Amano and Cherry Shrimp keep dying!

Elliott_Fordham

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So I've been keeping planted tanks for a while now and I've kept shrimp in a lot of them. The problem is every time I buy some shrimp I keep them for about 3-4 months and gradually over that time they disappear or die. My fish are fine and healthy and all my water parameters are in check. None of my fish are aggressive species (cardinals and ember tetras). I run CO2 in the day that fluctuates the pH of the water could this be having an effect on the shrimp? I water change 50% twice a week with tap water.

Anyone have any idea what keeps happening to them, i'm completely stuck.

Cheers
Elliott
 

kilnakorr

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I remember a friend with same issues. We tested a lot of things an finally found a Cu issue.
Seems some old copper pipes was to blame.

I doubt the CO2 is the problem, as you should notice this in fish behavior.
 

BarryH

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I've only been keeping shrimp about six months Elliott but I'm now seeing mine grow and multiply as everyone on here said they would, so I'm miles away from thinking I'm an expert.

Someone asked a very similar question over on UK Shrimpers and as soon as large water changes were mentioned they pointed at that as a reason for shrimp deaths. The original poster was doing one 50% water change weekly and he was told that was far to much. Some keepers on there do not do water changes at all they just keep topping up their tanks. Having said that, I would guess that unlike both myself and you, they probably do not have fish in their tanks, just shrimp.
 

Fisher2007

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I'm noy saying the above is wrong but I do 50-60% watwr changes on both my tanks each week without fail and I have a healthy population of cherry, crystal and amano shrimp in both

It might be the case but at the same time I wouldn't rule out other causes too at this time
 
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Shrimp are multiplying like made in my tank. I do about 10-15% water change a week. The tank gets a mixture of rainwater and tap.
 

jaypeecee

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Hi @Elliott_Fordham

Shrimps are notoriously sensitive to copper. It doesn't have to be old copper pipes in the household. There is sufficient copper straight out of the tap to kill shrimps. The legal limit for copper in UK tap water is 2 mg/l (ppm). Shrimps can be killed at one-tenth of this figure. The maximum copper concentration (according to my water company report) for 2017, for example, was 0.26 mg/l. Some tap water conditioners, e.g. Seachem Prime should neutralize this copper. Apparently, shrimp are particularly vulnerable to the effects of copper after they've just moulted.

Hope that helps.

JPC
 

Elliott_Fordham

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Hi all
So from what I can gather it is probably a shock (large water change) or a Copper issue. Does anyone know if I can get a copper test kit and I think I will buy some prime as my API water conditioner may not remove copper. I will do smaller water changes as well to hopefully reduce any risk of this being the cause of death.

Info about my tank is stated below:

Equipment
Aquarium = 30x30x30cm Evolution Aqua Aquascaper with glass lid.
Light = Twinstar 300E light - 15 Watts - 8 hrs
Filter = 270L/hr corner with spray bar
Heater = Aquael 25 Watt heater.
CO2 = 0.5 BPS 21 hrs (adjusted to try and keep pH constant)
Planting = Heavily stocked on plants (foreground, midground and background)
Hardscape = grey mountain stone, manzanita wood

Parameters
Temp - 25 degrees C
Nitrate - 25ppm
Nitrite - 0ppm
Ammonia - 0ppm
pH - 6.8
KH - 6 degrees
GH - Unknown

Thanks everyone
 

Siege

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You have cardinals and embers. How many of each?

How often do you feed and how much? Do you feed the shrimp?

Have you got a photo of your tank?

cheers

S.
 

jaypeecee

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Hi @Elliott_Fordham

Does anyone know if I can get a copper test kit...
Yes, I use the SenSafe John's Copper Check test strips (Part Number 480042). You should be able to get them from Amazon. Some of the aquarium copper test kits are insufficiently sensitive. The SenSafe test strips will measure as low as 0.05 mg/l (ppm). I have been using these for over a year on my shrimp tank. They are easy to use. For more information, here ya go......

https://sensafe.com/sensafe-copper-johns/

From this website, you can download a 'dip time temperature compensation chart'. If you run into any problems (very unlikely), feel free to PM me.

JPC
 

jaypeecee

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Hi @Elliott_Fordham

I have just spotted this:

CO2 = 0.5 BPS 21 hrs (adjusted to try and keep pH constant)
I have a couple of observations/questions:

1 What do you mean by '0.5 BPS'? Is that 30 bubbles per minute?

2 It shouldn't be necessary to inject CO2 for 21 hours. You quote your pH as 6.8. At what time of day would that have been measured? With a KH = 6dKH, the tank pH should remain pretty stable without needing to have CO2 on all that time. Injecting CO2 at night when the plants will not use it could lead to CO2 concentration being in excess of 30ppm. Do you use a drop checker? What colour is it first thing on a morning? Forgive me for asking but I assume that your tank light is on a timer?

