Ghost Shrimp Killing Fish? Something Is Wrong

Kristian Acevedo
  • #1
Hey Guys,
So I have a 20 gallon long that is heavily planted, with 6 Panda Corys, 9 Harlequin Rasboras, 5 gwcmm, 7 (was 8, I will explain in a moment) ember tetras, 2 honey gourami (male and female), 5 ghost shrimp, and various yellow shrimp. This morning I woke up to find that one of my ember was being eaten by a ghost shrimp, and was already half eaten. I did a count before I went to bed last night, so I know that I had them all about 12 hours ago. I’ve heard of ghost shrimps killing smaller fish, could that be the issue? My water params are Ammonia .25 (assuming from the dead fish), Nitrite 0 and Nitrate 10. Ph is 7.8 and temp is 75F.
 
Albifrons
  • #2
First off I will say that you're kind of overstocked. Because of this the shrimp may have attacked the tetra, I would get rid of two of your upper level schools and increase the number of the remaining schools. Personally I would get rid of the gwcmm and the ember tetras, then I would boost the numbers of your Rasboras and corys. Plus, did you cycle your tank before stocking it, you probably did, its just a thing I always check with people.
 
Kristian Acevedo
  • Thread Starter
  • #3
First off I will say that you're kind of overstocked. Because of this the shrimp may have attacked the tetra, I would get rid of two of your upper level schools and increase the number of the remaining schools. Personally I would get rid of the gwcmm and the ember tetras, then I would boost the numbers of your Rasboras and corys. Plus, did you cycle your tank before stocking it, you probably did, its just a thing I always check with people.

Yes the tank was cycled, filter media from an established tank + TSS, and decorations from an established tank. I’m aware that some people think having 3 small schools is overstocking that swimming level of the tank, but I haven’t had any issues with it, and the gwcmm were from a friend who has to quickly take his tank down, so there isn’t really anywhere for me to take them. I’m more interested in if there’s any insight for a ghost shrimp (or any other fish here, I have no clear culprit) killing an ember. There’s plenty of swimming room in the tank, the gwcmm tend to stay in the plants and the embers and harlequins have the run of the place.
 
Albifrons
  • #4
In that case I don't think the ghost shrimp are the killers. I just don't see any way that they could take one down. It's possible that your tetra already was ill, died, and the ghost shrimp just took advantage of an easy meal. Did you quarantine your fish before adding them?
 
Five 97
  • #5
I've never had ghost shrimp go after healthy fish, but it's definitely in their nature to scavenge on dead and incapacitated/dying fish. The ember may have died due to some other underlying issue and your shrimp were just in the act of scavenging. But I'd also try googling whisker shrimp and comparing them to the 'ghosts' you have currently, they're commonly misidentified and sold as ghost shrimp (due to similar appearances), only major difference being that they get bigger and more aggressive than ghost shrimp and will catch and eat small fish with their extended frontal appendages.
 
Kristian Acevedo
  • Thread Starter
  • #6

E6477E00-68A0-4114-B8EA-4C03CA0B0784.jpeg
E6477E00-68A0-4114-B8EA-4C03CA0B0784.jpeg
1DB23498-A538-4001-A90D-B59D3E410F45.jpeg

these are my two biggest ghost shrimp, the other 3 are much too small to commit a murder. I’m going to be honest, I'm not much of an invert guy, I got them for my girlfriend. So any help in identifying them as whiskers or not would be great
I've never had ghost shrimp go after healthy fish, but it's definitely in their nature to scavenge on dead and incapacitated/dying fish. The ember may have died due to some other underlying issue and your shrimp were just in the act of scavenging. But I'd also try googling whisker shrimp and comparing them to the 'ghosts' you have currently, they're commonly misidentified and sold as ghost shrimp (due to similar appearances), only major difference being that they get bigger and more aggressive than ghost shrimp and will catch and eat small fish with their extended frontal appendages.
 
Five 97
  • #7
I'm not an invert expert either, but those look like ghosts to me. I would try retesting your ammonia (you stated in the first post that the ammonia was .25ppm - by assumption - no amount of ammonia present is good, so making sure whether or not any ammonia is present is important) to see if that wasn't what caused the death.
 
