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FAQs on Freshwater Shrimp Health

Related Articles: Freshwater CrustaceansInvertebrates for Freshwater Aquariums by Neale Monks, Forget Crawfish Pie, Let's Make a Crawfish Tank! By Gage Harford

Related FAQs:  FW Shrimp 1, FW Shrimp 2,& FAQs on: FW Shrimp Identification, FW Shrimp Behavior, FW Shrimp Compatibility, FW Shrimp Selection, FW Shrimp Systems, FW Shrimp Feeding, FW Shrimp Reproduction, & Shrimp by Family, Genus, Species: Atyids: Genera Caridina & Neocaridina (Japanese Marsh, Yamato Numa Ebi, or Amano Shrimp, Bumble/Bee, Crystal), Genus Atyopsis (Bamboo, Wood Shrimps), Genera Attya, Atya, Atyoida (Mountain, Rock Shrimps), Freshwater/Brackish/Marine Palaemonidae Rafinesque, 1815 & FAQs on: Palaemonetes (Ghost/Grass/Glass Shrimp), Macrobrachium (Blue "Lobsters), & FW Crustaceans 1FW Crustaceans 2, FW Crustaceans 3, FW Crustaceans 4, & & FAQs on: FW Crustacean Identification, FW Crustacean Behavior, FW Crustacean Compatibility, FW Crustacean Selection, FW Crustacean Systems, FW Crustacean Feeding, FW Crustacean Disease, FW Crustacean Reproduction & Terrestrial Hermit Crabs, Hermit ID, Hermit Behavior, Hermit Compatibility, Hermit Selection, Hermit Systems, Hermit Feeding, Hermit Reproduction, Hermit Disease/Health, & Crayfish FAQs, Crayfish 2, Crayfish ID, Crayfish Behavior, Crayfish Compatibility, Crayfish Selection, Crayfish Systems, Crayfish Feeding, Crayfish Disease, Crayfish Reproduction

Take care to not expose your shrimp to fish medicines or other nostrums... to prepare and store new water for changes that is free of sanitizer and similar in water quality to the main display.

Please help. Wood shrimp med. poisoned         8/24/16
Please help me i have a wood shrimp in my tank along with other fish the glow fish had ich i used ick away with the wood shrimp in the tank during medication for three days but used only half the dose which was three drops in a ten gallon tank today i saw the shrimp upside down not moving along the bottom on the rocks its still a little alive we moved the wood shrimp into a separate place with new water and a air pump and a hiding rock its still alive but wont move much sitting on the rock cave hands are black and tucked in is it gonna make it and live and is there anything i can do for it please help asap thanks
<Just keep it under propitious conditions. Bob Fenner>

Red cherry shrimp population dwindling    8/28/13
Hello crew,
I'm new to the hobby and hooked, your website has been very helpful.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
I have a 10 gallon aquarium set up for my daughter, with six white cloud minnows, all seemingly happy and healthy, and started with five red cherry shrimp, now down to two.
<I see.>
Tank has been up about 3 months now, Ph7, gH4, kH3, ammonia, nitrites and nitrates all at 0 according to API tests. 2 gallon changes every week, using ro water from my home system, SeaChem neutral regulator and following with fresh trace a day after the change to avoid precipitation. There is one mat of java moss, otherwise unplanted (but lots of silk and plastic
plants and a ceramic hiding place for the shrimp). Tank is unheated,  Temperature fluctuates between about 74 and 79F daily, I'm in San Diego CA and its the middle of summer, I'll be letting the temp fall to 70 in the winter (I have a tank heater ready to go, we rarely use heat or AC here).
It used to get over 80F but I went to LED's and an egg crate top. From the research I've done, these numbers actually seem to be more favorable for the shrimp then the fish, yet I've had a slow die off of 3 shrimp, each one dying a week to 10 days apart, the most recent today.
<Have you used any fish medicines? These are often lethal to shrimps. Have you checked your tap water for copper? Failing that, make sure your water conditioner removes copper, just to be on the safe size. Copper is toxic to shrimps (well, it's toxic to fish too, but shrimps are more sensitive).>
I've noticed nothing unusual about the shrimp. They do tend to hide a lot, but would always make appearances, mainly foraging in the Java Moss. I feed them sparingly, have used boiled carrots and kale and Hikari shrimp cuisine. They never seemed too interested in eating, one or 2 would be on the carrots when they were put in, no interest in boiled kale, don't seem
to sense Hikari food unless I drop it right in front of a shrimp. The fish scoop the rest up of the Hikari before the rest of the shrimp eat.
<Try Hikari algae wafers; mine love them. Also don't feel afraid to experiment. My Cherry Shrimp and Ricefish aquarium lives in the kitchen, and I'll try little bits of all sorts of things; among the things the shrimps have gone for are avocado, hard boiled egg yolk, cooked clams and mussels, raw as well as cooked fish fillet, even tiny bits of ham! Stuff that's soft and easily picked apart is ideal; if you can buy whole cocktail shrimp, eat the tails yourself and throw some of the rest in the tank -- my
Cherry Shrimps go bananas for the inside of cooked shrimp heads!>
The first shrimp was found dead in the middle of the tank right on the substrate, the last two actually were in the java moss, all were motionless but intact, not more than a few hours dead.
<Oh dear.>
Is there a chance that I am starving them?
<Possible in a new tank. Cherry Shrimps are extremely opportunistic though and will pick apart pretty much anything, not just algae.>
I doubt I am overfeeding, I feed the fish New life Spectrum pellets and flakes, Almost nothing gets to the bottom other than a few flakes from time to time. Is it just the unpredictability of invertebrates?
<Possibly, but Cherry Shrimps are like cockroaches in the right tank.
Basically they want a mature aquarium with lots and lots of plants, gentle water current, and lots of the right sort of food. Water chemistry isn't crucial so long as it isn't too soft and acidic (hard water is probably ideal) and the temperature should be middling, i.e., room temperature or slightly higher (around 22 C/72 F is ideal).>
Now that it's more than half of them dead I'm having doubts. Any advice is appreciated, and thanks very much for your awesome website!
<If you lived local, I'd let you have a few of mine. Meantime, review the aquarium and feeding, and if you want, have another go. Do try and get a fair number, at least 6, as these animals are gregarious and may well pine away if kept in too small a group.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Red cherry shrimp population dwindling    8/28/13

<PS. Just noticed you're using RO water. Probably best not to. A mix 50/50 with hard tap water is ideal for Cherry Shrimps. Aim for a general hardness around 10-15 degrees dH, pH 7.5. While they may tolerate softer water, they do need at least some calcium in the water to properly manufacture their shell. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Red cherry shrimp population dwindling    8/28/13

Thank you, Neale.
The feeding strategies are appreciated.
I will work on a strategy to raise GH. In the documentation I've read, 3° of GH was acceptable for both the minnows and shrimp, and my tank is between 3-4, it makes sense that it's not ideal for shrimp though.
<I think so.>
The reason I use RO water is, our tapwater registers at one part per million of ammonia out of the tap (API test) as I believe San Diego uses chloramine in it's water.
<A good water condition should deal with the ammonia and chloramine.>
The RO water still has traces of ammonia , but with SeaChem Prime I'm assuming it takes care of it, and I also assume the bio filter is effective as the aquarium registers zero every time I check, a couple times a week now.  Prime also claims to fix heavy metals, so I assume copper is not an issue. Haven't tested though, so thanks for that suggestion. Perhaps I will try the 50/50 ro to tap ratio, unless you think the 1ppm out I the tap is too much to overcome. 
<A good water conditioner should neutralise this.>
Im sure the shrimp would appreciate more plants, but they seem to like hiding in the fake ones, and I am not willing to open the CO2 can of worms yet, so I don't think the heavily planted tank is in the near future :)
<Oh, I don't bother with CO2! Stuff the tank with Java Moss and Anubias, and let nature take its course. My kitchen tank is literally a 10-gallon vat of Java Moss, and so far as I can tell, there's hundreds of Cherry Shrimps crawling through the stuff.>
Not trying to sound like a SeaChem ad, but I use their neutral regulator, which has kept the tank at a constant 7.0 pH per my tests. The problem is, if I raise calcium with an additive, the phosphate buffer precipitates it out. Is that even a problem?
<I don't personally recommend adjusting pH directly. Much better to let animals adapt to the ambient pH of your tap water. If you have liquid rock like my tap water, then a 50/50 mix with RO or rainwater will result in something around 10 degrees dH, pH 7.5 or so.>
Will the calcium still raise the GH out of solution?
<Calcium carbonate will raise both general and carbonate hardness, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing.>
Should I try another buffering system?
<I would not.>
I'd rather not, as this has worked to the letter, and the fish are vivacious.
<Little steps. Make small changes. Maybe changing 10, 20% each weekend. See how the fish react.>
Could this be as simple as throwing in some calcium substrate or coral?
<Is an option, but unpredictable. How much is needed? How long will it last before it stops reacting? Difficult to say.>
Thanks again for your help, any further input on raising my GH is appreciated.
<Ah, would direct you here first:
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Red cherry shrimp population dwindling    8/28/13

Thanks again.  Last question: Your vote on quarantining more shrimp when I'm ready to add them to the community (lots of debate on that, I'd certainly do it for any fish, is it necessary for inverts? I purchase everything from the same shop)?
<Quarantining is always a good idea. But shrimps carry few diseases that can affect fish; the only serious threat I can think of is Whitespot, and even then, only in the sense that any wet object can carry Whitespot from one tank to another -- the shrimps themselves cannot be infected by the parasites. Just be prepared to treat for Whitespot if necessary using the salt/heat method that's harmless to fish and shrimps.>
The above mentioned is a great article, I read it a few months ago when I was planning the tank, looks like the Pearson square will help me sort this out. Thank you!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Ich with shrimp and Kuhli loaches      11/28/12
I would really appreciate some advice on how to best go about treating Ich in my 55 gallon freshwater planted tank (parameters being nitrite at 0ppm, nitrate under 20ppm, pH around 7. I got some new fish about a week ago, and they all seemed healthy. Today I noticed that my new Madagascar Rainbowfish, and my old ones (there's 9) have Ich, but it only seems to be affecting them for the time being. I'm worried about one of the Rainbowfish in particular because he has more white specks than the others. More like 10 or 12 whereas the others have more like 4-5. So far I've done a 25-30% water change, and right now I'm trying to figure out the best way to go. I have 5 bamboo shrimp, 5 Kuhli loaches, and 8 Nerite snails that I don't want to lose. I don't want to use anything harsh for medicating if I don't have to, and I was looking into the salt and heat method, but I don't know that the bamboo shrimp would do well with the heat. I am not opposed to taking my plants out if need be, but of course it would be easier if I had some method to use that is safe for snails, shrimp, Kuhlis, and plants. I think the salt would be okay for everybody else, but I'll go ahead and make sure with you guys. My stocking has Otocinclus catfish, a Bristlenose Pleco, Kuhli loaches, neon Rainbowfish, harlequin Rasboras, ghost catfish, a dwarf gourami, gardneri killifish, zebra danios, Madagascar Rainbowfish, and bamboo flower shrimp.
Also, one of my ghost catfish kinda has a light gray somewhat cloudy looking upper lip and instead of facing his whiskers forward, they're kind of out and down. I'm not sure what that is, but I hope you can take a guess at it.
Your advice is greatly appreciated.
<Mmm, well; the best process would be to remove the fishes to another system and treat there, but if it were me/mine, I might try simply raising the temperature (but not adding salt/s) here. Read:
and the linked files above. All you list should tolerate 86 F., I'd increase aeration if practical. Bob Fenner>

