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Extreme Shrimp Frustration. Inconsistent deaths?


Aquatic Athlete

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Every few days i come home to a single dead shrimp. never multiple deaths on the same day.

 

29 gallon.
45g HOB filter with sponge over intake.
30" Finnex Planted 24/7 SE on max for 14 hour photo period
Moderate- heavily planted. Plants are growing well.
over the last 2-3 weeks, absolutely no ammonia, nitrites or nitrate issues.

 

You can see various microorganisms in the water. Cyclops and who knows what else can be occasionally seen flittering around the tank.

 

Original inhabitants: 
7 Orange Neocaridina shrimp.
6 Otocinclus cats

 

About a week goes by, no shrimp deaths. 

1 shrimp died.

About 5 days later, another death. 

About a week goes by, and no deaths and no intolerable water chem changes. 

A few days later, i buy 2 more orange neos. 1 male, 1 berried female. I slow drip acclimate them over 2 hours. They area both eating and active.

Another week goes by and i find 1 dead, looks like he crawled into a crevice and got stuck.. or went there to die... couldn't get him, he was in a tiny tunnel he found that went way down into the substrate. I buried him there, its under some plants so i'm sure it'll be used.. (can one shrimp decomposing under the soil be dangerous in such a high water volume with no negative test readings?) One of the original...

2 days later, ( this morning. I get up, count the shrimp. I see all 6 of them, including the berried shrimp, everyone is fine. They are grazing. its been a few days since feeding, i feed the entire tank, 2

 

Hikari crab cuisine pellets. ) I leave for 5 hours and fine 1 dead. 

What the heck is happening? Why not a mass die off? why 1 every now and then. All deaths have been from the original 7 which were a semi-painted grade of orange, bought from petco as "Orange

Bee " shrimp. Website said Neocaridina and so did the online community.

 

My water quality as of last night:

Ammonia 0ppm
Nitrites: 0ppm
Nitrates: 0ppm
Water temp 77F
dKH 5
dGH 5
PH 6.9-7.0

No co2 dosing 

 

Any suggestions?

 

What is normal shrimp behavior? Where am i going wrong?

Its becoming increasingly frustrating to have things seem like they're going right and then to have a sudden unexpected death.

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Sorry to hear about your frustrations, I've been (am?) in a similar place.

A couple guesses (don't take anything I say as gospel):
 

- your kH might be on the high end? Probably fine, honestly.
- your gH is still on the low-end. You could be experiencing molting issues, which would explain the occasional deaths. The tricky part is that changing the water/params will often trigger molts, so you may see deaths even as you push the gH higher as they try to molt without sufficiently mineralized shells.

- what's the TDS? You might have water with a lot of stuff in it without realizing it, especially as you're pushing the kH up with baking soda.

- how old is your tank?

- what parameters were the shrimp kept in before you purchased? If they were in "worse" parameters their entire lives and you moved them to dramatically "better" parameters, they are still quite likely to die off (especially if you bought them as adults).

-  Since you got them from PetCo, there's a very good chance they are imports. Unfortunately, stabilizing imports is a throw of the dice and --even in seemingly good conditions-- they often just die off slowly (they do not like getting shipped halfway across the world, temporarily stored in crappy water, then being forced to acclimate to new params).



My advice for these shrimp would be too get the gH up to 7 and kH to 3 (I don't really think that's the issue). Get a TDS meter and get those numbers. 
If your berried female croaks, artificially hatch the eggs. The babies should be much more resilient and will adapt to your water -- assuming there's nothing really wrong with it.

Beyond that, treat these guys as your learning shrimp and try to get homebred next time, the difference will likely be night and day. You'll get there!

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53 minutes ago, aotf said:

Sorry to hear about your frustrations, I've been (am?) in a similar place.

A couple guesses (don't take anything I say as gospel):
 

- your kH might be on the high end? Probably fine, honestly.
- your gH is still on the low-end. You could be experiencing molting issues, which would explain the occasional deaths. The tricky part is that changing the water/params will often trigger molts, so you may see deaths even as you push the gH higher as they try to molt without sufficiently mineralized shells.

