Confused - Both fire shrimp died in two days?!?!?


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I had two fire shrimp. One died yesterday and one died today. I had a small spike in ammonia after I moved my rocks around but that was almost two weeks ago. It went to just over .5 and today it's down to .25. PH, nitrite and nitrate are all good. The fish seem to be doing just fine and both shrimp were very active. My wife thinks it's due to the new Koralia #2 power head but I can't see how that is possible. Anyone have any idea what could have happened? Could the ammonia spike be the cause? The tank has been up for around six months now and was started with sand and water from the old 10 gallon saltwater tank.

That;s a tough one. Do you have other inverts in the tank? are they all doing fine?
any ammonia can kill shrimp. they are really sensitive to water quality. variations in salinity, temp, ammonia, all of it can kill shrimp.

I guess I'll blame the ammonia. I just would have thought they would have died when the ammonia first spiked, not two weeks later. I also have snails and hermits that are doing just find and thought they would go before the shrimp.

Oh well ... I'll get another pair in a couple of months when the tank is stable again.

Shrimp are more sensitive than snails and crabs. I would also guess ammonia. I don't see how the powerhead could have killed them either, unless they got sucked into it and chopped up.
They second one definitely didn't go through the power head. I don't think I'll be moving the rocks around again. I think it kicked up debris which caused the ammonia.

I've moved my LR around a gazillion times and did not notice any spikes. It stands to reason that plain old filter floss is going to remove a a lot of tank gunk (detritus, leftover food, seaweed, etc.) that would otherwise decay and cause nitrates to rise. Right before a water change, I turkey baste my LR big time, change the water and then put new floss in. The floss always turns brown in quick fashion.

If you don't clear the tank crud off your LR, you'll end up smothering the beneficial bacteria out of it. IMHO, flow alone isn't going to keep the LR clear of tank gunk.

Are you sure it was the LR move that caused the spike?
No, I'm not totally convinced it was the rocks, but it started a few days after I moved them. Some of the rock is only a few months old, purchased as dry rock (Australian spaghetti rock). It could just be coincidence. I am planning on getting a turkey baster to use for cleaning off the rocks. The ammonia had been at zero for months and it only spiked to around .5 during the past two weeks. I know I over-feed once (they seem to really like the krill), but I wouldn't think one time would cause an increase. At least it is on it's way back down to zero.
Another question ... a small amount of coralline just turned white today, maybe the size of a quarter. Is it normal for an ammonia problem to take this long to have a negative affect? The ammonia is almost back down to zero. I thought I would be getting out of the danger zone on this one. I'm planning on doing another water change tomorrow and one more early next week (I won't even think of it on Mothers day or it will be :death::death::death:).
Quick update ... I decided to change 5 gallons of water tonight. I'll do another 5 gal over the weekend.
Coralline seems to turn white sometimes for no apparent reason. I doubt that it is anything significant, it should come back in no time.
it could be from the new exposer to the light that bleached it or when you were changing the rocks around that part could have come out of the water which might have bleached the coraline
How are you testing for nitrites. If you had an ammonia spike you probably started a micro-cycle, which should have resulted in the increase of nitrites some time after the spike. Shrimp are very sensitive to nitrites and even small concentrations can kill them. I've had a similar situation with a nitrite spike in a micro-cycle.
I'm testing ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and ph with a liquid test kit. I have been waiting for the nitrite to spike, but tested at zero yesterday and the ammonia was looking between zero and .25. The test kit is probably a couple years old, but I couldn't find an expiration date on the box.
If there was the ammonia spike, there very likely was a nitrite spike too - with a time delay. The loss of shrimp coincided with something in water (it's unlikely that the deaths were unrelated) and prior to the event you detected hi ammonia; must have been nitrites.