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FAQs about Marine Shrimp Health/Disease

Related FAQs: Marine Shrimps 1, Shrimp Identification, Shrimp Behavior, Shrimp Compatibility, Shrimp Systems, Shrimp Feeding, Shrimp Reproduction, Shrimp Disease, Cleaner Shrimp, Banded Coral Shrimp, Dancing Shrimp, Harlequin Shrimp, Pistol Shrimp, Saron Shrimp, Mantis Shrimp, Anemone Eating Shrimp

Related Articles: Shrimp A Few Common Shrimps for the Marine Aquarium by James W. Fatherree,

Eucalyptus oil toxic to marine shrimp?         4/5/16
Hi Crew,
I have had a bad cold (and no, I don't believe my shrimp caught it). A little over a week ago, my friend lent me a humidifier and some eucalyptus "100% essential oil" to be used with the humidifier to help with my congestion at night. The eucalyptus oil created an odor, as you would expect, that lingered for days after the humidifier was turned off, and pretty much permeated the whole house.
<Mmm; as it is wont to do>
After a couple nights using this humidifier and oil, I noticed the Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp in my bedroom tank seeming lethargic and not eating, then a day later I notice a similar problem with another Scarlet Skunk Cleaner Shrimp in my downstairs living room (a different room on a different floor, but on the same air circulation system). Suspecting the eucalyptus oil as a likely problem, I discontinued its use and moved it and the oil bottle to the garage. I also changed 20% of the water, and replaced the activated carbon with twice the usual amount, in my bedroom tank.
<Good moves>
The next day, the shrimp there seemed a little better, so I also replaced the activated carbon in my living room (but did not change water, as I did not have enough available).
After a few days, both shrimps seemed better and resumed eating, though I had the sense that they were not 100% back to normal. Then, a couple days ago, I found the shrimp in the living room tank dead on the bottom. Today,
I noticed the shrimp in the bedroom tank being harassed by the Lemon Peel Angel, who normally would go to the shrimp for cleaning services. As I watched, I noticed that the shrimp did not seem to signal his willingness to clean as he had before, and I wondered if this inappropriate behavior (for a cleaner shrimp) causes the angel to respond inappropriately. I also notice that this shrimp's tentacles do not seem as straight as I remembered them being (he had molted a few days before all this started).
<Good observations, reporting>
All my fish and hardy soft corals seem fine.
So, what is my question? Mainly this: do you think it is likely that this airborne eucalyptus oil is the cause of problems for my shrimp?
<By inference and some otherwise deduction I do. The class of compounds that include Eucalyptus "smell" have various and diverse biochemical properties; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eucalyptol#Toxicology>
Perhaps you don't (or can't possibly) know, in which case my email will serve as a caution about a possible risk of using eucalyptus oil around marine aquaria.
<Yes; thank you>
<Bob Fenner>

Question about Lysmata amboinensis; hlth.        4/14/15
<Hey Nic>
I'm amazed by the ton of valuable information posted on the FAQ dedicated to L. amboinensis, but unfortunately did not find any for my case, which I will describe below.
My three L. amboinensis died (one died first, three weeks ago, and remaining two passed away yesterday). Symptoms were similar : they had some kind of brown algae on the antennas and the thorax, and considerably reduced their activities since then. I assume this is a disease or a parasite, but could not find any related resource on the web. Have anyone ever heard about such case ?
<Ah, yes... methinks this may be due to overall lacking circumstances: Most often an imbalance of N,P,K and alkaline earth components... some that may be made up from feeding; some through dosing (particularly iodide-ate); secondarily from accumulation of shrimp-toxic materials (again, from supplements mainly). Bob Fenner>
Re: Question about Lysmata amboinensis          4/15/15

Hi Bob,
Thanks so much for the feedback.
Can you be more specific about imbalance ?
<Mmm; yes... though much more detail to be had w/ a bit of look/see in the scientific lit.>
I regularly record my parameters as follows : d 1024, pH 8.2, KH 6.7, NO3 0, PO4 0,
<... how are nitrate and phosphate rendered zip? You do realize that some (measurable) is necessary?>

Ca 370, Mg 1200.
I do not supplement anything (old school, I know…).
<I think this lack of practice IS best. Again, I caution against the use of chemical filtrants. Bob Fenner>

Sudden Cleaner Shrimp & Fire Shrimp die-off in Seahorse Tank     9/19/14
Hi Bob & WWM crew,
Hubby and I run an aquarium maintenance company
<Ahh! Friends and I did this for 19 years>
with nearly a decade in the saltwater hobby and have never run into an issue like this, we are a bit puzzled and hope you might have some insight. One of our clients has a 100 gallon saltwater aquarium with about 40 lbs of live rock, sump system with additional filtration, gorgonians,
<Can you state which species?>
macro algae, 4 cleaner shrimp, 4 fire/cherry shrimp, 6 peppermint shrimp, snails and two H. reidi seahorses that have babies every couple of weeks. Everything except the peppermint shrimp has been in the aquarium for at least 6 months. There are also two hitchhiker crabs that we haven't yet been able to catch.
<Traps; baited...>
Last week we added the peppermint shrimp to help get rid of a few Aiptasia anemones that were starting to grow. We service the aquarium every two weeks with water change and filter maintenance.
<Ah good. We used to visit "horse" tanks weekly>
The shrimp and seahorses are well fed and I must say, voracious eaters.
Last night the client said a couple of the cleaner shrimp started to die.
Today when we arrived all cleaner shrimp and fire shrimp are dead.
Peppermint shrimp, seahorses and corals all appear normal and healthy.
Tank parameters are normal, temp, salinity, ammonia, etc. What might cause this mass die off of a particular species of shrimp?
<"Something" in the system... metal/s; biological agents. Do you use GAC? Am a huge fan of punctuated use (switching out one of two units) of Chemi-pure monthly>
My first thoughts include:
contaminant in the system (did a guest spray perfume near the tank?),
<Ah yes>
wacky micro-mineral levels (although we do regular water changes with high quality reef salt), or perhaps the peppermint shrimp introduced some sort of parasite or disease?
Any ideas would be tremendously helpful.
<The GAC... is the route I would go for now; this and perhaps a pad of PolyFilter>
Thank you,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sudden Cleaner Shrimp & Fire Shrimp die-off in Seahorse Tank     9/28/14

Hi Bob, sorry for the delay but I wanted to say a huge thanks for your time & help with our question. Chemical media went in and so far everyone else is doing great!
Thanks again,
<Ah good. Thanks for the follow-up/news. Bob Fenner>

Shrimps Die Within Hours    11/19/12
Hello WWM,
First off, a big thank you for all the information that your site provides for those of us in the marine aquarium hobby; the aquarium world is just a better place with you guys around.
<Ahh! Indeed; "why" we're here>
Well, I'm writing because I have this problem with shrimps - I have 0 out 3 success in my attempts with introducing this creature in my tank.  I don't understand why, but they keep on dying within hours after being added in the DT. 
<Actually; your experience is quite common. The various shrimp families employed in our interest are often quite easily lost in such transitioning... they are (more) sensitive to a few abrupt changes in water quality>

The most recent died less than hour.  Sheesh!  What I don't understand is that my other inverts are ok.  I have several snails, a hitchhiker starfish, several tube worms, and a tube anemone. 
<This last can be problematical. Please read here re: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/tubeancompf.htm
All doing fine.  Some of them were introduced at the same time with the deceased shrimps. 
Some info - tank is 19G, fishes - clown, YW goby, Spotted Cardinal.  Water parameters - Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 10ish, Temp 84F, SG 1.024
Don't have kits for calcium & phosphate.
<You should if keeping non-fish livestock>
 I read somewhere that when livestock die within hours that it's an acclimation issue. 
<Mmm, can be>
My LFS has an SG of 1.018.
<Ahh! This is way too large a difference for simple/drip acclimation to bridge. I
F you intend to buy/use these, other life from this store's system, I would use an intermediate (isolation, quarantine, treatment...) system... Keep the newly acquired livestock in this for a few weeks, moving some water from your main/display every few days... till the specific
gravities et al. matched>
 I have drip acclimated the shrimps (banded coral & skunk cleaner)
with differing duration, 1hr, 1.5hr, 2.5hr and still they keep on dying.
  With this much difference in SG, how long do you think should I acclimate shrimp? 
<Weeks my friend>
Gabe M
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Series of Shrimp Deaths - Recovery Options?   8/20/10
Hi guys,
<And gals Tycan>
I'm writing in the hope that you can offer some advice on how to proceed with my tank. I've had my 56 gallon up for over a year now and have stocked with 3 fish and 3 shrimp along with a clean up crew and some LPS/SPS/soft corals.
<Any troubles w/ this Cnidarian menagerie?>
Recently, my shrimp started dying. They are normally reclusive creatures (being shrimp.) and hide. But they have recently started running across the sand bed haphazardly, running into the walls of the tank/rocks and exhibiting other signs of ataxia. I cannot figure out what is going on. My parameters are normal across the board. pH 7.8, SG 1.024, Ammonia 0, Nitrite/Nitrate 0. All three of the shrimp molted recently after my last water change.
<Mmm, good clues, well-accounted>
The fire shrimp seemed to have difficulty with the molt and I found him in the morning on the sand, struggling with the old exoskeleton.
Two of my three shrimp passed away yesterday after first displaying symptoms of distress 3 days ago. I had recently prophylactically treated the tank with Praziquantel (but don't think this is the issue).
<Oh, actually, could be>
My last shrimp is a pistol which has been paired with a goby for the last year (Shrimp Buddy).
Shrimp buddy is now exhibiting the same symptoms as the others and I fear that he might die soon. He is crawling around the tank and seems to have difficulty getting several of his legs to move. One option that came up is to add additional iodine to the tank to induce a new molt. Is this a good option?
<Up to a point. My usual admonition to not add anything you can't/don't measure or understand>
I really want to save Shrimp Buddy, but if I can't, I'd really like to know how I can prevent this in the future.
Thanks much,
<I'd use a bit of chemical filtrant here... Likely either a pad of PolyFilter (first choice) or high grade carbon (Chemipure or equivalent) in
your water/filter flow path. Bob Fenner>

Dying Shrimps And Crabs, But Not Snails Or Fish 7/29/10
Hello crew!
<Hi Jennifer>
I have a low light reef that has been up and running for over a year, but recently I've been slowly losing my cleaner shrimp and Emeralds Crabs. It's possible a few hermits have disappeared also but I'm not 100% sure.
My fish, corals and snails are all perfectly fine. I use IO salt kept @ 1.025-1.026, PH is fine and stable, no nitrates or ammonia, weekly water changes with treated and treated tap water, I haven't recently tested calcium, Mag or Alk but there is plenty of healthy coraline algae. The only think I can think of is the animals I'm losing are the type that molt and I don't recall seeing many molts lately. These poor creatures have been in the tank since the beginning and have now been slowly dying for about 3 months. They don't get mangled or eaten in any way, I find them looking sick or already dead. I've tried taking the sick ones out and setting up a separate tank, even trying RO water in the hospital tank instead of the tap water in the display. The only thing the same in both tanks is the salt. Is it possible there isn't enough iodine in IO's salt lately? That seems unlikely to me, but at the same time do you think that makes sense since only the molting animals seem to be dying? I've never seen an iodine test, perhaps it's time to look for one. Any help would be appreciated!
<Two things come to mind. Are the shrimp and crabs getting enough to eat?
And, lack of iodine can cause problems like this as iodine is necessary to ease the molting process. A test kit isn't necessary in my opinion, just follow directions on the iodine/iodide label. Do not depend on the iodine
level in the IO salt, and for that matter, calcium or magnesium as these elements are slowly depleted by the animals/algae that require this. These parameters should be tested regularly and supplemented when necessary.
If your fuel gauge didn't work in your car, would you always know how much fuel you have remaining, or would it be "I think I have enough left".
James (Salty Dog)>

