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Why are my shrimp dying? Molting issues?


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Hello, so I've been having some shrimp deaths recently. I think they're mostly caused by failed molts, but I don't understand why failed molts would be happening as I don't see anything wrong with my water.

 

What's happening - I have yet to lose a male or a young shrimp, it's only my females and at least two deaths have been berried shrimp. The majority of the females that have been dying have had white bands around their abdomens. But this latest death has confused me; A female had the white band a few days ago, but she actually molted and survived, as she was berried the next day. But after examining her body after she died she still  had the white band. I thought that went away after molting? Before the shrimp die they get lethargic and hide. I haven't seen anything odd about the bodies though, such as discoloration, etc. 

 

A little background - I set the tank up in October, cycled it, and added shrimp in late November. I bought mostly adult orange sakura females, but got tag along babies hidden in the moss for a total of 12-13 shrimp. I lost 1-2 after adding them, I'm assuming from stress, and things have been going well up until recently. 

 

Tank parameters- It's a 2.5 gallon tank, heavily planted, substrate is silica sand, petco sand, and dirt under it all. Temp is 75 F, but fluctuates a little (up to 79 F) due to sunlight from the window. When that happens though the curtain is drawn to keep the tank cooler.

Tank was tested with an unexpired API test kit.

Ammonia: 0ppm

Nitrite: 0ppm

Nitrate: 0ppm

pH: 8.0

kH: 5

gH: 7

TDS: 170-180

 

I can't think of anything new that's happened with the tank to be causing this. A nerite snail was recently added, but the deaths were happening before that and no fish are in the tank. The tank gets cleaned 10% weekly. My mother does the cleanings (as the tank is located in her office) and she was doing changes with pure RO water. I thought the different parameters might be stressing them out, so changes are now being made with an RO/tap mixture that's extremely close to tank parameters. A few days ago I added some of Kent's Iodide to see if it helped the female with the white band (which I assumed it had, as she did end up molting successfully), but other than that I don't add ferts, CO2, etc. Every few days they're fed a small amount of Hikari Shrimp Cuisine. 

 

I just don't understand what's happening and I'm now down to 6 shrimp, 3 of which are the grown up babies that originally tagged along. I find it odd that I have yet to have any babies hatch. The mother either dies or drops her eggs.

 

So, I've tried to be as informative as I could possibly be! Does anybody have any ideas? Because I'm just clueless as to what could be causing this. 

 

 

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Not sure, but it might help to switch over to pure ro water remineralized with salty shrimp gh/kh or ss gh+ Or Another remineralizer made for shrimp.

I had my shrimp in tap water at first and they always dropped their eggs. I had a ph of 8.2 and I Noticed yours is also high.

Since you only have 6 shrimps left and the tank is small I would take the shrimp out of the tank and put them in a small jar with old tank water in it, do the water change (try for around 80%) or whatever you can get without uprooting everything. Don't clean the filter or do anything besides change the water.

Make sure the temperture in the tank isn't too cold and slowly drip acclimate the shrimps to the new water.

Drip them for at least 2 hours, more if you can to help avoid stressing them more.

Remineralize the water to gh of 7-8 is good for cherry shrimp.

Since tank is heavily planted don't feed them anything for a couple weeks unless you have something like snowflake or almond/oak leaves then you can add a bit of that. They will be fine feeding off biofilm.

Every time you do a water change use ro with a gh of 7-8 and top off with pure ro to reduce perameters swings. Since 2.5 gallons is small keeping the water level the same with also help.

Your nitrates being zero is a little odd, I would really shake the cr@p out of the bottle and retest, if it's still zero I would test for ammonia and nitrites a few times through the day, again since this tank is small sometimes they have a hard time staying cycled.

I also like to use old sea mud to help add micros and keep water high quality, but with neos I don't think you need to.

Let us know how it goes if you decide to do this! Hope this helped.

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Thanks, both of you!

