I've run probably close to 3 dozen different RCS and blue dream neocaridinia tanks. I've run a lot of different types of tank set ups including low tech shrimp only up to ultra high tech mixed fish + shrimp and have even run a 75gal community tank with full grown angelfish and a small RCS colony. Here are some of my thoughts based on my experience, which you should take with a grain of salt since anecdotal evidence is just that, anecdotal.
Here are also my thoughts/responses to some of the other replies:
They should be very well fed. Bacter ae 3x per week. Shrimp pellets, algae wafers, supplemental blanched veggies. I hope they are starved. Some fish flake in there too.
No predation, only housed with 10 cory habrosus, almost the same size as them.
Stress, probably a factor I agree...just not sure why.
Should be noted that I kept this batch of eggs in a container with an air bubbler. Here's hoping, but I doubt anything will come of it.
I'm still skeptical that the berried female is not getting enough to eat. Just because the nonberried females are eating well does not mean that she is eating well. Unless you see her out in the open all the time and also hanging out with the hasbrosus, stress from malnutrition 2/2 fear from predation is highest on my differential. I think it's safe to say though that your tank is (was) doing well though since your shrimps were breeding to begin with. Neos won't berry unless they are doing well. This is why I think something is selectively
pressuring your berried females.
I'm thinking this tank just simply isn't compatible with shrimp. Which is fine, once I get this other tanks cycle complete.
If you can't get your colony to survive in this setup, you're not really setting yourself up for success in your next set up...
1.) You bought from Aquatic Arts (I have a feeling that imported Neos might do better in Caridina parameters, so wouldn't necessarily recommend putting them on a non-buffering substrate - just changing your minerals)
2.) You are using KH on a soil that should have 0 KH
3.) You might be over-feeding Bacter AE
4.) Shrimp pellets and algae wafers may contain too much protein - their diet should be algae based. Many "algae wafers" don't even have algae within the top 5+ ingredients! Throw in the fish food... well, just too much protein
5.) The CO2 might be an issue
Re: Shrimp in low pH.... there are people keeping shrimp in tanks where the pH is in the 5's and I might have heard of someone even keeping shrimp in a tank in the high 4's???
Since this was brought up.... I had to check my own tank... lol
SL-Aqua buffering substrate, RO water and GH minerals. Prior to changing out the substrate, the pH probably was around 7.5 ish. The API kit registers a 6 pH now, and it's brand new. I've had the kit for less than a week. I then used my Sera kit to test the pH and it's saying about 5.5 pH? Tank has Bloody Mary, Yellow King Kong, and a Caridina Sp (looks like amanos, but not). All were in the tank prior to switching out the substrate. I did not acclimate them or even let the tank settle.... I literally emptied the tank out, rinsed it with cold water, scrubbed 3 walls, threw in the new substrate, refilled with remineralized RO water and GH minerals with plants, then dumped the shrimp back in. I only know for sure that I've lost one shrimp, and it was a Caridina Sp. (the not-amano).
I've been struggling with Neos, regardless of where I get them or what type (Cherry, Yellow, Bloody Mary...), what water I keep them in (straight tap kills them, RO and minerals didn't really improve survival after trying remineralized tap - diet change did work until two separate people unintentionally killed off several shrimp within 3 weeks....) so if I lost them then I lost them. So far, the bloody mary are still doing okay as far as I can tell. It's been at least 3 weeks since I changed out the substrate.
So take that as you will...
1) I have always had limited success with shrimp that I've bought online. In fact, I've always had limited success with shrimp that I've bought in large quantities. My definition of success is net population growth in 3 months. Success was always limited by frequent and chronic die offs of the original stock like you have been experience (except not isolated to berried females). I cant say for certain since it's been a while since I've had die offs like these since I changed my stocking practices, but I want to say that females (both berried and unberried) preferentially died over males. My hypothesis on the two major contributing factors were (1) age of bought shrimp and (2) quantity of shrimp bought. FME, subadults and juveniles are the best to buy since they are more adaptable to tank parameters and need less food to feed. Nowadays, I don't add more than 1 shrimp per gallon per week to my tanks. You'll read everywhere about how shrimp contribute almost no bioload, but that only includes the biowaste that they themselves produce. If you feed in excess or feed really messy foods without frequent water changes, you're stressing the biofiltration on the tank. This is most evident when you set up a new tank that "has been cycled" and you add in 30 shrimp. Enough messy feeding w/ inadequate tank maintenance and you'll push your tank into another mini- or (or even full) cycle.
2) I've run over 90% of my shrimp tanks on ADA Amazonia and ADA Malaya. Aquasoil is buffered to a pH of 6.8. Malaya is buffered to a pH of 5.5. KH for both is kept at <1. Source: The Book of ADA (I highly recommend this for anyone who uses ADA products). In general, you shouldn't be trying to fight your water and soil parameters. So adding KH buffer to ADA soils seems like a bad idea overall.
