Originally Posted by sandybottom
They do turn milky when they are getting ready to molt. If they are dying soon after, it could be a number of things. The first to come to mind is quality/genetics.The other thing that may be happening, is a possible nutritional deficiency. Calcium and iodine are the most common and both can have an impact on the molting process. Other than that the only other thing that comes to mind is water parameters and % of water changed at a time. Knowing you, that should not be the problem.
It's not so much milky as they get solid white and then die. They don't molt before they do either. I had one I popped into a net when it was having issues, turned white and wasn't moving much...it turned blue when it died. Never shed. Perhaps they are having trouble actually getting it off and that's what's killing them?
As for genetics, I have no idea, they were purchased at petco and petsmart. I could get them at Neptunes, but they have MANY as feeders and probably have worse genetics than the ones at petco and petsmart who only get in a few at a time and sell them for more(they sell them as pets and not feeders, so I assume they're at least a little better bred). They usually have about five hundred in a twenty gallon tank. I do not want to get feeder there. They usually have well cared for animals, but as most shops do, they don't seem to care about feeders....which is very stupid of them, obviously, since they risk killing other peoples fish/turtles/whatever they feed them to. lol
Calcium...I have cuttlebones in there and try to feed them a good diet. About once a week I put in a little mysis shrimp hoping they'll get some more calcium from them. I've had less problems since I started doing that, with both them and snails who were also having some issues, and recently put in a new chunk of cuttlebone. So far any newborns or ones that have been there less than two months seem to be doing epic. But over time I assume there'll be issues. I don't think my water is hard enough for shelled creatures. x.x It's only 10-11 DGH. PH is 7.2, and unfortunately I don't have a tester for KH, Hardness I got from my water company, same reason. Ammonia and nitrates/nitrites are all usually stable at zero.
For the most part I feed them Veggie flakes and Hikari or Omega One Algae Wafers, also put in Emerald Entree for my fish fry and they enjoy the greens often. Once a week it's mysis or brine shrimp, usually mysis since they seem to have better shells...