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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Need some help with a odd situation that I can't seem to solve regarding water parameters for Neocaridina.

I have a Fluval Flex 15 that I setup at the beginning of January that I still can't keep shrimp alive for more than a few hours.

Background: I have 7 tanks in my house and I have thriving Neocaridina colonies in all the tanks exempt this one that I am having an issue with. They all get the same RO/DI water reconstituted with either Salty Shrimp KH/GH or Niloc's GH Booster.
When this tank was first setup I used it as holding/grow out tank for plants only. I dosed EQ levels for Macros and Micros and had CO2 running a 1 point PH drop monitored with a AM PinPoint probe.
In February/March I moved a lot of the plants to my main tank and so I started stocking the 15 (While it was housing plants only, I cycled using liquid ammonia, plus this would be like over 6 weeks from tank setup).
I started with just a few fancy guppies and an assassin snail. I then tried to add some nerite snails from another tank and within 15 minutes they were acting odd and falling off the glass. I knew something was wrong, so I moved immediately to another tank and they recovered fine. The assassin snail died within 2 days. At this point I was assuming that copper levels were high as I was dosing CSM+B for micros so I stopped all ferts and did a few 90% water changes.

Since I have 4 tanks that are dedicated shrimp tanks, I had plenty of culls to try again in the tank. So I tried another batch of 5 - 8 shrimps and a few hours later they were dead. I thought maybe the CO2 was too high so I reduced it so the PH drop was less than .5.
Did a few more significant water changes, including a 100 % water change and added some activated charcoal.
Waited a few more days and tried some shrimp again. Same issue, within 90 to 120 minutes the shrimps get white eyes and die.

At this point I am getting frustrated as I never had any issues like this before. Tested for copper with API test kit 4 times and they all came back completely clear. So I throw some Purigen in the filter for a week and try again and same thing! WTF

Up until now I had just been doing a 30 minute acclimation. I breed lots of Neocaridina and never had an issue with plop and drop since all my tanks parameters are close. Even on my tanks with CO2 this was never an issue. So now I was thinking shock maybe, so I tried another group of shrimps with a 2 hour drip acclimation. Same thing, after 90 minutes they start dying. The first hour they are in the tank there behavior seems normal, with no indicators of stress.

So now I am at a complete loss for what could be causing this. I also noticed that the bladder snails are not breeding but at least 10 large adults look ok. Also noticed some ramshorns that I added a few months back starting dying, however the guppies are thriving and breeding without issue.

Performed a bunch more water changes but still have the issue of shrimps dying within a few hours. What are some other toxins besides copper than could be affecting the shrimp while leaving fish unaffected? The tank is now been running for over 6 months and I can't keep shrimp. Any help would be appreciated.

Tank specs:

Fluval Flex 15 with both InTank media baskets. Using Biohomme and Seachem Matix in filter. Upgraded return pump to SICCE Syncra Silent 0.5
Substrate is a mix of Fluval Stratum and Eco Complete. (Wanted to experiment with layering these, wouldn't try it again)
Only non plant decor is a piece of mopani wood. It was fine in another tank and I always boil my wood anyway. Also deaths occurred before adding this.

Temp: 76
KH: 3
GH: 6-8
TDS: 300 - 350
Nitrate: Less than 5 ppm
No Nitrite or ammonia
Copper: 0 ppm
Fluval Aqua sky light in addition to the original light (9 hour light cycle)
CO is now kept super low until I figure this out. Air stone is run at night.

Here is the tank in Feb/Mar:
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Here is the tank along with the others in my office now:
1030783


Best pic I could get of the shrimp just before death:
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Any feedback would be appreciated.

Thanks
 

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Wow! Thats something!
The first thing that came into my head was "copper," but you have tested for that so--- hmmmm...
They die so quickly, though that it seems as if it is a toxin of some sort.
Maybe the shrimp experts cam chime in here and ask some follow-up questions that can narrow in on the cause of your issue.
 

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I had a similar problem when I set up a second tank in order to migrate from a 25g to a 75g. My second tank was cycled using media from the first and I used some rocks and most plants from the first. I did use new wood and additional rocks. My first residents were some snails and a few Bloody Mary neos. Tank parameters tested well. I did test for copper also which was zip.

