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Amano Shrimp and Die Off

Discussion in 'Inverts' started by nicewicz, Oct 25, 2011.

  1. nicewicz

    nicewicz Junior Poster

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    I know this topic has been posted here several times, but perhaps this might generate new discussion. Whenever I introduce Amano shrimp into my aquarium, invariably 20-30% die within the first day and the rest die off within the next week or two. When I introduce them to the tank (after very slow acclimation over the course of 1 hour), several start swimming laps immediately. Those are usually the first to die. The others follow suit over the next few days.

    As for my tank stats, I keep two CO2 drop checkers that indicate CO2 is not an issue. I use the EI method of dosing, but my typical parameters are:
    NO3: ~5 ppm
    PO4: ~0.5 ppm
    NH4: 0

    The tank is 65 gal and I also dose 5 mL of Excel Iron and 5 mL of Excel Fluorish. I change 50% of the water weekly and replace with tapwater which has chloramines and ~2.0 ppm, PO4. I dechlorinate with Prime as directed. Other than those pieces of evidence, the only other thing I can think of is that I have rocks as part of the scape that I collected nearby. The tank is heavily planted (see pic in link below) and all other fish species (sawbwa resplendens, ottocinclinus, zebra danios, siamese algae eaters, glass cats) are all thriving.

    If you can think of anything that might be causing my shrimp deaths, I'm all ears and happy to give more information as needed.

    http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6036/6274500824_a448b6964a_b.jpg
     
  2. nicewicz

    nicewicz Junior Poster

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    I should also add that I've tested for Copper and it is 0 ppm out of the tap and in the tank.
     
  3. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    You Are Probably Not Going To Like The Process, Answers Or Me

    Hi,

    I really am not trying to be a pain, and given my recent track-record I am a bit reluctant to get into a conversation that is going to require a little diagnostics and has a very good chance of being what you have already decided it isn’t.:rolleyes: There seems to be a lot of that going around these days...:eek:



    It is a very nice looking tank, but I cannot tell much from the photo.

    [​IMG]



    If you are serious and open minded, please tell us about your CO[SUB]2[/SUB] delivery methods. :confused:


    Tell us more about the shrimp, what happens when you quarantine them for a week or so?
    Your description sounds as though the shrimp do not like something in your water from the start and are trying to get to better water.



    What does your tank smell like?

    How does the water feel when rubbed between your fingers?
    {Obviously, do not use the soap in the tank.
    :rolleyes: Lye soap or Ivory is best, but for now, anything works.}
    When you take a little tank water and lather some soap, how does it compare to the tap water?



    Please elaborate on your dosing regimen? I know it is EI, but I can get EI results many ways.

    Can you post a tap water report? Generally available from your local water authority, many times online. Do you mind sharing where you live?:confused:


    • What are your testing methods?
    • Are your test kits calibrated?

    Get some more of the rocks if you can.
    :)


    • Can you get a picture of the rocks wet and dry?
    • Do they have a smell?
    • What are the rocks?
    • What do they taste like?
    • How hard are they? Can you scratch them with a pocketknife? A coin? Your fingernail? When you bang them together, do they mark each other?
    • What happens when you pour vinegar on them

    What is the wood?



    Biollante
     
  4. shoggoth43

    shoggoth43 Lifetime Charter Member
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    You may want to sit down and write out a list of all that you can think of. There's obviously something different between the tanks. Here's some other questions you may want to think about.

    Also, what is different about the water between where the shrimp are quarantined vs. the tank water? Is it the same water source? How does the water get to the tank vs. the quarantine?
     
  5. nicewicz

    nicewicz Junior Poster

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    I really am not trying to be a pain, and given my recent track-record I am a bit reluctant to get into a conversation that is going to require a little diagnostics and has a very good chance of being what you have already decided it isn’t.:rolleyes: There seems to be a lot of that going around these days...:eek:


    I understand; I'll do my best to answer the questions, your honor ;). Thank you for the reply.


    If you are serious and open minded, please tell us about your CO[SUB]2[/SUB] delivery methods. :confused:

    I have a DIY inline (on the return) CO2 reactor built from a house filter identical to the design from this post:

    http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/diy/110100-cerges-reactor-diy-inline-co2-reactor.html

    I have a standard 10 lb tank with regulator, solenoid valve and bubble counter. The CO2 is on a timer and turns on when the lights come on and off when the lights go off. I lift the outflow slightly about the water line each night to aerate the water and then in the morning, return the outflow below the surface of the water. The pH swings ~ 0.4 units (dKH 5.0) during the day and back up at night.



