Best Vampire Shrimp Care: Tank, Lifespan, Food

Vampire Shrimp are fan-feeders that filter food from moving water. These freshwater shrimp are peaceful and shy. They like to hide but can be social with other filter shrimp like the Bamboo Shrimp. Vampire Shrimp care is the same as taking care of other aquarium shrimp. Make sure that water conditions are ideal, do water changes, do not overfeed, and do not overstock the tank. Here’s everything you need to know about caring for Vampire Shrimp.

NameVampire Shrimp
Other NamesAfrican Fan Shrimp, African Filter Shrimp, African Giant Shrimp, Vampire Fan Shrimp, Blue Rhino Shrimp, Gabon Giant Fan Shrimp, Cameroon Fan Shrimp, Armored shrimp, Monster shrimp and Blue Monster Fan Shrimp
Scientific NameAtya gabonensis
Tank size (optimal)20 gallons
Size2 – 6 inches
Optimal Temperature70°F – 88°F
Optimal PH6.8 – 7.2 (6.0 – 8.0)
Optimal GH6 – 20
Optimal KH2 – 15
Optimal TDS150 – 200 (100-300)
NitrateLess than 20 ppm
DietDetritivore /omnivore
Lifespanup to 10 years
ColorGreyish, whitish, light blue to reddish-brown, strong blue
Vampire Shrimp Overview

Vampire Shrimp Appearance

Vampire Shrimp have little spines on the sides of their legs and on the end of their legs. They have long slim antennae on the top of their head. They can look rather scary but these shrimp are peaceful.

Most shrimp are an inch or less in size. However, Vampire Shrimp are humongous. These shrimp grow to 2-3 inches with some even reaching up to 6 inches long.

Vampire shrimp are also bulkier in appearance compared to other shrimp species. They have pointy bumps on the sides of their legs which help them anchor themselves to plants, decor, etc. They have long antennae that they use to help them explore their environment.

Vampire Shrimp

Male vs Female

  • Female Vampire Shrimp are smaller than male Vampire Shrimp.
  • The abdominal plates of the female Vampire Shrimp are larger at the beginning of the abdomen.
  • Female shells are deeper and rounder in the abdomen.
  • The first pair of legs on the male Vampire Shrimp is thicker than that of the female.

Vampire Shrimp Behavior

Vampire shrimp are filter feeders. So, they need a strong current to move food around in the tank. They anchor themselves and collect bits of food using their ‘fans’.

They tend to stay in one place collecting food until satisfied. They then move to the bottom of the tank to hide and eat.
They are quite shy and prefer to hide most of the time to feel safe. So, it is important that you have lots of hiding places for them in the aquarium.

But, they are also social with each other and can be seen feeding in groups. When they do feed, try not to clean the tank or interact with it so as not to scare them. They are known to hide for days when startled.

Vampire Shrimp Size

Vampire Shrimp size is usually two to three inches in length. But, some Vampire Shrimp can grow up to six inches in length under ideal conditions. Vampire Shrimps are “bulkier” than other aquarium shrimp.

Vampire Shrimp Lifespan

A Vampire Shrimp’s lifespan ranges from three to five years. A healthy and well-fed shrimp can live for a longer period of time.

Vampire Shrimp Color

The Vampire Shrimp’s color varies. They can be various shades of blueish-grey. Some Vampire Shrimp have green or pink tint blended in. And, others can be all blue or have a rusty-looking shade of brown.

Vampire Shrimp Tank Size

Vampire Shrimp need high volumes of water with good flow to feed. The bigger the tank, the better for the shrimp. Aim for a 20-gallon long aquarium for beginner shrimp tanks. 20-gallon long fish tanks have dimensions of 30″ x 12″ x 12 which means there’s more room for substrate and allows for better water flow.

Vampire Shrimp Water Parameters

Vampire Shrimp prefer hard water and depend on a constant flow to filter food. Optimal water parameters are:

Water Temperature: 70 – 88 Degrees Fahrenheit
Water pH: 6.8 – 7.2
Ammonia: 00 ppm
Nitrite: 00 ppm
Nitrate: 20 ppm or less

Vampire Shrimp Diet & Feeding

Vampire Shrimp care involves providing access to food that’s floating in the tank water. Live aquarium plants are good to keep because they can provide bits of food and algae as they shed their leaves. Shrimp also hide between and interact with plants.

The vampire shrimp is a fan-feeder. They capture food with expansive hair-like fans on their arms. You can see them lifting the fans up to capture organic matter in the water.

It’s best to supplement their diet with ground-up algae wafers, ground flakes, crushed pellets, or spirulina powder. Food particles need to be fine/tiny so that the Vampire Shrimp can eat. Do not overfeed the shrimp as excess food particles can affect the water conditions.

Vampire Shrimp Tank Mates

Vampire shrimp can live in a tank with other peaceful animals like danios, zebra loaches, Otocinclus, and other algae eaters. Other shrimps are also good tank mates—for example, cherry shrimps, bamboo shrimp, and Amano shrimps. You can also add aquarium clams like the Asian Gold Clam.


Freshwater Aquarium Shrimp can also do well with snails such as:



Vampire Shrimp Reproduction

Breeding vampire shrimp in captivity is difficult. This is because, for reproduction to be successful, the shrimp need both brackish and freshwater conditions. Vampire Shrimp babies need varying water conditions to progress through different larval planktonic periods. Their eggs hatch in saltwater environments before moving back to freshwater. This environmental switch is nearly impossible to replicate in captivity without multiple tanks and a expert level experience.

Things To Consider


Vampire Shrimp molt once every few months. When they molt, they like to hide to do so. They can hide behind power filter, behind fish tank decor, between plants, or in caves.

Empty shells are a food source for other shrimp so you can leave them in the tank for about 24 hours. But, Vampire Shrimps have hard shells, so other scavengers might not eat them. Keep an eye on the tank to observe what happens.