Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Sir Chauncy 10-24-2010 02:31 PM

Paralysis in Cherry Shirmps
Hey chaps and chapettes, just one time I'd like to post here when it wasn't a crisis... I didn't know if I should put this in fish diseases, fresh water aquarium fish or in the plants forum, so feel free to change it as needed.

Today I changed the water in my fish tank. This is normal, I've been doing it every week for the last 3 months in this house and everything has been identical. It's a 30% - 50% change. The water stands for a day or two, interpet water safe is added, the water in the tank is emptied into another bucket, the filter is cleaned in this water, then the new water is added to the tank to fill it back up. I add some flora boost from Interpet as well as a fertilizer at the same time.

Today the only difference was that I added 6 penguin tetras and two india ferns. I have come back to find that at least two of the four cherry shirmps I have seem to be suffering. One is kind of twitching, it's back is arched the wrong way and although it's still alive, it seems to be falling off whatever it lands on, it lies on its side for a few moments rights itself and swims to a sheltered spot and falls over. The process then starts again- almost as if it were drunk. Another is lying upside down in the other corner of the tank, it doesn't seem to have any legs. However from the funny angle it's at it might have them curled up, it could also just be a shrimp shell that's been molted, I've never seen one before.

What is wrong? Do shrimps act funny before they molt? Is it the new plants, or fish? I did see that some plant foods have trace elements of copper in them, the interpet one doesn't show what it has in it, is it possible that I have been slowly poisoning my shrimp when I feed the plants?

I just wish I knew what was up.



Sir Chauncy 10-24-2010 02:57 PM

Incredibly on posting this, a link for related threads came up - it led me to a sub forum of this very website that I didn't even know existed - A general guide for shrimp keeping. It actually says in the second paragraph how sensitive shrimp are to copper that they will die even if you fertilize the tank.

I swear how did they surive before? Why did they suffer this time :(

I couldn't edit the post because 20 minutes had gone by.

Angel079 10-25-2010 11:01 AM

Hello Chauncy,
thanks for the PM, for general reference I'll just answer in here.

1) I'll begin to say I do not know the fert you're using there. I'd begin by researching its ingredients online, you got to figure out what's in there!
While it may have been safe in the past, let's say you used 1ml on a 30g tank and now but any chance you used 2ml by accident (which is soooo minimal you may not notice) this can in fact be enough to tip the shrimp over the edge.
So find out what's in that stuff before you use again.

2) Test your NO's and Ammonia with a quality drop test and let me know what the results are?

3) Thou you let your water sit 24hrs and add water conditioner, this may not mean that your water company changed something that can be harmful to the shrimp as well. I had found Prime working the best for shrimp tanks.

4) No this extreme behavior has nothing to do with molting, in that stage they hide more, are shy, but not acting 'drugged up'. I'd not be surprised if you can back with a answer here that incl the report of dead shrimp by now.

5) In fact you have to be very careful adding new plants from the stored to tanks with shrimp. Often to produce great looking lush green plants many plant farms overdose with ferts to the extreme which then bringing the plant home leaches into your water unless you soak the plants 48hrs in a external water bucket before adding to a tank.

6) Was there any changes in food? Anything else that may have changed that got added to the tank?

Sir Chauncy 10-26-2010 04:43 AM

Thanks for the response chap, it's much appreciated.

1) The fertilizer is interpet flora boost. I spoke with Byron about this a few weeks back and neither he nor I could find any ingredients posted anywhere. It's not on the label, the box or the bottle, it's not even on the internet. I was changing to Seachem flourish on the back of this lack of information.

2) Irritatingly I don't have a drop test kit yet, all I have are useless strips and the results are so varied that they may as well be made up.

3) Prime water conditioner? Is that a brand or a brand within a brand? I'll keep an eye out for it next time I'm at the local fishy shop.

4) You are right about the shrimps :( So far the two that were worrying me have died. I have not seen the other two although that's not unusual, there are far too many places for them to hide to expect to see them if they don't want to be found.

5) I didn't know that about shop plants either. I really am going to have to be a lot more gentle adding plants in. I previously only gave them the once over for snail eggs.

6) Food stayed idential. It's what made it so very odd. I have been adding the interpet flora boost for the ast few months now, ever since I got the shrimp and they've been fine. Showing typical shrimpy behaviour and scootling about nibbling on stuff. It's right out of the blue this happened. I changed the water as normal, fertilized as normal and fed as normal. From what you've said though, it could be the new plants or the old fert overdosed by such a small margin I wouldn't even notice it.

