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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know there is an abundance of "dead shrimp" threads on this forum but I have been very frustrated for the past month and a half. I probably read most of these posts in that time span yet the bodies keep hitting the substrate a couple times per week.

My 29g has been established for a couple years with plenty of greenery. I feed one or two bits of various shrimp foods twice per week. There is plenty of biofilm and algae to munch on. I don't dose fertilizer in this tank. I haven't changed the water in a couple months because I haven't tested any significant increase in TDS or nitrate. This tank is covered so I don't need to top off.

I have two large sponge filters. One driven by air and one driven by a powerhead. I'm using Black Diamond blasting sand as a substrate.

Water parameters are very consistently:

PH: 7.6
GH: 5-6
KH: 3-4
Temp: 76 f
TDS: 130
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: ~5ppm

Inhabitants:
30+ RCS (now down to probably 20)
2 Amano Shrimp (1 female, 1 male)

Whenever I feed, the large female Amano brutally tears through the RCS in the area to hoard the food. I started breaking the food in a few bits and putting it on opposite sides of the tank because of this. I notice that the RCS rarely leave areas near the substrate with lots of cover. Meanwhile the Amanos are munching away all over the tank.

I've read conflicting viewpoints on keeping Amanos with other species of dwarf shrimp. Most people seem to agree that there is no problem keeping the two species together. A few have witnessed an Amano targeting a freshly molted Neo.

I regularly find full, seemingly healthy RCS exoskeletons on the substrate. No partial molts attached to dead shrimp as far as I can tell. I don't think it's parasites or anything because I haven't seen anything attached to the shrimp under close inspection.

Today I found another dead young adult and spotted another walking drunkenly and missing an eye.

Along with any advice you can give, I have a few questions. Could the Amanos possibly be harming the RCS? Would moving the Amanos from this tank to a high CO2, EI dosed, high light tank most likely result in their death? If copper was an issue, I wouldn't have been able to successfully keep these Amanos in this tank for years, right?

Here's a pic if it will help. I switched out that small sponge filter on the left for a large one soon after taking this picture in early February. I seeded the new filter with beneficial bacteria from the smaller one when I switched.


Most who read this will want to post about how easy it is and should be to raise a healthy colony of RCS. Many regard them as pests that won't stop multiplying. I can only wish to relate. I am not in to torturing and killing any living creatures. I thought this tank would be an excellent environment for Neos...

Thanks for reading. You can probably tell I needed to vent.
 

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Sure seems like a good setup. A few things that I would just check:
- Verify your water temp with a different thermometer or whatever you are using to measure it now. About 78 or so is on the upper end of what most people recommend. Given that you have the top on the tank, and if you are going by what your heater is set at (they are notoriously bad at heating to what they are set at) you might be warmer than you think.

- Is there anyway they are getting sucked in or pushed around by that powerhead that is powering your sponge filter?

- Maybe get a cheap 10 gallon tank and use one of your sponge filters and move your Amanos to it for a week or two - just to rule out if they are bothering the RCS? I had a few Amano shrimp for a while with my CRS, and they didn't seem to bother, but I found the CRS much more interesting anyway, so I took the Amanos back for store credit.

- Are you dosing anything for your plants?

- Any other possible predators in your tank? I once had a dragonfly nymph that I saw one day, and had no idea what it was. It scuttled away and I thought it seemed weird, but at the time didn't know how dangerous they were. A day later I saw it again, and it then attacked and killed one of my CRS shrimp. Luckily it was by the front glass, and I took a net and caught it. Thankfully, that was the only one that hitchhiked on some plants. However, on a big tank with lots of hiding areas, something like that could be hard to see.

Just throwing out possible ideas, from what you describe here, nothing immediately jumps out at me as to what might be wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Sure seems like a good setup. A few things that I would just check:
- Verify your water temp with a different thermometer or whatever you are using to measure it now. About 78 or so is on the upper end of what most people recommend. Given that you have the top on the tank, and if you are going by what your heater is set at (they are notoriously bad at heating to what they are set at) you might be warmer than you think.

