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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been having string of bad days. I want someone to give me advice if they have any...

My tank:
Fluval spec 5 - probably about 4-4.5 gallons water.
It has been cycled about 2 months. I am steadily losing shrimp (rcs / taiwan reds).

Params in the tank:
ammonia, nitirite, nitrate: 0, ph: 7.4/7.6.
hardness in the tank: 610TDS, 22.4 GH, 5.6 KH.

out of the tap: 50TDS, PH 7.4, 0 ammonia, nitrite, nitrate.
hardness in SF tap water: 50TDS, everything else very soft.

Substrate: inert sand. Hard scape: seiryu stone. Plants - low / mid.
BBA problem developing - I pick it off.

Black tiger shrimp are all alive, and doing way better than the RCS.

Introduced a twinstar shrimp 50, and distilled water (.75 gallon new water of distilled), levels are now 15.68 GH, 3.92 KH, 535 TDS. Super worried I shocked the hell out of the system, but thought it was a good idea.

C02 solenoid broke today. Tried to repair by hand, no results. Bubbles go back into the counter, switched A/B intake. Advice?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
weird

Not adding anything for distilled. For tap water - I was adding API tap water conditioner - 1/4 capful. For distilled, nothing.

When I use the new nutrafin GH test kit on tap water, it is immediately light blue (not pink). When I drop the tap water - literally robin egg blue. The same happens with distilled water. If I take a sample of the tank water, it is pink immediately, and takes a number of drops to change the color, and the color it does change to is purple, not blue - but it does change color, so I'm assuming this is the intended effect? There are a number of shrimp owners here in SF, so I'm curious what the hell is happening here..

Your TDS and GH is extremely high, like saltwater high. Your parameters don't make sense. What are you adding to your water in the tank?
Bump: I lied. Other additives are c02, seachem root tabs, and for a while was using API Leaf zone 1x a week. I agree it doesn't make sense. It's also possible these testing devices are not working, but not understanding the fatalities, and I really want to prevent it.

In my tank:
4x black tiger shrimp
10x red cherries
2x otos
1x black devil snail
1x blue mystery snail

Not adding anything for distilled. For tap water - I was adding API tap water conditioner - 1/4 capful. For distilled, nothing.

When I use the new nutrafin GH test kit on tap water, it is immediately light blue (not pink). When I drop the tap water - literally robin egg blue. The same happens with distilled water. If I take a sample of the tank water, it is pink immediately, and takes a number of drops to change the color, and the color it does change to is purple, not blue - but it does change color, so I'm assuming this is the intended effect? There are a number of shrimp owners here in SF, so I'm curious what the hell is happening here..
 

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Are you topping off with tap or RO? How often wc? My tank is 215tds ppm and 20% wc every other week and the fresh water is 200 tds. I'm wondering what is making your water so hard.

Do you have shells in the tank?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
no shells

None. No snail shells / calcium / clay rock / etc. - this week a few of the larger shrimp molted.

There was a dead mystery snail last week that made a .25PPM ammonia spike, but besides that no calcium was introduced, unless it's the deaths I am not seeing. There is one piece of cholla wood. All the black tiger shrimp live on it, the RCS never go near it, totally absurd. It's also on the opposite side of the tank -where current is probably stronger.





Are you topping off with tap or RO? How often wc? My tank is 215tds ppm and 20% wc every other week and the fresh water is 200 tds. I'm wondering what is making your water so hard.

Do you have shells in the tank?
 

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Okay the only thing I can think of is, did you wash of your stone before you put it in the tank? Perhaps it has a number of mud and mineral deposits on it that are leaching into your tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
lost

The seiryu stones were boiled in a pot with that teflon non-stick coating for 60 mins. They were also introduced a month to 1.5 months ago. I can't figure this out. If the water is indeed brackish, that snail like it to reproduce. I'm not adding salts, baking sodas, anything like that...

Is it a filter problem?


Okay the only thing I can think of is, did you wash of your stone before you put it in the tank? Perhaps it has a number of mud and mineral deposits on it that are leaching into your tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
seiryu

I have some big stones in the tank - maybe 10-15% of the tank volume is the stone. I am going to continue to use distilled water with 20%/ week WC and keep tabs on the TDS and gh/kh. Hopefully I can get this down to a reasonable level, and then keep it there for good and have happy shrimp. I did not see any casualties this morning so I'm hoping it will stay this way.

What did you do to fix your problem? Take the stones out?


seiryu stones will raise your gh and tds. I had a similar experience. Especially for a small tank, the tds jumps quickly, so you have to keep up on frequent water changes
 

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Seiryu are basically limestone. At 7 they shouldn't leech too bad but if you're using CO2 that might drop the pH enough to make them leech a lot.
 

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I'm personally not a big fan of tap water conditioner, I just leave my tap water out for about a day to dechlorinate. If it's top offs I just use straight tap. i have a fluval spec V with RCS's that are flourishing. Maybe something environmental? Dirty/soapy hands can sometimes be the culprit or metal getting into the tank somehow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
hands

I try not to get my hands into the tank and make sure they are clean before I dabble into the eco-system.

The tank has c02, so maybe it's leeching the stone. Since my solenoid broke I'll see if there is any difference until I go down and get the replacement.

I'm also on the fence also about putting chemicals into the tank, but since I'm using distilled now I won't add the conditioner.

There is no metal in the tank, but I was planning on putting a stainless #20 mesh over the intake area, so shrimp can't get sponged - would stainless screw up the water chemistry even more?

I feel like a total idiot for not starting off testing the GH, KH and TDS, and am paying the price both emotionally and financially. So far I'm glad all my black tiger shrimp are still alive. Glad to hear the RCS are doing well in your tank.
 

