Cameroon Armoured Fan Shrimp

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Cameroon Fan Shrimp

Atya gabonensis is a species of freshwater shrimp from West Africa. It is an omnivorous filter feeder with an armoured carapace that uses feather-like claspers to filter particles from the water. It can grow to 15 centimetres (6 inches). It has many common names, including (and variants of) African fan shrimp, African filter shrimp, African giant shrimp, African Armoured shrimp, vampire shrimp, and Cameroon fan shrimp. Due to their larger size when compared to cherry shrimp, for example, they make a more suitable addition to community tanks with bigger fish.

Fan shrimp are one of the most interesting shrimp in this hobby. Despite their impressive size, they are very peaceful. Cameroon Fan Shrimp, despite also being known as the vampire shrimp, can be easily kept with other dwarf shrimp, snails, or non-aggressive fish in the aquarium. Some species of African fan shrimp have a large stripe down their back which is particularly pronounced in young shrimp, and somewhat faded in older specimens.

In flowing water, Cameroon Fan shrimp spread their chelae, or 'feather-like' front legs – fans, hence the name 'fan shrimp'. It is recommended that you have sufficient hiding spaces in the aquarium for moulting. Adding Indian almond catappa leaves to the aquarium will help Bamboo shrimp to moult and thrive. Cameroon Armoured Fan Shrimp prefer to sit on driftwood, stem plants or rocks from which they filter their food.

Colouring of this shrimp species can vary from an off-white to an almost rusty brown, and also a deep blue. It is believed that water conditions can affect colouring, with harder water causing the blue morph. Though rare in aquaria, these shrimp have been known to change colour several times in the same year.

As with all shrimp species - do not use copper treatments, copper is extremely harmful to crustaceans. We do not actively treat our in-house shrimp aquaria other than with a supplementary dose of shrimp salt where required. We do not treat shrimps for bacteria, fungus or worms due to the copper contained within these treatments - please be mindful of this before you purchase.

Can I house fish and shrimp together?

Caution must be taken with all shrimp species if you are considering housing with fish. There are plenty of fish species that will live quite happily with shrimp. Please do your research however, as many fish, even community species, will view shrimp as food and attempt to eat them. As a general rule, do not house with larger fish that can fit a shrimp in its mouth.

What do Cameroon Fan Shrimp shrimp eat?
African Fan Shrimp filter micro-organisms from the water, along with tiny particles of fish food. Supplement with small live/frozen foods such as cyclops and brine shrimp and ground-up flake, and plankton. Cameroon Fan shrimp do not commonly eat algae wafers or shrimp pellets.

How many Cameroon Fan Shrimp should I keep together?
There are typically no recommended stocking requirements for African Fan shrimp - you can house one individual without issue, but Cameroon Fan shrimp will thrive in a group of 3 or more. Unlike dwarf shrimp such as cherry, African Fan shrimp will contribute towards normal stocking density due to their larger size.


Approx. supplied size: 2-3" / 5-7 cm
Maximum size: 6" / 15cm
Origin: West Africa
Family: Atyidae
Temperament: Peaceful
Lighting requirement: Low
Ideal number kept together: 3+

Water conditions
Our conditions: pH 7.5-8.0
Ideal pH: 6.5–7.8
Water flow: moderate to strong (for fanning)
Temperature: 23-29°C

Ease of care
Fan shrimp are easy to keep. Fine substrate, moderate to fast water flow and plenty of hiding places recommended. Ensure availability of fine foods, such as plankton or ground granules. If they begin sifting the sand or substrate, this can be a sign of not getting enough to eat from filter-feeding.

Difficult. To sex them, you'll see that males first set of legs (pereopods) are thicker, whereas females are fuller bodied with a longer carapace. Females are commonly seen carrying eggs, but breeding isn't simple because fry depend on brackish conditions to develop into post-larvae. Acclimatising shrimp or fry to-and-from brackish salty conditions can prove problematic and isn't recommended.

Life Span
Cameroon Fan Shrimp can live to up to 6 years in perfect conditions.

For more information on general fishkeeping and our shipping procedures click here.

Photo credit(s): Canva Pro Licence / Estevan / Getty Images

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