Red Cherry Shrimp Lethargic - Die-off a couple a day


Hello! Any help is appreciated!

So I have a 25L planted tank that's been running for just over 3 months.
I currently have 3 Platys and a bunch of red cherry shrimp (started with 20, they have had a few babies and with the deaths recently the number is probably similar). I used to have some neon tetras in there too but they died from internal parasites and I'm still medicating the tank for it now (the medication is shrimp safe).

Current parameters are:
Temp 25 degrees C
pH 7.4
Ammonia 0
Nitrite 0
Nitrate 4
GH 6
KH 3

I'm new to fish keeping so I'm learning as I go. But what happened was detritus built up a lot in the substrate so much that a fungus looking substance started growing across the gravel. (its a mix of Oliver knott AquaEarth substrate and fine gravel). With the fish death recently in the tank I had my fish in the forefront of my mind and cleaned out the entire aquarium and cleaned the substrate, meaning I did a 100% water change. Which I now know is a big no no in the shrimp hobby.

For the first two days after I saw no change in the shrimp, but on the third day there was two deaths and almost every day since there has been between 1-3 deaths. The water change occurred 2 weeks ago but the shrimp are still dying. They are also still quite lethargic and hiding in their moss a lot.

Before this incident I did a water change of about 20% once a week and after I am back to doing small water changes and check my parameters daily.
I feed the fish Aqua One tropical flakes and have started feeding frozen blood worms here and there for added protein. The shrimp eat both of these when they land on the ground but I sometimes feed them Hikari sinking wafers that I originally bought for my bottom feeders in a different tank.

I asked on facebook for advice in a shrimp group but no one had any ideas other than saying large water changes are a solid no.

Someone there suggested it could be a bacterial infection from stirring up the old substrate, but I have no way of checking if this is the case and have no idea how to fix it if it this is what it is.

I've been researching like crazy but there is such limited resources when it comes to shrimp disease, especially when you cannot see anything physically wrong with the shrimp!

Thank you in advance!


The big clean-up may still be causing problems. I moved my blue shrimp colony to a larger tank earlier this year and lost almost all of them over the next few weeks, though I tried to be careful and thought I was doing everything right.

The only other thing that jumps out at me is that our gh and kh are probably lower than ideal, but I'm not sure that's the problem. richiep, any ideas?


I'd first like to know what medication your using and the amount used, I know you say its safe but it tells us nothing and without details a picture can't be drawn up
I'd also like to see some close up photos of the shrimp, doing what you've done with the substrate can cause a chemical inbalance and that can cause bacterial infections like, muscular neceracosis, cotton disease, milk disease, this is where the whole body goes white.
Porcelain disease,
Pretty much untreatable if its any of these and some are only on imported shrimp,thats not to say given the right conditions it will affect any stock
In a small tank like yours removeal all the substrate will have an affect and being lethargic after this type of removal tells me something toxic as been aroused

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