 

Not sure, but it might help to switch over to pure ro water remineralized with salty shrimp gh/kh or ss gh+ Or Another remineralizer made for shrimp.
I had my shrimp in tap water at first and they always dropped their eggs. I had a ph of 8.2 and I Noticed yours is also high.
Since you only have 6 shrimps left and the tank is small I would take the shrimp out of the tank and put them in a small jar with old tank water in it, do the water change (try for around 80%) or whatever you can get without uprooting everything. Don't clean the filter or do anything besides change the water.
Make sure the temperture in the tank isn't too cold and slowly drip acclimate the shrimps to the new water.
Drip them for at least 2 hours, more if you can to help avoid stressing them more.
Remineralize the water to gh of 7-8 is good for cherry shrimp.
Since tank is heavily planted don't feed them anything for a couple weeks unless you have something like snowflake or almond/oak leaves then you can add a bit of that. They will be fine feeding off biofilm.
Every time you do a water change use ro with a gh of 7-8 and top off with pure ro to reduce perameters swings. Since 2.5 gallons is small keeping the water level the same with also help.
Your nitrates being zero is a little odd, I would really shake the cr@p out of the bottle and retest, if it's still zero I would test for ammonia and nitrites a few times through the day, again since this tank is small sometimes they have a hard time staying cycled.
I also like to use old sea mud to help add micros and keep water high quality, but with neos I don't think you need to.

Let us know how it goes if you decide to do this! Hope this helped.

 

 I'll have to discuss with my mom to see what she's willing to do, as I know she didn't want too much maintenance. Also, the RO water we have has a pH of 7.8, is that enough difference to really warrant a complete swap over to RO? I think the pH is oddly high for RO water, but I did test it and the kH and gH are at 0. 

 

I'm not too concerned about the Nitrate being 0, because it's always 0 in my planted 5gal as well. I just assumed the plants were consuming it all as I've read that's possible, but I'll give the testing a try. I know when I asked my mom to test it she was unsure if the Ammonia was at 0 or 0.25, because the colors are so close, so maybe it has had a hard time keeping its cycle. What do I do if this is the case? Is the only solution to upgrade to a larger tank? And is that the reason they keep dying? 

 

Thanks for letting me know how often to feed. I thought if they weren't too hungry they wouldn't go after the food so fast, but maybe they're like any other critter, always hungry, lol.

 

This is my first time keeping shrimp, so all the info you guys have given me is very, very helpful. 

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Well the water swapping can be a pain at least the tank is small and once you do it then you can go back to low maintenance like before. Does it have a top? If so she won't need to why about top offs if she's changing the water every week.

Measuring the ph before adding remineralizer isn't really that accurate, mine settles in my tank at about 7.5 with a kh of 0. But some people keep them in a ph of 8 and are fine, there could be other things in the tap water they don't like.

The ammonia test is a little hard to tell at times. Just curious, has the test ever read anything but zero? And yeah it can be 0 in a heavily planted tank, just good to double check the test is working. If the tank isn't cycled well that will made them die for sure. Adding more bio media will always help.

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It does have a lid, so evaporation is quite minimal.

 

The pH will only go up after remineralizing it, right? So the only real benefit would be if the tap has something bad in it. It is city water, so I guess I wouldn't be too surprised if there was something in there. Is there something like city water reports I could check out? And if so, what exactly would I be looking for? I know this hobby isn't cheap, but I'm starting to feel bad about how much money me and my mom have spent, so if I can at least figure out the problem without spending money to test theories, that'd be pretty cool.

 

Yup, I used the same test kit when I was cycling and I use it occasionally on my other tanks. All the tests have read above zero, so they're not faulty. 

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Going back to the beginning, what water was used to set up the tank(tap or RO)? I am guessing tap as you would not have a TDS of 170 from RO water. You mention your mom is doing 10% water changes with pure RO water, do you have an RO system or do you go out and but RO water? Are you sure she is doing just 10%, 2.5 gallon is very small so it would be very easy to do a much bigger water change than you think.

