Why are RCSs dying? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-07-2019, 05:25 PM Thread Starter
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Why are RCSs dying?

Hey guys, I have a Walsted-style 4gal nano tank. Current inhabitants include 3 nernites, 3 whisker shrimp, 3 (but now 1) red cherry shrimp, 2 amanos, 4 neon tetras, and a single betta.

ph: 7.4

GH: btwn 71.6 ppm to 89.5 ppm (4 dKH - 5 dKH)

KH: btwn 53.7 ppm to 71.6 ppm (3 dKH - 4dKH)

Ammonia: 0 ppm

Nitrite: 0 ppm

Nitrate: btwn 0 ppm to 5 ppm

The red cherries have only been in my tank for 60 hours but two of them have dropped dead. Each 24 hours apart from each other.

The amanos and whiskers have plenty of poop in their clear bodies so I know they are eating but the RCS are a bit tougher to determine if they are pooping since they aren't translucent. The tetras seem more interest in algae than anything I give them. The betta is behaving beautifully but had a few stress lines when I bought it (36 hrs ago). I just bought almond leaves to help him out.

WHY ARE MY RCSs DYING!!!!!! Suggestions?
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-07-2019, 05:26 PM
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Betta / Tetra could be harassing them / killing them.

New shrimp are very prone to dying - adult RCS are not vary hardy at adjusting to new water parameters.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-07-2019, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quagulator View Post
Betta / Tetra could be harassing them / killing them.

New shrimp are very prone to dying - adult RCS are not vary hardy at adjusting to new water parameters.
They haven't been in my tank for long enough for me to have seen any aggressive behavior like that but I know that bettas are aggressive, tetras are fin nippers, but from all that I read, bettas will do fine with tetras in a school, and both tetras and bettas should do well with most dwarf shrimp as long as the shrimps are larger than their mouths and the fish are being well fed.

What would you say the survivability of of RCSs are? I found that I have a 25% mortality rate within the first 24 hours with whisker shrimp. Same with amanos. Take with a grain of salt as this is really my first tank and it's about 5 weeks old.

I drip acclimate all new inhabitants for 2 to 3 hours. (depending on how long my movie is).
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-07-2019, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by philyoosays View Post
They haven't been in my tank for long enough for me to have seen any aggressive behavior like that but I know that bettas are aggressive, tetras are fin nippers, but from all that I read, bettas will do fine with tetras in a school, and both tetras and bettas should do well with most dwarf shrimp as long as the shrimps are larger than their mouths and the fish are being well fed.

What would you say the survivability of of RCSs are? I found that I have a 25% mortality rate within the first 24 hours with whisker shrimp. Same with amanos. Take with a grain of salt as this is really my first tank and it's about 5 weeks old.

I drip acclimate all new inhabitants for 2 to 3 hours. (depending on how long my movie is).
Doesn't matter if it will fit in their mouth, or if they are well-fed or not. They will all harass shrimp.

I'm not sure what exactly killed your shrimp, I don't think we'll ever find the correct culprit, I'm just laying out possible outcomes that led to your shrimps death.

Do you know pH? gH? kH? TDS?

Could have been bacterial infection.

RCS prefer cooler water... Betta's prefer warm water.

When possible you should try and get juvenile shrimp... they adjust to change a littler better than adults.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-07-2019, 05:56 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Quagulator View Post
Doesn't matter if it will fit in their mouth, or if they are well-fed or not. They will all harass shrimp.

I'm not sure what exactly killed your shrimp, I don't think we'll ever find the correct culprit, I'm just laying out possible outcomes that led to your shrimps death.

Do you know pH? gH? kH? TDS?

Could have been bacterial infection.

RCS prefer cooler water... Betta's prefer warm water.

When possible you should try and get juvenile shrimp... they adjust to change a littler better than adults.
Yeah, I was thinking that maybe the fish might be causing them to hide for too long as one of the possibles.

Parameters were tested after I saw the second dead RCS.

ph: 7.4

GH: btwn 71.6 ppm to 89.5 ppm (4 dKH - 5 dKH)

KH: btwn 53.7 ppm to 71.6 ppm (3 dKH - 4dKH)

Ammonia: 0 ppm

Nitrite: 0 ppm

Nitrate: btwn 0 ppm to 5 ppm

Water temp is always btwn 75 and 78.

The whisker shrimp are doing absolutely fine. They roam around just fine.

When I took the 3 RCS home, the smallest one was 0.5 in, and the largest 0.75 in
The first to go was the smallest one, the second was the medium one. Now I only have my largest left.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-07-2019, 07:01 PM
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I honestly can't disagree with @Quagulator

Another possibility... your GH is too low. Ideally, it should be 7-8 GH. However, I cannot imagine that you would be seeing deaths that quickly with shrimp.

