RCS colony death - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-02-2019, 02:52 AM Thread Starter
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RCS colony death

I had RCS for a few years and they have been thriving. I had about 120 shrimp in my 10g (let's call it tank#1). Obviously, that tank was cycled.
A couple months ago, I replaced the gravel substrate with Seachem Flourite and added Flourish root tabs. For some time, everything was fine, but then I started finding a couple of dead shrimp every day.

As of now, the colony is down to 6 shrimp. Initially, I moved them to a 3g tank where a few more shrimp died and then shrimp started recovering. Then I moved them into another cycled 10 g (let's call it tank#2). PH 7.2-7.8, Am-0, Nitrites-0. Nitrates-5, TDS 150 (tap is 99 after adding Prime it's 109), GH3, KH4. The substrate is TopFin aquarium gravel (looks more like big grain sand). The shrimp is dying again. I am hoping to move them tomorrow to the 3g tank again with nothing but moss and gravel. The filter from my current 10g RCS tank#2 will go with the shrimp because it is cycled. I will rinse the sponge in a de-chlorinated water. I use Prime for that.

I don't understand what is killing them. The very first time, when the shrimp just started dying in the tank#1, I tried to move all the shrimp, but missed 4 babies. They are adult shrimp now. Somehow, they survived in that tank#1. But about a week ago, I found one shrimp dead. I decided to move the remaining three into another 10g (tank#2) and today found another dead berried RCS. I am lost. The water looks fine. Is it possible that it's either low GH or Flourish root tabs leaking into the water and killing the shrimp? What can I do to save the last 6?
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-02-2019, 02:39 PM
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I am not a shrimp savvy individual, so take this with a grain of salt, but moving any creature between tanks causes huge stress. Shrimp being what they are, cherries or not (seeing as they are one of the most hardy), are so susceptible to stress that this may cause more deaths.
The initial die off started with the gravel swap. That is a big change in a tank, a large about of bacteria can live in the substrate and I'm hoping that removing that didnt also remove a large percentage of your bacteria.
My thoughts as to how to progress, keep a few tanks going and have shrimp in them all. I know your colony has dwindled, but in order to save them and rebuild my best advice is to not keep them altogether, just in case the tank they end up in is the issue.
Honestly the best of luck to you, just remember to control the urge to do a lot of changes as this will cause more harm than good. Monitor the tanks and make slow changes if any.
Good luck


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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-02-2019, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
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I am not a shrimp savvy individual, so take this with a grain of salt, but moving any creature between tanks causes huge stress.
Good luck
Thanks for your input Jamo33. I absolutely agree with you but my concern is still there. What if those root tabs are leaking something into the water and that is killing my shrimp. I am wondering if any other shrimp keepers have ever used root tabs in their shrimp tanks.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-02-2019, 04:09 PM
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Thanks for your input Jamo33. I absolutely agree with you but my concern is still there. What if those root tabs are leaking something into the water and that is killing my shrimp. I am wondering if any other shrimp keepers have ever used root tabs in their shrimp tanks.
Doing a full substrate swap was probably the cause of all your issues. That will dramatically alter water chemistry, remove and release a lot of bacteria, and messes up how the tank processes organic and inorganic matter.

As to root tabs, I've used them in my tanks from time to time as a test, and I never had issues with my neos or CRS.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-02-2019, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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Doing a full substrate swap was probably the cause of all your issues. That will dramatically alter water chemistry, remove and release a lot of bacteria, and messes up how the tank processes organic and inorganic matter.

As to root tabs, I've used them in my tanks from time to time as a test, and I never had issues with my neos or CRS.
While I do understand that the substrate swap could cause issues in the tank #1, I still don't get it what's going on in the tank#2. Everything is new in it but the filter is a cycled filter and it does it's job. You can see that from the water test. But the shrimp is still dying.

Could it be due to the stress of moving them from tank to tank?
Have you used the same root tabs as I did?
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-02-2019, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Plantmytank View Post

While I do understand that the substrate swap could cause issues in the tank #1, I still don't get it what's going on in the tank#2. Everything is new in it but the filter is a cycled filter and it does it's job. You can see that from the water test. But the shrimp is still dying.

Could it be due to the stress of moving them from tank to tank?
Have you used the same root tabs as I did?
Absolutely it could be from the stress of moving tanks. Not all deaths have to occur at the same time either, the potential damage that may have been caused from the substrate swap may have latent effects. These effects may be presenting themselves now, regardless of the tank change etc.
Root tabs shouldn't be the issue.
Best bet now is to watch the water chemistry, keep it consistent and try your hardest not to move the shrimp again.


