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What am I doing wrong?


goosta
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Hey everyone,

 

I'm new to keeping shrimp. I have a 5 gallon Fluval Chi planted tank. My first shrimp were added on Feb 19 (fire red). Most died in shipment, but I added three who made it. Two were dead by the next day. I had one who was pretty big and seemed to be doing well but I found that one dead last week. I bought a CBS from a LFS last month. That one also seemed to be doing great, but was dead within a few weeks. Most recently, I ordered 10 yellow shrimp online. The seller sent me 12, of which, only one was DOA. They were packed really well. As with the previous shrimp, I used drip acclimation before adding them to the tank. They have been slowly dying since I added them. I added them on April 3 and I've been able to track down only 5 today. I know for sure that 3 died, because I saw and removed them.

 

Here are my water parameters based on Tetra EasyStrips:

 

Ammonia: 0
Nitrate: 0
Nitrite: 0
Total Hardness: somewhere between 150-300 (GH) ppm (the color is between the two)
Total Chlorine: 0
Total Alkalinity: 120 (KH) ppm
pH: 7.8
Water Temp: 78 F
 
When I add water / do water changes, I use tap water that I treat with Nutrafin Tap Water Conditioner. I typically let the water sit for about 30 min - 1 hour after I treat it before I add it to the tank (not sure if that's needed or not?). I also match the water temp to the tank using a thermometer.
 
I have been feeding AZOO Max Growth food periodically. The tank has a fair amount of algae, so I typically was letting them eat that. Is that okay? Should I been feeding more often? I bought some algae wafers too so I added a bit of one earlier which a couple of the shrimp have been eating.
 
It's been so frustrating losing so many of these little guys. I really enjoy watching them while I work (I work from home and tank is on my desk) and feel bad that they keep dying. So, I'm just trying to figure out what I am doing wrong here. Any thoughts? Thanks so much for your help!
 
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What type of test kit are you using for your hardness? How are you matching your water change water to tank temp? What is your TDS? With feeding one of the most common mistakes for new shrip keepers is feeding to frequently. With a few shrimp if there is biofilm you dont even really have to feed. How did you cycle your tank and how long?

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Thanks for the reply.

 

I am using Tetra EasyStrips 6-in-1 for testing hardness, as well as the other readings. I have a instant read thermometer that I use to test the water. So I check the tank water first, then I adjust the temp of the tap water to match. I don't have any information on TDS as I haven't been testing that. Actually just did a Google search, since I wasn't familiar with that. I setup the tank 3 weeks before I added my first shrimp. I used eco-complete for the substrate and put in some live plants and a piece of mopani wood. I used the same tap water conditioner when I added the water initially (I treated it before I added it to the tank), but that's all I used. Since I used eco-complete, I was under the impression that would contain the bacteria needed to get things going. After waiting a few weeks, everything looked good and I thought the water parameters were correct, so I added shrimp.

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Ok 1, test strips are incredibly inaccurate. 2 adjusting your water change water using the tap temp is actually bad. Never use the hot water side of any faucet when getting water for your tank.  The reason is minerals and junk collect in your hot water heater, when you turn on the hot side on a faucet you are releasing all those deposits and crud that accumulates in your hot water tank.  This is the reason that when faucet stems go bad it is almost always the hot water side.  Draw your replacement water from the cold tap, add dechrolinator and run an air pump in the water over night. This gives the dechlorinator a chance to bind harmul chemicals and the air pump eliminates dissolved co2 and changes the water pH. A TDS pen is very important for shrimp, they are inexspensive off of Ebay or Amazon (under $20). Eco complete is supposed to be seeded with bacteria but to cycle a tank you need bacteria and something for them to feed on.  Nitrifying bacteria eat ammonia, and nitrite creating nitrate as a byproduct which is removed during regular water changes.  By just adding eco complete you only have the bacteria with nothing for them to feed on they die and you dont have a cycled tank. After you waited a few weeks and tested the water and everything was "good" it might appear fine on tests because it was essentially just tap water that was sitting in the tank. 

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Thanks so much for your help! Here I thought I was being smart matching the water temp and I never even thought about the hot water issue. Sounds I need to get a proper water test kit, as well as a TDS meter too.

 

I'm completely new to keeping an aquarium, so I really appreciate the advice. I try to research as best I can, but there is so much information out there, it gets overwhelming/confusing. So yeah, I guess I was confused on what cycling meant.

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+1 to what Ryeguy said.  Unfortunately it sounds like you are going to have to start over and cycle your tank... or if you still have shrimp alive, maybe use them to cycle it.    You can google  "Fishless cycle"  or "Cycle with fish"   

 

Some people feel is is unethical to cycle with fish,  but in this case,  the shrimp are already in there and have been.   If you choose to cycle the tank with the shrimp still in there,  I suggest using Tetra safe start to help. 

