Freshwater Inverts Die, But Brackish Thrived?

wodesorel

Well Known Member
Messages
903
Reaction score
683
Points
178
Experience
More than 10 years
This has been bugging me for a long while now because I just cannot figure out WHY.

Before our city changed water sources several years ago, I had no trouble keeping snails and ghost shrimp alive. Since then almost all freshwater inverts end up dead in a few weeks.

Ghost shrimp
Bamboo shrimp
Cherry shrimp
Nerites
Pond snails
Ramshorns (common and giant)
Mystery snails
MTS!! Seriously.

The only thing I can keep in freshwater is spiny-tailed trumpets, which I am thankful for as they manage my sandbed for me. (When my MTS and rams died off I ended up with anaerobic pockets and it was not fun.)

However, I had a thriving fiddler crab tank for four years and two nerites that thrived in that tank for almost that whole time. (An accident involving a cat killed them all off.)

I would think if it was something in the water then it would have affected the brackish tank as well, which was not the case. Also, I am on the same water source as my LFS (friends of mine!) and they have no troubles. The only difference is the pipes as I am in the next city over.

This all leads me to think it has to be something missing from the water that the salt mix added back in?

Anyone have any ideas? I have basically given up on inverts at this point. I had been hoping maybe something in fertilizers would add in what was missing now thar I have a planted tank, but I tried two ghost shrimp a few weeks ago and they are missing now as well.

I miss shrimp!!
 

maggie thecat

Well Known Member
Messages
2,457
Reaction score
593
Points
158
Experience
More than 10 years
Short of having a lab do a water analysis, there's no real way to know for sure. You COULD run an experiment by adding a small (I mean the fabled spoonful ) of marine salt to a freshwater setup, and then reintroduce inverts to the tank. If you are keeping livebearers or other hardwater loving fish, you may see a positive change in them as well.

It is also possible, and I am basing this on reading about shrimp I did some time back, so no handy source, that they are lacking iodine in their water (supplied by the marine salt). In which case, there is bottled supplement just for that.

Although, it is odd that the lfs has no issues, and you do. Do you know if there was a major pH or other chemistry change that went with the new water supply?
 

finnipper59

Well Known Member
Messages
1,090
Reaction score
387
Points
73
Experience
More than 10 years
If you have been losing freshwater inferts, low pH can be a problem for them. I know that freshwater snails don't like salt. I personally don't mind adding mineral supplements such as those by Seachem. They help with buffering soft water and help with stabilizing pH. Other hobbyist prefer adding crushed coral to their filters. The inverts in a tank are the 1st indicators of of water quality such as rising ammonia or pH extremes. I wouldn't give up on invertebrates for freshwater yet. I would simply adjust you water perameters to a pH as close to 6.8 to 7.2 very slowly starting with partial water changes and addind Seachem mineral supplements. The just start replacing inverts perhaps one at a time to see how it does. After that start adding another species, again 1 at a time to see how it fares. If things don't work out after that, you know mineral supplements aren't going to work. If the sides of your tank and substrate are very clean. You can suppliment their food with algae an algae wafer too.
maggie thecat said:
Short of having a lab do a water analysis, there's no real way to know for sure. You COULD run an experiment by adding a small (I mean the fabled spoonful ) of marine salt to a freshwater setup, and then reintroduce inverts to the tank. If you are keeping livebearers or other hardwater loving fish, you may see a positive change in them as well.

It is also possible, and I am basing this on reading about shrimp I did some time back, so no handy source, that they are lacking iodine in their water (supplied by the marine salt). In which case, there is bottled supplement just for that.

Although, it is odd that the lfs has no issues, and you do. Do you know if there was a major pH or other chemistry change that went with the new water supply?
 

varmint

Well Known Member
Messages
1,059
Reaction score
372
Points
98
Experience
3 years
If this is an older house, you could be leeching copper or lead from the water pipes. Copper is deadly for inverts. Using Prime to condition your water would definitely help. Just a thought.
 

dwarfpufferlover

Well Known Member
Messages
572
Reaction score
264
Points
93
Experience
2 years
I'd agree with everyone here, have you checked Ph at all?
If your plain tap PH is that low it will kill the snails, do you notice any shell erosion?
Your freshwater and brackish Ph will be different as you know,
I would go with the crushed coral route and check Ph levels comparing.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #7

wodesorel

Well Known Member
Messages
903
Reaction score
683
Points
178
Experience
More than 10 years
Tap water is a pH of 9.4, and I used to have a crushed coral substrate specifically because I had a cana before the ban. Once there was no hope for the inverts I changed out my community tank to sugar sand. Our TDS is insane and the scale that builds up on everything is crazy!

I had tried dosing iodine out of desperation but it didn't seem to have an effect. However, I was never quite sure how much to dose since I couldn't find a test kit at the time. I would be willing to try this again, but I don't want to risk more inverts unless this one is a strong candidate and I know how much they need!

I could experiment with brackish levels in a new tank, my community has kuhlis and plants so that is out. The brackish tank I ran successfully I kept between 1.005 and 1.008.

The water source did change dramatically. We went from wells here in town to surface water from the next city over, and we live in a heavy farming area. Who knows what is in the water.

