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steffiev

Three RCS dead. Confused; seems to be molting issue? Please advise.

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steffiev

Three RCS dead: a berried female (who seems to have molted recently?), a juvie and a failed molt(?) shrimp

 

A brief summary of my tank:

 

Size: 28L

Temp: 25C

pH: 7.4-7.8 (the API test kit is hard to read)

GH/KH unknown, TDS unknown. I do not have those two tests because they seemed unnecessary for RCS.

20% water change every 2 days

RCS are fed alternately with blanched green pea, Hikari Shrimp Cuisine and leaf litter in the tank (boiled before putting in to ensure no parasites or anything)

Substrate: Seachem Flourite

Planted tank. No CO2, tank half-dosed with Dino Pee and Dino Spit

Tank is fully cycled

 

Noticed shrimp was molting a few days ago so I added a small piece of cuttlefish bone (boiled beforehand) to prevent molting issues.

They were breeding and I saw one successful molt so I thought everything is fine and then I noticed this morning three shrimps were dead. Removed them immediately, tested water parameters and did a water change.

At the time I discovered the dead shrimps, ammonia was 0, nitrite 0 and nitrate around 10-20ppm? (again, API test kit is hard to read!)
Overall water parameters seem OK. But I did a 20% water change anyway just to be safe.
 
Not sure what the issue is... From a short google search, seems that molting shrimps are very sensitive but how do I prevent future deaths? Very confused and saddened by their death. Please advise.

 

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kizshrimp

I definitely think you should be testing GH and preferably KH too. Moulting issues are often related to the hardness value and small tanks (especially untested ones) are often running pretty hard - cuttlefish shell will harden the water further. 

 

10-20ppm nitrate might be a bit high anyway, and is very high if you're changing 20% every 2 days. The Dino Pee and food are both Nitrogen sources, and I suspect too much of one or both are going in. 

 

I would get a GH kit and check that, pull back on the feeding and fertilizer - even cut them out for a little while. Post your findings here for further advice. In the longer term I'd stop changing water so often because that is probably making the water conditions a bit unstable.

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steffiev

Thanks for the reply kizshrimp.

 

I might bring some of my tank water and tap water to LFS to test for GH & KH maybe. Or if that is not possible, then I will buy a GH/KH test kit. What GH/KH is ideal for cherry shrimp? From what I have searched, they seem to be fine in both soft and hard water so I am not sure about the exact values.

I think the nitrate might be from the dead shrimps but I am not sure. Usually the nitrate is 5ppm.

 

My feeding routine is daily, with a few pellets of Hikari Shrimp Cuisine and a piece of blanched green pea alternately. Any leftovers will be taken out but am I feeding too much?

I will try to feed a bit less, the shrimps like to graze on the leaf litter, moss and driftwood anyway. I'll also try dosing less fertilizer and see how things go.

I did water change often because I was worried about shrimps being sensitive but I'll try changing water less and monitor the nitrates. Perhaps I changed the water too much and the moulting shrimps could not cope.

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jayc

TDS reading would be good too.

TDS pens aren't expensive, and it's a must have for shrimp keeping.

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steffiev

Yes, I saw some cheap TDS pens from eBay but my understanding was as long as I do frequent water changes, measuring TDS is unnecessary. But I have been thinking that perhaps I have been water changing too frequently, and TDS can be a measure of when I would actually need to water change?

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jayc

Not necessarily.

A regular water change regime is still good to have and is encouraged.

A TDS pen will assist with hitting a certain point with your water parameters. It might suggest more water changes or less. 

A TDS reading might be consistent, but you still need to keep your water change schedule. The new water can be measured to match an ideal TDS range, so your overall tank TDS can reach a targetted range. So it will tell you whether to use more or less RO water vs remineralising solution (eg Salty Shrimp).

I always aim for 150TDS, and try to keep it consistent.

 

TDS measures the dissolved solids in the water, of which Calcium and magnesium is part of.

It can give you a good indication of whether there is too little or too much Ca:Mg in the water ... which can lead to moulting issues.

 

A TDS pen can tell you if something in your tank is leeching dissolved solids that is increasing TDS. A constantly changing TDS isn't good for shrimp. If it's too high, it might mean that Calcium content is too high , and shrimp's shells become too hard and they can't moult properly.

 

A TDS pen can be used for fish tanks too. If you keep softwater Amazonian fish, a low TDS is required. 

 

I might have missed other benefits. Anyone else think of more, please list it.

Edited by jayc

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steffiev

Wow! You convinced me to buy a TDS meter, haha. Will probably arrive by the end of the month but hopefully no more problems occur.

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kizshrimp

Ok JayC, I'll give it a go.

 

Salts other than Ca and Mg are constantly added to the aquarium through various sources including food and possibly leachate from rock, substrate etc. You can't measure these with GH tests and they're probably at levels too low to notice with a hygrometer or refractometer. You'll get them with an EC meter though. 

