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Tiny bugs inside shrimp molt shell


beanbag

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Hello folks,
I remember reading about this a few years ago but for the life of me cannot find this info / thread again.
Can somebody point me to a link for this info? I forgot the forum I saw it on.
There was a discussion about how if you look at a shrimp molt shell under a microscope or loupe, sometimes you can see tiny "bugs" or whatever moving around inside.
At that time, I think the conclusion was that maybe it was a symbiotic relationship because it even happened with healthy shrimp.
But I can't remember if this occurred only in neocaridina or caridina also?

I just happened to look at a shadow panda's (caridina) shell who is sick with the "shortened antenna disease" that I always complained about. There were tiny blue/black spots moving around inside.  I also looked at the molt shells of some blue bolts that don't have this problem, and there were very few, or none, spots moving around inside the molt shell.
I wonder if this could be some symbiotic relationship gone wrong and is the actual (proximate) cause of the problem.  (Since antibiotics didn't really seem to work)
In that case, I would need some kind of anti-parasite medication to cure the shrimps.  What are the typical internal anti-parasite medications for shrimps?

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Sorry for the delay, I have been searching on here and the wider web but cannot find what you are referring too! I do know which video you are talking about and remember seeing it. The video was of a shed shell rather than a live shrimp! Are you seeing them on live shrimp?

From memory I don't think it was anything to worry about and I very much doubt it would discriminate between different colours of shrimp, but was probably nothing to worry about and just part of the life in aquariums, like detritus worms and other life forms. I think they were colourless in the video, if my memory is any good?

Are you still getting shadow panda deaths?

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yes, it's the shed shells.

now that I think about it, I also remember in the video the bugs were clear, and I have seen clear ones before too, a long time ago.  But these recent ones were dark colored.

So I have two tanks.  In one of them, where I normally have this problem, I have been dosing antibiotics.  The short version is that most of the shadow panda and RWP shrimp have got this disease, but they haven't died either.  But they don't recover either.  They just simply stop growing and stay at a small size with stumpy short antenna.  The first shadow panda that got this problem is still alive maybe 2-3 months later.

In my other tank which often doesn't have this problem also got it, but it seems to have hit harder, where both "almost adult" shadow panda suddenly got it and died within a few days.  Antibiotics didn't save them.  It's too weird - it seems like this problem comes on suddenly, with no trigger that I can think of.  (besides "the weather was warm and I ran the air conditioned".  This doesn't actually affect the water temperatures since I have a chiller, but maybe something blew into the tank?)

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Just to update:  I checked some molt shells of some blue bolts and golden bee that don't have this short antenna problem - no bugs

I check an old, adult RWP in the tank which currently has this problem.  It's antenna are still long, but seems "unhappy" and not eating ever since this last molt - lots of bugs in shell, plus molt shell has a red tint to it.  May be some sign of sickness, as usually my RWP molt shells are perfectly clear.

I'm thinking I need some kind of anti-(internal?)parasite med to treat this.  Any suggestions? 

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12 hours ago, beanbag said:

Any suggestions? 

You are into experimental territory now. 

There are lots of meds for ich, lice, anchor worm, etc. 

This parasite might be internal (within the body), and any meds designed for external application might not work. An unfortunately, any meds designed for internal parasites are targeting worms, which might also be ineffective against this parasite.

Be careful that these meds don't affect your shrimp as well.

Edited by jayc
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  • 1 month later...

I looked at a molt shell for an affected shrimp under a microscope:

https://imgur.com/a/9spPMjj

It was full of these little moving bugs, so I'm inclined to blame my shrimp disease on this.  These bugs are maybe 20 micron or less in diameter and can swim around 0.5mm per second or so if they leave the shell.  I think this is too large to be a bacteria. They only seem to live for about 12 hours or so, or else maybe they all leave the shell after that time because I can't see them any more.  I know this isn't a great image to go on, but to get higher magnification I'd need to resort to better microscopy technique next time I can find a molt shell from an infected shrimp.

I'll either need to find the right med to nuke them, or make the tank conditions more unfavorable for them, or maybe make the shrimp more resistant by feeding some kind of immune boosting foods? I tried adding planaria zero (bettel nut extract) and it didn't seem to affect them after 2 hours.  Somebody also suggested fenbendazole, but that seems to be aimed more towards worm-like things.

P.S.  Can somebody who is good at forum stuff embed this link so that the video shows up in this post?

Edited by beanbag
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I'm impressed you managed to get a short video of this bug.

What part of the shrimp's molt is it swimming in?

 

I think we are limited by the forum tools. I can't get the video embedded properly.

Edited by jayc
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Yeah, I was basically holding up a cell phone to the eyepiece of a stereomicroscope and using a flashlight for side illumination.

