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its the stupid things that get ya...

Discussion in 'Inverts' started by toads74, Jul 15, 2013.

  1. toads74

    toads74 Lifetime Member
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    Not really a question, more of a personal experience that may help someone some day...

    I began keeping red cherry shrimp about eight months ago, and after some struggles with water quality over the first couple months i switchex to reverse osmosis. I had several reasons for doing this: very high hardness ( greater than 500ppm GH and 450ppm kh ) a water softener that messed with the I in content that I had to add back resulting in more ppms...and, well, it tastes really bad. to deal with the excessive co2, i have to aerate it anyways in a resevoir to keep the supersaturated water from killing the critters.

    Needless to say it was a challenge starting out with fish several months before then.

    All was well for a while, then i did some silly things like change the substrate, add a few plants, etc. About that time i started loosing shrimp, as well as snails in two other tanks. I beat my brains out trying to figure out what was causing it... Was it the products i switched to to reconstitute the ro water? The substrate? Too big of water changes? Housekeeping practices? Contamination from hand soap?

    My wife suggested i go back to doing things the way i did before i had problems... So i did. And still had problems loosing shrimp after practically every water change.

    Now im the kind of person that wants yo know why things do or dont work, or i would have given up long ago. im a computer engineer and we have a saying that its always the stupid little checkbox that gets you. This seems to be no exception.

    I forgot a little detail... I needed more storage capacity, so I switched the reservoir (a plastic storage bin) to a larger one. It just so happens its a different kind of plastic, and apparently leached out enough of something to cause problems for the invertebrates. People used that kind in hydroponic systems, so I didn't think anything of it. If the fish survive, people should too, eh? Or maybe just don't know enough about it.

    So I switched back to the old clear plastic storage bin, did a 100% water change on each tank, and finally no more empty snail shells or shrimp dying in a blank quarantine tank... Hopefully.

    You can learn a lot by fixing things!

    At least it got rid of those pest snails that were eating my plants. Oh yeah, speaking of plants... I gotta change my hydroponic resivoir too before my tomatoes make me grow two extra heads.... :p
     
  2. dan_lup

    dan_lup Prolific Poster

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    hi there. shrimps are very senzitive to copper. if you have copper pipes, you can forget about shrimps. for instance, even a single nickle in the aquarium can decimate the whole invertebrates (including snails) population.
     
  3. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I have a client with similar issues due to the copper pipes, the copper is low, does not harm the algae, the plants or any fish, but kills the shrimp pretty good.

    Around 0.02ppm Cu.
     
  4. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I have a client with similar issues due to the copper pipes, the copper is low, does not harm the algae, the plants or any fish, but kills the shrimp pretty good.

    Around 0.02ppm Cu.
    Never had any last more than a week.
    Added carbon block prefilter for the tap, still did nothing.

    You can flush the refill water lines BEFORE filling the aquarium if it's copper. Some blats the lines fully open and down the drain for 2-4 minutes, then use the tap.
    I needed a special hose for this to refill and drain off the water lines at the client's so I am just getting around to this.
     
  5. toads74

    toads74 Lifetime Member
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    I thought about copper being an issue. I had a successful colony for several months before this recent crash. I suppose something else could be contributing copper to the system but I'm not sure where. I haven't found a cu test kit sensitive enough to be useful. The basic "home test kit" from the local big box store read 0, but that doesn't mean much. I also flush the water line a few minutes before filtering it in case the softener left some brine in there.

    So far the major string of deaths seems to be over after changing out the reservoir and flushing out the tanks, but I'm still loosing one or two a week or so. Not sure how delayed the toxic affects are or if it would cause long term damage, but I'm down to the last half dozen that lived through the whole ordeal...so far. Had probably 75 or better before. Not sure if I should write these off and get some more yet or not. I might just toss in a dozen or two ghost shrimp (10 cents each around here) first to see if the issue is solved or not. The gourami's like them too, so no biggie.

    I'm open to any and all ideas. :) sometimes just have to go back and think about the basics.
     
  6. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I have a pretty decent copper test method and spect.

