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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I’m fairly new to fish-keeping, and brand new to shrimp keeping, and I’m experiencing some problems with my brand new cherry shrimp in a 2.5g planted bowl. Please read my post, and reply, as any advice would be helpful and I’m fairly lost for clues.

Just over a month ago, I acquired a new bowl, which I planted quite nicely with some dwarf hairgrass, Monte Carlo, and a Java fern. I let the tank cycle for around a month and then decided to get some shrimp.

A week ago today 15 lovely red cherry shrimp arrived to my door, all alive. I knew that they had had a rough journey, as shipping had been delayed, so they had been in transit for around 2 and a half days. As soon as they arrived, I floated the bag in my tank to get the temperature right, and slowly began to acclimate them with makeshift drip acclimation- I put a few drops of tank water in every minute or so with a pipette. Eventually I released them and they all seemed happy, feeding on the algae in the tank and grazing on the Java fern. I was delighted.

The shrimp all seemed happy and were grazing, but not too interested in the food I bought them, although they would take my other fish food out of my tweezers and eat it.

I did not see any dead shrimp in my tank for the first 6 days, but I could usually only count around 9 shrimp- I assumed this was because they were hiding. On the 6th night someone accidentally turned off the heater for around 2 hours, and the tank fell in temperature by around 1.5C, before I turned the heater back on. I did not see any dead shrimp, so went to bed soundly. Today I woke up in the morning to see a dead shrimp in my tank, to my horror. I tested the water and all parameters were ok- apart from Kh and Gh- both way too high(kh around 15 and Gh around 8) ! In the evening I found another dead shrimp nestled in the dwarf hairgrass. I was devastated.

I have not been adding anything to the tank so have 3 main theories about what might have happened:
1. The stress from the temp change the night before killed them
2. The initial stress killed them and I did not find them until later
3. The high hardness has caused some issue and killed them

I also worry that the water may lack oxygen, or that there are some toxins such as copper in the water, but I don’t see how this could happen?

I’m aware the tank is a little overstocked but that was the only amount I could find from this seller- and it was meant to only be 12 anyway…

It would be ok if the dying stopped there, but I’m worried that more could perish…

Any help would be amazing.

Since then the shrimp have just clustered on the Java fern, with only a few swimming about, although no more have died.
 

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I let the tank cycle for around a month
How did you "cycle" the bowl? Did you add an ammonia source and monitor parameters daily to verify the bowl could support life? If not, that's likely the problem. Because it doesn't sound like you have a ton of plant mass to process the amount of waste your shrimp produce.

I floated the bag
Floating is unnecessary for shrimp and can be detrimental - especially if they're in breather bags. Just drip acclimation over 30min or so is fine. I try never to take more than an hour. Ideally, remove as much of the water they came in as possible and then try to quadruple (4x) their volume over the course of the drip. Also a good idea to add a drop of Prime to whatever they're in the moment they arrive so you can neutralize any waste that could be harming them.

someone accidentally turned off the heater
Turn your heater off and remove it if this is a shrimp-only bowl. Completely unnecessary with shrimp. They'll be fine in temps down to 14/15c. I'd try never to let their water get warmer than 20c - 21/22 at the very most. But ideally somewhere between 18-20.

Do you have any sort of filtration?

What are your other water parameters? Ammonia? Nitrite? Nitrate?

What are you feeding? How much? How frequently?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi, thanks for the reply. I cycled the bowl by adding a small amount of fish food and letting the plants break it down? I was monitoring the tank daily and the nitrite and nitrate were both zero, as they where when I added the shrimp and when the shrimp died… I was told that high ammonia meant high nitrite, so I do not have anything to test for ammonia- I’m using the tetra 6 in 1 strips

I only floated the bag to get the Temp the same, and it was not a breather bag.

As I said the shrimp are not too interested in food, but are grazing. I’ve offered them some strange shrimp food that they did not care for, and some fluval bug bites which they ate a few of, but I’m not feeding them often (once every 2 days), as they are not obsessed with the food and often leave some.

