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Myola

Help! What's killing my CRS?

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Myola

For about 2 months now I've been losing one or two of my CRS every day. Tank has been running for about a year and initially everything was normal and they were breeding well. Then I started noticing the odd unexplained death, then it became more frequent, now it's every day. Parameters are: pH 5.5, GH 4, KH 0-1, Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 5, TDS 120 Temp 22C. What's left of the colony are fed 2 - 3 times a week on a variety of quality foods including blanched zucchini, blanched mulberry leaves, HWA bacterium, frozen bloodworm and a few foods I've bought from breeders who make their own. They only get a tiny amount and it's usually gone within a couple of hours. Tank maintenance includes once weekly 10% water changes and the water I use is rainwater that I run through the RO and remineralised with GH+ liquid. I have two other caridina tanks - one with tang tigers who are breeding like mad. I never have deaths in that tank and it's got almost the same parameters just the GH is 5 instead of 4. The other tank is for blue bolts, mosuras, pandas and shadow pandas. I don't lose any shrimp in that tank either, BUT they aren't breeding. I think I'll have to start another thread for that issue though.

I'm careful to clean any equipment used in one tank before I use it in another so that I'm not cross-contaminating. The shrimp seem perfectly normal until they fall over and die. They did stop breeding a couple of months ago so my colony is getting smaller by the day. The tank has the usual shrimpy stuff - IAL, alder cones, cholla wood. Substrate is Amazonia II. Below is a photo of one of today's victims. I have a video of it in the throes of dying too, but can't seem to upload it. It just shows the shrimp on its back and its little legs kind of spasming. Is anyone able give me any idea what my shrimp are succumbing to? Muscular necrosis perhaps? Thanks in advance.

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Edited by Myola
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sdlTBfanUK

Sorry to hear you are having a problem with one tank.

Regarding the breeding stopping, that may be as it is winter with the taiwan bee shrimp where you are so I wouldn't worry about that unduly unless it carries on after winter? It onl seems to happen with Taiwan bees and I had this happen and have seen you tube videos and heard it happens with others (not everyone though oddly).

The main problem tank, I can't see anything that looks a problem at first glance and as you are running other tanks the same way it must be something specific to the tank. Are all the tanks kept together in the same area? Have you put anything wood/new etc new in the tank that may have been contaminated with pesticides that is slowly poisoning the tank etc? Anything you can list as tank specific may help give us a clue. Are the vegetables you feed ORGANIC (though if you use the same for all the tanks it is unlikely to be that)? The simptoms do sound as though it may be some kind of toxic poisoning! The picture is a lovely shrimp and I can't see anything obviously wrong with it.

I had a similar experience with my last shrimp tank so I know how frustrating it can be to pin point the problem!

Simon

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jayc

How are you measuring pH that low? PH meter or liquid test kit?

And is that colour normal on the shrimp pictured above?

You said, this problem tank is about a year old. How old are your other tanks?

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Myola

Hi Simon,

Thanks for your reply. I really hope you guys can help me, and more importantly, my shrimpies.

6 hours ago, sdlTBfanUK said:

Are all the tanks kept together in the same area? 

Yes, they are in the same room right next to each other. It's my shrimp room - neos on one side, caridinas on the other. I live in a really hot place so run a/c most of the year. Here's a picture of my 3 caridina tanks having a water change. The CRS tank is closest to the camera.

6 hours ago, sdlTBfanUK said:

Have you put anything wood/new etc new in the tank that may have been contaminated with pesticides that is slowly poisoning the tank etc? Anything you can list as tank specific may help give us a clue. Are the vegetables you feed ORGANIC (though if you use the same for all the tanks it is unlikely to be that)?

Yes, in the 'problem' tank there were, until last Tuesday, 2 pieces of charcoal bamboo. I wondered if they might have been causing the problem so I've taken them out now. The only other difference is that that tank has a sponge filter and a pat mini as I didn't think there was enough circulation and that may have been causing the problems. It's been running for about 6 weeks and was new when it went in. I've got it on a very low setting though as they can be a bit rough especially on shrimplets. The vegetables are always certified organic and I grow my own IAL (I live in the tropics) and mulberry. Cholla and alder cones are purchased but they go into all the tanks (including my neos which are breeding like mad). Do you think it might have been the charcoal bamboo?

Cheers 

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Myola

Hi Jayc,

26 minutes ago, jayc said:

How are you measuring pH that low? PH meter or liquid test kit?

I use Sera liquid test kits for most parameters except ammonia. For ammonia I use the traditional API liquid kit just because I haven't bought a Sera one yet. 

 

30 minutes ago, jayc said:

And is that colour normal on the shrimp pictured above?

