Vampire Shrimp (Atya Gabonensis) Tank Mates, Diet, Size, And More!

Vampire Shrimp (Atya Gabonensis) thrive with peaceful tank mates, relish a varied diet, typically measure up to 6 inches, and boast a unique appearance. These striking freshwater invertebrates require specific care for optimal health.

Delving into the world of freshwater aquariums introduces you to the fascinating Vampire Shrimp. Known for their gentle nature and striking blue to violet coloration, these creatures add not only a dash of color but also an engaging dynamic to your tank.

Atya Gabonensis prefer a calm environment, making them ideal companions for non-aggressive fish and other shrimp. They possess a love for a diverse menu, feasting on detritus, plant matter, and prepared foods. These shrimp can grow quite large compared to their tank mates, so they need a spacious aquarium to accommodate their size and intricate behavior.

Vampire Shrimp Overview

Welcome to the mysterious world of the Vampire Shrimp, a captivating creature that adds a touch of intrigue to any freshwater aquarium. Known for their unique behaviors and striking appearance, these peaceful critters are a fascinating addition to a diverse aquatic community.

What Is A Vampire Shrimp?

Vampire Shrimp, Atya Gabonensis, is a freshwater crustacean. Despite its name, it poses no threat to tank mates. These filter feeders prefer peaceful coexistence and are famed for their non-aggressive nature, making them a top choice for communal tanks.

Where Do Vampire Shrimp Come From?

Originating from the fast-flowing rivers of West Africa and South America, Vampire Shrimp thrive in environments with strong current. They often hide in crevices, waiting for food particles to drift by.


With their blue to brownish hues and potential to grow up to 6 inches, Vampire Shrimp are sizable tank occupants. Their most notable features include fan-like feeding appendages and a soft, translucent exoskeleton which changes colors during molting cycles.


  • Nocturnal – Active during the night.
  • Non-aggressive – Safe with small and large fish.
  • Shy – Often found hiding during the day.
  • Sociable – Enjoys the company of its kind.

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The diet of a Vampire Shrimp plays a crucial role in its health and longevity. These fascinating creatures are filter feeders, which means they sift through the water to find their meals. Let’s explore what these delightful invertebrates munch on, their feeding patterns, and how we can ensure they get all necessary nutrients.

What Do Vampire Shrimp Eat

  • Detritus: Decaying plant matter in the tank
  • Algae: Small amounts that grow in the aquarium
  • Plankton: Microscopic organisms found in water

Feeding Habits

These nocturnal shrimp are most active at night. Their feather-like appendages fan the water, capturing food particles. While they can find food themselves, owners should feed them every two or three days.

Preferred foods include:

Supplements And Vitamins

Vampire Shrimp benefit from additional supplements to keep them healthy.

  1. Calcium: For strong exoskeleton development
  2. Vitamin supplements: Added to the water or food
  3. Iodine: Occasionally, to aid in molting

Always dissolve supplements in tank water before adding them.

Vampire Shrimp photo 2

Tank Requirements

Creating a thriving environment for Vampire Shrimp is essential for their health and happiness. This section delves into the vital tank requirements for these fascinating creatures. Adhering to these guidelines ensures a suitable habitat that simulates their natural conditions as closely as possible.

Water Quality

Vampire Shrimp require specific water conditions to thrive. Keep the water parameters stable:

  • Temperature: Maintain between 74-84°F (23-29°C)
  • pH level: Safe range is 6.5 to 7.5
  • Hardness: Aim for 2 to 10 dKH

Regular water changes are a must. Change 10-15% of the water weekly to maintain quality.

Tank Size

These shrimp need space to explore and forage. A minimum tank size of 20 gallons is ideal. Bigger is always better for these active scavengers.


A strong filtration system is critical. It should cycle all the water multiple times per hour. Shrimp are sensitive to pollutants, so filter media must be efficient.


The right substrate will mimic their natural habitat. Make use of fine sand or smooth gravel. It should be gentle on their delicate bodies while allowing them to search for food.

Plants And Decorations

Plants and decorations are not just aesthetic. They serve as hiding spots and grazing areas. Include:

  • Live plants: Java fern, Anubias, and Moss
  • Driftwood and rocks: Natural barriers and shelters
  • Caves and tubes for hiding

A well-structured tank with plenty of hiding spots reduces stress for these shy creatures.

Tank Mates

Creating a safe and vibrant home for Vampire Shrimp is important. Knowing what tank mates are suitable is essential. These peaceful crustaceans enjoy company that doesn’t stress or outcompete them for food. Let’s explore which fish, shrimp, and snails can share their space happily.


