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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Current tank parameters:
pH between 7 and 7.4

Temperature is around 28-29

Ammonia tester has gone bad and gave unreliable readings ( always eight ppm even though there are living things in the tank ), but I use some neutralizers just in case.

I do not currently have a reader for TDS, gH, or kH

Water changes is around 20% every 3-4 days


Back in February I decided I wanted an aquarium that was mostly shrimp and some small bottom feeder fish, so I cycled it a month or so and put some live plants in it, for next couple a month's everything was going fine, the shrimp got berried, and they hatched fine, and only a single death to molting problems.

Around a month back black beard moss/algae started growing in on my tank glass and plants, so I did what people suggested online, I cut back on light from just an arbitrary amount of time to a set 8 hours a day, I also started using C02 to help the plants outgrow the moss.

All of it worked the moss disappeared; however, my cherry red shrimp have begun dying at a rate of about one to two a day, and there is a permanent cloudiness to the tank, the pH has risen even though I've used to same water as I have for the past months ( the C02 booster says it does not increase the pH).

I have cut back and the amount of C02 I've put in and the amount of food to a minimal amount, I use a water softener that removes any excess ammonia in the tank as well as the chlorine and chloramine ( the specific brand is Aqueon Ammonia Neutralizer which does not have any copper in it ), for the C02 I use API C02 booster and use about 1ml for my 20 gallon tank which is half the recommended.

I use a sponge filter, have Amazonia Aqua soil which is supposed to lower the pH to around the mid 6s, there are three pieces of Malaysian driftwood and some other smaller pieces of clay and wood for the shrimp to hide in all of which I've had from the start, I put in some almond leaves every couple of months.

I have cherry red shrimp, Amano shrimp, nitrite snails, mini ramshorn snails, a cone-headed grayish snail that mostly stays in the substrate and reproduces asexually ( as there was only one at the start), four Otocinclus Catfish or Ottos, a plethora of small insects from a plant I bought a while back that includes seed shrimp and copepod cyclops.

Some behavior I've noticed is that the snails will go to the surface of the water, and in the case of the nitrite snails, go out and above the water line.

Any help anyone could offer would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Temperature is around 28-29
You could potentially be cooking the shrimp... they do best at temps around 18-23

Higher temps mean higher chance of bacterial infections

Higher temps might also cause them to grow faster, thus having molting problems...



Ammonia tester has gone bad and gave unreliable readings ( always eight ppm even though there are living things in the tank ), but I use some neutralizers just in case.
That could be an issue.... a major issue. Please get a new ammonia tester. Neutralizers can also wreak havoc with shrimp if too much is used. Shrimp become very stressed and attempt to leave the aquarium.



I do not currently have a reader for TDS, gH, or kH
Please get GH and KH, at minimum. Without knowing that, we don't know if the water parameters are good for the shrimp or bad for them.



Water changes is around 20% every 3-4 days
Potentially another issue... too many water changes could cause premature molting, aka deaths. Shrimp generally do better with 10% water changes 1-4 times a month.



Back in February I decided I wanted an aquarium that was mostly shrimp and some small bottom feeder fish, so I cycled it a month or so and put some live plants in it, for next couple a month's everything was going fine, the shrimp got berried, and they hatched fine, and only a single death to molting problems.
How was the tank cycled?



Around a month back black beard moss/algae started growing in on my tank glass and plants, so I did what people suggested online, I cut back on light from just an arbitrary amount of time to a set 8 hours a day, I also started using C02 to help the plants outgrow the moss.
Unless you do it right, shrimp do not like CO2. This can also cause deaths as they are not able to process oxygen as well if there's too much CO2 in the water.

Better to put the light on a timer where it's on for 3-4 hours, off for 2-4 hours, and back on again for 3-4 hours.



