Why Do My Bamboo Shrimp Keep Dying?

Last Updated on December 27, 2021 by cmoarz

So you keep trying to raise bamboo shrimp, but they keep dying. Why do my bamboo shrimp keep dying? Did I do something wrong? All the water parameters are perfect I just don’t understand!

Actually, the answer might surprise you.

Why Did My Bamboo Shrimp Die?

Bamboo shrimp are interesting critters. They are filter feeders and use their unique feathered hands to filter out small organic matter from the water column and eat it.

There are 3 common reasons for bamboo shrimp dying.

Starved to death

Starving to death is one of the most common causes of death in bamboo shrimp.

Because of the bamboo shrimp’s unique feeding methods, it is very difficult to have enough debris in the water to feed them, especially in a tank as small as 5 Gallons.

If you have a somewhat sterile tank that gets frequent water changes, Chances are your bamboo shrimp simply doesn’t have enough organic matter to feed on.

Much like with snails and bottom feeders that eat algae, You need to supplement their food or else they will starve to death.

Luckily this problem is easy to solve. You can buy bamboo shrimp food that floats around in the water and allows them to filter feed adequately.

This can also be algae powder, powdered fish flakes, and even brine shrimp. They will also make quick work of any leftover fish food floating around.

Way too many new aquarists think you can toss in a few filter feeders and they will be fine on their own while helping to clean the tank and maintain the water quality.

Unfortunately, this simply isn’t true and you must feed them or they will die.

Bad acclimation

Shrimp are very sensitive and if they don’t get properly acclimated to the new aquarium it can cause shock and death very quickly.

There is a massive difference in the quality of water between your tanks and the pet store. There are multiple pHs, TDS, and other chemical variations that can affect them very quickly.

To prevent this from happing you need to acclimate them strictly by drip acclimation. If done correctly they will be fine if not they will die.

The best way to do this is by buying a drip line with sufficient length for your aquarium and adding it to the bag before you acclimate them.

Temperature is also crucial in acclimating shrimp. Shrimp don’t do well to any temperature fluctuations. More so than most fish.

So you need to very very slowly match the temperature of the tank they are going to go in from the water they are in.

Normally this is done by floating the bag in the aquarium itself, But be aware that if your shrimp came in a breather bag, Then you can’t do this.

When you float a breather bag, you cut off the oxygen exchange with the water outside of the bag, reducing the level in the bag to almost nothing with no way of getting it back. This will cause your shrimp to suffocate.

You can check out this video for more instructions and details on how to acclimate a shrimp properly.

Copper In The Aquarium

Bamboo shrimp and other shrimp are very sensitive to copper. It’s basically poison to them. If you’ve ever had a copper decoration or a copper tie, that’s enough to kill your shrimp.

Many medications also contain copper. If you have medicine in the aquarium, even in the past, there’s a possibility of copper contamination.

This is very hard to detect if you don’t have a test kit, so it’s important to know exactly what you’re putting in your tank at all times.

You need to remove anything with copper in it from your aquarium immediately or you will kill your shrimp.

Are Bamboo Shrimp Hard to Keep?

Bamboo shrimp aren’t hard to keep once you get all their basic needs accounted for and get through the acclimation period and the 30 day adjustment period. Many shrimp can die during this process and you just have to do your best to get your shrimp through this.

By doing it right, and often, You may notice you lose less and less shrimp each time. Unfortunately, losses do happen for a variety of reasons, even ones not listed in this article.


Owner of AquariumGravel.com and also owner of actual Aquarium Gravel believe it or not! ;). Setting up beautiful aquarium sceneries and habitats since I was very young. Enjoy!