In this article, we will discuss 9 different reasons why your shrimp might be dying. There is unfortunately no one reason that can explain every death given the conditions of each tank is different. All we can do is to change one variable at a time until the shrimps stop dying.
Has copper been treated?
Shrimps are sensitive to copper.
Some fertilizers or meds might contain copper so adding them to the tank will have unintended consequences. So you need to check the copper level in your tank.
If it is high, then you know this is the culprit for killing your shrimps.
Is temperature too high?
The ideal temperature for your tank should be around 26 degree Celsius.
If your tank is exposed to the sun or you live in hot areas, you might consider cooling the tank down via a small fan. The fan will cause faster evaporation which cools the tank down.
Has the tank been completely cycled?
A common mistake, especially for beginners, is forgetting about cycling the tank or not doing a good job.
Remember, once you change the water or remove the substrate, the whole cycling process needs to be restarted.
Some folks, in their haste to set up the shrimp tank, simply replace the water or the substrate without allowing cycling to happen as they assume the tank has been cycled before.
Lacking calcium in their diet
Shrimp need calcium in their diet to survive. If your plants are not providing it, you need to supplement the shrimps’ diet with calcium enhanced food.
A reason why the plants don’t have enough calcium or the lack of plants can be attributed to your water being too soft. Check the GH level if you are unsure. It should be at least 6 GH for the plants to grow.
To increase the GH of your tank, use GH booster such as those from SaltyShrimp. These boosters are made specifically for shrimp tanks and do not raise your PH level by much.
Bacteria infection in your tank?
Related to point 2 is the risk of bacteria infection when your temperature is too high.
If you suspect this might be the cause, restart the tank including isolating your current shrimp colony from the new batch. This is difficult to test but might be a reason if any new shrimps you added keeps on dying systematically.
Check the PH level
Make sure your PH level is neutral. If it is higher, you need to find out what is causing the increase. It might be your tap water, or something in the tank.
Use a TDS meter to measure the tap water. If it has a high PH, use a RO filter to bring it down.
If it is neutral, then it is likely it is the objects in the tank spiking its PH level.
Is your water clean enough?
Shrimps need clean water to survive. How often are you changing the water and is your method correct? The lazy way that some use is simply to replace the evaporated water with tap water. This is not ideal.
Firstly, simply topping up the water changes the composition of the water. How much it changes will depend on the mineral composition of your tap water. If the tap water is too hard or soft, adding them frequently will unstabilize the tank and causing stress to your shrimps.
Secondly, your substrate buffering of KH will be wasted as the tap water increases KH of the tank’s water. Since you are spending money on getting good substrate, don’t waste your time by wasting their KH buffering.
Ideally, you should do proper water change periodically. The frequency will depend on:
- The size of your tank
- The use of filter or not
- The set up of your bio filters
Is your filter too strong?
For small tank owners, check your filter’s power. If they are too strong, you will find your shrimps being sucked into the water flow.
If you have a big tank and a powerful filter, check to see if the air flow is affecting your shrimps. If it is, use a pre filter sponge on your filter.
Are there other fishes in the tank?
Another reason why your shrimps are dying can be simply attributed to fishes eating them. Shrimps are the lowest in the food chain so almost any fish is able to eat them if they desire. Some species tend to do it more while other like guppies tend not to.
To undercover the real reasons for why your shrimps are dying, you almost need to be a forensics scientist. Most of the time, the reason is the water. However, there are many potential things that could go wrong with it so you need to test them out, one at a time.