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Shrimp Deaths + Identifying RCS Issue


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My 5 gallon RCS tank has been running for almost 3 months now. Up until about 2 weeks ago the tank was flourishing, there were tons of babies and juveniles, good color, etc. I started to notice less babies and adults, but just assumed that they were hiding in the large ball of java moss in my tank. I kept monitoring the tank, seeing less and less shrimp, and finally decided to trim the moss and see what was going on. I did a pretty thorough inspection of the tank and found that 6 adults and nearly all of the babies were missing.


Parameters are all good: ammonia, nitrite: 0pmm, nitrate: <5ppm, pH: 7.8, TDS: 145, GH: 5, KH: 7, temp: 76F.


During the time leading up to this big die-out I added a heater (getting colder at night) and two assassin snails. I also stopped doing salt-dips to treat individual shrimp, which leads to the second half of my post...


About a month and a half ago I noticed a white dot that seemed to move on the tip of one of my shrimp's "nose" (below the rostrum, not sure what this is called exactly), and the next day I noticed another shrimp with the white dot. I did some research and came across the parasites scutariella japonica and vorticella. I'm not completely sure that either of these are the exact culprit, but I followed the instructions that others have used to clear these up: a 30 second dip in 1 cup of tank water mixed with 2 Tbs of aquarium salt. I spot-treated each shrimp I saw with this up until about two weeks ago when it became widespread and I decided to let it run its course for a bit.


Any idea what this is? Has this caused the die-out, or is there another factor I'm missing? I've looked at dozens of pictures of shrimp parasites and diseases and have yet to find anything that looks like what my shrimp have. I've attached 5 images of varying quality, it's hard to get a clear picture of something so small. The best that I can describe it is a white hair follicle that occasionally wiggles and is attached near where the antenna connects to the shrimps' heads.






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  • 2 weeks later...

The salt dips have been working, it just takes a lot of time to monitor the tank and it's impossible to treat each shrimp. I'd like to eliminate the problem completely.

Since originally posting this I have been treating my tank with a 50-75% dose of ParaGuard daily. I was still spot-treating shrimp for the first several days, but I've only had to treat one in the last five days, so there definitely seems to be some sort of improvement.

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It's look like you have Scutariella.

You can find a lot of info with nice pictures of sick shrimps in Keepers n Breeders vol 3

Few important things from that magazine

1. When shrimp moulds or die the worm leave the carcass and go search for another host

2. Scutariella reproduces by laying cocooned egg on the gill from witch yang worm hatch

3. You can treat your shrimp against the worms using Parziquantel (e.g. In Sera Tremazol) which is safe for shrimp and kills of the worm reliably . Important to add an air bubble when you using medicine and remove carbon if you have one. If everything goes as it should, change 80% water after 6 hours. Repeat after 7 days as Parziquantel does not kill of eggs.

4 instead of Parziquantel you can use Flubenol or Panacur but remove the snails if you have them or they die.

5. Another method to put shrimp in salty solution for 45 sec.

6. Feed garlic to prevent shrimps from worms

7. All the parasites in the tank are a sign of high number of bacteria in the tank. If you noticed any parasite check you water hygiene and your feeding habits very critically.

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Thank you for the suggestions!


At this point I've not dosed ParaGuard or spot-treated any shrimp in over a week, and I've seen no signs of parasites in almost 2 weeks! I've also been changing over to remineralized RO water, and vacuuming the substrate 10% each week.


Bottom line: dosing ParaGuard and cleaning up the tank seems to have done the trick.

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