Kristian Acevedo
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
I'm not an invert expert either, but those look like ghosts to me. I would try retesting your ammonia (you stated in the first post that the ammonia was .25ppm - by assumption - no amount of ammonia present is good, so making sure whether or not any ammonia is present is important) to see if that wasn't what caused the death.

I was actually in the middle of testing again, I did a small water change, and vaccumed the area where the poor dead guy was being eaten. Ammonia is still at .25, so a larger water change will be required tonight or tomorrow. I find it hard to believe that .25 ammonia can kill a fish over a 12 hour period. Most people have reading of between 0-.25, and I have seen a lot of people say that it is harmless at such low numbers. Again, I agree and prefer when I get clear 0 readings, but it seems like a stretch to me.
 
Five 97
  • #9
I was actually in the middle of testing again, I did a small water change, and vaccumed the area where the poor dead guy was being eaten. Ammonia is still at .25, so a larger water change will be required tonight or tomorrow. I find it hard to believe that .25 ammonia can kill a fish over a 12 hour period. Most people have reading of between 0-.25, and I have seen a lot of people say that it is harmless at such low numbers. Again, I agree and prefer when I get clear 0 readings, but it seems like a stretch to me.
No, for ammonia, 0ppm is the only safe spot. Where did you hear that? Some fish are hardier and survive (not thrive), but prolonged exposure to ammonia will eventually sicken and/or kill the fish. I'd definitely do at least a 50% PWC as soon as you can, no amount of ammonia is good or safe to the well-being of your fish.
My guess would that the ammonia was what killed the ember, if this is true (which is likely), your other fish are in danger as well.
 
Kristian Acevedo
  • Thread Starter
  • #10
No, for ammonia, 0ppm is the only safe spot. Where did you hear that? Some fish are hardier and survive (not thrive), but prolonged exposure to ammonia will eventually sicken and/or kill the fish. I'd definitely do at least a 50% PWC as soon as you can, no amount of ammonia is good or safe to the well-being of your fish.

To be honest with you I read it on a post from here, by a well known member. I don’t remember the name of the post or person, so for intensive purposes I’m going do just do a 50% WC. But still the culprit remains at large. Part of me thinks the ember might have just been weak, and he died and the ghost shrimp was just taking advantage of the food source.
 
Five 97
  • #11
To be honest with you I read it on a post from here, by a well known member. I don’t remember the name of the post or person, so for intensive purposes I’m going do just do a 50% WC. But still the culprit remains at large. Part of me thinks the ember might have just been weak, and he died and the ghost shrimp was just taking advantage of the food source.
It may have somewhat to do with it, but a member's title doesn't necessarily make that person an expert or knowledgeable member (although it's hard to know who to listen to if titles aren't always something to go by), it really only serves to show that that particular member has posted many times on here. If the ember died from just overall weakness, the presence of ammonia would only have helped it along.

Edit: A PWC will definitely help, I'd also dose with prime (if you have that on hand) as a safeguard.
 
Albifrons
  • #12
Part of me thinks the ember might have just been weak, and he died and the ghost shrimp was just taking advantage of the food source.
This is probably the case, because ghost shrimp aren't your typical fish murderer.
 
Wraithen
  • #13
I put that info out about ammonia on a case by case basis. Many people show trace ammonia in their source water and their tank won't consume that trace no matter what. Sometimes after 6 months or so something changes and the bb is able to consume it. With an apI test kit you don't know which ammonia is which. And ammonia at .25 is pretty safe, even long term, unless your ph is pretty high.

Ghost shrimp will sometimes turn aggressive and will kill small fish if the opportunity rises. It's not very common but it crops up here from time to time. The difference between ghost and whisker is in the orange markings on the claws. Idr which is which but you have a great picture to determine that from. It's most likely the fish wasn't doing well or died first, but it is possible the shrimp took it out.
 
Kristian Acevedo
  • Thread Starter
  • #14
I put that info out about ammonia on a case by case basis. Many people show trace ammonia in their source water and their tank won't consume that trace no matter what. Sometimes after 6 months or so something changes and the bb is able to consume it. With an apI test kit you don't know which ammonia is which. And ammonia at .25 is pretty safe, even long term, unless your ph is pretty high.

Ghost shrimp will sometimes turn aggressive and will kill small fish if the opportunity rises. It's not very common but it crops up here from time to time. The difference between ghost and whisker is in the orange markings on the claws. Idr which is which but you have a great picture to determine that from. It's most likely the fish wasn't doing well or died first, but it is possible the shrimp took it out.

