Help: dead/dying RCS, molting problem or parasite/disease?

AO1

Hello all, been lurking on FL for a while now, this is my first post.
I got 30 RCS off eBay and drip acclimate for 3 hours with drop/second on April 1st.
They were doing great for the first month. molted, some of them got berried, but only saw 1 shrimplet.
I discovered damselfly nymphs in the tank end of April. I managed to catch over 50 of them, haven't seen any since. fingers crossed!
I also saw some little white string type worms floating around in the tank, its too small to take a picture of.

Shrimps started dying 1 by 1 a week ago, I don't know if its molting problem or if there more undiscovered parasite or disease?
They all starts with what looks like molting starting with the head, looking almost like a wearing a clear helmet, then dies couple of hours later.
pictures attached, I don't know what I to do now. HELP!

I started off trying to keep shrimps a year ago in a 20 gallon with java moss, that didn't work.
I upgraded to a 40 gallon breeder with plants hoping that i will succeed in keeping them alive.
Debating if i should just give up on shrimps.

Water Parameters
PH: 6.8
GH: unknown, no kit
KH: 6
Nitrites: 0
Nitrates: 10
Ammonia: 0
Temperature: 75F

Your Aquarium
40 Gallon Breeder, setup since January 2020, RCS only tank.
Weekly 10% water change, with Seachem Safe.
Feed algae wafer and weekly scoop of BacterAE
Dose with Flourish bi-weekly and Excel every other day.
Running 2 pre-filtered Fluval C3, with purigen, biomax and Matrix
Seachem Flourite, Dwarf hair grass and ludwigia
 

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My ph went under 7 and I had more deaths recently. I think molting issues are the most common thing for me.
I add a pinch of food grade bentonite clay for added calcium and keep the ph around 7.4.
Harder water seems better for them.
I do bigger water changes too seems to help.
Dirty water/molting issues.
A filter with bio media has helped me a lot too.
I feed a small amount of Bacter AE
To keep up good bacteria.
 
Poor things
Definitely get a liquid GH/KH test if you can! A TDS meter may also help. There are some cheap ones on ebay that are decently accurate, and you can calibrate in distilled water
I haven't found acidic pH to be a problem for my cherries, and if your KH is accurate it should be a healthy KH too.
 

AO1

I used the API KH kit. I tried ordering a GH kit, but it won't deliver for another 2 weeks.
Not sure if whatever shrimps that is left in my tank will last that long.

The only changes that I can think of was adding 2 cholla wood around maybe 10 days ago, but i doubt they will do any damage.
 
I may be wrong, but seems like older shrimp have a harder time acclimating if PH is different from what they are used to.
Wonder if the wood lowered the PH too fast.
I feel like more acidic water is more likely to cause molting problems and mineral deficiencies.

I don't think it looks like disease,but its hard to see.

My problems are 90% water issues usually ones that cause molting issues.

You'll see a white ring on the shrimp often if there is a molting issue . Before or right after they die. Ive rescued a few but its hard. However, Some shrimp in my tank have this white ring but aren't having issues.
 

AO1

Not all my dead ones have the white ring, but I am leaning more towards molting issue.
I'm not sure what the white line in front of the eyes is.

I would like to increase my PH to around 7.2, but don't know how to do it safe and fast.
 
You certainly have moult issues so a GH test kit is needed, next thing one scoop of Bacter AE a week is overdosing and that is not helping ¼scoop is more than enough but for now or the next month stop that, PH6.8 is not overly concerning so stick with that for now, even though you had damselfly they won't contribute to bad mounts but with that many I do wonder if there's more in there I say that because of picture 6, make sure you new water is tank temperature before change.
Also stop the Flourish bi-weekly and Excel every other day for now, there are split decisions on this stuff and shrimp, so its best to do a process of elimination
 

AO1

Saw a molt this morning
Thanks Richie! I will cut down on ActerAE, and stop flourish and excel for now.
I ordered the GH test kit, hope it will arrive soon.

what can I do to increase chance of molting at the moment?
or should I just leave it alone until the GH kit arrives?
 
