Need help figuring out Kh and Gh for Neo Shrimp Question 

Sheena-Phx

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Hello Everyone!

I recently made the jump to shrimp in my aquariums over the last few months and am not having the best of luck. I started with different varying grades of Red Cherry Shrimp but keep losing them. I know in the beginning it was due to a surprise infestation of damselfly nymphs which have since been eradicated. So I replaced them and got even more. They have slowly diminished, and not bred over the last month or two. The breeder that I got them from said that they were the easiest things to keep, very hardy, and that she didn't even pay attention to her parameters, kh, gh, etc and they flourished in her tanks. She is local so our water is close in parameters as far as ph and everything goes. I now expanded into some Blue Velvets in another tank and just under a week ago some Blue Dreams from someone else for my son's tank for his birthday. Because I keep losing my other ones I'm afraid I'm now going to lose my blues as well. I'm thinking it may have something to do with Kh and Gh after all? I really have no idea, as I have proven that I obviously don't know enough about shrimp. Lol. So I'm here to ask for help, advice, input etc., on how to keep these things alive.
I use the Api master kit, but that doesn't have Kh/Gh, so it's useless with this. I do have some Tetra easy strips which monitor Kh/Gh, but I'm not a fan of the strips, nor do I know how to read them as far as the results go for the hardness and alkalinity because the strips give results as ppm, and it's in the hundreds. Whenever I try to read online about parameters for shrimp people use much smaller numbers, which don't translate with these tetra strips. Can someone please explain this to me so it makes sense? Lol. I just tested a few minutes ago with the strips and although they aren't the most accurate things in the world, what do these results mean as far as they relate to shrimp being happy and thriving? What do I need to do to make sure that I am more successful with them?

Using Tetra Easy Strips:
Gh= 300ppm
Kh=80ppm

As far as other parameters go my tanks are the following:
Ph-8
Ammonia-0
Nitrites-0
Nitrates-20

I have a 20 gallon with my reds, and some Gold Mystery Snail babies
I have a 10 gallon with my Velvet Blues, and some Black Mystery Snails
I have a 15 gallon with my Blue Dreams/Diamonds that also has some Pygmy Corys, Least Killifish, and Purple Mystery Snails.

Any and all advice, input, suggestions, name calling, and explanations would be greatly appreciated! Thank you in advance.
 

richie.p

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Hi sheena for best results get yourself the API gh/kh liquid test kit comes in one box this is by far the best, look at my chart what you are reading are the numbers on the right and as you can see 300.is off the scale, that's not to say it's bad bad but the liquid test will.give us a better reading, cherries are easy to keep but theres only so much they will take before they die and at this point we dont know whats wrong, so its a process of elimination so lots of questions, stuff you may already know and do but I dont know what you know so have to ask,
How much water do you change and how often in each tank?
water temp?
How did you acclimatise the shrimp before putting them in the tank?
Very important I need pictures closeups to see if theres disease
Let's start there and get the gh/kh test kit
 

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Sheena-Phx

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Alright, thank you so much for all of that. I just placed the order today for the API liquid Gh/Kh tests. It will be here Monday. The Tetra Test Strips make no sense to me with the results for Gh and Kh. I have attached a picture of the test strip result page and circled my results for you to see. Maybe it will make more sense to you.

The original Red Cherry tank is a 20g long, planted, with some mystery snails and red shrimp. Water changes are every 2 weeks, at least 50 percent. Temp is at 76F. It's been up and running for a few months. Shrimp were not acclimated in any special way beforehand as the breeder just said they needed to float for a bit to match temps, then put them in. They seemed fine in the beginning, shedding regularly, but then I found damselfly nymphs in the tank after getting some plants from Petco and began to lose the shrimp while I battled with removing the nymphs daily. It took me over a month to fully eradicate the nymphs, but I was down to only a handful of shrimp by then after starting with around 16. I then got about 40 more and they never seemed to thrive, I lost them regularly until I was down to a handful again. Now I've added about 5 more over the last week and I'm not sure on an exact number, or if I've began to lose any from the new batch. That is the story with that tank.