Ah thank you. Sorry to put you on the spot with that ammonia quote, but I have heard that from multiple sources that 0-.25 ammonia readings is quite trivial and will usually go away and reappear just by random

Do we happen to have a very good shrimp expert here that we could tag to help us?
 
Wraithen
  • #15
Just looked it up. It's a ghost identified by the band's. Should also have dots on the tail but they are almost impossible to see. Anders247 am I right here?
 
Anders247
  • #16
They both look like ghost shrimp to me, not whiskers.
 
Kristian Acevedo
  • Thread Starter
  • #17
Anders247 Wraithen I'm was to inform you guys that I have found the culprit. It was one of the larger shrimp, I have since lost 2 more embers bringing me down to 5. I lost another last night, and was still stunned and I happened to walk by and look at my tank and watch the shrimp grab an ember as it swam past the cave, and I was unfortunately too late to save the tetra. I have since moved all 5 “ghost” shrimp to my empty 18gal, where they will either live, or if I can establish which are actually ghosts, may be moved back. It’s been a sad two days for me with these shrimp, losing any fish saddens me, and having to remove any animal from it’s home is saddening. On the bright side, I have hopefully found the issue and it won’t be happening anymore.
 
Wraithen
  • #18
If they all have the orange bands they are all ghost. Sometimes there's an extra aggressive one. It's why I want to find amanos
 
Kristian Acevedo
  • Thread Starter
  • #19
If they all have the orange bands they are all ghost. Sometimes there's an extra aggressive one. It's why I want to find amanos
The one in question sort of has orange bands? It’s the one in the photo that isn’t berried. Regardless of it being whisker or a ghost, it was definitely the culprit, and so I have removed them all. It’s not a risk I am willing to take, I much prefer the lives of my fish than shrimp. My girlfriend will have to settle for looking at them in their own tank
 
Albifrons
  • #20
The one in question sort of has orange bands? It’s the one in the photo that isn’t berried. Regardless of it being whisker or a ghost, it was definitely the culprit, and so I have removed them all. It’s not a risk I am willing to take, I much prefer the lives of my fish than shrimp. My girlfriend will have to settle for looking at them in their own tank
If she wants shrimp in the aquarium with the fish I'd reccomend going for a variety of Neocaridina Davidi, they're far more peaceful than pretty much any other kind of shrimp I've encountered.
 
Five 97
  • #21
Neocaridina definitely won't harm your fish, but I'd take care of/make sure your parameters are ideal first, as dwarf shrimp species are very sensitive to water quality and the presence of ammonia can easily kill them.
 
Wraithen
  • #22
Some tanks are almost impossible for neocardina to molt in due to the source water.

I really would recommend filter feeder shrimp if you have some good flow area in the tank, or amano if you can find them. It's easier to have bigger shrimp sometimes so they don't get eaten. Although I did have a golden wonder killifish that wouldn't eat them due to the super scary erratic movements when she got too close to them. They all slowly died out during molts.
 
Kristian Acevedo
  • Thread Starter
  • #23
Some tanks are almost impossible for neocardina to molt in due to the source water.

I really would recommend filter feeder shrimp if you have some good flow area in the tank, or amano if you can find them. It's easier to have bigger shrimp sometimes so they don't get eaten. Although I did have a golden wonder killifish that wouldn't eat them due to the super scary erratic movements when she got too close to them. They all slowly died out during molts.

I currently have 4 Neon Yellow and 4 RCS in my tank, they molt fairly regularly and are pretty much the starts of the show. I used to have 6 yellows, but two fell victims to the ghost shrimp. Now that I have removed the ghost shrimp, all 8 of the remaining shrimp have come back out of hiding and are active again. They’re my favorite little guys.
 
Spoony
  • #24
I had this same problem in my 55gal with Ghost shrimp eating my fish. I would sit and watch the tank for hours and see them appear to be stalking my fish. As soon as I removed the Ghost shrimp my fish stopped disappearing and or dying. Great choice to remove the ghost shrimp!
 

Similar Aquarium Threads

  • Locked
Replies
20
Views
2K
Mcasella
Replies
8
Views
2K
KrisB
Replies
18
Views
787
Racing1113
  • Locked
Replies
29
Views
2K
Adriifu
Top Bottom