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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

I have been having a slow die off of my CRS over the last few of months. I am fairly new to this so I am not sure how to deal with this.

Tank: 28L

Substrate: Fluval shrimp stratum (buffered to ~6.5)

Current GH: 5

KH: 0

Temperature: 22 C

Ammonia, nitrates, nitrites: ~0 ppm

Bit of background:

I started with 12 juvenile shrimp that I bought off a breeder in February this year. I started off using tap water (treated) with no problems. I got my first two berried females at the beginning of May. To this point I had had no deaths. At the beginning of June I had a couple (2) of deaths that I am still not sure the cause of. GH was low (2) at this time as I hadn't been testing for it, so that may have been the cause. Following those deaths I got some shrimp specific gh booster (saltyshrimp mineral GH+) and things seemed to recover. Berried females' eggs hatched at the beginning of June. One female became berried again in July.

Now the tank was a bit overgrown at this stage so it was hard to keep tabs on the shrimp. I didn't notice any more deaths until a recent move. Before moving the tank I removed a lot of the overgrown plants. Once getting it to the new place I only saw 6 shrimp (2 females, 4 male) so it seems there were a few lost between June and August. There was one small shrimp in there as well (seems the only baby who survived).

Since the move there was one death shortly after getting the tank set up. I chalked this one up to stress from the move. I haven't seen the baby shrimp since the second or so day after the move so I suspect that it has died as well. More recently I had a female die (at least I think it asa female). See the first picture below. I noticed one day that she was behaving strangely. My shrimp haven't gone up to ride the floating frogbit since the first month I had them but a few days ago I noticed one up there. I went and had a look and she was just standing there. I also noticed that she seemed to be missing her long antennae. I snapped the below photo and went to work. When I got home, she was still there in the exact same spot. A few hours later, she was on the ground lying on her side. I poked at her and it was clear she was almost dead. Once I was sure she was dead, I removed her immediately. I did a test of the water and all parameters were good except pH which was high (around 7.2). Seems my buffered substrate had run out of buffering capacity due to the use of high PH tap water. I added some fresh substrate and did a water change with RO water and the pH is back to 6.5. Water change was done over the course of the day 1 litre at a time to avoid rapid swings in parameters.

My berried female was still doing well and her eggs hatched two days ago. She was active and seemed healthy the next day. Today I noticed her in the corner tipped over and not moving much. I snapped the below photo. I know the colour of the internal organs are meant to be a sign of bacterial infection, but I don't know what to really look for in a CRS. The colour in the second photo below looks odd to me. All limbs and antennae intact.

Just checked and the shrimp is dead. Anything I can do to try to determine the cause before I dispose of it? See some pictures below. Her organs look pretty black and she has a black spot on her mouth. Thoughts?

I am just at a loss at this stage. I feel like a bad shrimp keeper and I don't know what else to do.

Does this look/sound like a bacterial infection to you? What can I do to fix this?

Thanks for your help and let me know if you need any more info!
 

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Well for one with your buffering substrate it seems depleted and with a kh of 0 this could of been the start and cause of some issues. As I am sure you are aware with nothing to buffer the ph it can and will change in a heartbeat and am sure cause some deaths. This also could of caused a lot of stress and lead to bacterial infections and other issues. At least you found out the issue before more didn't make it. This is why it's of course not recommended to use tap water with buffering substrates especially with Fluval stratum as that one seems to deplete pretty quickly compared to others.

Wanted to add its the kh that depleted the buffering. The higher kh you add the more it has to strip to get back to 0. During this time ph swings are happening and very bad for the shrimp.



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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, I guess I just want to make sure that this isn't an ongoing issue before I replenish the numbers.

I don't have a RO unit myself as it feels like overkill for such a small tank, but I have committed to just going and buying some to use for water changes. Do you think that would be enough to make sure that I don't get these PH swings?

