Among the numerous shrimp species that have gained a firm foothold in the hobby are two larger species of fan shrimp, namely Atyopsis moluccensis, the Moluccan mountain rock shrimp from Southeast Asia, and Atya gabonenis, the Gabon giant fan shrimp from West Africa. They grow relatively large (A. moluccensis approx. 9 cm, A. gabonensis approx. 14 cm), but are completely harmless to even small fish, as they only fish small food particles out of the water with their claws, which have been transformed into fans.
For food acquisition, the shrimp sit down in the current and open their hand fans. This looks a bit like they are positioning radar antennas. As an adaptation to the strong currents in the natural habitat, the end limbs of the rear three pairs of walking legs are re-shaped into pointed spines, with which the shrimp still find a firm hold even in tiny cracks in the rock. Fortunately, the animals do not only eat the floating material they fish out of the water, but also finely grated dry food, food tablets and frozen cyclops.
Atyopsis moluccensis is enormously variable in color, there are beige, green and brown animals within one import, they can have a dorsal stripe or also a diamond pattern or white spots. All color variants have the characteristic stripes on the side of the carapace. The males can be recognized by the thickened first pair of walking legs.
Usually these shrimps are not bred, because the larvae develop only in seawater and their breeding is connected with some expenditure; since the adult shrimps are popular food in their countries of origin, the comparatively few animals, which are needed for aquaristic purposes, are available inexpensively as wild collected specimens.
For our customers: the animals have code 481235 on our stocklist. Please note that we supply exclusively to the wholesale market.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer