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It was going so well.... Cherry Shrimp die off

tomsouthall

Seedling
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8 Feb 2021
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23
Location
South Oxfordshire
Hi all,

First post, so be kind!! I recently got back into aquariums with the aim of creating mainly a planted tank, with some shrimp and maybe a few tetra (haven't got these yet). I set the tank up in early November, fishless cycled with Dr Tim's Ammonia, all went well. This is low tech, I add liquid Co2 and Neutro T from Aquarium Essentials everyday. The tank is ~140L with Tropica aquasoil. I introduced 12 Amano Shrimp in early January and these are absolutely thriving, tripling in size constantly molting, none lost - great. They were bought from a fish shop. 2 weeks later (now 3 weeks ago) I added 11 Cherry Shrimp, these were purchased slightly against my better judgement from Ebay (due to lockdown), from a seller with lots of good feedback. To be fair they all arrived alive, I drip acclimatised them and they seemed to do well at first, however over the last weeks 6 or 7 of these have now died... I just cannot work out why! They came with a baby Cherry Shrimp which was microscopic at first, but is still there doing well adding to the confusion! They haven't grown in the first 3 weeks and I haven't seen them moult either... Amano's remain happy, crowded around a shrimp wafer as I type.

All water parameters (ph ~7, no ammonia or nitrate) seem perfect (nitrates slightly high at 40-80ppm but dont think this is an issue), I have been keeping up with water changes about 30% per week. The tank was at 26 deg but I have just turned this down a bit in case it was too high. I think my flow is good.

Only other things I can think of are, I added a Plant 2.0 light at about the same time as the Cherry's, this has caused a bit of algae build up on the rocks and some of the plants, so I have turned this down too. I have also noticed some plants start 'pearling' in the last week and also the appearance of Freshwater Limpets and small white worms - not sure if these arrived with the Cherry's or not (no proof).

I was hoping someone might be able to suggest some reasons for this die off as I am at a loss! Ideally I want to add a few more and a couple of fish but don't want to do this if there is an underlying problem....

Any suggestions would be gratefully received.

Regards

Tom.
 

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Nick potts

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25 Sep 2014
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625
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Torbay
Welcome.

I feel your pain, i went through the same and lost 2 groups (around 30 shrimp) :(, I never really worked out the problem but now thankfully my shrimp are thriving and breeding.

First, what are your water parameters? Cherry shrimp like higher values of KH and GH than other shrimp and the can have issues moulting if they are low, you want around 4-5KHG and 6-8GH, aquasoil will strip KH from the water.

The algae won't hurt, in fact it will be a benefit to the shrimp as they will graze on the algae and the biofilm that grows on it. Do you have any botanicals in the tank, things like capata leaves, alder cones?
 
Joined
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469
Location
Aylesbury
First thing I would always guess at with a new tank is Nitrite level, but 3 months in I would have expected you to have got through this bump..
It doesn't sound like your overcrowded and followed a fishless cycle. The advantage of buying from a local fish shop is that the water conditions should be similar.

A couple of obvious ones, Are you adding prime or leaving something the water to stand when doing water changes?
Is the water at the right temperature, I've killed them off in the past with cold water sinking to the bottom of the tank..

Do you have very soft water, I've heard this can cause problems with moults.

A couple of months in I normally to try ad do two water changes a week, mainly as this seems to help keep algae down while the plants are growing in.
 

dw1305

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nr Bath
Hi all,
Do you have very soft water,
Cherry shrimp like higher values of KH and GH than other shrimp and the can have issues moulting if they are low, you want around 4-5KHG and 6-8GH, aquasoil will strip KH from the water.
Because the OP lives in S. Oxfordshire I would expect that their water is pretty hard and the Aquasoil won't be able to soften it enough to cause problems.
The algae won't hurt, in fact it will be a benefit to the shrimp as they will graze on the algae and the biofilm that grows on it. Do you have any botanicals in the tank, things like capata leaves, alder cones?
<"Alder cones are good">, they will tint your water a little bit.

cheers Darrel
 

tomsouthall

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Joined
8 Feb 2021
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Location
South Oxfordshire
Hi all, thank you for the thoughtful replies!

