What Could Be Killing My Cherry Shrimp?

  1. Rainy day

    Rainy day Well Known Member Member


    So my girlfriend's(I lied in the title, sue me ;) ) new cherry shrimp have been dying off and I can't seem to figure out why. We purchased them together from a reputable store, she took home 6 and I took home 7. Mine have been thriving and breeding while hers have been dying off. She had 2 die in the first day, followed by another 2 days later and after a week she's down to just 1.

    I assumed it was a nitrates issue but after doing a water test her ammonia, nitrite and nitrates all came out to be 0. Her water seems to be nearly identical to mine. I didn't check kh/gh but considering we live fairly close to each other and both do 50% water changes every week, shouldn't mine be doing poorly as well as our parameters should be identical?

    The only other thing I can think of is them being shocked? I drip acclimated them while she used a cup. But wouldn't the shrimp have died within a few days, not a week later? I also considered copper but couldn't really think of what could be causing any to be present. It's a planted tank and she doesnt add any ferts. She did use some strange national geographic sand though.

    We want to try shrimp again for her tank but don't want to risk killing them until we know whats wrong.

    BTW, I got some small blue velvets while she got some large cherry reds if that makes a difference
  2. Savanna

    Savanna Valued Member Member

    Her nitrates are zero? That's odd. The tank is cycled?

    Copper can be present in food, so that's worth checking, if you both don't feed the same thing, although unless levels are very high they usually have symptoms beforehand.
    National geographic substrate notoriously raises PH. Worth checking.

    Are there any other inhabitants in her tank? It may be the others have something and are asymptomatic and the shrimp are more sensitive, though it would be odd to die the first day. If there are others in the tank (fish) they may be picking them off.
    Did you check for chlorine? I'm sure she used water conditoner but shrimp are more sensitive than fish if there's even a little bit.

    Did she recently treat for any illnesses? Residual medicine that is not safe for inverts could do it.

    Other than the above things, I have no idea what else it could be. You may have gotten lucky and got the healthy ones and she did not. At work, for a few days after our shipments arrive, we lose half of our shrimp to stress and ammonia poisoning from the shipper. So if they arrived at the store you purchased them from in the last day or two, it may have been stress from that and the difference in your acclimation strategies.
    The other option is something (decor, plants, substrate) in her tank is leeching into the water.
    I'm sorry I can't be of more assistance. Feeder grade and pet grade ghost shrimp are completely different in health and fragility, so if they're feeders (usually in the 29 to 99 cent range,) literally anything could kill them off. I'm sorry to hear she is having such trouble with this :(
  3. DaleM

    DaleM Well Known Member Member

    Did you shake the heck out of the Nitrates solution? Especially bottle #2? And then shake the heck out of the test tube? You need to shake for about 1 minute or until your arm falls off! Otherwise you can get false readings.

    Just a bit weird there are 0 nitrates as there is usually at least some always present
  4. Savanna

    Savanna Valued Member Member

    Yeah even my tank with PWC every other day (long story,) I still maintain about 5ppm nitrates. So there's a false reading, the tank isn't cycled, or there's ridiculous amounts of water changing going on. I could of course be wrong, but it is odd.
  5. OP
    Rainy day

    Rainy day Well Known Member Member

    Hello, yes I used the test correctly. Heavily planted tanks often have 0 nitrates, so no need to worry there. My 75 gallon consistently has undetectable nitrates and it's heavily stocked. Its been set up for years as well, so if it's not cycled I've been incredibly lucky ;)

    I checked her pH, it was 7.8. Which is the same as our tap water and the same as my tank. I did not check for chlorine, however. That may be it but she's pretty religious with her water changes and uses more water conditionair than she needs too because it's stresscoat. For stocking, she has some platys and guppies. I was a bit worried about the platys but after observing them for a few days realized they weren't even interested in the shrimp. They wouldn't even pick at the corpses.

    No she hasn't medicated the tank recently. You have a point about them being a recent shipment though, I didn't ask if the store owner that. I sure hope it was just bad stock, she really likes shrimp and is pretty upset about all the losses.

  6. Savanna

    Savanna Valued Member Member

    Don't forget to check her food for any copper additives! We just had a member who lost his treasured shrimp to a fish food that contained copper and people don't often think to check the food. So sad. So sorry she's going through this, I too adore my shrimps, especially my ghosties. I can empathize, I lost three of mine within a day due to unknown causes.
  7. Miaw

    Miaw Valued Member Member

    Larger ones acclimate poorly. They often fail their first moult if it's not done slowly.

    I find the smaller they are the more you can just throw in any tank and they grow up happy and well adjusted. Not recommending it but it's an illustration of the point.