- Is there anyway they are getting sucked in or pushed around by that powerhead that is powering your sponge filter?

- Maybe get a cheap 10 gallon tank and use one of your sponge filters and move your Amanos to it for a week or two - just to rule out if they are bothering the RCS? I had a few Amano shrimp for a while with my CRS, and they didn't seem to bother, but I found the CRS much more interesting anyway, so I took the Amanos back for store credit.

- Are you dosing anything for your plants?

- Any other possible predators in your tank? I once had a dragonfly nymph that I saw one day, and had no idea what it was. It scuttled away and I thought it seemed weird, but at the time didn't know how dangerous they were. A day later I saw it again, and it then attacked and killed one of my CRS shrimp. Luckily it was by the front glass, and I took a net and caught it. Thankfully, that was the only one that hitchhiked on some plants. However, on a big tank with lots of hiding areas, something like that could be hard to see.

Just throwing out possible ideas, from what you describe here, nothing immediately jumps out at me as to what might be wrong.
I use a temp controller, a TDS meter w/ digital thermometer, and an infrared thermometer to check temps. Overkill, but at least I know temp isn't an issue. You are right about the dial on most heaters being way off.

The powerhead sponge is completely covering the drilled tube I attached to the intake. I regularly see shrimp climbing all over the sponge and don't see any gaps large enough for even tiny shrimplets.

I don't dose anything besides shrimp food to the water column. I added a few Jobe's Fern sticks all the way at the bottom of the substrate a couple years ago. The sand is about as fine as it gets and I haven't seen any pieces coming to the top. I would get some sort of ammonia readings if this was an issue I think.

I'm not interested in adding a new tank for Amanos but I do have an 8 gallon EBI dry starting at the moment. If I'm convinced they are the problem, I may end up filling it and adding them. I'm wondering if transferring them to the 40g would end up killing them.

Another idea along that same vain,.. I struggled to keep Cherry shrimp for about 2 years, they would breed but randomly die,.. then I found out the Scuds I thought were so cute actually ate moss and shrimp. :facepalm:

Whiskey
That is rough! You both had problems with other predators or small inverts at some point but I haven't seen any evidence in my tank. It has a glass top almost completely sealed. I will keep an eye out though, that sounds like a bad deal.

Thank you both for the suggestions. One of my biggest priorities in this hobby is a thriving tank of shrimp. Once I figure this one out I'd like to branch out to other species. Baby steps.
 

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That is yet one more for the books I guess as I bought scuds for my tank(s) as food for my Banded Pigmy sunfish. I may have gotten a different kind from what the person who said they eat the RCS had because I have hundreds of them, so much to the point that they are out all day as opposed to just at night when you usually see them.
But the tank/w most of them is the shrimp colony tank an if they are eating some I must have many more babies than I think then. For when I feed I get a spot about
3" around on the bottom of the tank which you can't see the bottom through.
And I'm talking 10g tank.
I THINK that what you are having is either of or a combination of low TDS/calcium.
Look for any gaps in the shrimps shell just behind what you would call the head.
I had a few of these in my tank, but "cured" it by adding MGSO4.
I haven't had any deaths for quite some time though and only had them in the past.
Since they seemed to stop on their own I never investigated it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I THINK that what you are having is either of or a combination of low TDS/calcium.
Look for any gaps in the shrimps shell just behind what you would call the head.
I had a few of these in my tank, but "cured" it by adding MGSO4.
I haven't had any deaths for quite some time though and only had them in the past.
Since they seemed to stop on their own I never investigated it.
You think my water params are off? I haven't seen any of the gaps that others have posted pics of on here. I thought my GH, KH, and TDS are well within the preferred range.

I do have some GH Booster laying around but I didn't want to start messing with the parameters before pros told me this was most likely the culprit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Your gh is in the preferred range, but it is toward the bottom of that range.

http://shrimpkeeping.com/water-params/

They say 4-14

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That site also says the preferred temp is 73.4 and below for RCS. I read there is some relationship between GH and temperature regarding molting frequency and strength of the exoskeleton, right?

