Bumble Bee Shrimp

Species NameGnathophyllum americanum
Common NameBumble Bee Shrimp
Care LevelIntermediate
Lifespan6-8 years
Adult SizeUp to 1.5 inches
Minimum Tank Size10 gallons
Temperature72-78°F (22-25.5°C)
Water ConditionsdKH 8-12, sg 1.023-1.025
Optimal PH8.0-8.4
Optimal KH7-10

About the Bumble Bee Shrimp

Bumble Bee Shrimp, bearing the scientific name Gnathophyllum americanum, is a captivating marine invertebrate renowned for its distinctive and striking coloration reminiscent of the familiar bumblebee. Originating from the warm waters of the Indo-Pacific, these shrimps are not only admired for their aesthetic appeal but also for the dynamic roles they play in the marine environment. Their petite size combined with their vivid, contrasting bands of black and yellow make them a cherished choice for many aquarists, particularly those with nano reef tanks.

Bumble Bee Shrimp Lifespan

When maintained under optimal conditions and provided a well-balanced diet, Bumble Bee Shrimp can expect a lifespan of between 6 to 8 years. As with many marine species, consistent care and periodic monitoring are essential to ensure longevity.


The Bumble Bee Shrimp, as the name suggests, is adorned with bold black and bright yellow bands, mimicking the appearance of a bumblebee. These bands are evenly spaced, running laterally across the shrimp’s body. Their long, delicate antennae are often in motion, providing them with sensory information about their surroundings.

Average Size

Though they might appear diminutive, Bumble Bee Shrimp can reach an adult size of up to 1.5 inches. Their petite stature, however, is part of their allure, making them ideal for smaller marine setups.

Bumble Bee Shrimp Care

Tank Size

For Bumble Bee Shrimp, a minimum tank size of 10 gallons is suggested. This ensures they have ample space to explore and hunt for food.

How To Set Up Their Tank

A sandy substrate with plenty of hiding spots in the form of live rock or coral is ideal. These shrimps appreciate dark crevices to retreat into, particularly during molting periods when they are most vulnerable.

Lighting Requirements

While Bumble Bee Shrimp do not have specific lighting needs, moderate marine aquarium lighting is appropriate. If the tank houses photosynthetic organisms, ensure the lighting meets their requirements.

Water Parameters (Water Type, Temperature, Hardness)

Ensure a marine environment with a temperature range of 72-78°F (22-25.5°C). Water hardness, measured in dKH, should be kept between 8-12. A specific gravity between 1.023 and 1.025 is optimal.

Water PH

A stable pH between 8.0 and 8.4 ensures a comfortable environment for the Bumble Bee Shrimp and helps maintain their overall health.


Maintain the water temperature between 72°F and 78°F (22-25.5°C) for ideal living conditions. As with all marine invertebrates, consistency is key.


Moderate lighting is suitable for Bumble Bee Shrimp. Adjust according to other tank inhabitants, especially if housing corals.

Best Substrate for Bumble Bee Shrimp

A fine sandy substrate is most appropriate for these shrimps, allowing them to sift and forage. Additionally, the sand offers a softer ground, which is particularly beneficial during their molting phases.

Reproduction of Bumble Bee Shrimp

Bumble Bee Shrimp reproduction in captivity is quite a challenge, but not impossible. They produce tiny larvae, which require specific planktonic foods to survive. Ensuring the larvae reach maturity requires careful planning and a dedicated setup.

Disease Potential

While relatively hardy, Bumble Bee Shrimp can be susceptible to common shrimp diseases. Quarantining any new addition to the tank, including live rock, can prevent potential outbreaks.

Food & Diet

Being carnivorous, Bumble Bee Shrimp primarily feed on small organisms, detritus, and some types of plankton. In captivity, a varied diet of finely chopped marine meats, baby brine shrimp, and commercial shrimp foods will keep them thriving.

Behavior and Temperament

Bumble Bee Shrimp are generally peaceful but can be somewhat shy. They’re often observed scavenging for food and can be seen sifting the substrate. Their unique feeding method, using their adapted claws to catch prey, is quite fascinating to observe.

Are Bumble Bee Shrimp Reef Safe?

Yes, Bumble Bee Shrimp are considered reef-safe. However, they can sometimes feed on small feather dusters or tiny tube worms. If these are prized specimens in your tank, monitor the shrimp’s behavior.

Bumble Bee Shrimp and Suitable Tank Mates

Given their peaceful nature, Bumble Bee Shrimp coexist well with other peaceful tank inhabitants. Ideal tank mates include small fish, other non-aggressive shrimp species, and various corals. However, avoid housing them with predatory fish or invertebrates that could see them as a meal.


Breeding Bumble Bee Shrimp in captivity is an intricate process. While they do breed and produce larvae, rearing the young to maturity is challenging due to their specific dietary and environmental needs. Dedicated breeders should set up a separate tank for the larvae, providing them with the appropriate planktonic foods and ensuring water parameters remain stable.

Bumble Bee Shrimp FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)