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New to Shrimp - Newly Arrived and They Keep Dying


reefj13
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Old to tanks of all sorts. New to freshwater shrimp. Set up a 125 planted tank recently. This week I ordered and added 80 blue dream and 80 amano. Had 1 blue dream DOA. Shrimp were drip acclimated over 4 hours after adding an ammonia detox to the containers. Everything seemed fine. Then the next morning 3 dead. Four more that evening after work. First 24 hours... okay. I overnight shipped shrimp cross country. Death total seems bad but maybe I can write it off as stress since water is good. Nope. Having 3-5 die a day over 4 days now. The water is stable.

pH - 7.0

Temperature - 72.5F

Ammonia/Nitrite - 0

Nitrate - ~5

KH - 2

GH - 6 to 7

The shrimp are eating. I see successful molts. No outward signs of disease. No water changes during this period of time. The morning 4 hours of CO2 diffusion was halted entirely after the first day of deaths. Behavior wise I've never had these guys before but they are largely sticking to the upper half of the tank, which seems odd. They are clustering on the top most java fern and even on the heater (the room gets cold so heaters were needed). Picture to show this heater clustering attached. I've used a laser and probe thermometer to ensure the water is in fact 72-73 in all zones, including next to the heater. Shrimp seem perfectly fine one moment and then I'll see a dead one front and center 30 minutes later. I'm grasping at straws now considering poisoning or lack of O2. Water circulation is via an Oase BioMaster 600 with a spray bar slightly above the water level to provide surface agitation. Filter only uses biological and mechanical filtration at this time. Should I add carbon? The only other animals in the tank are several dozen nerite snails which are fine. Plants are growing very aggressively even after stopping CO2 this week. There are API root tabs in the sand and dosed with Seachem Flourish in weeks prior, but not this week (did a series of large water changes prior to adding shrimp just in case). No other water additives. I am not knowingly adding aerosols or lotions or anything else to the water.

I'm very open to being an idiot and missing something obvious. Too many shrimp at once despite no rise in nitrogenous waste? Water is actually awful and I'm ignorant? All insight appreciated.

1496573648_ShrimponHeater.thumb.jpg.4593a13ec28ed9f6892d96990cc0f727.jpg

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Clustering like indicates they are trying to escape something in the water that is stressing them out.

I have a few questions ...

How did you cycle the tank? Please elaborate on the method you used to cycle the tank.

How old is the tank?

What sort of water did you use? Tap / RO ?

 

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Tank was cycled somewhat accidently via plants rotting. I planted very heavily and some did not make it. Ammonia was high for about a week. Nitrite high for about a week. Then after everything was stable for another ~2 weeks I ordered the shrimp.

Tank is slightly over a month old. Next Monday is week 6.

Tap water. Sadly I do not have a copper test kit. Did not consider RO until right around now. Used it previously in reef set ups but this is "just" plants.

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Copper poisoning is uncommon, unlikely to be the problem. Not impossible, but unlikely.

Have you got another tank that you can squeeze the filter gunk into this tank? 

I am leaning towards ammonia being the problem, despite your test results. If you can squeeze more beneficial bacteria into the tank using old filters from another tank, it should help boost the ammonia processing abilities in this tank. 

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I do not have another tank. This was my foray back into the hobby after a several year hiatus. I do have a bottle of brightwell brand bacterial starter that I never used. Can open that up if the idea of something is better than nothing. I wrote off ammonia due to the test results but there is absolutely something in the water slowly killing them. 

Despite not being a good idea from what I've read I am in the middle of a large (~75%) water change. Slowly adding water through a bucket that has a water conditioner drip. Figured if they are dying already then this was better than watching. The shrimp are responding very well in the first few minutes at least. They are all hanging out in the bottom half of the tank. Could be me being overly hopeful.

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33 minutes ago, reefj13 said:

Despite not being a good idea from what I've read I am in the middle of a large (~75%) water change. Slowly adding water through a bucket that has a water conditioner drip. Figured if they are dying already then this was better than watching. The shrimp are responding very well in the first few minutes at least. They are all hanging out in the bottom half of the tank. Could be me being overly hopeful.