3) I don't use Bacter AE and have had success to the point that I basically dump extra shrimps at my LFS or in my community tanks for Darwinism. The food source that has made the most difference for me is switching pretty much exclusively to Shirakura shrimp ball food (it's the hard algae wafer/crisps). I like it a lot because it seems nutritious to my shrimp, it doesn't make a mess when it's getting torn apart by the shrimp, and it can sit in the tank for almost a day without any noticeable fouling of the water. I also make it almost mandatory to keep moss in tanks with shrimp. A nice loose baseball of java moss or xmas moss or a nice 4x4 of mini xmas is the minimum I try to aim for.
4) Same as #3
5) CO2 has only been a problem for me when I've gassed my shrimps. Once gassed to the point that the shrimp look confused/drunk, I pretty much assume they are going to die even if you reverse their hypercapnia (they end up dying in a week or so, probably from long term consequences of the acute CO2 poisoning).
Shrimp barely need to be fed, especially in a planted tank with even traces of algae. Overfeeding kills them faster than under.
I think this depends on the size of your colony with respect to the size of the tank/surface area of the tank. Heavy moss tanks probably don't need much external food supplementation per shrimp. Planted tanks with mostly stem plants alone wont sustain a large colony without external supplementation. I have to concur though that overfeeding is extremely detrimental to shrimp. If you don't do good water maintenance, the food will foul up water, cause ammonia/nitrite issues, and even bacterial blooms.
You are not going to isolate variables in your current tank and neither has the person giving you their anecdotes.
Ditto, so you should also take my thoughts with a grain of salt.
Buffered Substrate, fluctating kH, fluctuating TDS, those are known to stress shrimp. Stressing shrimp doesn't mean you kill them, they can adapt but you aren't going to ever know how well.
Yep. But if your shrimp are berrying, you're doing something right.
Bottom line you won't know what is killing your shrimp until they are in their own tank where you hardly touch the water or parameters, don't add CO2 and have everything stable, and even then you are changing their water parameters from old to new ank and some could die in the new tank anyway. However they are easy to breed so if the new tank has no fish and good water conditions they will breed and the babies born in that tank water will be much more resistant.
I run CO2 and have good results, until I accidentally gas my tank and have to reset things. I also agree that the new babies born in your tanks are better adapted to your tank parameters than the ones you buy. This is why I hate getting full grown adult shrimp from others.
Given this, I actually always keep a low-tech, high-moss nano breeder tank in case my show tank populations suffer an extinction level event. I run a 2.4 gallon with about 20 full adults and transfer over a few sub-adults and juvies every week or so to my other tanks.
People keep neos with 50% water changes, CO2, buffered substrates, but its always a case by case and often depends on the quality of the stock. Its much easier to eliminate the potential stressors and not to add variables you don't have to like unecessary additives.
Neos are highly adaptable and can pretty much survive most planted tank parameters as long as they have time to adapt IMO. It'll take a generation or two for your line to stabilize with your parameters, but you'll be working against that stability if you're constantly tweaking parameters like trying new mineralizers, changing what water you use for the water changes, changing your substrate, etc. Pretty much all in all of my tanks, I avoid doing water changes and top off with RO water. I average a ~50% water change every 2 to 3 months across all of my tanks.
What u should have done when first getting the shrimp - test the water they came in and do a super slow acclimation if the values are very different.
What u can do now: Start water change with RO + SS GH+. Turn off CO2, turn down lights.
If you follow and believe in Joey (KingOfDIY on Youtube), true acclimation to water parameters usually takes weeks to occur since it requires changes at the intracellular level by the fish, so that the cell proteins can function in new environmental parameters. I can't say this with a lot of confidence, but I would expect this to be true for other parameters like temperature, O2 and CO2 concentrations and possibly GH, KH, etc. The biggest thing you need to worry about in the acute setting are big changes in temperature and O2/CO2 concentration. Moving a fish from warm water to cold water will shock them. Moving a fish from a highly oxygenated tank to a highly CO2 injected tank will also shock them. Not sure if the acute maladaption to wide CO2 discrepancies is due to pH or the actual CO2 concentrations though. I remember reading somewhere about how water pH affects the gills and how well gill tissue can extract O2 from the water and dissipate CO2 into the water.
Your tank is not stable which stresses shrimp. They like stable kH and TDS.
I hope you can get them out before the rest die.
Way too many guesses in here for my liking.
Stability IMO really is key. And by stability I mean on the order of weeks to months
1) Stable, simple tank parameters are most important (don't mess around too much with frequently adding stuff, removing stuff, changing things)
2) You can absolutely run large, growing colonies in high tech planted tanks with CO2 injection and even fish (you just have to accept that you'll have casualties along the way due to instability)
3) Things I've had success with are:
a) Having moss in all my tanks with shrimp
b) Switching to the Shirakura shrimp ball food
c) Being slow and steady when it comes to stocking tanks w/ new shrimp
Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.