All of it worked the moss disappeared; however, my cherry red shrimp have begun dying at a rate of about one to two a day, and there is a permanent cloudiness to the tank, the pH has risen even though I've used to same water as I have for the past months ( the C02 booster says it does not increase the pH).
If you had a GH and KH liquid test kit, you could find out if these have remained stable or if they are rising. If you are only doing top offs with tap water and water changes with tap water, then those two things could be rising because you aren't removing enough through water changes, plus the evaporation, well, you might need RO water to bring those levels back down.



I have cut back and the amount of C02 I've put in and the amount of food to a minimal amount, I use a water softener that removes any excess ammonia in the tank as well as the chlorine and chloramine ( the specific brand is Aqueon Ammonia Neutralizer which does not have any copper in it ), for the C02 I use API C02 booster and use about 1ml for my 20 gallon tank which is half the recommended.
Shrimp need minerals in the water in order to molt properly... a water softening item could be causing molting issues...



I use a sponge filter, have Amazonia Aqua soil which is supposed to lower the pH to around the mid 6s, there are three pieces of Malaysian driftwood and some other smaller pieces of clay and wood for the shrimp to hide in all of which I've had from the start, I put in some almond leaves every couple of months.
Not recommended to use tap water with a buffering substrate... if the tap water has KH in it, this can cause pH swings and cause your buffering substrate to lose it's buffering capacities quicker.



Some behavior I've noticed is that the snails will go to the surface of the water, and in the case of the nitrite snails, go out and above the water line.
Snails may prefer higher pH water, as the more acidic water could cause shell erosion. Add in the other potential issues with your tank.... well, there could be a multitude of reasons why.



Please get some more test kits so we can have a better idea of what may be going wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your reply,

I misspoke when I said water softener; it's just a de-chlorinator that neutralizes ammonia, I'll stop using it in exchange for just a regular de-chlorinator for aquariums.

I've taken out my heater and put in another smaller one that says it will be around 24, ( only reason I got a bigger on is that the LFS I got some equipment at because they said shrimp like warmer water, which is my fault for listening to them )

Bought a gH,kH tester and a TDS stick which will arrive Tuesday or Wednesday but I could not find an ammonia one so I will go out tomorrow to try and find one at the LFS.

As for water changed, I don't just top off the water I take a couple of litres off ( or about a gallon or so ) and put new water in, which when I looked up is about 10%, not 20% like I thought.

As far as I know, the deaths have not been due to molting, no white line on the back that is typically characteristic of a failed molt, they just get sick and die, swimming up fast and then slowly sinking back down upside down.

The tank was cycled using a brand called bacter AE and left it to sit around with a light on for a couple of hours for a month or so until all the readings were at the levels I read they were supposed to be, no nitrites, very few nitrates etc. ( the copepods cyclops appeared, and hair algae started to grow everywhere )

For the C02 and lights, I will take you up on your suggestion and stop adding the C02 and turn the lights on and off for a set amount of time.

For the water changes, I have been using tap water since the tank started, there is the kitchen tap water that has a lower pH but goes through the house's water softener and the sink in the basement that does not but has a higher pH, The difference was at most 0.2 but I switched to the kitchen water after using the basement one since I was really just trying everything to try and help the shrimp.

The pH of the tank has not been swinging, more of a gradual incline from the 6.6 ( or so ) it was at when I put my shrimp in months ago

Thanks for the help and sorry if I seem like a complete idiot, this is my first time trying to maintain an aquarium for a somewhat sensitive fish/invertebrate
 

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Bacter AE isn't meant for cycling a tank... it's meant to create biofilm... so I'm not sure that the tank is cycled?


Switching water sources could be a big issue.... once you get the GH and KH test kits, test your kitchen tap vs the basement water. Water softeners remove GH in favor of introducing KH, unless it's an RO/DI system... which would be removing GH and KH. Either way, water softened tap and RO/DI systems are *NOT* good for shrimp. Figure out both your source water parameters, then compare to the tank.

Water top offs are recommended for evaporation reasons. If your tank remains stable without using RO water to top off, that may be fine.


There's a chance you aren't seeing the pH swings in your aquarium, but if the pH has been rising, that indicates that your substrate is losing it's buffering capacity.




