Beginner Red Cherry shrimp and water questions - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-24-2013, 05:15 PM Thread Starter
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Beginner Red Cherry shrimp and water questions

Hello folks,

I'm new to the forum, and also new to keeping shrimp. I've had freshwater fish successfully over the years, but recently started by first shrimp tank a couple of months ago. I set up a 20 gallon long tank that I purchased used online. It came with some basic plants and a few shrimp. I put on an old Aquaclear 150 filter with a sponge pre-filter (basically a model 30 today) and a new dual sponge filter. I have black EcoComplete as my substrate, and it is lightly planted. I purchased 20 RCS from what seems to be a very reputable seller online. After getting them acclimated, I experienced a death every 1-3 days or so. It seemed to me that usually I would see a molt, and a dead shrimp shortly after.

Yesterday I finally got my API water testing kits (I should have done this long ago). Upon measuring my water, I found GH and KH of about 8. Ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite were all at or near zero. When I measured pH using the "standard" bottle, I was getting a dark blue, as if measuring around 7.6. I then tried the "high Ph" bottle, and ended up getting a red wine color, which I would guess is around 8.3 or 8.4 I assume that the standard pH test is reading off of the charts, and that I need to use the high pH test until my pH lowers? If so, the pH seems too high based on what I've read, but I don't know if that is what would be causing a slow die off. I still have around 4 shrimp or so left. Water temp is steady around 75, I have a small heater.

I'm assuming I should be trying to bring my KH/GH, and pH down. I have a reverse osmosis filter installed at home, so I was considering doing a 20% water change with that. I also have a water softening pad that I could install in the Aquaclear, but don't know if I should go that route. If my deaths are somehow related to molting, won't lowering my hardness further the molting problems? Is there something else I'm missing?

The only additives I put in my water is dechlorinator (I do a 20% tap water change each week), root tabs (half a tab every 6" or so in the substrate), and Seachem Flourish Excel (per dosage instructions). Also, I have not really fed them anything, I was told that a small amount of shrimp would survive off of the algae in the tank. I have offered blanched zucchini on a couple of occasions, but they do not seem to eat.

Thank you in advance for any help, I appreciate it.
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-24-2013, 05:28 PM
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Welcome to the forum.

"[A]t or near zero" = that's your problem. They have to be at zero, otherwise they're toxic to invertebrates like Neocaridina davidi.

Don't worry about your GH and KH - they're fine for Neos. You can certainly lower it if you absolutely want to by doing small RO/DI changes. You could figure out how much tap it takes to mix with RO to get the parameters you're interested in. Then just change with that every week. Or do so with small water changes if you want to do it outside of regular water change time.

If you aren't feeding your shrimp, you should. They'll need more than leftovers in your tank. Try blanched spinach or kale to see if they go for that.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-24-2013, 05:44 PM Thread Starter
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I apologize, I probably should have been more specific. From what I can tell with my water tests, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are indeed zero.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-24-2013, 06:04 PM
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They may also be starving especially if this tank is only a couple of months old. I usually consider the biofilm/algae as a supplement and don't rely on it to feed my shrimp. Do you have any fish or other tankmates with the shrimp? If not then there would be no leftover food for them to try to get by on either. Try feeding at least every other day a variety. I usually use a couple of shrimp pellets for mine every other day and I have about 20 RCS also. I also mix up the offerings with algae wafers, blanched spinach and mixed flake food. I have ramshorn snails and MTS snails in the tank to help keep the tank clean. I think i read somewhere not to feed your shrimp more than what they can consume in 2 to 3 hours.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-24-2013, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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I certainly can try feeding them more often. I do not have any other fish or critters in the tank, aside from snails that came with plants that I've purchased. I assumed that when they didn't go after the zucchini that I offered, that they simply were not hungry. Perhaps it is a sign of a different problem.

Am I wrong to assume that my pH is too high? It seems high compared to what I've read. I can certainly work to lower it, that is no problem. I'm just concerned over what I presume to be a molting problem. I picked up a cuttlebone turtle supplement that is supposed to be straight calcium, but have not added it yet.