Absolutely a good move. 

That was going to be my next suggestion. Add the bacterial starter as well. As you said something is better than nothing.

If you can, get some water now for testing at a Local Fish Store for a second opinion. 

 

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Thank you for the thoughts. It is already late here (almost 9pm now), but I can bring water for a second opinion tomorrow. They are now more spread out around the tank. The amanos in particular look much better. There are a cluster of ~10 neocaridina hiding behind the heater, but now the lower half. Improvement?

If we work under the theory of ammonia I'm going to be out all day and possibly night tomorrow visiting a friend. What are your thoughts on another water change in the morning before I leave for a day?

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Sorry to hear this! Shrimp huddling at the top is very unusual, it sounds like they are trying to get out as JayC states.

I assume you dechlorinated the tap water, sorry to ask but gotta tick every box ????????

You would be best not using CO2 or plant fertilizer with shrimp, the latter shouldn't be required anyway with livestock in the tank.

As a general rule I allow/expect to lose 10% by the end of the first month when ordering through the post, especially in a newly setup/running aquarium. I rarely lose as many when adding shrimps to a long running tank that already contains shrimps. Aside from this you seem to be doing the correct things. Bare in mind that if you do correct a problem that some will still die afterwards if they were weaked etc.

Try not to panic and/or do too much at this early stage as you could compound the problem!

Edited by sdlTBfanUK
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8 hours ago, reefj13 said:

What are your thoughts on another water change in the morning before I leave for a day?

Absolutely, especially if you are out the whole day.

 

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No problem with the obvious questions. I appreciate all feedback here. I would love this to be as simple as "did you plug in the t.v. sir?". I did dechlorinate the tap water. Have Shrimp Prep and Prime. Used Prime on the water change last night. I worked in a Local Fish Store for a decade prior to getting into animal health as a career. I like to think I have some idea what I'm doing, but confidence can be dangerous. I'm clearly mucking something up here.

It is now 7am and I do not see any newly deceased shrimp. That is a first so minor progress. However, the heater clumping behavior is back. It is not entirely concentrated on the top few inches as before, but I have at least 40 shrimp hanging out on the heater. It's hard to count them. Dropping my temperature probe around again confirms that the tank water is +/- 1F everywhere in the tank, so the heater love has me unnerved. The tank is absolutely full of plants. I'd feel better if they were hiding in the rotala forest, the repens bushes, anything that isn't that dang heater.

New set of at home tests have the water parameters the same as before. Nitrate might be closer to 0 as the orange tinge is almost absent now.

Time to do another water change I suppose. They really liked that last night.

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Sorry, just had to ask that obvious question so we can illiminate that! Next stupid question, are you doing a gradual water change using a dripper or similar when adding to the tank?

Did you get ALL the plants from a reputable source, they may have used pesticides at some point (especially if the plants were meant for aquascaping, without fish/shrimp etc), hence the shrimp keeping as far from them as possible? The water changes you are doing should remove any build up of fertilizers or other contaminants.

Hopefully the tank is settling now and the deaths will decrease, or even better, stop.

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I'll take all help! It's a 125 gallon (~470 liters) so it's not a dripper. It's a hose trickle over the course of about two hours. Added roughly a half gallon per minute. Hose fills bucket, which overflows into tank. Prime is set up to slowly drip into the bucket prior to entering the tank. The amanos bum rush the area the water is being added. Made me want to find a way to treat the water prior to entering the tank. These two water changes in the last 24 hours are the first two since the shrimp were added. Tap water is pretty great itself. Comes out at pH 7.0, KH 2, GH 6-7. Double dip on using a probe thermometer and a laser thermometer to keep new water temp from fluctuating more than a degree.

All plants were bought and added in one go. Same supplier I used for the shrimp - https://buceplant.com/. They refunded the first 12 deaths despite not being DOA. Went back and forth with their service e-mail on this and they didn't have any good ideas. Plants came with hitchhiker pond snails, which I did not self treat. Plenty of algae for now and excess snails is a future me problem. I feel pretty good about the source.