55 GALLON SALT WATER FISH TANK, Fish death, missing shrimp 3/6/08 Hi Guys, Gals, <Hello> My name is Gilbert and I am new to this habit. I have a 55 gallon salt water fish tank fish only. It was given to me from a friend of mine; it has been running for more than a year. I currently have a yellow tang, <will need a larger home before long.> a snow flake eel, two false Perculas, <may end up eel snacks> an urchin and about 60 lbs of live rock. As far as filtration goes all I have is a cpr-bak pak and two rio-600 for water flow. It seems like everything is fine, but I see all this other fish tank that have built in over flows and all different kinds of filtration and I just can stop thinking that there is a lot of things that my fish tank needs. <Not really as long as your water quality is good and algae growth is under control. May want to add more flow but beyond that you have the basics of what you need.> I hate to go to my community pet store because they will say and do anything to sell. <Far too common of a occurrence, shortsighted by the proprietors.> I want to know if you guys can guide me and recommend any other filtration or anything else you think I might need. Of course in a near future I would love to turn it around in to a reef tank. <Would definitely need more flow and quality lighting.> I also seem to have a problem in the water because I have bought different kinds of fish and none survive, well except the Perculas. <Start using a QT tank, will help determine what is going on.> I bought a coral banded shrimp that I saw once and never again, <eel food> I bought a fire fish that was killed god know by who or by what, a hippo tank <tang? If so needs a much larger tank than you have.> that also died and a cleaner wrasse. <Skip these http://www.wetwebmedia.com/labroide.htm .> I got the water tested and the water is fine. <Fine is too subjective, get numbers next time or better yet learn to test yourself.> I guess I'm doing something wrong with the acclimation. <Hard to say without knowing your water parameters.> Any how I hope you guys/gals can provide me with great tips just as you always do. Thank you. Gilbert Gomez <Keep reading> <Chris>

Molting of Shrimp, Iodine   5/18/07 Hi, <Hi LC, Mich here.> I have a fire cleaner shrimp in my reef tank.  He seems to molt every three weeks.  Isn't this a little too often?   <Sounds like it unless it is quite small and growing quickly.> I use 2 part calcium every day and a little bit of iodine & strontium made by the same company as directed.   <You may want to cut back on the iodine here.  It can stimulate premature molting.> I also do frequent water changes.  Should I stop the iodine? <I think I would, particularly if you are vigilant with the water changes.> please advise.  Thanks, LC    <Welcome!  Mich>

The case of the missing shrimp!  - 02/17/2007 Hope you can help me on this one. <<I will certainly try!>> Your web site is my first line of defense on problems with my Salt Water tanks...thanks for all of your excellent advice. <<Our pleasure :)>> I know it is Halloween but this case has me baffled. <<Halloween? Our email says we received this February 17th.>> My 125-gallon tank has a purple tang, majestic angel, two clown fish & a cleaner shrimp. (The shrimp has been in there approx 4 months ) One morning last week, I checked my tank & could not find my shrimp. Hmmm. I know when he sheds his shell he hides but I can always spot him (he is a good size) I tried not to worry but that evening a visual check could find no shrimp,. The next day I did my water change and moved every piece of coral & live rock and guess what ? Not a trace of my cleaner shrimp! My only thought is that he was dinner for my angel ??? <<Quite possible. If your shrimp died of other causes, other tank inhabitants, most namely snails and crabs, would quickly dispose of him.>> Is that a possibility? <<Yes.>> I do not want to get another until I can figure out why this shrimp disappeared. Any advice is greatly appreciated. <<A jumpy species like this shrimp may also be a candidate for 'carpet surfing'. Do look all around both inside AND outside the tank.>> Thanks so much. Carol <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Peppermint shrimp beh./health   1/16/07 Hello, (Greetings) Thank you for maintaining such a wonderful site. It has been indispensable as I set up my first marine aquarium (an Oceanic Bio-cube with no modifications). (Glad we could help) Some of the live rock I used was infested with glass anemone, so I got two peppermint shrimp about three weeks ago. They made short work of the anemone and have since been eating flake food, frozen Cyclops and whatever they forage off the rocks. They have both started to lose color in the last 2 days, and one of them is nearly clear. (Quite normal for these shrimp) My water parameters have been good (Ammonia, nitrite, phosphate, nitrate all=0, SG=1.024, pH=8.2, calcium=420mg/L, dKH=8, temp=79) I have been supplementing with Reef Complete and performing weekly 15% water changes. (Excellent) What can I do to save my shrimp? They are still behaving normally, but I worry that the color loss is a sign of illness or malnutrition. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance. -Siri (They should be fine.  Smaller ones usually have a lighter color.  The older they get, the darker the red will become.  Cheers!  Dr, J)

Fire Shrimp Problem... new water? Cyanobacteria? Cat flea med.?   9/5/06 Hi Crew, <Tom> My Fire Shrimp has been having problems when I change water. <Very common>   He first appears to excitedly dash around the tank (very uncharacteristic) and then he will fall over and twitch.  I've seen this three or four times over the last couple of months - but not every time I change water. In the past, he has recovered after a day.  The two Gobies in the tank have never shown any sign of distress. <Need... to read... re the necessity of pre-mixing, storing, matching new and existing water quality...> Just over a week ago, I saw this again, and noticed that it occurred before new water went into the tank.  When it occurred, I was working on scrubbing what I believe to be Cyanobacteria off the rocks in preparation for siphoning it out.  I immediately stopped what I was doing and put new charcoal and a Polyfilter in the power filter. <Mmm, maybe an interaction here...> At this point, I remembered something about possible toxicity of Cyanobacteria.  Your site mentions possible toxicity, but provides no details of how toxic or what creatures are affected. <A huge topic... all affected to degrees> Later, my son mentioned the extreme toxicity of flea treatments for household pets. <Mmm, some... not all... to aquatic life. Can be investigated via the Net> I did some research and learned that the product we use on our cats (Frontline) has an active ingredient that is extremely toxic to shrimp (1 ppb kills some species) and furthermore that this poison gets onto a person's hands by handling a treated cat anytime within a month of treatment. <Yes, this is so> I had not been all that careful about washing before working in the tank (and I really find dedicated gloves just too hard to use).  So I became pretty convinced that flea poison on my hands was the source of my Fire Shrimp's difficulties. <I see> I resolved to be more careful about cleaning my hands and arms in the future before working in the tank. <Good> A couple days ago, I did another water change just after a shower and with no intervening contact with cats.  Everything seemed to go OK, though I did not make much effort to clean off the Cyanobacteria.  My Fire Shrimp did not seem bothered (though he has not fully recovered from the previous severe episode, and I don't think it likely at this point that he will).  I also re-introduced three Peppermint Shrimp at this time, and they had no problems.  (These had been removed on suspicion that they were eating my Xenia, but I later discovered a hitchhiker crab doing this, and so I am assuming the Shrimp are innocent.) <Mmmm> Today, I washed my hands with soap and rinsed my arms before spending half an hour using a toothbrush to clean off Cyanobacteria.  I tried to get the Cyanobacteria into a separate small container to be disposed off, as I was not planning to siphon the tank. After a half hour or so, I again noticed my Fire Shrimp looked disturbed, though not in truly extreme distress.  I immediately stopped what I was doing and began to compose this email.  Also notable is that the Peppermint Shrimp showed no signs of distress. So here's the puzzle.  Is the flea medicine to blame, and I really must shower or use gloves before working on the tank? <Doubtful... or all shrimp would be similarly mal-affected> Or is the toxicity of the Cyanobacteria to blame (or also to blame)? <Maybe> And, should we assume that the Fire Shrimp in its current damaged state is simply more sensitive to toxins, or perhaps by nature more sensitive to toxins? <I still am mostly placing the credit/blame on the new water...> By the way, I am also working on fixing the causes of the Cyanobacteria, which got out of control while we were away on vacation for a couple weeks this summer.  I'm running Polyfilter, changing 10% of the water weekly, and I've reduced the light (from 192 watts of 50/50 to 96 watts of 50/50 over a 30 gallon) in the hopes that the other algae will better compete for nutrients. <A good plan> Other algae present include Coralline, Halimeda, and an unidentified algae that is turf-like, attractive maroon under lower light conditions and faded yellow-green under high light conditions (hope this one isn't toxic too). Thanks, Tom <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/shrimpsysfaqs.htm and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/water4maruse.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: Fire Shrimp Problem  9/6/06 Thanks Bob. <Welcome Tom> Below is some follow-up.  Reading is optional, and a reply is not required (though always of interest and appreciated): I have been following your advice about pre-mixing and aging my new water. <I see> I mix it to specific gravity of 1.024-1.025.  I rarely check my tanks, but I just checked the one in question and found it to have specific gravity right in the middle of that range.  I use B-Ionic for alkalinity and calcium. <Good product/s> Also, I've had this Fire Shrimp for 11 months and noticed no problems until the last few months.  One thing that changed was that we got a new kitten in June, and for a variety of reasons, he gets handled a lot more than does our older cat. <Mmm...> Finally, on at least one occasion it was clear that the Fire Shrimp's distress began before new water was added. So, I find it hard to believe that the new water is the problem. <I concur> Instead, your comments lead me to think that the flea medicine and Cyanobacteria might both have played a role here. <Yes, either/both could> And I guess I have to assume that the weakened state of the Fire Shrimp accounts for his reaction last time, when the Peppermint Shrimp were not noticeably affected. My take-home message: take care to have clean hands and get rid of the Cyanobacteria (as carefully as possible). Thanks again. Tom <Well summarized. Thank you. BobF>

Toxicity of Cyanobacteria... can be extreme   8/27/06 Hi Crew, <Thomas/Tom> I have developed what I believe to be a Cyanobacteria problem in a 30 gallon with 2 Gobies,  2 soft corals, and 1 Fireshrimp. This algae is purplish in color and sort of thread-like, forming masses that hold together reasonably well. <Is likely a BGA>   I have found several suggestions on your site about how to go about correcting this problem, which I will get to work on.  But I still have a question. Prior to water changes, I have been attempting to break up this algae to syphon at least some of it out during those changes.  I have noticed my Fireshrimp suffering after water changes (looks bad, like he might not survive).  In today's change, I noticed that he looked bad, before the new water goes in, which is why I started to suspect this had something to do with what I was doing to the algae. <Mmm, either this and/or some part/aspect(s) of the new water... Both very common> So, can disturbing Cyanobacteria release toxics into the water that serious affect a Fireshrimp, but not Gobies or soft corals? <Oh yes. Bob Fenner, touching on this subject today at a presentation to the NJRC in Pt. Pleasant, NJ> Thanks, Tom

