Vampire Shrimp Care Sheet (Atya Gabonensis)

Vampire Shrimp are a rare species of shrimp that feeds on the blood of virgins and is not particularly fond of garlic make a fascinating pet. Despite their name, vampire shrimp are rather shy and peaceful creatures with an unusual feeding mechanism: their mouths resemble little fans that catch food particles floating around like a vacuum. They are not very common in the hobby and definitely not the most beginner-friendly shrimp, but definitely a worthy addition to any expert aquarist’s tank. Vampire shrimp is the most common name, but sometimes they are also referred to as Viper shrimp.

Vampire Shrimp (Atya Gabonensis)

Atya Gabonensis Shrimp Caresheet

Difficulty:Medium-Hard
Size:up to 6 inches (15 cm)
Color:Blue, Grey, Brown, Pink or White
Behavior:They are very peaceful and shy, hiding most of the time
Aquarium:20+ gallons (50+ liters), prefer brackish water conditions, cycled tank
Water:pH of 6.5-7.8, prefer hard and “dirty” water
Temperature:75-85°F (24-29°C)

Vampire Shrimp main characteristics and behavior

First things first: these shrimp can get huge. This is an advantage because most other shrimp and fish won’t try to prey on them, and Atya Gabonensis aren’t predators themselves. They actually prefer to live a solitary life compared to other species of shrimp, mostly keeping by themselves. They will spend much of their time hiding, only leaving their shelters occasionally to scavenge for food – this elusive behaviour is actually where they get their name from. Vampire shrimp come in different colors as well: white, blue, grey, brine, and even pink. Under proper conditions, they can live up to five years.

Atya Gabonensis natural habitat

This shrimp originates from Equatorial Africa, from which it also gets regional names such as African Filter Shrimp, Gabon Shrimp, and Cameroon Shrimp. They are also found in South America, on the shores of Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana, in freshwater streams and rivers flowing toward the sea. They are fond of warmer climates and this should be reflected in your tank.

Vampire Shrimp food and diet

Vampire shrimp are filter feeders and the feeding process with them is a bit different than with most other shrimp. Regular shrimp food will not work, as it’s too big for their tiny m ouths which are designed to absorb microorganism directly from the water. This is why you should keep the water a bit “dirty” for them – you can do so by squeezing the sponge filter of your aquarum tank to release the filtered out material back into the water. You can also try to ground fish food pellets into a very fine powder, or feed them some infusoria.

Vampire Shrimp Breeding

Reproduction in the aquarium is difficult but not impossible, although you will need a specialized nursery as these shrimp won’t breed in freshwater. In nature, the process is the same as that of the Amano Shrimp, with eggs released in the course of a river, these will be transported by the current until they find brackish waters where the first metamorphosis will begin, then they will continue their journey towards increasingly saltier waters, once all the stages they will be completed and transformed into shrimplets they will go upstream to return to fresh water.
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Vampire Shrimp for sale

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