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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I've been lurking around the forum but decided to join and solicit some advice. I have a 5 gallon planted nano tank that I began in May 2020. It is planted with an anubias, some alternanthera, bucephalandra, and juncus repens. The tank is taller than wide so those all make it pretty densely planted.

In the past I have done few water changes because I'm trying to use the Walstad method and the water chemistry has been generally great. I live in NYC and my tap water is super soft but I condition it with API Tap Water Conditioner to dechlorinate and (I think) take out any copper. Generally the pH is around 7, with ammonia and nitrite near 0 ppm and nitrate hovering around 5 ppm. The plants have grown pretty well but I've developed a little bit of a hair algae problem but I think that's because I don't have any fast growing plants.

Anyway, last week I got 5 shrimp (all Neocaridina) and a few nerites. Already 3 shrimp have disappeared, with the remaining two seeming a bit sluggish. My pH has dropped to about 6.7, with ammonia and nitrite still 0 ppm and nitrate now at 20 ppm. I feel like this is all in a fine range for the shrimp, but I am at a lost as for why the shrimp are dying off. There is plenty of mulm and biofilm for them to eat. Could the water softness have something to do with it? The GH is about 3 and the KH 0. Any advice? Thanks in advance!
 

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I'm no expert, but I do know shrimp need calcium for their health, so soft water probably isn't ideal. You can get supplements meant for that at most aquarium shops and large pet retailers. You will want to pick up hardness test kits too (and possibly one for copper if that is a concern in your area). Adding minerals to increase hardness will also limit ph swings to some degree and bring your ph up a bit.

Also, what temperature is your tank at? A 5g can fluctuate temperatures quite a bit without a heater, even indoors, unless the room temperature is extremely consistent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yea I dealt with temp swings this past summer. I have a heater so for the past 4 months it has been a very consistent 72 F. Also I should have said I've been doing a "siesta" type light schedule of 3 hours on, 5 off, 5 on to try to combat the algae growth.

I'm definitely going to try to bump up the hardness and alkalinity a bit, its just weird that the shrimp died so quickly.
 

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Yea I dealt with temp swings this past summer. I have a heater so for the past 4 months it has been a very consistent 72 F. Also I should have said I've been doing a "siesta" type light schedule of 3 hours on, 5 off, 5 on to try to combat the algae growth.

I'm definitely going to try to bump up the hardness and alkalinity a bit, its just weird that the shrimp died so quickly.
Shrimp just can't survive without KH. Salty shrimp brand mineral booster is a great product and raises soft 0kh water to a KH of 1.5 and GH to 3 which is the minimum for shrimp to survive they will otherwise die when molting. A 2 to1 gh to KH seems to be a good rule for shrimp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'll take a look at that. I've also heard that crushed coral can be used to bring KH and GH up, but it happens over a period of time. Would that work to provide shrimp a source of calcium?
 

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Try to get a water quality report and look at your copper levels. That could easily be the culprit. They are extremely sensitive to copper and I had a similar issue a while back in California. Took a look at the water quality report and the copper levels fluctuated between .30 and .50 which is no bueno for the skrimp.
 

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I had the same issue when I first started my nano shrimp tank(~4 gal). I keep neocaridina (red rillis). I have soft water too, but I found that it was wayyy easier to just remineralize distilled water with Salty shrimp to make sure my GH/KH stays consistent. Haven't a problem since! You don't need to do a full swap. I did like .5 - .75 gal per water change and it came right on up. I get 2 4 gallon jugs and dump them in a 5 gallon bucket and mix up the Salty Shrimp. It makes dosing easy because a full measuring spoon is just right for 2 gallons of water. I also use a TDS meter to check my mixed water just in case.

One thing I also do is trickle my water in. I don't know if this makes a difference, but everywhere I read how important it is to drip acclimate even for water changes. I use some airline tubing and rubber band it and drips on in. So far so good! As far as temps, I don't even bother with a heater, the water temp is 71 degrees might dip to 70 and in the Summer it will creep up to 76 or 77. With the cooler water there hasn't been any saddling or berried females that I can see, but I'm sure that will change once it warms up.
 
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