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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Here is the situation:

I have a Fluval Edge tank that is fully cycled and has been set up for three months. If you want to see some pics of the tank for reference, you can view here: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=202854&highlight=

I have Flora Max substrate on the bottom, three rocks I found outside my home (extensively cleaned), African driftwood, xmas moss, chain sword plant, java fern, and I believe a plant called amazonicus. The rocks are basalt I believe and I tested them with vinegar to check against possible limestone composite makeups. The cycling process completed in less than a week and a half due to using seeded media and lots of live plants. Two golden white clouds have been in the tank since the cycling process completed. The presence of ammonia and nitrites have not been recorded in the tank for months.

About a month ago, I bought 2 crystal red shrimp, 1 bumble bee shrimp, and twelve painted fire reds. The CRS and BB were bout from a reputable LFS, while the PFR were bought from an online breeder. The PFR shrimp were all older full size adults to my dismay. Immediately, one of the largest (most mature) CRS shrimp died in my tank. In addition, the PFR shrimp have died off at a pace of about 2-3/week, resulting in two lone survivors. The BB and the other two CRS appear to be young and active as do the golden clouds and "Sassy" the snail. So now in total I have 2/3 CRS remaining 1/1 BB shrimp and 2/12 PFR Shrimp, which are supposed to be the most hardy.

Here are my tank parameters:
Ammonia: 0
Nitrites: 0
Nitrates: very low
PH: >7.6 ( cannot tell since my test only goes to 7.6)
KH:4
GH4-5

At my home, we have a pretty advanced under the sink filtration unit for drinking water, consisting of multiple canisters. The water from the filtration unit tests comes out as: http://www.custompure.com/MB618-EB-style-P8.aspx
Ammonia: 0
Nitrites: 0
Nitrates: 0
PH: 6-6.3
KH:4
GH3-4

The regular Tap water tests the same except for a PH of 7.3. I have only used the filter water in my tank so I do not understand why the PH is so high? As a note, the driftwood was only placed into the tank a few weeks ago while the shrimp die off was already in progress.

What is causing the massive shrimp die off? Old age? PH? Chemicals? I am stumped here because old age is unlikely to kill so many shrimp within a short interval, the high ph should affect crystal reds more than cherry reds and I doubt chemicals are in my tank.

My second problem is my high PH. Does anyone know why my PH is so high compared to my water source? From what I have read online, basalt rock should not change the PH of the water at all, let alone over a point on the PH scale.


If anyone could help solve the mystery it would be great! I have no clue what my next step should be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
"What are you using to test parameters? Your water seems odd for Seattle area."

API Test kits for everything. Keep in mind that my filtered water has a much lower ph than the tap. This was confirmed by the water store with some highly technical language.
 

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First: Start by reading everything linked in the Shrimp forum sticky. Everything. That'll help you greatly understand shrimp.

Since you have issues with both KH and GH, you should start with RO/DI water and use a remineralizer like Mosura Mineral Plus Ultra, Shirakura Ca+, Salty Shrimp, et al to remineralize your water to KH 0-1 and GH 5. That would allow you to keep both PFRs and Crystals - at least better than the parameters they're in now.

pH isn't the most important factor here. It's hardness. Though, pH can be lowered with Indian Almond Leaves, Alder Cones, peat, and with buffering substrates like ADA Aquasoil and Azoo Plant Grower Bed.
 

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It might not have been anything with your setup or the way you do things. I'm thinking you should check out the original seller of the PFR's by looking at whether others are complaining about the sellers shrimps.
Advertise the name here with your quandary to see if someone else has had the same thing happen to their shrimps.

Old age die-offs can happen like this as the shrimps might not be from the same batch and would not necessarily die off all at the same date/time, but they were all large denoting older!

If anyone knows of a method of telling the rough age of shrimps this would be helpful in knowing whether they are dying for this reason.

Any pics of the shrimps (closeup, and detailed of whole shrimp for people who can check age).

Just like fish show signs of age in various ways surely shrimps do also. Someone with extreme knowledge of that could help you best.

Water parameters can kill "discriminately" within a short amount of time so since these took several weeks, that's not likely the problem here.

The other shrimps are dying from something else not related I think.

I've never heard of Basalt having an effect on PH, test this by removing the rocks and changing water 50% or more then checking PH again every 24 hours.
 

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Actually, water parameters can kill shrimp slowly over the course of days and weeks. When hardness is outta whack, it can cause problems molting and any number of issues.