When selecting fish to accompany Vampire Shrimp, peacefulness is key. Choose species that thrive in similar water conditions. Ideal fish companions include:

Shrimp And Snails

Vampire Shrimps can coexist with other invertebrates. Ideal matches that won’t compete fiercely for food include:

  • Cherry Shrimp – Share similar diets and tank environments
  • Ghost Shrimp – Also peaceful scavengers
  • Nerite Snails – Perfect for algae control

Compatibility Issues

Watch out for compatibility issues in your tank. Avoid large, aggressive fish that can harm Vampire Shrimp. Also, steer clear of fish that tend to nip at long antennae. Certain cichlids and large freshwater puffers are not suitable companions. Always make safe choices to keep a harmonious aquarium.

Atya Gabonensis photo


Welcome to the fascinating world of breeding Atya Gabonensis, also known as Vampire Shrimp. These striking freshwater creatures can provide endless intrigue when it comes to their reproductive habits. Breeding Vampire Shrimp might seem daunting at first. But with the right conditions and knowledge, aquarists can witness the wonder of their life cycle. Let’s explore the optimal way to encourage these serene crustaceans to breed and the steps entailed in the process.

Conditions For Breeding

Creating the ideal environment is critical for Vampire Shrimp to thrive and consider breeding. Water quality is at the heart of their well-being.

  • Temperature: Maintain between 24°C to 28°C (75°F to 82°F).
  • pH level: Slightly acidic to neutral, between 6.5 and 7.5.
  • Water hardness: Keep it soft to medium, ranging from 6 to 12 dGH.

Ensuring a stress-free habitat is also paramount. Provide plenty of hiding spaces with rocks, driftwood, and dense plants. The presence of a gentle water flow mimics their natural riverine habitat, promoting breeding behavior.

Breeding Process

The breeding process for Vampire Shrimp is both unique and subtle. Unlike some aquatic species, these shrimp have a more indirect method of reproduction.

  1. The female releases pheromones to signal readiness.
  2. Males detect this chemical cue and seek out a mate.
  3. After mating, the female carries the fertilized eggs under her abdomen.
  4. These eggs hatch as free-swimming larvae, requiring brackish water to grow.

A successful breeding often hinges on the transition to brackish conditions for the larvae. This can be achieved by slightly increasing the salinity of a separate breeding tank. After a period of growth in these conditions, the young shrimp can gradually acclimate back to freshwater.

Common Problems With Vampire Shrimp

Keeping Vampire Shrimp (Atya Gabonensis) in an aquarium can be rewarding. Yet, these critters may face problems. They need care to stay healthy.

Disease And Illness

Like many aquarium dwellers, Vampire Shrimp can get sick. They often hide signs of illness. It’s important to spot problems early. Here are common issues:

  • Fungal Infections: Appear as white, cottony growths on the shrimp.
  • Bacterial Diseases: Cause discolored shells or unusual swimming patterns.
  • Parasites: Can lead to lethargy or loss of appetite.

Prevent disease by keeping water clean and well-filtered. Test water parameters regularly. Overfeeding can pollute water. Avoid this.


Addressing shrimp health problems takes care. Here are some steps:

Always research before using meds. Some can harm your shrimp. Good tank mates help prevent stress. Stress can lead to illness.

Healthy diet is vital. Feed them quality food. It should be rich in nutrients. Check for expired foods. Always ensure they eat well.

Frequently Asked Questions For Vampire Shrimp

What Size Tank Do Vampire Shrimp Need?

Vampire shrimp thrive in a minimum 20-gallon tank to accommodate their need for space and filtration. For optimal health, larger tanks are beneficial.

What Does Atya Gabonensis Eat?

Atya gabonensis, also known as the African giant filter shrimp, primarily eats detritus and small particles by filtering water through its feather-like appendages.

What Can I Feed My Vampire Shrimp?

Feed your vampire shrimp a diet of algae wafers, blanched vegetables, and frozen or live foods like bloodworms and brine shrimp for balanced nutrition.

What Do You Feed Giant African Shrimp?

Feed giant African shrimp a diet consisting of algae, plant detritus, and commercially prepared shrimp pellets for balanced nutrition. Offer occasional protein treats like bloodworms for optimal health.


Embarking on the journey with vampire shrimp can be truly rewarding. These fascinating creatures bring a touch of the exotic to any aquarium. Ensuring compatible tank mates, a balanced diet, and suitable space, your Atya Gabonensis will thrive. Dive into this aquatic adventure and watch your tank come alive with the unique charm of vampire shrimp.

Embrace the experience and enjoy the serene underwater ballet they perform daily.

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