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Armoured Shrimp

Armoured Shrimp

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Atya gabonensis

Note: Due
to variations within species, your item may not look identical to the image


Atya sculptata, Euatya sculptilis


West coast of Africa and possibly the east coast
of South America

Sexual Dimorphism

First set of 'walking legs' (pereopods) are
thicker in males. Females fuller bodied with a longer carapace.

Maximum Size

14cm (5.5?)

Water Parameters

Freshwater. pH: 6.5-8.0, dH: up to 20 degrees.


24-28 deg C (75-82 deg F)






The Giant Fan Shrimp originates from fast flowing rivers
with rocky substrates on the western coast of Africa from Senegal down to the
Democratic Republic of Congo, and from the eastern coast of South America. It
is not yet entirely clear whether these two populations are the same or whether
they represent distinct species; this genus is not well studied and the South
American population density is said to be very low. Most, if not all exports
come from various West African countries. These large sized shrimps may appear
rather fearsome at first glance, but they are actually very peaceful aquarium
residents with modified claws (chelae) that resemble fans, which they splay
wide like nets in order to catch tiny particles of food. A good sized, mature
aquarium is required, with areas of vigorous current and plenty of shady hiding
places. Some wood, flat stones and rocks should be placed in the path of the
flow so that the shrimps may perch there, fanning the water for food particles.
Good filtration, clean and stable water conditions, along with decent water
circulation is obviously a must for this species. The current within the
aquarium can be further enhanced by the use of small powerheads (be sure that
the model you use comes with a protective cage or filter-sponge underneath to
prevent the shrimp from being drawn into the motor). Giant Fan Shrimps are
sociable and should be kept in large groups. On occasion, they may become a
little territorial with each other; however, this is more noticeable in smaller
tanks, which is why it is important to give them space. These shrimp can be
kept safely with plants, although due to the water movement, hardier species
should be chosen. Tankmates should be small and peaceful - avoid all
pufferfish, large barbs, large aggressive botiid loaches, most cichlids etc.
These shrimp are often seen in a variety of natural colours in the shops, from
sky blue, mid blue, navy blue, to grey and brown. It is thought that the blue
colour becomes much more apparent in harder water and when kept on darker
substrates. There are also reports of the occasional male shrimp turning orange
or red ? this is thought to be a display of dominance, but further study is
needed. Smaller specimens will moult fairly often, until they attain their
adult size. Moulting usually takes place overnight, and the shrimp may hide for
a few days afterwards whilst the new casing hardens, as naturally this is when
they are at their most vulnerable to predators. Care must be taken when
carrying out partial water changes, as Giant Fan Shrimp, like all shrimp
species, are sensitive to fluctuating water temperatures. Try to ensure that
the new (dechlorinated) water closely matches the temperature of the tank
water. Some fish medications are harmful to shrimp and other invertebrates. If
treatments do have to be used in an aquarium containing shrimp, ensure that it
does not contain copper. These shrimp may initially be perceived as being of a
slow and clumsy nature, however, they are actually very agile and are excellent
climbers/escape artists. For these reasons, make sure your shrimp tank has
tight fitting cover-slides.



These shrimp filter micro-organisms from the water, along
with tiny particles of fish food. The diet should be supplemented with tiny
frozen foods such as cyclops, baby brineshrimp, daphnia, and micro-worm, along
with regular feedings of zooplankton or phytoplankton, liquid fry foods, and
ground-up flakes.



Very challenging. Although it is not uncommon to see eggs
being carried by the females, raising the newly-hatched minuscule translucent
larvae presents quite a problem as they require brackish water to change into
miniature shrimp (known as post-larvae). The adults will not tolerate salt in
the aquarium, which makes transferal and acclimatisation of the larvae into
brackish conditions very difficult and risky. In nature, the larvae would be
washed into saltier waters where they would develop whilst drifting in a
planktonic state, and return to freshwater after several moults and taking on a
miniature shrimp appearance. The minuscule size of the larvae means that an
appropriately sized sponge medium must be used on the sponge filter in the
brackish growing-on tank so that the larvae do not get dragged into the sponge
filter. The larvae will not tolerate nitrate, so feeding can also present
problems. Small amounts of green marine water are suggested as a first food.