So do those of you with thriving Cherry tanks at higher temps have a higher GH? Those with lower GH have lower temps?

P.s. I have a cherry in gh 4 kh 0 tds 140 and he is happy

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What temperature do you keep this tank at?

I'd vote for removing the Amanos and lowering the temp. Amanos are very sturdy, they'd be fine in your other tank.
If they had grown in the dosed/CO2 tank it would be easier, right? I can slowly drip acclimate them but since they were in the 29g first I'm hesitant if it will result in their death.
 

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I don't think they'd have any trouble acclimating to the co2. I've witnessed the Amanos aggression myself, just in their general behavior.. not directly killing a shrimp, even in your story it sounds like they dominate the tank (other shrimp hide with no other predators around, damaged shrimp). I have a feeling Amanos can get nasty when hungry.
 

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Oh, don't get me started on how long it took my cherries to breed despite all the folks saying 'they are cockroaches!' which is really disheartening when you are having trouble. I'm actually tearing down two tanks right now (with different shrimp, not neos) that have been set up for a full YEAR and have had ZERO breeding. Don't get me started. But yes, sometimes its ok to hear about failures! I've had them! I've had amanos kill freshly molted OEBT...they are aggressive and BIG. If they can get food or weak shrimp first they will.

I have not read all the posts and I apologize for posting blindly but off of your first post this is what I see. GH is a little low for neos. They like it hard;) Your temp is fine...my best breeding was at 76-80 degrees. They THRIVED in it AND it resulted in larger shrimp. I moved the same shrimp to a colder temp tank 68-72, and the resulting generations got smaller and smaller. I also had lower GH and KH in that tank...again, smaller shrimp, less color. Just MY experiences, they will all vary and you will get many opinions. I'd get the TDS up to 200-250, use Mosura TDS up as that does not affect GH. OR, feed more powdered foods, that will raise TDS as well.

The shrimp missing the eye is the key here. THAT is from aggression. No molting issues will result in a missing eye. That's fish related OR amano related, I am willing to be moolah on it. The amanos being moved won't hurt them, I got mad at mine after seeing them kill my tiger shrimp and tossed them (no acclimating) in with my betta. I found them three weeks later living in the tiny filter on the tank, the largest female missing an eye (she was twice the size of my fish). They are all still happily alive, one is living in pH 6.6 the others, in 7.6-7.8 or so HARD water. They are bullets I swear.

So, those are the issues I see. YOur tank is beautiful but don't be fooled by the folks with 100s of neos...I had issues myself at one time. I have issues now with my more 'exotic' shrimp but I am trying to remedy that now (different substrate, we shall see how it goes). I won't be around much tomorrow but if you are looking for some misery loves company stuff, message me over the weekend and I Can tell you my shrimpy woes over the last few years that should make you feel a bit better:)
 

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SO...admittedly I did not read everyone's reply as I am leaving in moments but I wanted to add this. The clue you gave regarding shrimp moving "drukenly" and some missing an eye is pretty characteristic of only two things I can think of.
In my opinion, this behavior in an otherwise seemingly "perfect" tank SCREAMS bacterial infection. It is something that is usually associated with tigers and crystals but I have seen it in neos for sure. I would suggest that this is a strong possibility as these types of infections often affect equilibrium and eyes and antennae first. CHeck to see if any of the shrimp antennae are missing or broken or even "coated" with a thicker whitish/clear substance. My gut says this is the case with how you describe the deaths occurring.
Second guess is stress related to Amanos.

Hope this helps
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I don't think they'd have any trouble acclimating to the co2. I've witnessed the Amanos aggression myself, just in their general behavior.. not directly killing a shrimp, even in your story it sounds like they dominate the tank (other shrimp hide with no other predators around, damaged shrimp). I have a feeling Amanos can get nasty when hungry.
Thanks for the advice. I'm going to move the Amanos tonight just to check that off the list of possible issues. I guess a long drip acclimation should help.