Weird cherry shrimp illness? – 6/6/12
Hi, my name is Jenny, and I had received 13 or so cherry shrimp as a little birthday present about a month ago (along with three unneeded baby apple snails, but I guess they could be good company.)   Now first, I must say, I LOVE your website!  Your crew had really helped me get through the problems I previously had with my fish, and I am very grateful (along with my fishes :] )  that you have this website running!
<And thanks for the kind words.>
Now, if you can help me with this question, it would be great!  Ever since I got the shrimps, I have been keeping very good care of them in a 1-1.5 gallon tank, which is all I had considering that my other tank had a 2.5 inch-tall angel and some voracious guppies dwelling in it.  I changed the water every two to three days, tried to keep the filter clean as best as I could, and carefully vacuumed the gravel (being sure I didn't sweep up the babies, [my goodness, they're so small!])
I am feeding them algae pellets right now. I do not really have any foods high in calcium for them, but I will try to find something.
<They're actually not that fussy. They'll eat almost anything. I have an 8-gallon tank in the kitchen, and I dump all sorts of bits of uneaten food in there: cucumber ends, wilted lettuce leaves, overcooked sweet potato, sushi Nori trimmings, and small slivers of fish or shellfish. On top of that they eat the algae that grows in the tank and pinches of flake food every few days. These animals are very undemanding and in the right tank breed at a tremendous rate.>
They all seemed healthy.  They molt regularly, and they are just as voracious for food as my angel and guppies! I knew I couldn't leave them in there forever, so once I got my Cory into a different tank, I started cleaning out and re-setting up a 10 gallon for them.  I'm planning on using the same 6.6 gallon filter in the shrimp tank right now, and pouring the water from the 1.5 gallon into the 10 gallon, just adding half a gallon of new water every day until I get it completely full.
<Fair enough.>
Now, I noticed two of my biggest/oldest juvenile cherry shrimp are starting to turn a milky white.  It started with one of them, and where the saddle was supposed to be, it just started to turn white.  It spread all the way down its tail, and its eyes also clouded over.  This just happened to the second-oldest juvenile, too.  I looked this up, and another person had the exact same thing happen, only their shrimp died two days later.  They've been like this almost a week now.  I do not know the ammonia levels, but they are not high, I can guarantee it.
<Do bear in mind adult males are semi-transparent, varying from off-white to pink, with only a few darker red markings. Only the females are genuinely cherry red, and their colours vary a bit as well, with a nose-to-tail band along the top coming or going, supposedly depending on their reproductive state.>
The Nitrate is 20 ppm, nitrite 0, pH is somewhere between 7.2 and 7.6 (dang, the test strips are hard to read...) Temperature fluctuates between 72 and 80 degrees, but not too drastically.  May increase/decrease a degree every hour or two.
<All fine. Cherry Shrimps actually prefer subtropical conditions, and in summer you may as well leave the heater off. Have the heater set for about 18 C/68 F to keep the chill off in winter, but otherwise these shrimps will be happier a little cooler than your tropical fish.>
I believe that what may be causing this is a calcium deficiency, but all of my adult shrimps, including the biggest, "Big Mama" are doing fine!  I would have expected it to be her instead that is getting this white color. 
Today, I just checked on the shrimp and I saw a white molted shell, but I only saw one of the white shrimps.  Maybe it was something that happened before molting?  Maybe it's just coincidence?  I'm not sure...
If you want, I could send a picture of one of them.
<Feel free. Try and keep the image down to about 500 KB though.>
I would be very glad if you could inform me on what may be happening to my shrimp!
Thank you for your time,
<Hope this helps, Neale.>
Re: Weird cherry shrimp illness?  6/7/2012

Thanks for the reply.
<Ahh, Neale has gone out till Sat.. I'll see that he sees this>
 I guess I'll try to keep the temperature a little lower.  Maybe the high temperature could be contributing to the problem..?
Not sure if it's contagious or not, but I can only seem to see one shrimp with the white coloring.  The other shrimp could have gotten better, hopefully.
I could not find the connection cord for my camera, and the SD slot does not work on my computer, so I could not get a picture.
I don't think it's the shrimps' exoskeleton that is changing color, like how a cherry shrimp can turn white.  It seems to be inside the shrimps' bodies, like they both have eggs, except they don't look like eggs  (also impossible because they had never developed saddles, and they cannot be pregnant because I have no males)  It's kind of hard to describe, but it looks as how the saddle looks under a female shrimp's exoskeleton, except it's so much bigger and extends farther down the back of the shrimp. Like someone filled the shrimp with milk or something, making the shrimp look a cloudy off-white color.
If you have ever seen a dead ghost shrimp, how it turns a pink-ish white color, it looks just like that, only it's just in the back of the shrimp instead of the whole body.
I'll see if the temperature is affecting it by cooling it down to 70-72. I actually do not have a heater, so I use a small fan to cool down the water temperature; does it very gradually, so no stress on the inhabitants of the tank.
In the meantime, I've already put them all in the 10 gallon, so I need to work on getting the water level to 10 gallons instead of leaving it at 2.
Again, thank you for the reply, and I hope the description above will help determine what this strange condition is!
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: Weird cherry shrimp illness? Attn.: Neale    6/10/12
Thank you for informing me that Neale was gone, Bob, and thank you for replying back.
If you would be so kind as to show this email to Neale when he returns, I would be very grateful. Well, it's bad news for one of the shrimps that had turned white, as he passed away some time last night.  I hope that he hadn't suffered very much…
<Shrimps tend to turn white when dying. So rather than a disease as such, I'd suggest this is a symptom of some underlying stress. Cherry Shrimps are astonishingly hardy animals, but there are two things they hate: copper and high water temperatures. Bearing in mind they come from relatively cool, well oxygenated streams in Taiwan, they're best treated as subtropical rather than tropical animals. In summer, check they aren't overheated. I've kept them in unheated tanks in the UK, and they seem to have no problems handling cool temperatures down to 15 C, and perhaps less. As for copper, you can use a copper test kit for this. Any retailer who handles marine fish should be able to do a copper test for you, either for free or some nominal amount (one pound is the usual here). If you have copper in the system, you can get media that removes copper, or else replace everything inside the tank likely to have absorbed copper (such as calcareous rocks or shells) and of course change as much water as is practical, perhaps 50% today, 50% the next day, and another 50% the day after. Do also make 100% sure you are using a water conditioner that removes chloramine, copper and ammonia from tap water, as well as ammonia. Also, in theory anything added to the tank that might have been dipped or sprayed in pesticide (such as snail killing potions) can introduce toxins, so things like plants should be added only after being thoroughly rinsed. Likewise rocks stored in the shop where bug spray or cleaning fluids might have been used might also bring in pesticide residues lethal to shrimps. Last but not least, you never, ever add fish medications to a shrimp tank -- except for salt, the only safe thing to use with shrimps.>
The other "missing" white shrimp was found last night, so it's good to know he's still alive, I guess.
<Good. There are white, thread-like worms that can infest shrimps, but I've not seen them on Cherry Shrimps, just wild-caught "feeder" shrimp.>
Well, now that the first shrimp had passed away, I know that the other shrimp may do so very soon.  So, in case this disease/condition is contagious, should I remove the other live shrimp?  Should I cull him and any others that may get this way?
<I would isolate any obviously infected shrimps, yes; a floating breeding trap might be okay, but honestly, I'd probably euthanise (a whack with a hammer should do the trick for something like a shrimp) or at least move into its own tank for observation.>
I also saw some kind of oily substance floating on the surface of the water, and I haven't seen it before. I'm guessing it's from when the shrimp had died and it released some substance into the water.  Should I remove this oily-looking liquid, or will it go away on its own?
<Definitely remove. Unlikely to come from the shrimps, but oily films might oxygen getting into the tank. More seriously they do suggest a shortcoming in terms of water quality or water movement (i.e., turnover, splashing at the surface).>
I also have a picture of one of the shrimps.  Sorry if it's a little blurry or hard to see, but you can clearly see the white mass in the shrimp.  I hope the picture helps with figuring out what is happening.
<Too blurry I'm afraid.>
Again, thanks for the reply.  I'll try my best to care for the remaining shrimp as best as I can.
<Don't give up hope! It's a question of fixing any potential problems, and then isolating any infected/affected shrimps until such time as they recover. Cherry Shrimps thrive on benign neglect (you should see my Cherry Shrimp tank!) so you've really should be able to find a way to keep them reliably and easily. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Weird cherry shrimp illness? Attn.: Neale    6/10/12
Well,  just looked at the shrimps today, not as active as usual.  I have the tank temperature at 72, but I can't seem to get it to come down more.
<Water can't get any cooler than ambient air temperature, and direct sunlight will increase water temperature still further.>
I think I have found a new shrimp that has started to turn white.  I really hope not, though.  It's the reddest of all the younger shrimps!  Hope that by bringing the temperature down I can stop it from going farther.
<Let's see. I wouldn't go out of your way to make it cooler than 22 C/72 F just yet.>
I will euthanize the other shrimp that was white, but probably not with a hammer.  I'll go with a less... messy way of euthanizing it, with a small cup of water and a bit of clove oil,
<Not sure Clove Oil works on shrimps.>
I did fix the oily substance "problem," though.  Sometimes if any of my tanks don't have very good water circulation, they start to grow some kind of algae on the surface,  and I'm guessing that the substance on the surface was just the beginning of the algae growing.  Small adjustment made to the filter, so now the water's circulating a lot better. Substance was "gone" in about 20 minutes or so.
<Good. Yes, more splashing does minimise the oily film.>
I'll try to cool down the tank to around 68 or 70 and try to get this whole shrimp epidemic under control (easier said than done, haha.)  Hopefully I won't have something like this occur again!
Thank you very much for helping me with this, and have a good evening!  :)
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

RCS dying.    5/31/12
Dear WWM crew,
thanks to your site I'm now a much more knowledgeable fish keeper than I would otherwise have been.
I have a newly established (cycled) planted fresh water aquarium 60cm x 30cm X 30cm, ADA soil with a thin sand substrate and a population of 20 chili Rasboras and 5 RCS, ammonia <0.02 ppm, nitrite 0 and nitrate <10ppm.
<Mmm, okay>
I have just one question, is it possible that my RCS could be dying due to contamination from an Anubias 'nana' that I transferred from a tank treated six months ago with a copper based Ich treatment.
<Not really; no. The amount of "released" free copper is miniscule... Of more benefit (Cu is an essential micro-nutrient) than harmful... check out many commercial fish foods... is often an ingredient>
The shrimp were very active, feeding and swimming and most have molted in the two weeks that they have been in the tank.  The 'nana' in question had a large quantity of green hair algae on the leaves and I suspect that this may be the problem.
<Yes! This "hair algae" could be a toxic blue green/Cyanophyte... This might play a negative role here. I'd be moving the plant elsewhere, even just isolating in a jar... Using a bit of activated carbon to see if some sort of chemical can be removed thus>
I have removed the plant to see if this has any effect on the death rate of about 1 RCs per day.
Thank you in advance for your help,
<Thank you for sharing. Would it do good to have you review what little we have on these shrimps?
Oh, I would add a bit of iodine-ate... as you'll read re. Bob Fenner>
Re: RCS dying. BGA toxicity poss.     5/31/12

Thank you so much for your response.
After seeing your suggested cause of death, I looked up Cyanophyte and, after reading the WWM article blue green algae I noticed that the plant in question has some reddish brown smears on the leaves.
<Ahh; a common appearance for some BGAs>