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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-02-2019, 04:27 PM
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While I do understand that the substrate swap could cause issues in the tank #1, I still don't get it what's going on in the tank#2. Everything is new in it but the filter is a cycled filter and it does it's job. You can see that from the water test. But the shrimp is still dying.



Could it be due to the stress of moving them from tank to tank?

Have you used the same root tabs as I did?
Ok, first, I missed the GH. Yes, that is way too low. Bump that up to at least 6 if not closer to 8. I'm amazed they are surviving 3 dGH.

Second, stress weakens immune systems which is why consistency is so important with shrimp. Changing substrate creates stress, changing parameters creates stress, and being captured and moved creates stress. More than likely, many got sick, and things like bacterial infections are hard to stop. It also follows the shrimp, so you probably moved it from one tank to the next to the next.

Finally, your tank #2 doesn't sound like a mature tank. Usually I go for a minimum of 2 months to establish biofilm and let everything settle.

Edit: Forgot, not the same brand of root tabs. I used Osmocote+ based tablets.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-02-2019, 04:49 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, first, I missed the GH. Yes, that is way too low. Bump that up to at least 6 if not closer to 8. I'm amazed they are surviving 3 dGH.
I have a cuttlebone for about three days in there now. How else can I boost GH and at what rate I should do it?

Thanks
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-02-2019, 05:13 PM
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I have a cuttlebone for about three days in there now. How else can I boost GH and at what rate I should do it?



Thanks
If your tap only 3 dGH, you'll need GH booster. This can be a shrimp specific remineralizer, a GH booster for plants such as Seachem Equilibrium, or even DIY using CaSO4 (Gypsum Salt) and MgSO4 (Epsom Salt). The trick to DIY is a good scale to measure correctly and knowing how to use rotalabutterfly.com to target the right amount of each (about 3:1-4:1 Can:Mg ratio).

Cuttlebone and crushed coral only helps with some calcium but not magnesium. Even then, the amount that dissolves is dependent on acids in the tank and isn't easily controllable.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-02-2019, 06:38 PM
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Tank #1

What were the water parameters before swapping out the substrate?

What were the parameters after swapping out the substrate?


Do you have this info to share?
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-02-2019, 07:27 PM Thread Starter
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Tank #1

What were the water parameters before swapping out the substrate?

What were the parameters after swapping out the substrate?


Do you have this info to share?
If you are talking about the tank #1 there was 0 amm, 0 nitrites, 20 nitrate, ph 7.8. I don't know what was dh/kh since I didn't had the test kit for that. The filter stayed the same. So the filter has been cycled a long time ago and it is a mature filter.
In a new tank the parameters are the ones I listed in the op.
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-03-2019, 06:21 PM
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Without knowing the GH, KH and TDS of the tank we really can't say what some of the issues have been....

But as mentioned, raising GH should help. Equilibrium can work for short term, but avoid Replenish. There are shrimp specific products out there as well to raise GH.
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-04-2019, 12:14 PM Thread Starter
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Without knowing the GH, KH and TDS of the tank we really can't say what some of the issues have been....

But as mentioned, raising GH should help. Equilibrium can work for short term, but avoid Replenish. There are shrimp specific products out there as well to raise GH.
So you think it would be a bad idea to use Equilibrium on a permanent basis?
What are the other, shrimp dedicated products, that you meant? I am just not aware of any. This is the first time I ran into this kid of issue in my shrimp keeping hobby.
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-04-2019, 09:40 PM
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If you can get shrimp specific products, that would be more desirable over Equilibrium. Shrimp remineralizers are just better geared towards shrimp keeping and some of the non-shrimp products can be a mess. Equilibrium may be one of the better ones out there although it's been a while since I've 'tested' it.

There's Salty Shrimp, Shrimp Nature, Shrimp Lab, SL-Aqua, MK-Breed, etc.

If you plan to keep using tap, then you only need a GH remineralizer.

If you ever plan on switching to RO water or distilled, then you need a GH and KH remineralizer, which may be sold together or separately depending on the brand.
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-06-2019, 12:00 PM
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I don't like equilibrium because it is hard to dissolve.
Salty Shrimp dissolves well, and is more economical than the liquids.
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