I too hope your 2nd wave of shrimp goes well, it took me a few tries as well varying from cherries to rilis and now finally my 11.3g has a thriving yellow neon tank with purple ramshorns and a small school of ottos so keep trying!
29g Golden Longfin rams/Cardinal Tetra tank
11g Yellow fire neo shrimps
All this talk about copper doesn't matter, there's not enough copper in his tap water to have a bad effect on inverts. It actually takes a very large amount of copper, usually in the form of algae killer or ich medicine.
If you have used algae killer or ich medicine containing copper, seachem makes a product called cuprisorb for removing excess copper.
I finally got around to testing my tap water last night and its sitting at 5 degrees GH and 6 KH so I think I'm just going to stick with tap water and cross my fingers that the copper content is reduced by prime. Later down the road I think I'll rig up some kind of carbon filter like is used in home water filters. I've seen guys who use similar setups and are able to remove chlorine and chloramines with out the help of prime and it should remove copper as well.
From my experience snails and neos don't really like the lower end of their ph range. I would also recommend starting with 10-15 shrimp and hoping they breed. The offspring will do much better than the adults.
It really depends on what tank parameters they are coming from and it takes time for them to adapt to your parameters(sometimes they don't and they die because their molting cycle is messed up.. lack of minerals water too acidic too much feeding etc.) I'm sure someone will point out they have kept neos in a lower ph before and so on, I'm simply saying eliminating more factors never hurts.
Shrimp like consistency, I'm assuming using only tap will be fine for a neo tank. Your gh and kh seems good and I'm guessing the ph will be a little higher since not mixed with RO. Just keep in mind that as you do top offs the tds will increase slowly and eventually you will need to do a larger water change even if the nitrates are low(neos are pretty hardy though so its not a super big issue depending on the tds of your water..). Seems like a good start to eliminating most of the factors.
As for the light bulb I'm not sure but about 11$ will give you piece of mind.
And about the copper I would assume they would have died much faster.. Some people seem to think that using hot tap water during water changes(to adjust the temperature) could possibly add copper to your tap water due to the water heater heating up and copper leaching into the water. I guess its a possibility but seems a bit outlandish.
Best bet: Use your tap water, hope ph is closer to 7, see what happens..
PH out of the tap is 7.4. I think I will do water changes with tap and maybe RO for top offs to keep my TDS from creeping up.
I started with 50 or so shrimp about 4 months ago and they appeared to be doing great. I always had a dozen or so berried mamas and I would see babies of all sizes roaming around. It wasn't until recently that I noticed a drop in population, but no bodies. Then very recently I started seeing bodies floating. And I just saw a berried mom on her side last night. The only thing I haven't been able to measure yet is TDS. GH is 4 degrees, KH went down a little bit, but all the other parameters are fine (ammonia 0, nitrite 0 and nitrate below 25ppm) and PH is up around 7 now after doing a WC with tap water. I think I'm going to move the rest of the shrimp (all males at this point I think) to my other tank and wait to move forward with shrimp until I have all the tools to properly care for them (TDS pen, GH adjuster etc).
Do you notice any white milkyness inside their body before dying?(could be bacterial infections)
Is there anything mechanical in the tank that could be killing them?
Its also odd to me that they would float after dying, I've always had them sink/stay sunken. I guess the sponge filter bubbles are blowing them to the surface?
The water parameters sound fine, temp is ok gh/kh/ph seem fine. Makes me think theres something you may be overlooking, possibly chemicals entered the water or possibly the un noticed deaths were releasing ammonia into the water?
Is your maintenance routine somehow introducing something harmful into the tank?
You can pick up a tds meter at walmart for about 12$ in the RV section.
Thanks for the tip on the TDS meter. I don't shop at Wal-Mart, so I'll call around to any RV dealers and see if they have one. I wonder if a pool supply would have them. The local nursery supply store sells them, but they're like 30 bucks.
I guess I worded that wrong. 'Sinkers' would be more appropriate. Nothing funny looking about them at the time of death. They look like they just literally keeled over and quit. My maintenance routine is very hands-off. I mostly did top-offs with RO water. Once a month or so I'd do a 2-3 gallon water change. Parameters never fluctuated from 0, 0, <25. I'm guessing the super low PH and low GH/KH levels is what slowly did them in.
Well all that's left is one lonely male. I'm going to give this aquarium away or something. Everything that has ever been in it has died. I'm starting to think something got into it. Or maybe I'll tear it down and rebuild...
I had a similar experience with Yellow neos when I first got them. Decided to set up a tank with ADA aquasoil and it pushed my pH down below 6.0. Now I have a tank with flourite sand in it and sseriu stone to help buffer the water and my blue velvet neos are thriving.
Sometimes you just get a batch of shrimp with weak genetics that cannot handle extreme conditions. I would make sure you build your next tank around the shrimp. Sounds like with your water params you could easily be very successful with CRS or CBS.
That is a lot of shrimp. Do try again. Was this a 2nd hand tank? Maybe try with a new one It sounds like a contaminate or Bacterial. Do try again, you'll be better prepared this time. I found the pool store had a Scientific TDS thing, where you poured the water in and it told you the TDS. I am try too, and lost a whole lotta shrimp my whole new line. I promise it will not be bad 2nd time around. You'll be prepared!