Filter feeder shrimps are an interesting group of aquarium inhabitants. They are not only large representatives of crustaceans but also fascinate with an unusual way of catching food. What does it consist of? You will find the answer in our article.
Filter shrimp (Atyopsis moluccensis) is a large freshwater shrimp that can be found on sale under a number of names: autopsies, forest, banana, or bamboo shrimp.
A key feature of these crustaceans is their amazing way of grabbing food. The first two pairs of shrimp legs are fan-shaped with numerous small hooks that catch and hold prey as if filtering it from the water. In nature, shrimp catch microorganisms, small pieces of food.
These “crustaceans” are well compatible with most tropical fish species.
Filters are the largest aquarium shrimp. Some individuals can be up to 10 cm in size.
The body shape of filter feeder shrimp is elongated, banana-shaped. Adults can grow up to 6-10 cm in length. Females are larger than males.
A massive body is necessary for filtering devices to keep it flowing, and special hooks on the front pair of walking legs contribute to this. After all, they find food, choosing a suitable place for themselves and waiting for the food to float to them, entangled in the “net”.
Fishing for prey occurs with the help of modified limbs. They consist of two hemispheres with a row of dense setae. Small organisms or pieces of food get stuck between the villi, and shrimp send them into the mouth with a confident movement. Moreover, the work of the limbs goes on alternately, while one catches prey, the second sends it into the mouth opening.
The color of filter feeder shrimp is extremely diverse. It can be sandy, brown, green, yellowish. The color depends on a number of factors: the place of catch, feeding habits, and the general color scheme of the aquarium. It is difficult to predict what color the shrimp will be after being placed in the aquarium. A white or pale yellow stripe stretches along the top of the shell.
The homeland of filter feeder shrimp is the islands of Southeast Asia. Crustaceans live in large groups in river basins with a slow current, rocky bottom, and a small number of plants.
Care and maintenance
Filters are large enough shrimps. The recommended aquarium volume for a small group starts at 60 liters. Any suitable neutral soil is placed on the bottom of the tank.
It is necessary to decorate the aquarium with large plants, stones, snags. It is better to arrange them so that they are in line with the filter outlet. Thus, it is convenient to observe how the shrimps will line up and catch food passing by. The skirmishes between individuals for the best place are no less amusing.
Filter feeder shrimps love live plants, broad-leaved species are well suited – anubias, echinodorus, cryptocorynes, etc.
It is necessary to install a filter of a suitable power in the aquarium, which will create a moderate flow. You will also need a compressor to aerate the water.
Filters are very sensitive to nitrogenous compounds in the water, so regular changes of up to 20% of the volume of the aquarium are necessary. You should not plant shrimp in fresh aquariums, they like stable water parameters.
These crustaceans are active mainly at night.
Filter shrimp is one of the most ideal neighbors. They have a peaceful disposition and are able to live with any calm species of fish. Guppies, danios, neons, tetras, ancistrus – this is not a complete list of suitable neighbors. The filter feeders get along well with other types of shrimp – Amano, cherries.
They do not harm living plants, therefore they are suitable for herbalists.
However, joint keeping with large cichlids, barbs, and tetrapods is not recommended.
Feeding the filter feeder shrimp
With the help of their fan paws, the filter feeders are able to catch detritus, microorganisms, and algae in the water. However, there may not be enough planktonic organisms in the water, therefore, the shrimp must be additionally fed.
Due to dietary considerations, most foods designed for shrimp are not suitable for feeding filter feeders. Good quality dry food flakes, such as TetraMin, have proven themselves well. First, they must be soaked in a small amount of water, after which the resulting gruel should be sprayed near the filter outlet. Filters will be happy to eat such feed. You can also use TetraMin Baby Chopped Fish Fry.
Reproduction and breeding
It is very problematic to breed banana shrimp at home.
In nature, after hatching from eggs, the larvae are carried away by the current to river mouths, where freshwater mixes with seawater. Here the larva develops and turns into a young shrimp, which, obeying instincts, returns back to freshwater.
Sexual maturity occurs in filter feeder shrimps when they reach a size of 3-4 cm. Eggs develop for about a month, being at this time on the tail legs of the female. After the end of incubation, tiny larvae no more than 1 mm in size are born. Larvae require saltwater for development, but adults cannot stand the increase in salinity. Therefore, the only way to breed banana shrimp is to catch the larvae immediately after hatching and transfer them to a saltwater aquarium. But given the size of the newborns, the task becomes almost impossible. Not to mention that it is extremely difficult to find the right food for such small larvae.
Therefore, most filter feeder shrimp are wild-caught in natural waters.