That's enough questions for now.

JPC
 

tam

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I would say step one is work out your GH. Are you using tap water? If so you should be able to get a rough figure from your local water report.

Very soft water can also be a problem from shrimp as it effects their moulting. To be honest, a lot of things can be a problem for shrimp so you'll probably have to do some trial and error.

Do you see any symptoms? Are they reproducing? Do they mould ok?
 

jaypeecee

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I would say step one is work out your GH. Are you using tap water? If so you should be able to get a rough figure from your local water report.
Hi @Elliott_Fordham

@tam has made a very good point. You say that your GH is unknown. As GH is primarily a measure of dissolved calcium and magnesium, the calcium, in particular, is very important to the shrimp's exoskeleton. This is the thin layer that shrimps lose when they moult. So, calcium is very important in the water and in the shrimp's diet.

JPC
 

Elliott_Fordham

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Hi all
So @Siege I have 6 embers and two cardinals (cardinals rescued from heater disaster and only currently have one tank). I feed a pinch once a day and I also feed with shrimp food twice a week. I have a photo of the tank and will post it attached to the message.

Yeah @jaypeecee BPS is bubbles per second so 0.5 BPS is the same as 30 per minute. I dose CO2 for that long to try and stabilise my pH because I notice that my drop checker cycles from blue to green to light green when I only run CO2 during the photoperiod. Yes my tank light is on a timer.

@tam I've tested my GH today and it is 8 degrees. Yes I am using tap water they were moulting fine and regularly and then the amanos just disappeared. I can never get my cherries to reproduce so never had any shrimplets.

Hopefully that answers some questions

Thanks for all the help.
4B4E34C8-E712-4F49-BF60-37637E1311D8.JPG
 
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If you try the experiment with overnight aeration, it’ll be very interesting to see if this problem goes away as well!

I can’t see anything in your water parameters to cause problems with shrimps. A GH of 8° is about perfect, and the great majority of that will be due to Calcium, given the UK’s geology. It’s very odd that your cherries aren’t breeding - something’s wrong there, because in my experience they breed prodigiously!

I think I would lower the temperature by a degree or two. This will raise the oxygen level, and shrimps may be slightly happier too. I have embers at 23°C and they’re perfectly happy.

I’m not convinced it’s a copper problem. I have always believed that copper is rapidly fatal to shrimps rather than it being a chronic problem.

Looking at the picture above, I’d say your tank is approximately the same as mine in terms of plant mass. And your surface agitation looks quite gentle, as indeed is mine. So if I have been having issues with overnight oxygen depletion due to high plant mass then I wouldn’t be surprised if you are too.

Other than a couple of Amanos I haven’t yet added many shrimp; lockdown has forced me to be patient, which is no bad thing because the tank will provide more shrimp food as it matures.
 

jaypeecee

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Hi @Elliott_Fordham

In the article to which I linked above, there is an important statement (in my opinion!):

"In alkaline water (high pH), copper ions bind to calcium carbonate (KH). Therefore, the amount of free copper ions in the water decreases. However, if the pH drops, the poisonous copper ions will be released again".

This may provide a significant clue as to what is happening in your tank. You measured a pH of 6.8 and I asked at what time of day this was measured. A pH of 6.8 is slightly acidic but it could potentially fall lower than this at night. And, as stated above, as pH drops, more copper ions will be released into the water. It seems as if you would be wise to maintain the tank pH at an absolute minimum of 7.0 at all times.

JPC
 

Witcher

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Cardinia multidentata are really tough shrimps, they live in the coastal rivers where water parameters (hardness, acidity etc.) can change very quickly due to the tides (that's what also causes them to breed in almost perfectly monthly intervals). Personally I think the only threats to them are copper in the water and ammonia/nitrite spikes and I'd definitely agree with @jaypeecee - you need to look first at potential Cu presence in the water.
 
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Hi @Elliott_FordhamA pH of 6.8 is slightly acidic but it could potentially fall lower than this at night.
Why would pH fall at night?

If anything it will rise, as CO₂ (injected during the photoperiod) is out-gassed. If done correctly, CO₂ will cause a daily swing of 1.0, down before and during the photoperiod, and back up again afterwards. This swing happens regardless of KH; the KH merely determines the starting pH.

I think we’re over-complicating this. To eliminate copper as a potential threat, Elliott should switch to a water conditioner that binds heavy metals, such as Seachem Prime, or check whether his current conditioner performs that function (and if he’s using any of the well-known brands I’d be surprised if it doesn’t).

He doesn’t need to keep his pH above 7.0 - that will be largely impossible if he’s injecting enough CO₂ to keep his plants happy. In order to achieve that, he’d have to crank up his KH so that the pH reaches 8.0 during the non-CO₂ period - his embers and cardinals aren’t going to be at their happiest at that level, and it’s pushing the envelope for cherry shrimp.
 
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