The shrimp would start by running laps around the tank and would die within a day. I did lots of water changes and added carbon and Purigen to my filter. My biggest concern was that either the wood or some of the stone was toxic. Periodically I would ask for volunteers and they did not fare well. Snails were unfazed. In time the shrimp did survive. Now I have so many that I have give them away.

I would try carbon, Purigen and water changes...and time.
 

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Is this a brand new tank? Or did you get it used?

Have you tried running the tank without CO2?

Any plant weights?

Heater?

Are there any plants in that tank that aren't in any of the other tanks? Maybe that particular plant(s) could have been treated with something and the residue hasn't 'disappeared'?

What ammonia did you use?



I don't see anything that really stands out as an issue, although it is somehow tank specific.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Brand new tank. I did try turning CO2 off completely and same result. There is one or 2 plant weights in the tank as the Stratum is very light. I have these same weights in a few of my other tanks including the dedicated tank for yellow Neocaridina and doesn't seem to be an issue. Could the weights be releasing something that is interacting with something else or is it just the lead leaching?

I do have a heater in the back. It is a 100 watt model of this: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08HCZF7L7/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I use that same model in a few of my tanks, but I guess it could be faulty unit leaking something? It is in the back and encased in plastic, so I don't think it would have been cracked by activity. I make sure to turn it off when I do anything more than a 30% water change that exposes it. I guess it's possible I didn't turn it off during a large water change as I have done so many on this tank.

Plants are the same as in other tanks. Many were sourced from a well known member of this forum.

I use Ace Hardware pure ammonia. Same bottle I used to cycle my other tanks.

I did think of something that I forgot to mention. When this tank was new, meaning before I added water I used some Aqueon black silicon to seal a intake cover to the bottom intake. It was on of these: Fluval Flex Upgrade KIT Aquarium Hood Props Shrimp Intake | Etsy

Is it possible that the 3D printed plastic is leaching something or that the silicon was bad? I would think since they are selling them as intake covers they are known to be underwater and would have heard issues from other buyers. I used the same silicon to seal the light on the yellow shrimp tank and I know the bubbles hit the light and drip back down into the tank, so I wouldn't think it would be the silicon. I only waited 24 hours before adding water so perhaps the silicon wasn't 100% cured. Could it be still leaching curing solvents or perhaps interacting with the 3D printed plastic?

Thanks
 

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Not sure about the silicon.. maybe someone on here has some experience with the type you used.

Unless your room gets really cold the neos shouldn't need a heater. You could try without one and see if that makes any difference. In case it's shorting out...
 

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Might not be a bad idea to try and remove the heater. Can't imagine it would cause deaths that quickly but wouldn't hurt to rule it out.

Would be tempted to get rid of the weights as well, but if you have the same ones in different tanks, would guess that's not the issue.


I can't imagine the silicone is bad or the covers... but I haven't used either of those. The silicone IS aquarium safe... or should be? I imagine that would be a question for the manufacturer. I have silicone from Lowes that is said to be aquarium safe but I haven't used it yet.
 

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Something is wrong with your water because SS GH/KH mixed to those values won't give you TDS 300.
Your API copper test kit is not sensitive enough to detect copper levels that are dangerous to shrimp. If u want, u should get the Hanna low range test kit that can measure in the parts per billion, but copper is probably not the problem.
Make a reference ammonia solution and check that the ammonia test kit actually works.
My guess is some toxin in the water.
Temperature is on the high side.
Also check pH.
 

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Honestly, it's going to be tough to isolate what's occurring. But you definitely don't need a heater for shrimp. Once water is in the mid-to-high 70s, things can get wonky with pathogens that these cool water critters can't adequately fight sometimes.

Also wouldn't use the Niloc stuff, as it is sourced in bulk and is not prepared by someone with actual shrimping experience. Too many people with too many problems with the stuff. (I realize you could say the same for lots of suppliers and my opinion of all prepared ferts is pretty much the same.) If you want to use something other than Salty Shrimp, use my recipe and source your own mineral salts from a reliable vendor like Green Leaf. It's cheap and super-simple.

Silicone isn't the issue. Likely not the weights, either.