I have no filtration, but I manually remove any faeces I find…

Finally I am worried about removing the heater as my room fluctuates in temperature a lot so I’m scared that may shock and kill them…

As of today no more have died, and they all seem ok, and I am working on fixing the kh and gh soon… I will definitely remove the heater in spring though…

Im also worried that when I turn off the heater the temperature will fall to quickly, as the tank is around 23C and the room around 19… how can I slowly lower the temp?

sorry for 2 replies…
 

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Im also worried that when I turn off the heater the temperature will fall to quickly, as the tank is around 23C and the room around 19… how can I slowly lower the temp?

sorry for 2 replies…
You aren't going to shock your shrimp. It'll take several hours - maybe even days - for your tank's temperature to drop. Room temperature is fine.
 

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If they were adult shrimp instead of juvies, then they have a higher chance of perishing.

I, too, used to be worried about room temp vs tank temp. Used to have shrimp in a place that the heater or air conditioner were only used when someone was home - otherwise, they were off. As such, there would be extreme changes in temperature in a rather quick amount of time! From freezing cold to warm/hot or hot to cool or cold. (depending upon the time of year)

That said, a bigger tank means slower temperature changes! A glass of cold water will warm up a lot faster than a large bucket of cold water!

Can you get a liquid test kit for everything?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If they were adult shrimp instead of juvies, then they have a higher chance of perishing.

I, too, used to be worried about room temp vs tank temp. Used to have shrimp in a place that the heater or air conditioner were only used when someone was home - otherwise, they were off. As such, there would be extreme changes in temperature in a rather quick amount of time! From freezing cold to warm/hot or hot to cool or cold. (depending upon the time of year)

That said, a bigger tank means slower temperature changes! A glass of cold water will warm up a lot faster than a large bucket of cold water!

Can you get a liquid test kit for everything?
i cant get a liquid kit immediately, but I’m starting to get really worried. All the shrimp hang out on the Java fern at the very top of the tank, sometimes there backs even break the water. They are extremely clustered up and I’m really scared they might all die. I’ve heard this might be an oxygen issue, and I’ve ordered an air stone but it won’t come for almost 3 weeks. I try to agitate the water and blow bubbles in it multiple times a day, but the shrimp all hang out at the top of the tank still, apart from one who I think is dying at the bottom. Occasionally some of them zip around swimming, but for the most part they all stay in the same place. They still aren’t eating much, and I’ve done a small water change once. What can I do? Should I do bigger water changes/more often? Should I run out and by an air stone immediately? I’m thinking of mixing spring water with tap water to get my perfect gh/kh but I haven’t done that yet? There also seems to be a fair bit of brown algae in the tank, which I’m struggling to remove. Any help you’ll be greatly appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
What is your substrate? Are the plants all healthy and growing?
Substrate is tropica aqua soil and black Roman gravel. The dwarf hair grass is growing very well, Java fern is slowly growing, and Monte Carlo is growing but I had a few patches die earlier on. Java moss is growing well.
 

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Substrate is tropica aqua soil and black Roman gravel. The dwarf hair grass is growing very well, Java fern is slowly growing, and Monte Carlo is growing but I had a few patches die earlier on. Java moss is growing well.
If it's an active substrate you need to do regular water changes as there is ammonia release. Either way, especially without filtration you should be doing regular water changes once a week. Disturbing the substrate will also release toxins into the water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If it's an active substrate you need to do regular water changes as there is ammonia release. Either way, especially without filtration you should be doing regular water changes once a week. Disturbing the substrate will also release toxins into the water.
Ye, it’s not an active substrate, but I’m hoping that multiple water changes will fix the issue. How much should I change each time?? I’ve heard that small is good for shrimp, but this is a big of an emergency so maybe more?? I’m also changing with different water- correct gh and kh- so I need to do it more slowly right??
 