The plant came from a 20 gallon planted tank, due to the high temperatures of the South East Asian summer I have been leaving the lights off in the day.
The tank has a lid and the thermometer is showing temperatures in the low 30c range. Could this be a trigger for the growth of the Cyanophyte?
<Yes... along w/ aspects like low flow rate, low DO, high nutrients of different sorts, a lack of competitors for such>
Would it be toxic to the six zebra danios and seven tiger barbs in the tank?
<Some types, yes; not all... That is, put another way, there may well be types that are toxic to shrimps, but not these cyprinid fishes>
As I understand it, limiting their food source by feeding more sparingly, providing competition for nutrients by adding plants and keeping the lights on is a solution to this problem. Is this so?
<Indeed; this is so. You are a quick study>
Thank you again,
<Welcome. BobF>

Cherry shrimp issue   1/8/12
Dear Crew
A very happy new year to you all.
<And to you.>
I've been keeping cherry shrimps for nearly two years now.  The issue I have is that they often die within a month or so and they never breed.
<Odd. I seem to be overrun with them.>
I have begun to keep them in a small 9 ltr tank by themselves and again, same problem.
<Oh dear.>
My tank has 0 nitrites, 0 ammonia and 5ppm nitrates.  I do a water change of 40% every week.  I am in London so we have hard water.
<Neither hardness nor nitrates seem to be a major issue with this species, so shouldn't be a factor.>
I feed them on algae wafers and occasional shrimp pellets as recommended by the LFS.  There are plants in the tank so I add a tiny amount of JBL Ferropol, the daily 24 fertiliser drops and a tiny amount of Easycarb every other day.
<Why not try skipping both these supplements in one tank and see what happens?>
Do I need to therefore use RO water?
<I do indeed use a 50/50 mix of rainwater with hard tap water.>
The only other problem I could possibly think of is that the tank does have a large population of tiny snails and they appear to smother the shrimps for the food.
<Shouldn't be a factor either.>
Any clues as to what I am doing wrong?
<Nothing obvious; but mine do seem to thrive in tanks that receive benign neglect. No fertiliser, lots of algae, tiny fish (e.g., Ricefish), floating plants to remove nitrate, and very infrequent water changes.>
many thanks
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Cherry shrimp issue   1/8/12

Ok, thanks Neale - I might just try cutting out all the added fertilisers and easycarb and adding some RO water.
<Sounds like a plan. You might also have your tap and aquarium water tested for copper. Any decent marine aquarium shop should be able to do this.
Cheers, Neale.>

Possible snail treatment poisoning of FW shrimp? Oh yes    11/24/11
Hello there
Firstly I'd like to thank you all for maintaining such an interesting and informative website.
Despite searching here (and beyond) I've been unable to find the answer I seek; apologies if it's been here all along and I've simply overlooked it.
<No worries>
After keeping a large, heavily planted FW aquarium for the last 8 years, I decided it was time for a change. About 6 months ago the last of the ancient fish inhabitants quietly passed away, leaving what I thought would be a few cherry and tiger shrimp that I'd adopted about a year ago. As I slowly dismantled the tank I discovered more and more shrimp - I gave up counting after a while but I'd say I salvaged about 60 or 70 of them all together.
I've never really bothered about the shrimp other than ensuring them a healthy environment, but having been forced to house them in their own tank while I get round to setting up the old one again I've kind of grown fond of them, now that I can actually see what they're up to. During the summer I helped my 12 year-old granddaughter set up her first FW aquarium, and a few weeks ago gave her 3 sub-adult cherry and 3 sub-adult tiger shrimp. All was going well until this afternoon when she bought a large, potted plant
(Limnophila sessiliflora) which I suspect had been treated with some snail killing agent or other (I shall visit the shop tomorrow to ask).
<Most of these are toxic to other life as well...>
The plant was dutifully checked for snails (none found), rinsed, and planted in the aquarium where it stayed for the next hour or so.
Luckily my granddaughter lives next door, so when she arrived in floods of tears telling me that her shrimp were all dead we were able to quickly take action; the shrimp were in fact still alive but in a very sorry
state. We managed to remove them all and subsequently spent most of the evening watching them in their makeshift hospital tank.
Amazingly they seem to be slowly recovering, but I can still find no information on symptoms of poisoning.
The shrimp were at first immobile, but would suddenly flick into life and swim erratically before drifting to the substrate and laying on their backs, legs waving. Two of them showed little sign of life at all but have
since rallied.
<Does read as some sort of poisoning. Glad you were quick to act>
The 5 neon tetra that live in my granddaughter's 20 gallon tank are fine; we've removed the plant and are currently filtering the water with active carbon, having carried out a 20% water change. The tank was properly cycled and the water parameters were/are all good. Other than blaming the plant I'm at a loss...
Is it possible that the shrimp could have been made 'unwell' by this supposed snail treatment as opposed to being killed outright?
<Oh yes>
Any comments would be gratefully received.
Cheers :)
<Mmm, how to be clear, more complete here? There are "pretty" specific molluscicides, that mal-affect snails et al. relations more exclusively; however, the products sold in the aquarium trade include a few that are generally toxic/problematical for other invertebrate groups... And not much in the way of "warning labels". Blue solutions/tablets are often metal-based... being toxic to both snails and crustaceans.
Bob Fenner>
Re: Possible snail treatment poisoning of FW shrimp?     11/24/11

Hi Bob, thank you very much for your prompt and friendly reply.
<Certainly welcome Wendy>
I visited the pet shop today and discovered that they do use snail treatment in their plant tank. Unfortunately I was unable to find out which product it is, as the owner was absent and the young lad left in charge was unable to help. I'm guessing whatever they use probably contains copper and that the plant my granddaughter bought was well enough contaminated that despite her rinsing it, it still caused the problem with her shrimp.
<Sorry to hear/realize>
On the upside all 6 of the affected cherries and tigers are still alive and appear to be behaving normally.
<Ahh! Then I give you/them good odds at recovery>
Whilst I've never had cause to use snail treatments I'm still aware of the dangers that they (and various medications) can pose to inverts, etc. With this in mind, I suggested to the lad at the pet shop that maybe they could display a sign advising customers to thoroughly wash the plants before placing them in an aquarium. Whether they will do so or not remains to be seen...
<Ah yes>
A seasoned fish-keeper once told me "Every time you think of putting something in your tank - whatever it is - think again. And then think again before you decide." I consider that to be pretty sound advice, no?
<I do agree, yes>
Cheers, and thanks again :)
<And you, BobF>

shrimp are dying  10/16/11
Hello again
I'm new to the dwarf freshwater shrimp keeping. I have a 24 gallon tank (Cardiff by current USA) it came with a pretty powerful pump which would caused the shrimp to get pushed against the overflow. I bought another pump that was less powerful (100 gph) which seems to not push the shrimp against the overflow to where they can't get off.
<Oddly enough, most of these shrimps are native to fast-flowing streams, so a fair bit of current suits them well. Of course, they do need plants or something else to grab onto, Java Moss being particularly acceptable, but floating plant leaves being popular too.>
I keep reading about the circulation in the shrimp aquaria and am wondering if I have too low of a flow rate and low O2 levels.
<Red Cherry Shrimps aren't too fussy. I have them in a variety of tanks, including ones with indifferent water flow, and provided the temperature is adequately low, 22 C/72 F seems about right, they thrive. Indeed, I have some at room temperature with Florida Flagfish, and their aquarium gets rather cooler than that, and the only filtration is a simple air-powered box filter at almost the lowest rate of flow. Crystal Red Shrimps are reputed to be much more delicate. Not everyone finds them difficult to keep -- I've not kept them so can't comment from personal experience -- but as with Red Cherry Shrimps, I'd be more focused on water temperature that water flow.>
I have about 60 red cherry shrimp and have added about 40 crystal reds. I have about a handful of pond snails, leopard Nerite and olive Nerite snails. I took out the assassin snails after I read about others experiences with those and dwarf shrimp.
<I've never had problems mixing Assassin Snails with Red Cherry Shrimps, but I dare say in the absence of anything else to eat, these predatory snails might consume weak or otherwise ailing shrimps. I know there are reports of Assassin Snails consuming shrimps, but I'd wonder how many involve healthy shrimps as opposed to dead, dying or weak shrimps.>
I put the assassin snails in there to get a start on the pond snails. I've noticed that after the addition of the crystal reds, they seem to be aggressive towards the red cherry shrimp. I actually saw one attack a berried RCS tonight, which is dead now. I think she was on her way out anyway, before the attack.
<This is a very perceptive comment. Most of these small shrimps can get along if they're similar enough in size, assuming the tank is big enough and there's plenty for them to eat. But they're all opportunistic to some degree, and they can and do eat one another given the chance. Usually the victim is a smaller, sick or weakened shrimp, but immediately after moulting can be a vulnerable period too, especially in tanks lacking sufficient hiding places.>
I did a water change last night with dechlorinator and don't use any additives. The water parameters are: Temp is at 72 degrees, nitrite and nitrate at 0 as well as ammonia. pH at 6.5 KH at 40 ppm and GH at 120-180 ppm.
<Sounds reasonably good for them, but I find Red Cherry Shrimps do better in neutral to slightly basic conditions, i.e., pH 7-7.5. Crystal Red Shrimps may or may not prefer slightly acidic conditions, but I'd aim for a more neutral set of conditions if keeping both species together. Acidic water conditions tend to be unstable, and even if a pH of 6.5 is "ideal" in strictly biological terms of this species, ensuring a steady pH of 6.5 can be hard work. Slightly alkaline conditions, say, pH 7.5., might not be ideal, but they will be stable, and the shrimps can prosper under such conditions.>
I know that the RCS are tolerant to a wide range of conditions and that the CRS are not so tolerant.
<Red Cherries are certainly the easiest to keep and breed.>
Your thoughts would be appreciated
<Do check the copper concentration of your tap water. Copper can be very toxic to shrimps. Do also consider keeping, breeding the Red Cherry Shrimps first, to get yourself going and accustomed to what's required when keeping shrimps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: shrimp are dying    10/18/11

Thanks Neal. I forgot to mention that the substrate that I use is from Fluval that is designed to keep pH acidic for the CRS and provide nutrition for the plants. I have some limestone in the tank to help offset the pH so it doesn't go too low.
<I do not like to use substrates to alter pH, and in any event, these two are working against each other, so why bother. The bigger picture is that when substrates are used to alter pH, you can't really control or predict the pH. I think it's much better to produce the water chemistry in the bucket, and then buffer that water chemistry, and thereby ensure stable conditions in the aquarium.>
I don't even know if the limestone really effects it that much.
<Neither will work much once covered with bacteria and algae.>
I'm wondering when the lights go out if the pH dips that much.
<Can do. Use a pH test kit.>
Another question is how often do you feed your shrimp?
<Hardly ever. I keep them in tanks with suitable small fish, such as Ricefish, and ensure there's a bit of leftover food along with algae for them to eat. Once a while I'll tip in an algae wafer.>
I feed Fluval shrimp granules once a day.
<Sounds ample.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: shrimp are dying