Yes, I think so. That one was a wine red so it was quite dark. The photo was taken about 30 mins after it died and I know it seems blotchy but I think that might be the flash on the camera as to the naked eye the colour seemed solid.

32 minutes ago, jayc said:

You said, this problem tank is about a year old. How old are your other tanks?

All the tanks were set up around the same time. The tang tank is now about 15 months old, the CRS about 13 months and the blue bolt etc about 11 months old. The substrate is all out of the same bag. They were all started with SeaChem Stability, then cycled for a couple of weeks until water tests revealed that they were cycled and ready to go.

 

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sdlTBfanUK

Looking at your great set up and from what we hear so far it is almost certainly something specific to this tank so removing anything that is different from the others is a good way to start. If it were that something was poisoning the shrimps by releasing something (pesticide etc) into the water you would expect that to gradually get worse as the poison level gets higher over time, and that sounds that that is what has happened! By removing the source (though we don't know what that is at the moment) there may still be some that the substrate has absorbed of course?

Were the shrimp deaths all in one area of the tank (clutching at straws) and was that near the bamboo?

I would remove anything that is different from the other tanks as a tester.

Did you see a cycle on the tanks, I have never seen one on my tanks with a PH as low as yours/mine (PH 5 - 5.5)? I'm just interested as with a low PH (below 6) ammonia is the less toxic ammonium from my research. I doubt this is relevant to your problem though!

Simon

ps. As I say I had the same problem and was down to 1 red bolt (I think that died in our heatwave in the past week) just before lockdown but I have put fish in that tank for now, 10 chilli rasbora, 1 killi. I will try shrimp again when (IF) the post gets back to normal. I never did get to the bottom of what the problem was in my tank though in all honesty! Your tank looks same as mine, as does the light.

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jayc
9 hours ago, Myola said:

I know it seems blotchy but I think that might be the flash on the camera as to the naked eye the colour seemed solid.

It certainly has a weird colouration.

At the moment, all I can suggest is removing the cholla wood and alder cones. Just as a precaution.

I would also do a large water change, just in case there are any toxins that can be removed. 80 - 90% water change if you can manage it.

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Myola
17 hours ago, sdlTBfanUK said:

Were the shrimp deaths all in one area of the tank (clutching at straws) and was that near the bamboo?

No, not really. They were pretty much all around the tank, not in one particular place.

17 hours ago, sdlTBfanUK said:

Did you see a cycle on the tanks, I have never seen one on my tanks with a PH as low as yours/mine (PH 5 - 5.5)? I'm just interested as with a low PH (below 6) ammonia is the less toxic ammonium from my research. I doubt this is relevant to your problem though!

Yes, there was a cycle. When first set up the pH was around 6. I watched the ammonia go up, then drop as the nitrite went up. Then it dropped and the nitrate went up and dropped. I then did 50% water changes every 2nd day until nitrate was around 5ppm. Had a little ammonia rise when I put a tiny bit more substrate in but other than that, it's been stable. 

 

16 hours ago, jayc said:

It certainly has a weird colouration.

At the moment, all I can suggest is removing the cholla wood and alder cones. Just as a precaution.

I would also do a large water change, just in case there are any toxins that can be removed. 80 - 90% water change if you can manage it.

I agree Jayc, the colour looks weird in the photo. Any thoughts on that?

In the past 3 days since first posting this thread, I haven't lost any shrimp so perhaps it was the charcoal bamboo! If any more die though I'll do the 80% water change. Perhaps it was the charcoal bamboo!?

Cheers

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beanbag

carbon products can release phosphates

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sdlTBfanUK

I have my fingers crossed you are now sorted. You may lose an odd one now and again until everything settles down so don't panic too much if that happens!

Please keep us updated.

Simon

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Myola

Hi guys,

4 hours ago, beanbag said:

carbon products can release phosphates

I'm guessing phosphates are bad for shrimp?? I'm keen to learn so any more info you can give me about this would be great!

1 hour ago, sdlTBfanUK said:

I have my fingers crossed you are now sorted. You may lose an odd one now and again until everything settles down so don't panic too much if that happens!

Please keep us updated.

Yes Simon, I've got my fingers crossed too. I'm tentatively hopeful and I will certainly let you know what happens. Thanks for your input, it's always appreciated, and it's great to know that there are people out there who can and do help when we have problems. That goes for you too Jayc.

Cheers guys

 

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jayc
5 hours ago, Myola said:

the colour looks weird in the photo. Any thoughts on that?

I don't want to jump to conclusions without additional evidence.

