Common Names: Giant African Filter Shrimp
Scientific Name: Atya gabonensis
Availability in the UK: All Giant African Filter Shrimp available in the UK are wild caught so are not available in the same numbers as other shrimp that breed easily like Cherrys. That said they are often found for sale in Local Pet/Fish shops and from Online retailers. My GAFS came from an LFS.
Overview: This is a fascinating shrimp with an almost unique way of feeding itself. Instead of claws for picking food up the Giant African Filter Shrimp has 4 fan like hands that it holds out and catches food with as it floats past. This is the biggest freshwater shrimp available in the UK and needs a suitable size tank to live in, 30UK Gallons is really the minimum.
Despite its size and aggressive look this shrimp can be quite shy. It is a very peaceful shrimp and shouldn't hurt any other tank mates. They can even be kept with new born shrimplets of other shrimp so long as the tank is big enough.
Feeding: As mentioned the GAFS has a very interesting way of feeding. It sits in the flow of water and holds its fan like hands spread out in front of itself. When it catches something in one of its fans the fan closes and the shrimp shovels the food into its mouth.
Due to its unique way of feeding it is quite hard to feed one prepared food in captivity. What they need is a tank that has been running for several months (at least 6). When a tank has been running this long there should be microscopic animals, microalgae and other microscopic foods for them to catch. If your GAFS is picking food up from the bottom of the tank it means their isn't enough food or water flow for them to feed properly. Try adjusting the filter output and target feeding by dropping crushed food into he flow.