I'm leaning towards mystery contaminant that needs dilution. Heavy handed fertilizing before I had live stock to do it for me? Still have to go out and get a second opinion on my basic water testing after I clean up here.

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Only two dead after another day. Relative improvement. Second opinion on tank water agrees with my home tests for pH, ammonia, and nitrite. Store did not offer the other tests. Two new egg laden neocaridina females seen this morning. Baby shrimp in bottom right corner plant cover from neocaridina that arrived with eggs. Dozens of shrimp however still huddled on heater. I'm getting mixed messages. Added a heavy metal remover to the filter but that seems very very unlikely with baby shrimp still alive.

Plan is to go hands off for at least few days, preferably a week, to let current conditions ride out. Unless I get a different opinion on why I should continue doing water changes at this point.

Many thanks for the thoughts up to this point.

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6 hours ago, reefj13 said:

Plan is to go hands off for at least few days, preferably a week, to let current conditions ride out. Unless I get a different opinion on why I should continue doing water changes at this point.

Sounds like a plan. Fingers crossed.

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That is probably the best route, let the tank settle a bit.

It is still a bit odd that the shrimps are going to the heater though, I rarely see shrimps on my heaters?

Fabulous news that you have seen a baby shrimp, there are probably more in there somewhere.

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FWIW..I also lose a good 10% or more on shrimp thru the post.  Dunno this will help....and seems  you might have things turned around...but isn't 72 degrees a bit low?  Would explain why the collect around the heater...they want it warmer.  Also, generally I have found less is more with shrimp in terms of making changes.  Seems like what you have done already was needed and is helping...but when you start to see some stability....just leave it be for a good while.  

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Posted (edited)

Still losing 1-2 Neos per day. Only Neos. Amanos are all holding steady. Everyone has a good food response. No signs of disease but I'm hardly an expert there. Whatever is going on is killing the Neos and leaving Amanos and Snails unaffected. One day they look good. The next they are dead. Always happens with them getting less active for a period then death. I want to say molt issue, but I see lots of successful molts. Are post molting issues a thing? Still confused. Still not doing anything as I don't have anything else do to really. As far as I can tell things are good in there.

Temperature is the same as what they were being housed in at the dealer as per e-mails with them. They have also started to leave the heater so I'm figuring that is being used as a home base. A couple dozen can hide between the heater and the tank glass. It is a pretty safe spot.

Edited by reefj13
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What substrate did you use, I can only really see from the behaviour that that may be causing an/the issue, build up/release of too much fertilizers/minerals maybe. Probably worth doing another water change as its been a few days. Some substrates do have a run-in period as they can cause an ammonia spike or build up of minerals, though you ran it for 6 weeks so should have been ok I would have thought? The root tabs in the substrate may have made that worse as they will also be releasing minerals? Maybe do 2 water changes per week for now to dilute anything that may be accumulating in the water.

Did you see any routine, ie none die day after water change but then start dying again etc?

Have you seen any babies this week?

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Posted (edited)

Landen aquasoil and sand. I'm fairly confident it did leach some ammonia at the start (combined with a lot of plant litter decay), but the ammonia, GH, KH, and TDS have been steady all week with no input from me. I'll do a small change sometime today or tomorrow because it is the scheduled time, but I'm really battling my desire to fiddle nonstop without a reason. The rest of the tank is doing very well. Algae is slowly dying back, probably from the snails and amanos. Plants are growing great.

Only routine is 1-2 dead per 24 hours. Sometimes over night. Sometimes while I'm at work during the day. Also hard to gauge if less are dying because things are better or because there are less Neos to die... I'm well under half the initial population of 80 now. Happy thought right?

I still see 3 (the same ones?) in a certain cluster of S.repens. Haven't noticed any new ones anywhere else.

Edited by reefj13
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It sounds like the tank is settling well so it would be best not to mess with it too much for now and ride itoutfor a few weeks. If there was some sort of problem then I would expect some of the shrimps to be weakened but die a bit later soyou wwould get some still die. Hopefully that is what has happened and the deaths will decline and once they breed the numbers will bounce back nicely.

