How did you cycle your tank? I mean specifically - methodology on a daily basis, etc.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!
Did you still treat your water with Prime to make sure it was safe?
Have you tested for metals like copper?
Have you treated the tank with anything? Medication? Has the tank ever been used with a potential contaminate prior to you using it with shrimp? Even if it sat unused for a long time?
How old/what size were the shrimp when you obtained them? Adult shrimp have more difficulty adapting to new parameters than juveniles.
Cutting your tap in half with RO wasn't a bad idea. That should help make more ideal parameters. And dripping them over the course of an hour or so like you did is also fine.
Tank conditions and potential tap water contaminants aside, it's entirely possible all the shrimp you obtained were just not in great health. That's the nature of the beast when you buy from anyone who isn't a fellow hobbyist, unfortunately. Some retailers are so deeply unscrupulous it's disheartening and some just don't know any better.
If you can rule out issues with the tank itself, remineralizing RO/DI water is a really good way to make sure you don't have to worry about much in terms of contaminants. You don't have to use something expensive like SaltyShrimp, either. You could mix your own salts or even cheap out and just go with baking soda for kH and Seachem Equilibrium for gH - even though it's not my favorite for shrimp, it'll work.
I prefer the RO route because it's best for my own peace of mind and allows for a good deal of parameter control. If you already have an RO/DI filter system? That's the route I'd go.