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Help With Shrimp for New Fishkeeper


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I’m hoping somebody might be able to offer me some advice. I’m a newer fish-keeper that keeps killing any neocaridina shrimp I try to introduce to my tank.

I have a 6 month old tank that’s heavily planted. Most of my plants are doing really well. I have some hard scape that shrimp can hide in and a sand substrate. In the tank I have 1 mystery snail and a school of 10 neon tetras that I’ve had no issues with, I only lost one tetra shortly after setting the tank up. They get fed hikari micro pellets and xtreme krill flakes.

I have tried to keep neocarinidina shrimp since day one, introducing probably 15-20 to this point. Most of them never survived beyond a month. I had a couple that were first introduced 6 months ago that lasted until this past week, but now they too passed. They’ve been fed algae wafers and hikari shrimp cuisine. The tank is cycled, temperature is good, all parameters that can be tested on the general test strips and a master test kit have always been testing at acceptable levels, so I’m trying to figure out what else could be going wrong?

Looking into it some more, I did find that my local tap water has copper in it, so I’m wondering if that could be the cause? Any help would be appreciated.


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I'm not an expert, but I've been keeping them for about 2-1/2 years, and while I've been mostly successful there have been enough goofs to have learned a few potential problems.  I'll try to help.

  1. What's your acclimation process when you get new shrimp?
  2. What's your water change process (frequency and percentage)?
  3. What's your gh, kh, and pH?

By the way, I'm not familiar with what the numbers mean on copper content, but if your snail is okay I doubt there's enough copper in the water to hurt the shrimp.

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1. I’ve always followed the instructions from the sources I’ve got them from, which I’ve tried different places. Best luck I’ve had are actually the handful I got from PetSmart with the two that lasted about 6 months. Floated them in the tank for about 30 minutes, then put them in small tub, slowly added some tank water before putting them in. 

2. I try to change my water as infrequently as possible. I test my water a couple times a week and unless my nitrates are coming up on 25 ppm I only top it off or do like a 10-20% water change maybe every week and a half or two weeks? Nitrate spikes aren’t common, I’m assuming when I get them it’s me feeding too much so I usually skip feeding the next day too. When I do get them I still do the 10-20%. Haven’t seen ammonia or nitrite spikes. 

3. My GH, Kh, and PH measure pretty stable at:

- 75 ppm

- 60 ppm

- 7-7.2

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Just to confirm, the only other inhabitants are the Neon's and the Mystery Snail correct? What size is the tank? 

In terms of slowly adding water to the bag/container you're acclimating the shrimp in, how long and how much water are you adding? Shrimp from a chain LFS (not a Mom & Pop brick and mortar) have the best transition with slow acclimation via dripping. I've spent hours dripping new shrimp before and with that had minimal to no losses. I generally get my shrimp from breeders or importers, so I always drip. Early on with keeping shrimp I tried shrimp from a LFS and had similar issues to what you describe.

For your tap water data for copper. Did you send out a sample or is this information provided by your municiple water provider if you're on city water? I can't speak in experience for Mystery Snails, but I would think that any trace of copper in the water capable of killing shrimp would also be capable of killing snails. You mentioned you're also mainly feeding algae wafers and Hikari Shrimp Cuisine, have you tried other foods? Ideally something that is a calcium supplement so they are getting calcium via their diet as well as through the water column? 

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Answering a few questions here:

- 10 gallon tank. Not sure if I mentioned already but temp sits at 76. Only the 10 neons and 1 mystery snail, that was tiny when purchased and is now massive 

- I usually find the bodies and some appear to have had trouble molting, others not. I’ve had some super small ones die almost immediately after putting them in the tank. Usually if they change in color they start to turn pale/white. I have also caught my mystery snail eating one of the ones that had died, so I’m assuming he has eaten a few. 

- when acclimating I have done like a 1/8th-1/4th cup of tank water every ten minutes or so for like 45 minutes. 

- I have also occasionally fed one of those nano banquet blocks to the shrimp

- the copper content was from a report I found on my municipalities website for our water supply 

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I would do a drip acclimation over a few hours rather than the cup method. 1/4 - 1/8th cup of water added to bag water is decent volume to create a swing for inverts, or anything sensitive really. Do you have pictures of the tank? If shrimp are having issues molting then they are not getting a decent uptake in calcium, using a calcium based food like Dennerle mineral will solve that in terms of food uptake of nutrients. The GH and kH seem fine for water calcium content. I'm not a big fan of block style feeders, but that is just me, so I would recommend another shrimp specific food rather than a universal feeder block. 

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