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Something disturbs shrimp


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This is an issue I have for 2 months now, and I am about to totally change everything in the tank, but maybe anyone here will have a guess what might be wrong, so here is the story:


I had my new tank cycled already and it was doing fine. I was preparing it for Tigers, but the cycle was done with nerite snails, and later on I added neo's which were doing ok.

I wanted to add a few more plants into the tank, and the trouble started when I added them. I planted them in the morning before I went to my job, and when I came back I saw one neo outside the tank, and another in the middle still alive, moving her pleopods energetically, but unable to get up. I moved the intoxicated shrimp into a different tank, and it recovered over time, and it is still alive. Surprisingly, later on I just found just one adolescent shrimp that didn't make I never found the other 3 neos that were in the tank, so possibly snail ate them.


Now...either there was something on the new plants - but I rinsed them with tap water, and left them in a bucket of water for a few hours before putting into the tank. So I thought it is unlikely.

The other option is that I disturbed the substrate too much, while planting and some toxic gases were released into the water. However in this case the issue should have been resolved I believe by water changes and filtration.


I did bigger water changes, left the tank for around a week, and tested it with neo's again. The shrimp were restless and tried to find an exit from the tank.

So I removed them, and decided it is time for a restart. I washed everything in the aquarium including the gravel, however the filter sponge I just washed in water from a different tank.

I restarted it, it seemed to cycle again as the water was cloudy after one week and then went crystal clear again, the snails were doing fine, there were also some tiny creatures, possibly ostracods or something similar. After a month I once again put some neo's inside the tank, and to my disappointment the shrimps were acting the same. Swimming around the tank walls trying to get out, when stopping for rest they did not scavenge for food. Very restless. 


What can be the cause of this ? The water doesn't have any kind of foul smell in it, other creatures seem to live in the water, and I have washed everything prior to restart and something is still disturbing them.


The water is pH 7.0-7.2, gh 4-5, kh 0, NO3 0, TDS 135


Additional information - I have a large piece of driftwood, which was in the tank from the start, and a 3D background bought online from a company specializes in them. I added it after one month and it didn't seem to disturb shrimp.





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Off hand two things cross my mind.  If you are using tap, are you using a conditioner?


Some plants that are sold have pesticides to make sure no snails, unfortunately they are bad for shrimp, too.  You said you left you driftwood in the tank.  I wonder if it soaked up any pesticides?


What temp is the tank, and do you have a bubbler?


What substrate are you using?

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I am not using tap water. I used tap just to rinse the plants, but I fill my tank with remineralised RO.


Yeah I heard about pesticides, but would they be so hard to remove ? Shouldn't they evaporate from the water over time ? I assume there is a possibility that whatever there was soaked into the driftwood. Is there a way to cure it ?

The seller says he just uses fertilisers, but I'm not sure how much he can be trusted.


The tank is around 70F, I don't use a bubbler, just making sure there is water movement.


Substrate is just quartz gravel.

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The plants were Egeria Densa, Rotala Colorata and Weeping Moss.

Thanks for the Purigen tip, I wasn't familiar with the product.


Since I will probably also try to restart the tank once again, would boiling the driftwood be enough to get rid of anything it might have absorbed or will it have no effect?

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