What Is Killing One Of My Cherry Colonies?

JThor
  • #1
Once again calling upon the valued members of this site for help. Very long story short starting from mid January, I had bought plants off of a once trusted pet store, that turned out to be doused in something that wiped out the vast majority of my cherry colony. I lost easily between 20-30 adult shrimp and lord knows how many babies in the first two weeks before the deaths dropped to just two or one a day. Thought I had everything sorted by removing the plants, the sand, regular slightly more than usual WC's and just keeping an overall eye on the shrimp. But still, two months later i'm still having dead shrimp appear (Usually half eaten). Which is really surprising considering there are shrimplets still being born (there's definitely a few shrimplets growing from before this all happened that survived) and my nerite snail hasn't shown any signs of slowing down so I don't think it's a copper problem anymore. The other two smaller cherry tanks I have don't have any deaths so for me at least that rules out a tap water issue which makes me think whatever is wrong is confined to the one tank. They're all molting fine as well so i'm baffled at what else it could be.

It's a 50L/13G tank, has slate rocks and some marimo moss balls as well as some elodea. Two filters, one new Stingray 15 and my original filter being a fluval minI filter. Has a heater as well and had an airstone until my blue velvets had their own baby boom and I wanted to give them a bit more oxygen.

Here's the readings that have been pretty much the same for the past few weeks (Used via JBL Easy Test 6in1);
Nitrates - 25
Nitrites - 0
GH - >7°d
KH - 6°d
PH - 6.8
CL2 - 0

NH3 (The ammonia kit is separate to the test strips for the others) - <0.02 ppm.

I'm really at my wits end here. I don't want to just sit here and do nothing but at this stage i'm close to throwing in the towel which would be a shame as i've had this tank up and running for over a year now and was getting some really good results with my breeding. Amazing that a few months ago for another tank I thought my biggest problem was snails, now i'd gladly deal with another snail problem than have to watch my shrimp colony diminish daily.
 
JThor
  • Thread Starter
  • #2
ADD ON: A lot of the shrimp that died are males. My females that I initially introduced to this tank last year prior to buying the males are all still alive if that adds to anything.
 
Bithimala
  • #3
Any idea what the plants were dosed with? Also, a pH of 6.8 is getting close to the low end - are the other tanks that are still successful at that pH and is that what your tap runs? Any chance you've been able to get pics of any of your losses?
 
JThor
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Any idea what the plants were dosed with? Also, a pH of 6.8 is getting close to the low end - are the other tanks that are still successful at that pH and is that what your tap runs? Any chance you've been able to get pics of any of your losses?

No clue, after some "polite" arguements with the owner of the store he more or less stated that the plants may have been imported from Asia and lord knows what they were sprayed with. All I can assume is they do lace them with snail killing treatments before exporting them which in turn affects other inverts (which makes it even more amazing my nerite is still alive).

In regards to are my other tanks successful with that pH? Yes absolutely! If anything the slight drop in pH from that magical 7.0 down to 6.8 has actually led to me having more successful berried shrimp giving birth and egg droppings are very rare. Never had an issue with it being at 6.8 like. I can raise it if you feel that could be an issue but I honestly have yet to notice any ill effects of having it at 6.8 and literally only start having deaths after this whole plant thing happened.


Most of the pictures i've taken are too blurry but these shrimp were found dead yesterday and I just took the picture about 30 minutes ago (had them in the 2L bottle just incase they came back to life like i've had other shrimp do before).

Edit; ignore the male and female captions for the pictures I just named them things so the computer would accept the files.
 

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CaptainAquatics
  • #5
Hi! I would say put in a herbal medication for a few weeks and see if that helps! Sorry but I have never kept a shrimp colony but that's what I would do! Hope this works
 
JThor
  • Thread Starter
  • #6
Appreciate your input Dalo! Any ones you can suggest that would be invert safe?
 
Bithimala
  • #7
Ugh, they don't even look unhealthy. Almost 0 meds are invert safe, so if you're going to do meds, I would be very careful. If all the other tanks are running well with neos in 6.8, I wouldn't mess with the pH. Have you changed out the filter media? I would probably try either doing that and pulling a portion of seeded media from one of the other tanks, in case something from the plants ended up in the media or adding some AC to the filter and seeing if that helps.
 
JThor
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
Ugh, they don't even look unhealthy. Almost 0 meds are invert safe, so if you're going to do meds, I would be very careful. If all the other tanks are running well with neos in 6.8, I wouldn't mess with the pH. Have you changed out the filter media? I would probably try either doing that and pulling a portion of seeded media from one of the other tanks, in case something from the plants ended up in the media or adding some AC to the filter and seeing if that helps.

That's what's baffling me. No molting problems, no odd gaps in the colour and no pale milky whiteness to indicate a bacteria problem and no nasty critters or fish that could be killing them. It's like they are perfectly fine one day and then dead the next. And just looking now there are more babies than yesterday but also two dead shrimp remains so I really don't know what to do. Its like for every adult shrimp I'm losing I'm gaining a handful of babies. Unless the dramatic plot twist is my nerite is a killing machine I'm lost on what it could be.