But the photo seems to show traits of bacteria attacking the carapace (shell) of the shrimp. Like Chitinolytic bacterial disease (Rust disease). I'm not saying it 100% is Chitinolytic bacterial disease. Just keep an eye on the surviving shrimps. Check for any that might have these darkening spots on the exterior.

You can read more about it here on our forum ...

 

Avoid transfer of water or decorations between tanks. Don't share nets or tools between tanks. Just in case.

It can be harder to spot on dark coloured shrimp, a torchlight can help spot discolourations.

If you see any that have it, I suggest an immediate tank rebuild with new substrate. Move any shrimps into a temporary container/tank while rebuilding the main tank. This all assumes it is Chitinolytic bacterial disease, but like I said, i don't want to jump to that conclusion yet, not until you find more shrimps with the same dark spots on their shell.

Full tank rebuild is the first step. If it continues after a full rebuild, then you might have to go to using one of the remedies in the Disease and Diagnostics thread posted above.

Possible causes of Chitinolytic bacterial disease? It's unproven ... yet. I don't have the tools to determine how the shrimps get this bacterial infection. And I am not going to subject my shrimps to an experiment even if I have unproven theories.

However, my unproven theories revolve around :

  • the use of bacteria in a bottle products. They are not all the right Nitrobacter or Nitrosomonas bacteria in those bottles. 
  • pH too low. That's why I asked what kit you use. Sera pH test kit goes down as low as 4.5. But some kits don't go that low, and the real pH reading could be a lot lower than the minimum reading the kit is capable of. Even your 5.5 pH could be too low. It would not hurt the shrimp if you move your pH to 6.0. That might be something to try.
  • Temps too hot.

You have 2 out of the 3 points. Your temps seem to be okay at 23degC.

So maybe lay off the bacteria products, and raise pH a little, and water changes! Don't be slack with water changes.

 

Edited by jayc
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Myola
On 8/16/2020 at 5:47 PM, jayc said:

Check for any that might have these darkening spots on the exterior.

Unfortunately I did what you suggested and this is what I found 😞

I'm gutted. 

 

 

 

 

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jayc

Oh no. That is chitinolytic disease.

Read up on it in the link.

Start a water change.

Raise pH to 6.0.

Go to your local health food shop, and look for Oregano oil.

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Myola
11 hours ago, jayc said:

Oh no. That is chitinolytic disease.

Hi guys,

I took those photos 36 hours ago and I've only been able to step foot in my shrimp room about 30 minutes ago because I just couldn't face it. There are more dead 😞 

OK, I've got my big girl pants on now and ready for the battle. I just hope I can turn this around before the remaining 16 succumb too.

11 hours ago, jayc said:

Start a water change.

You reckon 80 - 90% Jayc? Is that going to remove enough of the bacteria? If I had a hospital tank I reckon I'd be moving them over to be able to re-build their current tank, but unfortunately I don't have that option available.

11 hours ago, jayc said:

Raise pH to 6.0.

OK, this is where it gets tricky. I'm using water from our water tanks that is mostly rain water with a bit of bore water added in. The minerals in the bore fluctuate so I run the water through the RO filter before using it, then remineralise. That way I'm getting consistent water from a source that can be wildly different week to week. Once remineralised it always has a pH of 5.5. I've tried lifting it with bicarb in the past but without success. How I've done it is to set up a bucket of remin RO water then added the bicarb until I reached a pH of 6, but overnight the pH has dropped back to 5.5 again. I even went out and bought fresh bicarb but same thing. I will just point out here that the water never made it into the tank as I couldn't see the point of putting in water that was the same pH as what I started with. Would it make any difference if I put it in the tank anyway, or maybe I should start dripping the water in immediately and not have left it overnight?? What am I doing wrong? Please, just tell me how to do it.

 

11 hours ago, jayc said:

Go to your local health food shop, and look for Oregano oil.

Any particular brand? How much will I need? How much and how frequently do I apply it?

Thanks in advance.

 

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jayc
1 hour ago, Myola said:

You reckon 80 - 90%

Yes. But you don't have to refill the tank full. 

1 hour ago, Myola said:

Is that going to remove enough of the bacteria?

It's not going to remove all the bacteria. But it will help the shrimp a bit. We need to knock the chitinolytic bacteria for 6 after a water change. 

 

1 hour ago, Myola said:

If I had a hospital tank I reckon I'd be moving them over to be able to re-build their current tank, but unfortunately I don't have that option available.

Even a plastic bucket with an air stone is enough for a hospital tank. Just don't use one that has had chemicals in it for cleaning your house.

 

1 hour ago, Myola said:

How I've done it is to set up a bucket of remin RO water then added the bicarb until I reached a pH of 6, but overnight the pH has dropped back to 5.5 again.

