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Ben3721

RCS dying one by one. Unknown cause. Time running out.

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Ben3721

 

Well my shrimp are suffering an apocalypse and I quite honestly can't figure out what's going on. Hence why im on a shrimp forum. I've already read about each disease known to shrimp. I've already read about what conditions they need and what toxins can harm them. Still can't pinpoint what the cause is.

So let's start with my halfway decent water perimeters and anything in my tank. Yes it's a planted tank with cholla wood for the shrimp and a ceramic decor. It is also heavily planted.

Inhabitants Had 60+ RCS but less than 10 now, 1 female Clown pleco, 1 male honey DG. The honey dg is innocent and leaves the shrimp alone, the Clown pleco doesn't mind the shrimp, she might crush some but I would expect the shrimp that habe been crushed to appear crushed, they do not.

Co2 injected 20-30ppm 8 hours a day. PH is 7.4 without co2. Co2 shuts off 1.5 hours before the light turns off.

Phosphate 0.5-1.0ppm (dosed)

Potassium 5-20ppm (dosed)

No ammonia, ammonium or nitrite.

Nitrate 5-30ppm (sometimes dosed, I try to keep it under 20ppm)

Seachem Micro's is dosed twice a week.

Temp 75°

25% water changes a week. I use RODI water dosed to 5kh and 5dh with seachem buffers and seachem equilibrium. Seachem phosphate is dosed at a daily low amount to keep it floating around .5 to 1pmm. No other products are added to the tank. I use Seachem flourite substrate, the clay based one.

Alright now to the topic of their deaths and history. A few months ago I bought like 10 rcs, a few died but a few had offspring which bumped my numbers up to at least 60, probably had 1 death a week from molting issues from what i could see. After that that many more started dying, including many berried shrimp. I need to mention I recently successfully treated scutariella on my shrimp with PraziPro, which didn't seem to affect death rates before, during or after. I've read scutariella are a harmless parasite. Filter has carbon normally besides for a few days after adding that PraziPro. Filter intake is covered.

 

I have been doing autopsies on dead shrimp. Some have black/rust spots on their shells only after death (or at least that i can see (photo attached of the worse dead shrimp in cup)) with no limb loss and their organs are essentially dark liquid after death. However some that die look completely normal inside, maybe I'm catching the dead ones a few days after, not sure. I noticed some of the shrimp have a yellowish hue to their front inside, but not entirely (maybe normal???), I posted 2 photos of the same shrimp with that yellow hue in the front inside below, others have it too, might be food in them, even saw some online with it that didn't have issues. I am wondering if it is the dreaded Micrococci infection dooming my tank.

Here is my own guess list of possible causes in order of most likely to least likely in my opinion.

1. Nitrate poisoning.

2. Micrococci.

3. Co2 related.

4. Other livestock guiltly of mass murder when I'm not looking.

5. Black/Rust spot disease (still not seeing any live shrimp with it which would make it lean to a symptom of Micrococci.

6. Seachem micro's are building up to toxic levels.

7. Seachem Flourite is leaching and killing them.

8. They are eating root tablets or its leaching into the water in a way I can't trace with tests.

 

I estimate all my shrimp will be dead within a week if this is not quickly solved. Thoughts? Hopefully someone on this forum can save them.

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Edited by Ben3721
Accidentally copy and pasted the entire thread inside my own thread, fixed it.

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jayc

My initial (experienced) guess would be #6, but not necessarily the seachem micro being the sole cause.

 

Can you give us these water parameters? 

pH - you said its 7.4 without co2, I'd like to know what it is with co2 to see what the swing in range is. Too much and the shrimps can die.

Can you also test GH, KH, and TDS. The last one being the priority.

 

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Ben3721
56 minutes ago, jayc said:

My initial (experienced) guess would be #6, but not necessarily the seachem micro being the sole cause.

 

Can you give us these water parameters? 

pH - you said its 7.4 without co2, I'd like to know what it is with co2 to see what the swing in range is. Too much and the shrimps can die.

Can you also test GH, KH, and TDS. The last one being the priority.

 

Thank you for the speedy response.