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Ye, it’s not an active substrate, but I’m hoping that multiple water changes will fix the issue. How much should I change each time?? I’ve heard that small is good for shrimp, but this is a big of an emergency so maybe more?? I’m also changing with different water- correct gh and kh- so I need to do it more slowly right??
I would say 1/3 weekly and see how it goes. What is the difference between the tap and the tank in terms of kh/gh?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I would say 1/3 weekly and see how it goes. What is the difference between the tap and the tank in terms of kh/gh?
Right now the tank is the same kh and gh as the tank, but I’m going to add a mixture of bottled water and my tap water with kh around 5 and gh around 8 and ph around 7.5. I’m aware it’s a bit hard but if I don’t add my tapwater the ph is 6.7- way too low. My tap water is gh around 15 and kh probably over 20( the strip ends at 20 and the colour is different) the ph is also a bit high at 8-8.5
 

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Whatever you do, you want consistency. RCS are pretty adaptable to a wide range of conditions. Clean water is very important and a month old tank with active soil can differently be a problem. New tanks with active soil require alot of water changes especially the first month so that to me is probably the issue. Also important not to disturb the substrate if you move a plant, etc and don't vaccum under the surface of the soil that will stir things up into the water. I have a thriving colony of RCS that I sell here every month and my GH/KH are both anywhere from 12 to 16. My tap GH/KH is only around 4 to 6 and I change 50% every week because it's high-tech with co2 and high light. Test strips are horrible and wouldn't measure small amounts of ammonia that could kill.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Whatever you do, you want consistency. RCS are pretty adaptable to a wide range of conditions. Clean water is very important and a month old tank with active soil can differently be a problem. New tanks with active soil require alot of water changes especially the first month so that to me is probably the issue. Also important not to disturb the substrate if you move a plant, etc and don't vaccum under the surface of the soil that will stir things up into the water. I have a thriving colony of RCS that I sell here every month and my GH/KH are both anywhere from 12 to 16. My tap GH/KH is only around 4 to 6 and I change 50% every week because it's high-tech with co2 and high light. Test strips are horrible and wouldn't measure small amounts of ammonia that could kill.
Right, thanks for all the advise. Ima order an api master test kit today. I’ll be careful not to stir up the gravel. I’m also struggling a bit with brown algae?
 

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Right, thanks for all the advise. Ima order an api master test kit today. I’ll be careful not to stir up the gravel. I’m also struggling a bit with brown algae?
Regular water changes are a big help with algae as they remove organics from the water that would otherwise decompose and release ammonia which BTW is the way algae starts. If it's loose brown algae that comes off easily then it's just diatoms and that isn't unusual in new tanks. Organics are fish waste, leftover food, dying/damaged plant leaves. So even dying plants or bad leaves should be removed as they are adding toxins to the water.
 

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Larger tank may help. Adding an air stone could help.

If they are all near the surface then maybe something was stirred up at the bottom?

Would not be a bad idea to try doing a water change using distilled or RO water and shrimp minerals if you can get your hands on some. This rules out any possible issues with your tap water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Larger tank may help. Adding an air stone could help.

If they are all near the surface then maybe something was stirred up at the bottom?

Would not be a bad idea to try doing a water change using distilled or RO water and shrimp minerals if you can get your hands on some. This rules out any possible issues with your tap water.
Yes in an ideal world I would have a larger tank! I had an air stone coming but it would take too long, so I’ve ordered another for tomorrow… to overcome issues with tapwater I am using bottled spring water- I’ve read this works and won’t need remineralisation…
 

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If there's something potentially toxic in your tap water, no amount of diluting it will get rid of the toxic thing. It might make it less toxic, but it's still there... and can still harm your shrimp... it just might take a little longer to cause harm!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Larger tank may help. Adding an air stone could help.

If they are all near the surface then maybe something was stirred up at the bottom?

Would not be a bad idea to try doing a water change using distilled or RO water and shrimp minerals if you can get your hands on some. This rules out any possible issues with your tap water.
I don’t think there’s anything toxic in the water, just too high kh and gh. Surely they would all die immediately if it was toxic?? And my fish would die?? I think oxygen could be the issue… and I’ll do more water changes…
 

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Ye, it’s not an active substrate
You told us it was Tropica. That's an active substrate.

Regarding your ongoing problems... have you done any reading at all here on the forum? Because you're jumping around and making all kinds of swift changes in your tank. Nothing good happens fast in a shrimp tank. You shouldn't switch to bottled water without knowing what's in it. Have you tested it?

Are you using Prime to treat your tap water?
 
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