Ah well. It's a learning curve. From this I've found that I am not yet ready to keep shrimps. It makes me sad because they wree the things I was most pleased with in the tank. I may have to get a shrimp tank specially for them ^^

How do you keep the plats alive in your own shrimp tanks without fertilizers? Do you have special plants or light or something?



Redknee 10-26-2010 05:36 AM

You can use ferts in the tank just be careful about copper. I use ferropol and ferropol 24 + easylife easycarbo and i never had any problems with them. It's a heavy planted 35G tank.
Plants are in perfect condition same as the shrimps.
Just read the instructions with care and do not overdose.

Angel079 10-26-2010 08:52 AM

I'd be SUPER careful to use anything in a shrimp tank of which you do not know its ingredients. Was this me, I'd keep this particular fert for my fish-only tanks and either not fertilize the shrimp tank or buy Flourish for it, I'd rather play safe then sorry :-)
If you chose to keep on fertilizing that shrimp tank, I'd strongly suggest to stop by any given pharmacy around you or Vet etc and ask them if you can have a 3cc syringe, eg of the Flourish you'd use 1cc per 10g that way you can dose it very accurately for the shrimp (better for the shrimp and you don't waste any extra fert neither) 1cc = 1ml ;-) Or if you're in TN I can give you some :-D

Yea forget the strips they're so inaccurate that by the time you'd get a NO or Ammonia reading there, you will have noticed that it rose in your tank cause your shrimp are dead. See if you can safe up some $ and get a API kit those are real good and last forever (or you can inexpensively order a Tetra test kit off of Walmart online)

This is Prime

I'm sorry to hear about the shrimp, thou as I said I had kinda expected that.

Yes your best bet when buying plants from the store not private (eg mine that I sell have never seen fertilizers period). When you buy them soak them in a bucket of dechlorinated water for 1-2 days.

It can really be a "mixture" of causes that come to play here. Was it me, I'd ensure the following
  • Monitor your Temp in the tank closely (yes they also don't like wide ranges of Temps)
  • Don't use the mystery fert any more - Switch to Flourish (that's the "safe" one I know)
  • Keep up weekly w/c with dechlorinated water 1x week about 30% of the tank volume (again proper Temp!)
  • Leave your filter alone unless so clogged it does not work (to establish enough good bacteria)
  • Keep feeding them but don't overfeed
  • For the time being I'd personally not add anything to the tank, no decor, no plants nadda

Non of my tanks get fertilizer, I recently started adding some Flourish to my 10 shrimp farm but that has different issues entirely :-D
Here you can see all my tanks and with the proper balance of lights/ light spectrum and fish (co2) that's what my plants look like and I am happy, my plants thrive well enough to sell regularly so I think that's also a good sign
If you click on the individual tanks you'll see more detail pictures of all tanks,

Redknee 10-26-2010 10:23 AM

Angel has very good points here. Nobody should use ferts that have no ingredient list on them. Also dosing should be done with care.
What i can assure you of is that easylife easycarbo will never damage shrimp as long as you do not overdose like mad. I use 5ml in my tank/day(that's double the recomended dose) and have been doing this for months and i have never seen any trouble. They breed and eat like rabbits. The other day i even managed to face slap a shrimp with easycarbo when i poured it in my tank, not intentionaly, the shrimp just got in the way and even tho he basicly found himself in a "cloud" of easycarbo he just swimed away like nothing hapened. Watched it for a bit he was still fine.
Ferropol and ferropol 24 are also safe IMO, been using them to for months and nothing bad hapened. But i use those within the recomended dosage.
I also have a few friends that keep shrimp and they use the same stuff as i do and they to never had any problems with the shrimp. A LFS here breeds crystal red shrimp(and those are notoriuos for being hard to keep) still they use what i use with 0 problems.
Just read the instructions and you will be fine.

chrisfraser05 10-26-2010 10:45 AM

I'd be surprised if ferts have anything to do with it to be honest.

If I were a betting man, and this is from experiance, I'd put money in the plants having been in a tank that was treated for snails.

Most, if not all chemical solutions for snails contain copper :(

redchigh 10-26-2010 11:35 AM

That's true-

LFS do all kinds of stupid stuff like that.

chrisfraser05 10-26-2010 12:20 PM


Originally Posted by redchigh (Post 500350)
That's true-

LFS do all kinds of stupid stuff like that.

Some just don't know better (not sure what that says about them really).

Some are so focused on the quality of their fish and are so specialised that they know little about plants and or inverts.

I actually brought it to the attention of an LFS of mine that this was possibly an issue with some of their tanks. I was wanting plants but obviously asked about treatments due to me having shrimp.

They had no idea about the copper in the meds!!!

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