    Tell us more about the shrimp, what happens when you quarantine them for a week or so?
    Your description sounds as though the shrimp do not like something in your water from the start and are trying to get to better water.


    When I was quarantining (admittedly I haven't done this the last two times that I've tried introducing them) they seemed to behave normally. In the quarantine tank I used the same tap water that I am in the main tank without dosing any fertilizers.


    What does your tank smell like?

    No smell other than what a fast moving creek might smell like. When I have cyanobacteria outbreaks (which happen fairly often) it smells like cyanobacteria.


    How does the water feel when rubbed between your fingers?
    {Obviously, do not use the soap in the tank.
    :rolleyes: Lye soap or Ivory is best, but for now, anything works.}
    When you take a little tank water and lather some soap, how does it compare to the tap water?


    The tank water does not feel soapy when rubbed between my fingers. I do not feel a difference when I lather tank water or tap water with soap, though I might not be the most discerning when it comes to that.

    I often have a little of film buildup on the surface of the water, but when I aerate overnight, that surface looks bubbly and soapy.


    Please elaborate on your dosing regimen? I know it is EI, but I can get EI results many ways.

    After a 50% water change (on a 65 gal aquarium), I add Prime (5 mL), KNO3 (1/4 tsp), K2CO3 (1 Tbsp), 5mL of Excel Iron and 5 mL of Excel Fluorish slowly to the stream of water as I refill the aquarium. I dose 5 mL of Excel Iron and Fluorish every day and 1/4 tsp of KNO3 and 1/16 tsp of KH2PO4 three times a week after the water change completely dissolving the fertilizers in carbon filtered water before I add them. I have been meaning to purchase a kitchen balance to make my solutions to avoid the inaccurate measuring spoons.


    Can you post a tap water report? Generally available from your local water authority, many times online. Do you mind sharing where you live?:confused:

    I live in Durham, NC. The easiest way for me to post my water quality report is with this link:

    http://www.ci.durham.nc.us/departments/wm/pdf/water_quality_report10.pdf

    • What are your testing methods?

      I test for dKH, NO3 and PO4 after the water changes and usually once or twice a week lately. Out of the tap, the water has 0 NO3 and ~2 ppm of PO4
    • Are your test kits calibrated?

      I am an organic chemist so I have the luxury of having access to a balance and volumetric flasks at work. So, I've calibrated my NO3 test kit with carefully prepared solutions of 1, 5, 10, 20, and 40 ppm NO3 and compared them to the results that I get from the API test kit. They seem spot on. The PO4 test kit is also from API and it is honestly horrible. Can you recommend a better PO4 test kit?

      I haven't tested for NH4+ in quite some time but I assume it is zero. I probably should just to be certain.


    Get some more of the rocks if you can.
    :)

    Don't know if I can pick up more of the rocks I collected. Honestly, they're from several locations.


    Haven't done that but I can. I assume we're looking for limestone-containing rocks?

    What is the wood?


    Manzanita purchased from Manzanita Burlworks.

    I think that covers most of the questions. I also wanted to go over my shrimp acclimation. I take a clean glass bowl, set the bag of shrimp in it and cut it open allowing the shrimp and water to spill in the bowl. I approximate 1/10 the volume of water that the fish arrived in and take that volume from the main tank and add it to the bowl. I repeat this process once every 10 mins 9 more times until the volume of water that I've added matches the original volume that the fish arrived in.

    That is all I can think of at the moment. I am really serious about solving this problem. I have run through everything I can think of and really appreciate your patience and efforts on this. I'm happy to answer any more questions or do any more tests required. I'll inspect the rocks more closely when I go home tonight. Thanks in advance for yours and anyone else's input on this matter.
     
  6. nicewicz

    nicewicz Junior Poster

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  7. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Metals?

    Hi,

    How long since the rescape and refilling of the tank? Was the filter maintained or restarted?:confused:


    Your dosing seems just fine; I really would not worry about precision dosing. The only thing I see, you may wish to add 3 or 4 teaspoons of gypsum and a teaspoon of Epsom salts at each water change.:)
    • This is not a critical.

    Do you have pH readings? Tap and tank, before and after CO[SUB]2[/SUB].


    • Ammonia is always a potential problem.

    Since you do not smell nasty ammonia related smells, that would seem the biological filtration is working fine, generally anything that is that lethal to shrimp is also lethal to the biological filtration.


    However, it certainly sounds like some kind of toxicity.

