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GavSmith 02-18-2013 09:47 PM

Bamboo Fan Shrimp - Not Eating at All
Hi all, joined the site because I've been unable to find much info for my particular issue.

I got a pair of Bamboo Shrimp (from petco) about 2 weeks ago. They're about 3" in length and seemed somewhat healthy at the time (to someone who didn't know alot about them other than what Petco told me). One has been flame red since I bought her, and the other has stayed a dark red-brown. I've never seen them open their fans at all, and looking closely the fans are blackish-gray colored and tightly clamped together.

The first week they both stayed at the top of my filter intake tube (75 gal filter on a 55gal tank). Having not seen them open their fans at all I was worried that they wern't eating, so I bought a powerhead (500gal p/h). Neither of them even bothered to move. Come a few days ago the bright red one is very weak, can barely move (gets blown about in the current a bit and just lays on it's side) while the red-brown one still continues to not use it's fans.

I've checked all the stats of the tank... PH is 7.4, 0 ammonia, 0 nitrates, 0 nitrites. I'm not using anything with heavy metals, copper, or any medications. The tank has plenty of live plants and a decent stock of fish (about 15 all around 2", and nothing that would hurt them) so I'm not sure if it's a lack of food (they haven't ever scraped the bottom for food... I don't think they've even bothered to try to feed) or if they were just starting to get ill when I bought them.

I've been searching through the internet for 3 days now looking to see what's going on and every time I think I've found something it's going on about eating off the floor. Mine don't eat... period. They just sit there (currently in the current from the powerhead after I put them there) and shuffle about a little bit. The bright red one keeps falling off and laying on his back/side and only tries to move every now and again.

Just dosn't make any sense to me... I've even tried spot feeding them and nothing. At this point I'm somewhat desperate, but I fear it's already too late to do anything. I'd appreciate any help or insight anyone can offer as to why they don't even try to eat.

Nambroth 02-19-2013 02:29 AM

I used to work at a store that carried these. I hated that my management ordered them. Anyhow, I had a fondness for shrimp even then and I tried to take extra good care of them. Sometimes we'd get them in as you described-- keeping their fans clamped and not eating by filtering OR picking. I would make sure they were in a tank by themselves with varied hardscape in case they were stressed. I wouldn't sell them when they were like this, and sadly they always perished within a week. There was no information about them online back then so I never knew if there was more I could have done. I do hope someone here chimes in that has more experience with these guys. I'd love to know if you can help them once they are at this point.
I believe these guys are still harvested from the wild so it might be very hard to pinpoint a cause. :(

jeremy va 02-19-2013 02:41 AM

If they haven't eaten in 2 weeks and one is lying on its side it sounds like you may want to take them back to p-co. This is not normal behavior (in my experience). The ph etc is OK and they should have hid for a day or two and been shy for a few more days but, by now, they should be clinging to something and fanning or sitting on the bottom and picking over the substrate. If they aren't, things are not going well.

Shrimp often molt soon after you get them and the one on its side may be having a molting that is going badly.

As you say, you have no idea what p-co did to them (or didn't do). If it is anything like my local one there is a new teenager in the fish department every couple of months, s(he) is probably well meaning but completely clueless. I've heard them tell people the most bizarre things -- they will frequently say things that are dead wrong. You only have to look in their tanks to see that they are capable of killing large numbers of the fish in their care. When I go into their fish department Dachau comes to mind.

GavSmith 02-19-2013 12:59 PM

I always dislike when it comes to this... I hate the idea that petstores have that life is cheap, and because that one died "here have another one!".

Well the red one is on his side again thismorning, still twitching now and again. The red-brown one is sitting about 2 feet from the powerhead with it's back to it, still not a single fan deployed. I'm starting to wonder if their fans were damaged at the pet store. I remember when I got them that they were all hiding in a fake log they had, and only one had it's fans out. I don't think I got the one that had it's fans out, and I have a sneaking suspicion that they only just got them in, hence why they were hiding.

The ones at my more local Petco are at least fanning and moving around their tanks (though picking up substrate). And yes it was a teenager who was in charge there. He was telling me that he moves them from tank to tank so that they always have plenty of food (because I asked why he was letting them sift substrate), but I know that they have never moved them from their current tank. It just shows what bad conditions they're in before you buy them, though I do know that Petco does much better than Petsmart (who had like 50 dead fish one morning when I went in).

I think I'll try taking them back today, alive or dead, as I can't stand to sit and watch them both die.

Aquatic Delight 02-19-2013 02:06 PM

couple questions for ya. do you dose anything? and what fish are you keeping? do you use tap or Ro water? How old is that tank you put them in?

bamboos are very shy, and tempermental. i lost 3 before i was able to keep them, currently i'm keeping 3 and 1 vampire shrimp.

that fire red one molted in store, and his color should begin to fade in the coming weeks. the other one seems to be having trouble with his molt, as was said above. do you have a cave or some hiding spot for the one that is trying molt? sorry more questions than answers right now. just trying to get an idea of what is going on in the tank to help figure out what is going wrong here.

OH! and what did you spot feed them?

in the mean time, if you have zucchini or squash boil it until soft and place in the tank near them.

GavSmith 02-19-2013 02:36 PM

Dose? if you mean Meds, then no I haven't dosed anything. The fish I have in there currently:
2 female bettas (2")
3 small cory catfish (3" max ones, currently 1.5")
Emerald cory catfish (4" max, currently 3")
4 Ghost Catfish (2")
5 Leopard Danios (1.5")
a Red Tailed Shark (2")
3 Otocinclus (1")
2 Tiger Loaches (2")
3 Black Loaches (3")
and 2 African Frogs (1")

Everyone gets along well and the only aggressiveness I've seen is between the 2 tiger loaches spinning in circles with eachother, though that dosn't happen very often at all. Otherwise everyone gets along well and no one even gives the bamboo shrimp a 2nd look.