 

Various salts and organics are constantly being excreted by all the life forms in your closed system (aquarium), most especially by the invisible microbes in your biofilter - but also from the fish, shrimp, snails, plants or whatever else you keep. Some of these can be tested for, eg NH4, NO2 etc, but not all. You'll get these with an EC meter too. 

 

In short, the EC in your closed system will rise over time, independently of your known additions of minerals. You will see this as a constantly rising EC level, and manage it by changing water regularly. EC and TDS are effectively interchangeable terms. In the interests of clarity for readers, you measure EC and your device may convert that measurement to TDS - there is already excellent information regarding this right here on SKF. I choose to think in EC as it represents a direct measurement and not a variable approximation. 

 

Steffiev, don't get me wrong. Just as JayC says, changing water regularly is super important - it's everything. But so is stability... In a small tank like yours the replacement water for your changes should probably be added very slowly, like by drip feed. As you've already noted, the shrimp like to feed on biofilms in the tank, and depending on population density, may not need any other food at all. I think it's impossible to advise people on how much food to add. You need to see the tank, the population density, note the rate of accumulation of nitrogenous wastes, drop of pH and other factors. You get a feel for it over time. Cold-blooded animals like what we keep in tanks need so much less (size for size) than us warm-blooded creatures, and that may be the root of the difficulty. Your shrimp won't die of starvation if fed a bit less for a few days, but you'll see if their digestive tract is still full. I hope that all makes sense. 

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jayc

Ok JayC, I'll give it a go.

 

 

That's a pretty good go at it.  :thumbsu:

Certainly can't say we don't take time to explain things.

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steffiev

I'll continue to monitor my nitrate for now. Did not feed them yesterday and nitrate was measured at 5ppm? (light orange tinge)

I'll try slowly changing the water as well. I'm not going to stop water change of course, I just think that maybe mine is too much and I should do less. Originally I thought I should do it more often as it is a nano tank. Hopefully the TDS meter will help me determine this. Maybe for now 10% every 3 days? Depends on the nitrate.

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steffiev

So I finally went to LFS today and they tested my water for me. They said nothing wrong with it, GH & KH are both okay. I saw a new molt this morning so hopefully everything is okay now.

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fishmosy

So I finally went to LFS today and they tested my water for me. They said nothing wrong with it, GH & KH are both okay. I saw a new molt this morning so hopefully everything is okay now.

 

Is the LFS familiar with shrimp keeping? The GH and KH might be 'nothing wrong' for fish, but not for shrimp.

 

Were you able to get the actual numbers for GH and KH?

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steffiev

Yes they are familiar with shrimp keeping. I forgot to ask for the actual values for the GH & KH out of relief.  :unhappy:

But yes, they sell various shrimps and one of the workers own a shrimp tank as well so I assume they are pretty knowledgeable...

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Squiggle

It's always better to know the values yourself, this way you can gauge for yourself how knowledgeable the guys at the shop are. The GH should be between 4-14dGH & the KH should be between 0-10dKH for cherry shrimp. :thumbsu:

Edited by Squiggle

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steffiev

Everything has been going well and a few shrimps are berried and I even saw some baby shrimps (about 3-4mm size)... But suddenly yesterday there was a dead shrimp, and today there's a dying shrimp... Did a water change yesterday when I saw the dead shrimp. Not sure if I should remove the dying shrimp and do another water change. Water parameters look OK. Wonder if they're dying of old age or if there is something wrong...

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jayc

Never a good feeling knowing that the pets in our care are dying.

At least you are trying everything you can to make it better for them.

 

Have you bought that TDS pen yet?

If you don't have the GH/KH readings, a TDS pen might be able to help us diagnose the issue a little bit more.

 

What water are you using for your water changes? And how is it treated? How much ? Your Water Change routine basically.

 

Can you get us a full tank shot ? It might help us identify possible causes.

 

Dying of old age is a possibility, if you know how old your shrimp are. They usually have a lifespan of 1-2 years.

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steffiev

I have bought the TDS pen but I guess it is still in delivery. Have not arrived yet.

 

I am using aged tap water treated with Seachem Prime. There's IAL too. Usually around 30% water change every 5 days.

 

These 2 recently dead ones look to be adult sized, but I am unsure if they died of old age... Can't really tell! :(

 

I'll take a picture of the tank in the evening and post it soon.

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jayc

Where abouts in Sydney are you?

 

The last time I checked Sydney tap water, it was high in pH, around 8.0. And TDS was 80-100ppm.

But 80 - 100ppm of what? is the real question. Tap water is usually made up of chemical stuff that is not aquarium friendly - flouride, lime, Chloramine, Aluminium, copper, ammonia, chloride, nitrate, sodium, sulfates.

 

Are you treating the water change with prime and letting it age? Or are you doing it the other way round, where you age the water and then add Prime just before adding it to the tank? Hopefully it's the former. 

