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Advice wanted . All shrimp died.

1976 Views 24 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  somewhatshocked
Hi everyone. I got back into the hobby after 10 years hiatus with a 5G tank low tech. I don’t remember shrimp tanking to be quite this difficult but I never lived in area where the water is literally liquid rock. So I moved to San Diego and the tap water parameters are actually insane: pH 8, TDS 500, GH 19, KH 9 and I figured there was no way anything could live like that so I cut it 50-50 with DI water.

Attempt #1: after tank cycled 2 months: pH 7, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 50, GH 10, KH 2, (no TDS meter at this point), temp 74. Nerite snail alive. 10 shipped blue dreams – all 10 died within like 2 days though I dripped them in over 2 hours. Turns out the seller’s water was quite a bit softer than mine at GH 6-8. I also had seiryu stone which maybe was making water parameters worse so I took them out.

Attempt #2: I wanted to make things a bit softer or ideal? pH 7, ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 50, GH 7, KH 2, TDS 200 for about a week, nerite still happily munching. I decided to buy fire reds from the local store (again naively thinking there’s no way anything would live in this liquid rock water). All 10 again died within 4 days, all had stress failed molts and white rings of death. Turns out the local fish store bought em from Taiwan, threw them into the local tap water. Only the caridinias were in RO water. Probably too much water change parameters for them to live?

So… my question is what do I do now? I feel like I’ve made a ton of stupid mistakes and I can’t trust myself. Should I leave my water the same and buy online again to someone with similar water? Should I try liquid rock water and go with a seller here who claims that they live fine in the tap? I seriously don’t know anymore. Personally, I don’t want to chase water parameters anymore and make it easiest on myself to just do 50-50 DI water/tap water, but that didn’t end well either on attempt #1. Or use DI water with salty shrimp. Feel really lost!
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I think I figured it out. I dosed yesterday to 1ppm ammonia. Today it is still there. So... my tank sat empty with just a tiny snail between attempt 1 and 2 for a bit so it might have crashed without animals or ammonia in it. Will be cycling the tank again using fishless cycle and ammonia. Now I know if it is empty for a bit I have to feed the bacteria.
I’d dose more. That way you’ll have more defined and easily discernible nitrite and nitrate indicators along the way.

FWIW, my grow out tub is getting dosed 5ppm ammonia per day. If I do a 90% water change and test at 0ppm nitrate, then dose ammonia, I’m getting what reads close to 20ppm nitrate the next day.


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A cycled system (filter, plants, bacteria on every surface in tank) should be able to process at least 2ppm a day. I’d keep going until it can do that. I wouldn’t bother with a water change unless you’re getting algae problems.


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