy! That being said, I have no idea if feeding my shrimp TANK STARTER BACTERIA is a good idea or not. I wasn't going to use it for anything else, so I thought I would try it.
    Further Resources: Aquarium Cycling Products

  11. One of the things Carl always preaches here on the boards is that proper mineralization is important if you want healthy fish. For shrimp and other invertebrates with ecto-skeletons, it's absolutely essential that you have good mineral content, especially calcium. Bamboo shrimp molt and need calcium to build a new shell. Mine has already molted twice in about 8 weeks and I've read similar stories elsewhere on the internet. All of our water around here comes out of limestone aquifers, so for me it's not an issue. If you have soft water, make sure you are adding minerals, especially calcium.

    Further Resources:
    Aquarium Chemistry, GH, pH, KH, Calcium
    Wonder Shells to Improve Mineral Content (unique version)

  12. Speaking of molting, make sure your shrimp has a place to hide. I have never observed my fish attacking him, but while molting they're super-soft and vulnerable and could be damaged beyond repair.

  13. While I've never seen my fish bother the shrimp, I HAVE seen the shrimp attack fish. It's actually harmless and quite funny. His feathers are completely harmless - again, they're not claws in any way. He's fairly aggressive (he jumps at me when I come to the glass LOL) but it's all for show.

  14. Finally, I have observed a quite peculiar and fascinating behavior. When he's using all 4 filters to feed, he uses them in an exact order. If the first filter to go into his mouth is the bottom-right one, the top-right is next. I've sat for as long as 15 minutes at a time and watched him feed in this strict linear pattern. It's hilarious. My daughter and I have observed him for literally hours over the past month and he might break his sequence once or twice every 50 iterations. Just another little thing that makes this things so much fun!

  15. For purchasing, I don't use the same process I use with fish. Shrimp are SO fragile and because of that, I don't really feel they're subject to the same kind of hidden problems you get with fish. Again, this is my own personal opinion and not in any based in fact, but for me, if a store has a half dozen shrimp and they're active and using their filters, that's good enough. If there were something wrong with them, they'd be DEAD.
    The reason I think this is important is because they are so fragile. If you're like me, your first shrimp is probably going to die just due to unfamiliarity. At the 2 LFS in my area, they sell for $16 and $18. Wal-Mart sells them for $7 and I got mine at Petco for $6. I bought my first one at the LFS for $18 and he died within a handful of days. This one is thriving and I save more than $10.

  16. Here's some additional info I forgot regarding coloration. I've read all kinds of different thoughts about the color of these things. I've read they turn bright red when happy. I've also read that they turn bright red when stressed or when death is imminent. I've made some observations regarding this because I've been paying special attention to his color (yes, I'm curious!).
    My shrimp was dark brown at the store but he's now red. It's possible that he was brown due to "unhappiness" but that's an awful lot of emotion to ascribe to an animal that technically doesn't have a brain (They have a system of ganglia.

    If our human brain were a powerful home computer, think of a shrimp as having a hand held calculator.) I thought maybe coloration was related to the environment. The tanks at the LFS where I bought mine had black walls and dark substrate in a very dark room. I have sandstone substrate and a well-lit room. I thought it might be some sort of "camouflage" reaction.
    However, while I'm treating my fish for disease I currently have him in the girls' bedroom in a small betta tank with black substrate and poor aquarium lighting. He's still red. There is one thing I'm convinced of - a HEALTHY shrimp will be deeply colored, whether brown, red, or whatever.

    Further Resources:
    Aquarium Gravel, Substrate
    Aquarium Lighting

  17. If your shrimp is turning white or looking pale, my opinion is that he's either stressed, dying, or both. I've read several places that a dying shrimp turns bright red and my own observation doesn't support that.
    My current shrimp is red and has been since the day I got him. Now, I did own a bamboo shrimp previously (when I first got my 55G tank) and without much knowledge or him or aquaria in general, I got to watch it die. I can say with a fair amount of confidence that a DYING shrimp will turn pale or white, not red. I did observe my first shrimp turn bright red after it was but not the same red that my current, living shrimp displays. My current shrimp is translucent (yes, you can see through him to a certain degree) and tinted a deep blood red.
    My dead shrimp, shortly after dying, turned an opaque, bright red, similar to the color of Alaskan king crab after it's boiled in it's shell at Red Lobster. I'm assuming that's some kind of calcification process.

Hopefully, this spurs a few of you to try this out. My shrimp is easily the most interesting item in my tank!

For Sponge Filters which are excellent for use in your Shrimp Aquariums (regardless of type of shrimp), as these provide unbeatable bio filtration in a small space with gentle water agitation. These premium Sponge Filters also provide spaces for shrimp to hide.

For the full Thread, Please follow this link: Bamboo shrimp anecdotes.

For other articles that may interest readers of this article:

*Aquarium Planaria

*Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle

*UV Sterilization; this is an excellent article for those desiring to lower the risk of disease in their shrimp tank, especially since shrimp are sensitive to many medications. This article starts with basics, answers many facts and myths, and provides UV bulb maintenance information too.

