Question re: shrimp deaths

shrimpyay

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Hello all,

Sorry for the long post, but thought it best to provide all relevant info up-front.

Edit to add: The 10gal had been cycled/set up for about 2 months prior to adding shrimp.
My spouse and I semi-impulse bought some blue cherry shrimp about a month ago, and put them into a 10gal that had originally been planned out as a betta tank but is rapidly becoming a shrimp tank, lol. The little guys are adorable. Anyways, we had the standard (liquid) API test kit, but didn't know enough to have a (liquid API) KH/GH test kit on hand until after the shrimp arrived; we ordered one and rec'd it a few days after getting the shrimp settled: our dKH was 1 and dGH was 2. Our tap water isn't much better, with dKH of 3 and dGH of 4, but a partial (10%) water change was enough to raise things a little bit. However, our local store only had some crushed Aragonite, which did work to bring some parameters up, but also raised our PH more than I liked--from a steady 7.0-7.2 to 7.6, so I ordered some wondershells (in hopes of effecting only GH) but shipping took a week, during which we left the aragonite in a bag in the filter.

They arrived and I removed the Aragonite and replaced with a small shell into the HOB filter (no worries, we have a good prefilter sponge on it). We've had another 2 die over the last 10 days or so, bringing us down to (theoretically) 6 live adult shrimp. As of last night, our water parameters are as follows:
Ammonia - 0
Nitrites - 0
Nitrates - 5 to 10 ppm
PH - 7.0 to 7.2 (color was in-between them)
dKH - 2
dGH - 7
Temp - Steady at 80f (hasn't varied more than 1 degrees since well before a month prior to shrimps going in there)
We do weekly 10% water changes
Shrimp are the only occupants of the tank
Lighting is a standard kit-provided hood light setup, and we run it about 8hours a day. The tank is by a window, but we keep the blinds shut most of the day.

We have been feeding invert-safe algae wafers and hikari shrimp pellets, though they have not shown a huge amount of interest and seem to be more interested in feeding on items in the tank. (We remove those foods left uneaten.) The tank is planted with moss balls, java moss, water wisteria, 3 "sword-type" plants that weren't labeled by species at the local store, and a sprouting nymphaea rubra bulb. There is 1 pre-boiled store-bought spiderwood branch in there, too. We had a bloom of diatoms (brown algae) during setup which is slowly subsiding, and which the shrimp appear to be enjoying.

My question is, do you think our recent losses are due to the relatively rapid increase in GH over the last week or so? It went from 2 to 7 from last Friday to yesterday. Otherwise, our tank has been pretty stable, and at no point while we have had the shrimp has ammonia, nitrites, or nitrates varied from the above numbers at all.

I've seen 3 or 4 successful molts since they came into the tank, and no "white rings" on them, nothing that matches anything in pictures on this forum, just...dead shrimp.

On the other hand, it's worth noting that there were about 20 1mm shrimp fry in the bag with the adults when they shipped, and we've recently been seeing anywhere from 2 to 5 shrimplets at any given time (about 1/4'' long) in the tank, so we're reasonably certain a good number of those have survived. We would have thought the babies would have been the first to die off en-mass, so we're unsure what's going on. Any insight would be appreciated!
 

richiep

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I think you've done a cracking job getting to where you are,
Those low parameters could well have had an impact on the first death plus it may have been a little early putting them in which may also have had an affect, rising the gh to fast is another change shrimp dont like so any one of those could have been at fault,
You want to give yourselves credit now for getting to where you are,the parameters you now have is what you need to stabilise , if you find your GH is dropping and dont let it go below GH5 you'd be best to add minerals especially with the water you have.
With your tap water you can very well put Caradina shrimp in as your water is perfect,(maybe something for the future) as it stands youve done very well, dont do anything drastic and keep us updated
 
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shrimpyay

shrimpyay

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Richie,

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply! We're both very relieved to hear what you have to say, we have been very worried/anxious over them. It's been upsetting to see the little guys die--they might just be 'only' shrimp, but it's important to us to keep them happy and healthy. We'll stop adjusting parameters and just keep up testing daily, and work to keep the GH falling below 5.

