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PH, KH, GH, TDS, - What about OMG & WTH?


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Got some beautiful Red Rili Shrimp a week ago and placed them in an established 9 gal eheim tank.. established almost 2 years. They are the only inhabitants along with 2 assassin snails - oh and of course planaria, seed shrimp and moss plants.  PH was 8.0 - wanted to lower it so added cholla wood. TDS at the time was around 210, gh 10, kh 9 temp 74.  Doing 10% water changes once a week with prime added.

Decided it was time to switch to ro and add salty shrimp to make water more "perfect"  Well, big mistake.

Did 10% change with straight ro - did not add salty shrimp thinking such a small change - probably don't need remineralization yet. Duh.  Well, out of 11 beautiful Rili's, only 2 are left -

I got a ph 200 meter - really like it.  It reads my ph at 6.7 - while my ati kit reads 7.6.  Tds is 183

Ammonia, nitrate, nitrite all 0.  I hate that I killed these beauties.  But I want to continue to switch over to ro so as to control parameters and give them the healthiest life possible - without killing the rest of them. Oh and the assassin snails I've had in the tank for 2 years - never bothered any shrimp before - well, they were having a great time trying to eat the poor dying shrimp.  I took the shrimp away from them so they would not suffer more.

Can you guys suggest a way for me to continue switching out to ro without killing the rest of the shrimp. Or should I not try to mess things up any further.


I love that I found this forum.  I accidentally stumbled upon it.  What smart, thoughtful members.

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It's a harsh lesson when you've lost shrimp and realise it was something you did - happened to me with RO water too!

I was advised by one of the members on here to make any changes in water parameters very slowly - no more than 10% daily and using the water parameters you want to achieve so if you want TDS 200 add salty shrimp to the RO to achieve that and then use that water to exchange 10% daily (about 2L for me). After about a month the changeover should be complete and will have been gradual enough not to affect the shrimp adversely.

The problem I had with RO water was after a 35% water change the pH plummeted from 7.8 to 6.4. Lost half my shrimp to that mistake. I was using SS GH+ and now use SS GH/KH+ and things have been stable since.

I wouldn't worry about changing pH as they will have adapted to what your tank has. 

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Lol at your title. I'm sorry about what happened with your shrimps though. The TDS change from 210 to 183 sounded fine, but a pH drop from 8.0 to 6.7 worries me. Next time, as Mamashack has mentioned, change water with water that has been remineralized (preferably by salty shrimp gh/kh+ in your case) and stabilized. I'm not sure if you've tested your RO. How's its pH? Having such a pH drop with just a 10% water change (plus your kh was 9) doesn't seem right. Maybe the cholla wood was doing its work at the same time. Actually, I just went back to read your post. PH 6.7 and 7.6 have quite a difference so I would have that tested again, maybe at an LFS.

I don't think there's anything else that needs to be changed. Remember performing a water change with different parameters is like acclimating shrimps. If you'd do a drip acclimation, you should probably drip your water when doing a water change. Also try to match parameters of your remineralized RO with those of your original tank water. You really want to minimize any shock for the shrimps.

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When I purchased these Rili shrimp, the seller also sold me salty shrimp Bee GH+.  Is it okay to use that or should I purchase the salty shrimp gh & kh+ and use that instead?

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If you are using RO water there are no buffers present so best to add some - I went the SS GH/KH+ but that's not the only way to go. It can also be done with crushed coral I believe as part of the substrate or in a bag near the filter flow that you can remove as and when necessary. Aim for a KH of at least 2-3 to keep the pH stable.

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