Why Are My Shrimps Dying After Water Change?

Why Are My Shrimps Dying After Water Change

This site does not constitute pet medical advice, please consult a licensed veterinarian in your area for pet medical advice.

Many of you asked me, “why are my shrimps dying after water change.” In fact, this is one of the most common problems beginner shrimp keepers face. For those shrimp lovers, I decided to share my experience of how I overcame the problem.

As a fragile species, it is quite hard for shrimps to acclimatize when you make sudden water change, which causes your shrimps to die.

However, there are some more reasons behind, such as incorrect water parameters, insufficient hideout, uncycled tank, and many more. Seeing shrimps dying is a nightmare to every shrimp hobbyist. So, if you want to figure out all the reasons that trigger your shrimps dying and solve them as well, make sure to read till the end.  

Common Mistakes That Cause Shrimps To Die After Changing Water

Both amateur and native breeders make these mistakes that cause their shrimps to die. These are:

  • Having the wrong water parameters
  • Not cycling the tank properly
  • Making the temperature more than it should be
  • Accommodating a surplus number of male shrimp
  • Keeping harmful pest in the aquarium

Let’s dig deep into these problems to learn more.

Incorrect Parameters

Setting up the correct water parameter is the secret to increasing the lifespan of shrimps. Unfortunately, many breeders treat shrimps like fish when it comes to set the water parameter.

If the parameter is not within the target range, you will encounter sickness in the shrimps, which would end up you with dead shrimps.

Depending on the type of shrimp species you have, you should set the parameter. Before going forward, make sure to get a basic idea about water parameters for shrimps. You can also find the best water test kit for shrimps here.

Uncycled Tank

Aside from parameters, you have to make sure that your tank is fully cycled. If there is a sign of nitrites or ammonia, it means your cycle is not completed yet.

Nonetheless, having a high amount of nitrates is going to cause stress to the shrimps, which will result in your shrimps dying.

High Temperatures

Many shrimp hobbyists use heaters, thinking that shrimps require a high temperature. Indeed, this myth is busted in the real scenario.

Shrimps tend to prefer cold temperatures over hot. Unless the temperature in your home is below 65-degree constantly, using a heater can intensely change the environment for the shrimp and stress them out. In the case of Caridina shrimp, high temperature affects the most.

Another reason the higher temperature is dangerous because it can spur on infections.

Too Many Male Shrimp

Sometimes an imbalance in sexes is also a reason behind your shrimp’s death. It happens mostly when your colony grows.

Remember, male shrimp does frenzy movement when females get ready to breed. During the period, male shrimps desperately hunt for the opposite.

If there are more male shrimps than usual, they stress out the females and kill them. It is the most probable reason for shrimp’s death if the majority death toll is on the female side.


All those little creatures and pests in your tank like Planaria, Hydra, Scuds, and Dragonfly Nymphs are quite hazardous to your shrimps. These can kill shrimps and especially the baby shrimps.

Usually, the Dragonfly Nymphs come in on some plants that are cultured outdoors.

External Factors That Increases The Death Toll

Without the above reasons, there could be some more external factors as well. The key issues are:

Buying Shrimps from Bad Sources

There are basically two sources where people get shrimp. They buy either from a pet store/online shrimp retailer or from home breeders. Sometimes shrimp dies because of stress only, and this takes place mainly when you buy imported shrimps, especially Neo Caridina.

Shrimps spend most of their life overseas in one body of water in one set of parameters. After shipping to your country, they have been kept in the retailer stores, and then you get them in your aquarium.

Being moved two times as a full-grown adult shrimp can be stressful for them. Because of that, you will encounter a high percentage of die-off on imported shrimp. It can happen even if you have a perfect set up and parameters.

Chemical Toxins

Believe it or not, there is a high chance that your shrimps are dying because of chemical reactions. Certain chemicals come in on the plants that you buy from a pet store to place inside the aquarium.

On the contrary, a lot of shrimps lovers are also fond of cats and dogs just like me. We treat them for fleas in the spring and summer. But many of us don’t know the topical solution that we use on our pets is highly toxic for the shrimp.

