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VLad22

I Understand the Why, but not the How - Bacteria Bloom (solved, Thanks!)

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VLad22

I'm going to update the main post with the info in case anyone comes across this in the future, saves reading the entire thread.

If you get a bacteria bloom in an established shrimp tank - think about O2 in addition to all the other parameters. Lethargic shrimp at the top of the tank and dead shrimp at the bottom in a bloom situation may be starved of O2. Aerate! 

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Hi,

So I had what appears to be a self inflicted bacteria bloom overnight, and about 150 adults/Sub adult Cherry Shrimp died out of around 250. My PH was 4.4 down from 7.0. Ammonia is <0.25, Nitrites & Nitrates 0. KH also 0. I can only assume that the deaths were attributed to either the PH or the lack of O2 and not directly to the bacteria bloom? Would any agree/disagree? And why is my PH so low? Is that because the bacteria will be producing loads of CO2? Or has an overnight surge of Ammonia caused a PH drop?

More details below but only for background info, I'm fairly certain of the bacteria bloom cause just unsure as to the mechanics involved.

Normal tank stats are PH of 7, 3GH and 3KH (But I'm constantly fighting KH, I have to monitor it as it reduces quickly).
2 Days ago I did a 30% w/c, and whilst I was at it I turned off the filter and used about 10ml of Hydrogen Peroxide to treat a little BBA. I've done this before no issues. Left the filter off for an hour and turned it back on.
Yesterday I bought some cucumber and added a slice to the tank. I also added 8x Oto's (tank is over a year old so well cycled).

Midnight last night just before the lights went off all was well, everyone happy. 8am this morning 100+ dead shrimp and milky water, staggeringly low PH of 4.4 (maybe even less, it was still dropping on the pen). So I figured that I've messed up by letting the Hydrogen Peroxide into the filter and killed the bacteria, which is the more likely cause, but I did wonder if the cucumber has pesticides which killed shrimp/caused an ammonia spike/caused a bacteria bloom.

I did a 50% water change but the PH was still under 5 (tap water is 8.2 here!) so I'm adding small doses of KH booster, less than 0.1PH/hour, it's now 5.3 and most of the remaining shrimp are happy again. Just a handful sitting around not doing a real much of anything. No Oto deaths.

Edited by VLad22
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jayc

150 deaths !

There were so many possible causes that it's hard to pin it on one cause or another. Maybe a combination of all of them.

I think the urgency now is to bring the tank back to normal parameters to minimise further deaths, rather than trying to figure out the cause. We might never be able find the cause.

How is the bacterial bloom now? is it under control? It's strange that the bloom occurred so quickly. 

I would keep up with the water changes. Another 50%, and gravel vac if you can. Treat the new water, and bring it to suitable parameters before adding it into the tank. The fact tat you are also registering ammonia is a concern. It is likely the hydrogen peroxide has killed off some bacteria. What % h2O2 did you use and how did you apply it? Spray bottle?

Continue the water changes until you get close to the original parameters.

 

<edit> On 2nd thoughts, I think we have to approach this issue with the mind set that it was the bacterial bloom that caused the issue. That sudden growth has probably consumed most of the oxygen in the tank, causing deaths to the shrimp and maybe the beneficial bacteria.

 A bacterial bloom consumes large amounts of oxygen from aquarium water, so make sure you have extra aeration going and the water surface is being broken either by air pump or filter return valve splashing above the water surface. As mentioned blooms occur because of a build up of organic material, so definitely gravel vac and rinse out filter media (not all media, leave some unwashed) in the old aquarium water. Remove any uneaten food and any dead leaves.

It would also be the bloom that cause the pH drop, both by release of lactic acid and consumption of oxygen leaving more CO2.

 

Edited by jayc
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VLad22
7 hours ago, jayc said:

 

There were so many possible causes that it's hard to pin it on one cause or another. Maybe a combination of all of them.

 

 

Yeah maybe, in hindsight I did think so many things changing at once could muddy the water. 

Left it at 7pm @ 5.8ph, came home at midnight PH was 5.4, woke up this morning PH was 4.6 and another 50-70 deaths. Still around 50+ alive but not happy, they are clumped on top of the filter. Which I think answers my original question - the water doesn't seem to be killing them directly but it's making them so unhappy they are leaving the water and suffocating. Never seen that, ever. I probably should have mentioned that the corpses pile up in a corner under the filter which is not naturally the way the current would deposit them, so that makes sense.

Now I'm in a cycle, deaths>more ammonia>poorer water quality>more deaths>repeat. I'm picking out 90% of the dead but some are just unreachable. I think I'll have enough pull through to build up the numbers again - counting shrimplets I now figure it's closer to 400 I had originally. 