Shrimp are either very easy to take care of, or very difficult! Don't fret it! I've been keeping Neos for about 1 1/2 years and I'm still struggling. Going to re-do a tank as soon as I finish some other projects that'll take a while. I have Yellow King Kongs, a type of Caridina hybrid, and Caridina are supposed to be more difficult to keep, but these guys, for the short amount of time that I've had them, have been a breeze! Hardier, breeding like rabbits, no deaths whatsoever! Not even keeping them in preferred parameters. Close, just biggest difference is that I have them in higher pH (7.5-ish) rather than lower (6.8 or below) as the water has KH in it and I'm not using anything to buffer the pH down. YKK's are a type of Tangerine Tiger hybrid though, and Tigers can be kept in either Caridina or Neocaridina parameters, and if set up right, will thrive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm pretty sure it was cycled, it went through the entire cycle of nitrites being high then went down, and nitrates rose, then everything went down to zero over the course a month and a bit, if it was not cycled at that point I'm sure it is now six months later it is, if not because of the bacter AE then the plants I bought from a shrimp seller and put in.

In my dumb mind, I thought you should only do water changes and not top offs, was wondering how one could go a month without losing all their water to evaporation.

As for the substrate losing it's buffering ability, it's probably most likely, but I want to try most other things than to put new substrate in, having live plants rooted in the substrate also will make that a tad cumbersome.

I suppose it all comes down to the readings I'll get when I test the water from everything, but since I won't be changing the water for a month now there is plenty of time to figure out which source to use.

Part of me wishes I found the hardiest shrimp out there and tried to keep them alive. Instead, I picked the cherry shrimp because they were cheap and I was just starting out with having an aquarium as a hobby, but here I am now, and I'm going to try my hardest to fix the mistakes I've made and to keep them alive for them to repopulate the ones I lost.
 

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@Zoidburg nailed it that you probably aren't cycled. Also, unless your tank gets to the low 60's, return the heater - you won't need it, and it will do more harm than good.

Sent from my Nexus 6 using Tapatalk
 

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Your temp is too high, Also I'm not sure what all the rage has been lately with people thinking that they can speed cycle a tank with Bacter AE and similar products. Bacter AE is basically three strains of Bacter two of which are found in probiotics and one in soil. So basically they took powdered probiotics and remarketed it and people think it's the same bacteria in a cycled tank.
 

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Your temp is too high, Also I'm not sure what all the rage has been lately with people thinking that they can speed cycle a tank with Bacter AE and similar products. Bacter AE is basically three strains of Bacter two of which are found in probiotics and one in soil. So basically they took powdered probiotics and remarketed it and people think it's the same bacteria in a cycled tank.
Wow, glossed right over the temp... Holy crap that is high!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Got my TDS and kH/gH tester today and got tests on my tank, kitchen tap, and basement tap.

A quick look online says that these readings are pretty bad like you should never have made a tank with any of my water sources, but I thought I would share them here anyways

Also, I used the API gH&kH test kit and an Aquapro water tester for the TDS, the API one works based on how many drops you put in a test tube with the water before it changes colours.

Tank parameters:
TDS: 950 ppm
kH: 1 drop, 0-3 drops is 0-50 ppm
gH: 24 drops, which goes over the 11-22 drops of 200-400 ppm

Kitchen tap water:
TDS: 548 ppm
kh: 1 drop, 0-3 drops is 0-50 ppm
gH: 52 drops which I have no idea how to guess how high that is

Basement tap water:
TDS: 666 ppm
kH: 1 drop, 0-3 drops is 0-50 ppm
gH: 2 drops, 0-3 drops is 0-50 ppm so around 30 or 40 ppm

My ammonia tester is coming in a couple of days as I could not find one at my local pet store but somehow I think I have a couple of other problems than ammonia right now, I definitely should have just spent the money on all the tests I could before even trying to make a tank but I suppose hindsight is 20/20

My tank's temperature is down to a stable 24 C which is nice, but I'll try taking out the heater and seeing where the temperature goes, it gets rather cold sometimes where it is but I don't think it will drop into the 60s.