Feed veg like cooked Broccoli, blanched spinach, cooked kale ,this will help get any lost minerals into them that may be missing and helps moult, take close-up photos of any dead while in the tank, and it would be useful for some of live ones just to see if there's any identifiable disease
 
A TDS meter can test hardness of water.

I think my shrimp have done better at higher readings.

My 10 gallon always read 200 or less.
My 20 is double that and shrimp are booming.

Consensus is 6.5 to 8 ph for shrimp.
I just feel my shrimp are safer in the higher range. Could be because I have snails too.

The rabbit snails I purchased from professionals have horribly pock marked shells, chipped, a couple even lost their little feet early on.

My 30+ babies are doubling in size every month and their shells are pristine,gorgeous, even though the tank is a little crowded.

I can't help but feel that shrimp also benefit from an environment that would tend to leech less minerals from their system.

I believe some use baking soda to up the PH of water.

PH is probably not your biggest problem.
I use a pinch of bacter about 2xs a week.
Keep the water clean and try bigger water changes.

I've had some serious diseases in my tank, but never mass die off, just a few, usually heavier cleaning and more fresh water solved the problem.
My area has naturally high ph and hard water.

I attribute alot of my newbie success to this lucky circumstance, though I fought too high ph early on.

I know mopani woody lowers ph. Not sure about the type you have
I soaked my mopani for a month before putting it into the tank.

It could have lowered ph too fast and shocked my established shrimp.

My water is still stained by it so big pieces of wood are something to watch imo.
 

AO1

I might have to invest in a TDS meter. any recommendations?
I did about 15% water change yesterday, hoping it might raise the PH a bit. tap is about 7.4-7.6.
I use a airline tubing to slowly refill the water from a bucket.,
big water change worries me as i don't want the water condition to change too dramatically.

I only put in 2 pcs of cholla wood, a 4" and a 6". I see cholla wood in almost every shrimp tank.
From what i've read, cholla wood will lower PH a bit, but doesn't do much impact on a 40 gallon. i could be wrong?

I was able to get a clear shot of 2 shrimps. the small one looks healthy.
the big one looks like its about to molt soon. crossing my finger that it makes it!

should i be concern about the white dots in his head ?
 

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What your looking at in the last 4 photos is a failed moult,the front section as failed to come off and may kill that shrimp
 
So I might be confused here. But you claim your ph was6.8 and you did a15% water change and it’s now 7.4? Wild swings in ph will kill shrimp. Do not add baking soda to your tank. It will raise your ph quickly but it will not stay there and will crash the PH back down as fast as it jumped up.

Richie was spot on. Stop adding everything to your tank. Just stop and let’s get a grip on what you got going on.

Also if you can get get a Liquid GH and KH test kit can you get API test strips that will test these parameters?
 

AO1

sorry, for the confusion, the ph in my tank is 6.8, water from the tap is around 7.4 - 7.6, light blue on api test kit.
so i was doing 15% water change hoping to increase the ph in the tank a bit.
I will stop all fertilizers for now.
I will feed them strictly green veggies, hope they will eat it.
all test is done with api liquid test kit. I have GH test on order, hope it will arrive soon.
I guess its somewhat of a good thing that we can eliminate the parasite/disease problem.
 

AO1

I see 7. its a shrimp only tank, is has cholla wood, ludwigia, and dwarf hair grass.
I net out 2 molts of what looks like damselfly nymphs, but haven't been able to find live ones.
 

AO1

I only have PetSmart close by, not sure if they do gh/kh test. I did an express shipping in the kit, its scheduled to arrive on Tuesday.
There's 4 in that corner that seems to be happy hanging out.
 