One other thing that you should bear in mind. Amano are much bigger than neocaridina and so not usually good tankmates as the Amanos will out compete the neocaridina in every aspect. The good thing with Amanos is they are easy to regulate the numbers as they don't breed in a normal aquarium setup. A few will usually be ok mixed together, and you have a large tank, but you may find you have too many Amanos (80 is a lot) competing with the neocaridina? You may need to try some shrimp food (baby) and bacter AE, the latter promotes biofilm growth rather than gets eaten! The fact that you haven't lost any Amanos and only neocaridina might indicate that that is part of the problem? 

Probably all you can do is give it another few weeks and see what happens and hopefully it will improve!

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Thank you for the positive spin. It is needed!

At this point it is likely around 60 Amanos, but I did not know about the competition issue so that's great info. I am feeding with bacter AE every other day. I have also tried some sinking protein pellets and blanched veggies (squash and cucumber so far). Only the snails seem interested in the pellets and veggies. The adult shrimp pick at them but then move about their days. I did not consider baby shrimp food so that sounds like a great idea. Should be able to pick some up tonight.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here is what I found about this.

Shrimps can live at temperatures as low as freezing. They can also withstand temperatures of up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. However, they thrive in the tropical temperature range of 75F-79F. To keep the 10 gallon tank steady, a modest 50W heater be suffice. Shrimp are quite hardy, but maintaining a consistent temperature and chemistry in a thoroughly cycled tank will yield the best results. They're also incredibly simple to breed, so you'll most likely wind up with a slew of them after a few months.

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So update. I got frustrated when a few more days of 1-2 deaths happened. I turned the CO2 back on for 3 hours in the morning. I started doing 25% water changes every other day to combat the staghorn algae that had arrived from the combination of lowered plant growth and increased shrimp feedings. I started dosing Flourish Excel at 1/2 suggested rate. I added 50 ember tetras and 20 pygmy cory cats. I added more plants. I installed a second canister filter because I did not like the low flow on one side of the tank. And more stuff I had been holding off on because of the seemingly frail shrimp.

I now have several egg laden females, ~10 sighted babies, and a seemingly growing neocaridina population. Maybe all the weak ones died from some mysterious disease? Guess it's possible. Ultimately, I'm moving on with the actual problem being a mystery.

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Thanks for the update!

It sounds like the tank has settled down nicely, sometimes that takes longer than our patience allows. The staghorn algae should also die off once everything is completely run-in and balanced. Its presents is an indicator that the tank isn't quite fully there/balanced/settled yet! Have the shrimps moved away from the heater now?

I also have a few ember tetras with my red cherry shrimp, it adds another dimension to the tank, though  they probably pick off a few of the shrimplets if/when they can! Shrimps are a lot more delicate than fish.

You shouldn't need the C02 or flourish excel, especially with the fish as well, but I understand if it is now going well you may not want to change anything. You may find these actually cause your plants to grow too quickly and result in you having to spend more time on maintenance/trimming etc.

All being well, the shrimp (neocaridina) should readily breed and you should soon be restocked!

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Yeah I've dealt with the staghorn before. It's a new tank so no surprises. There are only little tufts of it and I'll be damned if I let it get a foothold. The shrimp do still like the heater. Not as aggressively, but it is still one of their homes. There are clusters of ~15-20 shrimp of both types found in 4 different spots in the tank. The heater is one of them. The rest are plant thickets in the mid and lower tank. I'm going to ignore the heater love for now.

I do not *need* the CO2, but considering many of my Buce's and Swords have started flowering since it turned back on that is likely to stay as a morning 2-3 hour infusion. It's only 1 bubble every other second and the pH/KH are not dipping during these treatments. No adverse reactions yet. I'm happy to trim as that means nutrient export! The flourish excel will be discontinued fairly soon as things are back on track. I don't like dosing with it long term.

I'm assuming the occasional shrimplet picked off will be more than outpaced by their breeding soon enough!

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