View Full Version : Help! Cherry Shrimp Deaths!

11-19-2011, 12:44 AM
I recently started using a plant food that says it was fish safe to help my failing java moss in the shrimp tank. API Leaf Zone plant food. Well, a little over a week later and after only one use im suddenly getting dead and dying shrimps, so im starting to doubt the "fish safe" part! Not using it ever again i dont think. So far i have lost 8 shrimp that i have found the bodies of in just two days. There could still be more i didnt find though, they are quite small. Both of the snails are fine, in fact, actually they are more active, and one is constantly making laps around the tank. Today i checked parameters and i got:

Amm: 0ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 10ppm
Copper: 0ppm
pH: 7.8 <---high, but i cant get it down naturally. Im confused because my tap is 7.0 according to same test, but week after week i get this reading. Im told steady pH is better than using chemicals to lower it.

The only adult i have is fine just like the snails. Full coloring, full activity, no milky coloring. Only about 6 or 7 juveniles and my original naturally orange one are fine as well, but all the rest are a pastey-looking orange color or almost solid milky white. Affected shrimp will every once in a while start to twitch and then jerk backwards and zoom around the tank backwards before they suddenly start going forward again and whirl nose up and tail down before stopping and falling to the ground where they lay and twitch again. Does anybody know what the problem could be here and how to fix it? Im losing my whole colony one by one!

Does the idea that the iron and other minerals in the fertilizer hardened their exoskeletons and made it so that they cant shed and die because of that make any sense? Thats my first guess, but my grandma thinks im wrong. If im right, how do you re-soften the skins so they can shed again?

11-19-2011, 01:10 AM
The bit about iron exoskeletons is nonsensical.

A google search is inconclusive... seems that nobody's quite sure if API leaf zone is safe for shrimp or not. I would do a very large water change anyhow, and maybe add some activated carbon if you don't have fresh stuff in there, to remove whatever possible contaminants might be harming the shrimp.

11-19-2011, 01:29 AM
-- Your grandmother and Brhino are correct.

-- Fish safe does not mean invertebrate safe. Always keep that in mind.

-- Most accounts across the web mention no issues with that particular fert and shrimp

-- Is your water well water, city water, bottled ... ? There may be increased trace amounts of heavy metals that the shrimp are not doing well with.

-- How old is this tank? Size? Anything else in there? Deco?

-- Turning milky white in shrimp means a high level of stress that will ultimately kill them ... often caused by bad water parameters, 8.5 times out of 10. The fact that your java moss is failing is also a telltale sign that there is some sort of nutrient imbalance in the tank

11-19-2011, 03:48 AM
Ok good that my idea was wrong, because that wouldve been hard to fix. The moss was doing great with the fertilizer (actually turned green instead of the deep blackish green and brown its been for so long) so id like to use it again since there are no reported problems with shrimp there.

Now for Raethe's questions:
-City water but i use water conditioner every tank change. How do i check for heavy metals? A kit, or is that in the listed info that water company should have?
-Tank is a 10gal that has had cherry shrimp in it for 2 months. Before then i was using it as a QT tank and keeping ghost shrimp in it to have some sort of life in it. Its been full only since... maybe March of this year, but its an old tank that used to be used several years ago. It was cycled in March though.
-Decorations are fake plants and a castle and living things are the java moss and a sudden outbreak of what looks like MTS and 2 temporary apple snails.

The tank was in the sun and had an algae problem for two weeks before i finally caught it and saw how badly it was in the sun. I dont know if that could cause a nutrient imbalance?? I moved it today when i did the water change a few hours ago just in case. It should be out of sun now. Checking right now it seems most of the previously pasty orange ones are looking and swimming better, but two more have died. :(

11-19-2011, 04:18 AM
-- Define "outbreak" of mts. One, two, many?

-- How much exactly did you dose the tank with ferts? Your first post says "one use", but the last post says your moss turned green from a months long black-green-brown (dying / rotting) state. I know of no ferts that do something like that in just one as-directed dose.

-- What kind of algae and how bad did it get?

-- Moving the tank out of the sun did not provide the visible improvement with the shrimp. The water change did. There is some sort of imbalance or toxin in that water they are not liking. How often have you done WC on the tank previously?

11-19-2011, 02:11 PM
New Info that may or may not be important: The heater in there was really old (10+ yrs) and sometimes overheated the aquarium so I got a new one last night and added an air ornament for more circulation. Also added 2T of aquarium salt that i didnt have in there previously last night too. I dont know if either of those things could have done it. That just came to me.