I treat tap water with Prime and leave it for 1-2 hours with a spare heater in before adding, so don't think this is an issue..

As mentioned the water here is pretty hard, I only have the strip tests for GH and kH (have the API proper tests for ph, amm, nitrite and nitrate), currently showing 6 for KH and 8-16 for gH.. I think OK??

I have been supplementary feeding twice a week with AquaCare Tropical Tabs and put in a blanched spinach leaf once. Therefore don't believe I have any botanicals in the tank... are these recommended?

It is frustrating as there doesn't seem to be anything obvious!

Thanks again,

Tom.
 

dw1305

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12,454
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Hi all,
Therefore don't believe I have any botanicals in the tank... are these recommended?
Really good for shrimps, some people use Indian Almond Leaves (Terminalia catappa), but I use pyo. Oak (Quercus spp.), <"Beech (Fagus sylvatica), Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) etc">. Have a look at <"All the leaves are brown">.
put in a blanched spinach leaf once
They are best with <"a veg. based diet">, you can use any blanched vegetables and a lot of people collect Nettle (Urtica dioica) leaves in the spring and then dry them to feed through the year.
That was a few days ago - at the moment they are thoroughly enjoying some sweet potato, and the - it turns out around 30 or so - babies in the main tank downstairs are all feasting on nettle. I feel I have justified the huge bag in the freezer and the last four months of flak! I also have a tentative plan to use the quantity of shrimp on the marrow in the main tank as an overfeeding index. If there are none, I'm almost certainly overfeeding. If I can't see the cube for jostling red bodies, my fish have probably already expired from starvation.
cheers Darrel
 

tomsouthall

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23
Location
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3 more dead this morning... only 1 left now. All Amano still looking fine. Still none the wiser!

It has been quite a rapid die off - all in 7-10 days. Should I just leave the tank for a while before adding anything else?

Tom.
 

tomsouthall

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Yes I'm adding Neutro T from Aqua Essentials (about 6ml to 120l) and 2.5ml liquid CO2 each morning.... could this be having an impact? It seems to always be at night they die?

Tom.
 

aquascape1987

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Leeds, West Yorkshire
Well I’m not an expert to be honest, but I think it’s got to be something that is added to the water that’s upsetting them if your nitrogen cycle parameters are all good.
I only asked about ferts because I had an instance where all my Amano shrimp kept dying a few years ago, and I put it down to the micro mix I was using. They visibly seemed to react when i poured in the micro fertiliser every day. Acting weird and darting around etc then sitting there dormant. The next day I would find them dead. Not sure what it was in the liquid that caused it though. I suspected copper but 🤷🏻‍♂️.

I also asked for help on here and everyone I spoke to thought it wouldn’t have been the fertiliser, or the liquid carbon I was using, as tons of people dose these to their tanks with no ill effects on their shrimp. But I could visibly see them react when I poured it in, and death would follow shortly after the strange reactions.

I would advise systematically stopping adding the additives one by one temporarily, and seeing if the deaths stop. The result of this may only be anecdotal, but it may hit the nail on the head as well.

Sorry I can’t be of more help. I know how frustrating things like this can be. 😩
 

tomsouthall

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Thanks, that's really helpful. I have wondered to be honest as 6ml of fertiliser squirted in every day is quite a lot! Did you stop adding ferts then or just add less?
It will be hard to monitor as there's only 1 cherry left! Hopefully my Amano's stay healthy as I've grown quite attached to them!
 

aquascape1987

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Well you see for me, it was easy to identify what I strongly suspected was causing the problem, as I had a very visible and very strange reaction immediately, in response to adding something to the tank (repeated day after day) I simply stopped adding that for a week and the deaths stopped.