Source is rodi and I set it to 5dkh and 5dh but the tank ends up being 4dkh which I'd like to raise up soon to prevent any crazy co2 swings. Co2 is already cut back under 20ppm for the last week, hasn't helped. TDS is 340. Typically it rides up to 380 before a water change.

 

I just had a shrimp die in front of my eyes. One second he was fine, the next dead. I immediately did an autopsy after making sure he was dead. Looked completely healthy inside. No signs of anything at all. I even just checked for a electrical current in the water with a voltmeter (positive in tank, negative in outlet ground) and it didnt pick up anything.

I also just noticed my co2 reg has a minor leak of 1 bubble every like 20 seconds. While that needs fixed I don't think that's deadly at night.

 

I'm right now removing a metal wire from inside my co2 line that I used to make it flexible, it was steel with some rust proof layer maybe paint (coat hanger) I didn't see any corrosion or rust or anything, I'm also removing old hidden plant weights (small steel nails with watertight heatshrink around them) just in cause. I cut off my auto doser for trace dosing. Did a 30% water change as well.

(Edit) Got the sealed nail weights out. Opened them up. Zero leakage.

Edited by Ben3721
Added more again

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jayc
1 hour ago, Ben3721 said:

Source is rodi and I set it to 5dkh and 5dh but the tank ends up being 4dkh which I'd like to raise up soon to prevent any crazy co2 swings. Co2 is already cut back under 20ppm for the last week, hasn't helped. TDS is 340. Typically it rides up to 380 before a water change.

Does not sound too outrageous there. 

 

The first pic of the dead shrimp shows weird carapace on it's body, like a failed moult. So we need to keep looking in this area. Failed moults are usually caused by hard water conditions.

0 - 4 dH, 0 - 70 ppm : very soft
4 - 8 dH, 70 - 140 ppm : soft
8 - 12 dH, 140 - 210 ppm : medium hard 
12 - 18 dH, 210 - 320 ppm : fairly hard
18 - 30 dH, 320 - 530 ppm : hard
higher : liquid rock (Lake Malawi and Los Angeles, CA)

But it doesn't seem like you have hard water in the tank.

 

2 hours ago, Ben3721 said:

seachem buffers

What seachem buffers are you using? Alkaline, Acid, Marine, Discus ?

 

Another thing you could check is what water parameters the shrimp came from.

Can you contact the seller again to ask?

They might have come been breed and are used to a completely different water parameter to what you have in the tank. 

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Ben3721
45 minutes ago, jayc said:

Does not sound too outrageous there. 

 

The first pic of the dead shrimp shows weird carapace on it's body, like a failed moult. So we need to keep looking in this area. Failed moults are usually caused by hard water conditions.

0 - 4 dH, 0 - 70 ppm : very soft
4 - 8 dH, 70 - 140 ppm : soft
8 - 12 dH, 140 - 210 ppm : medium hard 
12 - 18 dH, 210 - 320 ppm : fairly hard
18 - 30 dH, 320 - 530 ppm : hard
higher : liquid rock (Lake Malawi and Los Angeles, CA)

But it doesn't seem like you have hard water in the tank.

 

What seachem buffers are you using? Alkaline, Acid, Marine, Discus ?

 

Another thing you could check is what water parameters the shrimp came from.

Can you contact the seller again to ask?

They might have come been breed and are used to a completely different water parameter to what you have in the tank. 

Seachem alk and acid buffers.

While all original shrimp are dead that is a solid point about them adapting to certain conditions even through offspring. Im not sure where they are from. Some are pure red, others are half clear. They are from a local family own store who got them from a random shrimp keeper who probably got rid of them to the store for free due to having too many in their own tank/s.

 

I poked some of my dense plants and like 15 jumped out everywhere. So I guess I have more than I know. I spotted babies, well they are old enough to have red color so they aren't fresh hatched.

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jayc

Alkaline and acid buffers?!
Ok that's one thing you need to stop. That's changing the parameters and the shrimp might not be liking it. Let the tank settle on its own without the added buffers. Just use Equilibrium to remineralise the RO.
Or even mix the RO with tap water.

Go back to basics.