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Yikes that looks pretty bad, I’m having similar issues in my well established 36gal. I don’t think mine are stuck in their old shell but rather the new shell isnt hardening properly. When looked at from below it looks like their shell is pulled away from the body. I just started a new fertilizer schedule a couple weeks ago with Seachem flourish, advance and trace. That’s fhe only thing that’s changes so I’m chalking it up to that and stopped using ferts.
 

AO1

I left a boiled broccoli in the tank overnight, took it out this morning. look like it was eaten a bit.
I'm stopping all ferts for now. will test perimeters once the GH kit arrives.

the 1 in the picture was lying in the corner for couple of hours yesterday. it has since moved, didnt not find a molt, also couldn't find her. Maybe she molted behind the plants that i couldn't see. the shrimp count is same tho.
 

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OK you done right with broccoli, don't feed today then try again tomorrow with small bit of cooked broccoli, they will eat more as they get used to it,if you use the stem cut it in half length ways this way they get at the softer part in the middle
 

AO1

thanks richie!

received the GH kit, amazingly fast!

Tank Water:
PH: 6.8
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 10
GH: 12
KH: 4

Tap Water:
PH: 7.6
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 10
GH: 12
KH: 6

is my GH too high?

another death
 

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Some say adding distilled water can help with this. I'm not an expert so I can't give specifics.
Check the parameters of any water you add to be sure it won't change the parameters of the aquarium too fast.

I would think 2 gallons of distilled wouldnt hurt a 20 gallon.

I'm not an expert but this might give you a direction to take.
 

AO1

Some say adding distilled water can help with this. I'm not an expert so I can't give specifics.
Check the parameters of any water you add to be sure it won't change the parameters of the aquarium too fast.

I would think 2 gallons of distilled wouldnt hurt a 20 gallon.

I'm not an expert but this might give you a direction to take.
Thanks.. I'll look in to that.

I have Seachem Neutral Regulator at home, it's supposed to soften water and keep pH at 7.
Is it safe to use that under the current condition?

richie.p please advise. thank you!
 
Renaissanista is correct in what she's saying distilled water as a ph7 just like
RO water but it will also drop your gh which in your case won't be bad as yours is gh12 but you can't keep doing that without at some point starting to use minerals, the last shrimp to die is the one I pointed out had a failed moult and the carapace was stuck, I expected that shrimp to die, so at the moment your tank holding its own even though your ph6.8 is not a great issue, on your next water change use the Seachem Neutral Regulator this will not harm at all, the danger in these circumstances is to do something drastic which causes more problems, we need to monitor things as they are with the exception of the water change, if you didn't have that then I would have gone with Renaissanista,
Just to put you at ease although your gh12 is a little high I know of shrimpers here on fishlore with a gh19 so don't worry
 

AO1

so i'm thinking, feeding them boiled broccoli or other green veggies every other day.
do 10% water change from 5 gallon bucket treated with neutral regulator twice a week, slowly fill the tank with air tubing. hoping to safely lower gh and raise ph a bit.
would that work?
I would rather avoid going out to get distilled water at the moment due to the current conditions.
 
Yes but do 15% if you want, you only need to feed veg every 5ish days it helps condition their shell for moulting,
Tell me do you warm the water to tank temperature before the change
 

AO1

I don't warm the water, but i do leave it overnight after dosing Safe.
I don't pour the water in the shrimp tank, i use a tubing to slowly fill it.
 
richie.p what effect does a high GH have on RCS? I am not talking really high 25+ but 10-15 compared to the “recommended” 6.

Also I have been understanding that GH is what buffers your PH and a low GH will cause your PH to swing or am I confusing GH with KH?
 

AO1

richie.p what effect does a high GH have on RCS? I am not talking really high 25+ but 10-15 compared to the “recommended” 6.

Also I have been understanding that GH is what buffers your PH and a low GH will cause your PH to swing or am I confusing GH with KH?
I believe KH is what causes your ph to swing.
 