- what's the TDS? You might have water with a lot of stuff in it without realizing it, especially as you're pushing the kH up with baking soda.

- how old is your tank?

- what parameters were the shrimp kept in before you purchased? If they were in "worse" parameters their entire lives and you moved them to dramatically "better" parameters, they are still quite likely to die off (especially if you bought them as adults).

-  Since you got them from PetCo, there's a very good chance they are imports. Unfortunately, stabilizing imports is a throw of the dice and --even in seemingly good conditions-- they often just die off slowly (they do not like getting shipped halfway across the world, temporarily stored in crappy water, then being forced to acclimate to new params).



My advice for these shrimp would be too get the gH up to 7 and kH to 3 (I don't really think that's the issue). Get a TDS meter and get thoise numbers. 
If your berried female croaks, artificially hatch the eggs. The babies should be much more resilient and will adapt to your water -- assuming there's nothing really wrong with it.

Beyond that, treat these guys as your learning shrimp and try to get homebred next time, the difference will likely be night and day. You'll get there

 

 

Stupidly, i didn't mark the "start" date of the tank, but probably 1.5 months. Its been flourishing with Copepods and various little critters, which i had always taken (Before i left the hobby) as a good sign for keeping delicate species and inverts. 

 

I've been testing religiously daily and its been very stable lately except the KH and GH but never more then .5 Degrees over a day. 

 

I'm definitely being thrown for a loop on this one and learning plenty. I appreciate the advice to take this as a learning opportunity instead of a failure. 

No idea on original water quality, and i believe i bought them against my own better judgement a few days after they arrived....(lost patience in a pretty planted tank with tiny bugs...)

 

I'll look into raising the GH higher. I've searched every pet store withing 70.. in some cases as far as 100 miles away and no one has TDS meters. Our mailman sucks and has a horrible time trying to get mail to the appropriate people, so ordering online has me creeped out. 

 

I'll keep you all posted.

 

Update: adding pictures.

First picture. Two shrimp, orange neo (standard low grade LFS Stock) on left. Original shrimp on right.

 

Second and third picture: dead lil buddy shrimp.

IMG_20171031_182625270.jpg

IMG_20171031_184103516.jpg

IMG_20171031_183730534.jpg

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46 minutes ago, Aquatic Athlete said:

 

 

Stupidly, i didn't mark the "start" date of the tank, but probably 1.5 months. Its been flourishing with Copepods and various little critters, which i had always taken (Before i left the hobby) as a good sign for keeping delicate species and inverts. 

 

I've been testing religiously daily and its been very stable lately except the KH and GH but never more then .5 Degrees over a day. 

 

I'm definitely being thrown for a loop on this one and learning plenty. I appreciate the advice to take this as a learning opportunity instead of a failure. 

No idea on original water quality, and i believe i bought them against my own better judgement a few days after they arrived....(lost patience in a pretty planted tank with tiny bugs...)

 

I'll look into raising the GH higher. I've searched every pet store withing 70.. in some cases as far as 100 miles away and no one has TDS meters. Our mailman sucks and has a horrible time trying to get mail to the appropriate people, so ordering online has me creeped out. 

 

I'll keep you all posted.

 

If you bought them a couple days after they got to the store, I'm not at all surprised at the trouble you're having.
Keep searching and tuning your water parameters but know that you're shrimp may simply be condemned. Keep your fingers crossed for the berried female and figure out how to receive homebred shrimp in the mail. Buying imports is just a recipe for frustration.

 

I forgot about your shipping woes. That's a huge bummer, LFS will overcharge you for everything and a TDS meter on Amazon is like $15.

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aotf is right on.  I would order some homebred shrimp.  and if you usps mailman sucks that bad you can request a hold for pick up at the post office for the mail ordered shrimp or ask to use fedex/ups instead.  You will NEED a tds meter.