- Peppermint Shrimp 8/21/06 - Hi Crew, <Hi.> Thanks for the great site.  I have a 20g High with 30lbs of live rock.  The water quality reads fine in all areas.  (Two Percula clowns, hermit crab, and domino and yellow damsel)  I recently acquired a SeaClone 100 protein skimmer for free (which is about what it is worth) and had problems with micro bubbles.  A few days after installing the protein skimmer my peppermint shrimp died and I was wondering if it was caused by the micro bubbles or if in all likely hood it was just a coincidence.  <Likely coincidence... skimmers all make lots of bubbles when they are breaking in, and these bubbles are introduced at low pressures, not like the "micro bubble" of concern.> Also, is there a star fish that would co-habitat well in my aquarium? <Probably a chocolate chip.> I have read through the FAQs, but have found little on the easier (if there even is) starfish to keep. <Most are likely to pass for reasons not well understood - can be frustrating.> Thank you for any help you may provide. -John       <Cheers, J -- >

Tank Problems/Sketchy Info...Look To The Water Changes - 06/18/06 Dear Crew, <<Chris>> Just when I thought I was getting the hang of things, disaster strikes. <<Uh-oh>> I have a light fish load--a sleeper goby, a yellow tang (small) and a cleaner shrimp.  I just found the shrimp dead, and I am very surprised since it seemed okay as recently as this morning. <<Was there some sort of trauma/environmental issue involved?  May be nothing more than "old age" here>> My pH is a consistent 8.5-8.6, and I'd  been dosing twice a day with calcium to get levels up to normal (it had been hovering around 180 but even with twice a day dosing only went up to 220). <<Mmm, though not deleterious in my opinion, your pH is a bit on the high side with no clue/explanation as to why.  And what is your alkalinity reading?  Be careful that you don't mal-affect/disrupt the balance between your alkalinity and calcium by dosing the calcium product only.  It is best in my opinion to "dose" calcium and a buffer (alkalinity) together as a two-part system unless making a "one-time adjustment" (monitored with a reliable test kit) at which time a calcium chloride or calcium gluconate supplement is effective>> Anyway, I also added a nice zoanthid at the same time as the goby, about two and a half weeks ago.  I'd written earlier that it never fully opened like it had in the store.  You suggested moving it lower in the tank (it had been near the top).  Since doing that a week or so ago, the zo's are slowly disintegrating, and even the pods that were opening are no longer. <<Likely something environmental other than your lighting at play here>> This is pretty bad--I don't know what to do or what information I could offer that could explain things.  Many thanks... here are my specs for your review--please let me know if there are any other specs which would help with a diagnosis. Tank: 37G high w/ 10G sump and skimmer Lighting:  130W CF Water (RO):  Salinity .022 / pH 8.5-8.6 / Calcium 220 / LOW nitrates / Temp 83-84 <<Okay, a few things to mention here.  Firstly...STOP dosing!  On a tank this size it should be a simple matter to keep the water elements in appropriate concentration/balance with simple water changes (20% twice monthly).  Are you buffering your RO water before adding the salt mix (can be done easily with plain baking soda)?  Do you let the mix stabilize a "minimum" of 24-hours before adding it to the tank?  What brand of salt mix are you using?  Perhaps a change to one of the more consistent mixes (in my opinion) would help...Instant Ocean and Tropic Marin get my top votes.  Your salinity is a factor as well and may be a contributor to the demise of the zoanthids...increase this to natural seawater levels (1.025-1.026 s.g.).  Next..."LOW nitrates" is of no help...what is the specific reading?  Anything much over 5ppm is likely also a contributor to your coral/invert's failing health.  Again...water changes will help with this too.  Lastly, the water temp, while at the upper limit, should not have been a direct problem if the animals were properly acclimated.  But that's not to say you shouldn't do something to bring it down a bit...you don't have much "buffer zone" here if something should drive it up further>> My water temp is obviously high.  I don't have air conditioning and keep the room dark all day long to avoid sun-heating.  I'm sure this is a cause, but is it THE cause? <<Hard to say...maybe just a/the catalyst>> If not, what else could it be? <<Likely a combination of things as I've alluded>> I know a chiller would help but would a room air conditioner be an option? <<Indeed, yes!  As would adding a small fan to blow across the water's surface for some evaporative cooling>> Thanks again for everything. <<Always welcome>> Sadly, Chris Los Angeles, CA <<Chin-up mate!  Buffer your RO water, verify the efficacy of your salt mix, increase the salinity, perform a large initial water change followed by frequent partial water changes as outlined, and reduce water temperature by a few degrees and you'll likely see an improvement in overall tank health rather quickly...though it may be too late already for the zoanthids.  And not to pour salt on a open wound...but this tank is way too small for the continued good health of the yellow tang.  Please do consider trading it back to the store for a more suitable inhabitant.  EricR, Columbia, SC>>

Cleaner Shrimp health mostly  - 06/10/2006 Dear Mr. Bob Fenner <Hi, Chris with you today.> I bought a Cleaner Shrimp and added it to my main tank after a dip in new saltwater. After a day it just died. I don't know for what reason. I have used copper in my main tank before but it was a long time ago and now I have very good algae (green and brown) growth in my tank with peaceful fish. Is there anything you could think for this unfortunate situation. <Shrimp are very sensitive little creatures.  Proper acclimation is very important.  Often dips are too stressful on them, causing all sorts of problems.  Also, avoid exposing them to air, while not as sensitive as some inverts to air exposure they definitely don't like it much.  Proper acclimation procedures are available on WWM.  The residual copper may also be a problem, very difficult to get rid of.> I am thinking of buying a bulb tip anemone. Is it okay to do a quick 10sec freshwater dip and place it in my main tank? <No> Do you think its going to be fine? <Fresh water + anemone = bad.> Also I run my tank with florescent lights but I know you need intense lighting for anemone. I have placed my tank near a window where it gets lots of sunlight and because of that my algae growth is also fast and I do clean my tank glasses quite often. So do you think the lighting is enough for the anemone? <No> And also when you add vitamin C to the tank, what is the quantity you use? <I don't add it, unnecessary in my opinion.> My tank is an 80G. Thanks, best regards Rachel <Welcome> <Chris>

Re: Live Rocks and Shrimps... Copper removal  - 05/22/2006 Dear Mr. Bob Fenner <Rachel> I have emailed you earlier when I treated my main tank with copper. Fortunately it got rid of White Spots (knocking on wood) and now I have some other concerns. It has been about 3 weeks now and my fish are doing great in the 80G. About 2 weeks ago I did a 25% percent water change and placed 2 large packs of Super Activated Carbon to get rid of the Copper. When the copper was added to my tank about 2 months ago my protein skimmer was removing copper with large amounts of form formation so I turned off the skimmer. <Yes, usually necessary> In the current scenario after treating the tank and adding the Activated Carbon I turned on the skimmer, for the first day or two it created some form and then worked as usual/normal. I have some green & brown algae also growing nicely on the sand bed and some rocks now. <An indication of a lack of copper> So I was wondering is it now okay to add some new cured live rocks into my tank? Does the green and brown algae formation show signs of a Copper-free environment? <Yes and yes> Also I am wondering whether to add a couple of shrimps to my tank. I know they are very sensitive to copper but do you think it'll be fine now? <Very likely so> Normally do you dip the shrimps in a freshwater bath like new fish? <No... is quite harmful to these and most other invertebrate groups. I would NOT do this> And also as shrimps are not a vector for white spots (learnt from your FAQs), is it alright to add them straight into the main tank with careful acclimation? Thanks, Best regards, <For observation and "rest" considerations, is best to quarantine these animals as well... There is generally little risk of introducing disease, parasites with crustaceans however... It is merely that they are "wet", and their water, exoskeletons might bring along such that is a concern. Bob Fenner> Rachel

Skunk shrimp bubble  3/30/06 Hi guys, <Henry> I have a question I can't find an answer for in the FAQ.  I bought a skunk cleaner shrimp three days ago. It molted yesterday.  I didn't know I was supposed to leave the exoskeleton and promptly removed it.  (I know, I should have read more first!)  Today it ate flake right off my finger.  This was the first time I saw it eat.  Shortly after that, I noticed what I can only describe as a bubble on one side of it's body, a bit below it's head.  It looks as if a little balloon has been inflated.  His coloring is yellow, and he is attached to a rock and moving about on it just as he's been since I brought him home.  Any idea what this bubble is? <Mmm, not really... a pic would help. Not likely however that this is anything you can or want to try to "treat". Do be careful re making sure your water is very consistent in changing out... and sufficiently high in biomineral, alkalinity and pH. Bob Fenner> Thanks in advance, you guys do a great job here!
Re: skunk shrimp bubble, pic    3/31/06 Mr. Fenner, <Henry> I tried to get a pic, this is the best I could do. The critter still mostly hangs out on this rock and eats only flake right off my finger.  Thanks for all you do here. <I do see it... and am still assured that there is not much other than providing good nutrition, alkalinity, occasional Iodide/ate and patience will/can do. The bump will likely go with the next molt. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

The Life and Death of Shrimps 10/10/05 Hi WWM. <<Hello>> I have another question for you guys. It involves 2 shrimp. A fire shrimp and a cleaner shrimp. About 2 days ago my fire shrimp shed its skin at night. In the morning it was dead. I thought it was a one time thing since I did have it for awhile. A year possibly.  But last night my cleaner shrimp shed its skin also and this morning it is missing. I threw in some food to see if it was still in there cause usually when that happens it comes out with the quickness and starts to eat everything in sight. But it didn't come out so I guess its a goner. I haven't done a full test kit on the tank. I'm going to do that today. I just want to know from your guys' experience does this mean anything? Calcium maybe? This does not sound normal. 2 shrimp in less than a week is suspect. I have had these guys for at least a year. Any thoughts would be helpful. Thanks for taking the time to read this. Teddy <<How often have they been shedding for you? Have you made any recent changes or done a water change? Any new fish? If both died then there is definitely something wrong. If they have not been shedding much for you in the last year, test your iodine levels.>> <<TravisM>> 

I Feel Like a Shrimp Murderer. . . earnest folks with tiny tanks  9/28/05 Hello everyone! <Amy> I must start by saying that I love the WetWebMedia website, and have   consulted it several times over with great results.  Thanks for all the help! <Welcome> Now, onto the problem.  I have a 12 gallon Nano Cube which joined our   home last October.  Being paranoid that I would kill off any aquatic   friends that came to live with us, I let it cycle for about 30 days   with just live rock. <The longer the better...> It is now home to a small true perc, a   personable green carpet anemone, and a green feather duster, in   addition to about 4 pounds of live rock and assorted flora growing in   and on the live rock.  I started with the anemone, waited about a   month, and added a small skunk cleaner.  I then waited another month   and added the perc.  Everyone was healthy, happy, and seemed to get   along just fine. <Operative word here is "seemed"> In the middle of June, I found the skunk cleaner dead next to the   piece of live rock where the anemone lives.  It did not appear to be   eaten in any way; just dead.  I also don't think the anemone did him   in, as he would quite often "clean" the anemone without the anemone's   complaint.  I quickly gave him a toilet burial, checked the salinity,   and nitrate, nitrite, alkalinity, pH, and ammonia levels, along with   temperature. Salinity: 1.023 Nitrate: 0 Nitrite: 0 Alkalinity: 280 pH: 8.4 Ammonia: 0 Temp: 78 F The perc and the anemone, not to mention the flora, all seemed fine.    I watched the tank for several weeks and all the levels remained the same. <"Seemed"> Missing my skunky friend, I got a new skunk from the same shop in   July and also added the feather duster at the same time.  Same story   - everyone seemed happy and well adjusted.  I did notice that this   shrimp seemed to be "paler" than I remember the prior shrimp being -   his red and white stripes were not nearly as vibrant.  However, after   having him a few weeks, his color perked up. Then, this morning, I found him in a small crevice created by the   live rock, dead.  I feel like a shrimp killer!  I once again checked   all the "stats", and everything was as it has been.  The other   residents seem perfectly fine.  Is there something I am missing as to   why I am fatally harming the poor skunk cleaners? Thanks for your time and assistance! <Please understand the inherent faults in your system... it's too small, unstable to "on average" keep going... w/o crashing... and the shrimp are on the more right hand end of survival curves for small volumes... The instability of water quality is at the utmost in probable causes of loss here. If I could, I would have you double, quadruple the size of your system. Your mail shows intelligence, compassion... desire to succeed, but 12 gallons isn't going to allow this for long. Bob Fenner>