Hi Neal
I'm thinking that the stone might not be limestone. I did the vinegar test and it didn't foam, but I know this stone raises the pH of the water.
<Then should react with vinegar, surely? If it raises carbonate hardness, and thereby pH, it should react with an acid since it would have to be an alkali rock of some sort.>
It's called lace rock and I took it out last night and did a small water change.
<Do believe this rock is a kind of limestone.>
I lost another 2 shrimp over the night and I can't figure it out. The tank is only about 6 weeks old. I have a big piece of driftwood in there that is new and I don't know if this could be the problem.
<Shouldn't do if cured, but uncured wood will lower the pH quickly, and that could cause problems.>
I don't know how this was treated. I bought it online. It's African driftwood. Have you heard any problems with using driftwood in shrimp aquaria?
<Not when using cured wood in sensible amounts.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: shrimp are dying    10/18/11

Hey Neal
I checked the local tap water contaminant report and copper was at .28ppm.
I should use R/O water from now on. Do you think shrimp would be sensitive to that level of Cu?
<Could easily be. Water conditioners that neutralise copper are available, if RO isn't economical. However, I would remain open minded about other possible problems. My cherry shrimps are breeding quite happily in water with trace levels of copper. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: shrimp are dying  10/18/11

Thanks again Neal. I didn't mention that there were trace amounts of Arsenic and Lead as well. I think I'll just look into a R/O unit and call it good. If they keep dying, I'll be left scratching my head again.
<Again, do look for a water conditioner that neutralises metals. But yes, RO or rainwater may prove a useful starting point here, with Discus buffer added as required to create the right water chemistry. The Rift Valley salt mix at about 25% dosage would be a cheap and effective alternative.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: shrimp are dying  10/19/11

Do the rice fish bother your shrimplettes?
<Not as far as I can tell. There's lots of young shrimps in there! To be fair, my tank has lots of hiding places, so whether the shrimplettes avoid trouble or are merely left alone I cannot say. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: shrimp are dying  10/25/11

I have ordered some "Daisy" rice fish. They should do just as well as the other rice fish, shouldn't they?
<Should do, but there is some variation, with some Oryzias species being considered fairly delicate. That said, Oryzias woworae is one of the easy Ricefish, and doesn't seem difficult to keep at all, provided it is kept in tropical conditions (some Ricefish need or prefer subtropical or unheated conditions). Oryzias woworae isn't fussy about water chemistry, but slightly hard, around neutral water seems best, ~10 degrees dH, pH 7.>
I have switched to R/O DI water and still am having shrimp loss.
<With some sort of salt mix or Discus buffer added, I take it? Pure water will not be acceptable to these animals.>
The tank has been set up since mid August. Is it possible that the tank might not be done cycling?
<Possibly, especially if the water is too soft.>
My test kits are showing zero nitrites and nitrates and ammonia, but then I've always had a hard time distinguishing faint color changes on the color charts. If you will recall I have RCS and CRS and both are dying. RCS are supposed to be very hardy, which make me think the tank may still be cycling. On a side note, do you know if the dwarf orange crayfish is compatible with shrimp? I've heard it both ways.
<In theory Cambarellus should be compatible, but honestly, I wouldn't risk it without having another population of shrimps breeding away in another tank. Crayfish are opportunistic, and at moulting time will view shrimps as a useful source of calcium.>
I appreciate your help, greatly.
<You're welcome. Neale.>

Help with seemingly happy RCS that keep passing away    10/1/11
Hi There,
Just stumbled across WetWebMedia and must compliment the site and the volunteers for providing such a informative, valuable and pleasant resource.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
I have kept fish on off for many years but would just consider myself a recreational fan of fish when compared to the many hardcore enthusiasts and could use some seasoned advice. I have a 5 gallon tank (I know that this size tank is quite unpopular here but it is all I have after my recent move) that has been active for a few years with a few killifish (A. australe) but which I decided to switch to red cherry shrimp (rcs).
<I see.>
I recently purchased 10 rcs from an individual and added 4 more from a local fish store when it seemed to me that I could use more female specimens (an since they were carrying eggs).
<Indeed. A starter population of 4 females to 2 males works well.>
The shrimp were acclimated by dripping my tank water into the water they came in over a period of two hours until ph reached tank ph. Initially shrimp seemed to be doing just fine and cleaned the tank of any algae, slime and growth form the tank walls, plants, driftwood'¦everywhere. They are very active and showing color and two molted'¦ so they seem happy.
Unfortunately, I have been losing one shrimp each day (4 so far). I have been doing 10-15% water changes every day the ammonia in the new water is the same as the tank at 0.25-0.50 so I don't know if this is actually helping (out of the tap it is at 1.0+).
<I would avoid such frequent water changes. Red Cherry Shrimps seem to thrive on "benign neglect". Algae, gentle (air-powered!) filtration, and some organic mulm on the bottom all seem to be very helpful. Quite possibly even rather small changes in water chemistry can affect them badly. On the other hand, when left to their own devices, with small water changes weekly, and few fish or other tankmates, they seem to multiply readily. Low nitrate and phosphate may well be important, but you also want the tiny microbes on the sediment and sponge filter that they like to eat.>
I have read that water treated with chloramine often still produces ammonia readings even with established tanks but honestly I wasn't really checking the ammonia much when the tank was stable with the former killifish residents who seemed to lead a decent life.
1) Water conditions:
*ph = 7.1
*Ammonia = 0.25-0.50
<Here's one major problem. If your water has non-zero ammonia levels, then minimise water changes as far as practical, and use an ammonia-removing water conditioner. In a Cherry Shrimp tank without fish, 10% weekly would be an acceptable water change.>
*Nitrite = 0
*Nitrate = 0
*General hardness = 130
*Temp = 78
*Water treated with API StressCoat from tap and with Seachem neutral regulator
*some plant tabs inserted in sand.
*occasionally add a pinch of non iodized aquarium salt (say once every other month or so)
<May or may not be helpful; I wouldn't bother. But I would try to ensure the water is moderately hard, maybe 10 degrees dH, through the use of a 25-50% dosage of Rift Valley salt mix, as described here:
Cherry Shrimps need some calcium carbonate to make their shells, and conversely, acidity will make it harder for them to grow their shells.>
2) Tank set up:
*Sand substrate of about 2.5 in
*Plants: java fern, java moss, hornwort, some duck weed, A. nana, African tiger lotus
*driftwood, lave rock and some stones.
*flourcent light
*I'm currently running two Aquaclear 20s to increase beneficial bacteria and ensure minimal waste. Filters have sponge, filter floss, ceramic porous stuff, some AmmoCarb. I plan to cut back to one once I figure out the problem
3) Fish load
* 1 male Betta in own section separated from shrimp
<Bettas can eat Red Cherry Shrimps; at the least, they'll attack them if hungry, and even if the damage isn't enough to kill them instantly, it can cause problem over days, weeks.>
* 14 now 10 (though I only ever can find like 6-8 at any given time) rcs
* 2 Ramshorn snails (one in the Betta space, one in the tank)
Is it the ammonia that is gradually killing the rcs? They look so active and eating, coloration and molting and retaining eggs (remember I purchased two rcs with eggs) would seem to indicate healthy shrimp.
<Ammonia is a problem with all livestock.>
If that is what you suspect, I'm a bit surprised as this tank set up was previously established BUT there was one big change, I upped the PH when there were no fish in the tank from some thing below 6 to 7.1 using SeaChem's Alkaline buffer to get to a PH I thought better for most new fish (since I was changing from the australes). Could this have killed off all of the beneficial bacteria? The snails and plants were fine with this change.
<Don't use pH buffers to change the pH without changing the hardness first. Just adding potions to change pH is always a bad idea!>
Outside of the dying rcs, the remaining rcs don't seem exceptionally bright. They totally cleaned off the algae and slime. So I put in some flakes which only one or two seem to eat. I put in Hikari algae tablets (has no copper but other metals is this why they don't like it?) which none ate
<Mine love them! See here:
and which I had to vacuum back out to avoid fouling the water. They can't seem to deal with live Tubifex worms. I'm assuming they will figure out the flakes if they are starving but I thought they were supposed to be really easy and not picky?
<They are not picky at all!>
Why can you keep so many more shrimp than fish. These guys seem hungry all of the time and consumed so much on the first day that the sand was blanketed by tube like rcs poo. How is this any different from fish? Less protein diet to decompose?
<Shrimps don't have such a high metabolism or oxygen demand as fish, so there's less for the filter to deal with. You can't ignore their affect on water quality completely, but six shrimps probably doesn't have as much impact as, say, a single Neon Tetra.>
Sorry so many questions but I'm just getting back into thinking about this stuff since I'm having so many casualties. Any insight would be much appreciated.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Help with seemingly happy RCS that keep passing away    10/1/11

Thanks for the quick reply (now that is amazing given the load of e-mails you must receive).
I have already used ammonia removing water conditioners... see API Stress coat and SeaChem neutral regulator below. I would think this plenty... are they not effective or do you have some other conditioner suggestion here ?
I'm still confused by the happy behavior of the rcs and the deaths.
<Should be fine. Do remember not to add anything with copper in it, e.g., fish medications, as these are toxic to shrimps. Likewise, if you have copper pipes in your home, then a water conditioner that removes copper is helpful.>
Also, on the food front, thanks for the pics and nice fish/inverts you have there. hopefully my shrimp will figure out that the algae tablet and fish food flakes are more likely going to provide them with food than just sifting through their own poopy over and over again =)! I'm quite surprised as any shrimp (Amano, ghost, etc) that I've had in the past generally take prepped food first! I seem to have an oddly picky batch of rcs=(.
I'll go get some newer test kits to dest dH and kH versus my GH scales but suspect that my water is moderately hard.
<Which should be fine.>
In summary it sounds like I will cut back on the water changes and just be patient and see how it goes. Hopefully they start eating prepped food and stop kicking the bucket.
Thanks again!
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Help with seemingly happy RCS that keep passing away    10/1/11

Sorry for one e-mail. I'm assuming that not all questions end up on the web site? That would be great as I sent all of this from my work e-mail and my preference would be for that not to be out there. I looked on the FAQ and didn't see our conversation so if you might be able to confirm that this isn't posted or to delete my e-mail, that would be great.
I will be more careful in the future.
Thanks again So much!
<All messages do go on the web site, but without any personal information.
Messages are usually posted on the web site about 24 hours after we've answered them. Cheers, Neale.>

Mysterious Cherry Shrimp Deaths- 8/20/11
I added 30 Cherry Shrimp about 4 weeks ago to a planted shrimp-only 10g tank, and every day one has died.
At the time, 2 Otocinclus were added. The Otos are fine!
Now I'm really confused on why they're dying. This is what I know - Ammonia and Nitrite are 0. I'd test PH and other, but I don't have the kits for that.
<Well do check. At minimum check the pH; Cherry Shrimps do best in water that has a pH around 7 to 8. They dislike very acidic, very soft water.>
There shouldn't be anything wrong with the water source - the four Amano Shrimp in my 30g are thriving from the same water source - so that's got to rule out copper, metals, etc...
No Hydra or Planaria present.
Tank has a matured sponge filter. Flow appears to be okay, with numerous tiny oxygen bubbles about.
Temp is 78F because of Summer.
<A bit warm for Cherry Shrimps, but shouldn't be fatally so. Ideally, 20-25 C/68-77 F, towards the cooler end of the range in winter, but not substantially above in summer. Extra oxygen is useful. Do bear in mind that these are subtropical, mountain-stream animals that aren't well adapted to stuffy, sluggish, warm water conditions.>
There is some lava rock in the tank with moss growing on them.
I add half a Hikari algae wafer every 2-3 days. There is algae growing in the tank.
The majority of shrimp are healthy - scavenging the substrate, climbing the tank glass, rock and plants and swimming about happily - but then one of them acts lethargic, sometimes trouble swimming, mostly keeps to the lava rock and ends up dying within 2 days. I'm really not sure what's going on, and it's really frustrating because I've made this tank as shrimp-friendly as possible. Additionally, any females with eggs seem to drop them. All I can guess is that a plant had been treated with pesticides (but I do 25% water changes on all tanks weekly, so it should have been diluted right?) or stress somehow - but if it's that, what's causing the stress?
<Possibly, but it's unlikely a plant from another tank could carry enough residue to harm livestock in your aquarium. But certainly worth considering.>
I hope you can help.
<There's nothing obviously wrong here. Copper and formalin are two common killers, but you say you haven't used them. The water is a bit warm, but not high enough to kill Cherry Shrimps. The tankmates seem okay, though sometimes mixing bigger shrimp species with smaller ones doesn't work out, the bigger ones killing the smaller ones (perhaps if they aren't getting enough calcium or protein any other way?). I'm not a huge fan of lava rock for a variety of reasons, but good quality stuff should be aquarium-safe.
If these shrimps are a new purchase, I'd perhaps suspect the batch being dodgy, or else be more reflective on how the shrimps were adapted to the new aquarium. Review purchasing, quarantining (if done), acclimation to your water chemistry, and so on. Cheers, Neale.>
re: Mysterious Cherry Shrimp Deaths (RMF, how persistent is Malachite Green?)- 8/20/11