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I'm a big advocate for using tap water since it has a lot of nutrients you may be missing out on by using distilled. But that's just my preference. And I'm lucky to live in Hawaii where our freshwater tap is really good (only recently they started adding chlorine and other chemicals to conform to national policies).

Another factor could be the substrate. My RCSs are thriving in my CaribSea Eco-Complete tanks but when I added a few accidentally (hitchhiked on some plants) to my flourite sand tank they died after a few weeks (but my wild stream shrimp are thriving weirdly). Not sure if it's a coincidence.

KH and CO2 fluctuations didn't seem to affect my RCS, only my fish (killed a couple endlers and numerous ottos). I added a pinch of baking soda to stabilize and adjusted my lighting schedule so thankfully my SAE is still growing strong and used a guppy as a guinea pig which was fine.

Also, food-wise I try to feed my RCS boiled peas (take off the hard outer part), fluval shrimp food, algae wafers and cracked cell chlorella/spirulina tablets. FYI my shrimp goes ape[censored][censored][censored][censored] for the chlorella, which is also great for your bacteria colony (in your substrate).

Not sure if this helps but just my experience/observations with my RCSs.
 

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I don't know how many seiryu stones you have in there, but if you have a couple, take some out and see what happens after a few water changes. The water out of your tap looks pretty good, so like others have said, I wouldn't bother with distilled water. Have you tested the distilled water at all?

Once upon a time I was fiddling around with distilled water and found that depending on which one I bought it would make my tanks go off kilter. Some had high phosphate levels, others had pH levels all over the place, ect... I've since gone to all tap water and all those other headaches went away. My reason for doing this to begin with was concerns about copper as I have copper piping in my house and didn't want to poison my shrimp and other inverts. There is no problem, so I stopped doing all of that but I still test for every once in awhile.

As for as water conditioner goes, that shouldn't be doing anything hurtful to your tank. People tend to seriously overdose their tanks with Seachem Safe as they are not aware of just how little it takes due to it's powder form, but you're not using that, so my point is moot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
rocks

This is the rocks that I got. 5 gallon tank.




I don't know how many seiryu stones you have in there, but if you have a couple, take some out and see what happens after a few water changes. The water out of your tap looks pretty good, so like others have said, I wouldn't bother with distilled water. Have you tested the distilled water at all?

Once upon a time I was fiddling around with distilled water and found that depending on which one I bought it would make my tanks go off kilter. Some had high phosphate levels, others had pH levels all over the place, ect... I've since gone to all tap water and all those other headaches went away. My reason for doing this to begin with was concerns about copper as I have copper piping in my house and didn't want to poison my shrimp and other inverts. There is no problem, so I stopped doing all of that but I still test for every once in awhile.

As for as water conditioner goes, that shouldn't be doing anything hurtful to your tank. People tend to seriously overdose their tanks with Seachem Safe as they are not aware of just how little it takes due to it's powder form, but you're not using that, so my point is moot.
 

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Nice tank! That is a lot of stone in a 5 gallon. I personally would have a hard time picking stuff out of there, but if I exhausted all my other options for what could be the problem, I would. That's just me though, not telling you what to do.

It was recently suggested to me to use this stone in my tank to act like a buffer as my water is baby soft, but after seeing this, now I'm not so sure. I just may stick with the crushed coral in the filter and inert stone instead.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'm at a loss. I think today I will start removing some of the stone and put some new plants and check the TDS and GH. I redid a tap water test - the GH is 1.12. It makes no sense at all how the water is that hard in the tank. It's also probably a really dumb idea to use the distilled water. So mad at myself for all of these mistakes.

Nice tank! That is a lot of stone in a 5 gallon. I personally would have a hard time picking stuff out of there, but if I exhausted all my other options for what could be the problem, I would. That's just me though, not telling you what to do.

It was recently suggested to me to use this stone in my tank to act like a buffer as my water is baby soft, but after seeing this, now I'm not so sure. I just may stick with the crushed coral in the filter and inert stone instead.
 

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I'm at a loss. I think today I will start removing some of the stone and put some new plants and check the TDS and GH. I redid a tap water test - the GH is 1.12. It makes no sense at all how the water is that hard in the tank. It's also probably a really dumb idea to use the distilled water. So mad at myself for all of these mistakes.
Don't be mad at yourself. There are no set rules in this hobby and what works for one person doesn't always work for another. Maybe if this much stone was in a 40 gallon it would show a completely different results. Who knows.

You do have options. You could try cutting the tank water with your tap water, RO or distilled water ( as you have) if you want to go that way. If you're willing to maintain and keep up with doing that, then try it for a few weeks and see what happens.

I personally don't like doing this kind of stuff as it wears on my nerves after a while. When the weekend comes, I want to get water changes done and whatever else needs doing and get my hands out of my tanks. I have never been blessed with patience, so fudging with water parameters is not my idea of a good time.

Unless there is some funky unknown deal going on with your tap water, I'd stick with that. Why make things harder than they need to be...
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
rocks

I took out this much rock today.

I will use this opportunity to change the design now, so it's a little less quarry like.

I have to go to the store anyway to fix my solenoid which has failed. Maybe I will introduce some driftwood... I noticed on some of the rocks there is orange banding. I don't know if this is residuals from the root tabs or whether it's some kind of minerals inherent in the stone. Let's see how this turns out, one thing is for sure - making all these changes is probably not the best for the health of the tank, but I am trying to achieve homeostasis and my patience is short, and trying to figure this out. More plants maybe can't hurt. The big rock in the tank has white bands - it's probably calcium.
 

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