Shrimp Death & Belly Fanning?


Hi, sick/dead cherry shrimp help needed!

  • What is the water volume of the tank? 25Liter
  • Does it have a filter? sponge filter, cycled
  • Does it have a heater? no
  • What is the water temperature? 22-24C
  • What is the entire stocking of this tank? (Please list all fish and inverts.) 6(now 5) cherry shrimp, no fry, 5 adult Malaysian trumpet snails, approx 20 baby MTS

  • How often do you change the water? weekly
  • How much of the water do you change? ~35%
  • What do you use to treat your water? tetra tap safe, standing in bucket overnight in same room for temp
  • Do you vacuum the substrate or just the water? no, flourite black sand + MTS, I do get the dirt off the top

  • Did you cycle your tank before adding fish? yes, though I added shrimp a bit late, successfully cycled
  • What do you use to test the water? apI master test kit
  • What are your parameters? We need the exact numbers, not just “fine” or “safe”.
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: ~5
pH: 7.2

  • How often do you feed your fish? 1 a day
  • How much do you feed your fish? slightly more than recommended as snails eat the pellets too, there are never leftovers after 24h
  • What brand of food do you feed your fish? JBS Nano prawn pearls
  • Do you feed frozen or freeze-dried foods? no, do feed blanched spinach/lettuce/peas sporadically

Illness & Symptoms:
  • How long have you had this fish? 5 weeks
  • How long ago did you first notice these symptoms? ...when I found my shrimp dead
  • In a few words, (more room for details below) what are the symptoms? seemingly random death
  • Have you started any treatment for the illness? removed corpse, 50% water change, removed floating plants in case there isn't enough aeration,
  • Was your fish physically ill or injured upon purchase? not that I know of
  • How has its behavior and appearance changed, if at all? no vivible changes aside from being dead

Please explain your emergency in the best detail possible.

I found today the smallest of my 6 cherry shrimp dead and can't figure out why and am hoping for help. They seemed generally less active in the last week or two but I thought they might just have finally settled, and I have noticed that they fan their belly flaps quite a lot (though none of my shrimp are berried, at least I am pretty sure, the eggs always seem pretty obvious on photos). Is it maybe too little oxygen?

The dead shrimp appears completely normal to me, and I found it lying on its side in the middle of the tank, still flapping it's belly fins. I put it in a glass with tank water where aber about 15minutes it stopped moving completely, even if prodded.

It shouldn't be a shedding issue, as I think this shrimp has shed about 4 days ago. It's the smallest of the 6 (almost half the size of my biggest) so I figured it must be juvenile and it shouldn't be age.

I do have some worms in there that I can't seem to get rid of, but I'm quite sure none of them are planaria. Seems to be some sort of white flat worm that usually sticks to the glass and very thin hair like ones that float around.

All my cherry shrimp are solid red, so I can't see if they have bacterial infection. There always seems to be one of two that are paler/mottled but as they shed I think it's that? I have a hard time keeping them apart tbh. I added some pictures where you can kinda see it. Unfortunately cameras seem to strugge with tiny shrimp/aquariums...

My goal with making this post is to maybe find out what might have killed it/how to avoid further deaths. I'm happy for any advice!

Background/setup (as written in my own words before I found the 'sick fish template':

This is my first aquarium, just as a disclaimer, so I'm gonna list...everything, not that I oversaw sth stupid.

I got 6 cherry shrimp and 5 MTS(that have made about two dozen babies by now) approx. 5 weeks ago. The tank had been set up and running w/ plants and filter 4 weeks before that.

It's ~25L, running a sponge filter with air pump, have some java fern and moss, wood(store bought + boiled), flourite black sand, and dwarf grass(?) and a lot of tiny floating plants on top. The light sold with the aquarium (very bright) and a desk lamp (less bright) that I use sporadically. Waterchanges once a week, usually ~35%

They get fed daily, JBL 'Nano Prawn' pellets (which they don't seem to be fond of) and sometimes blanched spinach/peas/lettuce (which they will fight eachother for). Would they starve themselves for not getting the beloved spinach&peas???

Measured half an hour ago upon finding the dead shrimp:

PH: 7.2

Ammonia: 0

Nitrite: 0

Nitrate: ~5 (now probably 2.5 as I just did a 50% water change)

Temp: 22-24C

I do use dechlorinator (tetra tap safe).

I currently don't have a gh/kh test but it's on the shopping list. They have a small piece (2x2cm) of cuttle bone permanently floating around the tank, as Glasgow water is supposedly soft and between snails and shrimp I figured they'd need it.

It has been stable like this for at least 3 weeks now, before that, week 1-2 of having the shrimp, the ph was a little lower and small amounts of ammonia/nitrite.

From what I read this should all be fine?

Fishy McGee

What do you feed them?


Fishy McGee said:
What do you feed them?
They say in the post they feed JBL Nano Prawn Pellets.

Everything sounds fine, other than the dead shrimp. Definitely get the gH/kH test kit when you can.

I suggest vacuuminv the substrate. You can use a turkey baster to suck up small bits of stuff. Detrius builds up, which gives lots of food for bacteria to feed on. The water quality can still be dirty and bad even when ammonia/nitrite/nitrate are all good.

You may want to decrease feeding. You probably have detrius worms, which aren’t harmful but are a sign of leftover food.

Do you have much surface agitation in your tanks? You can add a bubbler if you are worried about oxygen levels.
  • Thread Starter


Jellibeen Thanks for the advice! I'be been doing 3 waterchanges a week now (still no parameter changes) and have been feeding less

I wanted to wait for the tests to arrive before replying.
I now got a TDS pen, and GH/KH test!
Gh: 2
Kh:<1 (I couldn't figure out how to do half a drop)

so those are horribly low

my TDS pen apparently needs configuring and I don't have the solution to do that, which I didnt know, but unconfigured it says: 37 (28 for tap water) which is also really low :\

To make things even better, I spotted Vorticella on some, so I'm gonna get aquarium salt to fix that *sighs*

Do you have advice/experience with raising gh/kh?


I do!

I added a bag of crushed oyster shells to my filter. I also use limestone in my scaping, which is high in calcium. Other options are cuttlebone and coral.

I also suggest adding a powder supplement to your water. I have Equilibrium by Seachem. I believe Salty Shrimp is another good choice. There is a calculator on Seachem’s website for how much to add. You don’t want to shock your shrimp, so up it gradually. Instead of adding enough to bring all the water in your tank up to a good hardness, only treat the new water from water changes.
Seachem - Equilibrium

I had Vorticella. The good news is that it is actually harmless! Try to take old molts out as soon as you can. Even though it’s generally a good idea to keep them in, in this case they will make it easier for vorticella to spread so it’s best to remove them.


I would stop doing water changes so often. Water changes can cause problem. Shrimp like stable and well established water. It might not be a bad idea to move the snails they do produce way more waste then shrimp, till you shrimp colony gets well established. Just a thought.


I agree to many water changes going on 20 to 25% once a week is fine, you will have moulting issues with the gh 2 that needs to be increased slowly to a minimum of 7 ide also recommend using the product in the photo as you can get your water spot on with salty bee or a similar mineral additive. With your GH at 2 you can expect more lossess if they try and moult, one way around it is to remove the shrimp and snails reminerils the tank then re-drip the shrimp and snails over four to six hrs they will adapt to this better.

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