Just had an idea. The aquarium silicone has been stained turquoise-blue with Malachite Green. However, the treatment was performed (as far as I can remember), a year and 3 months ago. Is it possible the staining could still retain it's toxicity?
<Possible, but my gut feeling is that after 15 months any residual Malachite Green would be at such a low concentration it's unlikely to harm your livestock. Of course the shrimps may pick at algae that bioaccumulate the stuff, so it's hard to say. Filtration through carbon or something better like PolyFilter or HyperSorb may be worthwhile, but if the aquarium isn't large, and shrimps are key to your long-term plans, perhaps replacing the tank with a new one, and using this as a hospital/quarantine system makes sense.
I've asked Bob F. to comment here. He may have an idea on the toxicity, persistence of Malachite Green. Cheers, Neale.><<Olde Malachite Green in the Silastic seal should not be an issue. RMF>>
Re: Mysterious Cherry Shrimp Deaths   8/23/11

I sent a reply on Sunday, but I don't think you've got it.
Just had an idea. The aquarium silicone has been stained turquoise-blue with Malachite Green. However, the treatment was performed (as far as I can remember), a year and 3 months ago.
<A long time ago.>
The air pump tubing has also been used in water with copper, and it does have the blue staining copper gives. It was last used in copper water about a month/month-an-half ago.
Is it possible the staining could still retain it's toxicity?
<Possible. But really, it's very hard to be sure without examining the shrimps in a forensics lab for crustaceans! Instead, concentrate on what you'll do in the future. If you want to keep shrimps, then phase out any bits of hardware potentially contaminated, including gravel, and replace with new stuff. Else, set up another system for shrimps and leave this one as a fish-only system. Different shrimps have different tolerances, and it may well be that one species of shrimp survives where another dies, so if you still have happy shrimps of a different species in the tank, maybe stick with those. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Shrimp query 3/30/11
Hi Guys,
So its been over a week now since the quarantine and I've introduced the shrimp to my tank. All seemed well until yesterday where we noticed that our original ghost shrimp seemed to have suffered some eye damage (was almost like its left eye had been slightly crushed!!). After keeping an eye on her we have noticed her complete eye is now missing!!
<Does happen; usually physical damage on the part of fish.>
I did wonder if the new ghosties have had a pop at her (pecking order), but she is almost 2yrs old and almost twice as big as the new shrimp.
<I see.>
I'm going to 'scoop' her out and pop into a small holding tank so as to minimise any stress. Have you come across any such injuries before - and are shrimp capable of surviving on one eye.....I know that some breeders mutilate females in order to promote breeding!!
<Yes, the shrimp will be fine without one of her eyes.>
Poor thing keeps spinning around in circles - I'm hoping that she can adjust to the single eye.
<She uses her antennae to find food, so should do okay.>
Look forward to hearing from you.
Best Regards,
<Cheers, Neale.>

shrimp problem?   9/6/2010
Dear WWM crew
<Hello Francesca,>
I have a 60 litre BiOrb set up for tropical fish.
<Unfortunately "BiOrb" and "tropical fish" is a contradiction in terms. The BiOrb is a very, very bad aquarium. It's overpriced for what it is, and in particular has a very limited surface area at the top that limits the exchange of oxygen between the air and water. The filtration system is pretty basic as well. You will always be better off with traditional rectangular aquaria than any other shape, whether spherical, hexagonal, or anything else.>
I have three ghost shrimp and they have seemed very happy over the 2 months in residence. I have recently lost my blue Gourami with some sort of ulceration and it happened while was away and my neighbour did not notice so its rotting body was left in the tank for a few days.
<Indeed. Blue Gouramis, and indeed Gouramis generally, CANNOT be kept in this aquarium. It's simply too small for them. Assuming by "Blue Gourami" you mean Trichogaster trichopterus, that's a species that needs a 90-litre aquarium at the very least, and I'd argue 150 litres given how aggressive the males can be. As for the Powder Blue Gouramis and suchlike that are Colisa lalia, this species is so delicate and so ridden with problems that I never recommend anyone buy them unless they can source locally-bred specimens through friends or fish clubs. The ones pet stores sell very commonly come with "free gifts" like Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus and Mycobacteria infections.>
The water did not look pleasant although the tests were all in the OK range but I did a Hoover and a 20% water change and all looks well again.
<I see.>
This morning however, one of the shrimp has back legs covered in a pale fluffy substance and he is flicking them about. Is this part of a moulting cycle?
<Not really. Moulting shrimps tend to hide away for a day or two, and then reappear. It's rare to see moulting shrimps in the open. The moult itself looks slightly cloudy, clear, and usually comes off almost in one piece, and you will often see the shrimps eating the moult so that they can recycle the minerals. It doesn't come off one piece and a time, and it always looks like the skin of a shrimp, not fluff or mould or whatever.
Although Shrimps are fairly hardy, copper-based medications in particular will kill them. They also dislike very soft water. For best results, feed them foods designed specifically for shrimps and other crustaceans, though a varied diet of algae wafers and catfish pellets will do too.>
He certainly does not look as ghost like as the others which is why I am hoping he is moulting as one fatality this month is enough!
<Quite so.>
I would be grateful for your advice.
<Wish I could say something positive about the BiOrb, but I really can't. They're terrible aquaria. A few Cherry or Ghost Shrimps might be happy in them, perhaps a couple of Dwarf African Frogs or a male Betta, but that's about it.
Cheers, Neale.>

Cherry Shrimp deaths . . .   8/26/10
I (fairly) recently bought 3 Cherry Shrimps to go in with a tank of Neon Tetras and Lambchop Rasboras about 2 or so months ago. But for some reason, they keep dying.
<Usually Cherry Shrimps are a very reliable species. Mine breed like rabbits even in tanks that don't get the best of care! But like all shrimps they're sensitive to copper, so make absolutely sure you haven't used copper-based medications in the tank. Also check your water conditioner neutralises copper, especially if your pipework is copper, and in the UK, most household plumbing will use copper somewhere along the line, e.g., for the hot water tank.>
The shell on them seems to split horizontally and they die a few hours later.
I can't understand this because all the water parameters seem fine . . . 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite, 25 Nitrate, PH at 7 and 16 dH water hardness (apparently Neons are acidic fish but they've had no problem with my water).
<All sounds fine. Don't use a "pH down" product though; such potions tend to do more harm than good. For all these fish, pH 7.5 will be fine, which is what I'd expect for 16 degrees dH.>
I also have a snail (well 'snails' now, it bred today!) in the aquarium and nothing is wrong with its shell.
Can you advise me anything?
<With Shrimps, there are basically just a few things to get right. One is the copper issue. Also avoid formalin and malachite green. Next up, ensure plenty of water circulation along the bottom of the tank. Since these Shrimps need oxygen but don't swim in midwater, they can suffocate if there is stagnant water at the bottom. When moulting they need some sort of hideaway, even from one another. Dense plant thickets are good, but caves are even better, and those caves should ideally be small enough that fish can't get in. Often, Shrimps go behind filters to moult. Water chemistry isn't crucial, and Cherry Shrimps can tolerate slightly acidic conditions well, but the carbonate hardness should not be too low, 3 degrees KH being about the lowest. If needs be, offer some shellfish occasionally that they can eat to make up any losses (small pieces of unshelled shrimp work well).
Finally, iodine is a key nutrient for crustaceans. Shrimps generally get enough from their diet, especially if you use a food formulated for crustaceans, such as JBL Novo Crabs. Sushi Nori would also be rich in iodine and easy to buy at many supermarkets and Asian food stores. But you could also add iodine to the water. Marine aquarium iodine drops need only
be used at about one-quarter to one-half the dose needed for marine tanks, and as such would be very economical. One last thing. Cherry Shrimps are very gregarious, and while they shouldn't die if you own just three, you will find your overall success much better in groups of six or more.>
If it's any help, all aquarium livestock was bought from one of the Maidenhead Aquatic stores in England.
<Usually a very reliable group of stores. I was visiting the one in Harlestone Heath, Northampton yesterday afternoon while doing a store review for another web site. Definitely worth discussing your experiences with the manager of that store. Feel free to print this off and have him or her discuss these points with you.>
Thanks in advance!
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Cherry Shrimp deaths . . .   8/26/10
I use Tetra Aquasafe for the water conditioner which apparently neutralises copper, zinc and other metals.
The tank is about 15 gallons, planted with Water Wisteria and Bacopa. I change a litre of water everyday. I have never used any medication in the tank, nor any of the PH plus or minus chemicals .
. . I'm all for naturalness. :) I will be going to the fish store (the local Maidenhead Aquatics store) at the weekend to get another 6 or 7 Cherry Shrimps then (they aren't cheap! £12 for 3!).
<£1.50 to £2.50 each is more typical, but the price may vary with the seasons.>
How would I be able to test how much circulation is at the bottom of the tank?
<Put a bit of flake on the bottom. If it sits there, that's bad; if it wafts along briskly, that's good.>
I have to agree with Maidenhead Aquatics being a very good store. The staff there have always been knowledgeable and willing to knock the price off a bit. Great selection of fish there as well! Last time I saw a disease in one of the tanks, there were staff on hand treating it with a sign up saying 'not for sale right now'.
<Do ask whether these shrimps might have been poisoned in the shop; if they've used copper, that's certainly possibly, though you'd expect to die within a day or two of copper use. If more than that has elapsed since you purchased them, then something is amiss in your aquarium. Are you sure there aren't any loaches or catfish in the tank that might view them as food? Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Cherry Shrimp deaths . . .   8/26/10
It has been 2 months since I got them.
<About enough time for moulting; could well be an iodine issue or similar.>
I don't have any catfish or loaches in the tank.
I did just try putting a flake at the bottom, and it wafted away into some lucky Neon's mouth.
Like I said, it's the shell splitting or turning clear in the middle that seems to happen a few hours before they die.
<When moulting, Shrimps crack open transversely, the slot appearing between the cephalothorax (the head/body segment) and the abdomen (the segments with the swimmerets on, the big you eat on proper shrimps). If that's what
you mean by splitting, then that would appear to be a moulting issue.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Cherry Shrimp deaths . . .
No . . . I mean the whole shrimp dies. It's the whole thing. The carcass is red and looks to contain the dead shrimp . . . One did this 1 and a half weeks ago, and was never found again, so I can assume it was eaten.
Whenever mine have actually moulted, they've been found again 3 days later and the white, ghostly shell is on the substrate.
The split is formed after the 2nd pair of legs.
<Well, it is what it is. I really can't offer you any more advice than that already provided. You'll have to read through my previous messages, try out the solutions offered, and see what happens. Saying the shrimp "just dies" isn't enough for me to provide anything more specific I'm afraid. Cheers, Neale.> 

