KH/GH Killing Shrimp? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 11-01-2011, 03:38 AM Thread Starter
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KH/GH Killing Shrimp?

I started a thread over on Aquarium Advice but figured I would post here, since there seem to be more shrimp experts around here, haha.

In short: 5g planted (thread: ) with two or three surviving rcs from a mysterious die-off. They were all acclimated for an hour using the drip method, and all lasted wonderful until they started dying one-by-one. I'm trying to figure out the cause. I have DIY CO2 at about a bubble per second, and the levels are green according to my drop checker.

The short version: RCS and ghost shrimps all kicked the bucket. There are two RCS survivors out of like, 17, and that's it. I went to the local fish store a few days ago to see if they knew what was going on. I had my water tested for everything juuust to make sure I wasn't making a mistake on something during my own tests. Here are the results:
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: >5 (yes, the tank is cycled. There's just a very low bioload right now from just those 2 shrimp.)
pH: 7.4 (this is a drop from around 8.2 before I started my DIY CO2 3 weeks ago. )
GH: 0
KH: 22

The employees I talked to think that the lack of GH compared to the ridiculously high KH is what's killing my red cherry shrimp. One of them suggested I buy Seachem Equilibrium to up the GH, but I'm tight on money and it'd just be another chemical I'd need to add to the tank, which I want to avoid. The store's staff are VERY knowledgeable and trustworthy unlike chain stores; I'm just hesitant on jumping into another purchase. Someone on AA suggested a Mosura mineral additive to up the GH, but it'd just be another thing I'd have to add and they look expensive as heck (I'm a college student on a budget).

For ferts, I originally dosed a few drops of Seachem Iron every day and a few drops of Flourish Comprehensive once or twice a week. Someone pointed out that perhaps the Iron was a contributing factor. Even if it was a coincidence, I've stopped dosing for now, because apparently it's not really needed. (wisteria, r. rotoundifolia, a. nana, java moss, and dwarf hairgrass are my plants)

I'm starting to wonder if just those couple of shrimp are even enough to keep the nitrates high enough for my plants (some of my wisteria's turning a little pale around the leaf edges). Would it be safe, at this point, to try adding another batch of shrimp (after a long, long drip acclimation process)? What about ember tetras? Still having trouble finding boraras brigittae around here, but now I'm scared of trying since my KH and GH are so messed up.
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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 11-01-2011, 05:46 PM
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I'm no shrimp pro but I do know you can easily, cheaply, and safely raise your GH while also providing magnesium for the plants by using common Epsom salt. I would measure out a couple of gallons of water in a separate container and experiment to see how much salt exactly I need per gallon to get things where I want them and then gradually add it to the tank to slowly raise the levels.

keep in mind once you start messing with the water it is that much more important to regularly check levels to make sure they remain where you want them, factoring in evaporation and such.
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