Bell’s Blog

I will try again tomorrow

Curiosity Killed The Cat

Or in this case… curiosity killed my shrimps. For me to complain about this I first have to explain water. There’s hard water and soft water. Hard water contains minerals like calcium or lime, magnesium and other trace minerals… they’re what makes the white stuff that accumulates on the inside of your water kettle. Soft water has less of these minerals. Distilled water, is water that has had most of these minerals removed by boiling the water and collecting the vapours Β from the steam leaving behind all the lime and minerals. There’s something else called Reverse Osmosis (RO) water which via a lengthy filtration process has been deionized and thus is devoid of any and all minerals or nitrates.

My shrimps require soft water and dietary calcium. Excess calcium in the water makes their shells so hard that they cannot molt when they grow too large for it. Insufficient calcium in the diet makes the shells too soft and they simply die because it does not protect them. You think it’s complicated? Not really. It’s not supposed to be that hard.

Now, with the sciency stuff over with… Swiss water is very hard… almost too hard for the shrimps. My choices are to buy an expensive filter and fill it with a special soil called peat which will turn my water brown and very slightly acidic, but it also softens the water. Or buy an expensive RO unit and make my own RO water. Or I can buy RO water from some health stores or organic supermarkets I think… I haven’t really looked… but they’re supposed to be pretty pricey.

I can’t really afford any of those things. But you remember I mentioned that lime accumulation in kettles at the beginning? Well I have something that fixes that… A standard kitchen water filtration jug. I thought why not try and test this water and see what the results are? I did and was amazed how much of the minerals from tap water were filtered away! SO then…. I thought again… why not try to put some in the aquarium? I did that today without thinking of asking for advice or opinions from the aquarium experts. My tank has a capacity of 54 liters, and I would say I have around about 50 liters in there after gravel and plants. I thought perhaps I could filter about 3 liters of water and put it in my tank and see if it will lower the hardness of the water. 3 liters out of 50 is nothing right? It really can’t hurt right? apparently WRONG!

Within seconds of me adding the filtered water to the tank my shrimps began swimming around madly. I thought it was a little bit of an extreme reaction. But about an hour or 2 later I checked back to find my otos (sucker fish) were also swimming around madly. I was very worried that the shrimps were no longer swimming around. It must have been the water. Remember this is water that has been filtered and almost devoid of any minerals or bacteria. I hurriedly took out 5 liters of aquarium water and replaced with regular tap water again… to try to offset the damage I’d done by adding the filtered water. But I was too late… I noticed one of the shrimps was walking funny… uncoordinated-like. Then another was swimming like a drunken bee. Another swam by unsteady and landed upside-down. One of my pregnant females began twitching on the ground. It was a nightmare! It’s been a couple of hours since this happened and I’ve fished out 8 dead shrimps, 2 of them were pregnant females.

So I didn’t know this but I do now, but because the quality of the water was so different from that already in the tank, They all died of shock. I always knew shrimps were very sensitive to changes in water quality but I really didn’t think that 3 liters into 50 would make all that much of an impact. Now I’m kicking myself for being so impulsive. It wasn’t the water’s fault… There are people on the forums who use filtered water in their tanks successfully. I should have added only a tiny bit at a time or diluted it with other water before adding it… also a little at a time. Dumping 3 liters directly and all at once was too much, even for the fish. 8 deaths… and those are just the ones I could see… behind rocks, under plants, by the filter or decorations, places I can’t see easily… there are probably more just lying there… unseen. I have 1 pregnant female left and some juveniles. But I think I’m likely to lose the entire colony… I only had about 20 or so to start with! Almost half gone.

Isn’t it ironic though? Just this morning I was looking online for some new shrimp suppliers in Germany who will ship to Switzerland cos I read online that because the shrimps breed so quickly, after a while there is inevitably going to be inbreeding and your shrimps will become pale and susceptible to disease unless you add new blood from a different colony… so I was thinking ahead and considering where I should get them from. And now I won’t even have to worry about inbreeding anymore, cos I might have none left by morning!


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2 Responses to “Curiosity Killed The Cat”

  1. I’m sorry to hear about your shrimps. πŸ™ But nice read, though. Lol. πŸ˜‰

  2. Bell

    Kai, Hehe… The lone pregnant female has survived and hatched her eggs yesterday. I also placed an order online in Germany for 20 more shrimps and 3 pregnant females. I hope they get posted next week πŸ™‚

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