Cherries Keep Dying Despite Good Water Parameters

Discussion in 'Cherry Shrimp' started by PascalKrypt, May 10, 2019.

  1. PascalKrypt

    PascalKryptValued MemberMember

    Messages:
    352
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Ratings:
    +248
    So I have been lurking on this site for a while. Now I have this puzzling problem on my hands I was hoping to get your amazing insights to help me out.

    I have a small RCS-only tank (well, and a few snails) with generous helpings of egeria and duckweed. I have plenty experience with fishkeeping but have never had shrimp before, and since it seemed so easy to everyone and I loved the little things, I went out and bought 4 cherries a month and a half ago. Parameters were fine (0:0:10), temp was around 68, PH was a little low (6.3) as well as GH (3) and KH (4). They lost quite a bit of colour during transport and then went completely transparant in the tank, so I was already iffy.. the first day they were fine, but they stayed on the bottom and hid and did not come out. The second day one of them died, then the other 3 the next day. I figured it was either due to a water quality swing in the small tank (what with the low PH and KH), that I didn't go slow enough in introducing them or the low GH/KH freaked them out combined with stress.
    I was eager to try again. I cleaned out the tank, put in a few snails to have at least some biomass and keep the tank algae free. Then upped PH (6.8), GH (7) and KH (5). Bought two new shrimp, one of which turned out to be berried. I was super exited and committed to not screwing up. Went super slow and by the book in introducing them to their new tank. Shrimp did not lose their colour this time and came out of hiding after 3 days. They were lively, flitting about the tank and plants. Snail population also exploded a bit, I fished them out when I saw them. Watched the parameters carefully, everything was fine. For two weeks. The third week, even though I could detect no changes in anything, the shrimp stayed at the bottom of the tank only. I thought the berried one might just be due to give birth. Another week passed and I noticed significantly less snails even though I saw lots of snail eggs. Then at the end of the first month, day before yesterday, the berried female was barely moving from the same spot, then 2 hours later her eyes glazed over - dead. I fished her out (a dead hatched fry clung to her, I have no idea if the rest hatched or died or got eaten by snails). The day before she died I noticed a white line on her back. According to the interwebs, this means she tried to mold but couldn't, and her shell broke in the wrong place. Thing is, I also noticed such lines on the still surviving male. The day after, yesterday, he was again happily moving about the tank, cleaning his marimo algae balls, etc. so I thought he might be fine after all. About an hour ago I found him dead on his back in the tank. Rechecked my parameters, (0:0:5), PH 7, GH and KH as above.

    What is going on in this tank? Am I doing something wrong? After reading about the molting issues I tried to feed the male some protein-rich foods that were suggested (blanched spinach) but he didn't touch it even when put right next to him. These parameters should be fine right? Still I'm thinking there is some kind of shell-forming issue because the snails also seem to be struggling to survive since last week and I've never seen snails struggling...
     
  2. SeanyBaggs123

    SeanyBaggs123Well Known MemberMember

    Messages:
    810
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    Ratings:
    +688
    Experience:
    Just started
    Follow
     
  3. Algonquin

    AlgonquinWell Known MemberMember

    Messages:
    1,016
    Gender:
    Female
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Ratings:
    +663
    Experience:
    2 years
  4. richie.p

    richie.pFishlore VIPMember

    Messages:
    4,479
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Wales UK
    Ratings:
    +2,454
    Experience:
    5 to 10 years
    Your gh is a big problem here it needs to b at least 7 and up to 12 can you post some pics of the remaining shrimp
     
  5. Rtessy

    RtessyFishlore VIPMember

    Messages:
    7,089
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Ratings:
    +3,494
    Experience:
    4 years
    The kH is a bit low, I'd try to get it up to 6 or 7.
    What are you doing to raise the pH, kH, and gH? Seashells? Cuttlebone?
    Definitely sounds like a molting issue, sometimes they'll survive for a few more days with the band, I've seen a single one survive over a month, but they'll normally die either immediately or in a day or two from it.
     
  6. richie.p

    richie.pFishlore VIPMember

    Messages:
    4,479
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Wales UK
    Ratings:
    +2,454
    Experience:
    5 to 10 years
    I know you've have raised you gh now but your deaths are related to you first reading of gh3 which the shrimp couldn't come back from as the damage was already done, bringing your kh up as @Rtessy as suggested will also raise you ph which will also benefit the shrimp, a few other thing would be useful to us are your source water the readings you give us I take are from the tap water
     
  7. OP
    OP
    PascalKrypt

    PascalKryptValued MemberMember

    Messages:
    352
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Ratings:
    +248
    Shells.

