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Tobinkinz
03-17-2013, 02:09 AM
Apologizing in advance for the length of this post, but I want to include as much info as possible to hopefully help figure out what our problem is.

So have a 20gal high tank, cycled for 5 months now. Most recent changes involved switching substrate from blue gravel to Eco Complete in January. Planted, I would say moderately with a variety of plants. Running a Renal XPM canister filter. Lighting is a Nova Extreme T5HO SLR with 2 X 24w bulbs. Running pressurized CO2, according to pH/kH table it is at 12-15 ppm. Modified EI dosing - no CSM+B, was planning on using Flourish trace but have only added macros (since getting these shrimp), and at a lower dose than usually recommended.

Have had a variety of fish in this tank, as it was the original we bought when we first got into the hobby 5 months ago. Previously we had a group of false juli corydoras, some harlequin rasboras, and a pearl gourami. Had added about 25 red cherry shrimp, which slowly disappeared over 1-2 weeks. Thought maybe the gourami was the culprit, so he got moved, but we were finding bodies, not just random disappearances. Never did figure out why they all died, parameters were pretty much the same as now. Everyone talks about cherries will live in anything and breed in anything, so no idea why all of ours died. Most recent occupants before this week were a group of guppies. Guppies were moved a few days before adding shrimp, minus a handful of babies.

So both of us have been bitten by the shrimp bug, and really wanted to give these guys a try again. Moved the guppies, massive water change, added carbon to the filter. Got 10 yellow neos and 10 Caridina cf babaulti green shipped from a very reputable breeder on Thursday. Lost 3 the first night, wasn't really that surprised, figured stress had a lot to do with it (only shipped overnight tho). Lost another 5 today. So there's almost half of our shrimp gone, just like that. Fed them last night and did see them eating and active, altho it seems the green Caridinas are the majority of the fatalities. Probably didn't even need to feed them, as there should be plenty of biofilm and such in a good established tank, but wanted to see if they would come out.

Tested everything we could test today, and here are the results:

Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, copper all 0.
pH (meter) - 6.9
temp (meter) - 75
kH - 3
gH - 3
phos - 2
TDS (meter) - 188

So, any ideas? We are so frustrated, because it seems like everyone on these forums talks about how easy it is to keep and breed Neos, yet we aren't seeing it, even with trying to do everything right. Knew we were taking a chance with the Cardinas, but not like we were trying to do CBS/CRS or any of the other "sensitive" shrimp. Any thoughts/ideas/guidance would be appreciated, as we're tired of just looking at pics of shrimp and want some of our own!

Cliff
03-17-2013, 02:15 AM
Your phosphates seam a little high at 2ppm and your temp seams a little low at 75F.

I would start by looking those as potential factors

Zander
03-17-2013, 02:35 AM
Your ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are all at exactly 0? That seems odd. Nitrate at exactly 0 is usually a sign of either an uncycled tank or a sign of tap water. Since it is a tank that has been set up for awhile it seems like the nitrate in particular can't possibly be at 0. If you are using a liquid test kit, if you aren't shaking it properly before use it can give an inaccurate reading. You might try bringing in a sample of your water to either Petsmart/Petco and having them test your water for free, just in case your test kit is expired/confirm your test kit is accurate. Even still, the nitrate would have to be pretty high to have me worried about it. It just seems odd to me that all 3 readings would be at 0.

Have you tried turning off the lights, waiting at least 15 mins or more, and checking to see if anything is picking on them? It doesn't always work but sometimes you can catch them in the act. None of your water readings seem off, so my mind immediately goes to bullying.

Only other thought I have is that with the phosphate reading slightly high, is there a chance you are seeing a high level of cyanobactia in your tank? Do a google image search for 'cyanobacteria fish tank' if you aren't sure of what I am talking about. If the cyanobacteria gets truly excessive it can kill fish.

Cliff mentioned the temp at 75 being a possible issue, you might consider raising it to 77-79 but I really doubt you would be losing fish over 2 degrees.

PS: Sorry if I sound like I'm condescending to anyone. I work at a fish store and I've become used to dumbing it down a little. I don't try to be.

Tobinkinz
03-17-2013, 02:53 AM
Your phosphates seam a little high at 2ppm and your temp seams a little low at 75F.