You are confusing gh with kh
Its kh that's keeps yous pH stable

I know of gh19 with cherries but long term this will have health problems stunted growth loss of appetite, poor breeding and moult issues
Low gh on the other hand causes moult issues and death a lot quicker
 

AO1

OMG... Baby!!
also found a new molt
 

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OMG... Baby!!
also found a new molt
Crazy how happy a new molt makes us sometimes!

Someone mentioned aeration.
I have a bubbler in my tank.
That's a relatively easy and cheap beneficial addition.
I think it is very helpful for my inhabitants.

Is it possible to buy a water filter that you could use from home to get the hardness out of your tap water?

Neutral water change may be a faster help i itially then definitely agree on minerals.
I need to research minerals for myself.

Wonder why your water is so high GH.
How high is your tap water?

I think my substrate kept mine up for a while. I have gravel and florite.
I think the effect may be wearing off a bit.

Looks like what you are doing is working. Keep up the good work!!

OMG... Baby!!
also found a new molt
A change in water can stimulate a molt. You probably know that. That might have done it.

If I suspect issues with one on the crowded side, I immediately put it on the other side of my split 20 gallon.
Helps at least 75% if the time.


Just another thought.

I'm setting up another 20 gallon to reduce crowding.
 

AO1

Crazy how happy a new molt makes us sometimes!

Someone mentioned aeration.
I have a bubbler in my tank.
That's a relatively easy and cheap beneficial addition.
I think it is very helpful for my inhabitants.

Is it possible to buy a water filter that you could use from home to get the hardness out of your tap water?

Neutral water change may be a faster help i itially then definitely agree on minerals.
I need to research minerals for myself.

Wonder why your water is so high GH.
How high is your tap water?

I think my substrate kept mine up for a while. I have gravel and florite.
I think the effect may be wearing off a bit.

Looks like what you are doing is working. Keep up the good work!!
i found the molt before the water change last night. so thats a good sign.

I know API have a water softener filter media, but reviews are very mixed. I tried their nitrate remover filter media, didn't do much.

Water from my tap is 12GH, tested twice. the shrimp tank is only flourite substrate.

Im going to do some 10-15% water change, and let nature take do its thing.
*crossing my fingers!

A change in water can stimulate a molt. You probably know that. That might have done it.

If I suspect issues with one on the crowded side, I immediately put it on the other side of my split 20 gallon.
Helps at least 75% if the time.


Just another thought.

I'm setting up another 20 gallon to reduce crowding.

I originally got 30 shrimps, i recall more than 20 deaths, but I saw more than 10 adults last night.
I suspect i have 2 batches of shrimps, as the one I was able to take a pic of is almost more than quarter inch long.
I found another tiny tiny one, the size of a needle.
the tank is a 40 gallon breeder, so overcrowding is def. not an issue. would be a great issue to have tho.
I believe each batch carries around 20-30 eggs? so if i have 2 batches, i should have close to 40-50 shrimplets?
I have flourite dark substrate, which is almost reddish with dwarf hair grass, so its hard to spot the shrimplets.
 

AO1

omg... i'm going to cry!
just when i thought my shrimp tank is doing better.
I discovered damselfly nymphs in my tank, and had removed over 50 of them.
As I'm discovering more shrimplets, i'm also finding more damselfly nymphs, but BIGGER. they are around .75 inches. was able to find and netted out 4.
 

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Thats not good at all, how have you not noticed them before they get to this size they must be having a feast on your shrimp, you really need to go through you tank with a fine tooth comb to get them out before they get this size and there's no other way except manually
 

AO1

Thats not good at all, how have you not noticed them before they get to this size they must be having a feast on your shrimp, you really need to go through you tank with a fine tooth comb to get them out before they get this size and there's no other way except manually
It's not good at all! I've been looking for it at night with a flashlight for weeks but wasn't able to find any, so I thought i might have got them all. I did find 2 molts, but its no where near the size. The tank is carpeted with DHG, so they are easily hidden. I ended up getting out 6, but 1 got away. So I know there are more in there. It will be my nightly routine find them.
 
