Common shrimp Illnesses

Shrimp are much more sensitive than fish and require special test kits on top of the normal ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH tests. If there is any amount of ammonia or nitrite, you can kiss your shrimp goodbye, as they are incredibly susceptible to it. Nitrates cannot exceed 20 and should be kept at 10 or below.
Sick shrimp

Test Kits Needed For Shrimp

Shrimp are much more sensitive than fish and require special test kits on top of the normal ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH tests. If there is any amount of ammonia or nitrite, you can kiss your shrimp goodbye, as they are incredibly susceptible to it. Nitrates cannot exceed 20 and should be kept at 10 or below.

Shrimp also need tests for kH, gH, and TDS. Carbonate hardness, or kH, is often referred to as the buffering capacity of the water and is closely linked to pH. A high kH means that you will be unable to change your pH, while a low kH means you can easily change the pH.

General hardness, or gH, measures some of the minerals in the water, namely the magnesium and calcium that shrimp need to molt and build new shells. TDS is the Total Dissolved Solids and measures everything in the water but doesn’t tell you what it is.

With a low gH and TDS, shrimp will not be able to build new shells and will die. If the gH and TDS are too high, the shrimp will form a shell that is too hard to molt off and it will die. Shrimp that die due to molting problems often have a white or clear band behind their head.

Common Illnesses

Here are a few common illnesses to look our for when keeping shrimp:

Bacterial Infections

Bacterial infections in shrimp is often caused by poor water quality, and depending on the severity, it may be very difficult to treat. Dead shrimp that are infected often die with red or orange heads. Living shrimp may show the same symptom, along with a milky white or opaque interior.

Treatment includes anything from Kanaplex, Tetracycline, and Oxytetracycline can be used. These are all antibacterial medications that can treat gram negative bacterial infections.

A 100% water change and reacclimating the shrimp to new water parameters can help if the poor conditions were caused by substrate turning or other excess waste and buildup. It can also help oxygenate the water, which is essential for curing shrimp. If you use an antibacterial, be sure to increase aeration, as they can remove some of the oxygen from the water.

Rust Disease

Red spot or Rust disease is one of the most devastating shrimp diseases and can easily destroy hundreds of shrimps in a matter of weeks or months. It is characterized by red or black, or red and black, spots appearing on the shell of the shrimp. The spots range in size, shape, and coloration, and may appear to be normal coloration at first.

This usually occurs due to poor water quality or not quarantining new shrimp. Treatment ranges from hydrogen peroxide and oregano oil to Levamisole HCL, which is also used to treat callamanus worms, to salt dips. Shrimp are surprisingly resilient when it comes to salt dips, so dips are not a bad place to start.

Vorticella/Scutariellia Japonica

These parasites are extremely small and may appear to be small fuzzy fungus at first glance. They are very difficult to see clearly without a magnifying glass or similar, but they look like small, elongated triangles stuck to the sides, belly, and rostrum of the shrimp.

Dosing PraziPro at ¾ dose almost always gets rid of them, and a salt dip definitely will. The good news about these is that they are incredibly easy to cure and have a low death rate. However, you will have to remove any molted shells from the shrimp in order to prevent reinfection, as they can remain on the shells.

Ellobiopsidae

This is a relatively new issue with shrimp and is unfortunately rapidly expanding. Once you see what looks like a green fungus on the underbelly of your shrimp, your whole colony is likely infected.

This is a parasite that so far seems to only affect neocaridina. Separate any shrimp showing the green “fungus” to one tank, take all “healthy” shrimp to another tank, and dry out the old tank. You must start the tank and cycle over again.

Some have had success using salt dips to get rid of the parasite, while others have been able to get rid of it using food dosed with Kordon Rid Ich. Kordon Rid Ich contains Malachite Green and Formalin, and the combination of these two has the greatest success rate for treatment.

Hydra

Hydra is not a disease, per se, but rather something that commonly occurs in aquariums. It is only an issue if you keep fry or small shrimp. Hydra has a small, thick body and seven thin tentacles. The body is normally only a few millimeters long, but the tentacles are two to three times as long.

Hydra attach the base of their body to an area of the tank with high flow to catch passing particulates and infusoria. They especially love copepods, and if your copepods suddenly start disappearing, it could be an early warning sign that you have hydra.

Hydra are capable of moving themselves and inching along glass and substrate. They sting adult shrimp, which can kill them, and kill and eat shrimplets. The best way to get rid of them is to dose the tank with fenbendazole, which is safe for shrimp, but not for any snails.

from – BYA

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