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Advice wanted . All shrimp died.

2022 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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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!
How did you cycle your tank? I mean specifically - methodology on a daily basis, etc.

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.
 

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For cycling the tank I used tap water and fluval biological booster for a week, added plants in right away, saw a huge ammonia spike to 4-8 ppm in 2 weeks. Then I did 25% water changes(using mixed RO and tap) every 2-3 days over the next 2 weeks as my ammonia dropped to 0 and nitrites rose and then dropped.
So you didn't dose ammonia of your own? Typically, you'd be dosing an ammonia source for several weeks until you see a nitrite spike, then nitrates and until your tank can process a fixed amount of ammonia in a 24-hour time span. Usually 2-3PPM is sufficient. Anything else could potentially mean your tank isn't cycled. Especially if it sits empty for any length of time without an ammonia source being added to the tank. (Here's a good primer on the fishless cycle)

Even a small amount of ammonia can be toxic to shrimp. While I doubt that's what's going on with your tank, it's still important to keep in mind. In order to be on the safe side, I'd dose with ammonia in order to be sure the tank can process it all before adding any new critters. Just for peace of mind because you've already been through the wringer.

I have not tested for copper as my snail seems to be fine and I thought it would die too if I had copper in the tank?
Snails can handle more than shrimp - even ammonia - for the most part.

So overall the chemical contaminants potential and medication/copper thing is low?
Yeah, seems low.

Do you have a recommended seller whom I can trust?
No specific seller. But checking the For Sale section is the way to go. That allows you to review their feedback history and check their tank journals to see how they care for their shrimp. Provides a metric ton of peace of mind, really.
 

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Hard pass on Craigslist. There's no way to see how they've raised their shrimp, no way to gauge their reliability as a seller and no buyer/seller protection.

Start with other hobbyists on this forum or a similar site. Only buy from someone who can show you their tanks - that's where tank journals really come into play. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of shrimp hobbyists here who sell on a regular basis. And many of them in Southern California.
 

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I’d dose more.
This. At least 2-3 PPM. That'll be plenty for a shrimp tank and even tanks planned for tiny fish. But still enough for easily discernible amounts of waste for testing. Also provides a buffer zone to guarantee your tank can process waste when fully stocked from day 1.
 

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For example: Yesterday my tank was ammonia 0.25, nitrite 0, nitrate 30, pH was 6. Did a pwc and added in more ammonia to about 2ppm. In 24 hrs it is ammonia 0.5, nitrite 0, nitrate 20. Can any plant rot be attributed to this or I just still don't have enough beneficial bacteria?
That shouldn't impact plants at all - not even sensitive mosses or tissue-cultured Crypts. I routinely hit 5PPM using delicate plants and it's never been an issue. So I'm leaning toward that not being the problem you're experiencing.

Which specific plants are you having difficulty with? Were they grown submerged under water or emersed? It's more likely that they're transitioning to submerged form.
 
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