    • Do you live in an older house? Pre-1992, but pre-1978 would be of more concern.
    You mention the possibility of Nickel; I do not have direct experience with Nickel poisoning though it seems you should be seeing something in the long-term exposure to your fish, your filter, given the acute toxic response.


    • Are you seeing any gill problems, rapid breathing?
    • Any redness about the gills?
    • Any red streaks?
    • Any white patches on the skin, may appear translucent?

    What you describe sounds like Copper to me, but I think many of the metal poisonings present similar symptoms.

    A couple of three things I recommend for now,


    • before water changes run the tap water for a few minutes, good time to take a shower or wash the dishes.
    • Increase the Seachem Prime dose to 10-ml at water change.
    • For 4 weeks, 3 or 4 days after water change add 10-ml of Seachem Prime.


    The recurring cyanobacteria outbreaks are interesting, this may sound (indeed it may be) stupid, :rolleyes:


    • what smells do you associate with a cyanobacteria outbreak?
    • Have you noticed anything leading up to these cyanobacteria outbreaks?
    • Is there anything else you associate with the outbreaks?


    The rocks are of obvious interest since they could easily be the point of entry and acting as a time release dosing mechanism.

    • Did you clean them; sterilize them before adding to the tank?


    Biollante


     
  8. nicewicz

    nicewicz Junior Poster

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    Ok, so here's the rock report:

    I have several types of rocks in my current scape. I pulled a rock or two of each type and did some investigation. I apologize that the photos aren't with this post as I seem to be unable to move the photos once they're uploaded and it gives me an invalid URL link each time I try to post a link to upload a photo.

    Rock group 1:

    http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6228/6284350823_f2c4c94c4d_b_d.jpg

    While these appear to be three different rock types, they all behaved identically in the following tests. These are all grey in color, have to detectable scent and some have streaks of rose color to them.

    Test 1-The scrape test: None of these rocks could be scratched easily with a knife

    Test 2-Vinegar: None of these rocks reacted or were dissolved in vinegar

    Test 3-Hydrogen Peroxide: None of the rocks reacted with H2O2

    Rock Group 2:

    http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6115/6284351573_6704549e29_b_d.jpg

    These rocks are dark grey-ish and bear resemblance to lava rocks with lots of pores, etc.

    Test 1-The scrape test: Rocks scratched somewhat with a knife

    Test 2-Vinegar: Rock did not react or dissolve in vinegar

    Test 3-Hydrogen Peroxide: Some reaction with H2O2

    Rock Group 3:

    http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6093/6284870384_c5818fec58_b_d.jpg

    I'm most suspicious of these rocks. They are brownish-red and very flat.

    Test 1-The scrape test: Rocks scratched quite easily with a knife and crumbled when scraped against one another

    Test 2-Vinegar: Rocks did not react or dissolve in vinegar

    Test 3-Hydrogen Peroxide: Vigorous bubbling with H2O2

    Rock Group 4:

    http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6100/6284353117_bf802384de_b_d.jpg

    Most rose colored out of all of the rocks. My guess is that they contain some iron.

    Test 1-The scrape test: Rocks could not be scratched easily with a knife

    Test 2-Vinegar: Rocks did not react or dissolve in vinegar

    Test 3-Hydrogen Peroxide: Vigorous bubbling with H2O2

    I am going to remove rocks from group 3 from the tank as it is obvious that they are unstable and could leach into the water column. All of the rocks before I placed them in the tank were scrubbed under hot water and disinfected with hydrogen peroxide.
     
  9. nicewicz

    nicewicz Junior Poster

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  10. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Too Much Thinking Gives Me Brain Hurt

    Hi,


    If you see anything that looks like a problem with the shrimp dose 10-ml of Prime immediately.:gw

    Can you get four of the shrimp out, put two into a jar of aquarium water and two in a jar of tap water, good dose of Prime a little dose of gypsum and and
    [SUP][FONT=&quot]1[/FONT][/SUP][FONT=&quot]⁄[SUB]3[/SUB]as much[/FONT] Epsom salt maybe a dash of ferts, trying to approximate aquarium water.:) Keep the jars well aerated, a stir every few hours should be sufficient.:) Remember these guys are escape artists. Were you to say get a couple of dozen ghost shrimp and divide them into groups...:rolleyes::eek:


    Are you running any activated charcoal in your filter?:confused: Zeolite, Purigen or ChemPure will work as well.



    If not I recommend starting activated charcoal immediately, I meant to put this in the last post.:eek:


    Are you reasonably sure of the 5-dKH?:)


    More later.

