I remember the first time I discovered that Amano shrimp were dying in my tank. As a new shrimp keeper, I was very excited to have these exotic-looking shrimp in my aquarium. However, after the first few days of cycling, they started to die mysteriously. Luckily, as time passed, I learned why that might be happening and how to fix it.
Amano shrimp usually keep dying due to inadequate water parameters, including pH, temperature, and hardness. That can also be related to ammonia spikes, secondary to incomplete cycling. However, Amano shrimp can also die because of toxins exposure, such as copper, lead, chlorine, and chloramine.
As we move forward, I will elaborate on why Amano shrimp tend to die in fish tanks. Then, I will take you step-by-step through the processes of how to keep them alive. I will also show you how to identify a dying Amano shrimp and save it before it’s too late.
Why Are My Amano Shrimp Dying?
Because Amano shrimp are more sensitive than fish, they can die for a variety of reasons, including:
1. The Tank Isn’t Suitable For Amano Shrimp
Have you checked the conditions in the tank? You have two primary factors to consider, namely:
- Inappropriate Cycling
You must add Amano shrimp to an established tank that was cycled to completion. Cycling adds bacteria that can process ammonia and nitrites. Without proper cycling, these toxins will spike to a concentration that can kill Amano shrimp.
Because Amano shrimp are more sensitive than fish, they are less tolerant of uncycled tanks. Some people cycle their tanks to completion only to undo this process by changing the filter media.
Others wash the filter media with chlorinated water. They don’t realize that chlorine kills the beneficial bacteria in the filter media.
- Incorrect Water Parameters
Amano shrimp require a temperature of 70 to 80 degrees F, a water hardness of 6 to 8 dKH, and a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. The wrong parameters are more than capable of killing Amano shrimp.
The shrimp can adapt to less-than-ideal conditions. But if the incorrect parameters persist, these creatures will fall sick and die.
2. Your Amano Shrimp Are Exposed To Toxins
Toxins kill Amano shrimp all the time, and unfortunately, they can enter the tank through a variety of avenues, including:
- Waste Accumulation
If you’re new to shrimp, experienced aquarists will encourage you to keep your tank clean because dirty tanks are susceptible to ammonia and nitrite spikes. Fish, shrimp, and other creatures produce waste that rots to produce toxins.
Even if the tank is cycled, the concentration of ammonia can still rise to a point where it can threaten the lives of your Amano shrimp. Dead and decomposing shrimp, fish, and plants produce the same result. They can raise the ammonia concentration to dangerous levels.
- Water Toxins
Water is one of the most common sources of toxins in aquariums. You have to change the water every week to keep the tank clean. But if you use ordinary tap water, you may introduce chlorine, copper, lead, and other deadly substances to the tank.
You should test your tap water or contact your service provider to understand the toxins in the water that comes out of the tap. Substances like chlorine are added to protect consumers by killing bacteria. Unfortunately, chlorine and chloramine are toxic to Amano shrimp.
Some fish medications have toxins like copper and lead. By adding fish medicine to the entire tank to treat sick fish, you risk poisoning the Amano shrimp.
- Aquarium Chemicals
Where did you get your aquarium? Do you trust the previous owner? The silicone in a tank can absorb the chemicals in fertilizers and fish medication.
Once you fill the tank and add Amano shrimp, those chemicals will poison the creatures. You can identify tainted tanks by looking at the silicone. If the color differs from what you expect, you should think twice about buying or using the tank.
If you wash the aquarium with soap, you should rinse it thoroughly. Otherwise, the chemicals in the soap will poison the shrimp. Some detergents are so potent that you can’t rinse them out of the tank. They will soak into the silicone, leaching out to poison your fish and shrimp later on.
3. The Transition Was Difficult For Your Amano Shrimp
Some shrimp will die because you added them to the tank without properly acclimating the creatures. Others are already stressed by the time they reach your home because they came from overseas.
The process of catching and shipping them in bags can take weeks. By the time you get them, the creatures are either riddled with diseases or too stressed to survive the transition to the new tank.
4. Tankmates Bully Your Amano Shrimp
Amano shrimp cannot survive in a tank with large, aggressive fish. Species like Angelfish, Discus, Oscars, and Goldfish should be avoided. These can easily nibble on your shrimp, exposing them to diseases.
How Do You Keep Amano Shrimp From Dying?
If your Amano shrimp keep dying, the first step is to identify the reasons. Once you know the cause, you can take countermeasures such as the following:
1. Pick Your Amano Shrimp From The Right Source
I highly suggest avoiding Amano shrimp that come from overseas. They are less likely to survive the journey. Look for local suppliers. This gives you the option of investigating the health of the Amano shrimp before you buy them.
Some Amano shrimp die soon after they arrive because the retailer kept them in poor conditions. By purchasing the Amano shrimp from a local retailer, you can separate the healthy shrimp from their sick counterparts by observing the conditions of their tank in the store.
2. Adjust The Water For Amano Shrimp
These are the recommended water requirements for Amano shrimp:
- Water pH: 6.0-7.0
- Temperature: 70-80 degrees F.
- Water hardness: 6.0-8.0DKH.
- Ammonia & Nitrites: 0 ppm.
- Nitrates: <20 ppm.
I highly suggest that you keep a testing kit on hand and test the parameters routinely. I personally got the API Water Test Kit (link to Amazon). This is probably the most accurate and easy-to-use bundle out there. Within five minutes, you’ll know your pH, ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites levels.
Don’t forget to maintain the hardware. Heaters can malfunction, either raising the temperature or allowing it to fall to unsafe levels. Filters and pumps can also fail, creating stagnant conditions that encourage oxygen deficiencies to manifest. Make sure your heaters, filters, and pumps are working as expected.
