Atya gabonensis
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Atya gabonensis

Common Names: African Giant Shrimp
African Fan Shrimp
Vampire Shrimp
Blue Rhino Shrimp
Salinity: Freshwater
Distribution: Rivers and streams in Cameroon.
Care: Provide a tank of at least 20 gallons. The tank should be heavily planted and have many hiding places, because the African Fan Shrimp is very shy and likes to hide during the day. Do not house it with crustacean-eating fish such as puffers, large cichlids, and loaches, because they will usually make short work of this shrimp.

Despite its extremely fearsome looks, the African Fan Shrimp is completely harmless to all its tankmates, even fish fry. They are peaceful among themselves and can be kept in groups as long as each one can have its own hiding place.

These shrimp are very hardy and can adapt to most kinds of water conditions, provided they are clean. It does best when the pH is about 6.5 to 7.5, although it can adapt to pH ranges beyond those as well. It prefers moderately hard water, but can do well in soft water aquariums.
Feeding: The African Fan Shrimp feeds using specialised fan-like appendages near its head to filter small food particles from the water. If kept in a well-established planted tank, there is usually enough suspended particulate matter to feed the shrimp. If, however, it does not appear to be getting enough to eat, a turkey baster may be used to squirt some zoo- and phytoplankton near the shrimp when it is in the feeding position. Because of the shrimp's nocturnal nature, this may need to be done with the tank lights out.
23°C - 28°C
73°F - 82°F
Potential Size: Male: 18cm (7.1")
Female: 18cm (7.1")
Comments: The African Fan Shrimp is a recent addition to the hobby and is still relatively rare. It ranges in color from light bluish-gray to nearly black, and some specimens are even a brownish color. Shrimp will appear to be lighter and more blue in color after they have molted.

This species is difficult to sex, as males and females look nearly exactly the same. Breeding has not been accomplished in captivity as of yet, and all specimens sold are imported from the wild. Brackish water is required to raise the newly hatched larvae. The young exist in a drifting, planktonic state before changing into a miniature adult-like form after several molts.
Image Credit: Cory Addict
Submitted By: Natalie
Contributors: Natalie
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