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Shrimp death at water change

9825 Views 9 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  southerndesert
Have any of you used Aquasafe by TetraAqua? It's the brand they sell at Walmart. I've used it for at least 5 years now, and it's never harmed my fish, but at every water change I'm doing I get dead shrimp almost immediately afterwards. This is obviously frustrating. I've read Seachem Prime should be used, but I figured any commerialized dechlorinator would be shrimp safe. Any ideas?
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Well we need to know what type of shrimp you have, how long have you had them, has anything changed? What are you water parameters? Do you have copper pipes in your home? There are a lot of variables here.
Well we need to know what type of shrimp you have,
Red Cherry shrimp

how long have you had them,
approx 1 week.

What are you water parameters?
This is a two week old tank. From day 1 it had guppies. Ammonia is 0. Nitrite is barely measurable, maybe .5 ppm. My test kit is cheap. I do suspect nitrite as partly to blame for shrimp death.

Do you have copper pipes in your home?
Do you? I'm not a plumber, but I think most pipes are made of copper. More importantly than whether or not I have copper pipes, I use the cold water pipes to do water changes, no hot water.

Problems may be chalked up to shipping stress, or nitrites. I had a tank full of healthy shrimp pre-water change, and three dead ones about an hour afterwards. Interestingly enough, after water changes, I notice the shrimp swimming into the filter's current, then floating back to the bottom of the tank belly up. The first time I saw this I figured they were dead, so I put them in my 29 gallon planted tank, figuring they would become food for the plecs and endlers. I saw them today, happy and healthy, cleaning algae from my plants. I've read from others that fertilizers (especially when dosed EI style) will kill shrimp, high nitrates will kill shrimp, and Flourish Excel will kill shrimp. These guys ( 3 of them) disagree. My main question is, will Aquasafe kill shrimp, or is it my noobitity to inverts?
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I've been suspicious of my Aquasafe as well. Always seem to kill a fish or two after each water change. Or they would always dart to the surface to gulp down some air. Thought it was because my bottle was pretty old. But I bought a new one with same results.
I had a similar problem with my fish after water changes. They all would quit eating, and appear stressed for about one or two days after the water change.

For me, I found out a rock in my tank was causing the ph to rise signficantly. Therefore, after every water change there was a large ph swift. Ever since I removed the rock, the fish don't appear stressed after water changes.
The pH change you get with a water change would have to be really extreme to kill any fish. In any natural water body every time it rains hard, the pH of that water changes, and may change considerably. Fish aren't harmed by that. - written by hoppycalif

I've never had any signs of stress after a water change in fish, only shrimp. Shrimp are more susceptible to nitrite poisoning than fish, and copper poisoning, etc. etc. I'd like to know if Aquasafe contains something that kills shrimp. I'm tired of killing them, and I'd bet they are tired of me killing them too.
Well a new tank, like you have, is no place for shrimp to live. They are very sensitive to Ammonia and Nitrites and even nitrates (in elevated levels). And just assuming that pH swings are not harmful to shrimp because you have read that they are not harmful to fish is also dangerous. Shrimp are much more sensitive to this sort of thing. Knowing your pH in your tank, as well as your tap is important.

And no, not all homes have copper pipes. I do not! And for the most part homes with copper pipes can still have shrimp safe and happy. The copper its self will not leach (after a few months) unless the pH of the water is very low. So if you are not in a new home, or you have a normal pH in your tap water, it shouldn't be a problem, but if you do live in a new home or have a low ph out of the tap, it could be a cause.

Basically, after what you have explained, your shrimp have MANY obstacles against their survival. Your tank is 2 weeks old, that is no where near old enough for shrimp with an inexperienced shrimp keeper, and many experienced hobbyist as well. Your shrimp are new, so they are stressed from shipping and then are thrown into water that is less than optimal. You have a cheap test kit so you can not be sure what your ammonia and nitrite readings are. You say you have had the tank for 2 weeks, and have experienced losses of shrimp after every water change which leads me to think the shrimp have been in there since week 1 at least. And where exposed to high levels of ammonia.

My suggestion is to allow the tank to cycle for at least a month. After that try again. Your water conditioner is not the problem. If this post sounds harsh, I am sorry it is not meant to, there are just many problems that any one of them could kill shrimp!
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I don't think there is much question here. You have shrimp in a newly setup tank. If you can measure any traces of nitrite that means that at some point shortly before you measured the ammonia/nitrite there was an ammonia spike which is the cause of your shrimp deaths. Shrimp are much more sucseptable to ammonia/nitrite than guppies.
You'll be lucky if you have any left at all if you don't get them in a cycled tank.
My thoughts exactly. If I have any survivors tomorrow, I'll put them in the planted 29 gallon and let mother nature take course. Apparently the ones in there are doing fine, Excel and all. I am aware that putting shrimp into an uncycled tank was a risk, but thought doing water changes every two to three days at about 30 percent would keep ammonia/nitrite levels low enough that they would not be fatal. I am wrong, and have been humbled in this experience.

My place of residence is old, so no new copper piping to worry about here. What are your pipes made of? I seriously thought all water pipes were made of copper. PVC ? Humbled again.

Dwarfpufferfish, your post was not harsh, and answered the question I initially set out to ask. Thank you.

Fishkeeping, plant growing, and invert keeping are three different realms of knowledge and expertise. I'm a little wiser in the latter.:smile:
In homes many pipes are galvanived iron and some are copper or perhaps PVC in mobile homes...

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