Other Answers
-I do water change every friday or sunday about 50% on all three of my tanks.
-I dosed with 5ml of the fertilizer last friday after my water change. The whole plant didnt turn green but there's some nice spring green growth in there that suddenly shot out in a growth spurt that i noticed wednesday that i assumed meant fert was working.
-The algae was green spot algae on back of tank and some kind of unknown to me brown-green algae that appeared super fast and took over every wall in like 2 days and in only the one corner it actually branched off the glass in a tuft of bright green fuzzy plant like material about 1/4" long in another day. I still have green-spot on the corners where i cant get my scraper blade but as of cleaning yesterday i scraped off all remaining brown-green algae and scrubbed of most of green spot.
-That was followed by about 20 MTS coming from nowhere and me placing my apple snails to eat all the brown-green stuff which is now gone thanks to them. Today i removed one of the apples.

This morning i see only one more dead. At least the numbers are going down... No more cloudy ones visible right now. It might be over two WC and a new heater later. Now it might be less urgent to find solution and just what happened and how to prevent recurrence.

Lady Hobbs
11-19-2011, 02:23 PM
I often use Leaf Zone and have cherry shrimp. No deaths here. You aren't using any Excel are you? That one would worry me more than ferts.

11-19-2011, 02:48 PM
Nope. All i have previously used on this tank is my Leaf Zone and... Aqueon Water Conditioner for that tank and two weeks ago i did a preventative round of plant and invert safe external parasite medicine called PreventIch. Is it bad to use preventative doses on medicines? I used half dose everyday for a week. It says its safe to use as a preventative at normal dose on the bottle.

Lady Hobbs
11-19-2011, 03:23 PM
I've had fish for 8 years and had Ick only 3 times and each time was due to new fish. Fish you have that do not get stressed out from heater failure, or bullied or put thru stress will not get Ick. I don't believe Leaf Zone killed those shrimp nearly as likely as that PreventIch would have. One is a medication and the other is a low dose of iron, calcium and perhaps phosphates that your plants need.

If a preventive is used, let it only be a wormer once a year.

Edited: I just read up on this and it claims to be organic and safe for inverts so I really don't know what to tell you. Sorry, just do not know. Do your snails get enough to eat?

11-19-2011, 03:49 PM
Okay i wont use the medicine anymore except for when i add new shrimps (which i will now be doing in a month or so probably since i lost so many to this). Then only once a year. This is so wierd that nobody knows what killed my shrimps. Frustrating almost. I really hope its over now. Maybe it was stress from that old heater. More shrimps are coming out now and i still see no more milkiness. :)

I think my snails get enough food. I take out them every three or four days and put in the travel tank with half an algae wafer and leave them there for the day because those wafers pollute my water horribly so i dont let them have them in the shrimp tank and they arent fast enough to get them in fish tank. They only end up eating usually about a quarter total together. Then the MTS babies that are in there eat the leftovers. Otherwise they eat algae off walls and ornaments or find leftover food from fish.

Lady Hobbs
11-19-2011, 04:10 PM
I have my doubts about anything organic, actually. I mean, Melafix and Pimafix are also organic and don't do anything, IMO. The only thing that will kill Ick is some serious medication so I would have my doubts on that product.

I would not be taking your shrimp in and out of that tank. Just drop one algae wafer once or twice a week in a back corner of the tank.......or even half a wafer. Or a slice of cucumber for a day.

11-19-2011, 10:52 PM
O, i never take the shrimp out, just the snails. I take snails out to feed because the algae wafers dont get completely eaten and make the water nasty and bring out flatworm things that crawl on the glass. The shrimp get half an algae wafer sometimes but rarely, maybe once every two or three weeks, and every week they get tropical fish flakes. Just a pinch. I plan to one day give all my tanks each a slice of cucumber. I dont like them tho, so i have to wait for my grandma to want them so she cuts one. Dont want to spoil her vegetables for my fish.

11-19-2011, 11:33 PM
You said that the 10 gallon was once a quarantine tank. That said I would assume that medication was used in it at some point. Shrimp and serious med's dont go together.

Keep up the water changes and make sure you have some good charcoal in the filter to eliminate the possible med's.

Shrimp do very well without a heater here in Ontario even in winter. The air stone you added should also help the water quality.
If all else doesn't make sense, check your decorations. Maybe some paint is dissolving off them and poisoning your brood.

I hope your deaths stop.

11-20-2011, 01:26 PM
QT tank i just used Melafix in and used for new arrivals and to nurse a starved goldfish that i saved from a neglectful house in, so there were no hard meds in I only started using hard meds with that last tetra that died a while back that i thought had a parasite, and that was in main tank for everybody.

Ah! Strider says it! Dissolving paint. My old heater had peeling paint? Same thing? I did water changes and got a new heater and they stopped. So i guess that means that heater is trash. Didnt know that was deadly, just annoying. I was under impression that if its forfish tank it would be nontoxic to fish... Oops. Well now i know not to do that again... (blush)