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Help me solve shrimp problem!?!


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Hope everyone is having a good day so far.

I'll be asking you all to put your Sherlock caps on and help me solve this little shrimp problem. Also be warned, leave now if you don't like reading.

So, first I will give you all some information about my tank, a lot of it;

Small 4 gallon tank, been setup for about a year and a half. Live plants only. Driftwood. Substrate is small gravel and volcanic soil (you will see in video I post) I will also add that I have coral and that I HAD cuttle bone.... Anyway, I'll get to that later.

pH 7.4 - Ammonia 0 - Nitrite 0 - Nitrate 0 to 5

gH 11 (I know it's high) - kH 2 - Temp always 79F - Lighting is 13W

Since the beginning it seems I have had issues with this little tank. To begin with when I started with it, I had never heard about cycling. People at the store just gave me the aquarium and fish and away I went. Now a year wiser, I understand A LOT and enjoy it x100 more. Which is why I am a little confused that I can't figure out what's going on.

When I get shrimp, they always seem to do good for a while and some last a lot longer than others (longest being 6 months) but the result is always the same, they die. I did notice though, that during their lifespan, they don't seem as active as other shrimp I see in other tanks.

I have 7 adult shrimp right now, including the 2 pregnant Sunkist Shrimp (neo) I recently purchased. They were able to give birth, no issue. I had a high number of babies survive and they are more active than the adults.

Feel free to watch videos:

So now I'm thinking, if the babies are doing really good, it's probably because they were born in my water parameters and it probably also means that my water quality isn't as bad as I'm thinking it is.

I started focusing on the gH being really high and removed the cuttle bone because it produces a lot of calcium. It's been a couple days, it hasn't changed nada.

Is this really the issue though and is it what I should focus on? Could someone please save the day here? I really don't want to be a shrimp killer.

Ps. I would also like to add that I always thought that the built in filter current was too strong.

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Some information I forgot to mention....

I use/have used Pr*me, water conditioner and Flour*sh for plants.

I change 30% water every week and do partial vacuuming.

I feed them a small piece of Sh*rakura almost every day and sometimes algae wafers.

Not sure this is important but I have 3 nerite snails.

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It was my idea too that your original shrimp were bought as adults. In the beginning of my shrimping I bought 4 adult shrimp. Yesterday I lost the last one of them. I have no idea how old they were when I bought them but they were pretty big. Maybe it's what is going with your shrimp?

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I get them from LFS. Not just one in particular.

I do use tap water. I guess it never occurred to me to test the gH....

However, this month I set up a new 13g, which was smooth sailing compared to the 4g. The numbers for that tank are nowhere near the same though. Actually has a gH of 4. Oh and pH of 6.4 (which makes sense).

I have tested my tap water for pH and it always comes out to 8.2. Go figure?

Maybe it is the adult thing, who knows. I do know that one of my most active shrimp is a CRS and there's no way it should be doing as well as it is in my water. I got that one when it was a baby.

Let's just say that I no longer have the original first 5 shrimp I started with or the 5 after that. Just makes me feel like I'm doing something wrong and I don't like being wrong. Lol

Let's face it though it's one of the reasons I love this hobby so far. Keeps you on your toes.

Thanks for the help.

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Ok so drastic news....

I did my water change and partial vacuuming to the tank. Not long after starting, ALL the shrimp in the tank started swimming around crazy and having spasms. I was in a panic so I did a huge water change, I'd say 70%.

Although none are dead, they are almost all hanging out on the top of the tank near the heater and filter intake, not moving much.

I've noticed a lot of tubifex worms swimming around right after all this, more than usual. I also noticed some "seed shrimp".

I used water conditioner, a little prime and a little flourish. In case that helps.

Anyone have any suggestions?

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I do have plants. I can stop using it if it's the problem.

Maybe I shouldn't be vacuuming my substrate. There's bugs and so much crap in there....To me that's dirty and I want to clean it but maybe the toxins are in there. Or ammonia spike from moving too much stuff around?

I would like to start the substrate over eventually because I get the feeling I over fed as a beginner.

Btw, most of the shrimp are back to normal. That gave me a scare.

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Judging from the smell of the water, I'm guessing I went too far down and the gases came up.

I'm not touching the tank but I'm finding it hard just leaving it like that. I've lost 2 adults and a few babies so far....

It seems to me that they are still be a little too "spazzy".

I'm running out of ideas.

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Judging from the smell of the water, I'm guessing I went too far down and the gases came up.

I'm not touching the tank but I'm finding it hard just leaving it like that. I've lost 2 adults and a few babies so far....

You could try adding MTS to your tank to aerate the substrate.


If there's a population explosion, then you're overfeeding.


Many people say they hate snails because of how fast they reproduce but this has never happened to me when I stopped overfeeding. 


If you don't overfeed, this wouldn't be an issue.

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