Lethargic Shrimp (7/27/05) Hi! <Hello. Steve Allen with you tonight.> Thanks for all the past help! I've looked through all the other posts and couldn't find anything similar to my problem. I have had my tank set up for about a year now, I have two maroon clowns, two anemones, some hermit crabs, some snails and a few pieces of coral. OK, I haven't added anything new in about 6 months, and all of the sudden, my shrimp is acting strange. <Uh-oh> He usually molts regularly and is all over the tank doing his job! But this morning, I saw that three of his antennae were "cut" short and rather than standing while he cleaned, he was laying on a piece of live rock...Very listless looking! Help PLEASE!!! He is always so happy looking!  He's my favorite! Is there something that I can do? Thank you! Deanna <Sorry to hear of your travails. I agree that these shrimp are way cool. Unfortunately, there could be a number of causes. I suppose old age is possible (lifespan 2-5 years). Much more probable is some change in water conditions. Consider nitrates. Check ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates and act if any of the first two are detected of if nitrates are elevated. Any chance the pH or SG may have suddenly changed. What about the temperature. Does it appear that it's trying to molt? A bad mold could kill it. Perhaps something (maybe a large hermit crab) attacked it. Viral infection is another possibility. Really the only thing you can affect at this point is the water conditions. Fix them if out of whack. If they're fine, about all you can do is wait and see what happens. You could move it to a small hospital tank filled with water from the tank and observe/treat there. Good luck. Sorry I can't give anything more definitive.>

Suddenly Shrimp Died (8/2/05) Hey Crew!  This message is for Mr. Steve Allen...First off, I am sorry this took so long for me to do, but I really just wanted to thank you for the help that you gave me with my shrimp! Unfortunately, he died about 30 minutes after I sent the email, but your reply really did help! I honestly do appreciate your immediate reply, and have to say that everyone there has truly helped me so much! <Always happy to help. Sorry to hear that your shrimp died. I know how bad it feels to lose a treasured member of your aquarium community.> I had my water checked and I think that the reason I am having all the problems is probably because my nitrates are really high (I have an undergravel filter...I know, I know, I just wish someone had told me how bad they were before I invested in one, and being a recent college grad, there's nothing I can do to change that right now!!!) <High nitrates are certainly harmful and are one of the big downsides to undergravel filtration in marine systems. That said, there are quite a few folks out there who employ them quite successfully, albeit mostly in fish-only systems.> Anyways, you do not need to reply to this email, as I know you are probably extremely busy, I just wanted to express my thanks! Good luck with all of your other questions! DJ <I did want to get back to you with some encouraging words. I understand that finances are always an issue. Don't beat yourself up about buying an undergravel filter. You may be able to get your nitrates down by carefully avoiding overfeeding, cleaning the gravel, and doing frequent water changes. If you can keep the level down and stable, you can have a shrimp.  Do you have a skimmer? If not, start saving for a quality one--it's the biggest bang for your filtration buck. I can tell you are a conscientious aquarist, so I am certain that you will succeed. Good luck, Steve Allen.>

Shrimp Paralysis 7/26/05 Hello Team, <Hello, Shawn> I have a 75 gal salt water tank.  I have 1 Scopus Tang, two mated Percula Clowns, 1 Six-Line Wrasse, and a Blue Devil Damsel.  I have 2 snails and 2 hermit crabs.  I also have 1 cleaner and 1 blood I have had for about a week.  I have had it going for 4+ months.  I conditioned the tank for 6 weeks with the damsel and crabs before I introduced the Scopus, snails, and the Clowns.  Eventually I brought in the shrimp, 1 by 1. Today I was watching the tank (as usual) and I turned to find the cleaner on his back, his legs kicking.  The back legs were trying to scurry, while the rest of him was slightly twitching.  I took him out of the tank to quarantine him, but he soon died.  It was quite a shock as I have very high water quality { 0 Nitrates/Nitrites, ph is 8.2, very low ammonia}.  I am extremely particular about the water quality of my tank! Soon after the Blood Shrimp flipped over doing the same thing.  I have not tested for extremely high Iodine levels yet.  Excluding that, could it be anything else?  All other inverts seem to be fine.  Also, I have been having very BAD LUCK keeping shrimp alive in this tank (2 other coral bandeds have died at different times/not in the tank at same time). Nothing else has ever died (knocking on wood).  <Was the tank ever treated with copper?  James (Salty Dog)> Thank you very much for your time! Shawn
Re: Shrimp Paralysis
7/28/05 Hello Team, As a response to your question below, I have never had my tank "treated with copper"(?).  The tank was purchased at my LFS brand new.  Not only was the tank cycled properly, I have a water purifier that supplies the tank with clean water.  All my other inverts seem to be thriving, it's just shrimp in particular I have had trouble with. <Shawn, do not know if you are aware of this, but shrimp must be acclimated  very slowly.  They are extremely sensitive to changes in ph and salinity.  Other than that, don't know what to tell you.  Mr. Fenner may inject something here.  James (Salty Dog)> Thank you again for your time! Shawn

Shrimp AND quarantine 7/10/05 Hey Crew! I have two quick questions that for some reason I did not find an answer to on the site. Do I need to quarantine decorative shrimp when I purchase them? <It's always advisable to cure anything and everything before adding it to a display tank> After I have the shrimp (skunk cleaner, heard they clean the best, and most likely to clean) in my display tank, would it be a good idea to take one out of the display tank and add it to my quarantine tank while I am quarantining other fish?  I read that they eat parasites and so forth. <If you notice a problem with crypto, it *might* help, but otherwise than that I wouldn't bother> Thanks a lot! <You're welcome - M. Maddox>

- Explaining Shrimp Losses - Hello WWM, This is my 1st question to WWM and I'm a 'newbie' so please be gentle.. (Also, will try to keep it grammatically correct for you). I have a 150g tank with 10 kilos of LR (will get some more soon), the tank is over 3 months old & has 10 red legged hermits, 1 yellow tang and 2 common clowns, a feather duster, 1 blood red shrimp & 3 cleaners. The blood-red and 2 of the cleaner shrimp disappeared last week and haven't been seen since.  We can only now see 1 of the cleaners. Readings are:- SG 1.0240 temp 78-80 Amm 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 10-15 Phosphate 0 calcium 450 For info, we have started to get what we believe to be hair algae on the rocks and don't know of this is connected. <I don't think so.> Any ideas would be greatly appreciated as I really don't want to lose another shrimp. <Well... as you might guess, these invertebrates are rather delicate, and there's no easy way to tell when you see them at the store what they've been through to get there. And then there's the issues of how you introduce them to your tank. For these reasons, shrimp often perish for seemingly unexplainable reasons. It's my opinion that the most frequent cause for these losses is improper or too rapid acclimation. For myself, I always ask at the store what the salinity of their tanks are when I take something home. This gives me an idea of just how long I'm going to have to spend to acclimate the animal. In the case of shrimp, I usually take no less than an hour... and using a method I learned from a friend [specifically for shrimp], I usually just poke pin-holes in the bag and let the waters mix very slowly while the bag floats in the tank. Now having said all that, you may have in fact taken the exact same steps and still lost the shrimp, and if that's the case I'm out of explanations other than to say sometimes that happens. I think given the size of the tank, you should be able to house this many shrimp and should definitely try again. Oh, and get some more live rock when you can.> Many thanks. Paul <Cheers, J -- >

The (Nancy Drew & Hardy Boys) Mystery of the Missing Fire Shrimp.. >Hey guys, >>Hey. Marina (not a guy) here.  >I'm playing detective here. >>I'm playing Mom here. >Woke up this morning to find my sally light-foot crab (2.5-3in) chomping on the shell of what appears to be the tail of a fire shrimp. I have two fire shrimp and I can only find one so far.  >>Whoops. >I've seen them molt before so I don't want to jump to conclusion.  >>Have you seen the Sally eat the molt before?  >I also mysteriously lost a small Cleaner shrimp a month ago 2 wks after buying him. I don't want to exile this crab to my aggressive tank with the Lionfish unless necessary.  >>Why not? Give it good hiding places and it can probably hold its own quite well. Know that this crab very well could have found and killed the shrimp post molt as well. >Who else could have done it? 75 gallon LR/LS with various soft and LPS corals containing: 1 Sailfin tang(4in) >>Unlikely, as it would have left nothing for the crab had it been the culprit. >1 mandarin goby >>Nope. >1 golden wrasse (3in) >>Mmm.. possibly? But HIGHLY unlikely.  >4 firefish >>Nope. >2 Ocellaris clowns (1.5-2in) >>No-ope. >2 cleaner wrasse (2.5in) >>You know how we feel about cleaner wrasses in most home aquaria, yes? I do hope they survive captivity in the long term. >1 brittle star (5in) >>BINGO! Besides the Sally, of course. Do watch your fishies with this one, too! >3 cleaner shrimp >>Not them, either. >1 fire shrimp for now >>Nope. >Various snails: Astrea, Strombus, Trochus >>Highly doubtful. >Various hermits less than 1in. >>Not likely. >Thanks for maintaining such a great and informative site. >>You're welcome. You have two very good candidates in there. Marina 

The (Nancy Drew & Hardy Boys) Mystery of the Missing Fire Shrimp - Solved? >Thanks Marina for the quick reply over the Easter holiday weekend.  >>You're welcome. 'Twas dim, dark, and cold, and I have no young ones anymore, so we all just did what we wanted (long nap for me). >I kind of suspect the brittle star also because he has gotten big enough.. must be at least 5-6inch across.. bigger than the width of my spread hand.  >>Believe it or not, this may be just a baby. Search Ophiarachna incrassata - the most well documented predatory species. >He only come out when the light is off and moves pretty fast.  >>Eeha! Aren't we glad they're not bigger than us? >Scary looking in the dark but I thought they are only detritus scavenger.  >>Oh no, not at all. Do take a look at this genus, note the "arachna" bit, telling. >Well I know where he hides! >>Hee! Sump denizen, for sure! I'm glad I helped. Marina 

Injured Shrimp Legs 3/19/05) My cleaner shrimp was clinging onto my filter tube and a couple of his legs broke off into my filter. Will their legs grow back? Please let me know. Thanks, John  <John. No need to worry, they should grow back with the next molt. Some evidence suggests that iodine supplementation may promote molting. It is that proper iodine levels are required for healthy molting. If it has been a long time since the last molt, you may want to test the iodine level and supplement if needed. Also, be aware that molting is risky business. Sometimes shrimp fail to successfully complete it and die in the process. Other times, they get eaten before their new exoskeletons harden. Not to scare you, though. Most times it works out fine, so you can expect your shrimp to have six legs again after molting. Steve Allen.> 