Could be the age of the shrimp, that's always a possibility. Could also be bacterial. Since there's not much of a way to know without clear photos and further details about the stock, it's best to start with what we know the OP can correct. That's water parameters.

Changing 50% of the water should not be done unless the water you're using (these are shrimp and they're sensitive) is roughly the same GH, KH, PH.
 

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Set a glass of tap water out for 24 hours (stir it occasionally) and then test PH again; PH can change when the water outgasses and that would be your true PH and what your tank's PH should be. The water out of my tap is 8.4 but it gasses off to 7.2 which is what my tank's PH is. I also have neos (blue velvets) with GH of 3 and KH of 2 and I haven't had problems with them breeding or molting.

Also if you have the API kit and the regular PH test is the highest on the chart (7.6) then you need to use the High PH test to get the PH of your water.
 

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Actually, water parameters can kill shrimp slowly over the course of days and weeks. When hardness is outta whack, it can cause problems molting and any number of issues.

Could be the age of the shrimp, that's always a possibility. Could also be bacterial. Since there's not much of a way to know without clear photos and further details about the stock, it's best to start with what we know the OP can correct. That's water parameters.

Changing 50% of the water should not be done unless the water you're using (these are shrimp and they're sensitive) is roughly the same GH, KH, PH.
Just how small a change can have this type of effect then?

The water changing is something I do with fish and plants when problems occur but then your dealing with shrimps. Now we all know.

Do you also know of age differences in how the shrimps act and look?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Set a glass of tap water out for 24 hours (stir it occasionally) and then test PH again; PH can change when the water outgasses and that would be your true PH and what your tank's PH should be. The water out of my tap is 8.4 but it gasses off to 7.2 which is what my tank's PH is. I also have neos (blue velvets) with GH of 3 and KH of 2 and I haven't had problems with them breeding or molting.

Also if you have the API kit and the regular PH test is the highest on the chart (7.6) then you need to use the High PH test to get the PH of your water.

I already recorded my tank PH and it is higher than the filtered tap or straight tap?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
It might not have been anything with your setup or the way you do things. I'm thinking you should check out the original seller of the PFR's by looking at whether others are complaining about the sellers shrimps.
Advertise the name here with your quandary to see if someone else has had the same thing happen to their shrimps.

Old age die-offs can happen like this as the shrimps might not be from the same batch and would not necessarily die off all at the same date/time, but they were all large denoting older!

If anyone knows of a method of telling the rough age of shrimps this would be helpful in knowing whether they are dying for this reason.

Any pics of the shrimps (closeup, and detailed of whole shrimp for people who can check age).

Just like fish show signs of age in various ways surely shrimps do also. Someone with extreme knowledge of that could help you best.

Water parameters can kill "discriminately" within a short amount of time so since these took several weeks, that's not likely the problem here.

The other shrimps are dying from something else not related I think.

I've never heard of Basalt having an effect on PH, test this by removing the rocks and changing water 50% or more then checking PH again every 24 hours.

If you go to the link at the top of my post, there is a link with a pic or two of my shrimps. I have no noticed any shrimp die during molting or carcasses with attached skins. Does anyone have any ideas why my ph is so much different than the filtered tap?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
First: Start by reading everything linked in the Shrimp forum sticky. Everything. That'll help you greatly understand shrimp.

Since you have issues with both KH and GH, you should start with RO/DI water and use a remineralizer like Mosura Mineral Plus Ultra, Shirakura Ca+, Salty Shrimp, et al to remineralize your water to KH 0-1 and GH 5. That would allow you to keep both PFRs and Crystals - at least better than the parameters they're in now.

pH isn't the most important factor here. It's hardness. Though, pH can be lowered with Indian Almond Leaves, Alder Cones, peat, and with buffering substrates like ADA Aquasoil and Azoo Plant Grower Bed.

http://www.custompure.com/MB618-EB-style-P8.aspx This is my water filter I use to supply my tank water. Would this work as my RO/DI water source if I add the mineral supplements you discussed in your post?
 

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Usually higher pH is from topping off evap with tapwater, or hardscape that contains calcium.

Also the vinegar test only works on pretty pure calcium carbonate, doesn't work on rocks with a mixture of elements.

Your water filter is a DI filter, which is fine as long as you replace the filter media when it's expired. From the look of your tap params, it needs replacing. Deionized or RO water should read at 0 gh, 0 kh
 

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My Neos were fine in low gh water. They ate well were very active and then started slowly disappearing. The few carcasses I found were all split across the back which tells me they were fine upto the point they started to molt and bam.
 
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