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Discussion Starter #1
I'm SO frustrated. Every time I think I've figured out what the problem is, they start dying again. I have a batch of shrimplets (about 10-14 days old) that seem to be doing fine, but the larger/older shrimp are the ones I'm losing.

I realized a while back that my tap water has nitrates in it and that the tank water was therefore pretty high in nitrates. I started doing RO water changes and that seemed to help, but then this past week, the shrimp have started dying again. 1-2 a day it seems. I'll be out of shrimp soon.

I'm just stumped. I've periods of great success with them, then the die offs start all over. I took several of the larger shrimp out and transferred them to the 16g tank right next to the one they're in now and those shrimp are doing great. Two of them are berried and the other three males look pretty happy. I don't feed those shrimp at all, they just forage for whatever the fish and snails don't eat or what they find on the plants and moss.

I've tried skipping feeding days with the shrimp in the main tank, thinking I was over feeding them and that had no effect - actually it might have made the die off worse. I added a feeding dish, which really seemed to help, but then again, after a while, the die offs started up again.

There's no ammonia, no nitrites, Gh/pH/KH are all in line with what works for RCS. I'm going to do another RO water change today since the nitrates are still hovering in the 20-30 range.

Could it just be the nitrates? I'm really struggling to figure this out. Tank is planted and has eco complete substrate.
 

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I wish I had something to tell you. Diagnosing problems with inverts is very difficult. Hopefully someone with more shrimp experience can point you in the right direction. These are the cherry shrimp?
 
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Discussion Starter #3
Yes, sorry, cherry shrimp.

I just did another 50/45% water change with RO water to bring the nitrates down some more. I did one yesterday too. Both days, the water changes were followed immediately by at least one shrimp molting. Not sure that means anything.
 

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Okay. So how would you compare your shrimp losses before and after using RO for water changes?
 

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I think high phosphates can cause problems with RCS. Try grabbing a test for that. Also a guess here but maybe the Eco complete itself could be an issue. Shrimp are so darn sensitive. How long has that tank been running?


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Discussion Starter #6
Jaysee - I just started doing the RO only water changes yesterday. I had one dead this morning. Before that I typically mixed in a little RO water (we have an RO tap at our sink) but never anything measured.

Agent13 - This tank has been set up for at least five months. Before setting up the tank, I put the sponges from the filter into one of my other tanks to seed the media and also transferred some plants into this tank to help cycle it.

The first couple of months I had no issues with shrimp deaths. In fact, I had quite the population explosion. But these last two months have been a very different story. Sad thing is, nothing's really changed making it extremely difficult to pinpoint the issue.
 

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Well that is a bit of a mystery. I forgot to ask what percent WC are u doing ? They prefer much smaller WCs then fish. Like 15-20%. Do u see more deaths the day after WCs?


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Discussion Starter #8
Agent13 - I just ordered a phosphate test kit. It'll be here Saturday.

I haven't noticed any more deaths after a water change than any other time. Put it this way, I only had one this morning after yesterday's WC. Yesterday morning, without a WC I had two.
 

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I don't mean like before or after a water change - I mean before and after you started using RO water instead of tap water for the changes.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Jaysee, I've always used some RO water in my water changes, so that's been happening from day one. I just started using solely RO water yesterday in an effort to combat my nitrates, so two days isn't really enough to answer you on that. Are you think somethings up with the RO water?

Should add I also have some Indian Almond leaves in there. I started adding those about a month ago in another attempt at stopping the deaths.
 

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I don't know anything about leaves. And not too much about RO water, but I do know that RO water is stripped of everything, including minerals. Perhaps there's something that they are missing that is taking a toll on them. Are you dosing with a supplement to replenish those things?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm not adding anything. Suggestions?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Bought it, thanks!
 

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hopefully that's the problem.
 

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Hmm... It seems your shrimp might be getting a double whammy with the higher nitrates and the lack of minerals in the water. Hard minerals are even more essential to shrimp than they are to fish because it's those minerals that they use to build their exoskeletons with. I'd go with 100% remineralized RO from now on. It will cut your nitrate problem as well as make sure the shrimp get just what they need (it will also eliminate any other issues with your tap like phosphates). Since that is what most people use for crystal red shrimps and the more sensitive neocaridina breeds, some online stores will actually sell shrimp clay that contains all the minerals they need. Kent's RO should work, too. I use Seachem Equilibrium and that also seems to work.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thank you. The Kents will be here Saturday. Hopefully I'll still have some shrimp by then. I did throw a calcium tab in there today.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I feel like such an idiot for not realizing RO water had to have something added to it. As of this post, I've had 6 more dead. It's horrible.

I went to Petco this morning, really my only option, but they didn't have any Kent's (actually the guy told me in his 6 years of working there, he'd never heard of it.) I bought some NovAqua Plus Water Conditioner, which seemed to be the closest thing available. I'm grasping at straws, I know.

One question - am I going to also have to add some kind of pH buffer too? Would it be easier for me to go back to tap water and just try to deal with the nitrates? I love my shrimp and actually enjoy them more than my fish. I'd hate to have to give up keeping them.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Three more dead. I kinda freaked out and did another water change, this time with conditioned tap water. I figured screw it, the higher nitrates weren't killing them off this fast.

Haven't had a death since. I may forego the RO water altogether and just find a way to deal with the nitrates. That's starting to seem easier.
 

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Nitrates aren't such a big deal IMO&E. Some people make a big deal about them though...
 
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