Wood Shrimp - Missing Filter Arms After Molt  7/13/10
Good Morning,
<Creeping into the afternoon here PST>
I have a wood shrimp that has molted for the first time under my ownership (approximately 4-6 weeks) and after doing so, it's missing it's filter arms.
Have you heard of or seen anything like this?
<Oh yes... generally an issue with nutrition, or avitaminoses/iodide availability; sometimes linked with a lack of sufficient alkalinity and alkaline earth (calcium, magnesium mostly) presence. Please read here:
and the linked files above where you lead yourself... or use the search tool linked on the left shared border...>
Does it spell death for the shrimp?
<Mmm, not necessarily, no. If this animal can still obtain food/s, avoid predation... and whatever the root cause/s here are solved/fixed, the next molt will likely find its limbs replaced>
I had someone mention that I could pipette food toward the shrimp until it molts again, hoping that next time it'll have fans.
Here's some information on my setup:
-10 gallons
-30%-40% weekly water change
-roughly 15 drops of flourish liquid fertilizer
-no dosing of other sorts (no iodine)
<Mmm, I would...>
-crypt wendtii Tropica
-corkscrew Val.s
-Christmas moss on Malaysian driftwood
6 guppies
2 Kuhli loaches
2 Amano shrimp
1 African dwarf frog
<Happily no real predators here>
-aside from flake, pellet and blood worms
-approximately half an algae wafer a week into the tank.
Thanks for your time!
<Certainly welcome Hugh. Do write back after reading if you have concerns, questions. Bob Fenner> 

Question about Atya gabonesis, hlth.    2/25/09 I had a vampire shrimp (Atya) about five weeks and he seemed fine until we moved him to a larger tank. After a few days he started turning more orange/pink instead of bluish gray. and he seemed fine. The last few days he started turning more orange/pinky looking instead of bluish gray. He was seen out and about eating, etc, then started lying on his side. He appeared to be trying to molt (wriggling about, shell cracked open) but lie on his side twitching for hours. We went to bed and in the morning, he had molted but was dead, his shell beside him. He seemed unmolested by the other fish in the tank. Is this common when shrimp molt? Our LFS told us we needed "trace elements" in the water to help them and sold us a bottle of some magic solution we're supposed to put in every few days. I bought another the next day and substituted him (it was my son's shrimp and I didn't want him to be sad it died). This shrimp was slightly larger and bluer and more active. We've had him about 9 days now and yesterday he started looking a bit pink/orange but this guy laid on his side only a minute wiggling about then shot out like a cannon, leaving his entire shell, feathers, feelers and all on the floor, he is pink and new now, with blue only around his head. He's been sitting in the back preening and waving his antennae around, occasionally venturing out. I'm quite happy he molting without dying, do you think it was the extra minerals we added to his water or do you think the other guy was traumatized from the move, or just had a "bad molt"? I'm anxious to avoid any bad molts in the future and I'm hoping this guy is fine from now on, we're really quite fond of him. He lives in a 40 gallon planted shrimp and snail only tank with a bamboo shrimp, 10 cherry shrimp, 3 ghost shrimp and 3 mystery snails. The fish were moved out to another 20 gallon tank bare hospital tank to combat a case of ich, I found that easier to do that ruining my landscaping, plants and shrimp/snails. Which leads to my next question: how long to leave the tank fallow to ensure ich is completely gone before putting more fish in? I've read anywhere from 1 to 6 weeks which is quite a range. I have no plans on doing anything other than routine water changes and gravel vacuums, I don't want to medicate it. Melissa <Hi Melissa. The "trace element" they need is Iodine. While it isn't clear that small (e.g., Cherry) shrimps need iodine added to the water, big shrimps as well as crayfish and crabs apparently do benefit. Normally the moulting process begins with the shrimp out of sight for a day or two in its cave as it puffs up its body with water. The moult itself takes a few hours, and then the shrimp stays hidden in its cave for another day or so while the shell hardens up. It should roll on its back or side, and shouldn't be twitching. Normally all it does is stand up as it usually does, but with the shell peeling off its body from head to tail. In any case, if your shrimp is fine now, then I wouldn't worry too much. As for Whitespot/Ick; the length of time the tank should be fallow varies with temperature and whether you're taking about freshwater or marine Whitespot. In theory freshwater Whitespot parasites can only survive about 24 hours without a host, but in practise it's better to leave a much more generous period than that. One week would probably work fine for tropical tanks. You will of course need to ensure Whitespot parasites can't get into the tank from anywhere else, so take care with nets, buckets, etc. Cheers, Neale.>

A worm question (Horsehair worms; stingrays)   10/17/08 Hello, <Hi,> was just wanted to know I notice some of my ghost shrimp have worms in there intestines are to believe they are Gordian Worm, a.k.a. Horsehair Worms...one died bc the worm killed it but I never notice them b4 on my shrimp I feed these shrimp to my Motoro stingray which I have had for about a week I know they are prone to roundworms and tapeworms but I was wondering if I did feed some shrimp that had these in them can they kill my ray I called the pet store where I got my ray and they never really heard of these worms really and are not sure if they will harm the ray they feed there ghost shrimp to there rays and had no prob but they never looked at there shrimp to see if they had worms so they could be feeding ones that do so I don't know what I should do I don't want my ray to die and I don't know if I should get new shrimp the other ones seem to not have these worms in them..should I continue to feed them to my ray or go and get new ones?????? <Sheesh... not even a period or comma. Do please review our very modest "fee" before writing: we expect e-mails to be spell checked and written with proper grammar. Not much to ask, and the point is that we depend on properly formatted messages so that we can share them with other site visitors. The better Google can index our pages, the more people will view our pages, and the more revenue our advertising generates to pay for bandwidth. It's a simple deal really.> HELP!!! PLEASE KINDA SCARED FOR MY RAY I LOVE HIM!!! <Horsehair worms are not likely to cause your Ray any harm. Most parasites are species-specific, and while they may be harmful to the shrimp, they are unlikely to adapt to the particular anatomy of your Stingray. If you're really that bothered, don't use the shrimps. Earthworms are a very safe food if collected from an area that is "organic", i.e., not sprayed with chemicals. Most rays love earthworms. There's no reason to use live food with most Stingrays anyway, and a varied diet of mussels, prawns and squid is easily provided using foods sold for humans.> thanks Maria <Cheers, Neale.>

Ghost shrimp/jewel anemone hlth/ID  - 07/19/08 I can't seem to find an answer for my questions.#1 I bought some ghost shrimp from my LFS and I noticed they had some white dots on their body, is this normal or some sort of disease? <Mmm, likely more the latter... not communicable though. These sorts of markings show up in specimens that have been kept in poor conditions> #2 I have a large colony of jewel anemones <There are a few species that go by this name... Is this a Corynactis? Which do you have? and can't find any info on them any where can you tell me or give me a link to some information on them? Thanks for any help! <Bob Fenner>

Re: Ghost shrimp/jewel anemone 07/20/2008 Wow I didn't think I would even get a reply yet alone a reply so quick! So then it would be safe for my fuzzy dwarf lion to eat said ghost shrimp his health is of great importance to me. #2 yes my jewel anemones do resemble Corynactis and now I have their scientific name I'm finding a lot on them. I saw tanks full of them at Chicago's Shedd aquarium that's were I got the jewel name from. thank you very much. I'm sure your words of wisdom have prolonged the lives of many of our aquatic friends!!! <<Yes, the ghost shrimp are fine for the lionfish. Really glad you found the correct name for your anemone, all helps towards providing a better environment for them. Thanks for the follow-up, hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Keeping Ghost Shrimp  7/24/06 Hello!   <Hi Cathrine, Pufferpunk here> I am hoping you can help me understand why my ghost shrimp keep dying hours after being added to my 5 gallon aquarium.  In this tank I have 1 male Betta and 1 Otocinclus.  Originally the shrimp was to be the cleaner but since I am not having any luck with them I got the Otocinclus.  I would like to add at least 1 ghost shrimp because in the short time they have been alive I find them fascinating.  I suspect something with my water is not compatible with the shrimp because they are fine until they have been added to the tank.  This tank is heated and stays around 77 degrees (unfortunately it can not be adjusted).  I have a hang on the back filter rated for 2-5 gal and an under gravel filter.  The tank has been running for 2 months.  Nitrate is at 20ppm, Nitrite is 0, Hardness was at 0 but since the shrimp seemed to do well in the spring water they were in before being added to the tank, I added some to the tank and it is now at 75ppm.  Alkalinity is 300ppm.  pH is 8.4 (Both of these are high and I am wondering if one or both might be the problem.) Ammonia is 0.  I have been using treated tap water only, which is softened with potassium chloride. (Possibly another cause?)  The beta and Otocinclus are doing fine so I am not sure where the problem might be.  The first time I added 1 shrimp (had only treated tap water in the tank so hardness was at 0), he died within an hour and half.   A few weeks later I added two more thinking maybe the first one was just a "bad" shrimp.  They both died within 2 hours.  After that I started adding the spring water, topping off my tank so my hardness had increased to 75ppm.  Two more weeks later I added four shrimp trying to increase my chances of one surviving but they only lived up to 5 hours.  They seem fine then all the sudden fall on their side and finally end up dead on their backs.  Neither the beta or Otocinclus are bothering them.  So not knowing where the problem lies I am beginning to wonder if I should drain the tank and refill it with all spring water.  Sorry for such a long email but I wanted to give you as much information as possible.  Thanks so much for your time!          <Here is an excellent article in keeping & breeding ghost shrimp: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/other/ghostshrimp.html HTH, ~PP> Cathrine Daily

African Dwarf Frogs and fish medications    7/13/06 Hello, my name is Robin. I have a 45 gallon tank that houses one African Dwarf Frog, 4 Ghost Shrimp, and 12 Bronze Cory Catfish.   Yesterday I noticed that some of the baby (I say baby, my original three bred successfully in my aquarium about four months ago) Corys have fuzzy fungus   growth. I have Applus+  Anti-Fungus Fungus and Fin Rot Treatment, whose  main ingredients are Malachite Green and Hydrochloride. <Toxic to your Frogs and Shrimp> I wanted to check before I add anything to the tank, because I'm concerned about the frog and the shrimp. Will I have to move them to a different tank while treating the catfish? <Yes... and do check your water quality... The Corydoras would not "get" a fungal/bacterial infection if all was well here> Is there a more "frog friendly" treatment for the catfish? I know that the Anti-Fungus treatment is potentially harmful to scaleless fish, and frogs absorb things through theirs, so I don't want to  poison the frog.   Thank you very much. Robin <You need to separate the non-fish. Bob Fenner>