    Biollante

     
  11. nicewicz

    nicewicz Junior Poster

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    Good experiments. I won't have time until the weekend to try them, but I will.

    I am not using charcoal, but I will add some. Am fresh out, but will get some in the filter tomorrow night. Shrimp appear to be acting normally tonight, but we'll see what the morning brings...

    If your head hurts, imagine how mine feels...:p
     
  12. nicewicz

    nicewicz Junior Poster

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    Also, I am 100% certain of the 5 dKH. Brand new kH test kit and double-checked the measurement.
     
  13. gsjmia

    gsjmia Lifetime Members
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    For what its worth, I have had the same problem with Red Cherry Shrimp. I even got about 50 ghost shrimp because they were cheaper, and even they died within a week.

    I didn't take notes but I remember having a lot of surface scum while the deaths were going on.

    Trimmed all the plants way back, cleaned the filter once a month (with tank water while doing WC) and did an extra 50% water change (total of two per week). After doing this for about 4 weeks, the shrimp are doing fine and breeding like crazy.

    I feel like there is a connection with shrimp death and surface scum.

    Can't really tell from your picture and don't mean to offend, but it looks like you have some film on the surface-try cleaning filters more often and do an extra water change-see if they stabilize.
     
  14. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Hmmm...


    Hi,

    It would appear that is a saltwater KH test kit.
    :eek:

    Biollante.
     
  15. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    I Like To Know

    Hi,

    Gsjmia’s point is well taken…:cool:


    One of the possibilities is of course ammonia or nitrites, though in this case since there seems to be a lethal toxicity at play,

    • one would think that ammonia levels that were capable of being so acute would manifest in other ways.

    Of the possibilities that have occurred to me is that, indeed a toxic substance(s) was introduced or is being continually reintroduced.

    • Top of the list would be metals,
      • topping the list of metals would be copper, lead or nickel.

    The cyanobacteria are interesting since they are also quite susceptible to metal toxicity.:confused:


    It should be rather easy to prove or disprove a toxin.:)


    • If a toxin it should be easy to demonstrate whether
      • the toxin is within the tank (rocks or screws for instance) or
      • continually reintroduced (water or food supply for example).

    The surface scum, recurring cyanobacteria and invert deaths could be explained by a cycle of damage to the biological filter rendering it incapable of keeping up with the organic waste load, yet not completely knocked out since there are regular water changes and the use of a dechlorinator.:)



    Should it turn out there is no toxin, we can focus on the root cause of the increased dissolved organic compounds.:)


    For the moment the increased dosing of Prime and the use of activated charcoal should offer sufficient remediation

    • in the event the that metals or organic toxic compounds are in play to
      • stop the deaths of the invertebrates, :)
    • strengthening the biological filtration capacity as well.;)

    If there are no toxins or toxic material involved these steps will also help re mediate for dissolved organic compounds.
    ;)



    Along the way we will also have the opportunity to tweak a few aspects of Nicewicz system.:eek::cool:


    Biollante


     
  16. nicewicz

    nicewicz Junior Poster

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    Agreed, gsjmia's point is well taken. The scum is not the problem, per se, but rather a symptom of the problem which could be adequate biological filtration. I do clean out my filter once a month. I have an Eheim Pro 3 2075 which has the four media baskets. Come to think of it, I clean them by running them under tap water. I wonder if doing this kills a some of the bacteria every time I do it. The bacteria die off effects the biological filtration and could be the cause of the surface film and dissolved organics. I probably should be washing the filter media with aquarium water instead, correct?

    The only other thing that I can think of at this moment is that the siphon that I use to clean this tank is also the same one that I use to siphon my saltwater tank. Keep in mind, however, that I am removing water from my freshwater tank first (and hence rinsing it with ~30 gal of freshwater) before I'm adding freshwater back to the tank. If you think this is an issue, I can just purchase a separate siphon for the freshwater tank.

    Yes, I'm really all ears to advice on tweaking my system. There's obviously something that I could do to improve my current routine. This morning I did not see any dead shrimp and saw a couple munching away on algae. Progress, I guess.
     
  17. Biollante

    Biollante Lifetime Charter Member
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    Well Begun Is Half... Something Or Another...

    Hi,

    The shrimp survival is good. :)


    • Is there any indication of the behaviors?

    The addition of Seachem Prime (or just about any dechlorinator) will sequester metals as well as treat nitrite poisoning, so it is a remediation though I would not want to depend it to cure your problems.


