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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi everyone. This post was made back in January. The issue has been resolved. The problem was that my gH was suddenly too low, and once I added some remineralizer the deaths stopped. I am happy to report I have not had any issues with my shrimp since then.
Thanks.

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Original message:

Dear Planted Tank Forum,

Last November I went on vacation and asked a friend to take care of my shrimp. This was a terrible mistake. I came back to a shrimp holocaust -- they had been overfed, the water was polluted, pH crashed, bacterial bloom -- everything that could have gone wrong pretty much did. I lost about 150 or more S+/SS CRS. It was a sad time.

Immediately after that I got the water back to where it was supposed to be and have kept it as perfectly clean and stable as I could possibly manage. Shrimp continued dying off for several weeks but then the deaths slowed and then stopped. There weren't many left, but it was some. Then all of a sudden, about 10 of them died in the last 24 hours and I have no idea why. Guys, maybe you guys can find out what I am missing and why they have suddenly keeled over.

Here's the stats!!

10 Gal planted tank. It has been running for about 5 years. Contains about 30-50 S+/SS CRS and Malaysian Trumpet Snails.

Temp: 70.7
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: <5
pH: 6.7
KH: 1-2
GH: 3

There have been no changes to the tank recently. The parameters have all been very stable. I have tested morning and night, before and after water changes, and everything is always the same.

I feed them sparingly every other day or so (Hikari Shrimp Cuisine, algae wafers, blanched spinach) and there are plenty of plants to forage on.

I do regular moderate water changes (25-30% every four days or so, average.) I use tap water that I condition with Amquel+.

I don't use any ferts or CO2. I have not added any new products or objects to the tank.

I have a large bubble wand running 24 hours.

The shrimp are all foraging hungrily, doing normal shrimp activities, and molting beautifully. Until they suddenly die for no apparent reason.

This has been an invert-only tank for the last two years. I started off with just a few CRS and they bred like gangbusters. The Great Shrimp Collapse of 2012 wiped out all my adults and all my tiny babies, so now all that remain are primarily juveniles. A few of them have juuuuust reached puberty but have not bred yet. Shrimp Collapse 2: The Shrimpening has affected shrimp of all (remaining) sizes, including at least one sexually mature female, which is particularly annoying.

As far as I can tell, there are only two possible sources for my problems: something wrong with the water, or something wrong with the shrimp.
In terms of tank maintenance, I am doing everything the same way now that I did back when I was having a population explosion. So what changed? Could it be that these shrimp are just too damaged after living a week in horrible conditions while I was on vacation? If so, why live on for a whole 'nother month and then everyone suddenly die at once? What was the trigger, if any?

If it's the water, gosh, maybe something changed with the supply? Maybe there are heavy metals or something when there wasn't before? I bought a TDS meter on the internet and it should be here tomorrow. What should I look for? What are some other things I can test, and would that even be helpful at this point?

My partner suggests that I buy some CBS of the same grade and throw them in to see if they live. Obviously if they die then it's the water, right? But this seems like an irresponsible way of testing water quality. I dunno.

What would you do in this situation?
 

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TDS should be checked, so you have that already coming in.

Another possibility is them being weak from ammonia poisoning, however I'm not sure that it would last as long as this unless a possible bacteria infection. (?)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Meter finally arrived, though a day late. I got an HM Digital TDS-3. According to the factory calibration, my TDS reading is 85 ppm. The tap water is 30 ppm.

I have lost at least five more shrimp since my last post. One shows signs of a molting accident but none of the others do.

Seriously, wtf is happening in there? What else can I do? Do I just have to wait until everyone dies before I start over?

If they had any kind of disease or infection, what are some signs I could look for? Everyone seems totally normal and I can't see anything weird with their dead bodies, but maybe I just am not seeing the signs?
 