I hear ya. If you can get to Bunnings, pick up a small bag of Potassium sulphate (potash). That will help raise pH and keep it there. Only a little potassium is needed. 

 

1 hour ago, Myola said:

Any particular brand? How much will I need? How much and how frequently do I apply it?

Any brand, just make sure it's not in capsule/tablet/pill form. You want the oil.

And make sure it's not the essential oil stuff, which have additives. You want the pure carvacrol oil 80% or above.

Re-Read the Disease and Diagnostics post carefully. Details are all there. 

 

Oergano oil is powerful stuff, a very effective antibacterial. Too much will harm the shrimps. 

Oregano Oil (Carvacrol 83%) diluted in distilled / tankwater at roughly one drop of Oregano oil to 90 drops of water.

Add this to food for the shrimp.

https://solutions4health.com.au/product/50ml-bottle-oil-of-wild-oregano-black-seed-oil/

Edited by jayc
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beanbag
On 8/18/2020 at 2:14 AM, Myola said:

OK, this is where it gets tricky. I'm using water from our water tanks that is mostly rain water with a bit of bore water added in. The minerals in the bore fluctuate so I run the water through the RO filter before using it, then remineralise. That way I'm getting consistent water from a source that can be wildly different week to week. Once remineralised it always has a pH of 5.5. I've tried lifting it with bicarb in the past but without success. How I've done it is to set up a bucket of remin RO water then added the bicarb until I reached a pH of 6, but overnight the pH has dropped back to 5.5 again. I even went out and bought fresh bicarb but same thing. I will just point out here that the water never made it into the tank as I couldn't see the point of putting in water that was the same pH as what I started with. Would it make any difference if I put it in the tank anyway, or maybe I should start dripping the water in immediately and not have left it overnight?? What am I doing wrong? Please, just tell me how to do it.

You are doing something wrong because pure RO water has no buffering capability, i.e. no ability to hold a pH value against adding other chemicals.  If you remineralize with GH only, usually those chemicals will put the pH in the low 6's.  Even then, the ionic strength is weak, which means that most pH tests are invalid anyways.

if you add small amounts of bicarb, which is a buffer, then the pH should rise.  With that being said, KH for CRS should be lower than 2 max.

There is another thread on this site from Steen and his 17 gallon tank where he also fights this bacterial disease.  There is a whole lot of drama, but in the end, I think what worked was H2O2 (nuke the bacteria), water change (remove the bacteria) and Dr Tim's All-in-One (add back new bacteria).  I am not sure how the last step helped, but ok whatever.

Be careful not to overdose with the oregano oil and go in little steps at a time. 

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Myola
On 8/21/2020 at 9:11 AM, beanbag said:

You are doing something wrong because pure RO water has no buffering capability, i.e. no ability to hold a pH value against adding other chemicals.  If you remineralize with GH only, usually those chemicals will put the pH in the low 6's.  Even then, the ionic strength is weak, which means that most pH tests are invalid anyways.

if you add small amounts of bicarb, which is a buffer, then the pH should rise.  With that being said, KH for CRS should be lower than 2 max.

I don't have the chemistry knowledge that you seem to have Beanbag, but I can read the results of a pH test. I've used both the Fluval wide range kit and the previously mentioned Sera pH kit, and both gave the same the result - 5.5. I use a liquid GH remineralizer now, but have used Salty Shrimp in the past. I have never been able to get my pH above 5.5 for any length of time so I have no idea what I could possibly be doing wrong. I am simply telling you my experience with my water. Since reading your post some weeks ago now, I've again tried to lift my pH using bi-carb and again it dropped back to 5.5 over night. I've since bought some potash from the hardware store and this is working so I'll stick to that. 

But now for an update on the chitinolytic disease. I read up on the disease and treatment and did the best I could to follow all the steps but unfortunately it was all in vain. The last of the colony died yesterday. We fought hard but lost the battle. If nothing else it has taught me to pay attention to unexpected deaths and not to take short cuts when setting up a tank. I've also learnt how (finally) to raise my pH after battling with acidic water for several years.

My question now is how do I sterilise everything in the tank so that I can start again? I'm guessing the substrate needs to go in the bin but what about the sponge filter, rocks, plants, glass etc...?

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jayc
3 hours ago, Myola said:

My question now is how do I sterilise everything in the tank so that I can start again? I'm guessing the substrate needs to go in the bin but what about the sponge filter, rocks, plants, glass etc...?

Boil anything that can stand the heat. Like rocks and sponge.

Throw out the plants.

Plastic parts of the filter and the glass of the tank should be washed in 5 parts water: 1 part bleach. And rinsed thoroughly and let dry in the sun.

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