It's all in a 55 gallon planted tank (plants are still growing in but somewhat established) with at least 3 decent places to hide (a fake hollow rock, a fake hollow thick branch, and a Tiki idol). It was tap water that went into the tank, but was treated prior and left to age for 24 hours after treatment. I have no idea where you get RO water, my local shops only carry Betta water in gallon jugs for extortionate prices.

The tank is about 5 months old now. It's been cycled for over 4 months and the only issue I've had is one of my Oco's and a frog getting caught in the filter intake (which I now have put a net over to stop that happening again). All my levels are fine, temps at 81F, the only thing I don't have a check for is hardness and iodine, though I don't see how this would make them not eat at all.

I tried spot feeding them algae wafers and a few fish flakes that I'd dissolved into a watery paste, with a piece of air tube slightly in front of them so that it clouded near their fans. Neither responded at all. I've also tried frozen brine shrimp after it was mentioned that they like them, and again no responce.

I just don't understand why they don't even TRY to feed... I read countless postings about them pulling up substrate when starving, but mine don't even try to eat anything. They just sit there all day with fans clamped shut and have got progressively weaker over the last week. If they'd at least try to feed then I'd at least know if there wasn't enough food in the water column by them picking at the floor, but this is just downright baffling as to why they won't even try.

Is the squash or zucchini even going to help if they're not trying to eat? I don't want to pollute the tank with something if it's not even going to help them. I mean I'll do it... but I just don't see how it's going to get them to eat when they're not even trying to already.

binbin9 02-19-2013 04:27 PM

these guys are filter feeders. they won't eat flakes or pellets they typically hangout by the outflow to catch microscopic food. the fans act like balleen ona whale. try powdered algae

GavSmith 02-19-2013 04:36 PM

Not really my point, and somewhat unuseful if they won't even try to eat. As I've said they won't even deploy their fans so how can they eat anything if they won't even try? But anyway, I liquified the fish flakes and algae wafers so that it was particles, not solid chunks. I did my research on these guys, but there is nothing anywhere about them not even trying to eat.

I ordered some powdered algae several days ago but nothing has turned up yet. But again... how is this going to help when they won't even "open their mouthes" to be fed?

Aquatic Delight 02-19-2013 05:28 PM

i wasn't speaking of meds i meant fertz, i have a working theory that excel also kills many of the mirco-organisms that fliter feeders eat.

your loaches were actually fighting, its really cool to watch, and one of the few territory battles where the fish do no injure each other in the fight.

with all of the bottom dwelling fish you have, i think you need more caves.

i asked about water because petcomarts use tap and if you had R/o that could have been part of the problem, however i guess it is not.

your tank is very warm, mine generally dont feed when it warms up like that. i would cool it down to at least 78. i think that this is your biggest problem. most of the people i know who have success keeping these guys, keep their tanks between 74-78. mine sits between 73-79 depending on the time of day. when the tank is around 79 or up my guys feed less or not at all.

as for the spot feeding, there is nothing in flake food that appeals to filter feeders. its the same thing as when some one puts food infront of you that you don't like, or even recognize as food, they won't eat it. i would try this again with just the algae waffers crushed up and not as a paste, but as a slurry. the zucchini or squash (i have had better luck with zucchini) will not muck up your tank, and is used by many shrimpers for food, otos, and various other bottom feeds will also find it to be a tasty treat. you can safely remove it after a few days, no harm to tank.

GavSmith 02-19-2013 05:51 PM

I'll grab some zucchini on my way home and try that boiled up. I'll also try setting my tank cooler, though I wouldn't have thought they'd starve themselves to death for a few degreesF for 2 weeks. I'll also see about adding more hiding spots as soon as I get chance to.

I appreciate the info and I'll see if at least the still mostly mobile one perks up. The red one is still moving a little, but just twitching her swim legs now and again.

Dave-H 02-19-2013 06:17 PM

The sure-fire way to get my bamboo shrimp out fanning is to take some Ken's veggie sticks with calcium AND a little bit of flake, then grind up up as much as possible in my fingers. I grind it up as much as I possibly can, then toss it in. Within 20 minutes, he's out fanning.

But you know, 2 weeks isn't that long. Maybe he's just settling in? Mine got hungry and pale for a few weeks, then made a great comeback.

GavSmith 02-19-2013 07:49 PM

Well my main issue with them is that they're now barely moving and the red one is on his side laying on the bottom nearly all the time. I've tried perching him back up on stuff but he just falls back off shortly after. I wouldn't be as worried if they were at least able to stand up and move around but now it just looks like they're dieing.

I turned down my heater but seems that the tank is staying around 81F, I may have to put a bit of colder water in slowly to help lose a few degrees.

Dave-H 02-19-2013 08:02 PM

Oh I don't like the sound of that :(

I don't have any expert advice, but if it were me I would try to help the little guy out by keeping the water as perfect as possible for him. Maybe do a small w/c multiple times per day (so that you keep the water clean/nice without swinging the conditions), and skip the ferts and anything else until he's ok.

GavSmith 02-19-2013 08:52 PM

well the water comes out fine in all the chem tests I'm doing... 7.4ph, 0 amonia, 0 nitrates/ites. Trying to get the temp down a little... it's at 80.8 right now and dropping very slowly. Got some green squash in the microwave right now with some water to boil it up some. I'm hoping it'll perk them up enough to at least try to eat.

I just wish I knew what was going on with them. If I was starving I'd be doing whatever I could to get a bit of food.

Aquatic Delight 02-19-2013 09:15 PM

to speed up the cooling you can put a few ice cubes in a plastic bag, and that will help.

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