I've also tested my Beretta filtered water, and that TDS is 456

I assume I'll most likely get recommending to use RO water, so I looked for a couple of small RO filtering systems on Amazon which were somewhat cheap and small.

https://www.amazon.ca/Reverse-Osmos...UTF8&qid=1499797007&sr=8-10&keywords=ro+water

https://www.amazon.ca/Aquatic-Buddi...=UTF8&qid=1499797007&sr=8-2&keywords=ro+water

For those who do have an RO system how hard was it to set up?

Any additional bits of help or tips would be greatly appreciated and thank you for the help so far.
 

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With those water parameters, I have no clue how the shrimp managed to do fine in the beginning! That's kind of scary! The first molting death could have been due to the water being too hard, thus the shell was too thick for the shrimp to molt properly. I have heard of shrimp being in around 18-20 GH, but that's seriously pushing it! To have water above that and such a high TDS?!?!? YIKES! And I thought a TDS of 600+ was bad!


If your basement tap water has 1 KH and 2 GH, then the TDS should be around 30.... give or take. Another concern there...


If you want to stick with Neos (cherry, blue diamond, blue velvet, bloody mary, chocolate, black diamond, carbon, rili, etc), then I'd recommend switching out the substrate for sand or gravel (just not Petco gravel...), get RO water and a GH and KH remineralizer. Salty Shrimp would be fine.


If you want to stick with a buffering substrate (which I highly recommend replacing it as it's lifespan has probably been severely cut - or remove as much water from it as you can, and hope it lasts a while yet), then you could attempt Caridina shrimps (tigers are a great start! Although they can also live in the lower end of Neo parameters - i.e. on sand or gravel). Just make sure you use RO water with GH+ only remineralizers.



Shrimp fair better in colder temperatures than they do hot temps, so if the tank goes into the 60's, don't worry! They'll be fine!



I don't have an RO system, if I need RO water I just go to Walmart and fill up 5 gallon buckets and haul it back home. It's 33-37 cents a gallon. The LFS sells RO water at 50 cents a gallon (although right now, I don't trust that they actually have RO water...). It should be possible to find RO water from other sources as well.



The first link is not an RO system, but rather, a piece of an RO/DI system... the full system is not cheap!
https://www.amazon.ca/SpectraPure-MaxCap-RO-DI-System/dp/B009XTE14U/


As far as the RO Buddie goes, most people who purchase it love it! However, since it is cheap, I've heard that the replacement cartridges are expensive! So before pulling your wallet out on that one, check how much it would cost to replace the filters on it! Since you have such hard water, the filters might not last very long. (I can't give you any idea of how long they might last!)



Sorry that your having these difficulties, but at least now you have a better starting point and can better understand what potentially went wrong, so now you can have better success in the future!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Part of me thought the TDS stick was broken, but after using it on other water sources, I accepted that my home has the worst water, and I'm also as surprised as you are at how long my shrimp lived for this long before anything went wrong.

I luckily live about two minutes away from a Walmart, so I will 100% be looking for some RO water tomorrow, I assume the water that comes in jugs for water coolers is also RO water? Thanks for this suggestion, by the way, I'm not really in the position to spend 400 dollars on a proper RO system.

I want to see how the pH is after I use the RO water before changing the substrate and if the pH is still rather high ( as it probably will be ) I'll change it.

As for the shrimp I want, the shrimp store that I bought my cherries from sells a large variety of shrimp, while not the cheapest should my cherries not recover I might just find a shrimp that best fits the water.

As for when I get the RO water should I empty most of the tanks water? Or slowly put it in over time? I assume just change it all, but I want to make sure.

For the gH and kH remineralizer, I could not find any on the Canadian Amazon site or one on the American one that would ship to Canada, the shrimp store that I'm going to buy some from only ships on Monday and Tuesday so it may be a while before I get it, and when I said my lfs awhile back I mean the next town over about an hour away, if worst comes to worst I'll make the trip and see if they have any.