- Using Methylene Blue, Follow-up - Thanks J. Just to Clarify. This will work on all invertebrates?  <Good grief... I just re-read your question and my answer, and I must apologize for not reading twice, or perhaps not having that second cup of coffee. I'll try to be more clear - do not use Methylene blue on ANY invertebrates, they will perish.> I also read around and it looks like it is not worth trying to dip the corals.  <There are other dips suitable for corals but I have no experience with that... would suggest you read Eric Borneman's Aquarium Corals and Anthony Calfo's Coral Propagation.>  Would you recommend QTing these for 3 weeks as well.  <I know Anthony would say absolutely... I personally have never quarantined corals... you'd have to have a very good and separate quarantine system for corals... very different requirements from fish quarantine. Would still need good light and excellent water quality.>  I have a light that would be good enough for LPS, but not strong enough for SPS. 32 watt 50/50 over a 10 gallon QT tank.  <And perhaps not enough water to insure stability... would be best to have a larger tank for this.> Maybe I am just being too cautious now, but I do not want to unintentionally kill any more critters.  <I can think of few that do, and I'm glad you wrote back... am mortified by my own poor response.>  Life is too short for these guys. Tom <Cheers, J -- > 

Parasite on Common Cleaner Shrimp? Hello, <Hi there> List of my tank: 1 Tank of about 30 gals. 1 Percula Clown (False) 2 Banggai Cardinals 2 Pajama Cardinals 2 Cleaner Shrimp 1 Emerald Crab 1 Arrow Crab <Keep your eye on this animal> 5 Cortez Hermits 2 Red scarlet Hermits 1 Crab (unknown) A few more unknown creatures (uncured live rock 28lbs) Numerous Bristle worms and Pest Anemones Anyway, my tank has been up and running from Nov 2004 and running very well after the cycle.  Now I am starting to notice a difference in one of my Cleaner shrimp.  Just before the last molt process there was a black spot just behind the eyes in the white stripe.  After the molt and Harding the black spot is no longer there instead there is a growth of some kind.  It rises up about a 1/8 inch its color is brownish tan. I have been learning many lessons about this hobby and have had  my share of research. Thanks for any advice Craig <Likely not a biological disease per se... and naught you can do re... Do consider a larger system... Bob Fenner>

I just added a cleaner shrimp in my 20 gal with a yellow-tail damsel a canary damsel and a saddle back clown. I waited about 20 minutes to put him in and he seemed happy when I put him in he was all over the place but now (about an hour later) he seems frozen almost dead but he is still alive. Is this normal and if this is a problem is there anything I can do? <Can you make time go backward? These animals are sensitive to small changes in water/environmental quality... need careful acclimation... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/shrimp/shrimp.htm and the linked files (in blue, above). Bob Fenner>

Why Did the Shrimp Die? (1/24/05) Hi, I bought a cleaner shrimp 3 weeks ago and it seems and perfect condition ever since 3 days ago when it stopped eating. <Always a bad sign. These are aggressive eaters.>  Molted once already in my tank 2 days after I've purchased him. Yesterday, it molted and died the next morning.  <This is a vulnerable time for them and it is not unusual for them to die in the process before their new exoskeleton hardens.>  My tank is 30G, 2 months old with 2 clowns and 4 corals with dozen of hermit crabs. Ammonia, nitrite and nitrate 0 ppm, PH 8.15.  <This is a it low for shrimp, but does not sound dangerous.>  Four days ago, I started to bring the salinity level from 1.021 up to 1.023 within 2 days.  <Yes, you should go slow and shrimp do better closer to 1.024 than 1.021, as is generally the case with invertebrates.>  I've also purchased some dead corals to add in my mechanical filter. <For buffer?>  Can you please advise what might have cause the death of my shrimp?  <Any number of things. Delayed stress from capture, shipping, acclimation. Failed molt. Attacked by a crab. Impossible to know.>  All remaining livestock are fine. Iodine level, copper from dead corals?  <Some sort of contaminant is possible. Checking and supplementing iodine if needed is a good idea.> Thanks  <Sorry for your loss. Hope this helps, Steve Allen.> 

New 55 gallon Snail and Shrimp Deaths (12-13-04) Hi WWM crew, <Hello. You have Leslie here this evening.> I recently set up a 55 gallon reef tank about 2 weeks ago. I have 60 lbs of Arag-alive Bahamas oolite, 45 lbs of Fiji live rock from LiveAquaria.com which took 5 days to cure, a sand sifting star, 2 peppermint shrimp but one died 2 days after I put it in, 12 red leg hermits, 3 blue leg, 15 turbo snails (about 6 aren't moving so I put them in a separate container and took out the ones that where stuck to the side. 4 I think are dead. they smell pretty bad). My equip. is 260 watt Coralife lunar Aqualight, Eheim pro II 2026, aqua c remora which I set up about 2 days ago, and a Rio 800 power head. I filled my tank up with freshwater from my faucet (well water that passes through 2 carbon filters and a water softener) and mixed the right amount of salt to it. I waited 2 days and check all of the levels. Then I added my sand which I opened the bags underwater and I spread it around. I waited 2 days then added my live rock to the tank. There were still some coralline algae on it since it took 5 days to cure. I set my light system for the actinic for 14 hrs and my daylight for 12 hrs. It ran for 4 days and then I added 10 Turbos, 10 red legs, the sand sifter, and the shrimp. I started adding coral-vital to speed up the growth of my coralline. I did a 25% water change with RO water I got from my LFS which I work at, because my phosphates were .5. I started getting brown algae on my substrate and live rock in a few places, then on the glass. About a week later my substrate was all brown and so was the live rock, on the glass were patches of algae and this single hair like matter about 1/2 long on the glass all over. Over 3 days my water started to get cloudy, on the 3rd day I couldn't see the power head in the back of the tank. the first 10 inches from the top was like white cloudy water and as it went closer towards the sand it become a yellowish-brown like a urine color. all my levels are fine I have been testing my water everyday) I bought the skimmer right after I came home from school and I saw this and I got next day shipping so I received it the next day. It has been running for about 3 days and the foam is white and it produces about 1/2 cup full of brown water everyday (I have it on the lowest setting collecting as much as it can, otherwise I get nothing.) I don't know if the snails that I think died caused this or the coral-vital. I put a bag of Phos-guard, Chemi-pure, and reef carbon in the filter. What could be causing this? Thanks Joe   <It sounds to me like the snails and shrimp were added too soon. If I read the sequence of events correctly you added the snails 6 days after you set the tank up. Your tank did not have time to establishing a biological filter. Please review following articles on biological filtration and cycling http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/filtration/biological/biofiltr.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/estbiofiltmar.htm> HTH, Leslie

Black spots on cleaner shrimp Thank you so much for all this wonderful information, when my cash flow will be a little better, I do intend to give money. I have had 2 cleaner shrimp for 6 months that seemed to be thriving up until last week when I noticed little black markings on its body.  like little black specks here and there and scratch like blackish markings? Now he is on his side in the back of the tank and I think he is dead :(  all seems good in my tank from what I can test. 35 gal with 40 gal sump,  display filled with live rock, DSB with plenum, high turn over Ammonia: non detectable nitrite:    non detectable nitrate:   non detectable KH:  15 ph:  8.2 night time calcium: 340 salinity: 1.023 now bringing it slowly up to 1.025 temp: 78 to 80 3.5% daily water change small granular, flake, Mysis and as a treat brine once a week, any idea what this could be? << Unfortunately no.  I've seen this a few times before as well.  I think it may have to do with an Iodine deficiency causing molting problems.  However I've also seen it in tanks with lots of Iodine.  So unfortunately I haven't figured out what causes this. >>   Gratefully yours              Tristan <<  Blundell  >>

Shrimp dying I have a 4-month-old saltwater tank (10 gal). I have 5 snails, 3 blue-legged hermits, feather-duster, two ocellaris, and a skunk shrimp. Everything has been very healthy except for the shrimp. My nitrate stays below 10ppm, temp is about 78, salinity is at 1.025. My first shrimp lasted about 2 months. It was thought that he didn't have any iodine left in the tank to molt, so I just made sure to add that for the second shrimp. The second shrimp was not good from the beginning and only lasted a week. He would have uncontrolled "seizures" were he'd just bounce all over the tank. He finally came out from behind a rock and all his feelers looked like they were quivering and ten minutes later he was dead. I took 3 weeks before getting a third. I was having some temp problems that I thought might have shocked the second one, so after fixing it I thought it was good to try the third. He looks great and is active around the tank. However, he started doing flips around the tank and ended up at the top and floated upside down to the bottom of the tank. He sat there for a few minutes but then appeared to be okay. It's been a few days and still looks good. I was wondering if you have a thought about what might be happening before this one dies. << No real insight here.  First, I would consider a small water change, especially with how easy it is an a tank that small.  Also, if he does die, don't try another.  Iodine shouldn't be a concern since you don't really have anything else taking it out of the water.  Poor water quality would be much more likely to cause problems in this situation. >> I would appreciate all the advise I can get. Thanks! <<  Blundell  >>

White Fire Shrimp My white shrimp has molted since this color change, (several times- hard to miss his molt). <I don't think its the iodine level. But something possibly more insidious.  Possibly a nutrient of some kind his body is not absorbing.> Aside from the color change, he is behaving normal, (even kept his same place on the rocks). The rest of my shrimp and crabs (6) are still molting, too. I noticed nothing else different except this color change in the one fire shrimp. The color on the second fire shrimp is the normal beautiful brilliant red. <I believe its something genetic with this particular shrimp. Perhaps some loss of pigmentation such as in albinism. Very, very fascinating.> I don't know the iodine level is but will get a test to see. On WetWeb I had read regular water changes replenish the iodine, and other beneficial compounds. I do a 10%-15% water change every week. I also feed Nori, Mysid, live brine, krill, squid, live clams, live muscles, and pellets. (reading again variety was good). <With all of those types of food it probably isn't intake but once again something genetic.  I really would like to pass this along to some people I regard as experts.  I plan on keeping your address and readdressing this after MACNA. MacL> I'll check the iodine level to see if that helps. Thanks again, Quinn
Re: Fire Shrimp Turns To "Ice"
My white shrimp has molted since this color change, (several times- hard to miss his molt). Aside from the color change, he is behaving normal, (even kept his same place on the rocks). The rest of my shrimp and crabs (6) are still molting, too. I noticed nothing else different except this color change in the one fire shrimp. The color on the second fire shrimp is the normal beautiful brilliant red. I don't know the iodine level is but will get a test to see. On WetWeb I had read regular water changes replenish the iodine, and other beneficial compounds. I do a 10%-15% water change every week. I also feed Nori, Mysid, live brine, krill, squid, live clams, live muscles, and pellets. (reading again variety was good). I'll check the iodine level to see if that helps. Thanks again, Quinn

