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Shrimp death. Should I be worried?


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I just started a planted tank. I gave it a month to cycle and for the plants to take root and get comfy. Once everything looked good and the PH was stable for about a week I added 10 yellow neos.

 

Today one is not looking great. It’s on its back and twitching. Everyone else is awesome. Eating, pooping, happy shrimps.

 

Is this something I should worry about? I expected to maybe get some casualties in adding them because of stress and what not.

 

PH 7.5, de-chlorinated tap water

Some pest snail companions

 

I don’t have any fancy water testers for TDS and KH(frankly I don’t have a lot of money for that)

 

 

 

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I also got my shrimp from a local, home-bred source. She had been breeding them in a tub in her green house which was super fruitful.

I have a 4 gallon tank, and fluval substrate. drift wood, pumice, and granite for grazing surfaces. I also left the light on over night the night before they came to grow some algae on the glass surface for them to graze (cleaned the front so I could see them). And here is the tank, the healthy shrimp, and the not so healthy shrimp. b2d82a8ec62d281a31e3eb97a810d817.jpg67829c8debbd61c3d524f6dfaa791b67.jpg86b2aba0651a229b9a206cc2aa44a738.jpg


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Hi! It is definitely not uncommon to have one or two shrimp die off right after adding them to a new tank due to stress, like you said. That particular shrimp may have just been weak and not showed any signs because it was living in the same conditions its whole life and experienced very little stress/change, but once it got added to your tank the stress of acclimation pushed it over the edge so to speak. That doesn’t mean that the quality of the shrimp is poor, some shrimp are born weaker than others, just like some people naturally have weaker immune systems than others and are thus more prone to getting sick. I generally try to buy at least 1 or 2 more shrimp than I want to account for any deaths that may occur. I experience deaths every once and a while even from my most reputable and trustworthy sources. Also, older, bigger shrimp are generally weaker than young shrimp because they’ve lived their whole life in the same tank and have thus adjusted to live in those parameters, compared to young shrimp that are more adaptable (I definitely prefer getting young shrimp and allowing them to grow and adjust in my tank). When did you add the shrimp?

 

Another thing I noticed is that you’re using fluval shrimp stratum, which is a buffering substrate, meaning that it will keep your water soft. Neocaridina prefer hard water so it’s generally recommended to not use any kind of buffering substrate for them. That being said, I’m sure you could manage to keep them in with the soil, but they just may not do as well as if you used an inert substrate that doesn’t affect the water parameters. If you just got the shrimp a few days ago I wouldn’t be overly concerned, but I would monitor them closely. If you continue to see deaths then you may want to look into that further, but if that’s the only one it may have just been that particular shrimp. It can be difficult to determine if there is a problem without being able to test for GH, KH, ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite as imbalances in those are common causes of issues with shrimp tanks, but for now I’d let the shrimp do their thing and not change anything for now, especially if you just added them, to allow them to adjust. If they continue to die you could always do a small water change in case the issue is with toxins in the water.

 

One of the most important qualities to having success in this hobby is patience. I struggled with that initially, but once I figured it out I’ve had much more success and the hobby’s been much easier for me. It’s natural for us to want to change things once we see any signs of issues with our fish/shrimp, but making sudden changes may do more harm than good. It can definitely be frustrating to see shrimp die and hold yourself back from doing anything drastic, but in my experience shrimp deaths are more concerning when there’s more than 1 or 2 at a time and/or if there’s deaths that occur consistently every day or every other day. 

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@JSak thank you this! This was very helpful. I notice my water going softer over time. I put some pulverized eggs shell in (mostly for the shrimps to nom on but also for PH) and that seemed to help keep it steady over the week. Luckily my tap PH is right at 7.5.


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Another thing to add, I’ve heard that yellow neos in particular can be a bit more difficult and sensitive compared to other neos. My theory is that it possibly has something to do to the genes for the yellow color. I had a fairly large die off of my yellows when I moved them from a 10 gallon to a 20 gallon, but once I identified the problem I did small water changes every other day for a week and now the tank is loaded with babies and most of the females are berried. My rule of thumb is that the first week after receiving shrimp is the critical period when most shrimp would die, but once you make it through the first month the shrimp should be adjusted by then and any deaths after that are more likely indicative of issues with tank parameters, parasites, etc. 