Sometimes being unaware, we put our hands in the aquarium after getting interactions with this sort of chemicals. And that annihilates the water. Even the flea shampoos can cause harm to your shrimps in this way.

Not Enough Food or Overfeeding

The baby shrimp mostly dies because of not getting the proper supplements. Not using powder food for baby shrimp is also a cause for their wipeout since grasping bigger particles is out of their ability. 

Feeding more than you should, on the other hand, is going to make your shrimps inactive. It will also drive them to lose coloration often. As a result, your shrimps lead to death.

Do’s and Don’ts To Stop Your Shrimps From Dying

We have just identified the problems. Now, it is time to back you up with the solutions.

Do Your Research

Before buying any shrimp, you must do your research and learn as much as possible about the particular species you are going to pet. It allows you to take better precautions for your shrimps.

You should be aware of the environment your shrimps need to survive. Having a thorough idea about the appropriate water parameters is also vital. Make sure to get an idea about the diet of the specific species as well.

Depending on the most common species of shrimp, your choice of water parameters should be considered. Check out the below table to choose the best settings for your shrimp.

Shrimp SpeciesNamepHKH (ppm)GH (ppm)TDS (ppm)Temperature (Celsius)
Crystal/Bee (Caridina)Crystal Red/Black, Panda, King Kongs, Golden Bee, Snow White, Amano, Bumblebee, etc.5.8-6.80-14-6100-18021-24
Neo-CaridinaRed Cherry, Sakura, Blood Mary, Snowballs, Blue Dream, Green Jade. etc.6.5-7.51-46-8150-25021-24
Tiger (Caridina)Tiger, Yellow King Kong, Aura Blue, Orange Eyed Series, etc.6-72-64-8120-22021-24
SulawesiHolthuisi, Lanceolata, Loehae, Masapi, Parvula, Lake Poso, Malili, etc.7.5-8.52-44-6200-26026-29

If you want to pick up an idea about how to test pH, KH, and GH of your water, make sure to visit the link.

Don’t Keep Multiple Species in a Single Tank

Undoubtedly, different species of shrimp require diverse types of water parameters. For example, the environment where cherry shrimps live is far different than where the crystal red shrimps live.

A particular water parameter might thrive one species, but that may perish the rest of the species you have.

I also found keeping the same species of shrimp, but with different colors in the same tank will breed together. And it will result in stuffing up the colors of future generations and stress them also. So, please don’t keep them in one piece.

Steady Water Parameters

Keeping a balanced parameter in your aquarium is vital because shrimps are very delicate and gentle.  In general, shrimps require an environment with little to no fluctuations in water temperature and pH.

If the water parameter is not within the target range consistently, your shrimps can die very early.

I also recommend you keep the aquarium at a low pH level. Besides, you should ensure that your tank is well cycled and has a balanced temperature depending on the species you have.

Drip-acclimate before moving aquariums

It is crucial to drip-acclimate them for a couple of hours before adding them to a new aquarium. By following this way, you can ensure that the tiny bodies become used to your new aquarium.

Like many of you, I countlessly made this mistake and killed a bunch of shrimp because of not doing it. Shrimps can be easily distressed, switching them to a new environment within a short period can stress them out and kill them all.

Create Sufficient Hiding Spaces

For the newborn shrimps, it is essential to give them plenty of space so that they can grow safely. Keeping enough hiding space also allows the adult shrimps for refuge and relaxation. Since this can lower the rate of stress, you can reduce the death toll significantly. 

Adding Java Moss in your aquarium creates an excellent advantage for the shrimp because this gives them enough space to hide. Without that, it can form little micro bacteria that shrimps can eat if there is not enough food available. It also allows shrimps to breed with ease.

You can find Java Moss in most of the local fish store and make sure to get a complete idea about Java Moss before buying.

Final Thought

Well, now you guys know why are my shrimps dying after water change and about the other factors that cause them to die.

By having ideas about those issues and taking necessary steps, you can provide them a better environment and stop leading them to die. Let them thrive rather than just survive.

About Muntaseer Rahman

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