Also, in regards to the depleted substrate, once it is depleted, can I essentially think of it as an inert substrate? Do I need to remove the substrate? Will topping it up on top of the old substrate work? Do you think I need a buffered substrate for this set up or could I just go forward using RO water and remineraliser to keep the PH at around 6.5

Thanks again
 

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These guys do best with a ph in the mid 6's GH 4-6 and KH 0-2. Unless you got them from different parameters they will only do well within those. I would HIGHLY suggest getting a RO unit and new buffering substrate(skip the stratum) and do it right. You can get a good RO unit for like $60 off amazon(what I did) and it works great. Even better and will last longer only needing a little water.

If you want to ensure you give them the best possibility of living that is what it will take.

Once it's depleted yes it's pretty much an inert substrate. I mean it may still have some nutrients for plants.

If you are committed to these guys and want to do it right. Here's a couple links. Doing it with tap water as you found will not work and if you cannot do RO with buffering substrate then these guys are not for you.
0PPM Portable 50 GPD Reverse Osmosis RO+DI Filtration POQ-4B-50 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GJCE2X4/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_va9LzbJSCYYD1
CONTROSOIL Freshwater Planted Aquarium Soil Black Extra Fine (10 Liters) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EZE6SPC/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_Df9LzbMDJ8QNH
HM Digital TDS-EZ Water Quality TDS Tester, 0-9990 ppm Measurement Range , 1 ppm Resolution, +/- 3% Readout Accuracy https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002C0A7ZY/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_Oc9Lzb8M04PAG

Right now RO with just adding GH and no KH would be VERY bad as the KH would be 0 and with the depleted buffering substrate you WILL get ph swings.

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Thanks so much for the reply. I am definitely committed to doing this right. Research I did from the from the beginning suggested tap water from my area would be fine but it turns out not so.

Unfortunately very little ships to Australia from Amazon. Would this do the trick? http://www.ebay___.com.au/itm/Porta...hash=item1eafe58710:m:mFlVTb9bhwbw4juMmi6Wgdg

Or would this be better? http://www.ebay___.com.au/itm/Aquar...354079?hash=item33d46ea8df:g:to0AAOSwZs5Zirt8

Delete the underscores after ebay to follow the link. Is ebay banned or something?

My knowledge of RO systems is pretty much nil so I appreciate your advice.

Do you have any other recommendations for soil? I don't think I have ever seen that one in Australia and Amazon won't ship it here. Would this work? https://www.aquaristiconline.com.au...il/products/benibachiblacksoilpowderfulvic5kg

Thanks again
 

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Thanks so much for the reply. I am definitely committed to doing this right. Research I did from the from the beginning suggested tap water from my area would be fine but it turns out not so.

Unfortunately very little ships to Australia from Amazon. Would this do the trick? http://www.ebay___.com.au/itm/Porta...hash=item1eafe58710:m:mFlVTb9bhwbw4juMmi6Wgdg

Or would this be better? http://www.ebay___.com.au/itm/Aquar...354079?hash=item33d46ea8df:g:to0AAOSwZs5Zirt8

Delete the underscores after ebay to follow the link. Is ebay banned or something?

My knowledge of RO systems is pretty much nil so I appreciate your advice.

Do you have any other recommendations for soil? I don't think I have ever seen that one in Australia and Amazon won't ship it here. Would this work? https://www.aquaristiconline.com.au...il/products/benibachiblacksoilpowderfulvic5kg

Thanks again
Even after taking out the underscores the first link does not work. Really you do not need an expensive one as you are doing just a little water each week. Just test the tds and as long as the tds is less than 5 you are good.

I have never heard of that buffering substrate but it seems ok. Especially that it says its for CRS. I would check around see if you can find some reviews of it. You can also get ADA Aquasoil, SL-Aqua, and Prodibio are some others. Just make sure that it buffers the substrate to around the mid 6's. https://www.discobee.com/collections/sl-aqua/products/sl-aqua-nature-soil
 
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