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The gh is low and the TDS is really low, especially if you are changing with your tap water at only 30ppm, that is almost pure water. You need to remineralize your water with a shrimp gh booster product.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I will look into a gh booster. Can you recommend any in particular? Until I get my hands on some, is there anything I can do to raise the gh in the meantime?

This is all so weird to me. I have been keeping these shrimp for two years without doing anything to either kh and gh and have had literally hundreds of babies at all times. I added crushed coral when the pH crashed and that has brought the kh and gh up to what it is now. It's so crazy that now that the parameters are closer to being what they should be I'm having problems like this. I suppose there are forces at work here that I don't understand.

Thanks for the advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
All the shrimp are young, either juveniles or barely post-pubescent. The Horrible Shrimp Disaster killed all the tiny babies and all the adults.

Not only did they live, but they thrived. I was overwhelmed with babies. If it ain't broke, don't fix it?!
 

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coral is only going to raise the ph and add to the kh, but won't increase the gH at all.

You also live in Seattle, right now you are getting pure snow rundown from the moutain and thus near pure water. When your population was thriving, maybe you were getting water with a big higher gh because of the time of year, or less rainfall that time of year, therefore more concentrated gH and other minerals. Liam (mordlaphus) lives around there and I think as long as you monitor your water and whatever it is, adjust to a proper level, you could be ok.

Liam also sells all kinds of products, might be worth messaging him and see what he has so you could get it quickly.
 

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personally for a tank that is two years old...I'd net them all out into an barebottom empty tank or a 5g Home Depot Bucket toss in a sponge filter and let them live there for a month...in the meanwhile I'd reset the main tank and start over...but that just me....once a tank crashes on me...I'd rather start over with that tank....
 

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coral is only going to raise the ph and add to the kh, but won't increase the gH at all.

You also live in Seattle, right now you are getting pure snow rundown from the moutain and thus near pure water. When your population was thriving, maybe you were getting water with a big higher gh because of the time of year, or less rainfall that time of year, therefore more concentrated gH and other minerals. Liam (mordlaphus) lives around there and I think as long as you monitor your water and whatever it is, adjust to a proper level, you could be ok.

Liam also sells all kinds of products, might be worth messaging him and see what he has so you could get it quickly.
+1 on this. I was going to say maybe the params of your tap water changed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ok guys. I bought a bottle of Shirakura CA+ from Mordalphus because that was the fastest gh product I could acquire. I raised the gh super duper slowly because I didn't want to shock anyone. Here are the current parameters:

Temp: 71.7
pH: 6.7
Ammonia: 0
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: ~5
KH: 0
GH: 5
TDS: 197

After almost a week of gh 5 I'm still having deaths, though only 1-2 per day instead of 3-5. Again, these are all JUVENILE shrimp that are dying (I have no old shrimp).

Is there anything left I can do besides wait it out?

p.s. Is there such thing as too much oxygen?
 

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No such thing as too much oxygen, these shrimp are mountain stream critters, the dissolved oxygen in a stream is off the charts ;)

Sorry you're still having deaths, hopefully they will stop soon.
 

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You wrote the tank has been up for 5 years I think it is time to break it down and start over. Put the shrimp in spear tank and start over. I head something similar with my CRS. I moved them to a bear bottom tank for mean time and the deaths stop. Now I am ready to put them in in a newly cycled tank. I think I head bacteria issue.
 

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I do regular moderate water changes (25-30% every four days or so, average.) I use tap water that I condition with Amquel+.

Am I wrong in saying thats alot of water changes...
 

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I only learned about 6 months back that my twice a week 25% WC was the likely source of my CRS and CBS deaths. Since I cut back to only when absolutely necessary (LOL!) the shrimp haven't stopped multiplying, and deaths have gone from quite frequent to almost never.

This is using remineralized distilled water, BTW.
 

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5 years is a long time and the crash may have pushed it over the edge. Start the tank from scratch and I would think you should be good to go. While that is getting up to speed the bare bottom tank with a cycled filter should be fine.
 
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