Have you recently refilled your CO2 cylinder or swapped it for a refill? My gut says there's a problem there or a problem with the fertilizer mix you're using. CSM+B likely isn't supplying enough copper to be problematic. Even if you overdosed it like crazy. Trace amounts of copper in your tank are fine and necessary for shrimp to survive.

P.S. Remove the intake cover(s) you got from Etsy - just the stuff that's in contact with the water. Those are 3D printed and despite what people claim, they're not always honest about their plastics. Some could release things into the water column that's not easy to discern. You'd be better off just siliconing in some fine stainless mesh or no-see-ums material into the original intake grates.
 

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@somewhatshocked ; What is the upper level of copper you feel is okay for neocaridina shrimp? I have .112ppm copper in my tap water and could not raise shrimp.


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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Something is wrong with your water because SS GH/KH mixed to those values won't give you TDS 300.
Your API copper test kit is not sensitive enough to detect copper levels that are dangerous to shrimp. If u want, u should get the Hanna low range test kit that can measure in the parts per billion, but copper is probably not the problem.
Make a reference ammonia solution and check that the ammonia test kit actually works.
My guess is some toxin in the water.
Temperature is on the high side.
Also check pH.
My source water is fine. 2 scoops of the SS GH/KH into a 5 gal RO/DI container gives me 2.5-3 KH and 6-8 GH depending on how heaping the scoops are. This usually comes out to around 200 - 225 TDS. I then add just a tiny bit of Seachem Equilibrium because I like the extra calcium. That brings it up to about 300 TDS.

Shrimp can take up to .2 pmm of copper and need traces so I doubt it is copper as the test kits shows none and I can have stopped CSM+B and done many water changes since.

My ammonia kit works just fine as I just used a few months back to track the progress in my liquid ammonia cycle.

Temp is fine. All varieties of my Neocaridina are thriving in my main community tank with temps into the low 80's. I don't use heaters on my shrimp only tanks, but ones that I plan on keeping true tropical fish (That is my eventual goal) along with shrimp usually get a heater to keep around 76.

Also wouldn't use the Niloc stuff, as it is sourced in bulk and is not prepared by someone with actual shrimping experience. Too many people with too many problems with the stuff. (I realize you could say the same for lots of suppliers and my opinion of all prepared ferts is pretty much the same.) If you want to use something other than Salty Shrimp, use my recipe and source your own mineral salts from a reliable vendor like Green Leaf. It's cheap and super-simple.
Yep, I moved to mostly SS and don't use the Niloc GH much any longer, although my plants like the Niloc ratios a little better.

Sounds like the 3D printed material could be a cause, but my problem is that I have tons of guppy fry in the tank now and draining the tank to redo the intake will be a major PITA. I might try to put a few shrimp culls in a large bowl and then after a few days put one of the covers into the bowl and see if there are any effects on the shrimp.

The same CO2 tank supplies both the tank with issues as well as the shrimp only tank under it without issues. Plus I tried totally turned CO2 off for a few days to test and same results.

In any case, looks like a total teardown might be in the cards. Thanks all.
 

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If you're using Salty Shrimp, you don't need Equilibrium. Extra calcium isn't necessary. It's fine that you use it but it's not necessary with what you're already using.

Not all shrimp can handle up to 0.2ppm of copper. I've had them die at lower levels than 0.112. As close to zero as possible is best. But they do, indeed, require trace amounts to survive. But I don't think copper is the issue, either.

You don't have to drain your tank to redo the intake. Just silicone the mesh into the old intake covers and pop them in. Here's how I did it:



You could also get away with just shoving in some black sponge material inside the filter compartment that's large enough to cover the intakes while still allowing flow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
If you're using Salty Shrimp, you don't need Equilibrium. Extra calcium isn't necessary. It's fine that you use it but it's not necessary with what you're already using.
Thanks. I don't add it much any longer but just wanted to explain why my TDS was higher than normal.

My issue with the intakes is that since I have InTank media chamber in place behind them, you can't insert anything with tabs (like the modified stock ones you show) and there is no extra room for a sponge. This is why I cut the tabs off the 3D cover and then siliconed in place.

Was originally going to cut the tabs off the stock covers and mesh inside just like you did and then silicon that to the back wall, but instead used the 3D covers since it saved a little time.

You would think I would have learned not to cut corners by now.
 
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