Please help---how did I kill my shrimps?? I came home from work to find one of my cleaner shrimp dead and the other dying.  Please help me figure out what I did and what to do now.  I took the mag3 off my skimmer last night to clean it.  I ran it in a bucket with vinegar for about an hour, then ran it in some clean water for about 15 minutes to remove the vinegar.  I put it back on the tank but didn't restart the skimmer till this morning.   Last night after I put the pump back on the tank (but not turned on) my gf saw one of the shrimp "spaz out."  She said it swam around in circles for a few seconds like it was frantic.  I wasn't watching when it happened and missed it.  Other than that didn't notice anything amiss last night.  Didn't see the shrimp this morning before work but figured they were just in the rocks.  Came home tonight, one is dead and the other is on its back & doesn't seem able to right itself.  I tried to right it and it shot away, spun around in circles upside down, and went back to lying on its back.  I assume it will be dead soon.   : ( I can only think of 2 things.  1) could traces of vinegar have hurt them?  << I doubt vinegar would do any damage.  It would dissipate quickly >> 2) the bucket I used to rinse the pump in (by running it in plain water) is one that I used a few weeks ago to do water changes out of my quarantine tank.  I was using copper in the quarantine.  It's a plastic bucket.  Could it have absorbed enough copper to transfer a trace of it into the tank and killed the shrimp? << I wouldn't have thought so, but copper does do some serious damage to shrimp. >> I did a test for copper in the tank but the test kit is so hard to read, I just don't know. My other inverts seem fine.  I have snails, a Fromia star, & a fighting conch.  I would have thought if it  was copper the other inverts would be affected. are they doomed too?  << Not doomed, but I would keep a close eye on them. >>what about my live rock??  I also have a few polyps (brown ones and yellow ones) and a colt coral. << I wouldn't start removing things, unless the conditions of the tank continue to get worse.>>   can you help me figure out what I did wrong and what to do now?  I have carbon in the skimmer box.  If it's copper will that remove it? << Only if something attaches to the carbon, and keeps it in an organic state.  A skimmer may not work for this, but it won't hurt. >> should I get some other medium to absorb copper? << There are copper absorbers that bind chelated and non chelated copper.  I've heard good things, but never used them.  Check your local store. >> have I messed up my tank completely?? << I don't think so.  The real key is to keep watching your tank inhabitants for the next several days. >> << Adam Blundell >>

Peppermint In Peril? (Shrimp Health) Dear Bob and Crew, <Scott F. here today> I am very concerned about Peppy (my Peppermint Shrimp). I am sorry, but I am new. There is still a lot I need to know. < Don't be sorry for asking a question! We're all in the same boat; learning each day!> But Peppy seems to be getting a blackish color tail for some reason, do you know why this would be happening? I have had him in my display for 3 weeks. Here are my parameters: Ammonia .25 (found a turbo snail dead today) <Do some water changes to get this down to an undetectable level ASAP> Nitrite 0 Nitrate 0 pH 8.2 - 8.4 Alk 4 meq/l Ca 450 ppm For the 3 weeks I have had him, I have not seen him molt, should this be a concern? <Not really...These creatures will molt when it is time. If you are keeping up with regular tank maintenance chores (water changes, etc.), then you'll regularly be replenishing trace elements which the shrimp needs for health. I'd simply keep an eye on "Peppy", and be sure to take care of the ammonia issue. As long as the shrimp appears to be otherwise healthy, I would not be overly concerned> While I have you on the horn here, I saw Peppy eating a copepod the other day, I thought they were reef safe? <Well, "reef safe" is a relative term! After all, everything that lives on a reef eats something else that lives on a reef! I wouldn't be overly concerned here (unless, of course, I was a copepod!)> Are there any signs of molting I should be looking for? <I've found that the normally outgoing shrimp will generally disappear for a few days, then emerge newly molted.> Thanks for your help Tim <Hang in there, Tim! With continued good husbandry and careful observation on your part, I'm sure that Peppie will be just fine! Good luck, and feel free to contact us again any time. Regards, Scott F> 

Cleaner Shrimp Deaths Hi Bob Very informative website you have. <Hi! Ananda here today....> I have a 30 gallon tank with only 2 small - less than 1 inch blue tang and clown fish, with skimmer, live rock and dead corals. (planning a bigger-75 gallons once the grow) <I'd suggest something even larger so you can give that tang some space to swim in....> Trying to add a cleaner shrimp, 1st try - died the next day, after moving a bit stood in a corner and died the next day. acclimate for 2 hours, 2nd try - acclimate using the drip method for 3 hours - he looks very happy for 2 days eating and walking around. then died again. PH - 8.3, Salinity 1.23. <Hopefully, you mean 1.023 for that specific gravity...! Anyhow, at this point, I'm wondering if you've ever used a copper-based medication in the tank, or in any tank that the dead corals had been in. Any other substances that may have contaminated the tank or those dead corals might still be present in concentrations that are lethal to the shrimp but weak enough that the fish are not obviously affected. Also check your water quality (ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, etc.); inverts are particularly susceptible to poor water quality. You might also find out what the water parameters are at the store where you purchased the shrimp, so you can compare data. If there's a big difference, going even more slowly with the acclimation may help.> Thanks Henry <Hope this helps. --Ananda> 

Copper spill     Bob,       Hi, Thank for helping people like myself  who care so much about our creatures. I  have a 55 gal tank with a Sailfin tang, two fire fish , one emerald crab, one turbo snail, two live rock and one 10lb premium rock with a clam, lots of cup coral and some other creatures. I have a copper question. I spilled about a 1&1/2 cups of  copper treated water from my quarantine tank into my 55 gal tank. Some how during the night I had some equipment failure. I had been treating a regal tang for ich. I felt I wasn't ready for it, so I later traded it for the sailfin. At the time of the I was running an undergravel filter, 802 powerhead and a 400 emperor filter with carbon and PhosGuard media added. I have since removed the undergravel filter. I did a water change and changed my carbon media. I had two skunk cleaner shrimp in the tank at the time of the spill. I am wondering would this copper have killed them a month later? <Highly unlikely, but possible> They both died in the same manner one died Thursday morning, and the other Sunday night. They both began to stay in the same place a lot not eating much and began to be really still. Then a few minutes before they died they swim upside down, let the current blow them and around, they were really jerky. Could the copper take this long to kill them if this was the cause? Will it kill my emerald crab that was in there at the time of the spill and snail that I added two days before they died? <I don't think so> I have only had the snail a few days and he seems to be doing fine. I do use regular tap water, stress coat, instant ocean, and proper ph 8.2 when I change my water every two weeks. My nitrates have been getting up to 20 in the last two weeks so I have had to do a weekly water change. My ammonia is 0, nitrites 0,  and my ph is 8.2. Please help if you can.   Thanks  so much, Michelle <You are doing fine... the cause of loss of your shrimp is a mystery to me as well... but not much linked to the copper incident. I would leave off with the use of Stresscoat and engage a separate container to pre-mix and store your new water, match its quality to the main system. Bob Fenner>

Fire shrimp my fire  has  black spots on him...........I just  noticed it since he stays hid all the time. he is  big and just  molted.  I only had  him a few  weeks he never comes out ........he looked  ok  before I think he  stays hid so much I'm sure he  didn't have black  before,,,, he has  several black  large spots on him on one  side  now.  what's  wrong?  what do I do?  is  he  contagious, will he  die  can I fix  it?????????? <Such markings are not unusual (are they symmetrical on the animal... in about the same number and placement on either side?), and not generally a sign of illness, nor a contagion that can/will "catch". Nor is it indicative of a disease condition that it is hiding after having just molted... this is a very sensitive time in which the shrimp is subject to predation. Do check and maintain sufficient alkalinity and biomineral content in the water and offer some bits of food near where it is hiding. It should "come out" and be fine in a few weeks. Bob Fenner>

Dead Shrimp Mystery (3/31/04)   Hi crew, <Steve Allen tonight>   Got home from the office today to find three of my red leg hermits chewing away at my once proud fire shrimp, who was by this time well and truly deceased. <So sorry> The shrimp had seemed extremely healthy, and had been molting about every 8 days ( is that normal?) <A bit often, I'd expect a week or more longer.>   Anyway, the dead shrimp was quite a way from its usual rocky home, and was the other end of the tank near my Malu anemone.( That could be the current, that's about where it would go) <Quite possible> Also I've just fitted a skimmer ( I didn't have one before, just loads of filtration). It's only a real cheapo skimmer, wooden airstone powered, but it seems to be doing a good job, and I get some brown skimmate out of it. Anyway, took the usual readings Ammonia 0 / Nitrites 0 / Nitrates 2.5 ppm. So, any guesses as to the culprit? <Not the nitrogenous wastes.>  My theories are as follows: Shrimp was about due a molt, so could the skimmer have upset the Iodine enough to do damage? <Not likely. Your skimmer sounds rather weak and unlikely to remove sufficient iodine to cause this. I might be a good idea to test iodine & supplement if needed, but frequent water changes usually keep the level up. Skimmers pull mostly proteinaceous, organic  compounds out, not ions.> Shrimp was about to molt, and got mugged by the hermits? <Quite possible, even if not molting. Hermits are overrated as cleaners and underrated as aggressors/carnivores.> Shrimp was dumb, and wandered into the Malu? <I am unaware of anemones killing/eating shrimp, but can't rule this out.> The Yellow tang ( who was a good buddy of the shrimp) worried it to death by begging to be cleaned [it does have a guilty look about it]? <Yellow Tangs do not have a reputation for attacking cleaner shrimp.> Any guesses as to most likely? <I'd put the hermits right up there, but could have been old age (lifespan only a few years mostly), disease, deficiency. Unfortunately, it is impossible to know.> Anyway, thanks for all the help in the past, and for a great page.  I'll just go and sulk for a bit   -(  <I know exactly how you feel. I have lost a couple of these beautiful, interesting shrimp myself along the way.> and then get a new shrimp (or two)  :-)  <Go for 2 if your tank is big enough. Being hermaphrodites, they will reproduce and make lots of nice live food.> Cheers <to you as well> Bob (UK)

Black Gill Disease in Scarlet cleaners? 3/13/04 I promise this is the last thing about my Scarlet cleaners!  Arg, I was reading about black gill disease last night and I thought "no no, my shrimps gills aren't black, that's not what it is, his gills are just the right color"  I wake up this morning and his gills aren't *black* but they are that ugly gunky brown color that I mentioned in my email yesterday.  I only read about this in commercially raised food-shrimp, but I don't know why a decorative shrimp wouldn't be just as likely to get it...  :( If this is what he has, do I need to get rid of him now?  I don't want my other Scarlet and my Peppermint shrimp to get it (if they haven't already)  Sadness!  Thank you for tolerating my incessant emails! Rachael    <Rachael, I had never heard of this disease, so I did a quick search, and found that wild shrimp stocks occasionally contract this disease too.  I also saw references to different pathogens, so it is likely that "Black Gill" is not a specific disease, but rather a symptom of one of many possible pathogens.  It is probably advisable to quarantine this shrimp to protect your others.  Any treatments would be a shot in the dark not knowing the organism responsible.  Sorry not to be of more help.  Adam>