Both homes had copper plumbing and there was no trouble before the water change. We lived here for over a year before there were issues.

Yep, been a Prime user for years and years!

I don't have a good source for RO now, but I know hubby is thinking about a set-up when we move because he was used to having one. I will definitely give it a shot if we do! We'll sadly be on the same water source, but much newer pipes on that side of town.

The only thing I forgot to mention is how much iron our whole house filter picks up, if that means anything. Within a month is it brick red and packed solid.
 

finnipper59

Well Known Member
Messages
1,090
Reaction score
387
Points
73
Experience
More than 10 years
I've never heard of tap water being as high as 9.4. If that reading is correct, it's outrageously high for even humans much less for freshwater inverts. Their ph should be between 6.8 and 7.2. Do you get your tapwater from a local water company or do you have a well?
wodesorel said:
Tap water is a pH of 9.4, and I used to have a crushed coral substrate specifically because I had a cana before the ban. Once there was no hope for the inverts I changed out my community tank to sugar sand. Our TDS is insane and the scale that builds up on everything is crazy!

I had tried dosing iodine out of desperation but it didn't seem to have an effect. However, I was never quite sure how much to dose since I couldn't find a test kit at the time. I would be willing to try this again, but I don't want to risk more inverts unless this one is a strong candidate and I know how much they need!

I could experiment with brackish levels in a new tank, my community has kuhlis and plants so that is out. The brackish tank I ran successfully I kept between 1.005 and 1.008.

The water source did change dramatically. We went from wells here in town to surface water from the next city over, and we live in a heavy farming area. Who knows what is in the water.

Both homes had copper plumbing and there was no trouble before the water change. We lived here for over a year before there were issues.

Yep, been a Prime user for years and years!

I don't have a good source for RO now, but I know hubby is thinking about a set-up when we move because he was used to having one. I will definitely give it a shot if we do! We'll sadly be on the same water source, but much newer pipes on that side of town.

The only thing I forgot to mention is how much iron our whole house filter picks up, if that means anything. Within a month is it brick red and packed solid.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #9

wodesorel

Well Known Member
Messages
903
Reaction score
683
Points
178
Experience
More than 10 years
It tests off of the high range API which maxes at 8.8. If the pool pH tester was correct - and the colors were harder to manage so I admit I could be off - it was somewhere around 9.4. It is tap water.

I have always had driftwood in my tanks, so the tanks sit at about 8.2.

When I say we have too much calcium in the water I am not kidding. An evaporated bowl of water is thick with crystalline growths at the bottom. In three years the scale build up ate through the heating element in our hot water tank and calcium was caked on almost an inch thick.

(Yes, I know I should be keeping cichlids.)
 

maggie thecat

Well Known Member
Messages
2,457
Reaction score
593
Points
158
Experience
More than 10 years
It occurred to me that the water company would have the chemical analysis from the baseline supply, before they send it out into the world. You would still need to run samples from your house and the lfs for comparison , but one data point is better than none.

Your water sounds similar to mine, high pH and high levels of calcium and other minerals. That should make for healthy snail at the very least! I've never had any issues with keeping shrimp, though.

Hmm. That's a real puzzler. I would try to get the water test from the water company. I would also data search shrimp dedicated boards for similar difficulties to see what remedies were pursued.

Thing is, if your pipes had leached copper, then the brackish tank would be affected. Something on the profile of that tank made it invert friendly .
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #11

wodesorel

Well Known Member
Messages
903
Reaction score
683
Points
178
Experience
More than 10 years
That's what I keep looping back to, either the marine salt added something helpful, or it oxidized something harmful.

I know the guy who oversees the water for our town, and have talked to him about this before. He said he didn't see anything that would be seriously different from what we had before. The only thing is that our trihalomethane level is extremely high and every so often we get a warning they exceed EPA regs. But again, LFS is that way as well and I used the same water on both setups. They have not gotten any complaints from local aquarium keepers either.
 

maggie thecat

Well Known Member
Messages
2,457
Reaction score
593
Points
158
Experience
More than 10 years
You can keep a surprising number of plants in 1.002 to 1.005 tank, which is where my brackish tank floats. I would be tempted to set up a ten gallon and after it had a chance to grow some bio film get some ghost shrimp and ramshorns.

If they survive / thrive, then try out more expensive livestock and go from there.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #13

wodesorel

Well Known Member
Messages
903
Reaction score
683
Points
178
Experience
More than 10 years
maggie thecat said:
You can keep a surprising number of plants in 1.002 to 1.005 tank, which is where my brackish tank floats. I would be tempted to set up a ten gallon and after it had a chance to grow some bio film get some ghost shrimp and ramshorns.

If they survive / thrive, then try out more expensive livestock and go from there.
I hadn't even considered that! From poking around the forums the last few weeks I got the itch to set my 7G up again. I had torn everything down but my community tank. I was going to do a betta, but I absolutely love your idea! Some ghost shrimp and maybe a pair of kilis.

Could you please recommend a few easier brackish plants to try? I am pretty bad with plants, I can kill java fern and moss, but my crypts are half decent.
 
Toggle Sidebar

Aquarium Calculator

Follow FishLore!





Top Bottom