Ghost shrimp, Acanthocephalans, worms in general...   1/15/07 I just bought a few ghost shrimp and everything appeared to be going fine until today, when I noticed one of the shrimp had a worm in it.   <You have good sight> After a mild freak-out I managed to do some research on the internet and found out that it was most likely a horsehair worm. <Yes, possibly an acanthocephalan...> Unfortunately, I haven't found much useful information regarding my situation beyond the initial identification.  The infected ghost shrimp was in a tank that contained some guppies as well as other ghost shrimp.  Could the worm have possibly laid eggs in my tank? <Could...> Would I be able to see them? <No, too small> Should I worry about the larva (assuming there are eggs and that the eggs will hatch) infecting my fish and other ghost shrimp?   <Mmm... possibly the shrimp... not likely the fish... May well be that the life cycle of this parasite is "complex" and that your tank is missing an/the intermediate host... likely guppies are not definitive here> I know that the young are parasitic, yet I am not completely sure if they use fish as hosts.  The ghost shrimp was in my tank for less than 24 hours.  Are they dangerous to my fish? <Again, not likely> Should I assume that my whole tank has been infested?  Is there anything I can do to stop the infection, assuming there is one, without harming my fish?   <... I would do nothing... but there are some useful anthelmenthics... Praziquantel, Levamisole... you can search re these on the Net, WWM...> Currently, all of the other inhabitants of my tank seem fine, and there is no evidence of other horsehair worms infecting my tank.  I hope I am overreacting to this tiny worm. <Mmm...>   Please set my mind at ease. Should I be freaking out about the possibility of infestation of my other fish and ghost shrimps? Thanks, Lauren <How to put this... there are actually several... as in many, species of worms... living in your system... in your own personal world... This one is likely only detrimental to the shrimp that are hosting large individuals... in non-propitious circumstances. I would not panic here. Bob Fenner>

Wood Shrimp / Atyopsis Losses - 03/07/2007 I just lost my poor little wood shrimp this morning, this is the second one that has died in more or less the same way. They molt, and then they just keel over dead. <Perfect observation - some very important clues, here.> I haven't gotten either of my deceased shrimp past the first molt. Water conditions are as near perfect as can be, and the fish in the tank are 3 platies, 5 zebra danios and 2 Cory catfish (15 gal tank.) The shrimp had good hidey holes etc, and was an enthusiastic eater- until he died! What happened to my poor shrimp?   <There are a number of things that may have contributed to this - have you ever used copper medications in the aquarium?  Any other medications?  Use water out of the tap, and have copper pipes?  The primary thing, though, is likely an iodine deficiency and/or a calcium deficiency.  If your water is relatively "hard", I'd wager money that it'll help immensely to supplement your water with iodine.  Kent iodine or Seachem iodide, or other iodine solutions for marine/reef use would be beneficial to you, here - but DON'T use the marine dose, instead just a drop or two per ten gallons every week will suffice.  After starting this in my tanks, I no longer lost shrimp mysteriously.  I hope the same will happen for you!> -Jen <All the best to you,  -Sabrina>

Freshwater Amano Shrimp - Hiding or? 2/15/07 <Oh man! I wish Sabrina were here... She is absolutely passionate re FW shrimp...> I have a 30 gallon octagon freshwater tank with 5 neon tetra, 6 zebra danio, 1 gold danio, 2 Julie Cory, 1 peppered Cory and one striped Kuhli loach. When I asked the LFS what I should add to help with the algae problem he recommended Amano shrimp. <Neat choice> I asked for 3 (a baby got scooped up in there with them) so I ended up with 4.  Purchased Friday 2/9.  I acclimated them slowly just like I would for saltwater shrimp <Good> and then put them in the tank.  The baby I found dead the next day, and two are MIA.  The first day they were all out on the driftwood picking off the algae.  The 2nd day is when I found the small shrimp dead and it turned a reddish color.  Since Saturday I've been searching for the shrimp. <This species and most all other FW shrimp are reclusive, retiring> At fish feed time one shrimp comes out and then poof he's gone.  At night I've only seen one shrimp (using a flashlight to look for those glowing eyes).  Tuesday morning afraid that I might have some dead shrimp rotting I went in and removed the rocks and all but one piece of driftwood.  Again I only saw one shrimp. no bodies, no shells, nothing in the filter.  Tank is covered and nothing on the floor.  I'm at a loss.  Can they hide that well? <Mmm, yes> Any of the above animals possible culprits? <Of the fishes you list, doubtful> The shrimp are not small. about the same size as my largest danios. about an inch and a quarter.  In the beginning I did see one of the danios kind of nip at that one shrimp in passing, it scooted off and the danio went about its business.  I read that iodine should be added, but I've been using Amquel in tap water for water changes and I know my Salifert test kit will not give a reading because of the Amquel and I'm afraid to add iodine without testing. <Mmm... an occasional (let's say with the interval of water changes) dosing at a low level (a few drops of a stock solution period)... is a good idea... this material is very transient... won't overdose... much the same as iodated salts for human consumption> Which water conditioner/dechlorinator should I use instead of Amquel so that I can test for iodine? <I would likely not actually test...>   Tank parameters as follows (testing done Wednesday night): 0 Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 0 Phosphate 7.2 pH As this is a tall tank I have two thermometers one on the substrate and one near the top.  The heater is placed closer to the bottom.  Bottom temp is usually around 76°, top temp usually around 79°. <Interesting... this is a surprisingly large difference. Do me a favor and "switch" thermometers and see if they register this difference still> I have Amazon swords and java ferns all of which I constantly have to wipe algae off the leaves, two pieces of driftwood, 3 large rocks.  So there are plenty of hiding places. Again, thank you so much for your advice/comments. Regards,   Debra P. <I would not be overly concerned re the consequences or possible loss of the Amanos... And I do encourage you to consider adding SAE's here for algal control. Please do take a read re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/saes.htm Bob Fenner>

Wood Shrimp - Atyopsis moluccensis - Mysterious Molting Deaths - 03/17/2007 I just lost my poor little wood shrimp this morning, this is the second one that has died in more or less the same way. They molt, and then they just keel over dead. <Good observation - and a common occurrence, unfortunately.> I haven't gotten either of my deceased shrimp past the first molt. Water conditions are as near perfect as can be, and the fish in the tank are 3 platies, 5 zebra danios and 2 Cory catfish (15 gal tank.) The shrimp had good hidey holes etc, and was an enthusiastic eater- until he died! What happened to my poor shrimp?   <There are perhaps at least a few possibilities, but the likeliest are that they died from a toxin in the water (heavy metals, especially copper, that may be in tapwater are quite dangerous) or simple lack of iodine and/or calcium.  The realistic solutions to these problems are to use as "good" a source of water as possible, and to supplement with iodine - Kent or Seachem or other marine preparations will be fine, but do NOT use the marine dose - just a drop or two per ten gallons on a weekly basis is fine.> -Jen <I am sorry for your losses, and hope that your future shrimp will fare very well for you.  All the best to you,  -Sabrina>

FW, shrimp hlth... maint., Dracaena plants... non-aquatic   4/22/07 Dear crew, First I would like to thank you for all the information you provide. Thanks to you I have a flourishing tank full of shrimp and fish. Unfortunately I also have a flourishing problem. I currently have a 55 gallon freshwater tank that is cycling with 2 Cory catfish about an inch long, 2 glassfish, 3 ninja shrimp, and 1 bamboo shrimp that recently molted. <Mmm, a necessary/compelled comment: Not a good idea to cycle a system with such livestock present... the shrimp likely molted out of stress more than all else> I also recently added lucky bamboo <Hmm? The Dracaena? Not really aquatic...> and java moss. The problem started when one of the Hikari tropical sinking wafers that I feed my catfish fell into the java moss where my catfish could not eat it, before long it had white stalks growing out of it, <The catfish or the wafer?> the same thing happened to one of my ninja shrimps body after it died. <Mmm, yes... likely "mycetes"... mostly fungal decomposer colonies> I also noticed some white specks on the aquarium glass and when I tried to scrape them off they didn't come off. <Use a single-edged razorblade if this is a glass tank> Is this just a side affect of the tank cycling and if not should I be worried? <Mmm, maybe so...> All my ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate are where they are supposed to be. I apologize if  you have already answered this question but I could not find it on your website. Thanks,  Tuscan <Mmm... the usual water changes, monitoring should do it here... Bob Fenner>

FW shrimp molt gone awry   6/24/07 Hey Crew. I have a female wood shrimp (Atyopsis moluccensis) that molted about two days ago. Something went wrong with the molt, and the plate over her "shoulder" area (over the walking legs) didn't form properly, it is flared out from her body, exposing the flesh underneath. She seems to be alright for now, although she's climbed up onto some roseafolia, and isn't moving around much, or fanning the water for food. I assume the risk to her now is infection, with her flesh being exposed to the elements. I would hope that this problem can fix itself the next time she molts; is there anything I can do to help her through this for now? Thanks in advance for your help. <Greetings. "Faulty" moults are one of the risks of keeping any crustacean in captivity. The physiological process behind moulting is incredibly complex, and everything has to work 'just-so' or the whole thing messes up. The short answer as far as the aquarist is concerned is to [a] make sure water quality is excellent and appropriate to the species being kept (which typically means hard/alkaline); [b] the diet is correct and supplies all the essential nutrients, including trace elements (i.e., feed as varied a diet as possible); and [c] make sure the crustacean has somewhere to retire to during the moult so it cannot be damaged by other animals in the tank (i.e., some sort of cave). The problem with the family Atyidae (or fan shrimps) is they easily starve in aquaria. While not exclusively filter feeders, they aren't "scavengers" in any real sense, and do need regular supplies of nutritious food. So your shrimp should have been getting at least a couple of krill or a few bloodworms per day alongside whatever algae and detritus it was picking up in the tank. Failure on this count puts the shrimp at risk of starving, if not in overall terms of energy, then certainly with regard to specific minerals and trace elements it needs for moulting. (The parallel in humans might be anaemia -- it's easy to eat lots of food, and yet be anaemic, because the food you're eating contains too little iron.) In theory at least crustaceans can and do repair faulty moults "next time round" but as you say, there is a risk of secondary infections as well as damaged structures interfering with the functioning of essential systems like the gills. That your shrimp isn't eating is certainly grounds for concern. Medical treatment of crustaceans is basically non-existent as far as the hobbyist goes, so this really is a case of "wait and see". Provide the right diet and optimal water conditions and see what happens. Definitely keep her away from any animals that might attack her or otherwise express unhealthy interest -- other shrimps, territorial cichlids, nippy tetras, etc. Cheers, Neale>

Internal Parasites... In ghost shrimp... possible???   2/6/08 Hello crew! I'm back with another question... sorry... So today I went to my LFS and picked up about 20 ghost shrimp with hopes of keeping them in a tank and possibly breeding for my GSP to munch on... Well I was looking in the bag before I dumped them in the net I noticed a long stringy thing... pure white... by long I mean about 4.5" and upon further inspection two of the shrimp themselves had these things INSIDE of them... what are they and should I be worried? The tank itself is fully cycled and running at tip top shape and I kept the 2 infected ones out in a separate 1 gallon tank for observation... Thanks! Jess <Hello Jessica. Without seeing the "long white things" it's difficult to say what they are, but they certainly sound like could be tapeworms or something similar. Shrimps are of course transparent, and they have a digestive tract (the "vein") running along the dorsal surface (the back) of the animal. Depending on what the shrimp has been eating, this can be a variety of colours. Obviously, this isn't harmful. Tapeworms are segmented and very flat, while nematodes, the other possibility, tend to be smooth, cylindrical, and with obviously tapered or pointed ends. In any case, I wouldn't use the infected shrimps to feed your puffers; at least, not raw. Boiling should kill the parasites (if that's what they are). Cheers, Neale.>

