Got a real mystery here...
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Old 01-21-2013, 01:30 AM   #1
thepotoo
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Got a real mystery here...


Setting up a new tank, 40 breeder, sponge filter, fully planted with mature plants/rocks/wood from my other tanks, allowed to cycle a month with about 200 danio fry. All of the danios were fine for the month and have been removed to grow-out tanks, and parameters are testing perfect (pH 6.5, GH 5, KH 0, Ammonia/Nitrites/Nitrates 0 (was dosing ferts for the first two weeks, but then stopped - the tank is so densely planted that even the nitrates levels are at 0).

I stocked with 20 PFR shrimp (drip acclimated from another tank sitting 2 inches away with the same parameters except nitrates 10) and they were all dead the next day except for 1 which was hanging out on a piece of driftwood for 2 days. After 3 days I found him dead on the bottom. Unsure as to what the problem could be, I did 2 100% water changes and dumped 3 shrimp in the tank to see if it was just a 1 time problem. Same thing - even down to one of them sitting on the driftwood fine for a day before dying.

The substrate is pool filter sand mixed with play sand. I don't believe it could be responsible for these deaths, but I don't know what else could be causing it. I did a small toxicity test with a 1 gallon bucket and a single shrimp...he was fine after 3 days...although I'm a bit concerned that the filter sand in the tank was not rinsed as well as the sand in the bucket. Still, it seems like the water changes should have taken care of that, no?

The other thing that comes to mind is the filter, or fert dosing: it was brand new and I've only ever used DIY sponge filters before, never a commercial solution. If there was something on the filter or in the water, though, why would the shrimp be fine on the driftwood? And shouldn't the 2 100% water changes have cleared out anything in the tank?

This isn't a "biofilm" (shrimp don't die instantly due to that) or "uncycled tank" issue (parameters are fine). My tap water isn't toxic to shrimp (there's a thriving colony tank sitting right next to this one, and I have no idea what could be causing this.

Anyone have any suggestions? I was hoping to move my CRSs into this tank, but I'm not going to risk that until I get this issue cleared up? I'd rather not take down this whole tank and start over from scratch without know what the problem is, since odds are it will just come back.

The only other piece of information that could be helpful is that the shrimp seemed to be lying on their sides, twitching, for a couple hours before dying.

Sorry for the long post. People always complain about lack of information on these sorts of issues Any advice would be great, I don't think I've ever heard of this happening before.

EDIT: OK, after going through everything it turns out the danios were just eating the shrimp every time they molted. I guess danios can learn to eat shrimp

Last edited by thepotoo; 05-02-2013 at 01:00 AM.. Reason: Found what the cause was, post edited to save you reading through the whole thread.
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Old 01-21-2013, 01:41 AM   #2
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only thing i could think of would be to test for copper. if the tank was ever used with other fish and any kind of med was in it the copper from meds could have got into the seals on the tank?
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Old 01-21-2013, 01:49 AM   #3
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That's a good thought, however, I have never treated with any copper-containing chemicals (not even CSM+B) and while I did buy the tank used and don't know it's history, this 40 breeder previously was a grow-out tank for apisto fry, getting a 50% water change daily. I think (hope?) that any residual copper from a former owner would be diluted down to non-toxic levels fairly quickly.
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Old 01-21-2013, 01:53 AM   #4
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I've heard (I think from another user on here) that copper can ruin a tank for over a year. I guess it stays in the silicone used on the seals?
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Old 01-21-2013, 02:00 AM   #5
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Take some water to the LFS and have them test for copper. Better than buying a kit for one test.
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Old 01-21-2013, 02:02 AM   #6
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Good advice, thanks guys. I'm going to get my water tested tomorrow. In the mean time, anyone know what the symptoms for copper poisoning look like in shrimp?
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Old 01-21-2013, 02:59 AM   #7
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I know these shrimp aren't as picky when it comes to TDS, but did you check for those? Ya had a huge number of fry in there...
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Old 01-21-2013, 03:11 AM   #8
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TDS is 103, the colony tank next to it is 167, and my CRS tank next to that is 124. Yes, I know I had a lot of fry. I started off with just 6 danios, then pulled them out after 3 days to let the eggs hatch and the fry grow up in their own tank and ensure a good cycle on the tank. I've used this method with most of the tanks I set up, as I can sell the danio fry later and offset the cost of the hobby. Never gotten so many fry before, but I moved them off to grow-out tanks as they got larger. I don't think the tank was ever overstocked, I never saw a speck of ammonia (since plants preferentially take up ammonia over nitrates, this is to be expected in a heavily planted tank).
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Old 01-21-2013, 03:24 AM   #9
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No judgement meant on my part, I promise.

Congrats on that huge load of fry, sorry about the shrimp.

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Old 01-21-2013, 02:53 PM   #10
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I didn't notice it in the OP, but do you dose CO2?
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Old 01-21-2013, 03:02 PM   #11
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TDS is 103, pH 6.5, gH 5, kH 0? Those aren't idea param's for fire reds and I think that's part of your problem.
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Old 01-21-2013, 03:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeToChKn View Post
TDS is 103, pH 6.5, gH 5, kH 0? Those aren't idea param's for fire reds and I think that's part of your problem.
I have yellows breeding in TDS 150, ph 6.6, gh 6, kh 0. Cherry varieties are pretty hardy.
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Old 01-21-2013, 03:31 PM   #13
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Supposedly cherries can go as low as 80 TDS, however I've never kept them that low.
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Old 01-21-2013, 04:26 PM   #14
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also if the tank was used for mice or reptiles befor you got it that can affect the tank too. not so much for fish but shrimp. mice pee alot and have really stong ammonia. that can get into the silicone too. so if nothing else i would reseal the tank if the problem keeps going
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:55 PM   #15
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>I didn't notice it in the OP, but do you dose CO2?

Not in a long time, I pulled the diffuser to a different tank after the first week or so.

> TDS is 103, pH 6.5, gH 5, kH 0? Those aren't idea param's for fire reds and I think that's part of your problem.

Yeah, they're not, but as others have pointed out, they're pretty hardy. And even if it's not idea, parameters off by a bit wouldn't cause 100% fatalities in less than a week. Only Sulawesi shrimps die that easily


>also if the tank was used for mice or reptiles befor you got it that can affect the tank too. not so much for fish but shrimp. mice pee alot and have really stong ammonia. that can get into the silicone too. so if nothing else i would reseal the tank if the problem keeps going

If the tank was used for mice or herps previously, the ammonia would show up in my tests, and my apiso fry would have grown slowly.
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