 

are you using tap water or remineralized ro water?  I tried using my tap water and constantly had my shrimp die off like yours are now.  I switched to remineralized ro water and my problems were solved.

 

also make sure those little critters swimming around are not deadly to your shrimp.

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1. Tap or RO? Perhaps your tap water contains toxic (for shrimp) substances (i.e. copper). You will need to consider RO if that's the case. 

2. My biggest suspicion is the following: You're mentioning a lot of microorganisms, a 29 gallon tank is a lot of room for all kinds especially if it's been well fed and you only have otocinclus (non-carnivorous meaning all the organisms stay alive and reproduce). You should check to see if you have planaria/hydra or other parasites. You can youtube/google those keywords and check your tank thoroughly to ensure they aren't there (it's a big tank though and they can be pretty small). They can kill your shrimp (explaining random separate deaths if one of them gets unlucky). 

3. With the amount of shrimp you have, and the size of the tank, you probably don't even need to be feeding them that often, so it'll likely just end up as waste in your tank. \

4. They are imports and super weak. 

5. The picture of the shrimp you have looks like it's split in the middle, did it look like this while it was alive like it had a white band/severed look around the midsection? It's called the white band of death or some other similar terms, it's an indication of molting issues and usually results in death. 

 

Anyway that's all I can think of.

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35 minutes ago, Mikolas said:

 

5. The picture of the shrimp you have looks like it's split in the middle, did it look like this while it was alive like it had a white band/severed look around the midsection? It's called the white band of death or some other similar terms, it's an indication of molting issues and usually results in death. 

 

 

Super that. If your shrimp looked like that in its normal state then it's less of an issue but if the band only occurred shortly before its death, you really need to get your gH into the right range.

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Okay, so i've done some staring and found what look like hydra (Sitting on driftwood, 1 stock and multiple little arms waving in the breeze that retract when poked) , planaria (Flat shaped, white worm. only found 1) and to top it off... No my shrimp haven't had that white band before.

 

Game plan?

You guys are awesome for seemingly nailing this on the head.


I was contemplating adding in a mid sized school of pygmaeus cory  (True, mid-water swimming variety, not habrosis) to the tank to eat up small nuisances and add some activity. Obviously  they wont live off the little critters, but might they help? or would they cause more trouble in the long run with shrimplettes?

 

 

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Hydra - That sounds right.

Planaria - Has a triangular/arrow shaped/phallic shaped head. 

 

Buy Fenbendazole today, found in walmart, local pet stores. It's a dog dewormer so will be best to go to a dog pet store if you can't find it elsewhere. Refer to the link below for the instructions and a picture of the brand/box. I got the exact same one. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBVyuNseT90

 

For hydra, I did .1 (note the decimal in case it's too tiny to see) grams for my 20 gallon. The instructions say to do .1 per 10 gallon, but it wasn't necessary (followed this from another shrimp keeper), and I'd rather underdose than over. It comes with 3 packets, take one (it's 1 gram), and like a drug addict (you'll see what I mean), split them out into roughly 10 equal parts to get your .1 gram. You don't need to OCD and try to be exact, remember you're already underdosing. For your 30 gallon, I guess going .15 to .2 will be sufficient. If you've any snails, remove them from the tank or they will die. You'll see the hydra lose it's appendages within hours (I stared at them with glee), and just finishing up my water change today (dosed it last friday) to remove the chemical.

 

The planaria did not seem affected with my dosage, so you may have to do the .1 per 10 gallon to see it's effects, but I've also read some situations that fenbendazole didn't work at all. They aren't as immediately dangerous as the others, so I'm purchasing either "No Planaria", or SL-Aqua Z1 Bio Protector, which are both apparently natural products to get rid of these guys. As per the advice I was given, get the Fenbendazole asap for immediate treatment, and consider one of those two (I did a poll on facebook shrimp group and those two are coming out as most popular) for future prevention. 