    The same thing with the activated charcoal, these are good to give some breathing room, but they are only treating symptoms, not the cause.:gw


    It is good to find out about your filter cleaning.
    Generally


    • “grime is good, clogged is bad.”
    • as long as there is no flow restriction,
      • skipping or delaying cleaning will not hurt, may even help.
    • Do not clean more than half the filter at a time.
      • In your case, ¼ each time would be good.
    • Never clean with anything you would not use in your aquarium.
    • Dechlorinated tap water only
    • many of use the aquarium water we are discarding to rinse the filter material.

    I tend to like separate equipment for each tank, but I seriously doubt the siphon hose is the problem.


    • Though, I have been wrong before.:eek:

    The tweaking and figuring out procedures for keeping the tank is the best part of having a problem…:rolleyes::cool:



    Biollante

     
  18. nicewicz

    nicewicz Junior Poster

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    Bad news-two shrimp died, but the rest seem to be scavenging. Two are eating the few fish pellets that reached the ground, the rest are under the driftwood seemingly stationary at the moment. They look pretty good, but who knows. No one is swimming about the tank. I dosed more Prime again tonight just to be certain.

    I will be certain to adhere to the above advice when I clean my filter the next time. How often do you typically clean your filter? Is it more by feel?

    I do my water changes on Saturdays, so we'll see how things go then.

    I'm frustrated as I feel that I see more organic waste buildup. I just don't understand where it is all coming from... Grrr.
     
  19. gsjmia

    gsjmia Lifetime Members
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    Hi, if you are getting more DOC then it seems to me that some of your plants may be losing ground and dissolving into the water. I got this once when I abruptly cut back on lighting. You could trim back any plants that are struggling or remove all together. You could also do a good trimming on the healthy plants to try to get the dissolved organics reduced in the water.

    When I have this situation, my filter has big chunks of mulm-balls on the ceramics-just make sure you don't have this kind of build-up in your filter, even if cleaned filter in the last 4 or 5 weeks. I was surprised at how fast it builds up.

    I can rinse all 4 canisters and the sponges in my filter with the siphon water from the tank-seems to work good. I clean once a month although your millage may vary depending on tank vs. filter capacity and how clean or dirty your tank is. I know this is not what is recommended but this is what I now do and my shrimp are no longer dying.

    Again not to offend you or be contrary to Biollante's superior experience, but I see a film on the top of your tank-I can tell because the bubbles are floating and are trapped under the film. When my tank is in good shape, the bubbles burst at the surface and don't accumulate.

    All the above gave me a new idea of when my tank was "clean".

    As a stop-gap, try an extra water change mid-week for 4 or 5 weeks and see if that helps. I am so tired of seeing shrimp die, so if I see "foam" accumulate in a corner, I try to get in front of the situation and wipe it out with my finger and will frequently to a 50% water change.

    I read a great article by Claus Christensen in the most recent AGA Journal and he said if you overfeed your shrimp they grow too fast for their shells and they become susceptible to fungal infections. It doesn't seem like this is your problem, but just FYI.

    I also had quite a few lead weights in my gravel from earlier plantings, I ran my fingers through the gravel and removed as many as I could find.

    I live in South Florida and there is an old "shrimp-man" in Ft. Lauderdale, he said that even the smallest copper fitting in the water is enough to kill the shrimp. Copper fittings are not likely used in your tank, but like most houses, I have copper pipes. When I refill my tank I always use the kitchen sink which is used a lot and has a good flow-through. I have a garage sink which is seldom used and I am afraid of that faucet because the water will have been sitting in the pipes and maybe absorbing copper--which is probably why Biollante suggested running the faucet for a while before refilling.

    Maybe like you, I probably had three or four sources of the problem, none of which were probably shrimp-fatal, but together put more stress on them than they could handle. I was looking for a specific cause with no success. If you don't find a smoking gun, try thinking in terms of Tom's "holistic approach".

    Not sure what I did right, but I stumbled on the cure--even so shrimp continued to die for a short while, they must have been sick or weakened by whatever was making them croak. But now I have about 20 berried shrimp running around and they are doing great (by the way, they love algae chips).

    Good luck.
     
  20. mastin

    mastin Junior Poster

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    I just added some shrimp to my panted tank and experienced a die off overnight.
    I took no precautions against copper contamination.
    If one were to run activated charcoal and/or CupriSorb concurrent with an EI regiment including CSM+B would this make any sense?
    Maybe at least for a couple of weeks to bring down any toxic levels of contaminants?
    Are commercially available copper test kits you see in the pet store useful/sensitive/valid?
    thanks David
     
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