*Betta Fin Rot; Ammonia Control

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Saturday, October 4, 2008

Caring for your Betta

Caring for a betta at home or office

By Evelyn Buchmann
Evelyn Buchmann female Bettas
A Betta fish has certain needs to be healthy and happy just as any other fish you would care for. Just because you can buy them in these tiny cups, doesn’t mean that he really likes it to be in such a tight space where he can hardly even turn around.

Please read here the myth about a betta in a vase The Betta Myth

I have had my betta in a 1 gallon bowl for about 2 weeks when I purchased him, but he was so inactive that I decided to upgrade and got him a 5 gallon tank with filter, heater and live plants.

You should have seen the difference, he started to swim around and his colors started to thrive due to the regulated temperature and he shows of his beautiful fins as soon as somebody approaches the tank.

They don’t live in tiny rice paddles like everybody seems to believe, their natural habitat is huge as you will see in the following pic.

For further reading about Betta Habitat, please see this article: Aquarium Answers; Betta Habitat

What you will need:

1 male or 1 female betta

*2.5 gallon tank with filter and heater is the bare minimum for 1 betta (a 5 gallon tank is of course even better)
*Gravel for the bottom (fine #1 sand if live plants will be kept, see the link below for plant care, substrates)
*Live plants (They love to rest on them)
*Test Kit

-Set up your tank with conditioned water and everything else.
-The filter and heater need to be plugged in 24/7.
-You should have a temp of 78-82 degrees, since that’s where your betta will start to thrive and they will be comfortable.

Once your tanks have cycled, that means no ammonia or nitrite present; you can add your betta.
But don’t forget to acclimate him properly, by taking water out of the tank and filling it into the cup or bag, whichever he/she came in, put in about ¼ cup of tank water every 15 minutes, until you have reached double capacity of water in the cup then it was before, this will take care of the pH difference from your tank water to the pet store water.

Make sure you do weekly partial water changes of 25% with a small gravel siphon, and refill it with aged and conditioned water, at the same temperature.

3-5 female Bettas’

*10 gallon tank
*Gravel for the bottom (fine #1 sand if live plants will be kept, see the link below for plant care, substrates)
*Lots of live plants
*Decorations without any sharp edges

Do the same thing as you would do it with the 2.5 gallon tank (setting up, cycling, floating the bag with fish, etc.) You will need to get at least 3 females thought (if you only get 2, one will dominate the other) they will choose a so called pecking order amongst them and will look like they’re fighting, but they don’t. Once they have chosen the rang order, the fighting will stop. You can also add 2-3 Cory cats into that setup, since they’re bottom dwellers, and you can have up to 5 females together in a 10 gallon tank.

1 male OR 1 female betta with tropical’s

Same setup and maintenance as the above 2.

Example setup in a 15 gallon tank:,

1 male or 1 female betta
2-3 Cory cats (bottom dwellers)
5 neon tetras (schooling fish)
3 platy’s (males only if you don’t want any fry)
5 rasboras (also schooling fish)


You can’t keep male/female together unless they were properly conditioned for spawning

You can’t keep male/male together, or they will kill each other

But you can put females together with a minimum of 3 in at least a 10 gallon tank

And you also can put a female or a male with other tropicals, as long as the others don’t have long fins like a male guppy or a serpae tetra.

You can keep males/females together however if you have at least a 55 gallon tank, which is heavily planted and you have at least some experience on keeping fish

Feeding them;

You should feed your betta twice a day 3-4 pellets at each feeding, but change their diet up with frozen blood worms, Baby Brine Shrimp, Pellets and live Baby Brine shrimp, and also a thawed pea about once a week. Also fast your betta one day out of the week, which will keep constipation at bay

For further information about Betta Feeding and Fish Nutrition in general, please see this article: “Aquarium Fish Nutrition, all about”

Final Thoughts:

Please do yourself and your betta a big favor and get a tank instead of a stupid bowl. With proper care they can live up to 8 years.

Sure they can survive in a bowl, but let’s face it, are you willing to do partials every day, when you only need to do it once a week on a tank with a gravel siphon???? Well what ever you decide, happy fish keeping and have fun with your hobby. It gives lots of joy in ones life!


“Aquarium Size and Stunting, beginner to advanced aquarists”
“Over a Copper Moon Betta”
“Freshwater Aquarium Basics and Care”
Betta Profiles
Or for UV Bulb replacements for large scale breeders with their Bettas placed in systems with centralized filters with UV Sterilizers

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008


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Smoky Angel

*mematrix pictures: mematrix's Photobucket Albums
mematrix's Betta Picture Album

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*Eves Pictures: Eve's Photobucket Albums

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*Carls Pictures: Carls Pictures Pages

My Gold marble AngelfishSaltwater Aquarium I also recently got running a looking better than I found it at Choices Counseling Center

For one of Carl's business resources, please see UV Bulbs for the best in high performance UV-C lamps at competitive prices!

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