Oto's still active... which is odd, never got them before and my understanding was they are sensitive as heck when you first introduce them.

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VLad22

So the PH is swinging wildly. KH is now 6 drops but PH is still dropping by 0.05 per hour. Still very little ammonia, it's halfway between 0 and 0.25ppm. 0 Nitrites, 0 Nitrates.

My tap water for some reason varies in PH from 7 up to 8.2. Even if it's at the lower end of 7 what's really odd is changing 5l of this 7+ PH clean water actually REDUCES the PH of the tank (???). There must be some reaction going on that I'm not seeing.

I think what's happened, from researching most of the day, is that I've uncycled the tank. Whilst ammonia is generally slightly base (7+ PH) the other processes going on when cycling a tank decrease the overall PH. Once you get as low as I have all the beneficial bacteria remaining will be killed, and as long as the PH remains low it will not cycle.

If that's right it doesn't explain why I have almost 0 ammonia... I'm going to leave it be and hope most of the remaining shrimp/Oto's (still going...) survive the cycling. I have a spare tank but I don't see the point of setting it up as it will also be uncycled.

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sdlTBfanUK

Sorry you are having this problem and it is beyond my experience to be of much help so hopefully JayC will be back to help you later.

A few things though. I only get the bloom you describe with a new tank so I suspect you messed up the cycle as you also suspect! Below PH of about 6 you get Ammonium instead of Ammonia. Ammonium is less harmful/toxic, but most tests I think measure both,  probably worth checking it measures both? I don't know how low the Ph can go with Ammonium though?

Do you know why you keep 'battling' with the Kh, are you using a soil buffering substrate? What size of tank is it?

I hope you manage to get this sorted quickly and enough shrimp survive that you can get another colony going!

Simon

 

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VLad22

Thanks for the replies, any input is helpful. I agree the cycle is messed up, and I've had worse blooms before but they weren't fatal, since I've seen very little ammonia I can only think the PH is the issue this time around.

I've slowly raised the PH slowly again to 6.3 (using Bicorbanate of Soda), not going any higher as - like you said - any ammonium will turn toxic. Plus I think it might be further stressing the shrimp to try artificially raise the PH. I'm using the API liquid ammonia test kit, not sure if this detects ammonium? Can't find any info online.

And no idea what's with my KH. Out of the tap it's 3 drops. But my tank just eats it... For the first 12 months I never saw a PH of less than 7.6 and a slow increase of KH. I left it a month and found it had a PH of 5.9 with 0KH. Since then I have to check every week and increase the KH back to 3 with a solution of white vinegar & BiSo, matched to the PH of the tank. No idea why that works as you'd have thought a they'd cancel each other out, but it does increase KH without increasing tank PH. If I forget, or don't check, I'll find 0KH and 6 PH. A PH of 6 is fine BUT with 0KH I get a massive swing throughout the day/night cycle, probably due to photosynthesis?

It's a 125l, with medium plantage, inert substrate, pieces of cuttlebone (for calcium) and a piece of driftwood. It did occur to me that maybe the plants are using the KH as I don't use CO2 but its manageable for the most part.

 

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VLad22

20200312_152438.thumb.jpg.bc3665d2e1f36f0b5049bf18c145ac56.jpgThis is the tank... Haven't quite rid of all the dead shrimp yet. The small filter is from my (still cycled) 1 gallon cull tank. Haven't moved them into the cull tank as I think it would cause more harm than good. I have a bucket of shrimp, if they survive in the bucket overnight I'll get more buckets going and move as many out as I can.

20200312_152450.thumb.jpg.c4e27934d925dff21a922be9853f6974.jpgLiterally every live shrimp in the tank is in this picture. It's a 6 month old colony. I honestly didn't realise I had so many before I was counting the corpses I was removing. There are even some day old shrimplets around.
 


These shrimp are normally bold, never skittish (I can net them 99% first time), being in a species only tank and used to people walking past/looking in so they being scared is unusual. I've had to manage the water level as they keep beeching themselves. If you scatter them within less than 30 seconds they climb back to the highest point trying to escape. 

Edited by VLad22
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sdlTBfanUK

The API liquid test does do both NH3 and NH4!

Thanks for the photos. I see what you were saying about the shrimps all grouped together!

I know that Kh0 will mean that the Ph can fluctuate badly and cherry shrimp do better with some Kh, but I can't see anything obvious to me that would be absorbing/reducing the Kh?

Fingers crossed the remaining shrimp survive the night and JayC will probably be on here later and may be able to advise you more then?

