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Discoloration around (Gills?) - Bacterial? (Recovered)


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Home Tank: 75.7 Liter, Long /20 Gallon, Long
Ammonia: 0ppm
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: About 5ppm
TDS: 213 - Water change water goes in around 150 TDS.
Temperature: About 23.3ºC/74ºF according to where I set the knob on the heater, but I no longer trust my current digital thermometers so not positive.

Tank Mates: Blue Leopard Ramshorn Snails.
Shrimp colony is just shy of a year old now I believe, though we did have a second group of shrimp get mixed in to reduce inbreeding a few months back

Diet: Repashy Soylent Green, Hikari Algae Wafers, Organic Spinach, and "Shirakura Baby Shrimp Food - Essential Yellow Microorganism Powder" for the babies.

Yesterday I noticed some discoloration in a golden back yellow female Neocaridina Davidi, but it's not something I've ever seen before. I immediately moved her into a pseudo quarantine to prevent it from spreading in case it's bacterial - so for now she's in an 8.5 Liter Jar I used to give some hitchhiker snails (Brown Ramshorns and Bladder snails) a home. The plants these guys came in on have not yet gone into the display tank, as they are still in quarantine. Jug is using a cycled filter media I prepared ahead of time and has not had ammonia spikes.

I have not seen planaria in the tank she is from, and no others have any discoloration. 3 berried females hatched their eggs over the course of the last week, so I'm hoping the water is still pleasant for them.

Discoloration is on both side of her carapace, where I THINK their gills are - that said I have never actually seen anyone specify where gills are so this is largely guesswork.
Discoloration seemed to start more prominently on one side and spread to the other side.

She is still active and has an appetite.
Picture attached.


Things I've done so far:

For the last hour of acclimation to her quarantine I added 1ml of Hydrogen Peroxide (3% strength) per every 4Litres of water.


Hopefully I included everything needed - thank you for your time.


Edited by Urak
Added home tank size.
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Looks like the Rust disease.
Look it up in the Health section of this forum.
Looks like you are doing everything right with the treatment.
Keep it in quarantine.

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That post is where I stole they hydrogen peroxide to water ratio from - Love that post.

When I looked through it, I wasn't positive if this was the rust disease as those images were all on darker colored shrimp, so I figured I would start the anti-bacterial treatment and then get some expert opinions on whether that was the right route to continue.

Thank you for the reply, I really appreciate the diagnostic help 🙂

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27th and 28th I did the Hydrogen Peroxide treatments.
Afterwards she would hide and usually be pretty stationary for the next 12 hours or so, so I was worried I was stressing her out too much.
The patches also got larger, and began to darken.

On the night of the 29th, I decided to try something weird I had been thinking about for a few months - Oregano. I couldn't find anything online about using Oregano to fight bacterial infections in cherry shrimp, but knew it had interesting antiseptic properties.
I did find this experiment with Whiteleg Shrimp, though, which was promising: http://www.doiserbia.nb.rs/img/doi/0354-4664/2014/0354-46641404367G.pdf?fbclid=IwAR3B3D3qUXhrr22M-Xq0RcUmc1C4saKy_WyHPfKlr-DgccZDnVT-27T2ZNo

Since I was thinking she would be dead in the morning based on her coloration and activity, I figured I'd try something drastic.
I diluted a drop of oregano oil (83% carvacrol) in distilled water - I had made this dilute amount in July for something unrelated, so I'm not positive on exactly the dilution amount, but I believe it with something around 30-90 drops of water, probably closer to the 90. It still smells of oregano, but it doesn't burn when applied to skin.
I wish I had a better idea of my exact measurements on this one, sorry.
(I had done math with recommended drops [1-3 per day] and my weight versus the weight of 20 liters of water to figure out my dilution amount back then)

I then applied 1 drop to a small piece of algae tablet, and let the drop sit for about 30 seconds to absorb. I also did this in my hand because I wanted to make sure the oregano was dilute enough that it didn't cause any burning for me.
After that, I dropped it in the tank.
I also threw in about 5-8 flakes of oregano. Just in case my oregano dilution was too dilute.

On the 30th, the color of the splotches was lightening again, back to the rusty brown. She was still a bit sluggish, but she was out in the plants and grazing around more.

I added more oregano flakes on the 30th (about 10-15 this time around)
On the 31st, she looked much improved. The splotches seemed smaller to me. I thought I took a picture but cannot find it.
I once more fed a piece of oregano oil soaked algae wafer, and 5-8 oregano flakes.

Today, Nov 1st, all splotches are gone.



She is far more active today as well. I'm pretty hopeful at this point.

I'm not sure if it was the oregano or the peroxide or both. I am no vet. I have no idea if the oregano has damaged my beneficial bacteria, though no ammonia spike as of yet.

Edited by Urak
Forgot to add shrimp species involved in the testing document, grammatical clarity.
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That is amazing, and well done on healing your shrimp. There is no doubt that it has worked, either the peroxide or oregano or both.