Another Dicky Shrimp and Mandarin Question >Hello hello!  Good-day to all!  Arg, I must be going through a transitional phase with my tank because I am just swimming (hehe, or is that "oh no"?) in questions!  This is going to be a long one, so please forgive me! :)   >>We shall try.  ;) >I wrote in about a very sick Scarlet Cleaner Shrimp recently -- I thought it might be a lack of iodine, but I failed to mention that I do weekly water changes, about 5 gallons (from a 55 gallon tank) and in asking around I hear this should be sufficient to keep the iodine in the tank at respectable levels.  If that's true then there's definitely something else going on with my shrimp because he's looking worse every day.  (Btw, I have had a miserable time finding an Iodine test kit so I added the lowest suggested dose as a precaution until my LFS can get a kit, Wednesday -- if the planets align properly). >>Honestly, it would be better not to dose at all until you can properly measure.  In the meantime, you should be able to feed it raw shrimp as a dietary source of iodine.  Another question for you is - Is this the only arthropod in the tank?  If so, then we might look to insufficient iodine/calcium levels as the culprit.  If NOT, then that is far less likely (assuming the others are healthy). >>In addition to the symptoms mentioned in my first email (weak legs that bent in funky ways, missing leg and antennae tips) I noticed that one of his little body parts -- something like a pair cilia-type deals located directly above his gills, inside his clear carapace, are moving *very* slowly in comparison to the much healthier looking shrimp I have in the tank.   >>That just answered question one.  I would have to surmise that there is something wrong specifically with this one shrimp, and unfortunately for it and the hobbyist, there is a real dearth of information on diseases of these animals.  I would recommend isolation (separate system) and watching the other animals. >(The healthy shrimp's "cilia" move impossibly fast, faster than I can count, the sick one's cilia flop up and down less than once per second).  I've searched for some sort of identification so I could give you the proper name of the part, but I could barely find pictures that were detailed enough to mention maxillipeds much less this tiny little inner appendage thing.  At any rate, this little gadget seems to have some brownish gunk at it's base.  Before he shed the last time the gunk was *very heavy* and the little thingie barely moved and it seemed it moved with great difficulty.  The gunk disappeared when he finally shed but it almost immediately re-infected him and is seemingly getting worse than the last time.  So, if this isn't an iodine dilemma what is it and do you think it's contagious?   >>It could be a bacterial, parasitic, viral, or other infection.  It's really very difficult to tell.  Isolate, and should you like to experiment with antibiotics I recommend Spectrogram. >My other shrimp doesn't seem to have any related problems and I'd like to keep it that way.  eek. >>Then definitely separate the sick one. >Whew ok, now to less-stressful things.  I have a minor (so far) problem with Cyanobacteria.  I used to keep a golden-headed sleeper goby (until I lost him in a very unfortunate heater mishap over a weekend when I was out of town) and he kept all that under control, but since that sleeper goby died I purchased a psychedelic mandarin dragonet to keep the prolific and newly-unchecked microfauna (namely Planaria) under control.   >>You, my dear, have a terrible nutrient export/control problem.  I suggest upping the weekly changes to 50% minimum, starting with one full water change (do be sure it's properly aged and matched for temperature, salinity, pH). >The mandarin eats just about anything it can find, including the Mysis I feed, but my concern is that those two fish seem to fill very roughly the same niche and I worry that adding a sleeper goby might take away a lot of the mandarins "wild" food, do you think these guys could happily live together?   >>They won't quarrel, but your system is likely slim as it is for just the mandarin.  Deal with the excess nutrients that are likely the cause of the Cyano issue, and the rest should fall into place.  Along with water changes, consider the addition of a refugium (make it approximately 1/3 the volume of the tank).  If you don't skim, a good skimmer might be very helpful.  You may also have an issue with phosphate/phosphorous (I don't know anything about the source water for your w/c's). >Like I said, the mandarin eats the food I feed the rest of the fish in addition to the "wild" stuff he finds in the tank, and my old Sleeper did the same.  When I kept the Sleeper he was fat and sassy and now that I have the Mandarin *he* is nice and rotund, but I don't want to compromise that by keeping them *together.*  And on that same note, I'm partial to the beauty of the V. strigata, but I've seen some other sleepers that seem to be just as dutiful, for my purposes (stirring the sand bed) would you suggest something else instead?  I don't mind the way sleepers re-arrange things at will, I just want something to shake up the sand a bit. Thank you for your patience and time!  Have a fantastic week! >>For the time being, I really think you should deal with these other issues first.  Worry about adding a fish to stir sand later, as a 55 is rather small.  If you MUST have sand stirring, consider an Archaster typicus (sandsifting sea star).  One ONLY. >Rachael >>Have a good weekend.  Marina

Help! Serial shrimp death 2/12/04 Crew- SOS! My tank (35 hex) has been up for almost a year (first marine tank). After the some early stupid mistakes (too rapid stocking, etc) I have settled in and my tank has flourished. Residents included a peppermint shrimp pair and skunk cleaner pair, all early additions that survived my early "gray period". All were purchased fully grown.  I also have:   a.. another pair of small peppermints   b.. adult blood shrimp   c.. 2 emerald crabs   d.. 2 sally lightfoot crabs   e.. Some blue and red leg hermits (small)   f.. Scopas tang   g.. Arc eye hawkish   h.. Maroon clown   I.. a few turbo snails Tank parameters have been good for some time. No additions to the tank for months, weekly water changes of 5 gals. I have noticed some nitrate accumulation over time. After the unexplained death of a snail, I had the LFS do a test. Their test confirmed elevated nitrate and slightly elevated ammonia (but still pretty low). I decided to do larger water changes (with 25+ lbs LR, I was thinking 10 gals) to lower nitrate, then start daily small changes (1 gal) for a while. Before I could do the 10 gal change, 1 of the adult peps died, followed several days later by the other. Weekend finally arrived and I changed out 10-12 gals. Testing indicated waste products dropped. It has been almost 2 weeks and now I have found a dead skunk cleaner. Just last night she was spawning and active; today she is dead. I can confirm that this shrimp and the peppermint did not look mauled, they appeared to have just up and died like Bojangles dog. Assorted cleaner crew were snacking when I discovered them. <I would like to know your pH, ammonia, nitrate and alkalinity.  Ammonia is more toxic at higher pH, so if your pH is on the low side, water changes can actually be detrimental.> I only test for ammonia, nitrate, nitrite, ph, calc. I add Kent essential elements, strontium, iodine, calcium at half suggested package dose. The deceased have been fine for months. I (arg) added a product called Amquel when I did the big change in hopes of heading off a waste spike. I never have used this before. I also added Cycle, which have used forever. <I doubt the Amquel was at issue.  I would be more concerned about the trace elements.  These can easily be become toxic, particularly to already stressed animals.  Shrimp in particular have been anecdotally reported to molt spontaneously upon iodine additions, sometimes fatally.> SO...what did I do wrong/what can I do to save my remaining shrimp and other inhabitants (if, God forbid, the shrimps are canaries in my coal mine). <I would keep up a good water change routine and refrain from the use of any additives except those to maintain calcium and alkalinity.  FWIW, your tank is probably fully if not a bit over stocked and is much too small to maintain any tang.  All of your crustaceans have the potential to harass each other, hermits will kill snails for their shells, and hawk fish and maroon clowns can be crustacean predators.  You do have quite a web of predator/prey interactions <g>!> I hope I have provided enough info for expert opinion. Any help is greatly appreciated. I was just beginning to think I knew what I was doing and this is very discouraging, especially because the shrimp had stuck with me through the tough times. Thanks in advance, Cliff <This hobby has a way of humbling us.  We all have  bad experiences just when we start getting comfortable.  I hope these suggestions are helpful.  Adam>

Help! Serial shrimp death 2/17/04 Adam- Thanks for the help (again). The 35 gal is temporary; as soon as I complete remodeling my living room, a new 100-120 gal will be installed in a place of honor. <Good to hear.  A much better home indeed!> I have not tested alk, but other measurements are: Ammonia        <.25 mg/L (dropping from just over .25) Nitrite            0 Nitrate           20 mg/L (down from >40--maybe as high as 80--should I do another 10-12 gal change?) PH                8.2-8.4 <Any detectible ammonia is of great concern.  This should rapidly move to undetectable.  Please do verify with another test kit.  More water changes are probably advised to reduce your nitrates to less than 10.  IMO, after salinity, Alkalinity may be the single most important thing to monitor.> After a stake out over the weekend, the Sally Lightfoots (feet?) were convicted of serial murder and exiled. Bioload has decreased  significantly with their exit and the shrimp killings. I am also using a poly filter just in case some unknown toxins were present. <At this point, I would say you have definitely found your culprits.  I think it is safe to rule out toxins.  Many of us have learned this lesson in the same painful way you have, and no longer keep ANY crabs.> Fish look good; corals look good; my fingers are crossed (and semblance of confidence returning). I will get alk test and check that. Any other suggestions? <Your ammonia reading is suspect.  If you had any ammonia, you would likely see signs of stress in your animals.  Other than that, It sounds like your mysterious deaths should stop.> Thanks again for the help. CT <Best Regards.  Adam>

Lysmata w/ black spots I think I have done a pretty thorough search on your site and if I have missed something I apologize but I have yet to find an answer. I have 2 L. amboinensis and 2 L. wurdemanni and one of the  L. amboinensis  has black spots on it. After a molt they are gone, but then slowly reappear. I have been told that this may be some sort of fungus, but I can't find any other info and I am not sure what to do.   Thank you for your time, Jessa <Perhaps this is a fungus or other infection, but have seen these black spots on many Lysmata sp. shrimps... are they symmetrical in placement, size? Likely nothing to worry about. Bob Fenner>
Lysmata w/ black spots
Bob Fenner, They are not symmetrical in placement and most are about 1mm in size. I noticed last night that the other L. amboinensis has two very small one just behind its eye now. I have asked an invert. zoo. about it and he thought it was a pathogen that would likely kill them and that I should remove them from the system, but had no other info about it.  Thank you, Jessa <Interesting. Maybe you could remove a molt, scrape a bit of this off, view it under a scope... for mycelia? Perhaps a Cyanophyte... Bob Fenner>

Lysmata w/ black spots Follow-up Bob Fenner, I was able to get a bit of exoskeleton from last molt. Took a look at it under the microscope. What should I be looking for?  Jessa <Mmm, gross structure... if the material is fungal it should appear like syncytial threads... a bunch of "endoplasmic organelle-less spaghetti" if you will... if algal, as discrete circular "blobs" w/ (eukaryotic) or w/o (prokaryotic: Cyanophyte) nuclei... Bob Fenner>

Coral banded shrimp 12/19/03 Dear Bob, <Hi Christina! Adam here at your service> I sent you a previous email with a question regarding my coral banded shrimp.  He had what I think must be a bad molt.  He lost his huge pinchers, and all of his legs.  I had emailed you saying he had his two mini pinchers which he used for feeding.  I just took a closer look and all he has are two front legs. <Generally crustaceans regrow lost appendages internally, and they are revealed upon molting.  I have never observed them to lose the appendages in the act of molting.  Are their any fish or other shrimp that may be sparring with your CB?  Some fish will quite disturbingly dismember prey items instead of just eating them.  Also, CB's will fight viciously with each other and occasionally other shrimp.> I am concerned about him eating, since now he has nothing to grab food with.  Does this mean inevitable death??  Any advice? <your concern is quite warranted, but I don't think death is inevitable.  I would place some food near the shrimp and see if it is able to get it to it's mouth.  If so, it may make it.  In the mean time do try to find the cause and remove it (obviously not possible if this is some kind of disease).  Best of luck!  Adam>