    If they had a white or clearish line on them then I think it is because they failed their first moult due to poor acclimation.

    (not an expert but I have lots of rcs and some blue velvet and have experienced both small and mass die-offs from various causes in my tanks)

    From other posts I've come across doing too many water changes might be a problem for RCS too.
  8. OP
    Rainy day

    Rainy day Well Known Member Member

    Savanna, I just checked and no copper in the food either :/

    Miaw, you may be right. Mine were a little over half the size of hers and she didn't mention seeing any molts aside from the first 2 days. I'll wait a few days to see if anyone else can point something out I'm missing and then try drip acclimating some younger ones for her.
  9. Miaw

    Miaw Valued Member Member

    Do try to get smaller ones though. I've had bigger ones die even with drip acclimation.

    They are easier to move from tank to tank once they are used to your tapwater for a few months though. Just when bringing them from the store it is more dangerous.
  10. Miaw

    Miaw Valued Member Member

    Sorry for double post but this is probably important. I had a mass die off once when I had some small eleocharis from another tank (with only fish). They started convulsing and dieing off. I'm certain there was something dodgy leached into the water. All the fish were fine. I lost 50-100 shrimp and babies those few days. (Not to mention at the same time I was discovering the new sparkling gouramis hunted rcs (even adults) in packs!)

    It doesn't sound like that's what happened to you though.
  11. Savanna

    Savanna Valued Member Member

    If yours were noticably larger than your girlfriends, they could have been older but more likely a different gender if from the same batch. Although with RCS it's less pronounced than some other shrimp.
  12. Savanna

    Savanna Valued Member Member

    And glad the food has no copper even though it doesn't get you closer to an answer. I so rarely have had cherry shrimp die that miaw probably is closer than I to an answer. Though I've lost a handful of ghost shrimp and an amano.
  13. Miaw

    Miaw Valued Member Member

    His are blue velvet and his girlfriends are red cherry. Different lines!

    I love that my input here is valued based on how many cherries I have lost :D

    I've actually never lost an amano.

    Basically my water is like 1kh out of the tap. I've been using Tetra easybalance in all my tanks now for a couple of months which seems to buff it to 3 :)

    The older ones just can't adjust to my kh as easily as the shrimplets. Though having it a bit higher helps.

    So that's another reason I've lost cherries :rolleyes:
  14. Savanna

    Savanna Valued Member Member

    Yeah that's what I'm saying, I can't say what caused the loss because I've not lost any cherry shrimp I've had except to random ailments, occasionally. I was running through a list of things it could be, but you, having lost some and knowing the cause of that loss, have better input than I do. I've lost other shrimps to identifiable causes, as in sicknesses that came through, but not suddenly and without any warning. My cherries have always faired fine in their devoted tank. I only have one left however it's been a very long time since I bought any. I Miss them. I love all shrimps though. Here's hoping your information can help save some shrimp lives! :D
  15. andychrissytank

    andychrissytank Well Known Member Member

    "Her water seems to be nearly identical to mine. I didn't check kh/gh but considering we live fairly close to each other and both do 50% water changes every week, shouldn't mine be doing poorly as well as our parameters should be identical?"
    You shouldn't make that assumption since even the pipes in your houses could change parameters around. I recommend checking that and I do not think it was an acclimation issue since its been long enough and RCS are pretty adaptable to parameters (I know that kinda sounds contradictory to my first statement, but they are cooky that way)
  16. OP
    Rainy day

    Rainy day Well Known Member Member

    I'll definitely test for kh, gh and copper once I buy some more tests, I didn't consider the fact that she may have copper pipes in her house.

    Sorry for the confusion, Savanna, my shrimp are close to half the size of hers.
  17. Savanna

    Savanna Valued Member Member

    It's okay I'm at 60 hours no sleep do its not hard to confuse me right now lol. Maybe I should step awaaaaay from the forums for a few so I don't make things MORE confusing..
    Whoever had the larger shrimp, if they were from the same batch and were all cherry shrimp, may have had females, or the may have been two different batches at different ages, is what I was trying to spit out. Cherry Shrimps have a sexual dimorphism a lot like ghost shrimps do so the females are overall larger, almost a third to half again as much, and rounder. But if you did actually have younger ones it would help to explain the deaths. Adult shrimps are used to whatever tank they're in, moving after also shipping causes stress, and then different water and tank causes stress. Bleh. There. I got it out. LOL.
  18. OP
    Rainy day

    Rainy day Well Known Member Member

    We found the remaining one alive and well earlier today. He also happend to be the youngest of the batch. Hopefully this is more than just a coincidence.