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

AO1

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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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Renaissanista

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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.
 

-Mak-

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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.
 
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AO1

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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.
 

Renaissanista

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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.
 
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AO1

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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.
 

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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
 
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AO1

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Saw a molt this morning :happy:
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?
 

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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
 

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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.
 
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AO1

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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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richiep

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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
 

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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?
 
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AO1

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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.
 
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AO1

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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.
 
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AO1

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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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Demeter

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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.
 

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