I cleaned the media about two/three weeks ago once I had the stingray but I didn't notice any difference because I was still scooping out dead adults and some dead shrimplets. Literally other than the shrimp I took all the plants and decor out and replaced it with other plants and decor from my other tanks that I knew were safe. I can try adding some AC but if that doesn't work what else can I do?
 
Bithimala
  • #9
You could try replacing the media in the fluval. Maybe not the media in the stingray since it's new, but the media in the fluval. That, of course, means you risk at least partially having to recycle the tank, but if it sucked up a lot of the chemicals on the plants, it may just be slowly pouring them back into the water. That's probably what I would attempt next if the AC doesn't work if it were my tank.

If the issue is really that something came in on the plants that was really nasty... break down the tank completely, clean it like crazy, and redo it. I will say, with shrimp, that's a horrible pain to have to do, so hopefully that won't be the case.

No chance, with all the water changes, that maybe you missed using conditioner or something like that any time? I know you mentioned a possible copper problem. Have you tested for copper just to be safe?
 
tjander
  • #10
Might be worth testing for copper?

Also, and I doubt it but could you just be at end of life? I assume that the other tanks were populated with the same original stock? If so that shoots a hole in my last comment. Remember RCS have roughly a year life span.

Baffling for sure, I would definitely check for copper and I am not sure how but maybe salts?
 
JThor
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
Hello again Bithmala and tjander thank you both for posting. Apologies for the delay I had no internet over the weekend.

I just brought a sample of my tank water around to my friends house and he tested it for me (I believe it was from the API brand) and it was a big fat 0. Also maybe I'm wrong here but I had read somewhere in the past shrimp stop breeding after a copper spike, but mine are still doing so even as I type this. That's what led me to believe the copper (if there was any lingering) ran its course because for a while there were no new babies but after reading these posts I did it to rule it out for sure. So no, no copper.

As for old age, could explain the older ones tjander but it doesn't explain the babies and barely-just became adult shrimp that died too. Though if this is in any way a breakthrough I found a baby shrimp dead that was pure white last night.

I'm starting to think tearing the tank down is my only option or just letting all my shrimp die and leave my snail there all to herself because she's completely unaffected so far.
 
tjander
  • #12
IMO, tearing down the tank will probably result in the same as leaving it alone your shrimp will die.
IDK, what’s killing them you mention all tests were zero, normally Nitrate show 10 to 20. And of course PH should be like 7 or so, But Either way, I think that tearing your tank apart is not the best option.
I have seen a product at my LFS that claims to be a setup for shrimp, it’s shrimp water or something like that, maybe you could try a big water change use this shrimp water and the will get you over the hump.
Also you mention a dead shrimp that was white, normally a dead shrimp is pink in color, I am pretty sure you know the difference between a moly and a dead shrimp but I had to through it out.

Sorry I could not be more help, good luck
 
JThor
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
Yep, readings are all fine for me and again just to keep you updated this is only a problem for one shrimp tank, my other two are fine I'll have to have a look for that product next time I go to the store.

Just the baby I found was white, this female I just found as you can see is her usual (or slightly faded) colour and berried. I do indeed know the difference and any bit of help is appreciated no matter how big or small. At this stage its standard procedure of pulling out a dead shrimp at least once a day. At least my nerite is unfazed
 

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tjander
  • #14
Wish I could help... I don’t what to tell ya. Maybe try and compare water samples from the problem tank and a non problem tank. Check all the parameters, PH, Ammonia, Nitrates and Nitrites
If you can do GH and KH as well. TDS readings? IDK.

Also, it might be a good idea to take a water sample to a LFS and see what they come up with. A second opinion may not be a bad thing.

There has got to be a reason.

So long shot here, how far are the tanks apart? Do you have an air pump bubbling air in the tank? My thoughts are maybe you got something in the air that’s giving you fits. Air freshener? Carpet deodorizer?

Also, have you or did you recently done a deep tank clean, could you have contaminated your water somehow with a cleaner? Years ago I remember someone using glass cleaner on the outside of the tank but got an over spray and unknowingly poisoned the tank.

I am reaching for straws here I know, I realize that these points might sound dumb and I am not insinuating ignorance on your part, just trying to offer a solution.

If we know what the problem is maybe we can fix it?
 
H Farnsworth
  • #15
What is the Total dissolved solid level in the tank?
 
Bithimala
  • #16
The environment is actually a great question tjander Anything that could accidentally have been sprayed in that tank? Possibly by someone else in the home? How are they doing and have you had a chance to try AC?
 
tjander
  • #17
H Farnsworth question friend what would be a good number for TDS? I bought a meter and to this day can not tell you if my TDS is correct. It must be working because my shrimp are thriving. But if you would know what a good number would be please share it cuz I can’t find anyone who knows.
 
