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Inactive shrimp tank

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Evening everyone, wanted some advice on my shrimp tank. It’s been set up for over a month now and has about 10 shrimp in total mainly red cherry’s but a couple red crystal and 2 black shrimp, all the shrimp have been fairly inactive recently and wondered if this was a cause for concern. Tested the water and all the parameters are at 0 and oxygen is good! I even bought salty shrimp in order to make the general hardness better.

I’ve cut back on feeding as much to see if that makes a difference and I take into account it’s a very well planted tank with bog wood and other rooted plants as well as stones and terracotta pots to hide in. I’ve seen some cherry’s picking at the plants and cleaning recently but the red crystals and some other shrimp have just been hiding or sitting still and generally very inactive and I can’t find any reason as to why and was hoping someone may shed some light! Photo attached of what the tank looks like it’s a 57 litre Fluval flex. Any help appreciated thank you!


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Hi @Catmccabe. First thing I always ask if people are having any issues with their shrimps are what are your water parameters in terms of hardness (gH, kH, TDS)? Neocaridina such as your red cherries prefer harder water with a higher gH, kH and TDS, whereas caridina such as your crystal reds prefer softer water. However, in my experience most neos are very hardy and adapt to most water conditions so I think they can survive and even thrive in softer water parameters. Caridina on the other hand seem much less tolerant of harder water conditions and they may require a long and carefully planned acclimation process to adapt to harder water. I have successfully kept crystal reds with blue dream neos with both breeding, however, I lost a significant amount of my crystals at first and they didn't start breeding until recently when I changed their water to suit caridinas. From what I've seen with my shrimp and the information I've gathered it seems that caridinas don't tolerate higher levels of kH very well. If your red cherries are active but your crystals aren't it may be because the water is too hard for them causing them to be stressed and inactive. They may survive but might not thrive and breed if that's the case.


Another thought is that maybe there's copper in the water you're using. Are you using tap water? I tried shrimp years ago and they all died and I couldn't figure out why so I gave up completely. I decided to try again about 8 or 9 months ago and I still noticed my shrimp were slowly dying off. I scoured the internet and found a post about how some tap water may contain copper in it and that copper can be lethal to shrimps. I bought Prime and dosed it to my tap water and immediately I saw a difference in the activity, health and breeding of my shrimps. My guess is that the water in my particular town is very high in copper making it almost toxic to shrimp. A possibility is that your water, if you're using tap, contains small amounts of copper that may be stressing the shrimp out and causing them to lose activity. The amount may be small enough that it doesn't kill the shrimp immediately, but it may just be stressing them out. Have you lost any shrimp since you got them?


If possible, I would suggest getting a TDS pen and/or a gH and kH test kit to test your water. I bought my TDS pen from Amazon for probably $10-$15 and I use it all the time. The gH/kH test kits may be a little harder to find and take a little while to figure out how it works, but it's definitely one of my most valuable shrimp keeping tools along with the TDS pen. Anytime I notice issues with one of my shrimp tanks the first thing I do is check the gH and kH, then if that seems normal I check the ammonia, nitrates, etc. Especially since you tested for ammonia, nitrates, etc., I think your issues may lie in what's in the water going into the tank. I hope this helps and if you have any other questions feel free to ask! 

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2 hours ago, Catmccabe said:

Wow that is phenomenal advice thank you so much for your help, I’ve just gone into eBay and bought the items you’ve mentioned and will see what it comes back with once tested and fingers crossed I’ll have some happy shrimp soon! 

Thank you again and have a lovely day

Glad I could help! I really hope that's the issue as those are more or less easy to identify and fix. Hope everything works out and you have a good day as well!

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