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Anonymous  
Cherry Shrimp Problems #1
Please help me with my cherry shrimp; they're acting odd. Out of the ten, about two are lying on their side at any one time. I'm not sure if it is the same two all the time. They are not really eating and stay very still until disturbed, then again I only got them today. Here's the background story:
About eight weeks ago I set up a 38l tank in my bedroom, intending to breed cherry shrimp in it. I used play sand (spare from my big tank) as the substrate. The filter is a cheap internal filter I bought many years ago, but it gets the job done and has plenty of space for filter media (currently filter sponge, fluval biomax media and lots of thoroughly washed filter floss). Lighting is from a normal angle-poise desk lamp, sat on the glass lid.
I went through a full fishless cycle, constantly testing the water until I could add ammonia (in the form of fish food) and have it converted to nitrate quickly and consistently.
I added cabomba about a week through the cycle, along with some lagarosiphon major and a huge piece of bogwood. This is how the tank stayed for the next seven weeks or so. Yesterday, my Elite 50w heater arrived, so I set that up on 24C before adding the plants I had ordered from Plants Alive (which had also arrived yesterday). I added three cryptocoryne becketti, three vallisneria torta, three java fern and one java fern "windelov" as well as a huge bunch of ceratopteris siliquosa (fine leaf indian fern).
Today, I bought 10 cherry shrimps ( a mixture of sizes, ages and genders) from a shop named Fish Finatics in Burscough, Ormskirk. The tank they were in was pretty nasty and full of snails, but they all looked okay and were not kept with any fish. They were 5 for ?2.50. I acclimatised them to tank before netting them and finally putting them in.

Sorry to blab on so much, but I really need help with this.
Readings: (API kit)
Ammonia: 0ppm ( could have been 0.25, but looked more yellow for 0)
Nitrite: 0ppm
Nitrate: 10-20ppm
pH: 6.4 ( possibly because of bogwood - usually 7.2 in my other tanks)

I though it may have been copper poisoning from the snail treatment that Plants Alive may have used, but I rinsed the plants very thoroughly before putting them in. Anyway, I did a 50% water change as a precaution and put carbon in the filter to try to remove as much as possible. Could it even be this, or are they so cheap because they are inherently unhealthy?
Fishlady Fishlady
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  • Posted on: 27/10/2011 17:42
Re: Cherry Shrimp Problems #2
I don't think Plants Alive use snail treatments on the plants so it's not likely to be that.


After the cycle ended, did you continue feeding the bacteria with fish food? Did you do a water change before you put the shrimp in? Have you any oxygenation - airstone or similar? How hard is your water? (both gH and kH are important for shrimp).

Recheck the ammonia test as if there's any present at all it could account for the problem - shrimp are very sensitive to ammonia and nitrite.
Anonymous  
Re: Cherry Shrimp Problems #3
Thanks for your reply,
I did continue to feed the fish food, to keep the cycle going.
I'm not sure of the water hardness, but I've found out that Liverpool, being in the North West, has very soft water. I don't know whether this means Gh, kh, or both.
Regarding oxygenation, I have no air pump but do have a venturi on the filter. I had this below the water to reduce noise before I bought the shrimp, but it is now above the surface producing bubbles for aeration.
Test definitely showed no Nitrite (pure blue), but the ammonia was less definitive. I'm not at home right now but I'll retest it in about half an hour when I do get home.
Again, thanks for your help.

PS, I don't know if this is relevant or not, but I added new plants from Plants Alive to my main tank, too, and my amanos in there are fine ( they seem to be, anyway).
Anonymous  
Re: Cherry Shrimp Problems #4
I've just retested the tank for ammonia, and it looks like 0.25ppm. The colour is somewhere between 0 and 0.25, but is closer to the latter. Most of the shrimps now seem okay (they are swimming around and walking on the hunt for food) apart from two. One of the two is not that bad, he walks around and swims a little, but when he is still he just allows himself to fall onto his side. The other is a lot worse, just lying on its side or back, fanning its legs and gills.

