Ghost Shrimp Is Getting Strips And Tiny Dots

indywebwench

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Tank

What is the water volume of the tank? 5.5 gal
How long has the tank been running? 6 weeks
Does it have a filter? yes
Does it have a heater? yes
What is the water temperature? 77 degrees
What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.) I have 2 blood fin tetras, 1 adult ghost shrimp, 2 tiny ghost shrimp

Maintenance
How often do you change the water? twice a week
How much of the water do you change? 20% each time
What do you use to treat your water? Prime
Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? I don't vacuum

*Parameters - Very Important
Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? No. We are still in the cycling stage.
What do you use to test the water? Tetra EasyStrips
What are your parameters? We need to know the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.

Ammonia: 0, maybe .5 before I change water
Nitrite: close to .5, almost 1 right before I change the water
Nitrate: 0 to 5
pH: about 7

Feeding
How often do you feed your fish? 1 or 2 times a day
How much do you feed your fish? 1/4 teaspoon each meal
What brand of food do you feed your fish? Omega One Freshwater Flakes
Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? No. But the big shrimp gets a green pea 2x a week.

Illness & Symptoms
How long have you had this shrimp? 6 weeks
How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? a little over 2 weeks ago
In a few words, can you explain the symptoms? He is getting less see through. Getting dark and white stripes and spots.
Have you started any treatment for the illness? no
Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? no
How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? He was damaged about 2.5 weeks ago. Then the strips and spots started becoming more noticeable. He has 2 legs that are not full length.

Explain your emergency situation in detail. (Please give a clear explanation of what is going on, include details from the beginning of the illness leading up to now)
I originally had 2 adult ghost shrimp. About 2.5 weeks ago, I added two Flourish tabs under the sand substrate for my plants. The next day, one of the Shrimp was dead and mostly eaten. The other had two damaged legs. I was not here when it happened. Being a newbie, I thought the shrimp had a fight.

But the live one is getting weird colors, stripes and spots; so I now suspect that the 2 shrimp did an emergency molting or that it is an illness. My other 2 shrimp are very young, small ghost shrimp. Their legs still look complete, but they have been hiding a lot 'since the fight'. I thought they were trying to not get eaten. The large shrimp is getting around fine, and is feeding well. He acts OK, but the partial legs imply that I need to fix something.

I set the tank up with very hard tap water. I've been using distilled water for water changes. I don't understand how the water is still so hard. Also, I wonder if it is bad for the shrimp to just use distilled water. Last, I don't know if this is related, but I see orange, green and brown areas on my sand substrate - fuzzy stuff - is this normal? I will try to include photos of the shrimp and the fuzzy stuff.

A couple days ago the Nitrite started spiking, I think that is normal for this stage.
total hardness is between 150 and 300 (even though I have not used tap water since I set up the tank)
chlorine is 0
Alkalinity is 120
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Momgoose56

Distilled water by itself is very bad, especially for inverts and molluscs (snails etc.) and pretty awful for other fish as well unless you are replacing all the minerals that were removed during distillation. Fish and especially aquatic animals with external shells/skeletons need those minerals just to survive. Aquarium owners who use reverse osmosis/distilled water take extreme care measuring tank parameters and replacing minerals and trace elements missing from that water.
You said your alkalinity was 120? I think you meant your 'carbonate hardness' or KH-that measures bicarbonate and carbonate levels and tells you the buffering capacity of your water. Your pH is the alkalinity. What IS your tap water pH?
What is that white substrate in your tank? What other rocks and decorations do you have in your tank? Something is causing your total hardness to be that high. AND your KH to be elevated (neither one is bad though). Lowering your pH artificially using distilled water may be triggering some acid/base chemistry in the tank that might be a problem in the long run AND might be contributing to the issues with your shrimp. Also-what kind of filter and filter media are you using? Do you add anything else besides the Fluorish?Can you answer those questions and also post a good picture of the whole tank?
 

Stoka

Stripes and spots are normal for a healthy ghost shrimp. As for the missing legs, couple of molts and they should be OK. Hard water is actually beneficial for most invertebrates. If your water is extremely hard you can cut it with distilled water, but don’t use distilled water exclusively.
 

indywebwench

HI Momgoose56 and Stoka!
Thanks so much for your replies.
The test strips call it 'total alkalinity (KH)' and that is 120.
My tap water has a PH of 7.8 or 8, and the GH is 300 or off the chart.
The white substrate is Premium Aquarium Sand by Stoney River. They describe it as a "high quality polymer coated silica sand" ..."our sand will not buffer PH so it is suitable for both fresh water and marine environments".
Other decor and items: two fake plants and a fake coral rock from the pet store's aquarium supplies. An air bubbler that runs 4 hours a day. Live plants: an anubias nana, 5 stalks of red ludwigia, a red cryptocoryne wendtiI (which is not doing well), and a moss ball.
The filter came with the tank, it is made by Top Fin. It is a built-in power filter hidden behind a curved plastic wall so you can't see it in the photos. It has a cartridge that is wrapped with floss/batting, a pump and charcoal. I had planned to upgrade the media in the future.
There is also a water heater.
We have a strip of soft metal wrapped around the tubing of the bubbler to hold it in place (you can see it in the photo). I called the fish store and they said it was OK to use it with the shrimp. My husband just took it out - to be on the safe side.
The only other things I've added are 2 Flourish tabs, and the Prime water conditioner.
I'm also wondering about the dark stuff growing on my plants, as it is not green like I thought algae would be.
Photos: First is the whole tank, next is the weird, fuzzy colored stuff on the sand. The green doesn't look like a natural color, the orange and brownish/black are back further. Last 2 photos show brown/black stuff growing on the plants.

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Stoka

The brownish stuff is most likely diatoms, very common in new tanks. It should disappear as the tank matures. The green algae may also cure itself. If you still have it in a couple months there may be other issues to address but I wouldn’t worry until then.
 

indywebwench

oh, thanks! That's a relief. My husband thinks the metal strip is lead - it is soft and pliable. So it will not go back in. I used 50% tap water in my water change tonight, and will do that for the next one too. I read about blue green algae and it sounds like I need to clean it out, to make sure it doesn't take over. Not sure what to do with water for the long term. I'm guessing the GH will go off the chart if I keep doing 50% tap. Thinking I'll test the water at work and see what it looks like.
 

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