I would start by looking those as potential factors

Thanks for the reply Cliff, Zander

All 3 being 0 as well as phosphates being 2 are all likely due to this being a heavily planted tank, and we actually dose nitrate and phosphate (macros) throughout the week. As far as the temp, seems like the range listed for these shrimp is 64-74, altho have seen people keeping them at higher temps also. No cyanobacteria seen in the tank.

About bullying - forgot to mention we also have about 30 celestial pearl danios in the tank as well. We were told that the CPDs might snack on baby shrimp but should be ok with adults. Most of the Caridinas in particular are bigger than the fish!

No worries about sounding condescending - and I don't mean to come across as argumentative either! *lol* Just trying to work through things and clarify stuff. Any other thoughts/ideas? We are thinking of trying to increase the gH, to see if that helps.

Tobinkinz
03-17-2013, 12:54 PM
Part of the reason for the extremely low nitrates is because we did 3 huge 85% water changes to the tank the day before we added the shrimp to bring our TDS down closer to tap water and to remove some excess meds that we had used the week before (we have been running carbon in the filter also, so I doubt the meds are the culprate)

talldutchie
03-17-2013, 01:05 PM
I'm going to be to the point here

1. What meds exactly? What does the msds say?
2. What do the bodies look like when you find them?
3. what do the healthy shrimp look like?
4. Is the co2 on all the time? Or only during lights on?
5. Is there any metal at all in the tank?
6. what ferts exactly?

Temp isn't the issues, nitrates I believe if you really plant the excrement out of tank you can get that.

Bolsen27
03-18-2013, 12:41 AM
I'm going to be to the point here

1. What meds exactly? What does the msds say?
2. What do the bodies look like when you find them?
3. what do the healthy shrimp look like?
4. Is the co2 on all the time? Or only during lights on?
5. Is there any metal at all in the tank?
6. what ferts exactly?

Temp isn't the issues, nitrates I believe if you really plant the excrement out of tank you can get that.

I am Tobinkinz's husband and not some random person about to answer your questions. Lol

1. It was Levamisole. I did 3 85% WC's then added carbon to the filter 2 days before adding the shrimp. All the meds should've been out of the tank by time the shrimp were added.

2. Considering they are yellow and green shrimp I am finding dead orange shrimp in the tank. We just watched one shrimp that we believe was dying swim across the tank and then jerk around before become still on the bottom of the tank. Should we be looking for something in particular?

3. The shrimp that are alive are nice and brightly colored.

4. Co2 is on with the lights. When it is off we run a bubble wall.

5. No metal in the tank at all.

6. Macro- KNO3 & KH2PO4 mixed into a solution. Trace- Seachem Flourish Trace. Both Macro and Trace ferts are shrimp friendly from the research we did. The only other thing I have been adding to that tank is Seachem Aquavitro Mineralize (GH booster) to up the GH in the tank (0 out of the tap).

talldutchie
03-18-2013, 05:53 AM
Levamisole is a dewormer that's not especially toxic to inverts so that's not it.

The dying shrimp symptoms are very interesting. What I look for is if they curl up completely before dying which often happens with metal poisoning.

In this case I can't see any clear errors. I'd turn down the Co2 a bit and lower the dosage of the ferts a bit, see if that improves.

madagascariensis
03-18-2013, 12:36 PM
Very, very long shot, but in a smallish tank with a pressurized co2 unit during lights on and then switching to a bubble wall when lights off(which gasses out all the co2) and such a low hardness, maybe the are pH fluctuations occurring that the shrimp don't tolerate that well?

Bolsen27
03-18-2013, 01:30 PM
I upped my GH to 6 over the course of the last few days hoping that would help because quite a few people on different forums have said my GH is low and thats why they are dying. Yet this morning my wife found 3 more dead shrimp.

Could it be as simple as PH swings from gassing out the co2 at night? Should I lower my co2 during the day and not run the bubble wall at night?

talldutchie
03-18-2013, 03:11 PM
It's certainly a possibility. If you want to be sure stay up late and monitor every 2 hours from 2 hours before lights out until 4 or even 6 hours after.

Bolsen27
03-18-2013, 03:41 PM
It's certainly a possibility. If you want to be sure stay up late and monitor every 2 hours from 2 hours before lights out until 4 or even 6 hours after. I can tell you that we aren't finding dead shrimp during the day. It is always in the morning after we get up and the lights come on.