Is ammonia the most likely cause? I fear I may have to find the shrimps a temporary home in my community tank and cycle this one again, but I have no doubt that I will have to protect them from the angelfish if I do.

Thanks for all your helpful advice; hopefully they'll all pull through.
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  • Posted on: 27/10/2011 19:00
Re: Cherry Shrimp Problems #5
Yes I think that rules out any copper contamination from snail treatments - I didn't think Plants alive used it.

The extra aeration may help them. I'll see if I can find out more about your water hardness. The pH dropping like that sounds as though t has low buffering (kH) and if the water is very soft that would make sense. It may be too soft for the cherry shrimp, but it's easily fixed if that's the case.
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  • Posted on: 27/10/2011 19:28
Re: Cherry Shrimp Problems #6
Had a look for water quality in your area and found the average gH is 40 mg/l and carbonate hardness is 32 mg/l which in German degrees (what we use in fish keeping) is gH less than 3 and kH less than 2. The water is very soft indeed and both gH and kH need raisng for the shrimp as they extract minerals from the water to maintain and build their exoskeletons.

As you have a planted tank, a hardness compound such as Seachem Equilibrium will be your best option for gH as it is designed to also assist plant growth. You can raise the kH with bicarbonate of soda, but need to do it gradually as it will raise pH too. Adding some ocean rock or limestone or coral sand to the tank will help buffer the water too, and you'll need to add the Equilibrium and bicarb to the fresh water when you do water changes so the tank sits at a steady level.

You need to get the gH up to about 7dGh or 125 mg/l and kH up to around 4dKh or 70 mg/l. You'll need a kh/gh test kit to do that.

A couple of other things - they need acclimatising very gradually over a couple of hours or more, so if you didn't take that long, do so next time. Make sure the water you use in the tank is from the direct mains supply, not the cold storage tank (if you have one) and to warm the water use water boiled in a kettle rather than from the hot tap (unless you have a gas combi-boiler that heats water instantly). This is because copper can accumulate in water that sits in a tank.
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  • Posted on: 27/10/2011 19:32
Re: Cherry Shrimp Problems #7
Quote:

Guitarhero84 wrote:


Is ammonia the most likely cause? I fear I may have to find the shrimps a temporary home in my community tank and cycle this one again, but I have no doubt that I will have to protect them from the angelfish if I do.

Thanks for all your helpful advice; hopefully they'll all pull through.


Ammonia will be the major cause, but the hardness will need addressing for their long-term health. You can probably deal with the ammonia by doing daily 25% water changes with pre-warmed, treated water until the level drops back to 0, especially as they may be at a higher risk in your community tank. The extra aeration will help them too, and feed very sparingly until the ammonia is under control.

FX
Anonymous  
Re: Cherry Shrimp Problems #8
Thanks for your help, Noodle. How much bicarb should I add, or where could I buy the Equilibrium at a good price? Also, do I use both, or one?
I will probably make the water changes about 9.5l per day (easy to dose with aqua plus).

Is there anything else I can do now? Eight of them are acting normal (including a 2mm baby I spotted before), while the same two are still odd. The really bad one has turned very pale white, including its eyes, and is continually twitching on its back, while the less affected one lies on its back sometimes and swims erratically when disturbed. It is now resting on the bogwood. Are they both goners, or are they just moulting from the stress of the move?
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  • Posted on: 28/10/2011 9:59
Re: Cherry Shrimp Problems #9
It's hard to say, as it could be moult-related, but if it is, something is wrong as it shouldn't take this long to complete. Possibly if they've been in water with insufficient calcium for a while, their new skins haven't formed properly and the moult will fail. If that's the case you'll probably lose them
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  • Posted on: 28/10/2011 10:06
Re: Cherry Shrimp Problems #10
I have two tanks of cherry shrimp and haven't seen anything like this happening with mine. I got mine from a seller on ebay though, so perhaps yours were not in the best of health when you got them.
Note to self: must not buy anymore tanks