Photo courtesy of Kai A. Quante:


Common Name:

African Giant Filter Shrimp, Vampire Shrimp, African Fan Shrimp

Scientific Name:

Atya gabonensis


over 15cm


tropical species,  best kept at 75F-84F

Water Parameters:

wide range, not important


Filters floating food items from the water, so should be provided with a current in the aquarium. Can pick up  food from the ground if there is nothing to filter, although that situation should be avoided.


West Africa and eastern tropical South America

Larval Development Type:

Normal: larvae go through several planktonic stages before metamorphosing into post-larvae (miniature shrimp) and assuming a benthic lifestyle.  For this process they need brackish water to full strength saltwater.

The African Filter Shrimp used to be very rare in the hobby, and still is to a certain degree. One still does not encounter these magnificient shrimp in local pet stores all too often..  Just like their asian cousins, they filter tiny food particles out of the water as their main food.  As with all filter feeding shrimp, these shrimp are also entirely wild-caught.  This will deplete their numbers in the long run, especially if this shrimp becomes more popular in the future.  My exeperience with these animals is that they tend to be extremely shy for the most part. They seek out a hiding spot that is located in a water current and sit there day and night filtering water for food particles.

This shrimp should be kept in community tanks with small, peaceful fish and/or shrimp and sufficient current.  This is preferable to a species tank as its tank mates produce the detritus necessary for the microorganisms in the filter to thrive and reproduce. The microorganisms, in turn, are carried by the current to the filter shrimp and filtered out of the water as food. This way, the filter shrimp does not need to be specifically fed.  Targeted feeding might actually deteriorate water parameters and harm the tank inhabitants, as it's very hard to gauge how much this shrimp actually needs to be fed.

These shrimp should never be housed with fish that could hurt it, such as most cichlids, even if the fish is smaller than the shrimp or the same size.  The African Filter Shrimp itself is totally harmless and is not even capable of hurting the smallest fry or other, smaller shrimp.  Thus, it can be housed with all dwarf shrimp, regardless of size.