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HELP!! Shrimp tank gone cloudy and smells

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Hi guys, yep it's the Newbie back for more advice on little information to give!!!

I have a small nano tank, 20l or so (it's one of those AquaOne tanks), that for almost a year has had cherry shrimp and 2 peppermint bristlenose, it's also planted although no new plants have been introduced. Nothing much has ever happened with it.

Since my partner moved out almost 5 months ago, I have been caring for the tank. I put a sprinkle of micro pellets in (the Hikari ones) every 2/3 days for the shrimp, and a couple of algae wafers for the pepps. I only change around a third of the water at a time, about every 2 weeks and always treat the water with prime. In the last month there have been more and more snails appearing. I had surgery 2 weeks ago so haven't been up and about, and yesterday noticed the snail numbers have EXPLODED!! I got a net in and scooped out a lot, this morning there was just as many!!

I also noticed yesterday that the water was looking quite cloudy and had a stagnant smell. I changed out half the water, I took out the sponge and rinsed it out in aquarium water a few times, it was yuck, water went really dark. I also took out the ceramic noodles and gave them a swish around in aquarium water, then topped the tank back up with fresh water.

Still cloudy today and had a few shrimp deaths (they have been breeding awesomely lately!!) and some that looked dead that were actually stuck to the glass lid but were still alive and jumped back in the tank. A lot of the shrimp are hanging out at the very top of the tank.

I don't know if I did the right thing or the wrong thing, tried google but so much conflicting opinion!!! If we own a water test kit, I don't know where it is but I can go and look, as long as it has instructions!!!!!!

I just don't want to lose the tank!!! Should I buy a new sponge? Keep changing the water out? Is it possible to blast the snails??

As usual, ANY and ALL advice is most welcome!!!!!!

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Ok found the water test kit, here's what I got:

PH:

AMMONIA: .25ppm

NITRITE: 0ppm

NITRATE: <5ppm

There's no instructions on how to test KH and it's not on the chart to compare the results.

Does this help at all?

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I suggest start with a test kit to check on the water parameters. At this point, until you could test the water, I would also suggest doing 10-30% water changes daily but refill the tank slowly, drip the fresh water back if possible at 1-3 drops per second to reduce the chance of any PH, TDS or temperature shock. Shrimps are generally quite sensitive but cherry shrimps are known to be tough.

Any other action to try address the issue is just a stab in the dark and could potentially be counter productive.

Cloudy water could also be a bacteria bloom due to a mini cycle but again this is just a guess. A water test would provide ammonia, nitrite and nitrate reading, and with these information, more knowledgeable people could provide advice.

Good luck and hope this helps.

*Sorry was on a phone call and replied after you posted your water test.*

Edited by jc12
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Did you test the water before or after you did the 50% water change? Is the test kit still within its expiration date?

I have never kept peppermints but have been told they are a poop generators. Not sure if it is normal to have an ammonia reading due to these poop generators or perhaps indeed your tank is going through a mini cycle.

I'll let the experts provide their advice.

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Yes just did the test earlier today. Expiry date on kit is 2018. It really is pretty smelly in there today, like a stagnant pond! In the sun at that :-( I just went and turned the filter up briefly and a jet of murk came out, then stopped. Turned the pressure back down again. And more shrimp on the lids, I have no idea why the little buggers would b trying to jump out of the water, never done that before!! There's a few floating around the top of the tank still, but they're all alive, just weird!

Sounds like I need to do a fair amount of research into mini cycles then.

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No dying plants, not even manky leaves. The few that go yuck I take out straight away. It does have that rotting vegetation smell... the filter sponge had a thick film of algae on it that was really hard to get off, coz it was growing into it...

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Do you gravel vac when doing water changes?

Most people don't in shrimp tanks but my guess would be that the gravel was stirred up when catching the snails causing a mini cycle

Population growth with the snails wouldn't cause an ammonia spike unless they were dying, normally you find more snails if feeding too much if they don't have anything to eat the population won't grow.

The shrimp are trying to get out of the water as it's not good for them at the moment.

Having a clog filter wouldn't be helping the situation either.

All you can do is waterchange daily until the cycle is over, if using prime or equivalent it should detoxify the ammonia.

Also try to add more air as water conditioner removes oxygen as it's doing its magic

Cheers mick

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I don't think a gravel vac has ever been done, it's got a course sand base. I hate the thought of the shrimp trying to leap to their little deaths!!! Ok, I don't have any water conditioner, is it something I can just get at Petbarn (only local anything pets store)? Should I be getting a new filter sponge [MENTION=885]smicko[/MENTION]??

Might have to just stick to tweezers to get the snails out then.. although the water was clouded and smelly before I tried the net...

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You could add another sponge filter just keep the original one in for a week or two as it has the good bacteria.

You can get declorinator from any lps, i would get prime or fraction, they are dearer than others but they are the best.

You could put mulberry or Indian almond leaves in and remove it daily to wipe the snails off. Mulberry won't last as long as ial.

Sand is hard to vacuum without losing some but it may help immensely, only vacuum a third of the tank and try not to stir it up. Alternatively if you can remove the shrimp into a clean bucket with the sponge filter you could stir all the sand and release the nastiness and do a 70% waterchange to get most of it out.

Cheers mick

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Oh cool, thanks heaps for that [MENTION=885]smicko[/MENTION]!!! I use Prime (is that water conditioner???) god I sound like a ****!!! I will definitely try and catch the shrimp and follow your suggestions... I did know about the good bacteria but didn't know where it was stored (sponge or noodles). Ok I've got a job for tomorrow :-)

I did notice tonight when I got a powerful torch in there to grab some of the snails that the java moss is looking a lot darker than usual, and there are edges of that black algae stuff on the anubius.. should I treat that? I know my ex once gave the anubius a swish through some bleach... not sure on that one, being a horticulturalist!!

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Black algae stuff? Could it be BGA - blue green algae? BGA smells nasty and is misleadingly named. It is actually a type of bacteria and not a type of algae. Too much of that could be nasty. It might help if you could post up a photo of your tank.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Population growth with the snails wouldn't cause an ammonia spike unless they were dying,

On what basis do you say that? Biological load in a body of water has a tipping point - in this case a very small body of water. Snails can quite easily rapidly breed and cause problems - both water chemistry and oxygen related.

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I've had snail explosions in 20 litre shrimp tanks but never had an ammonia spike because of it.

Might be because I'm over filtering.

I would have thought that left over food would caused the ammonia spike and the snail population growth.

Cheers mick

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Thanks so much for all the help and advice guys!! I think I may have found the cause of the problem....

Since I got out of hospital, my over enthusiastic 11 year old daughter has been 'helping' me... and feeding the tank! As have I, but she's been doing it daily!!!! I removed a lot of the excess java moss, trimmed up the rest of the plants, haven't fed them in 3 days now and changed 10% of the water yesterday and again today. I have removed the snails with tweezers and there are definitely less of them now. The water is clearer and the smell is going. Fingers crossed, problem solved!!!!

Again, thanks so much for all the help, it's really great knowing there is somewhere I can go for advice when I need it... and I know more about mini cycles and algae!!!!

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