Can't keep shrimp alive - help!
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!
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
If you take your time to do the research FIRST, you can successfully set-up and keep ANY type of aquarium with ease.
"Not using a quarantine tank is like playing Russian roulette. Nobody wins the game, some people just get to play longer than others." - Anthony Calfo
Fishless Cycle Cycling with Fish Marine Aquarium Info
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.
Last edited by Zander; 03-17-2013 at 02:48 AM.
Thanks for the reply Cliff, Zander
Originally Posted by Cliff
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.
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)
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
Originally Posted by talldutchie
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).
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.
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?
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?