Then changed fertiliser regimen from EI, self mixed from salts to TNC complete and haven’t had any shrimp problems since.

I personally would start with stopping the liquid carbon, and then the fertiliser. You say your tank is low tech, and I presume low light with slow growing plants? I would suggest that stopping the ferts for a few days isn’t going to send the tank spiralling into immediate destruction, if so.

A bit more difficult now though, as you only have one of the affected shrimp left 🤔
 

Kevin Eades

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Portsmouth
You mentioned some white worms. There was a thread on here the other day about worms which kill shrimp. Planaria worms? Couldn't be those? I don't know the symptoms but it's what my brain put together but might be because I read the post recently.
 

tomsouthall

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Could be Kevin - I need to get a microscope to try and identify them as they are so small, definitely not as big as examples on Google images. There are quite a few either stuck on the glass or wriggling in the water column though, I'm sure I read somewhere that Planaria don't tend to wriggle like that in the column..so they are probably 'detritus worms'?
 

Simon Cole

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My guess is actually an odd-ball: (POPs aka persistent organic pollutants) Organic compounds that are highly toxic, persist in the environment, bioaccumulate in human and animal tissue, and can be transported by wind and water. Most POPs are pesticides. Perhaps, your plants or the soil has one of these present. My best guess, having read similar stories, is the soil itself. I might even go so far as to suggest that the ammonia had a synergistic impact upon the presence of a POP, causing it to become sublethal to your cherry shrimp population.
 
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Fred Dulley

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If water quality is fine (ammonia, nitrite, copper etc) then it leaves chemical contamination (as suggested above with sprays etc), predation or disease. I'm not sure how disease could be identified or treated but I was surprised how many different types of disease shrimp can get after listening to some shrimp experts.
 

tomsouthall

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Hi all, the tank is glass topped and is in my home office - no sprays or anything which could get into the water. I think disease might be the most likely reason, the fact that they all went 1 by one (literally 1 a day pretty much, no mass die off) seems to suggest this I think? Sadly the Amano's have started going 1 by 1 now too (although only 2 so far), again seemingly always at night! It can't be predation, unless they are killing each other! WQ still all good, sticking to ~30% water changes a week.

I decided to get some Otinculus at the weekend to see how they fare, I know this was risky as they can be temperamental at the best of times. So far all 6 seem to be doing well and have cleared lots of brown algae. Still about 10 amano shrimp, I will keep up with water changes and hope they hang in there. If not I will stick to fish for a while!

Tom.
 

Fred Dulley

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Hi all, the tank is glass topped and is in my home office - no sprays or anything which could get into the water. I think disease might be the most likely reason, the fact that they all went 1 by one (literally 1 a day pretty much, no mass die off) seems to suggest this I think? Sadly the Amano's have started going 1 by 1 now too (although only 2 so far), again seemingly always at night! It can't be predation, unless they are killing each other! WQ still all good, sticking to ~30% water changes a week.

I decided to get some Otinculus at the weekend to see how they fare, I know this was risky as they can be temperamental at the best of times. So far all 6 seem to be doing well and have cleared lots of brown algae. Still about 10 amano shrimp, I will keep up with water changes and hope they hang in there. If not I will stick to fish for a while!

Tom.
Sorry to hear that. If they're still dieing I'd be doing water changes every few days just in case it is water quality.
 

tomsouthall

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You get paranoid though don't you... maybe it's something in the tap water!!!

The only chemical I put in other than liquid co2 and Prime with water changes is Neutro T: Neutro T Plant Fertiliser - Medium [NTM] - £14.99 : Tropical Aquarium / Fish Tank Plants for Sale, CO2 Sets, Fertilisers, and more - Aqua Essentials, The Planted Aquarium Specialists

This says it is safe for shrimp and the reviews are good - I've been putting it in since Day 1. To be fair I don't really know what is in it as there are no 'ingredients' listed on the bottle. Having searched the forum quickly it doesn't seem like too many other people use it, would I be better off switching to something else?
 

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