    You should try to add some and flush the liens for 2-4 minutes or so 1st.
    Then use the water. Copper pipes are commonly used. They often get a decent scale on the inside that protects, but if the water is sitting there for a day or two, then you blast that water that's in contact and heated, with the tank........well, that's a slug dose of Cu++.
    So a Copper remover etc, is not really need, you just need to flush the house lines.
    Then...do the water change.
     
  7. Tom Barr

    Tom Barr Founder
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    I have a pretty decent copper test method and spect.

    You should try to add some and flush the liens for 2-4 minutes or so 1st.
    Then use the water. Copper pipes are commonly used. They often get a decent scale on the inside that protects, but if the water is sitting there for a day or two, then you blast that water that's in contact and heated, with the tank........well, that's a slug dose of Cu++.
    So a Copper remover etc, is not really need, you just need to flush the house lines.
    Then...do the water change.
     
  8. ShadowMac

    ShadowMac Lifetime Members
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    What type of plastic was the "bad" reservoir? What is a good one?

    I'm looking at adding a storage tank in my work room to store water change water for practical reasons and would like to avoid making a similar mistake. No copper to worry about, but want to avoid any leaching.

    I had read something like this on a reef forum while perusing it looking for RO water storage and setup ideas.
     
  9. toads74

    toads74 Lifetime Member
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    The "good" reservoir is polypropylene. look for the recycle symbol. It is a triangle of arrows with a number inside and maybe a couple letters underneath. That tells you what kind of plastic it is. From what I've read, #2 is best, but 1, 4, and 5 are fine. This does not mean they are "food safe", just the type of plastic. It is possible they can use unsafe mold release agents and such in their manufacture, or were previously used for something else, so use caution. So my reservoir is 5, polypropylene, and my buckets are 2, HDPE. The bad one didn't have the symbol on it so I suspect it was recycled material or something else.
     
  10. toads74

    toads74 Lifetime Member
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    Thanks Tom.

    I'm going to run a couple tests with some mason jars and a few ghost shrimp in each, using a couple different gh boosters:

    All in clean glass jars, mixes are per 2 gallons with no other additives, using a bucket that I know was never used with the bad reservoir.

    1- kent ro right 1/2 tsp & seachem alkaline buffer 1/2 tsp & ro water

    2- seachem equilibrium 1/2tsp & seachem alkaline buffer 1/2tsp & ro water

    3- kent ro right 1/2 tsp & softened tap water. Expecting TDS to be around 800ppm or so.

    This should eliminate any pre-existing contamination and give an indication if its the water source or not. Also going to run the tap for a while beforehand before filtering, etc.

    These mixes are roughly what I've used before when things were going fine and breeding, except 3, which they lived but wouldn't reproduce. I'm curious to see which wins.
     
  11. toads74

    toads74 Lifetime Member
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    At the risk of putting a hex on myself....

    I ran a few of those tests and came up with some interesting results that shed some light on my problem.

    Here's the basic results using a couple dozen ghost shrimp:

    test 1 - 10g tank that was exposed to the contaminants, r/o water + Equillibrium: Endler's fine, shrimp all dead within 3 days
    test 2 - clean jar, r/o water & equillibrium, all shrimp dead in about a week
    test 3 - clean jar, tap water & kent, all shrimp survive (previous experience showed that rcs won't breed in this though)
    test 4 - clean jar, r/o water & kent, all survive
    test 5 - 10g tank that was exposed to the contaminants, r/o water & kent, (flushed several times): 50% loss

    So, considering the results, i think i have some non-scientific conclusions to make:

    - the contaminant stayed around even after the source was removed, most likely sticking to *everything*.
    - my jar of equilibrium is toast. Maybe just not mixed well enough, i'm messing up the dosage, or something. i used it before without problem, so i'm not going to say the product is bad or anything like that.
    - seachem's alkaline buffer was used in all these, so that's probably not the issue
    - my tap water stinks. managed to extract some from the well tank before the water softener. Yellow limestone soup, half of which settled on the bottom of the jar within a day.... hurray for water softeners!

    So in light of that:

    test 6 - new 10g tank, filter, substrate, and mixing bucket, r/o & baking soda & diy gh booster (3:3:1) & ferts : started up a month ago, lost 1 berried rcs, all others fine. Doubled the calcium (now ~550 tds total) so we'll see how it goes from here.
     
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