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My Neocardina dying one after another! Any advice??


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Hi! New here!

im looking for some advice as my neo’s keep dying off one at a time. 

details: purchased 2 breeder packs is Red Rili from Aquatic Arts. And a few assorted from the local fish store. Tank is planted/driftwood/almond leaf and fully cycled

chemicals used: brightwell shrimp prep, brightwell black water, Sechem Flourish

water parameters: 

KH 4

GH 20

TDS ranges from 600-700

PH 7.2

Ammonia 0

Nitrite 0

Nitrate 5ppm

I understand that my GH and TDS is high and this might be the cause. However I’m having a very difficult time reducing both of these. Unfortunately RO water isn’t accessible to me at the moment and my tap water measures very close to aquarium test results. 

any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated!! I do have a couple of females already berried. Would love to ensure the babies survival. 


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When you added the shrimp did you drip acclimate them over several hours?

Those GH and TDS figures are a bit extreme and adding sechem flourish will have increased the numbers I imagine! I think you need to have a think about your water. You could use bottled water? Or use RO water? RO water you can buy, or use a proper RO filter system, or, as I do, use a Zerowater filter jug (these are available worldwide, shops, amazon etc). Your extreme water will mean the filter won't last as long, my TDS is about 150 and each filter does around 100 litres, so it will depend on the volumes of water in the tanks and how often/size of water changes as to whether this is a better alternative to a full RO system? Using RO/Zerowater will mean you will need to remineralise so bear that in mind also.


Messing about with parameters this different may result in you losing some, if not all of the shrimp, but you should be set then for the next batch and the future, and you may get some of the current ones survive if you are careful/lucky?

edit, suddenly had a thought, depending on where you live, you may be able to collect rain water in a container outside???

Edited by sdlTBfanUK
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Thoughts on using distilled water if RO isn’t available? 

Currently living in LA, water is hard already. So I think the only way to get GH down consistently would be to use another water source. Not a whole lot of rain out here. 

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Yes, distilled water would be ok! Most bottled waters would be much better than your tap water as a starting source.

The zerowater filter jug is still probably your easiest bet being an American product and widely available where you live (walmart etc) and quite cheap! What size is your aquarium? It may even work if you can find the cheapest bottled water and put that through the zerowater to give you RO water, that way the filter should last a very long time as it only needs to remove the much lower tds from the bottled water. But if the bottled water only has a tds in low double digits then you can try using that without filtering it to RO as neocaridina shrimp aren't as difficult as caridina types.

Keep in mind of course that leaving your shrimp in the water they are currently in, they will probably all continue to die off, but also getting the water to the right parameters will also probably kill them as they are probably already very stressed and sick. If that happens then hold off getting more shrimp until you have fiully resolved the water issue and the next lot should be fine!

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Tank is 40 gallons


good news… no deaths since the original post. Fingers crossed this trend continues.

i was able to get the right water chemistry needed with a mix of tap and distilled. Plan going forward, Slowly lowering the TDS and GH in hopes of saving these little guys. Small increments at a time every 3-4 days with 5-10% water changes. Hoping to get the entire tank down to the right parameters over several weeks. 

Edited by Pklinge816
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Well done. good to hear you are starting towards getting the high GH and TDS under control.

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Very pleased to hear you haven't had any more deaths, just be aware though that it may happen until everything is settled with the water, but you can aim to prevent it as much as possible. My oldest tank has bloody mary (neocaridina) in it and I mix 50/50 tap water and filtered water, and have done 5+ years so your mixture option SHOULD work!

I'm  not sure if you are a numbers person or not, but if you do 5% water changes twice a week with the 50/50 mix you will be months, possibly even up to a year until you get the aquarium to where those parameters are where you want them. I would go for 10% each water change (and you could do that once a week) with 100% distilled water DRIPPED into the tank, the shrimps should be fine with this as this would happen in the wild as rain fall which is just water with low/nil TDS. Every subsequent change will actually reduce the difference less as the water you extract each time has a lower TDS than the previous water that was removed so doing too small but more often changes will actually take a LOT longer than I think you realise! Doing this method with pure distilled water of 10% aquarium capacity) should go,

starting aquarium tds 600 (est)

1st 10% change tank tds 540 (tds 10% lower than before, ie 600-60)

2nd 10% change tank tds 486 (tds 10% lower than before, ie 540-54)

3rd 10% change tank tds 438 (tds 10% lower than before, ie 486-48)

4th 10% change tank tds 394 (tds 10% lower than before, ie 438-44)

5th 10% change tank tds 354 (tds 10% lower than before, ie 394-40)

So after about a month/6 weeks you will be near enough there. Then maybe start changing with the 50/50 mix you propose. Hope this makes sense? Basically doing 5% twice a week will take forever as you are reducing the tds in such small increments each time, though if you feel happier doing it thay way it will work, just take a lot longer and involve extra work! These figures are unlikely to happen exactly the same as your tank of course, due to all the variables, but just show how it should roughly go.

Just for info, if you did one 50% (same quantity as above ie 5x10%) in one go obviously the tds would go from 600 to 300 (as opposed to 354 above), just so you can see how the smaller and more frequent the changes don't reduce the tds as much, though obviously with shrimp in the tank it wouldn't work doing one huge 50% change........ 

Sorry for the mega post, hope it makes sense though???

edit - just done other figures

10 changes of 5% with distilled water end Tds 360, so same time and water as above but twice as many changes. Not that much in it between mentioned and your original proposal so take you pick, dependant on how many changes you want to do and the water available, maybe better to do 3-4 day 5% distilled water changes?

10 changes of 5% with 50/50 tap water/distilled water end tds 466.

Edited by sdlTBfanUK
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