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Unexplained shrimp deaths


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I’ve had a tiny 1.5 gallon planted tank since August this year. Everything was great other than one shrimp died in the first few days (looked like failed molt). They were eating and growing, but never reproduced. I was thinking maybe they were just young still. One shrimp was Berried one night when I went to bed and I was so excited but the next morning she dropped the eggs. Then they started disappearing (I assumed dying and being eaten as I searched the tank thoroughly each time). So I lost 2 about a month ago. Then they were doing well for a month and suddenly another died last night. Now I’m down to only 2 shrimps. The remaining 2 are both females and still seem healthy?


parameters during the last two deaths a month ago:


Ammonia = 0 ppm

Nitrite = 0ppm

Nitrate = 5 ppm

Gh = 7

Kh = 2

Tds = 200

Temp = 20-21



Tds is a little higher now but everything else is the same. 


Out of desperation I moved the last two shrimps to my 10 gallon, hoping it will fluctuate less than the 1.5 gal. I don’t know what else to try! I drop acclimated them super slowly and they’re looking ok, but I want to know what I’m doing wrong! They’re not old, only had them for 4 months! 


i use tap water, but I store it in a big container so it’s room temperature so I’ve been using the same water for the last month at least. Tank was not heated but the new tank (10 gallon) is heated to 22-23.


EDIT: forgot to mention, in the 1.5 gal they were alone, in the 10 gal I have 2 male guppies (strangely I lost 2 of my guppies the same time I lost my two shrimps), a rabbit snail, and an Apple snail.



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I'll be the first to admit that I'm far from an expert shrimp keeper and that some of the tin-horns around here might give you some better advice, but I'm happy to share what I do know. First off, when you're sourcing delicate animals (like shrimp), I would try to mimic the conditions your source was keeping their animals at, as that's the chemistry they're most happy with. It's best to try to set your chemistry to be in the middle of the range your shrimp provider gives so that it's not at a stressful extreme and it gives the tank some room to fluctuate and breathe, giving you time to react and correct the chemistry as necessary.


At a glance, your nitrate and your KH seem off and I would monitor your TDS to make sure it doesn't get above 250 or so for cherries. Shrimp are really sensitive to nitrogen levels as well as trace metals (especially copper) and other contaminants like chlorine that are really common in tap water. I would dose your water with a water conditioner that specifically targets metals, chloramine and chlorine. As for the nitrate, I would just do your water change as normal and monitor it closely to see how fast it spikes back up to those levels. The solution to pollution is dilution, after all. If it doesn't take long, you'll want to consider adding more biological filtration and/or monitoring how much you feed your lil guys. You can help your biological filtration with sponge filters, giving your shrimp a small plant with a lot of surface area (like Marimo balls, java moss, etc.) or adding some more filter floss to your HOB filter (I buy polyfill quilt batting at walmart for cheap and cut to fit). You can NEVER have too much biological filtration.


Your KH can be brought up with certain stones, like lacerock/limestone if you're looking for something natural but be advised that these take time to leech into the water and it might (as in probably will) also raise your GH as well. You can also raise your KH by mixing baking soda but not only will this will raise your PH, it's a very harsh method that must be done very, very carefully. I would make at least one test batch of water to measure...I suspect that for a 1.5 gallon tank you'd probably only need enough to dust your thumb and index finger for that whole tank. The simplest option, most surgical option I know of is to simply purchase the shrimp products designed for KH and GH alteration/stability that you can dissolve and slowly, SLOWLY add to your tank.


I would try to partition your shrimps away from your guppies to be on the safe side until you can sort your chemistry out. Guppies are predators in their own right and will likely go after them. Anything that will eat brine shrimp will definitely go after your cherries.


Good luck!

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