My shrimps have been doing fine the past few days somehow, have not had a death in about three days and the females are still berried which is rather surprising, so I got hopes they will live long enough for me to get the tank back on track.

I was honestly ready to give up hope on my tank, but now I got renewed hope that it might just end somewhat well.
 

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If you want to look further into the TDS issue, you could get a TDS calibration solution. Even if it were wrong, none of those parameters are good! (GH and KH)


I believe the water that comes in jugs is distilled, and should be okay to use if you remineralize it. (same as RO water) I just get it out of the Primo machine. This can be found at the front of the store, near the frozen food isle, in the drink isle, or somewhere else entirely... Machine looks like this (below), and you can buy the jugs there, or bring your own!




I live in the USA, so I don't know if there may be any differences to the stores in Canada. The RO water should, ideally, test around 0-5-ish?



If you can't easily find a remineralizer for shrimp, this should be a good enough substitute. It's GH+ only, so you'd need something else to raise the KH - which you don't want to use with your buffering substrate.

https://www.amazon.ca/Seachem-116044301-Equilibrium-600-Gram/dp/B0006JLVX0/



As far as changing over, you could do it either way... although I would recommend figuring out your target GH and TDS, remineralize the RO water to those parameters, then doing maybe 5% water changes every 2-3 days. It *WILL* be a slow process, but that's kind of the point! It would give the shrimp more time to adjust to the changing parameters. Alternatively, you could go straight RO water, but if you change the parameters too fast, it will cause stress and potentially deaths... so keep this in mind when you make the switch over!
 

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Holy smokes that's some crazy water parameters lol. One thing to keep in mind is do not give them a shock and go from what your water is to what it should be at once. Will do more harm than even now.

I got this RO unit 0PPM Portable 50 GPD Reverse Osmosis RO+DI Filtration POQ-4B-50 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GJCE2X4/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_rqIzzb8H15RSV
And really like it. Super easy to hook up. Just connects right to my bathroom faucet and good to go. I fill a 5 gallon bucket with half ro and half tap. I have pretty soft water. If I were you with that water I would go 100% RO and remineralize. I end up getting a GH of 5 and KH of 1.75 with a ph of about 7.2 when all said and done. I have a CRS tank.

I really can't believe that you still have some alive but this kind of shows they are hardier than some believe they are. I think once you get your water right I would say over a couple weeks not right away that they will be really doing well.

One thing I recommend is to get your water ready ahead of time. I like to use my water that is at least 3 days old. And I help age it even more by using a powerhead and also an airstone. This helps to age the water and is then ready much sooner. Try and match the temperature of the prepped water with your tank water.

Another thing is once you figure out how much gh/kh to add and get the tds this will make prepping the water in the future easier as you can typically figure out the levels by getting tds of the prepped water. For example in my case i know a kh of 1.75 and gh of 5 gives me a tds of 105. So next time I prep the water once I get tds of 105 I know my gh and kh are where I want them.


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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Bought RO water from Wallmart for about 4 dollars for a 6-gallon jug, TDS was about 15, gH and kH both are a single drop, so the lower end of 0-50 in both, it, however, has a pH of about 6.2-6.4 which surprised me.

I did a 20% change with the RO water, and the TDS went down to about 730 from 950, and I think I'll do a change every few days as suggested.

Sadly overnight a couple more of my shrimp died, from my 35 I had months ago only six remain, one of which is berried and is my final hope for my cherries.

As for the remineralizer, I could not find any at the lfs, but the man there suggested to do a mix of tap and RO water, I did some testing with it and 4 parts RO and 1 part tap water bring it to about 150 TDS, about 10-30 ppm for gH and kH and about 6.6-7 pH.

Now it's just a waiting game to see if the last remaining cherries survive the water changes, the Amano shrimp I've had throughout this are still happily swimming around which I find absurd, but I hear they are considered the tanks of the shrimp world which I can believe.
 
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