H Farnsworth
  • #18
200 ppm is the recommended maximum TDS. I use a Home Forest TDS meter it’s like 15 bucks. To test if your meter is accurate take distilled water it should read 0. Then take some more distilled water and add a measure amount of NaCl. Calculate how many ppm it should be then test it using your meter. If you have questions on making an accurate test solution let me know. You have to use molar masses not just grams.
 
H Farnsworth
  • #19
Also I keep my TDS at 100 Shrimp seem happy since I adjust my parameters
 
tjander
  • #20
Thanks for the info. I have checked my calibration my tanks seem to run about 300-400 and again everything seems good but it’s worth looking into lowering it.
Again thanks
 
JThor
  • Thread Starter
  • #21
Firstly thank you all for contributing in my absence, college has me distracted.
tjander, definitely worth asking those questions but sadly no deep clean, no foreign chemicals used near the tank or anything like that unless someone did it without me being in the room which definitely could have happened for sure but from asking around i'm getting "no" answers from the others in my house. Only recently added another airstone as I find I have a better survival rate for shrimplets with extra oxygen. The nearest tank to my shrimp tank is about 3 meters away and it's musk turtles. I don't use equipment for the same tanks so the musks have their own vac cleaner, net, food etc from the shrimp tank in question so no chance of anything cross contaminating.

Bithimala there have been a few more deaths prior to me posting this for sure. I'm still waiting for the AC to be delivered so I'll drop you a message when I get it.

H Farnsworth, I'll be honest TDS kits are very hard to get where I am. In fact, most pet stores don't generally sell them here but I can certainly try get them once these assignments are finished (wish me luck, animal behaviour sucks.)

The pet store owner was polite enough to get back to me and he confirmed the plants had almost certainly been sprayed with pesticides, they sort of screwed him over by not informing him and then he went on to sell those plants. Not a major breakthrough as I assumed as much but at least I know for sure what started this all off. He seemed very sincere in his apologies for any problems caused and he's been kind enough to refund me for some of the expenses.

As for what was still killing the shrimp I have no clue. Maybe the Nitrates being at 25? I've got them down to 10 and the deaths however have seemingly stopped anyway (other than finding a devoured body two days ago). I am left with about 8 or 9 adults and plenty of new baby shrimp so assuming this is the last of the deaths (i'll give it a week) I can just work from here. Other than changing the already replaced sand substrate yet again from sand to gravel I haven't been doing anything drastic other than keeping up with regular WC's so maybe if there was any lingering chemicals left they're gone now? I've really no clue. Thanks everyone for the input though, y'all have been great!
 
tjander
  • #22
You changed your substrate? Wonder if that could have caused a spike in something? IDK. Well I would say if your fry are surviving I would keep fingers crossed and nose in the books. ( stay out of your shrimp tank and keep studying)

Hopefully everything is behind you.
I am not sure what county your from but if Amazon delivers there you can get a TDS meter from them.
 
JThor
  • Thread Starter
  • #23
Not that I noticed and I monitored the readings were closely. I am indeed, but I have my limits of shoving my face into a book for entire days!

I will definitely look into getting a TDS meter, can't believe they're so hard to track down here.
 
JThor
  • Thread Starter
  • #24
FINAL UPDATE: I did mean to post this last weekend but I got caught up with studying.

I finally believe I know the cause of what could have been killing my shrimp long after any pesticides/copper had disappeared. I was extremely irritated at my Stingray filter for making splurting noises and not being as easy flowing as it should have been. So after taking it apart and checking the intake, all was ok. That was until I lifted out the propeller itself and saw at least 4-5 rotting adult shrimp in a nearby compartment at the back of the propeller. There were two who while I assumed were dead, upon touching with a test strip jolted back to life. I managed to save them just in time, they're doing fine now. From what I can tell from inspecting closer, there is a really stupid design flaw in the Stingray that has a hole at the back (near the propeller). While there is no immediate danger from the propeller as it is in another part of the filter, from this small hole, the shrimp were able to get inside the filter and most likely because there was not enough room to turn around they got stuck and either because of the heat of the propeller or because they got stuck for so long they died which then attracted more shrimp over and over to their doom. Probably safe to assume the ammonia from the dead shrimp was making the others weaker, which is strange since the ammonia readings never fluctuated from my initial readings.

Anywho, the dead have since been removed and with some regular WC's i've gone a week without a single death. The hole has been clogged up now and so far whatever I have left seems to be here to stay. Once I'm sure everything is ok I'll be transferring some more shrimp from my other colonies over just to slowly start repopulating. To anyone reading this thread having shrimp deaths definitely check your filter to see if one or more the little ninjas have somehow crawled into it. Oh and always quarantine your plants no matter how much you trust your LFS as that was what got me into this mess in the first place.
 
Bithimala
  • #25
Wow, congrats on figuring that out! Glad to hear that everyone is now doing well.
 

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