Success With Shrimp? I'm having trouble introducing cleaner shrimp into my tank and keeping them alive. I have a 20 gal tank. Ph 8.2 Nitrate 0, Nitrite 0, SG 1.022. The tank has been up for about six months.  I have a very small long horn box fish, a goby, and about 20lbs of live rock.  I've used a two hour slow introduction process, adding small amounts of water in 6 min. Intervals over an extended period of time, but I can only get one out of two to survive the introduction.  My tank is a new salt water tank, so I know it's not a copper issue.  The last time I got a shrimp to survive the introduced into my tank, it lived for one month, it molted three times, had a good appetite, and just died.  Can you give me any advice? <Well, a lot of factors come into play here. I'll assume that you were keeping one of the Lysmata species. They are usually quite hardy, but the key seems to be very slow and careful acclimation, along with extremely stable water conditions, as you surmised. Perhaps you were simply obtaining specimens of questionable quality? There is the possibility that your Box Fish is picking at the shrimp. In fact, I'll bet that this fish is a factor in causing some stress to these shrimp. In the end, it's hard to be 100% certain. If the water checks out, and predators are not present, I think that you may just have to keep trying when you are ready. Your techniques sound fine...Hang in there! Regards, Scott F.>

- Shrimp Parts - I have a 120 gal reef tank with 3 cleaner shrimp and recently noticed that on 2 of them they are slowly losing their long tentacles. <Hmm... shrimp don't have tentacles, I'm guessing you meant antennae?> Two of the shrimp always stay together and the third is always by itself. What could be causing this tentacle loss? <Perhaps a couple of things, wear and tear, perhaps one of your fish is picking at them. Really no worries, the antennae and really most any other extremity on a shrimp will usually grow back in a couple of molts.> Information that might be needed. Fish: Purple, Yellow, Naso, Powder Blue and Blue Tangs, Flame angel, Clown fish, Mandarin, Invertebrates: Anemone, 2 Turbo Snails, Flame Clam, multiple small cleaner crabs. Thanks, Dan <Cheers, J -- >

Parasites on Lysmata shrimp 11/1/03 Hi there!  I have a question.  I purchased a cleaner shrimp several months ago and it has just developed black spots on its body.  The shrimp is acting normal.  Is this a process of molting? Thanks! Stacey Boris <the black spots are a disease/parasite my friend... we do have some data in the archives on this condition. Let me invite you to browse our FAQs and the 'Net abroad for coverage of this topic by doing a google search with strategic phrases like "Lysmata black spots", "Lysmata parasites" etc. Anthony>

Cleaner shrimp antennae and xenia pom-pom getting eaten 10/19/03 Thank you Anthony, <always welcome, my friend> I will remove the shrimp. Do you think that the Lysmata shrimp is also responsible for the cleaner shrimp antennae being eaten? <no... peppermint and cleaner shrimp are both Lysmata and not likely to cannibalize each other as such. Your cleaners have lost their antennae due to incomplete molts (lack of iodine/poor water quality) or aggression from a fish> Thanks again for your help!  I'll be removing the shrimp today. Chris <best regards, Anthony>

Shrimp deaths I have a reef tank with a yellow tang, Naso tang, coral beauty, small mandarin, 2 clown fish, turbo snails and blue leg hermits. No matter what I cant keep either cleaner shrimp or coral banded shrimp. I have went through 3 coral banded shrimp and one cleaner shrimp.<well first of all I would check your tap water for copper sulfate...I had the same problem. but I only lost one blood shrimp and then I figured out the dilemma.> I cant figure out what is killing them My ammonia and nitrite levels are at 0 and my salinity is great.<It is probably your water source...Bring a sample of water to your LFS and have them check the copper levels> It seems funny to me I need to find out why the are dying or being killed shortly after I out them in the tank( within 1/2 of a day to two days). Can you please give me dome info?<I doubt your fish are killing them, good luck and get the water tested, IanB> Thank you

- Problems Molting - Hi there.....truly one of thee most amazing sites out there for us fish keepers!!!!!  I love every stitch of your site! <Glad to hear you find it useful.> I can not find any answer that even closely touch the topic I have. Is it possible for a camel back shrimp... or any shrimp for that matter, to get STUCK in  his/her own molting process???? <Oh sure - happens often enough.> This seems to have happened to me, as my one and only favorite camel back shrimp has died.  First I let nature take it course and figured he would eventually get the deed done... until about 5 hours later, we was in a bit of a different spot near some rock in the open water column, and he was still in the same molting phase... he seemed to have get the back portion off, but the area on his back, eyes, legs was still trying to be shed.  He was quite healthy and always so perfectly spunky.  Nothing in the tank would have done anything to him... and the water quality is always in tip top shape. Have you ever heard of such a situation????? <Yes.> He just looked like a LIVE table shrimp with his legs all facing toward one direction... like a dead table shrimp that wasn't cleaned... except this one was alive and breathing and could force himself away from other tank inhabitants who came by him to see what was going on. I hope you can lend some information... I even intervened... and pulled a piece of his old skeleton off of his upper back... but that didn't help him out at all either... and then I figured maybe he needs to have a little more privacy and I shut the lights directly after feeding the tank... and I woke in the morning to my favorite shrimp, dead. S O S <Sorry to say it's a little too late to save our shrimp - and really, this is absolutely natural. Many, many times crustaceans go beyond exhaustion trying to complete their molt - they are in a very vulnerable situation while this is taking place so they are in a hurry, and sometimes it just doesn't go well. It really is natural selection taking place before your eyes - there is nothing you can do to influence this in either direction. Sorry for your loss.> Thanks for your help. Can't wait to hear your take on this... keep well. <And you as well.> Rocco <Cheers, J -- >

- Shrimp Spots - My Blood Red Fire Cleaner Shrimp has developed black spots.  Is this normal. <I don't think it is abnormal...> He has molted once.  I have had him for 3 weeks.  He is in a tank with a clown and a royal Gramma. <Sounds good. Cheers, J -- >

-Can't keep cleaner shrimp alive- I have purchased individual cleaner shrimp on two separate occasions, and both have died within a month of buying. <Unlikely that it's acclimation; they'll die right away. Hmmm...> one of them died tonight, in fact, after molting yesterday for the second time in a month. <Death during molting has been linked to iodine deficiency, not sure if this is the case here.>it was a voracious eater, feasting on the algae on the back walls of my 20-gallon hex tank.  the water quality is pristine - ph is 7.8, ammonia, nitrate and nitrite levels are all at 0.0 ppm. <pH seems low if it is like this all the time. You may want to check your carbonate hardness.> its only tankmates are a sebae clown and a royal Gramma.  what am I doing wrong that my shrimp do not survive? <Not sure, since there are no other inverts in the tank, it is possible that a heavy metal or some other contaminate has been introduced into your water. If so, the fish would probably remain unaffected. I may have a better guess for you if you describe your setup more in depth and let me know what your water source is. -Kevin>

Blood (fire) cleaner shrimp losing its color >Dear WWM Crew, I have a blood (fire) cleaner shrimp, Lysmata debelius, which has lost its intense, deep red color and is looking very dull. It has been like this after several molts already. I have had this shrimp for over 6 months.  Could this be due to stress, or other natural cause? Due to it being the lone shrimp in the tank (best kept in pairs)? Due to chemical factors, such as iodine, magnesium, alkalinity or calcium? Due to lack of color-enhancing food? My water chemistry is: SG 1.026 temp 80F Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate <5ppm Alkalinity 3.4meq/L Calcium 420ppm Magnesium 1300ppm (It's a 37 gallon system) I feed my fish the following food and the shrimp picks up whatever falls to the bottom: frozen brine shrimp frozen Mysis shrimp Spirulina pellet food krill pellet food Please shed some light on how do I bring its color back. If I have to get him a companion, would an unmatched pair fight to the death? If I have to improve its diet, what kind of food is recommended? If I have to dose any chemicals, what and how much is needed? How do I test for it?  Thanks very much for your help.  Isaac >>Good morning, Isaac, Marina here.  After looking through the information you've provided, the only suggestions I have are to add a bit more variety to its diet, and do consider available iodine.  I've never heard of this problem, and two of the four food items you're feeding (those being the brine and Spirulina) are what I would recommend as "color-enhancing" foods.  Thus, iodine would be the only nutrient I might consider to be lacking.  I don't think the animal *must* be kept in pairs or groups, though, if you'd like to try adding another animal there should be no conspecific fighting between them.  I would also try small bits of Nori, as well as any one of the quality marine frozen foods that are available, for they'll provide much variety as well.  Best of luck, Isaac.  Marina

Bad molt... here, take my arms! BCS, CBS Never can keep it straight.. Anyway, my banded coral shrimp, who's about 5 years old and meaner than a snake, <heehee... all too common> apparently had a "bad molt" and showed up with both front claws missing.   <no worries... will regrow... feed well in the interim> I don't think there's anything else in the tank that could rip his newly molted claws off.  I have a brittle star, two small PJ cardinals, a mandarin and a firefish in a 45 high tank .  I also have assorted hermit crabs (small with tiny claws) and snails.  From reading the FAQs I understand that they can drop the claws and get them back in subsequent molts.  Might this indicate a lack of nutrients/minerals?   <indeed... quite possible. Lack of iodine for proper ecdysis/molt is often cited. If this is a non-reef aquarium or any that does not receive weekly iodine and/or water changes or better... then iodine levels are certainly low in your system. Seachem has a nice test kit for this if you like/to confirm. At any rate... a large but gentle water change would likely do wonders> Everything else looks fine. thanks tom <best regards, Anthony>

Shrimp Deaths I have a 55. Currently a FOWLR. Have 2 Percula clowns. I have a Koran angel -2 inch also a yellow tang - 4 inch in quarantine. So my final setup is this. 2-percs 1-Koran Angel 1-Yellow Tang. I want to keep cleaner shrimps, however every attempt at acclimating them they die I think. They seem to be frozen on contact of water. I blame it on low salinity as mine was 1.020 or so. Well please tell me if this setup is good. Also do you think neon gobies will do good in the tank and clean the fishes. I also want to keep my tang stress free. <<Hmm, lots to comment on here... For one, I'd leave off with quarantining the new shrimp... and raise your specific gravity if you intend to use them... I agree with your appraisal as to the "frozen" condition, cause of death. The use of Cleaner Gobies (Gobiosoma spp.) is probably a very good choice/alternative... I would try one or two (placed at the same time), if you're so inclined. Do take a look/see at our site if you'd like a good round of input... articles, FAQ files and images on most all topics... Home Page Bob Fenner>>

Blood Red Shrimp Hello, I recently (three days ago) added a blood red shrimp to my 75 gallon system which I have cycled with live rock (the shrimp was the first addition). The water has very good parameters (Ammonia - 0, Nitrites - 0, Nitrates - < 5, spg - 1.0225, temp - 78 degrees). After leaving the net, the shrimp sat on top of a piece of live rock at the top of the tank and sat there until the next morning. It had only moved about 4-6" overnight. Having read that shrimp don't like bright light, and since the lights were about to turn on for the day, I moved the shrimp down onto my substrate (Puka shell), <What? It didn't try to get away? Not a good sign.> next to a cave. It stayed there all day, not moving at all (it sat in one place, sort of swaying back and forth). <Can you distinguish whether the shrimp is swaying on its own or if the currents are moving it back and forth?> By the next morning it was inside the cave that I mentioned earlier. That night (last night), it had disappeared (the tank has a LOT of rock in it). I have not seen it since. It has never once, since I got it, appeared to be eating (I feed twice daily). However, it was at the LFS for several weeks and appeared completely healthy. Is all of this normal behavior? <All inverts are particularly sensitive to various shocking changes; temperature and salinity are two. My best guess is salinity shock. You should always perform a slow drip acclimation for all inverts. Nothing for you to do now, but learn from the experience.> Thanks! - Jes
<You are welcome. -Steven Pro>

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