These are my concerns and recommendations:

1. Tap water, solution remineralize RO water. For dry go with Salty Shrimp, liquid SL-Aqua Blue or Red Wizard,

2. Too many or too big water changes. Do them less often, make sure parameters especially temperature matches tank.

3. Temperature changes, 2.5g next to a window... You may be getting a lot bigger temp change than you realize.

4. Hikari shrimp Cuisine, back off on feeding this and introduce other foods, Indian Almond leaves, Mulberry leaves, snowflake. Buy a higher quality shrimp food like CSF Omnia Pro. When using shrimp cuisine make sure to remove excess from tank that is not eaten as it will foul your water especially in a 2.5g.

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Have you been using water conditioner with your tap?

Definitely. It's not Prime, or anything fancy, just Jungle Start Right water conditioner.

 

Going back to the beginning, what water was used to set up the tank(tap or RO)? I am guessing tap as you would not have a TDS of 170 from RO water. You mention your mom is doing 10% water changes with pure RO water, do you have an RO system or do you go out and but RO water? Are you sure she is doing just 10%, 2.5 gallon is very small so it would be very easy to do a much bigger water change than you think.

These are my concerns and recommendations:

1. Tap water, solution remineralize RO water. For dry go with Salty Shrimp, liquid SL-Aqua Blue or Red Wizard,

2. Too many or too big water changes. Do them less often, make sure parameters especially temperature matches tank.

3. Temperature changes, 2.5g next to a window... You may be getting a lot bigger temp change than you realize.

4. Hikari shrimp Cuisine, back off on feeding this and introduce other foods, Indian Almond leaves, Mulberry leaves, snowflake. Buy a higher quality shrimp food like CSF Omnia Pro. When using shrimp cuisine make sure to remove excess from tank that is not eaten as it will foul your water especially in a 2.5g.

 

It's a tap/RO mixture, about 70% RO to 30% tap. The RO water is bought, it comes from the big jugs people have in water coolers.

 

I'm sure it's just 10%. I've made sure to indicate how much this is, how low the water should ever be, and I've double checked that she does this. It is only once a week, which I thought was recommended, especially in smaller tanks where things can get out of hand fast?

 

I'll admit, the temperature changes wasn't a problem I thought of when I originally set the tank up, but I caught on to the problem early on and so now the curtain gets drawn when the sun comes out or a board is setup to block the tank from the heat. My mom absolutely loves her shrimp, so she's very vigilant about caring for them and following my instructions.

 

I feeding sparingly, only one pellet per shrimp, so there's never any leftover, but I'll look into higher quality foods.

 

Thanks again everyone for the suggestions and help! I'm still open to all ideas and I'll definitely be looking into the ones already given.

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One pellet per shrimp is a lot of food. So would that mean you feed 6 pellets of The Hikari shrimp food?

The ph should be around 7.6 in the tank unless there is something in the tank raising ph. But yeah who knows what's in the tap.

You can call your city water company and get a report.

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One pellet per shrimp is a lot of food. So would that mean you feed 6 pellets of The Hikari shrimp food?

The ph should be around 7.6 in the tank unless there is something in the tank raising ph. But yeah who knows what's in the tap.

You can call your city water company and get a report.

I do, I didn't think it was too much because each shrimp would grab their tiny pellet and eat it all so there wasn't ever any left overs. So this really is too much? What would be recommended? 

 

The RO water has a pH of 7.8, so I'm not sure how the water would get a lower pH than that. The only things in the tank are plants, inert substrate, and driftwood. 

 

If I were to get a report what exactly would I do with it? Like, what am I looking for?

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I do, I didn't think it was too much because each shrimp would grab their tiny pellet and eat it all so there wasn't ever any left overs. So this really is too much? What would be recommended? 

 

The RO water has a pH of 7.8, so I'm not sure how the water would get a lower pH than that. The only things in the tank are plants, inert substrate, and driftwood. 

 

If I were to get a report what exactly would I do with it? Like, what am I looking for?

 

I have to disagree.The Hikari shrimp food pieces are absolutely minuscule.

 

You definitely do not have to spend money on maintaining Neos. I have successfully bred them in containers smaller than 2.5 gallons(Blue Dream, PFR, and Taiwan Fire Red culls), and have never had to change the water. Nitrates are completely dealt with by plants, and I top-off with my liquid rock, tap water (8.2 pH, 14 gh, 13 kh). Don't believe you need to be purchasing RO water.

