The set-up. 3.5 gallon tank. Gravel substrate. An artificial plant, an artificial cave type decor, an artificial log w/ a plant, and a couple of small live floating plants provided by the local fish/shrimp shop, specific for the shrimps. Also, some decaying leaves at the bottom and one large almond leaf. Sounds like it takes a bit of space, but there is plenty of room and hiding spots. The tank has been set-up and cycled for 4.5 weeks. I had originally planned a betta tank and some how ended up w/ shrimp. And I know my first mistake was lack of enough research and inexperience, but I can’t go back now. A couple of weeks ago, I started w/ 5 green babaulti shrimp, 5 blue dream shrimp (although one is black w/ red eyes. ♀) I slowly acclimated them to my tank. And within days I lost 3 of the blue dream shrimp (although I am not convinced one was never in there because never saw it or its body. I am certain it was in the bag though. And about a week later a couple of the babaulti shrimp. They seemed to die after molts... I got some API test strips. Other than the water appearing quite hard, the PH was neutral and no nitrates or nitrites. So I assumed the water was okay... then I talked to the fish/shrimp guy and he was basically like the test strips are worthless you have to have kits and a tds meter. Also, please note I have been doing 10% water changes weekly, using imaginarium aquarium water from petco, which is what I also started the tank with. Anyway, I get the freshwater test kit on Friday and this is what I found. PH 7.6-8.0, Ammonia somewhere between .5-1.0, and no nitrates or nitrites. So, I talk to another local Shrimp guy, and he asked how much I was feeding them. And I said 3-5 times a week, 1-2 hrs and removed what they didn’t finish. He stated that he only feeds his twice a week and I should do a 20% water change by doing a gravel vac on Saturday, even though I had just done my regular water change on Wednesday. So, I did so and in the meantime got the rest of my testing supplies today. And this is where I need help. The water change did nothing for the ammonia... and the water seems pretty hard. Oh, also, the aquarium came with a built in carbon filter system. Here are my readings as of tonight. PH 7.6-7.8, Ammonia 1.0, Nitrate 2.5ppm, Nitrite 0ppm, KH 15, GH 25, TDS 493 , Temp 74.6. The 3 remaining babaulti shrimp, 1 blue shrimp, and the strange black shrimp all seem to be doing fine... and at least a couple have had successful molts that I am aware of. No more deaths sense the initial ones... and I don’t want to lose these. How the heck do I fix these water problems in a safe and efficient way w/o losing my remaining shrimp. Thanks for your advice. Clearly, I am new and trying hard to learn quickly. And as a random aside, I haven’t fed the Shrimp since Friday... but they have the decaying leaves and plants that I’ve observed them eating on.