 

Fish tanks deal with issues like fin rot, ick, so on, shrimp tanks deal with hydra/planaria. Fish will usually eat these guys so that's why you don't see them in fish tanks, but I can't say all fish will eat them so it's hard to say whether pygmy cories will. But you should expect to lose some shrimplets to any carnivorous fish, though with enough plants/mosses, losses will be minimal. If you want to try subwassertang for cover, I have some for cheap to clear up aquascaping my tanks. 

 

Good luck.

 

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Sweet, so you're telling me I can off the Hydra and the horde of shelled nusiances plaguing my tank... With one fell swoop. 

 

Muwhaha...

 

Can Hydra really hurt an adult shrimp at 0.75"-1" size?

Gonna stack some bodies either way.

 

I'll look into the No Planaria as well.

I assume I should remove carbon in both instances?

 

Phase 2. How do I stop the little horrors getting back into my tank?

 

I attached 5 day old photos of the tank. One has labels.

IMG_20171027_190308106.jpg

IMG_20171101_084714.jpg

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2 hours ago, Aquatic Athlete said:

I assume I should remove carbon in both instances?

 

Phase 2. How do I stop the little horrors getting back into my tank?

 

 

 

yes you should remove the carbon

 

the little critters hitchhike in on plants.  You can dip them in Potassium Permaganate or a bleach dip prior to putting them in your tank.

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GreenPepper on this forum also has a parasite treatment that is more "natural" than fenbendazole and apparently sticks around for a shorter amount of time. Once you fenben your tank, you should consider it a no-go for decorative snails such as nerites in the future.

Another thing to note is that --given the concentrated snail and planaria death you will cause-- you might trigger an ammonia spike that could off some shrimp. Keep on top of the ammonia, consider water changes. You have so few shrimp that you could also consider taking out some tank water (without critters in it) and storing your shrimp in it with a bubbler for the first day or two of the treatment (when you'd see the murder spike). Food for thought.

ALSO these treatments will not address your molting issues. If those are the cause of the deaths (and they certainly seem to be the cause of the one you showed us), you need to address that separately. I know you're chatting with Zoidburg on TPT about products so that's great. I personally use Salty Shrimp gH, it dissolves really quickly so that's nice. If you look at Salty Shrimp, consider gH/kH+. You wouldn't have to push your kH up with baking soda anymore.

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1 hour ago, JLau said:

@aotf fenben doesn't ever leave the tank? I was wondering about that, I took some mystery snails out and put them back 2 weeks later and they were all sluggish. I relocated them to my betta tank and after 3 weeks they're juts now becoming more active.


It technically does eventually leave the tank but it takes a very very very long time and a lot of water changes. I suspect that snails are very sensitive to it --even in minuscule quantities-- and the fact that it's not super water soluble makes me think it hangs around the substrate for a while (some people say it gets absorbed by the tank's silicone, I only sort of buy that). The end result is a tank that might take 6 months, 9 months, over a year to be fancy-snail friendly again. 

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Your tank looks lovely and if you've tested all parameters and they are appropriate then this sounds to me like its not really you, but the source. Imported shrimp tend to die off one by one. Its common, unfortunately! If you buy some homebred Neos your going to have alot more success. 

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21 hours ago, chappy6107 said:

yes you should remove the carbon

 

the little critters hitchhike in on plants.  You can dip them in Potassium Permaganate or a bleach dip prior to putting them in your tank.

 Excellent. Luckily i don't plan on more plants and whatnot. So.. Maybe it'll settle down for a bit. Will this kill off cyclops and the other non harmful micro inhabitants?

 

 

21 hours ago, aotf said:

GreenPepper on this forum also has a parasite treatment that is more "natural" than fenbendazole and apparently sticks around for a shorter amount of time. Once you fenben your tank, you should consider it a no-go for decorative snails such as nerites in the future.

Another thing to note is that --given the concentrated snail and planaria death you will cause-- you might trigger an ammonia spike that could off some shrimp. Keep on top of the ammonia, consider water changes. You have so few shrimp that you could also consider taking out some tank water (without critters in it) and storing your shrimp in it with a bubbler for the first day or two of the treatment (when you'd see the murder spike). Food for thought.

