The Moluccan fan shrimp or radar shrimp ( Atyopsis moluccensis ) is one of the stars among the invertebrates. Their peculiarity is not primarily determined by their body colour, but rather by their physique and the skills they acquire.
The superficial body colour of the animals is based on different warm brown tones and a striking light line on the back. The build is stocky and ponderous, the legs are strong and the head shows a short forehead extension. But the real eye-catcher are the front legs. These have the shape of fold-out compartments and are densely covered with bristles. They are the practical tools that the shrimp need for feeding.
Compared to many other freshwater shrimp, the Moluccan fan shrimp reach an unusual body size. A male shrimp can grow up to 8 cm and a female shrimp up to 10 cm.
Atyopsis moluccensis makes considerable demands on the aquarist and belongs only in experienced hands. In order to help the radar shrimps with their food intake some requirements are necessary. In addition to the specific feeding, the aquarium equipment must make the catching technique easy and encourage it. If the shrimp go on particle catching, they sit down on stones, burl wood or other fixed equipment with an overview. For fishing, they spread out their fan hands and grab the food particles floating past. In order to be able to use this fishing technique properly and also to be able to swim and walk enough, the tank must have a capacity of at least 80 litres.
The fan shrimp carry out their activities mainly at dusk and at night. They need sufficient safe hiding places for resting or simply for retreating. The ideal structure in the aquarium consists of branched and broad-leaved plants, mosses and easily accessible caves. The latter can consist of upturned coconut shells or open clay tubes. The correct substrate consists of fine, dark sand. The water quality must be high and clean:
- Temperature: 22 to 30° Celsius
- pH value: 6,5 to 8
- Carbonate hardness: up to 11 dKh
- Total hardness: 6 to 15° dGh
]For the food to be able to float in the water, it needs good flow conditions and sufficient oxygen. A powerful aeration system should be installed. For hygiene reasons, a water change should be scheduled at regular intervals of one week or fourteen days. In this way, sufficient amounts of debris and detritus accumulate in the water and it still remains clean and oxygen-rich. The exchange should be done with one fifth of the water.
Malukken fan shrimp consume a lot of energy and require a correspondingly high amount of food. As the food consists of tiny particles, it should be given several times a day and in smaller quantities. Special food is preferable, which is well distributed in the water by the current and does not fall to the bottom too quickly.
Suitable types of food include animal and mainly vegetable food in the form of flakes, powder and powdered food. As another practical food source, special food pastes have proven to be very useful. The pastes can be fixed in the aquarium so that the portions are slowly distributed in the water by the current.
It is not possible to breed or reproduce freshwater shrimp in artificial habitats. To date, the necessary conditions have not been created. There are two reasons for this: 1. the planktonic larvae need brackish water to reproduce. 2. The animals are very difficult to supply with food.
The reproduction of shrimp only takes place in the wild. In their original home on the Moluccas in Indonesia and in other regions of South Asia and Southeast Asia, the larvae hatch in sweet brackish water. From there they swim into the salty seawater and continue to develop. As soon as they have become finished young shrimp, they return to the fresh water of their birth.
Despite their preferred active lifestyle and imposing appearance, the Moluccan Fan Shrimp are peaceful and sociable characters. They live in harmony with other peaceful animals such as small fish, snails, crabs and other dwarf shrimp. The bottom dwellers such as small catfish provide a particularly suitable company. These fish stir up the water at the bottom and get the light food scraps moving.
Sometimes the fan shrimp display territorial behaviour towards their relatives. Such capers are an indication that there are too few good places to sit and catch them.
Under species-appropriate keeping conditions, the Moluccan fan shrimp can live for about 2 years.[adinsert block="2"]