Generally the bugs are in the head area of the shrimp such as rostrum, antenna, etc.  This one was in one of the smaller nose antenna.

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1 hour ago, beanbag said:

This one was in one of the smaller nose antenna.

Thanks. That gives me an indication of the size.

Freaking tiny in other words!

Edited by jayc
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Thar bug looks like the ones on the other video we discussed! I.m not convinced these bugs are a problem? They are so mictoscopic (and clear) I doubt most people would even see them unless specifically looking for them with special equipment.

I couldn't work out how to get the video in the post either? Do you have it as a 'gif' as that would/should work.

Are you losing shrimps in bulk or is this about the short antenae problem? Have you bought any new shrimps etc?

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Like I mentioned earlier, it's taking out the RWP and Shadow Panda but leaves the Blue Bolts and Golden Bee alone.

I have no more Shadow Panda left and only 2 RWP.  Maybe about 40-50 Blue Bolt and Golden Bee which are otherwise thriving.

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I'm really pleased to hear that the golden bee and blue bolts are doing well, so at least there is some success! It may be that the other variants weren't very healthy stock from the beginning. I guess the 2 remaining RWP may perish soon as well, but that may be a good thing at this point so you can have a fresh start with some new stock (ftom a different supplier than the RWP or shadow panda came from before) after a period of time?

If the blue bolts and golden bee cross breed you may get some other interesting variants as well, depending on the genes they are carrying?

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Does anybody have any idea what these bugs are, or what they are called? 

That might be our first step to combatting them.

 

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  • 11 months later...

several months later update:

Somebody mentioned to try praziquantel as it is shrimp safe and is intended for "things larger than bacteria, but not crustaceans".  All I can say is that in a test dish, with a shrimp molt shell which has these bugs, a dose (I forgot how much) does not seem to have an initial effect, but eventually all movement stops after about 3 hours.  (normally I can still see movement 12 hrs later without treatment)  A fellow copepod that was also in the test dish seemed unaffected, so that's good.  They also mentioned metronidazole, which is anti-protozoa, but it's unclear if that's shrimp safe.  Maybe an experiment for later...

Well anyway I mention this because now I see some Golden Bee shrimp with the short antennae and lethargic behavior.  (Tank has some new problems, will discuss in a different thread)  I did a half dose once, and unfortunately a molt shell from a few days later still has these little bugs.  However, they do seem much smaller at least.  (I missed them the first time and prematurely declared victory)  So either it "doesn't work", or maybe I have to dose twice a few days apart like it says in the instructions, or I need to do a full dose, or...

That "somebody" also mentioned the idea that maybe these bugs also live in the detritus / debris of a shrimp tank, and thus it is advantageous to run a tank at a ridiculously low pH to minimize debris, bugs, bacteria, etc.  Food for thought, and also some other thread...

Just putting this out there for the public record.

 

Edited by beanbag
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I wonder whether this has something to do with the season/weather as it was a year ago you had this before!

Do you still have a healthy quantity of golden bee and blue bolt shrimp? Are you getting many deaths? Are they breeding ok?

Might the short antenae be due to having molted and will grow back, the shrimp will be quite inactive also after molting.

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@beanbag appreciate the update, 11 months later. 

I am certainly interested in any further experiments you might conduct. Please keep us updated.

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On 7/26/2023 at 6:10 AM, sdlTBfanUK said:

I wonder whether this has something to do with the season/weather as it was a year ago you had this before!

Do you still have a healthy quantity of golden bee and blue bolt shrimp? Are you getting many deaths? Are they breeding ok?

Might the short antenae be due to having molted and will grow back, the shrimp will be quite inactive also after molting.

Hi Simon (can I call you Simon?)

This will be kind of a long answer as I'm trying to be accurate.  Back when I had the RWP, it was easy to track individual shrimp due to their markings.  So for example, I would know that a shrimp has been lethargic for a week now, which is obviously a problem.  I know that a healthy shrimp can be quiet one day before and one day after molting.  I also know that it's possible for a short-antennae shrimp to be active and grazing along with everybody else, but I have never seen one recover and last longer than 2-3 months.  In a morbid way, it was kind of a relief after the last RWP died off because I could stop worrying about the problem as everybody else was doing fine.  Now with BB and golden bee, they all look the same so it's hard to track an individual shrimp, and I can only say something like "1/4th of them seem to be inactive", which is still a higher percentage than in a healthy tank.

Yes, the problem seems to be worse during summer months, and the room temperature is higher, but the tank has a chiller so never really gets higher than 68-70F.