The Blue Velvets I've had for about a month. They are in a planted 10 gallon with a few young Mystery snails. I have around 6 of those now. I started with 14, but had them quarantined in a large breeder box being fed with an airpump and I lost half of them in there. I don't think the breeder box was getting enough circulation with the airpump and I think the water fouled with the food and killed some of them. That's the only thing that I could come up with. Now that they are in the 10 gallon, they blend in with plants horribly so I'm not sure if I've lost any. They were not acclimated in any special way either. This tank gets water changes every 2 weeks as well, at least 50 percent. The temperature is at 76F.

The Blue Dreams/Diamonds are in a planted 15 gallon that is heated to 76F. There are 7 or 8 of them in there, with some Pygmy Corys, Least Killifish, and snails. They have been in there for a week and have not had a water change yet, but they will be getting one in the next day or 2. I will be doing weekly water changes on that tank because it has more inhabitants. Tiny ones, but want to be on the safe side. Everyone in there seems to be doing fine as of now. 1 shrimp has shed so far that I have found, but that tank is in my son's bedroom, so I only check on it a few times a day. They were in a bucket with a heater and an airstone for a few days before they went into the tank, no special acclimation. Everyone is good at the moment.

I will try and get you some pictures of the Red shrimp, as they are the ones that I keep losing. I don't think it's disease, but I know absolutely nothing about shrimp sicknesses. They don't show any abnormalities, color difference, or anything out of the ordinary. Do you want pictures of the others just in case? Is there anything I should be watching for, as far as physical signs of sickness or disease go? I will take some pictures and get them on here over the next couple days hopefully, and the test will be here on Monday. Should I wait to do my water changes until after I'm able to test the gh and kh? I'm afraid if I do my water changes this weekend it may flub up the test. What do you think? I really appreciate your help in this and I really hope we are able to figure out why I can't seem to keep shrimp alive. Fingers crossed!
 

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Thanks for all that sheena, no matter what kind of shrimp you have they should be drip acclimated this process allows the shrimp to be moved from one tank to another without putting them into shock, this can kill your shrimp 3weeks down the line when they try to moult, plop and drop is not a method any shrimp breeder should advise on you will keep losing shrimp by doing this, your water changes are way to much this again can send shrimp into shock,some do get away with it but it's possible your not. 15% to 20% wster changes every 2weeks is plenty, and it should be as close to tank temperature as possible putting cold in will kill, thats if you do put cold in, temperature is fine at 76. No pic of your test strip but dont worry they're useless anyway,
In your 20 long 13ltr weekly is fine
In you 10g 7ltr is fine
The acclamation and water changes alone will save you shrimp
 
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Sheena-Phx

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Oh my goodness. I feel like a moron now. I was told that if the were neos they didn't need any special treatment or acclimation. Ugh. So, does that now mean that all of my new shrimp are going to have issues with molting and die either way? Can I fix this by re-mineralizing the water for them or something? I have always done large water changes on my other tanks to keep things healthy, so never thought anything of doing it with the shrimp. Again, I was told that the neos could handle larger water changes without a problem. I wonder if I'm simply killing them off because of everything I was originally told. I do match the water temps with water changes. I will start doing 20 percent water changes. Should I get something to help them recover from the way I didn't acclimate them? Is there any way to save them, and help them molt when it comes time? I know a couple of the blues in both tanks have already molted. I will skip out on water changes in the 3 shrimp tanks until I can test on Monday when the kit arrives and see what my numbers look like. What should I be aiming for with those?
 

richie.p

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Those charts and strips are as useful as a chocolate teapot lol so we'll give them a miss, as for your shrimp dont feel bad about it, even when I transfer shrimp from tank to tank I'll give them a short drip just to be safe, as for yours the ones that have moulted should be fine the others you may loose a few more or they may be ok, theres nothing you can do but I would leave the water changes this week to give them a chance to recover, cherries are the harder type of shrimp but even thay have their limits, I'm sure you can build on this now just give them a little time and let see what your test dose monday
 
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Sheena-Phx

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Alright, great news. Test kit came in early and I have it now. I'm going to test here within the hour. What am I looking for? Does it matter when I test? Day, night, etc?
 