When you run out of Prime, try Supachlor from Tech Den instead. I did a review of it in Water Parameter subforum. I find it better than Prime for Australian tap water.

 

As for the 30% wc, that's a bit too much. You can reduce your chores by only changing 10% weekly (or better yet, 5% twice a week). 30% is too much, and too drastic of a change. Stability is the key. Match TDS, pH, temperature when you put water back in. Drip it back in slowly if necessary.

Emergency water changes can be more, but your weekly wc routine needs to be smaller.

 

Let us know what your TDS values are when you get the pen.

Edited by jayc
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OzShrimp

You might get a shock once you get your tds pen. When i was running tap water in the country i lost over $300 worth of a shrimp. Got a TDS pen when i brought RO system and my tds was like 250-320 lol 

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steffiev

Where abouts in Sydney are you? I live in Wolli Creek.

 

The last time I checked Sydney tap water, it was high in pH, around 8.0. And TDS was 80-100ppm. Last time I checked my tap water, pH was around 7.4 or 7.8, I can't quite tell the colour of the API test kit. But sounds close enough.

But 80 - 100ppm of what? is the real question. Tap water is usually made up of chemical stuff that is not aquarium friendly - flouride, lime, Chloramine, Aluminium, copper, ammonia, chloride, nitrate, sodium, sulfates.

Yes, but I read that Seachem Prime detoxifies heavy metals?

 

Are you treating the water change with prime and letting it age? Or are you doing it the other way round, where you age the water and then add Prime just before adding it to the tank? Hopefully it's the former. 

Actually it was the latter, I add Prime around an hour before water change. But if the former is the correct way to do it then I will do that from now on. Also, I just got an idea to add a small piece of IAL to the aged water and let it sit there while agitated with an air pump until I need it. Would that be good? There is IAL in the shrimp tank as well.

 

When you run out of Prime, try Supachlor from Tech Den instead. I did a review of it in Water Parameter subforum. I find it better than Prime for Australian tap water.

I saw it online and have heard good things about it but delivery cost really kills the price... It will still be a long time until Prime runs out because it is very concentrated but I will keep it in mind and hopefully find it in my LFS maybe.

 

As for the 30% wc, that's a bit too much. You can reduce your chores by only changing 10% weekly (or better yet, 5% twice a week). 30% is too much, and too drastic of a change. Stability is the key. Match TDS, pH, temperature when you put water back in. Drip it back in slowly if necessary.

Emergency water changes can be more, but your weekly wc routine needs to be smaller.

I see. I actually did it more often before : EMBARRASS :  (but clearly there is such a thing as too often a water change with shrimp tanks)

I will reduce it further! I was afraid of nitrate buildup is all since it is a nano tank. It will reduce the amount of work I need to do anyway, hahaha.

 

Let us know what your TDS values are when you get the pen. Ok! 

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steffiev

You might get a shock once you get your tds pen. When i was running tap water in the country i lost over $300 worth of a shrimp. Got a TDS pen when i brought RO system and my tds was like 250-320 lol 

Woah! That sucks! Mine is just red cherry shrimp though. I am still learning!  :special:

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GotCrabs

You might get a shock once you get your tds pen. When i was running tap water in the country i lost over $300 worth of a shrimp. Got a TDS pen when i brought RO system and my tds was like 250-320 lol 

 

Funny you say that, I got a TDS Pen last week and tested my other tank, TDS was over 500 ppm and I now have RCS, YCS, Chameleon, DAS, CRS in there all alive and some breeding, unreal.

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jayc

 

 

 

Prime detoxifies the heavy metals, yes, but it's still in the water, and what about all the other stuff that Prime or any water conditioner doesn't neutralise. It's still in the water.

Even if you put a bucket out while it was raining and using that for the tank, it would be better than tap water.

 

Hmm, yes, please add Prime or your water conditioner to the tap water asap, and let that age with your airpump going. That's the better way of doing it. 

Don't need to add IAL to that,  instead add IAL into your tank directly. 

 

10% water change weekly is sufficient. More time for shrimp gazing !!

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steffiev

Here's a few pictures of the shrimp tank!

 

https://imgur.com/a/d3Wwj

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steffiev

...

 

The last time I checked Sydney tap water, it was high in pH, around 8.0. And TDS was 80-100ppm.

But 80 - 100ppm of what? is the real question. Tap water is usually made up of chemical stuff that is not aquarium friendly - flouride, lime, Chloramine, Aluminium, copper, ammonia, chloride, nitrate, sodium, sulfates.

 

...

 

I found the water analysis for Sydney Water in my region.

 

http://www.sydneywater.com.au/web/groups/publicwebcontent/documents/document/zgrf/mdq0/~edisp/dd_044727.pdf

 

Hopefully it will be of use to others too.

 

Here's a list to other regions as well: http://www.sydneywater.com.au/SW/water-the-environment/how-we-manage-sydney-s-water/waterquality/typical-drinking-water-analysis/index.htm

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