ALSO these treatments will not address your molting issues. If those are the cause of the deaths (and they certainly seem to be the cause of the one you showed us), you need to address that separately. I know you're chatting with Zoidburg on TPT about products so that's great. I personally use Salty Shrimp gH, it dissolves really quickly so that's nice. If you look at Salty Shrimp, consider gH/kH+. You wouldn't have to push your kH up with baking soda anymore.

 

Murder spike is officially the phrase of the day!  I wont be heartbroken by a lack of snails. The only reason i bought assassin snails was to keep it snail free. Muwhaha.

Do you think that the spike will be so prevalent in a 29 gallon with a sturdy bio-filter?

 

I'll start searching for a local supply of salty shrimp.What's your username on TPT? 

 

18 hours ago, aotf said:


It technically does eventually leave the tank but it takes a very very very long time and a lot of water changes. I suspect that snails are very sensitive to it --even in minuscule quantities-- and the fact that it's not super water soluble makes me think it hangs around the substrate for a while (some people say it gets absorbed by the tank's silicone, I only sort of buy that). The end result is a tank that might take 6 months, 9 months, over a year to be fancy-snail friendly again. 

 

Its a dream come true.. 6-9 months of not hunting snails with tongs...

Where has this been all my life?

 

18 hours ago, dazalea said:

Your tank looks lovely and if you've tested all parameters and they are appropriate then this sounds to me like its not really you, but the source. Imported shrimp tend to die off one by one. Its common, unfortunately! If you buy some homebred Neos your going to have alot more success. 

 

Thank you for the kind words.  I am hoping that if the originals die off, the new locally sourced shrimp can be selectively bred for a similar color pattern as the originals.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Aquatic Athlete said:

Murder spike is officially the phrase of the day!  I wont be heartbroken by a lack of snails. The only reason i bought assassin snails was to keep it snail free. Muwhaha.

Do you think that the spike will be so prevalent in a 29 gallon with a sturdy bio-filter?

 

I'll start searching for a local supply of salty shrimp.What's your username on TPT? 

 

Its a dream come true.. 6-9 months of not hunting snails with tongs...

Where has this been all my life?


I think I should have made the distinction a bit clearer -- Mikolas and I might have given the wrong impression regarding your snail problem. Fenbendazole will affect some snails, not all. Nerites and mystery snails (what I meant when I said "fancy snails") will be affected by fenbendazole. Unfortunately, they are the ones that don't breed in FW and so would never be a problem anyway. Pond snails (and I think ramshorns) are very likely to survive a fenben treatment (speaking from personal experience), so the tongs are still your best friends.


My recommendation for that is to spend 10-15 minutes every day for a week removing snails. If you do it once a week or once a month, the population has time to bounce back. If you try to do it all at once, you get burnt out and can't get them all. A little bit every day for a longer period is the way to go.
 

I don't have any experience with your assassin snails, you might end up killing those (as ironic as that would be).

I think I'm also aotf on TPT, I've been responding to your threads there too depending on where I notice them first.

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It's been 24 hours since a .25g dose of FenBendazol, the Hydra seem to have shriveled up, my shrimp are fine so far. Lots of thread like white worms actively wriggling around suddenly. 

 

Can't find any planaria.

 

 

UPDATE:

It's been 5 days. Since the FenBendazol treatment. No Hydra visable. Various white worms in the soil are still present, as are what I assume are planaria.

 

I've also done the following:

 

Dropped the tanks temp down to about 73°F and things seem stable. 

 

Cleaned my Pre-filter sponge, upping the circulation in the tank. From a slow dribbling cascade to a steady waterfall. 

 

I added a small dose of Mineraliz-P to the tank to raise GH.

 

Mama shrimp is still berried, other shrimp are active too. Not breeding though...hmm..Oto cats are healthy and look more active. 

 

I did lose an assassin snail, it was in the QT tank and I dropped in the snails from the nuked shrimp tank. Not sure if that's what did it, but it's dead.

 

That's about all for now.

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