This is one of the worst infestations I've come across and apart from manually taking them out there's no other way, you can try using a skwer moving it through the carpet should startle them,
 

AO1

This is one of the worst infestations I've come across and apart from manually taking them out there's no other way, you can try using a skwer moving it through the carpet should startle them,
I agreed, my plan is to turn the light back on after having it off for an hour or so, then going to war with a skewer stick and small net! Wish me luck!
 
I forgot you had a 40 gallon, but I didn't think you had an overcrowding problem.
Your tap water is high GH.

See if you can get a filter to remove some of that.

Don't know much about damselfly.
I do know that siphoning/vacuuming the gravel could help as they tend to go down in it.

I wonder if you should take some plants out so you can find them easier.
Is the tank outside or did they come on plants?

I have these white mesh biodegradeable planter bags that I hot glue to a foam ring and float in my aquarium to separate breeders. I'd be putting my babies in one of those if I saw nymphs in the tank.
The shrimp and snails love the bags because they collect algae and the shrimp I put in them seem to be happy in them after getting used to it.

I ordered them on ebay but I wonder if other types of cloth like cheesecloth could work you can find that stuff at dollartree.

Just important to protect your shrimp from them however you do though damselfly is not as dangerous as dragonfly.

Just some ideas that might help.
 

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AO1

I forgot you had a 40 gallon, but I didn't think you had an overcrowding problem.
Your tap water is high GH.

See if you can get a filter to remove some of that.

Don't know much about damselfly.
I do know that siphoning/vacuuming the gravel could help as they tend to go down in it.

I wonder if you should take some plants out so you can find them easier.
Is the tank outside or did they come on plants?

I have these white mesh biodegradeable planter bags that I hot glue to a foam ring and float in my aquarium to separate breeders. I'd be putting my babies in one of those if I saw nymphs in the tank.
The shrimp and snails love the bags because they collect algae and the shrimp I put in them seem to be happy in them after getting used to it.

I ordered them on ebay but I wonder if other types of cloth like cheesecloth could work you can find that stuff at dollartree.

Just important to protect your shrimp from them however you do though damselfly is not as dangerous as dragonfly.

Just some ideas that might help.

I definately will not want to remove the carpets are they are rooted, and spreading.
the tank is indoors, i believe they might have hitchhiked from 1 of the dwarf hair grass orders.
finding the nymphs will probably be easier than finding shimplets, as the nymphs are much bigger.

i agree with richie with manually removing it as the safest way, unfortunately.
 
That's good that you have a lot of shrimplets.
I didn't see your plant carpet.
Best of luck
That's gotta be a frustration.
I can't believe you had such an infestation from a few plants. Yikes!

Definitely going to be more careful with my plants from now on.
 

AO1

That's good that you have a lot of shrimplets.
I didn't see your plant carpet.
Best of luck
That's gotta be a frustration.
I can't believe you had such an infestation from a few plants. Yikes!

Definitely going to be more careful with my plants from now on.

I have dwarf hair grass, with 2 inches of seachem flourite.
DHG will have a hard time spreading without co2, but supposedly easy with co2.
Since i don't have co2, and its spreading, i won't want to risk it.
I know plants would probably get hitchhikers like snails and etc., which i didn't mind. but i didn't know about the nymphs. I will be bleach dipping all plants in the future just in case.
 

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I have dwarf hair grass, with 2 inches of seachem flourite.
DHG will have a hard time spreading without co2, but supposedly easy with co2.
Since i don't have co2, and its spreading, i won't want to risk it.
I know plants would probably get hitchhikers like snails and etc., which i didn't mind. but i didn't know about the nymphs. I will be bleach dipping all plants in the future just in case.
That looks nice. I always liked the idea of a plant carpet, but I don't think I could pull it off with my motley crew and tendency to overfeed.
 

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