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My rule of thumb is that the first week after receiving shrimp is the critical period when most shrimp would die, but once you make it through the first month the shrimp should be adjusted by then and any deaths after that are more likely indicative of issues with tank parameters, parasites, etc. 

Thank you! This is super helpful. That is interesting that yellows have issues. I know that “pure” high grade shrimp tend to have issues in general so I got a mix of different grades to diversify the genetics a bit. Do you think that will help?


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1 minute ago, OhKay13 said:

@JSak thank you this! This was very helpful. I notice my water going softer over time. I put some pulverized eggs shell in (mostly for the shrimps to nom on but also for PH) and that seemed to help keep it steady over the week. Luckily my tap PH is right at 7.5.


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No problem! I put crushed egg shells in my tanks too! Mostly to provide additional calcium to reduce the chance of death during molting. Neos are generally fairly hardy and if you got them from a reliable local breeder, they should be set up for success since they didn’t have to experience the long transit and stress of shipping.

1 minute ago, OhKay13 said:

My rule of thumb is that the first week after receiving shrimp is the critical period when most shrimp would die, but once you make it through the first month the shrimp should be adjusted by then and any deaths after that are more likely indicative of issues with tank parameters, parasites, etc. 

Thank you! This is super helpful. That is interesting that yellows have issues. I know that “pure” high grade shrimp tend to have issues in general so I got a mix of different grades to diversify the genetics a bit. Do you think that will help?


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I thought that was interesting as well. There’s a lot we don’t know about genetics but it’d be interesting to see how all this selective breeding we’ve done have altered the shrimps. That’s definitely true, but I’d think that’d be more of an issue with Caridina shrimp that have undergone much more selective breeding than neos. Mixing genetics always helps to increase the health of the animal by diversifying its genetics, but that’ll only help to make the offspring stronger. Through selective breeding we take the best looking offspring and breed them together or breed them to their parents to create even nicer looking shrimp, which makes the genetics less diverse and makes them more susceptible to disease. The best way to relate that to humans is if you encouraged brother and sister to have a baby to preserve the family genetics, but that baby has a greater chance of having genetic deformities as a result. 

 

Hopefully your shrimp will breed very soon and you’ll have lots of babies that will be born in your water, which has a huge impact to their ability to survive in your tank because they developed as an egg until hatching in your water (hope that makes sense). Breeding activity and berried females definitely shows that the shrimps are happy. Animals typically won’t breed unless the environment is optimal because it takes a lot of energy and is considered a “luxury function”, meaning they’ll stop breeding if they need more energy for survival. 

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That’s awesome! I got my BS degree in Zoology and I’m currently in veterinary school, so genetics, evolution and population dynamics have always been interesting to me, which explains why I’ve always been so into trying to breed the fish and shrimp that I’ve kept lol. If I knew you had a background in genetics I would’ve had an easier time explaining my thoughts 😂 currently, I don’t exactly know everything about shrimp genetics so I just take what I learn about other animals and relate it to shrimp as much as possible.

 

The breeding can be highly variable, but I wouldn’t expect breeding behavior until a week or 2 at the earliest. They’ll need to adjust to your tank first and feel comfortable before they start breeding, but once one starts more usually follow and they’ll breed constantly and consistently. If they adapt quickly they can start breeding even earlier, but I noticed that the earliest my shrimp started breeding was 2 or 3 weeks after getting them.

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Awesome! Good thing you left the shrimp in the tank. My thinking is that when shrimps go through shipment/acclimation (or any stressful event) and are about to go through their molt they're more likely to have issues at that time. In my experience shrimps are most sensitive and likely to die with molting issues if everything else such as water parameters and feeding are stable. The high stress may have caused the shrimp to have difficulties molting but fortunately that one seemed to have enough strength to get through its molt. I'm thinking since you got them from a local breeder and since they had a short distance from the breeder to your tank, they didn't go through nearly as much stress as they would if they were in shipment for 1 or 2 days. Your patience definitely paid off! 👍

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