Simon

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kms

Here is my take, when you do water change, how do you add water to the tank, the best way is to do drip water, and when you added Hydrogen Peroxide, you need to have to filter on, all medication added to tank will reduce oxygen, so a filter needs to be on, what is the temperature, seeing the video, it isn't normal, shrimps don't scatter at the top of the tank, could be lack of oxygen.

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VLad22
43 minutes ago, sdlTBfanUK said:

I know that Kh0 will mean that the Ph can fluctuate badly and cherry shrimp do better with some Kh, but I can't see anything obvious to me that would be absorbing/reducing the Kh?

 

I can't understand either. Loosing 1 or 2 kh a week is "normal" for me, but over 6 hours today it's gone from 6 drops to 4. They only seem to be dying overnight when the PH goes under again - presumably from the plants releasing CO2 (along with my other problems). I'm going to move them out I think.

 

 

40 minutes ago, kms said:

Here is my take, when you do water change, how do you add water to the tank, the best way is to do drip water, and when you added Hydrogen Peroxide, you need to have to filter on, all medication added to tank will reduce oxygen, so a filter needs to be on, what is the temperature, seeing the video, it isn't normal, shrimps don't scatter at the top of the tank, could be lack of oxygen.

I fill 5l bottles from the cold tap and either leave them overnight or, in an emergency, set them in hot water to warm up. Then add some dechlorinator and I have a water pump in my hood that moves ~500ml per minute through an airstone buried in the tank.

I get what you mean RE medication but I don't believe it's true for Hydrogen Peroxide. It's not a medication, it's an oxidiser and breaks down organic matter (including friendly bacteria in the filter). I used a syringe to spot treat some BBA. I've never had issues doing this and leaving the filter off for an hour + doing a water change but just because it's worked before doesn't mean it always will!

Temp is 22c,  but yeah it's possible that lack of O2 is a possible cause as maybe the bacteria bloom is using all the O2... Nothing I can do to test the amount of O2 unfortunately. At night a valve opens which injects air into the stream using the venturi port on the filter outlet so it should be helping any O2 issues.

Edit: The shrimp in the bucket are now doing the same thing, trying to climb out, and I've slowly added 80% it's volume in fresh water over the day. So perhaps, in addition to the bloom, there's something in my tap water?

Edited by VLad22
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kms

Try to get a RO or a cheaper version Zerowater, dechlorinator for water may contain chemical not suitable for shrimps, water kept overnight won't help with shrimps.

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VLad22


Less than 30 minutes after turning the air up to 11... 

So in short it appears I've uncycled my tank completely, which we'd already established. The difference between this and a brand new tank is that I've also got a load of organic matter in, which most new tanks won't.

The new cycle has caused a PH drop, and the bacteria bloom has used up so much oxygen the shrimp were suffocating. The PH drop isn't ideal but it seems the oxygen (lack thereof) was the killer.

As I said I have seen shrimp unhappy with the water params, most often PH swings, and they tend to swim (fast) to where they think the water current is coming from (ie upstream - probably their instinct from wild). This was different... never seen them throw themselves completely out of the water and hang half in, half out the water, not moving. So there's two different reactions for two different problems.

I'm glad they are back to being aquatic rather than semi-submersible. Fingers crossed no deaths tonight.

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VLad22
17 hours ago, jayc said:

 

 

<edit> On 2nd thoughts, I think we have to approach this issue with the mind set that it was the bacterial bloom that caused the issue. That sudden growth has probably consumed most of the oxygen in the tank, causing deaths to the shrimp and maybe the beneficial bacteria.

 A bacterial bloom consumes large amounts of oxygen from aquarium water, so make sure you have extra aeration going and the water surface is being broken either by air pump or filter return valve splashing above the water surface. As mentioned blooms occur because of a build up of organic material, so definitely gravel vac and rinse out filter media (not all media, leave some unwashed) in the old aquarium water. Remove any uneaten food and any dead leaves.

It would also be the bloom that cause the pH drop, both by release of lactic acid and consumption of oxygen leaving more CO2.

 

Oh man, I didn't see the edit until now! Spot on, on all accounts. Thanks for the info, shame I'd come to the same conclusion without seeing this. But I think really the damage has already been done, so even if I'd read this when posted I wouldn't have lost any fewer shrimp.

I still have a good 100 or so, and a dozen are still berried., so they'll bounce back in a couple of months. This is the strongest, most resilient colony I've ever had, so fingers crossed no more mistakes! 

Thanks to everyone for offering suggestions.

Edited by VLad22
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sdlTBfanUK

They looked much happier in the video so I am pleased you have got to the bottom of it and hopefully most that you have now will survive! They have a great colour. You will likely still lose the odd one I expect just down to what they have been through and the stress etc!

Simon

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kms

A lot better, at least they are not after air at the top of the tank.

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