How to Tell If Your Bamboo Shrimp Is Pregnant

Fact Checked by
Sheldon Myers, MS / Aquarist


Bamboo shrimp, also known as wood shrimp or fan shrimp, are fascinating creatures that make a wonderful addition to any aquarium. These gentle giants are filter feeders, using their fan-like appendages to capture particles floating in the water. If you are a bamboo shrimp owner, it’s natural to be curious about their reproductive process and whether your shrimp might be pregnant. In this article, we’ll explore the biology of bamboo shrimp, how to identify if your shrimp is pregnant, and how to prepare for and handle baby shrimp.

Bamboo Shrimp Biology

Physical Characteristics

Bamboo shrimp, scientifically known as Atyopsis moluccensis, can grow up to 5 inches in length and live for about 5 to 6 years. They have a distinct, segmented exoskeleton with a reddish-brown coloration and white stripes. Their most striking feature is the fan-like appendages they use for filter feeding.

Bamboo Shrimp’s Reproduction Cycle

Bamboo shrimp are sexually dimorphic, meaning males and females exhibit distinct physical differences. However, these differences are subtle and can be challenging to spot. Female bamboo shrimp have larger abdomens and a wider tail fan, while males have smaller abdomens and longer, thinner legs. Bamboo shrimp reproduce through external fertilization, where the female carries the eggs until they are ready to hatch.

Signs of Pregnancy in Bamboo Shrimp

Carrying Eggs

The most apparent sign that a female bamboo shrimp is pregnant is the presence of eggs. A pregnant shrimp will carry her eggs underneath her abdomen, where they will be secured by tiny swimmerets. The eggs, which can range from greenish to brownish, will be visible as small, round dots clustered together. As the eggs develop, they will become more transparent, making it possible to see the developing embryos inside.

Changes in Behavior

Increased Hiding

Pregnant bamboo shrimp may exhibit changes in their behavior, such as seeking shelter more often than usual. This is because they instinctively look for a safe place to release their eggs. If you notice your shrimp hiding more often or staying in one spot for an extended period, it might be a sign that she is preparing to release her eggs.

Reduced Feeding

Pregnant bamboo shrimp may also exhibit reduced feeding behavior. This can be attributed to the increased energy demand of carrying and developing the eggs, leading to less time spent filter feeding.

How to Prepare for Bamboo Shrimp Babies

bamboo shrimp
bamboo shrimp

Creating a Safe Environment

To maximize the survival rate of the baby bamboo shrimp, it’s essential to create a safe environment for them to hatch and grow. This includes providing plenty of hiding spots and cover in the form of plants, rocks, and driftwood. You might also consider setting up a separate breeding tank to protect the babies from potential predators in the main aquarium.

Feeding the Babies

Once the eggs hatch, the baby shrimp, also known as larvae, will require food in the form of tiny particles. Infusoria, a group of microscopic organisms found in aquatic environments, make a suitable food source for the larvae. You can culture infusoria at home or purchase them from a store. As the shrimp grow, you can gradually introduce them to larger food particles like baby brine shrimp or powdered shrimp food.

Common Challenges with Bamboo Shrimp Breeding

Low Survival Rates

Breeding bamboo shrimp in captivity can be challenging due to their low survival rates. The larvae are sensitive to water conditions and can be easily affected by changes in water quality or temperature. To increase their chances of survival, it’s essential to maintain a stable environment and closely monitor the water parameters.

Challenges in Maintaining Water Quality

Maintaining water quality is crucial for the survival of baby bamboo shrimp. Frequent water changes and monitoring of parameters such as temperature, pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels are essential. Be sure to use a high-quality water conditioner to remove any harmful chemicals from the tap water.


Determining whether your bamboo shrimp is pregnant involves observing physical signs like carrying eggs and changes in behavior, such as increased hiding or reduced feeding. Preparing for the arrival of baby shrimp requires creating a safe environment and providing appropriate food sources. Despite the challenges of breeding bamboo shrimp in captivity, it can be a rewarding experience for dedicated and attentive aquarium hobbyists.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. How long does it take for bamboo shrimp eggs to hatch? Bamboo shrimp eggs typically hatch in about 3 to 5 weeks, depending on the water temperature and conditions.
  2. Can bamboo shrimp breed with other shrimp species? No, bamboo shrimp cannot breed with other shrimp species as they have distinct reproductive mechanisms.
  3. How can I encourage my bamboo shrimp to breed? Maintaining optimal water conditions, providing a stress-free environment, and ensuring proper nutrition can help encourage breeding in bamboo shrimp.
  4. Do I need a separate tank for bamboo shrimp babies? A separate tank is not always necessary, but it can help protect the baby shrimp from potential predators and make it easier to manage their specific needs.
  5. How often should I feed baby bamboo shrimp? Baby bamboo shrimp should be fed multiple times a day with small food particles like infusoria, gradually increasing the size of the food as they grow.
Elliot Galindo
Elliot Galindo
Elliot Galindo is a highly educated expert on freshwater shrimp and their care as pets. He received his Bachelor's degree in marine biology from the University of Oregon and has used that knowledge to become an authority on shrimp care.



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