    Ah, I think you have misread. The GH of 3 was with the first group of shrimp (and I did indeed realise after they died that it was far too low). I so upped it to 7 *before* adding those 2 shrimp that lasted a month. It was 7 when I put them in.
    I'm a bit confused by what you meant by that last part. I gave you the readings from the water in the tank. ?

    But I guess the clear takeaway from this is that I need higher KH. I read in a guide though that ideally, GH would be high and GH:KH should be at 1:0.5, so that was what I was aiming for. Is that information wrong?
     
  8. richie.p

    richie.pFishlore VIPMember

    Messages:
    4,479
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Wales UK
    Ratings:
    +2,454
    Experience:
    5 to 10 years
    Ok I did misread so let's start again. After the first lot died you say you cleaned out the tank what did that entail let's get that out of the way,second how did you acclimatise both lots of shrimp, next due to them going lethargic says there could have been a disease present or something leaching into the water from things in the tank making it toxic to shrimp, Did you take any photos of alive or dead shrimp
    Readings your looking for are GH 7 to 12 PH7 to 8 your KH will will rise with your PH those readings should give you a KH of 5,6,or,7
    Edit the last part what I'm trying to get at is! are the readings the same from your tap water to your tank water
     
  9. OP
    OP
    PascalKrypt

    PascalKryptValued MemberMember

    Messages:
    352
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Ratings:
    +248
    Ah, thank you for the elaboration!
    So what I meant with cleaning is doing a 90~100% water change (basically anything except a tiny layer to cover the subtrate), then vaccuuming to try and get some algae out that was growing on the bottom and glass surface, and to make sure I got any debris that might be there. Then after that was over, I put in the snails. I did not toss the dead shrimp from today but put it in a cup, I can take a picture when I get home later tonight (it looks perfectly intact and the same way it always has, though, except for those white lines).

    I'm a bit surprised, I've always read much wider parameters. I've even talked to some people locally who successfully keep cherries and they said even GH as low as 5 is fine as long as you keep it constant. Same with PH. I went a LFS today where they give actual quality advice and asked them about the parameters of the tanks they keep their shrimp in. The guy took out his test kit to show me. The PH was 7, GH was 5.5. I said I was surprised and relayed him my experiences, he said he'd never heard anything like it and knew of many customers who successfully keep their shrimp in the local tap water (which is about that range, in other words, soft). They raise their own cherries like that (which he also showed me) and they all looked fine. Which only made me more frustrated.
    Not to discount your knowledge or anything, obviously. I'm just confused because there are people in my surroundings with the same tap water and they have not experienced these problems. Could it be that the adult shrimp that I got were just used to much harder water and simply could not adapt to such a large change in GH when it comes to molting?

    You know. ****. When reading what you said about leaching I was suddenly reminded of something. I know shrimp are super sensitive to metals and I have a plant (peace lily) suspended just above the water so its roots are in the tank. Its suspended with bendable wire (you know the type you use in gardening), though that has a thick plastic coating.. but its possible that it might have come into contact with the water while I was doing maintenance as I don't take the plant out and might have pushed it down to water level with my wrist. You think that could be it? I'm pretty sure the coating is intact so the metal should not be able to leak from a few seconds of contact but I'll double check when I get home.

    As for the local tap water, it is acidic and soft. PH is at the low end of 6, KH and GH are both 4.
     
  10. richie.p

    richie.pFishlore VIPMember

    Messages:
    4,479
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Wales UK
    Ratings:
    +2,454
    Experience:
    5 to 10 years
    I don't think the wire would cause such an impact so quick on a 90% water change it would happen gradually, anyone coming into shrimp I recommend the perameters I've stated as that puts them in the safe zone, taking GH down can be fatal below 5 as this induces moult problems that you are seeing, how did you drip acclimate the shrimp? What are you using mineralise wise to raise GH to 7. if your ph gets to below 6 you can loose your cycle. You seem to be up to speed on water anyway, your white band of death tells me something is happening between shop and your acclimation, another thing are you using any fertilisers at all? How much water change were you doing after you put the shrimp in, let's answer these questions first an see where it takes us
     
  11. BillynJennifer

    BillynJenniferWell Known MemberMember

    Messages:
    555
    Ratings:
    +306
    Experience:
    5 to 10 years
    You have gotten some awesome advice in this thread, so I'm sending healthy shrimp vibes your way.
     