Oh, don't get me started on how long it took my cherries to breed despite all the folks saying 'they are cockroaches!' which is really disheartening when you are having trouble. I'm actually tearing down two tanks right now (with different shrimp, not neos) that have been set up for a full YEAR and have had ZERO breeding. Don't get me started. But yes, sometimes its ok to hear about failures! I've had them! I've had amanos kill freshly molted OEBT...they are aggressive and BIG. If they can get food or weak shrimp first they will.

I have not read all the posts and I apologize for posting blindly but off of your first post this is what I see. GH is a little low for neos. They like it hard;) Your temp is fine...my best breeding was at 76-80 degrees. They THRIVED in it AND it resulted in larger shrimp. I moved the same shrimp to a colder temp tank 68-72, and the resulting generations got smaller and smaller. I also had lower GH and KH in that tank...again, smaller shrimp, less color. Just MY experiences, they will all vary and you will get many opinions. I'd get the TDS up to 200-250, use Mosura TDS up as that does not affect GH. OR, feed more powdered foods, that will raise TDS as well.

The shrimp missing the eye is the key here. THAT is from aggression. No molting issues will result in a missing eye. That's fish related OR amano related, I am willing to be moolah on it. The amanos being moved won't hurt them, I got mad at mine after seeing them kill my tiger shrimp and tossed them (no acclimating) in with my betta. I found them three weeks later living in the tiny filter on the tank, the largest female missing an eye (she was twice the size of my fish). They are all still happily alive, one is living in pH 6.6 the others, in 7.6-7.8 or so HARD water. They are bullets I swear.

So, those are the issues I see. YOur tank is beautiful but don't be fooled by the folks with 100s of neos...I had issues myself at one time. I have issues now with my more 'exotic' shrimp but I am trying to remedy that now (different substrate, we shall see how it goes). I won't be around much tomorrow but if you are looking for some misery loves company stuff, message me over the weekend and I Can tell you my shrimpy woes over the last few years that should make you feel a bit better:)
I'm glad there is someone else out there that can relate. If I need to vent more I pay send you a PM.

Based on your and others advice I added a bit of GH booster last night. I'm going to be very slowly increasing the hardness until I get around 8 or 9 dGH.

SO...admittedly I did not read everyone's reply as I am leaving in moments but I wanted to add this. The clue you gave regarding shrimp moving "drukenly" and some missing an eye is pretty characteristic of only two things I can think of.
In my opinion, this behavior in an otherwise seemingly "perfect" tank SCREAMS bacterial infection. It is something that is usually associated with tigers and crystals but I have seen it in neos for sure. I would suggest that this is a strong possibility as these types of infections often affect equilibrium and eyes and antennae first. CHeck to see if any of the shrimp antennae are missing or broken or even "coated" with a thicker whitish/clear substance. My gut says this is the case with how you describe the deaths occurring.
Second guess is stress related to Amanos.

Hope this helps
This is something I hadn't given too much attention. Thank you very much for suggesting it.

Right now I don't see milky shrimp unless they are belly up or on their last legs. Would I be able to see it in active, live shrimp? I don't see any missing or coated antennae. Just the one pirate shrimp.

I read there are a number of ways to treat a bacterial infection. Is there anything I've been doing with this tank that could promote a bacterial infection? Perhaps not changing the water much?
 

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My thoughts on the matter may relate to the maturity of the tank. Drunken behavior may signal a trace element which is disagreeable, often proving fatal in hours. This has been documented on planet inverts with respect to micro ferts but i suspect other elements in a depleted substrate or substrate ripe with organic waste is a possibility.

In shrimp tanks, toxicity often will reach a point where it will surpass the rate of plant uptake and water displacement where tanks need to be rebooted. Elevated nitrates is a sign of this as a healthy anerobic colony would normally maintain equilibrium to prevent spikes, more so in tanks with more neutral to alkaline ph.
 
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