If you suspect that your tank doesn’t hold enough oxygen, I highly recommend getting an air stone. I personally own the Hygger Aquarium Air Stone Kit (link to Amazon). All you have to do is putting it in the middle of your tank, and the device will take care of the rest.
3. Eliminate Water Toxins
The first step here would be testing your water for toxins. You can quickly do that by using testing stripes, such as in the 14-in-1 Drinking Water Test Kit (link to Amazon). Merely dip the strip in the water. Within seconds, you’ll have your answer.
When it comes to fighting toxins, your first option is to carry out water changes. Do this every week to prevent ammonia and nitrite levels from rising. The second option is to use water conditioners like Seachem Prime (link to Amazon) to neutralize chlorine, copper, lead, ammonia, and the like.
If you don’t want to use commercial products in your aquarium, avoid practices that add toxins to the water. For instance, if you have a sick fish, place it in quarantine before adding medicine that has copper and lead.
With fertilizers, you have the option of buying brands that don’t use copper and lead. Even if you don’t use fertilizers, you can still add toxins to the water by introducing plants that someone else treated with chemicals. Professional aquarists respond to this issue by washing new plants before adding them to the tank.
4. Pick A Suitable Tank For Your Amano Shrimp
The tank size matters because small tanks are more difficult to maintain. They encourage the concentration of toxins to rise at a much faster rate. Amano shrimp require tanks of at least 10 gallons. If you want to add more shrimp and fish, get a bigger tank.
I personally use the Tetra Aquarium 20 Gallon Fish Tank Kit (link to Amazon), which I also reviewed here. However, you can avoid getting a new tank by eliminating a few plants and decorations. The bottom line is that the tank shouldn’t be overcrowded.
5. Ensure Proper Acclimation
Make sure you acclimate the Amano shrimp before you add them to the tank. You can do this by placing them in a container and slowly dripping water from the main tank into the container.
The objective is to give the shrimp a chance to grow accustomed to the new conditions before throwing them into the tank. If you are new to this, here is an excellent Youtube video that will take you throughout the entire process:
5. Keep Your Amano Shrimp With The Right Tankmates
Keep the Amano shrimp with tank mates that are less likely to eat them, such as Cory Catfish, Ivory Snails, and Otocinclus Catfish, to mention but a few. I suggest avoiding aggressive species like Angelfish, Discus, Oscars, and Goldfish.
How Do You Identify A Dying Amano Shrimp?
A dying Amano shrimp will usually start losing color, turning white or even transparent. Also, Amano shrimp that is about to die will become less active and show no interest in food. You may also notice bruises, such as holes in the carapace and lost body parts.
As you can see, dying Amano shrimp manifest certain signs that you can observe and act upon. Here is some more information on what to look for:
You can identify dying Amano shrimp by their appearance. They tend to lose their color. While some are white, others are almost transparent. Some Amano shrimp will lose their color because of stress and disease. Others will turn white because they tried and failed to molt.
Dying Amano shrimp are less active. They spend most of their time resting in a single location. Even when they swim, you can see that their movements are sluggish. They may stop moving altogether.
People use Amano shrimp to clean their tanks. They are not the best tank cleaners in the world. However, you expect them to eat algae and detritus. Dying Amano shrimp will stop eating.
If you regularly add food to the tank, you will observe a marked increase in the volume of leftovers in the aquarium.
Some severe illnesses produce serious physical symptoms such as bruising, holes in the carapace, and lost body parts. These bruises are a warning sign since they are likely to get infected.
How Do You Save A Dying Amano Shrimp?
To prevent a dying Amano shrimp from passing away, you have to take the following steps:
- Perform an immediate water change to eliminate some of the elements responsible for the shrimp’s current condition, including toxins, oxygen deficiencies, parasitic and bacterial infections.
- Test the water. Make sure the pH and temperature are appropriate. If these parameters are wrong, make gradual changes. Fight the urge to improve the conditions in the tank quickly. The sudden change will harm the shrimp.
- If your tests showed high concentrations of copper, lead, ammonia, nitrites, and the like, add water conditioners to neutralize these toxins immediately.
- Check the heater. Heaters can malfunction. They will either raise the temperature to dangerous levels or allow it to fall. Coldwater is just as problematic to shrimp as hot water. If the heater has malfunctioned, fix it or buy a new one.
- If your tank is small, reduce the number of shrimp and fish. Overcrowding causes stress. It also encourages toxins to spike because you have too many fish and shrimp producing too much waste
Should I Remove Dead Amano Shrimp?
You should remove dead Amano shrimp. When the shrimp decompose, they produce ammonia, which later on poisons other shrimp and fish. Also, dead Amano shrimp will create an acidic environment, lowering the pH to an unbearable level.
On occasion, other shrimp and snails will eat the remains of a dead Amano shrimp before you can even find it. But if you find a dead shrimp, remove it. Don’t rely on living shrimp and snails to eat it. They may choose to ignore it.
If you found this article helpful, these may also interest you:
- Why Is My Shrimp Not Moving (Cherry, Ghost, Amano & Others)
- Can Amano Shrimp Live With Cherry Shrimp? (Complete Guide)
- Can Female Bettas Live With Shrimp? (Cherry, Ghost, Amano & Others)
- Do Amano Shrimp Eat Algae? (Hair, Brown, Black Beard & More)
Amano shrimp usually die because of inappropriate water parameters, poor temperature control, and the accumulation of toxins. Also, in many cases, the tank wasn’t properly cycled. If you avoid these mistakes, you will prevent your shrimp from dying.
You can identify a dying Amano shrimp by the symptoms it presents, including color changes, lethargic behavior, and loss of appetite. If you keep your shrimp healthy and your water parameters in check, you can expect an excellent outcome.