I also noticed that one of the surviving shrimp has a white stripe running down the length of his back. Not sure if that is another sign of molting issues, or if I'm barking up the wrong tree.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-24-2013, 07:02 PM
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pH is ok, neos adapt to almost anything and I believe TDS is more crucial that pH anyway. The white stripe down the back is very common for female cherries. I would stay away form the cuttlebone, your shrimp won't need it for calcium and it leeches into the water. Try some other foods and see if they go for them.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-24-2013, 07:13 PM
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From the sound of your parameters the water should be OK. I throw cuprisorb into my filter to be on the safeside/ remove any copper that might be in my tapwater. If upping their food doesn't work you could try the cuprisorb.
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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-24-2013, 08:04 PM
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the white stripe is normal on adult females

Only bad things happen quickly.
A little allot is better than allot a little.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-24-2013, 11:12 PM
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If your tank came with plants I'm assuming it also came with substrate? In any case, the prior owner may have used an algaecide that contained copper which will stay in a tank and is lethal to shrimp, so I would second adding the cuprisorb as a precaution.
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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-24-2013, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for all of the replies, I appreciate the insight. I have some cuprisorb, a copper test kit, and a TDS meter coming Friday. I'll see what I find out.
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post #11 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-25-2013, 03:03 AM
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Don't think the shrimp aren't hungry if they don't go for zucchini (or any other food for that matter). Depending on what they were fed where they came from they may not know what fresh veggies are OR processed foods. SOmetimes it takes a few times to get them to figure it out. Any time I get new shrimp in they seem to need a couple of weeks to figure out 'veggies'. Fortunately the rest of my crew show them the awesomeness of it all but still, it takes time with some. Try different things, don't get discouraged, if they haven't touched it in a couple of hours I yank it out and try something else at another time.
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post #12 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-25-2013, 05:54 AM
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I am having the same problems you describe with my RCS tank. I have a 10 gallon and started with 20 shrimp. I also have hard water with High Ph, GH, and KH. My ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates are 0. I have occasional deaths and am down to 6 or 7. I also have not had any breeding. I got these shrimp in mid May. So I would think they would be breeding by now. I have seen the occasional set of dropped eggs in the tank.

From my research and info from fellow shrimp ppl here on the forum, Excel is not recommended. Some ppl use it with no ill effects, others claim it wiped out their entire colony. I don't use it in my shrimp tank just to be on the safe side.

I'm interested in any other suggestions they may have for Perfectly_Circle as it seems we have very similar tank parameters and problems.
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post #13 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-27-2013, 01:13 AM Thread Starter
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Noticed another death since being home from work this afternoon, I'm down to probably just a few RCS.

I did a copper test just now with an API copper test kit, water is completely clear showing zero copper in my water. I checked my water with an inexpensive TDS meter, showing 184. I'll try running cuprisorb just for kicks. I now have a few different foods that I will continue to try offering. I've also stopped adding Flourish Excel since originally posting, though I was having deaths before adding it to my tank.

Quite frustrated at this point, and not too sure what else to try. Snails seem to be doing just fine. I've ordered more shrimp to be here next week from a different source. For a shrimp that is considered to be so hearty, I sure seem to be struggling to keep them.
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post #14 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-27-2013, 01:40 AM
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In my tank, Ive never checked my ph and all the other stuff. The only time my shrimp died is when i put sink water in it. i always add bath water to my tank but i noticed everytime i change my water i add sink water and. a shrimp dies a day later. Use a different water source.
Have a lot of moss and feed them every 2 days.
Water current can also play a factor in their death.
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post #15 of 24 (permalink) Old 07-27-2013, 03:18 AM Thread Starter
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I'm not sure what you mean by bath water vs. sink water.

I do have a HOB aquaclear filter and a sponge filter in that tank. I could try removing the HOB. I had read that there is no such thing as too much filtration, but perhaps the current output from the HOB is too much.
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