A second possibility is that you didn't drip acclimate long enough, but again, not going to say this is the culprit.


Better possibilities... maybe it's the soil? You said it's composted soil. The temp is rather warm for most shrimp species, so that could always play a role, however, I'm leaning towards the soil possibly being an issue... especially if you have had amanos and whiskers also die off.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-07-2019, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
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especially if you have had amanos and whiskers also die off.
My whiskers have been alive for 3 weeks now. The Amanos came into the tank with the RCS and are still alive.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-08-2019, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by philyoosays View Post
My whiskers have been alive for 3 weeks now. The Amanos came into the tank with the RCS and are still alive.
I was looking back at past posts and maybe I read it wrong, but thought it was mentioned that you had some die off.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-09-2019, 03:56 AM
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Ive read that whisker shrimp dont get along with RCS very well. Not sure how true it is as I have never had whiskers before but may be part of the problem. If not that then I would guess betta taking advantage of situations and or the soil. Hard to tell.

I know in my 40B community with a decent RCS colony I will lose a few RCS here and there, usually failed molts. Then I will go weeks without any dropping then lose 2 or 3 again. The fish I have in that tank could care less about the shrimp once they are about 3/16 to 1/4" in size.


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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-09-2019, 04:21 AM Thread Starter
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Ive read that whisker shrimp dont get along with RCS very well. Not sure how true it is as I have never had whiskers before but may be part of the problem. If not that then I would guess betta taking advantage of situations and or the soil. Hard to tell.

I know in my 40B community with a decent RCS colony I will lose a few RCS here and there, usually failed molts. Then I will go weeks without any dropping then lose 2 or 3 again. The fish I have in that tank could care less about the shrimp once they are about 3/16 to 1/4" in size.
I'm beginning to get the same idea. Whenever I've seen RCSs in a tank, they were bottom feeders but mine kept hiding either in a top corner of the tank resting on the tallest rotalas or hanging from duckweed. I don't think I've ever seen them eat. My current thoughts are that I either should have let the amanos and cherries get a little more established in the tank prior to adding fish, especially the bettas and tetras. There just isn't enough room in my 4gal for the non-established and non-aggressive shrimp to be with aggressive shrimp and fish. Rookie mistake.

So I'm preparing to set up a 6gal tank that I'm setting up with the same Walstad method that the 4gal is, and will move all the fish and whisker shrimp to that tank as the whiskers really have no issues with the fish.

The current 4gal, I want to keep it just shrimp and snails. I really really want to try to breed cherry shrimp in that tank.

Thoughts?
And thanks for the insight with your RCSs. It'll calm my rookie aquarist heart if I see any die for no reason in the future.

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Originally Posted by Zoidburg View Post
I was looking back at past posts and maybe I read it wrong, but thought it was mentioned that you had some die off.
I initially brought home 4 whisker shrimp. One got cloudy and looked like one or two of its legs were clubbing. Like, it almost looked like something was stuck to its foot but as I watched it swim around upside-down and clearly not looking good, it looked more like there was something wrong with its leg. That whisker shrimp died at the end of the first 24 hours. The other whiskers have been molting, and voraciously eating for the last 3 weeks and don't seem bothered at all by the tetras and betta.
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-09-2019, 04:49 AM
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Just dont write off RCS dying as not having a cause/issue but it does happen from time to time.

In my case the failed molts (indicitive white line between the carapace and abdomen) can be caused by diet, water parameter shifts, and probably other things. I am just at the point that if the colony is doing pretty good and the deaths aren't significant and they act normal then Ill keep doing what Im doing.

Keeping them by themselves will help and they will come out of hiding. They will still like to cling to floating plants, mine do all the time. They like eating off the roots.


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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-09-2019, 05:35 AM Thread Starter
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Well, the goes the last cherry. I can't find it or it's carcass anywhere. Total mystery since I don't even see evidence of it being eaten. No red shell flakes, not anything.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-09-2019, 01:27 PM
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Well if you cant find any evidence of it anywhere I would assume it was dinner for something. In that tank it would be hard to find any remnants after being a snack.

Once you get a RCS specific tank setup like you were thinking about doing it will be easier to keep track of them and rule out any other animal influences.

Wanted to add, I did see one of my false juliis eat a dead RCS. It took a good 15min for her to fully swallow the thing. She was swimming around with the tail fins hanging out of her mouth for a while. Wasnt sure they could fit a full size RCS in there mouth but she managed to do it (I know they can eat anything small enough). No evidence after that one besides me seeing her doing it.

Generally I dont bother removing the dead shrimp unless they have been in there all day, the dead ones usually disappear within a day. Between the corys, false amanos, and other shrimp the bodies dont last long and I never see any shell pieces or anything.


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