In more positive news, I just checked them again and am pretty sure we have a berried female! I'm not 100%, as I've never seen a berried shrimp before, and she's positioned herself in some water wisteria in a corner, but I think she might be! Her belly appears to be larger and when the light's behind her there's a darker area at her belly--she is pretty dark blue, though, so it's hard to see any color. I can't get a closer look though due to where she's hiding. There's a brand-new clean-looking shed, and I also observed a little baby swimming right along near her, too.
 

richiep

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If you can tske a photo I may be able to see something you cant, no new shrimp setup goes without its problems and like you their safety is paramount but sometimes things don't go to plan, the fact you're in very early stages none of the shrimp are safe until they have moulted after getting you parameters to where they are now this is why its important that there are no sharp movements now, if any do die take photos of them on the tank as close as posible, theres also the up side nothing will happen from here on in, one thing for sure youve done a good job so far
 

raffawinters

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Hi, I'm currently doing some research on shrimp keeping and I have one question.
If I use none RO (Reverse Osmosis) water and I put in some lava rocks which is said to be buffering, will this cause serious or mild PH swings that may potentially endanger my shrimp?
 

raffawinters

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richiep said:
Larva rock shouldn't affect your ph at all
ooh, okay okay.
And also, can i use water from my sink for my aquarium? My dad says that the water we have is ground water.
Is it preferable to use ground water for my aquarium?
 

richiep

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raffawinters said:
ooh, okay okay.
And also, can i use water from my sink for my aquarium? My dad says that the water we have is ground water.
Is it preferable to use ground water for my aquarium?
That question need to be answered by your local lfs, I'm not sure whats in your ground water so can't comment on that sorry
 

raffawinters

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richiep said:
That question need to be answered by your local lfs, I'm not sure whats in your ground water so can't comment on that sorry
okay, thanks for your answers :emoji_thumbsup:
 

barbiespoodle

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Richie is right in that what is basically a new tank can cause problems. And also in that you are doing a wonderful job at creating a wonderful shrimp tank. You do seem to be on top of things.

Now from a less knowledgeable side, namely me, sometimes deaths happen for no apparent reason, could be some didn't make the transition to a new tank, or some were just plain old to start with, they are not long lived beings. I've just started my second shrimp tank. I thought I was ready because my first tank has done so well. Thing is, I also forgot that in the start of the first tank, I lost shrimp for no apparent reason. All worked out in the end. That tank now has over 100 if not close to 200 shrimp of various sizes and ages and shows no signs of slowing down.

So now I'm at the same stage as you with my new tank. I've never seen a dead shrimp, but I've also never seen all of the original stock. But I'm also seeing berried females and now new babies. So I know I do have a start of a new colony and it's all just a matter of time and patients. Just wait and see. I have a feeling you'll end up with a very active shrimp tank when it is all said and done.

Another thing, and Richie please correct me if I am wrong since this just from my personal research. You might want to decrease your tank temp. I also started with a higher temp since my first shrimp tank started as a grow out tank for live bearer fry. I've since learned from research that higher temps also cause higher metabolic rate in shrimp which caused them to grow faster but die sooner than lower temps. So now I keep my shrimp tanks at 72 degrees. The babies grow slower, but live longer and the females are able to berry more often. Just my personal experience.
 
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shrimpyay

shrimpyay

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Woah, I'm so sorry, I never saw notifications for the replies in my email. Just logged in to look around.

@richiep, your advice helped me a lot!!! The female I mentioned was berried, but she sadly died shortly after--likely still due to parameters changing too fast. I lost another couple the next few days, but since then everybody is doing fine, and I've observed lots of sheds with no deaths since then. The babies are all now almost adult-sized, and it's hard to tell the babies from the adults now! We're hoping that any day now our biggest female (who is named Big Chungus, courtesy of my husband lol) will show up berried. Over the last week or two you can't walk by the tank without seeing anywhere from 3 to 6 adolescent shrimp at any given time! We've been testing and have kept parameters steady, which seems to be helping.

Our algae problems are starting to clear up, too, which I think is probably also a good sign.

@barbiespoodle
Thanks for sharing, it does make me feel better to know it's not just us being horrible shrimp murderers! We were worried for a few days there, won't lie. It does seem to be recovering now though, which is a relief! Part of our daily routine has been to play "count the shrimp" ever since, haha.

I've heard the same about the temps--I'm a little worried about dropping it too fast and killing them all at this point, really--and I don't want to take it out and forget to put it back in over winter. We tend to keep the house in the mid 60's over winter, and I frequently open windows during cool/crisp weather. I'm worried that letting the temps vary too much day-to-night, and week-over-week, might be troublesome. Or, should my routine be to put the heater in during the cooler months and then take it out once it gets warmer?

Additionally, the intention is still to put a tropical-type fish into this tank (or fish, plural, lol)--we're deciding between betta and guppies, and I'm given to understand that either fish will need a warmer environment, so we're trying to balance between the needs of the tank inhabitants. (My IDEAL would be to eventually transition to a heater with a better thermostat control system--the local store didn't have one at the time, however, just one preset to 78 that appears to run slightly warm. That or our thermometer is a little off.)
 

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