  12. tjander

    tjanderWell Known MemberMember

    Messages:
    1,124
    Ratings:
    +313
    Experience:
    More than 10 years
    Just a quick question was the band white and ran around the body or was it a line up the shell from the head to tail?
     
  13. richie.p

    richie.pFishlore VIPMember

    Messages:
    4,479
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Wales UK
    Ratings:
    +2,454
    Experience:
    5 to 10 years
    Didn't think of that and as we've no photo assumed it was around the carapace from what I read but you could be right
     
  14. OP
    OP
    PascalKrypt

    PascalKryptValued MemberMember

    Messages:
    352
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Ratings:
    +248
    Sorry, getting back to this (I needed a little break from shrimp frustration).
    It isn't the sharpest photo, but I think the white line around the middle is clearly visible regardless:
    [​IMG]
    In the meantime, about 36 hours ago I got an additional 4 shrimp while I was checking out a store I hadn't been before. I cross checked the water params with my established tank plus a newly cycled 1.5 gallon meant specifically for shrimps. I split them between my oldest nano tank, which has crystal clean water that matched the store params almost perfectly. Put the other two in the 1.5 gal.
    Lo and behold, they all seem to be doing fine. It's only been 36 hours so a little early to say, but the shrimp in the established tank are definitely thriving. Since hour one they seem to have been comfortable there, waltzing around surveying the place, cleaning the moss balls, hanging out on the floating plants. The two in the 1.5 are fine but a little too focused on hiding still. We'll see how it progresses.

    So after reading a whole bunch of different forums, taking your advice into account and speaking to five different LFS' staff as well as several people who keep shrimps nearby, I came to a conclusion. Simply said, there is no absolute best advice. Even though everyone recommends Cherry shrimp and advises against Bee shrimp, I've come to realise I should go with Bee shrimp. They may be sensitive but water quality has never been a problem for me. What *is* a problem for me is keeping my water consistently alkaline and hard, which is way more important to cherries than bees.
    I'm getting a new tank tomorrow (not for shrimp), so I'll be busy with that for a while. When that is all settled, I will get some Bee shrimp colour rejects from a nearby breeder and try again. In the meantime I'll keep my eyes on those four cherries. I'm guessing once I've seen the first successful mold, they will be fine.

    (Edit: I think I need some instructions on how to post an image on these forums)
    [​IMG]
     
  15. richie.p

    richie.pFishlore VIPMember

    Messages:
    4,479
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Wales UK
    Ratings:
    +2,454
    Experience:
    5 to 10 years
    Photos not come out & bee shrimp must have RO water to survive, when you say the water was almost exactly the same as yours I take it you done gh/kh, tds, &temperature of the store water to match yours, other thing you didn't say how you were reminerslising you water to get a gh 7 and how you acclimatised your shrimp, shrimp waltzing around 24hrs dosnt say things are good unless you have a stable tank, and you say you cant get your water constant,
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2019
  16. OP
    OP
    PascalKrypt

    PascalKryptValued MemberMember

    Messages:
    352
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Ratings:
    +248
    Yes, that's why I edited it to ask - I can't seem to figure out how to post them? Basically, it looks the exact same as in this picture.
    Yes, that's what I meant with 'exactly the same'.
    I think I should elaborate. I usually just use tap water (I have zero chlorine in my tap water, my fish and frogs have not have any problems with my unconditioned water, including a fish species super sensitive to poor water quality). This tap water has (off the top of my head) PH/GH/KH 6.5/4/4.
    I order to get GH and KH 6+, I use water from our well (which is basically RO water, GH/KH 0 with TDS <20), which I then condition with Sera GH/KH+. I use dirted tanks however, and this seems to have been messing with the conditioned water. I tried putting in some shells but anyway, it appears water just did not want to be stable enough. I also tried 'importing' tap water from the city I work, which has PH/GH of 7.5/7, that turned out a little better (perhaps higher TDS? I did not measure, sadly) but still GH would sink after 2-3 days. Constant water change (especially the amount required to change PH/GH) would affect the shrimp too much, so that wasn't an option either.
    In the established tank PH/GH is a stable 6.5/6, despite always using tap water for it. Perhaps as the soil ages, it has the opposite effect on GH/KH? Eh, either way.
    My point about the Bee shrimp is that I had a talk with a local breeder who has hundreds of shrimp and who only conditions her tap water for neocaridina (at 7.5/8/7, TDS 290). For Caridina, including Bee shrimp, she keeps them in 6/5/0 with a PPM of 115. That's even softer/more acidic than that established nano tank I was talking about, and hers clearly thrive. So I figure I should just get a bunch of those (from that specific breeder) and things should turn out fine.