Also on another forum someone mentioned that the solar salt that my water softner system uses could be my problem because it is adding salt to my water. Any truth to this?

talldutchie
03-18-2013, 03:44 PM
You didn't mention that!

What is solar salt? It's tricky to get a complete picture now.

Since the deaths occur in the night ph shift seems most likely, start by measuring that.

Bolsen27
03-18-2013, 03:54 PM
Ok I will get a PH reading tonight right before the Co2 goes off and then in the morning right before the Co2 comes back on. And report back what I get. I was going to lower my Co2 when I got home but I am going to wait so I can see what I get for readings right now.

Knightia
03-18-2013, 08:05 PM
I can't really offer any advice here, but I genuinely sympathise. I'm losing shrimp for so-far-unknown reasons too and it's very frustrating, and upsetting to keep finding bodies.

talldutchie
03-18-2013, 08:19 PM
It is and the causes can be extremely difficult to pin point. That's why I'm just writing down everything that comes to mind no matter how far fetched. I had a bout of failed mouldings ages ago. Never did figure it out why exactly since GH was quite high but that didn't go away until I dropped a quarter egg worth of eggshell in the tank out of desparation.

I've lost 2 shrimp since I set up my new tank. No big deal since the rest is thriving but I'm happy I don't have one of those mystery death syndromes in my tank.

Knightia
03-18-2013, 08:28 PM
What would eggshell do? Not trying to hijack this thread but I don't notice many moults in my tank. At all.

madagascariensis
03-18-2013, 10:15 PM
Solar Salt is just salt created by dehydrating seawater. Water softeners using salt replace the hardness in the water with salt, and that could certainly build up to levels harmful to freshwater animals. I your tap water really hard or why are you using a water softener?

Bolsen27
03-18-2013, 10:30 PM
Well water. In order to pass water tests we needed to have a water softener system installed.

talldutchie
03-19-2013, 05:23 AM
What kind of water test?


What would eggshell do? Not trying to hijack this thread but I don't notice many moults in my tank. At all.

That in itself isn't strange. A moulting shrimp will hide and eat the old shell for nutrients. When you find them half in and out a shell you've got moulting problems.
I think mine missed calcium somehow.

Bolsen27
03-19-2013, 12:17 PM
Last right before the Co2 & lights went off for the night the ph was a 6.8. This morning about 10 mins before the Co2 was due to come back on the ph was a 7.3. Not a huge difference. Though I did adjust the Co2 levels some last night. The biggest difference is I don't see any dead shrimp this morning!

In fact last night after I lowered the Co2 some I swear the shrimp were acting different I saw a few milling around and picking at things. And this morning they were out and about also.

Could the answer to my dying shrimp really be that easy?

talldutchie
03-19-2013, 12:34 PM
Simple answer. Yes!

Since you really are determined to get to the bottom of this. Keep the co2 at this level for at least a week. In the mean time do some reading on shrimp physiology, especially how they breath.

Lady Hobbs
03-19-2013, 01:56 PM
Why not send a message to the person you bought the shrimp from and ask him where he kept his pH?

I have cherry shrimp, in the hundreds, and only started with a dozen of them. I do not use CO2 in my planted tanks, however, and my pH is 7.6. You may need to put a pre-filter sponge on your filter tubes, tho, or the shrimp will get sucked into the filter. But in answer to why they are dying, I have no idea but pH jumping daily from 6.8 to 7.3 constantly is not a good thing.

CO2 also does more than lower the pH but it reduces oxygen.

talldutchie
03-19-2013, 03:03 PM
The cherry's breathing mechanism isn't as effective as that of most fish. Not a problem normally since they aren't very quick but it does make them rather sensitive to higher Co2 levels.

A swing of .5 PH on a high tech tank isn't that unusual, there's aquascapers who have it higher still.

In this case Co2 seems like the most likely cause. See if it stabilizes with this. If it does add enough air during the night to make sure any non-used co2 is completely gone and even then I'd go no higher than 3bps.

Bolsen27
03-20-2013, 01:19 PM
When I left for work this morning I did a quick check of the tank and for the 2nd morning in a row I didn't find any dead shrimp! In fact I did find 6-7 shrimp roaming around and picking at things.

talldutchie
03-20-2013, 01:22 PM
Glad to hear that. Think you've sorted it. Well done!!