 

Could the problem be that the water changes are performed too quickly? I drip into all of my tanks. A sudden change in temperature/water parameters can be dangerous, and judging from my searches, especially so for females.

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The upside of small tanks is they don't take up as much space.  The downside is if something goes wrong, it happens much faster than in a larger body of water. 

 

Tap water varies from location to location, so while some people may do well with tap, others don't.  When I used tap, my neos would grow sick and die.  When I switched to RO, they took off.

 

Some people are able to get away with rarely doing wc as mentioned, although I'm confused why repsa would top off with tap water of 14 gh, 13 kh and never do any wc?  When the water evaporates, the minerals are still left behind, so each time tap is added for evaporation, more and more gh, kh and TDS is added. 

 

Repsa does bring up some good points about wc being done quickly can be problematic though.  Also about temperature swings being dangerous.

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The upside of small tanks is they don't take up as much space.  The downside is if something goes wrong, it happens much faster than in a larger body of water. 

 

Tap water varies from location to location, so while some people may do well with tap, others don't.  When I used tap, my neos would grow sick and die.  When I switched to RO, they took off.

 

Some people are able to get away with rarely doing wc as mentioned, although I'm confused why repsa would top off with tap water of 14 gh, 13 kh and never do any wc?  When the water evaporates, the minerals are still left behind, so each time tap is added for evaporation, more and more gh, kh and TDS is added. 

 

Repsa does bring up some good points about wc being done quickly can be problematic though.  Also about temperature swings being dangerous.

 

Did you happen to have any theories as to why your tap wasn't working? Copper?

 

You are absolutely correct on all fronts. I was under the assumption that some of the minerals were being used by the moss/duckweed and as a buffer for the water, which was keeping the kh/gh/tds in check. It may very well be doing so, but I checked right now and one of the containers has a whopping kh value of 24. This means that neos are either extraordinary at adapting, or perhaps, past a threshold value, kh has little effect on molting. It's been ~9 months for the 'Dream Blue', and I have several generations of shrimp and at least hundreds in there after originally putting four juveniles in. 

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Haha, liquid rock. In our tap kH and gH are at least 20 and up. I definitely wouldn't be comfortable using straight tap.

The wc are usually performed slowly, but not as slow as a drip, so I can try that.

It seems like the only real option though is to switch over to remineralized RO. Not something I really want to do, but I don't want them to continue dying either.

Thanks everyone for your help and insight!

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Haha, liquid rock. In our tap kH and gH are at least 20 and up. I definitely wouldn't be comfortable using straight tap.

The wc are usually performed slowly, but not as slow as a drip, so I can try that.

It seems like the only real option though is to switch over to remineralized RO. Not something I really want to do, but I don't want them to continue dying either.

Thanks everyone for your help and insight!

I wasn't willing to switch to RO either even though my tap isnt too bad. Thought it was going to be an expensive and take too much effort. Turns out a portable RODI unit is only $60 shipped, remineralizers are only $15-25 and it is very easy to do. My shrimps couldn't be happier with their new water and its always good to be in control of every aspect of your aquarium.

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I have to disagree.The Hikari shrimp food pieces are absolutely minuscule.

 

You definitely do not have to spend money on maintaining Neos. I have successfully bred them in containers smaller than 2.5 gallons(Blue Dream, PFR, and Taiwan Fire Red culls), and have never had to change the water. Nitrates are completely dealt with by plants, and I top-off with my liquid rock, tap water (8.2 pH, 14 gh, 13 kh). Don't believe you need to be purchasing RO water.

 

Could the problem be that the water changes are performed too quickly? I drip into all of my tanks. A sudden change in temperature/water parameters can be dangerous, and judging from my searches, especially so for females.

While tap water works fine for you, and that's awesome, it doesn't work for everyone, myself included.

And if your shrimp are eating it all I guess it's fine, just seems like a lot of food for six shrimp. I have the hikari food so I know how big it is.

There is not a one size fits all for shrimp keeping, we can't say for sure whether or not Fuzzy's tap water is the problem. So sorry if I made it sound like that. I just know it was for me.

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