Can you post a picture of the oregano oil and flakes please?


Did the shrimp eat the algae wafer? Was that the intention? Or is the algae wafer just used to hold the oil and release slowly in the water.?


Edited by jayc
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I was hoping she'd eat it, as the scientific study I found I think said they were mixing it into soy lecithin and sprinkling that into the whiteleg shrimps food source - but I was hoping it getting into the water column would be good enough. That is also why I'm still a little worried this can kill the beneficial bacteria in a tank.

The first time I placed it at the front of tank so I could see, but I never saw her eat it; she wasn't really moving off from her spot on the bottom of the sponge filter sponge that day.
It was gone in the morning, but there are snails in that tank so it could be possible she never got any.
The snails don't seem to be negatively affected in any way, but honestly these things are little tanks so not sure if that means anything 🙂

The second time she did munch on it, which was a huge relief. I was really glad to see her eating and grazing around the quarantine again. Right now she's cleaning the java fern, and while I'm still worried about her, I'm hopeful I can return her to the main tank in a week or so.


The oregano flakes are just plain old spice cabinet oregano. The oregano oil I used also has extra virgin olive oil (as a stabilizer I think). I know some use water and alcohol, not really sure which would be better. Picture attached of both.

When I get to return her to her home I'll make sure to update this thread with a final sigh of relief 🙂


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Thanks for that. This will be very helpful to many others. 

If you have no objections I'll add your story to the Diseases and Diagnostics post. 

You can now be featured in it.

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November 9th, final update: She's still alive and healthy looking, no recurrence of the disease 🙂

I was trying to get her back into the display tank, but it turns out she is a lot harder to catch when she's healthy, so all I've managed to do is uproot some plants. The small size of the "jarrarium" is working against me.
I'll get her back home in the next few days (Probably with a little baited trap, since she's no longer falling for the "Put net behind her and boop her snoot to make her jump backwards" thing.) but since that bit isn't quite important to the thread I'm thinking this can still be officially put to rest.
Thank you again for the help in identifying the issue 🙂

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28 minutes ago, Urak said:

so all I've managed to do is uproot some plants.


Congrats again for saving your shrimp.

I think I'm going to go sprinkle some oregano into my tanks as a preventative measure.


I've added your story to the "Diseases and Diagnostics" thread, if you want to go review it. Let me know if it needs a correction.


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I would add a minor clarification here:


The treatment was switched to using oregano oil after day 2. Oregano Oil (Carvacrol) diluted in distilled water at roughly one drop of Oregano oil to 90 drops of water (90 drops = roughly 4.5ml).

To say "Oregano Oil (83% Carvacrol)" - as lower concentrations of the oil will likely need less dilution.

Other than that I think it looks great, far clearer and organized than how I originally wrote it 🙂

Edited by Urak
I spelled oregano wrong >_>;;
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From what I read about Carvacrol and how portent it is on bacteria, I would say either the oregano oil in the food and in the water.

I will try it the next time I have sick shrimp.

If we have more confirmation from everyone, that would really help. 

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    • jayc
      Keep doing this, and feeding it the medicated food. If the shrimp doesn't eat the food within a day, remove it and feed new medicated food again the next day.   You sir, are a good candidate for an RO filter. Your shrimp are not going to like the hard water in the long term.
    • alkemist
      The shrimp is in a separate container, but it's been in there for a week or so now. I see it picking off the air stone and the sides of the tub. There is shrimp poop in the container, so it is eating, just not the food I give it. I suck out the detritus and excess food every couple of days and do small water change daily. At first I used tank water, since I don't run R/O. I use a combination of hard tap water with a little water ran through my water softener (I know it's a bit taboo to do). I don't know an exactly how to re-mineralize it to keep the shrimp from going into shock if I used straight clean tap water. I am starting to slowly remove the water from the tub and mixing it with direct tap water with the water softener on by-pass, so hopefully it can acclimate to full clean tap water. With the shrimp feeding, should I try to remove all visible signs of food and fast it for a couple days and then try again?
    • jayc
      Is the shrimp still in the main tank? Or have you moved it into a separate container? There should be no biofilm in a new container, and it should be hungry to want to eat the medicated algae wafer. It won't go away without treatment. The bacteria is not just on the shell (carapace), so moulting won't get rid of the bacteria.
    • alkemist
      I've tried to feed the shrimp food soaked in the oregano oil mixture (1 drop of oregano and 5 ml of water since it's 86% carvacrol). The shrimp seems to hate the taste of any food I put in there with the mixture. It goes off and tries to feed on anything but the medicated food. I don't have any other food in the tub and took all the floaters out but seems to be feeding on naturally growing biofilm now.. I'm not sure if I am seeing any results. Should the reddish brown spots go away on it's own or does the shrimp have to molt it off? I've noticed it's been scratching itself a lot.
    • alkemist
      Ok, thanks. I'll do that. Yes, I have the tub lightly aerated.
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