 

The one worry about cycling with the shrimp is that if there are only a couple left, there may not be enough of a bioload to feed the growling bacteria.  

 

 

I know.  It is all so confusing.   Read a few articles on google and it will get more clear

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Just wanted to follow up on this. I purchased an API master test kit and a TDS meter. My numbers from those tests:

 

TDS: 336
pH: 8.0
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 0
 
Unfortunately, I think I am down to only 2 shrimp now.
 
I did some research on on the fishless cycle, and I understand it now. Just to clarify, since the nitrate reading is 0, that would be an indicator of the tank not being cycled, correct? I understand now that nitrates are removed with regular water changes, but I would imagine there is typically some when testing.
 
Maybe this is a dumb question, but given that the biological filter is what takes care of high ammonia and nitrites in the water, why is it that my water doesn't have ammonia when tested? Is there a spike that is happening and then disappearing that is killing the shrimp?
 
Obviously, it is now clear that I need to properly cycle the tank. But is there anything else that could be killing them? Seems like the pH is too high as well.
 
Do I need to start over completely and replace all the water in the tank? Or, should I do a fishless cycle with the water that is in there? FYI, I do have plants in the tank. 2 anubias, 2 that I can't remember the name of and some java moss. I also have a piece of mopani driftwood.
 
Thanks again for your help!
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No you do not have to start all over with new water ect.  You can just start a fishless cycle now.  Though you will need to find a home for your last 2 yellow shrimp.  

 

Your suspicion is correct that  you will usually have a small amount of nitrates in a cycled tank.   I am surprised your ammonia is 0 though since you had shimp/food/dead shrimp in that tank.  There should be some ammonia in there.    On your nitrate test, did you shake the hell out of the test liquid?   

 

Your ph is a little high but not too high for Neos (which is what your yellow shrimp are)     acclimation would be key if they are coming from a source that is alot lower  The one CBS you bought though sure wouldn't have liked it.   

 

Have you tried testing the PH and TDS right out of your tap just out of curiosity? 

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One thing I forgot to mention is that I have a 100mL bag of Seachem Purigen in my filter. The water was getting tea stained from the driftwood, so I added the Purigen bag to clear it up. That has been in place for a couple of months.

 

I tested my tap water and got:

 

TDS: 179
pH: 8.4
 
So the pH is pretty high right from the tap.
 
I just want to make sure I understand what I am doing wrong, or what is going on in the tank before I start over. I feel awful that the shrimp just keep dying and I want to make sure they have a safe environment before I try again. My first mistake was not understanding cycling, but I just want to make sure there aren't other issues.
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When I saw all of your "zero" parameters, I was wondering if this was the case.  In my experience, I feel like purigen can either "stall" or "mask" your cycle, specifically when using 100mL for smaller tanks.  I believe that Seachem states that 100mL can treat up to 100 gallons, thus making its effect on smaller volumes even more pronounced.

 

I use a 100mL bag of purigen in a 12 gallon tank, and didn't see a cycle completion for 3-4 months.  I believe that it is stated that you can use purigen when cycling (and complete a cycle), however the removal of ammonia and nitrite would (in theory) delay the time it takes for beneficial bacteria to develop.

 

I eventually realized this was the case and removed the purigen for a short time, and saw a nitrate rise (indicating some level of cycle completion).  I then re-added purigen as I too wanted to remove driftwood tannins.

 

Another point to note is that in your filtration setup, it is best to have purigen AFTER your biological media, so your beneficial bacteria have access to ammonia and nitrite prior to its removal.

 

I'm certain that others with more experience can offer a more definitive answer, this is just what I've seen from my own experiences.  I'm a big believer that purigen is an awesome product, it just needs to have a bit more defined information about it's use in new setups.

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How long are you drip acclimating for? Shrimp are very sensitive to osmotic shock and your tank tds is on the high side. Also since your tap tds is high, it could point to a problem with certain minerals in the water supply like copper. Your water company should be able to provide a water quality analysis print out. Most people with tap tds that high have better success using RO water and remineralizer.

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I've had success with tetra safestart plus for my new tanks. In the past I've used biospira as well and same success. I used marineland bacteria recently and same success with a quicker cycle. It does suck to have to watch an empty tank just sit and cycle. Hopefully you get this all figured out so you can have some awesome shrimp to thrive and admire soon.

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you still don't know your GH and KH though. they could be high! i never had luck with tap water honestly. mine comes out at 8.2 and its just not worth my time or money. i use distilled from target and remin with salty shrimp gh+ and mk breed blue diamond. no headaches that way.

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