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White Ring of Death


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  • pH = 6.6
  • Nitrates = 100
  • Hardness = 250 (12 drops from the API test kit)
  • Nitrite = 0
  • Ammonia = ?
  • KH/Buffer = 50 (6 drops drops from the API test kit)
  • Water Temperature = 77

Using the Aqua Care 5 in 1 test strips.

This is a 10 gallon tank I have had for a year and a half.  The annubias nanna and java fern are original.  As you can see, my plants are not thriving.  I dose with easy green and the rhizome is not covered.  My annubias gives me one new leaf every week, but then the old leaves show signs of distress.  A couple months ago the entire top of my aquarium was covered in frogbit that had grown from one tiny plant I had been given.  I cleaned out about half of it as I have to do periodically and the rest has almost completely died off.  The only thing different is that I put the airstone in to add some air/circulation, and it buffeted the plants around, so I have taken it out.  I have a betta log super glued to suction cups stuck to the back wall as a buffer under the filter output - this tank started as a betta tank and my neons seem to like the slower flow/diverted flow on the output.  I also have a coarse sponge filter on the intake so the shrimp don't get sucked in.  I used to get copeapods, but I started feeding less and haven't seen one in 6 months.  I have one nerite that's been around for at least 6 months.  I gravel vac 50% once per month and top off water in between.

I have 6 neon tetras from my LFS that have thrived in the 6 months I've owned them.  

My real problem is my red cherry shrimp.  I was given 8 last June and had one batch of babies last December.  Since then my colony of over 30 has dwindled to maybe a dozen.  About two months ago I started losing 1 per week.  In the past 2 weeks I am losing 1 per day.  I have had crushed coral in the filter for around a month trying to help (bio rings and filter floss also in filter).  I noticed 3 days ago that one had a very clear White Ring of Death.  Then the day after that the newly dead one had only a slight crack at the top of his back.  The one that died today had no crack at all in her shell.  I believe most of the deaths are failed molts.  I have only seen 1 successful molt in the past 3 weeks.  I consistently have high GH - I treat tap water with betta water conditioner from petsmart as that is what I had started out with.  The test strip always has the GH colored lavender without any hint of blue.  My KH and pH are always very low.  I do occassionally put Seachem Alkaline Buffer when my KH and pH drop low.  I feed algae wafers and Hikari Shrimp Cuisine.  

I'm bummed my little colony has only ever had one batch of babies and I hate seeing them die every day.  Should I move them to my 3 gallon and start them over with a blank slate?  Should I try a mineral block or wonder shell?  It's frustrating that I don't know if there is too little hardness or not enough.




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I’m sorry your colony is not thriving. Try wondershell or I actually prefer ACO spirulina nano blocks zoomed. My water has gobs of calcium but I think it seriously lacks magnesium. Shrimp and snails must have magnesium in order to use the calcium. I occasionally have high ph issues so stopped using wondershells for awhile although my hardness and calcium tests were off the charts. My shrimp and snails struggled. I lost shrimp, shrimp  reproduction was low to almost non existent in all my tanks. Both wondershell and nano banquet spirulina blocks contain magnesium.  Everything went back to normal when I began using them again. I’m not a chemist or biologist and this is entirely anecdotal based on my my experience. 

Also I’m not certain how you ph chemicals may impact shrimp 

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