I spent a lot of 2021 and 2022 trying to figure out this problem, this and that antibiotic, pH, botanicals, H2O2, etc but never figured it out.  I still blame the bugs in the shell because... you have antennae erosion, you have bugs in the antenna, the worse the erosion the more bugs... Well, it's not like the bugs are trying to help repair it, right?

Jayc, do you have an opinion if metronidazole is shrimp safe?  I have read on the internet "yes", "no", "no, but only because we never tested it", etc.  I suppose I may as well buy some anyway and start testing on molt shells in a dish.

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I do remember the PH of my taiwan bee tank when it was running well being about 5, at that level it is ammonium rather than ammonia, I believe, which is less harmful (and doesn't do the usual cycle), so reducing the PH may help and may even help if you have a harmful bacteria, if that thrives in a higher  PH

Just a few notes to bare in mind,

1- Shrimp will be inactive after molting until the new shell hardens (and the antenae may be shorter I would expect as it is so long and fragile, and maybe that is normal and grows back.

2- TB may stop breeding in winter in which case if you were away for 6 months over winter the number wouldn't have increased. I believe this is due to 'pressure' differences summer/winter, rather than just temperature. Also the disruption within the tank when you were away won't probably have helped, you were lucky they survived that?

3- I doubt anyone would normally see those bugs without special equipment as they are so small, so they may be a 'normal' thing in an aquarium. These shrimp only live max of 2 years normally so there will be regular deaths.

Look forward to hearing about your trials/experiments as always good to learn new stuff.

What sort of numbers of BB and golden bee have you got? Any different patterns/colours from cross breeding yet? Are they breeding now, do you have any juveniles?

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Right now there about about 10 GB and 20 BB.  The GB all look about the same - a peach color.  The BB have a "dirty" appearance with splotches of blue / grey all over.  As the females get older they tend towards more solid blue / dark blue.  It's a bit weird, in my other tank the BB keep their completely white tail all the way into old age.  Yes, I think the shrimp are starting to breed again.  A juvie got berried a few days ago, but then decided to abort the eggs.  Oh well.  There are two older female shrimps that are potential mothers, but they have probably decided that conditions aren't right yet and don't get berried.

That reminds me - one of the reasons I KNEW that something was wrong is that there were no full-size GB when I got back, and very few full size shrimp in general.  In my experience, shrimp will reach full size in about 6 months, and live to 1.4+ years.

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7 hours ago, beanbag said:

Jayc, do you have an opinion if metronidazole is shrimp safe?  I have read on the internet "yes", "no", "no, but only because we never tested it", etc. 

Metronidazole is used to treat a variety of bacterial and parasitic infections. I don't know if it will be effective on these critters. But if it was designed for bacteria and parasites, it should be fine on shrimps. I don't know anyone who has tried it because that medication does not target shrimp diseases specifically ... that we know of yet.

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Glad to hear you have a reasonable stock. Blue bolts are my favourites! With that many shrimp you should have both sexes?

If you assume that shrimp live 1.5 years, take 6 months to maturity, and they breed half of the year, then each adult will only reproduce for one season (summer), although they may have multiple batches in that season.

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not to get too far off topic, but...

The shrimp in this tank are a bit weird.  At some point, the population had gotten down to only 5 shrimp as most females didn't want to get berried and died of old age.  Then one momma shrimp really stepped up and made 5 batches of babies and lived for 2.5 years.  I called that shrimp "Eve" because every shrimp in this tank now is derived from her.  (Probably have bad inbred genetics now)

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sorry to say the prazi doesn't seem to work.  I pulled out a few molt shells yesterday and they still have "the bugs" in them.  One or two golden bee that have the short antennae are still being quiet.  I dunno, maybe I just need to do the second followup dose, or a full dose instead?  Also saw a Mark's shrimp tanks video short of a shell that's even more loaded with "the bugs" than mine, although he didn't say whether it was a caridina or neo shrimp.  Well maybe these bugs are "normal" after all and the problem is somewhere else, sigh.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Also tried metronidazole.  It also seems to make the bugs stop after several hours when dipping a molt shell into a full dose concentration of liquid.  I've dosed it at 100mg (active ingredient) per 10 gal in my Taiwan Bee tank, and so far, the shrimps don't seem to be affected.  So I would say it is probably shrimp safe.  The instruction say to make a second dose 2 days later, but I haven't done that yet.  Next time I find a molt shell laying around I will check it for the presence of "the bugs".  It may be that if they live under the shrimp's shell, they will be protected from the medicine until the shrimp actually molts.  

Unfortunately it did not save a shrimp that was already well-advanced with the short antenna disease.  

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  • 3 months later...

Followup : Metro, even dosed over approx 5 days, didn't get rid of the shell bugs.  Maybe they're just protected of the shell of the shrimps.

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