Ghost shrimp, horsehair worms.... -02/06/08 Heya Bobster (and Neale, and all), <Howzit Sab?> Regarding "Internal Parasites... In ghost shrimp... possible??? 2/6/08", the answer is most assuredly YES, it's possible. The animals Jessica saw, the "long white things", are almost certainly horsehair worms. These strange critters affect crustaceans and insects; to my limited understanding they do not often affect fish. Apparently larvae can bore into most any aquatic animal and encyst, but that's it. And you need both a male *and* female worm to make eggs.... I would only be slightly concerned for a fish that consumes a parasitized shrimp; in the following link are videos of the worms exiting animals that have consumed parasitized hosts of these worms (not for the faint of heart): http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v440/n7085/suppinfo/440756a.html <Ahh!> I have seen more than a hearty handful of ghost shrimp with these bizarre parasites. Often you can see the worm moving about within the host.... Freaky, freaky, freaky. In my experience, about 50% of the shrimp with these worms died when the worms left the host, and thereafter, did not have a great survival rate. I *have* had shrimp survive after the worms exited, but not a great many. The worms can leave the water on their own - I've seen it happen - but I assume they die quickly if they do so. All the same, I wouldn't put a container or tank with parasitized shrimp next to or near tanks with healthy shrimp or even pet or feeder insects. Some nifty links: http://www.amonline.net.au/factsheets/gordian_worms.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nematomorpha http://mrw.interscience.wiley.com/emrw/9780470015902/els/article/a0001594/current/abstract <Fab> Bob, by your leave, I'll log on, recreate a folder for myself.... I believe I have the capacity to answer one or two questions daily, though likely not much more than that right now. <Yay!> Best regards, -Sabrina C. Fullhart <Be seeing you, BobF>

Fresh water shrimp can fresh water shrimp cause disease in humans? thank you <Not as far as I'm aware by simply handling... however, I would cook any thoroughly if consuming. Bob Fenner>

Attack of the Killer Cabomba? - 08/22/2004 My sister put a plant called Cabomba caroliniana in her aquarium and within hours the shrimps she had died. <Pure coincidence, unless the plants had some sort of toxin spread on them....> Does anyone know if this type of plant is injurious to shrimps? <It is not, not at all.  I have had plenty of shrimp in aquaria containing this species of plant.  Did your sister use any sort of a dip for the plants before adding them?  Some people will dip plants in solutions to kill snails, etc., and if not rinsed *thoroughly*, I imagine some of the water from the dip would get in the tank, and possibly cause harm.  Otherwise, I assume this is pure coincidence.  If you wish to explore other reasons for the shrimps' deaths, please respond with great detail on your tank - what size tank?  How many and what kind of shrimp?  How many and what kind of fish?  What do you feed the animals?  How often do you change water?  What other maintenance do you do?  Do you add any chemicals to the water (aquarium plant fertilizers, iodine for the shrimp, etc.)?  What are your readings for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH?  When was the most recent animal added to the tank, and what was it?  Hoping to help you get to the bottom of this,  -Sabrina>

Ich medication is not working Hello there, I am having a problem treating ich in my tank. I have a 29 gallon freshwater tank. I have a few hatchet fish, and some black phantom tetras (I did have cardinal tetras, but they all died) <A tough fish to keep, indeed; very, very sensitive to medications and water parameters.> The hatchet fish were the first to show symptoms.  I also have a wood shrimp, which I took out before adding any medication. <Ahh, good move!> First I got Kordon RidIch, I have been using this for over a week and it does not seem to be doing anything. <It may take a while for the meds to become effective, especially if you are using it half-strength (recommended with sensitive tetras, etc.).> After I started using it, I noticed that the black phantoms started to get spots, it looks like the hatchet fish have more ich now than when I started.   <It may appear to get worse before it gets better.  I would strongly recommend reading the following article for a better understanding of this illness:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm > I have been following the directions, and doing a water change before each treatment.   <Wonderful.> I went to the pet store today and bought some Mardel CopperSafe, it doesn't give me very much information about it. I also read some where that if I use copper in my aquarium, I won't be able to put any invertebrates in the tank, and I would like to put my wood shrimp back in. <You are *exactly* correct!  Copper will adhere to your substrate, decor, etc., and leach out slowly over time.  Returning the shrimp to the tank after copper treatment is very, very risky - I would not use the copper, at all.  Ananda introduced me to a product called "Eco-Librium FW" made by Fish-Vet; she has informed me that it works very, very well, and has thus far been safe for her scaleless buds - but I do not know how shrimp-safe it would be; no ingredients are listed.  Here is the manufacturer's rundown:  http://www.fishvet.com/pages/disease2.tmpl?sku=09202001140509 .> Do you have any suggestions? <By far, your best option is to remove the fish from the tank and use whatever medication you prefer on the fish in a separate quarantine/hospital tank.  Then, you will not have to worry about the shrimp, and he can go back to his home after you clean the RidIch from the tank.> Thank you so much, <Any time.> Leeann Pippert <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Molting, Dead, or a Shell? Ok, I've had this bamboo shrimp for several months and when I woke up yesterday it wasn't moving. <Yikes, sorry to hear it!> Well, I know a dead/ sick/ injured fish when I see one but I don't have much to go on when it comes to shrimp. Its legs are still spread out as if he's about to start walking and yet there he stays not moving any appendage at all. <Do check that this isn't an empty shell - I have been fooled a few times by shells left over from molting.> Well, the shrimp and other crustaceans I've seen curl their legs inward as life ceases but those are usually served with cocktail sauce. So, not wanting him to be dead I convinced myself that he is/ was merely molting therefore I should leave him be. <It should be fine to remove the shrimp/shell.  If the shell is empty, your shrimp is probably lurking around somewhere in there.  If it turns out to be a shrimp, well, my apologies. :( > However, if he is dead I don't really want him to decay in my tank. <Agreed.> How long should I wait before removing the body (exoskeleton or carcass) from the tank? <Go ahead and remove it.  My shrimps usually devour their shells before I get to them, so I've given up trying to pull them out.  If the shell/shrimp is still in there, and still not, well, alive, go ahead and pull it out.  I'd also like to mention, adding iodine to the tank will help your inverts out tremendously.  I use Kent Marine iodine in my freshwater shrimp tanks, at a rate of one drop per ten gallons every week.  Since doing this, I have experienced tremendous results with my shrimps.  I do wish you and your fan-handed pal the best!  -Sabrina>

Shrimps, FW Hi there     I got a 5gal. tank for Christmas last year.  It brought back memories of my childhood almost 50 years ago. I quickly went  down to a local fist store and to my amazement found a $.79 tank (just before  the store owner would get new fish on Thu. he would go threw the tanks and any single fish he would put in this tank just to get rid of them.) I was like a kid  again every few weeks going down to the store and seeing what was there. I have  3 neon's, 3 white clouds, 3 zebras, and a white vial tetra in the tank.  few  weeks ago I got 3 ghost shrimp but they seemed to die during there mullet. <?> I  went down and bought 3 more and again they seem to be dead one at a time on the  bottom of the tank. I went out and got Kent's Iodine the label said 1 drop per 50  gal. so took a cap full and cut it with 10 caps of water. I add 1 drop per.  week with my gal water change. And of course went out and got (yes you guessed  it ) 3 more shrimp. 1 seemed to die but I lost the other 2. <?> My tank is pretty  heavily planted with Java moss and ferns, swords plants, and several other types  of plants I got from the fish store. I really like the different shapes and  colors of the plants with the fish swimming around them but my real joy is the shrimp. I just got 2 bamboo shrimp but 1 is a fan feeder about 1.5 inches  in length (I think you call it that) and the other is a long armed shrimp about  2 .5 inches in length. They were in the same tank about 5gal with about 12  other shrimp of the same types. After I put them in my than I noticed at least 4 ghost shrimp come from some place to investigate the newcomers everyone seems to be getting alone wonderfully.     Now to cut to the chase am I adding  the right amount of iodine to the water or should I just add 1 drop per gal. as  you said in the past? <Not able to tell w/o testing... this material is transient depending on water chemistry, bio-load...>     Should I buy shrimp pellets for the  bamboo shrimp or is my testament and live plants OK? <Please read on the Net re... not able to live on pellets>         What is the  best way I could care for OTTO & HERMAN they are so cool? <Who are they?> I really think my tank is perfect until I get a bigger tank  with more plants and shrimp.     Is there any types of shrimp or  invertebrate I should stay away from in the future? Thank you so very much for your time and please keep up the  good work Walter. <Walt... please read over, have someone there review your writing before you send it... Some doesn't make sense, a bunch is mis-spelled. I do wish our "shrimp queen" were with us more often (Sabrina). Will cc her here in the hopes she will respond. Bob Fenner>

Missing Shrimp I am the proud owner of a new 20 gallon freshwater aquarium. I have had it up and running for about 2.5 weeks with two scissortail Rasboras, and it is now completely cycled. The ammonia is 0, as is the nitrite level, and the ph is somewhere around 7.8. After weeks of anticipation, I went out today and bought two Gouramis that fade from orange to silver, three cherry barbs, a false Cory, and two japonica shrimp. If you haven't heard of them they were about an inch long, and looked like ghost shrimp (the store said they cost more for their "algae eating abilities").  When I returned home I excitedly acclimated them and then released them into my aquarium, I came back about an hour later, and the shrimp were gone, I had heard somewhere that some shrimp burrow and I was hopeful, but it is now the evening and there is still no sign of them. Were they eaten by the Rasboras (2.5") I hope not. I was also wondering if you have any suggestions for a peaceful community fish that is blue or green, I feel like there is so much red in my aquarium. And one last question, I also have a ten gallon aquarium with a golden mystery snail, one albino Cory, I adult male guppy and two adult females, 5 juveniles, and about fifteen on week olds. What should I do to relive my overpopulated tank, my nitrite and ammonia levels are zero but I can't help but feel that they are crowded. Thanks for having such a great site, Steven <First, keep testing for ammonia and nitrite. Two and a half weeks seems a little quick to establish good strong bio filtration. And you stocked a little quickly. The new fish add to the amount of ammonia that needs to be filtered by the bacteria in your filter. The colony will need time to grow and adjust. Do water changes to correct any spikes. When ammonia and nitrite stay at zero AND nitrates are on the rise, you are cycled. Not sure what happened to your shrimp. They may be hiding in there somewhere. They may have been eaten. Not sure what a "False Cory" is, but my catfish love shrimp. You may also want to check in your filter. Don> 

QUARANTINE FISH TO SAVE SHRIMP Hello! Just a quick question about my dear little Bamboo/wood/Singapore shrimp... I was unaware that these little guys could jump so well! I had a problem with a parasite on some of my other tropicals - Blue and Dwarf Gouramis and a couple stray fruit tetras, plus three Pictus Cats. The cats brought some sort of white parasite in with them.. much smaller than any ick I've seen, more like dust. I'm thinking (and treating for) fish lice, but the meds I have cover the bases for gill flukes etc as well. Any thoughts?  Anyhow, he needed to be separated since the meds said NOT FOR USE ON INVERTEBRATES on them. I had him in my hospital tank, just a 2g with a small filter/airstone and heater, but I left the lid off. Hearing a noise, I discovered he was GONE. I found him, about 5 minutes later, on the carpet. Will this kill him? Anything I can do to help him? He seems shocked. Well, any input appreciated! Thanks a million! Krystin < Most aquatic arthropods can handle some terrestrial time as long as the gills are not allowed to dry out too much. Your problem stems from not quarantining your new fish prior to placing them in your main tank with the shrimp. Many medications can harm and even kill shrimp so treat your new fish in a hospital or quarantine tank to keep your invertebrates alive and well in the regular tank.-Chuck> 

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