Cut out all ferts for a while. The plants can handle it.
Reduce water changes to 10% weekly.

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Ben3721
1 hour ago, jayc said:

Alkaline and acid buffers?!
Ok that's one thing you need to stop. That's changing the parameters and the shrimp might not be liking it. Let the tank settle on its own without the added buffers. Just use Equilibrium to remineralise the RO.
Or even mix the RO with tap water.

Go back to basics.

Cut out all ferts for a while. The plants can handle it.
Reduce water changes to 10% weekly.

Seachem alk and acid are meant for Rodi water. You aim the alkaline buffer to a kh goal and add the acid buffer to a set ratio for a pH goal. It works and keeps my kh and pH stable. If I didn't add any buffers my kh would creep to 0 and cause a fatal pH crash or larger pH swings from co2. My tap water is deadly 160ppm+ nitrates. Hence the use of ro water.

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jayc
2 hours ago, Ben3721 said:

Seachem alk and acid are meant for Rodi water. You aim the alkaline buffer to a kh goal and add the acid buffer to a set ratio for a pH goal. It works and keeps my kh and pH stable. If I didn't add any buffers my kh would creep to 0 and cause a fatal pH crash or larger pH swings from co2. My tap water is deadly 160ppm+ nitrates. Hence the use of ro water.

That's what i mean. We want to try reducing KH and GH.

Ok, reduce KH and GH to 3 then. And turn off CO2 for a while.

Aim for a TDS in tank of less than 300.

 

And definitely don't use your tap water 🙂

In fact, you shouldn't be drinking that either. Just use Equilibrium to set your water changes to just under 300 TDS. And do 10% weekly changes.

Let see if we can slow the deaths down with that regime for a while, then reintroduce CO2

 

 

 

 

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Ben3721
7 minutes ago, jayc said:

That's what i mean. We want to try reducing KH and GH.

Ok, reduce KH and GH to 3 then. And turn off CO2 for a while.

Aim for a TDS in tank of less than 300.

 

And definitely don't use your tap water 🙂

In fact, you shouldn't be drinking that either. Just use Equilibrium to set your water changes to just under 300 TDS. And do 10% weekly changes.

Let see if we can slow the deaths down with that regime for a while, then reintroduce CO2

 

 

 

 

Since I reduced co2 green hair algae took hold more than it already had. Probably going to cut all the algae out and do a 3 day blackout without co2 soon. Maybe the shrimp will benefit from that, until dead algae makes an ammonia spike. As for kh. I figured since I'm messing with co2 the higher kh the more stable pH will be.

As for TDS feeding less and using activated carbon (to remove) has helped reduce it a good amount.

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Urak

A few questions: You said use RODI water - how are your carbon filters? I've heard if they're old/past use they can sometimes let chloramine through. Not sure how true that is, but you could try using distilled gallons from the store for a while to see if that improves anything, or test for chloramine in your RODI.

Are the deaths more common after a water change?
If so, how are you putting water into the tank? I used to have issues with shrimp deaths in the days following a water change, and found that dripping the water into the tank seemed to be the answer there.
I think changing the water too quickly was triggering premature molts, even though my water always went into the tank with the same parameters.

The antenna and limbs seem to be accounted for, though it's hard to tell in some of the pictures, which makes me hopeful that it's not Micrococci.

 

Do you have snails? If so, how do their shells look? Any pitted or white 'scratch' looking patterns on the newer shell growth? If so, the water could be missing something they need - a common fix is to throw in a small chunk of cuttlebone, though there's a lot of division on whether or not this works. Your mileage may vary, and all that.

 

If you have a quarantine/spare tank, you can try getting that cycled and then move a small colony into there - if the deaths seem to not occur there, it could be something else in the tank, if the deaths continue, then I think it's more likely bacterial or something about the water itself.

Edited by Urak

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Ben3721
51 minutes ago, Urak said:

A few questions: You said use RODI water - how are your carbon filters? I've heard if they're old/past use they can sometimes let chloramine through. Not sure how true that is, but you could try using distilled gallons from the store for a while to see if that improves anything, or test for chloramine in your RODI.