    (As for the acclimatisation, I think I said I drip acclimated them right? After making sure there is no ammonia in the water they came in, I set the drip up for a couple drips a second, and let it fill up until it is 4x as full (so 3/4th of the water is from the tank they go into). Then I lift it in to make sure temp is completely equal for about half an hour. Then I scoop them out with a net and release them in the tank, dump the water in the bag in the sink. Total process takes about 3-4 hours. I think for this particular batch I also did an additional strip test check to make sure the params matched my tank exactly before scooping them up).
     
  17. richie.p

    richie.pFishlore VIPMember

    Messages:
    4,479
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Wales UK
    Ratings:
    +2,454
    Experience:
    5 to 10 years
    It's nice to have well water that you add minerals to it saves on the ro unit have you thought about removing your substrait and put one in that will buffer your ph to 6.5ish for bees, i have just tested one of my bee tanks and slowly reduced the tds to96 and a gh of 4 and they stopped breeding once I rose it to 130 and gh5 they started breeding again,and if the gh goes to 7 they stop breeding, but with RO water you can control this as with well water and keep your tank stable, most tap water is no good for any caradina some will live in it but they won't breed, all new stock I acclimate for 6hrs or until parameters match perfect and have never lost a shrimp with this method in 10 years
     
  18. OP
    OP
    PascalKrypt

    PascalKryptValued MemberMember

    Messages:
    352
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Ratings:
    +248
    Thank you for all your amazing insight btw! Haha, it's just ironic to me how everyone around me (both online and RL) goes "oh, get some cherries, by the end of the year you'll have 300" and I can't even keep them alive for a few weeks. On the other hand I have some challenging fish and I've never lost one of those. Guess I had foresight in purposely picking fish that go with my tap water parameters. (Surpisingly I've never really had this problem with snails though, even my assassins do fine in a tank with relatively low GH and they've been in there for a while).

    Hmm, so GH 5 seems to be the perfect line to cross here. I'll think about it (tbh changing substrate is something I'm least willing to do, only if all else fails and only an option for the 1.5G). Currently the 1.5G has GH 5.5, actually, so that might be perfect. I'd have to test TDS on it though, need to get a new battery for my meter. It also sounds like the Nano with 6.5/6 might be suitable for bees.
    I'll consider moving the two in the 1.5G over to the nano and conditioning the well water for the 1.5G so bees can go in there; or the other way around. For now though, I'll let things be until my new tank is sorted.

    Thank again! Really :)
     
  19. OP
    OP
    PascalKrypt

    PascalKryptValued MemberMember

    Messages:
    352
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Ratings:
    +248
    Soo, thought an update would be in order here. A month later and I have finally managed to get my shrimp going. Saw my first successful molt today, so feeling cautiously optimistic! I ended up getting a strain of neocaridina from a local breeder that had been bred for several generations in soft water (GH 4 I was told was the minimum to keep them, they are in 5.5), as well as a couple of amano's which turned out to be surprisingly tough, actually. Shame that breeding them is such a hassle.
    Still only have a few and still letting them settle in to make sure things will be fine long-term before I buy a bunch more and try to start a proper colony of neo's. On the other hand two adult amano's I bought are doing well in my main tank, even stealing the more coveted treats from 4" fish. I am impressed.

    So glad it seems to be finally coming together though. I've also the hang of consistently using GH+ mineral salt and have added shells to the tank that is meant to be their eventual home, slowly raising GH to 7~8ish. I may just buy some new shrimp (or if I can get them to breed, only use juvies) for that tank though, as I don't think shrimp in general take well to adjusting to a much different GH after becoming adults.

    P.S. I still have one poor shrimp left from my disastrous attempts that has somehow survived and is living with the new generations. Her carapace has been turning a little transparent today and appears to be shifting. I seriously hope she'll have a successful mold. Really rooting for the poor girl to make it.
     
Loading...