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richie.p said:
Hi sheena for best results get yourself the API gh/kh liquid test kit comes in one box this is by far the best, look at my chart what you are reading are the numbers on the right and as you can see 300.is off the scale, that's not to say it's bad bad but the liquid test will.give us a better reading, cherries are easy to keep but theres only so much they will take before they die and at this point we dont know whats wrong, so its a process of elimination so lots of questions, stuff you may already know and do but I dont know what you know so have to ask,
How much water do you change and how often in each tank?
water temp?
How did you acclimatise the shrimp before putting them in the tank?
Very important I need pictures closeups to see if theres disease
Let's start there and get the gh/kh test kit
Nice chart! Why are some numbers highlighted
Sheena-Phx said:
Alright, great news. Test kit came in early and I have it now. I'm going to test here within the hour. What am I looking for? Does it matter when I test? Day, night, etc?
PH will fluctuate depending on time of day so to get an accurate reading Test about the same time every day. And as @richie.p said, it's better to determine size of water change needed on test results before a water change, than testing after a water change and finding out it wasn't big enough to get levels down to 'safe'.
NOTE: pay special attention to doing the Nitrate test exactly as the instructions direct. That test is done differently than the others.
 
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Sheena-Phx

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Thanks Momgoose. I regularly use the API master test kit for my other tanks, so know about the nitrate test. That one is a pain. Lol. Just learning how to do the GH and KH now. I just finished testing the 20 gallon with the reds, and I have no idea what these numbers mean, nor what proper shade of yellow is correct, so I documented the series of drops in photos for anyone who may know what I'm supposed to be looking for. Though I feel like my numbers are way too high for what I've seen online. Please let me know what you guys think, and what I should do. Could these reading be a contributing factor as to why I'm losing these reds?
KH.jpg

No idea which yellow is acceptable for the results. I know it stopped changing after about 6 drops. I went all the way to 8 drops with nearly no change.

GH.jpg

GH and KH results for 20 gallon-red cherry.jpg
 

richie.p

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Ok sheena what you've got there is gh11 which is great anything above 5 is safe most seem to get anything up to 19gh which shrimp still seem to live in, dont worry about your kh 3 is fine thats only there to stop fluctuations in your ph. So I would say your losses was down to wrong acclimatising and water changes, so if you keep to what was advised you future shrimp should be ok, you will probably have a few from your older batch survive as well, test weekly and do it before your water change and see if a pattern emerges and keep us posted with any concerns
 
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Sheena-Phx

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Is the KH valid "as soon" as the test turns from blue to yellow, or once it becomes a bright yellow like the API instructions say?
 
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Sheena-Phx

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Alright, I will keep those numbers in mind. I'm testing the other 2 tanks now. So as long as GH is above 5, and there is a KH reading, I should be good as far as those go, correct?
 
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Sheena-Phx

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Also, if I'm going to be doing less with the water changes, what nitrate levels are safe for shrimp? I have snails in all of the tanks, plus the 15 gallon has fish too. I don't want the nitrates to get too high for the shrimp if I'm only allowed to change up to 20 percent of the water. Would it be safe do 20 percent changes weekly to keep nitrates down? What numbers should I be aiming for as a safe range for the shrimp?
 

richie.p

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Even if you take that kh 7 you'll be fine but ide say it's less, I'd like to see some close ups of your shrimp just to rule out disease
 

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Under 20 Nitraits is fine you'll need to test for a while to see if they rise, 20% water change is fine as well, some shrimpers change more
 

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If the tank the shrimp came out of had a gh5 and you dropped them into gh11 that sudden rise will give the same signs you had with the white line, these are the little things that will kill neocaradina but a lot of people think it's fine to do it and it not, any shrimp cant take fast change, chemicals, meds wrong perameters are all killers so just take your time when doing things
 
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Sheena-Phx

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Well that's horrible, I don't know what numbers they came out of, but I do try and get them locally to avoid major differences in local water, etc. I will take everything you had mentioned to heart, it gives me some type of reference point to work with. I just tested the other 2 shrimp tanks. I took the numbers with Kh as soon as it made the change to yellow.

10 gallon with Blue Velvets:
KH-4
GH-10

15 gallon with Blue Dreams/Diamonds and fish
KH-8
GH-14

Still safe based on the ranges you provided, but I'm wondering why the newest tank that's been up for nearly 10 days has the highest readings. Should I test my tap water to see what my base readings are? Every tank is different, but they all have the same water and I don't really add anything besides plant fertilizers. Why so many fluctuations?
 
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