Are the deaths more common after a water change?
If so, how are you putting water into the tank? I used to have issues with shrimp deaths in the days following a water change, and found that dripping the water into the tank seemed to be the answer there.
I think changing the water too quickly was triggering premature molts, even though my water always went into the tank with the same parameters.

The antenna and limbs seem to be accounted for, though it's hard to tell in some of the pictures, which makes me think it's not Micrococci.

 

Do you have snails? If so, how do their shells look? Any pitted or white 'scratch' looking patterns on the newer shell growth? If so, the water could be missing something they need - a common fix is to throw in a small chunk of cuttlebone, though there's a lot of division on whether or not this works. Your mileage may vary, and all that.

 

If you have a quarantine/spare tank, you can try getting that cycled and then move a small colony into there - if the deaths seem to not occur there, it could be something else in the tank, if the deaths continue, then I think it's more likely bacterial or something about the water itself.

I thought about having a small shrimp only tank for that reason. And thank you for your post. I don't have snails, in fact I picked shrimp over snails after reading horror stories about them.

 

As for the deaths I believe I figured it out. My resting pH (withough co2) has drifted up from 7.4 to 7.8 over the last month due to the fact I'm still learning about buffer ratios for my ro water, I started ro water a few months ago. During that I didn't beat the #2 api nitrate test bottle hard enough and ended up with about 30ppm nitrates a couple times.

 

My pH is 7.8 without the co2 at night.... my shrimp deaths have slowed down a bit. I can either accept 7.8 pH for now or bring it down to 7.4 or less over the next few weeks, which might wipe out my entire shrimp population 😞 I typically don't screw with pH as its deadly, but since I'm new to ro water I don't want to start off bad with 8ph water over time.

 

 

My tap water is well water with nitrates off the charts, so I can't use it for my tank. 

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jayc
2 hours ago, Ben3721 said:

My pH is 7.8 without the co2 at night

Hmm, didn't I say to stop or reduce the KH.

You really don't need to be adding Alk and Acid buffers at every water change.

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Ben3721
8 hours ago, jayc said:

Hmm, didn't I say to stop or reduce the KH.

You really don't need to be adding Alk and Acid buffers at every water change.

I think what threw my pH off was the fact I'm not weighing my buffers, I'm measuring it in ML and both powders are easily compressible. I mailed seachem to see if that's my issue.

If I do a 30% water change my dkh would drop to 3. Another 30% change it will get to 2. Any more after that I'm risking a pH crash especially with a standing pH of 7.8

I'm going to slowly adjust my pH to 7.4 over the next 3 month's and keep my nitrates under 10ppm and hope the deaths stop.

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jayc

Good luck Ben and I hope your shrimp start thriving. 

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Ben3721

Just an update, the deaths have stopped completely. I have about 5 to 7 shrimp left, all eating rapidly, active and molting a lot. A few are females. Hopefully they kickstart the population again.

I only made a few changes, so I'm not sure which one to give credit. I kept nitrates under 20ppm. I removed my sealed steel nail weight's from the tank and a bronze wire from inside my co2 tubing. And lastly I started a higher quality shrimp food for them.

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jayc
7 hours ago, Ben3721 said:

Just an update, the deaths have stopped completely.

Well done !

Whatever it is you are doing, keep doing it. :) 

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beanbag

Bronze is 88% copper you know...

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Ben3721
1 hour ago, beanbag said:

Bronze is 88% copper you know...

Yeah I figured that out. The diffuser has a check valve to keep water out, however water from the bubble counter made its way to the wire. It didnt show anyou real signs of corrosion but better safe than sorry.

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jayc
8 hours ago, beanbag said:

Bronze is 88% copper you know...

So are all the pipes in our plumbing.

Yet tap water can be used.

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Ben3721

Just lost 3. My population seems to be about 3-5 and mostly male. The only female I have has terrible rust disease and isn't eating or moving much, so she will die within a few days most likely. I have lost this battle and expect them all to die within a couple weeks.

 

Going forward how long should I wait before trying again? I will look for a different source of shrimp obviously.

 

I'm starting to wonder if root tabs or my seachem substrate is leaching something into the water.

Edited by Ben3721

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