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Old 02-21-2020, 12:43 PM   #1
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Treating infections in shrimp

Figured I would make a new thread as we have drifted far from the original topic of my other thread.

I have been losing shrimp at a rate of one or two a week consistently for weeks. Sometimes Iíll go a week with no loses and think everything is good again then the next week back to losing a couple more. And of course there is always the chance Iím losing more and not seeing them before their buddies Ďclean up.í The population isnít visibly crashing though so the rate of loss does appear to be slow and steady. I check parameters each time I lose a shrimp. Ammonia nitrite are always zero and nitrate stays below 5. I run tanks a little cool around 72 which I figure will slow down the growth of ... whatever is in there.

I think it started from an illness that ghost shrimp brought in (they became cloudy and lost ability to use their limbs) but theyíve all been removed and I still am having a slow steady shrimp loss over time.

Iíve seen no obvious signs of external parasites. The shrimp that I lose normally look fine until theyíre dead. Sometimes Iíll catch one looking a little cloudy and know it will be the next to go. Today I found one deceased which looked the most abnormal Iíve seen. It was a cherry with dark patches on the torso which to me seems like itís GOT to be some kind of internal infection.

But Iím still at a loss for how to treat. I have pratzi that I used for deworming my other tank and have both paraguard and Melafix on hand. Iíve seen reports that all of these are relatively shrimp safe but Iím not sure that any is actually the appropriate treatment.

Any advice? What the heck do you treat shrimp with when they have some unknown infection but you donít have any idea what it is!
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Old 02-22-2020, 01:47 AM   #2
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Upon closer inspection I can see some shrimp in my population that do actually appear to have something dark inside. I’d previously assumed that had to do with what they were eating but I moved to light colored foods for a few days and some of them still have a little darker insides than others. Presumably, though I’m not certain, these are infected shrimp. I did have a drop in the death rate when I dosed paraguard though it didn’t stop deaths entirely. I wonder if the paraguard may not be able to cure an internal infection but maybe it puts a damper on its spread.

I have a six gallon quarantine tank that I was using for another purpose (currently has Pygmy cories in quarantine). I think I will gradually move shrimp that appear without that slight dark blotch inside into that 6 gallon tank and see if the separated shrimp do any better then the general population. It could be that this isn’t an infection that is just floating around. Maybe it is passing shrimp to shrimp from eating infected corpses and that’s why the spread is so slow?

I’ll probably move all my zebra Babaulti over because for some reason they don’t seem to be having the same issues. They also seem entirely uninterested in eating their fallen comrades, though, preferring grazing while the cherries go bonkers over the ‘bonus protein’ so perhaps that is a part of it.

I’m also going to start daily dosing of paraguard in the current shrimp tank. I’ve seen no indication that it bothers them and maybe it will continue to limit the spread of whatever it is that is infecting a subset of my population.

I still welcome any experience or advice on medicating shrimp tanks. There is so little definitively known on this subject compared to the treatment of fish illness.
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Old 02-22-2020, 03:17 AM   #3
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Saw this - it lists a few interesting things including that the bacterial infections are mostly gram negative...

They are describing some symptoms you mentioned like falling over dead! Under the bacterial infection post scroll down a little.

https://skfaquatics.com/forum/forums...and-diagnosis/
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Old 02-22-2020, 11:21 PM   #4
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Interesting. I’ll have to look into what available medications treat internal gram negative infections. I’m very wary of just in case antibiotics, personally. (Phd in biology, I take antibiotic resistance incredibly seriously! If I did this I would probably want to pull out an apparently effected shrimp and treat it alone to see if it makes any difference before using it on the whole tank.)

Today I moved about 20 mostly juvenile cherries over to the six gallon tank picking only shrimp that I was confident showed no visible internal signs of infection. I am probably selecting for poor coloration by accident in my mixed Sakura / PFR population because of course the darkest colored cherries are the hardest to tell if anything is going on inside. But I’m more concerned with health than color right now; as you might imagine.

In related news there’s way more shrimp in there than I realized. Doesn’t even look like taking 20 out made a dent in the population and my mental guess was 40.

I’ll continue to slowly pull out shrimp over time that appear to not have any internal blotchiness and see how the shrimp in the six gallon tank do compared to the 10 gallon. I don’t want to cull any shrimp with that apparent dark spot yet because I am not at all confident that I am actually accurately identifying sick shrimp. It’s tough to tell because seeing dark stomachs is totally normal based on what they’re eating...
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Old 02-22-2020, 11:54 PM   #5
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Understand concern the antibiotics issues. Maybe the possible infected group can go into a tank if you find that many which might be an issue.

Long ago when I had my first Cherry shrimp community which kept growing in my 6.6G Edge, I thought I had about 40-50 shrimp. When I moved, and took down the tank to upgrade them and counted about 110 shrimp when I moved them to empty the tank! I was super happy and surprised!

As for mixing the shrimp Sakura and PFR, better to have the shrimp be alive. (Congrats on the hard work it took to get your PhD and that will come in pretty handy for helping pick this issue apart.) It seems perseverance will be helpful here.

Rachel O'Leary has commented in the past on talking with someone at a University /College in Florida if I remember correctly. People working on inverts/dwarf shrimp concerns. You might be able to do some checking to see who (and where), and if there is any useful published work on the topics.
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Old 02-23-2020, 11:44 PM   #6
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Oh the Sakura and PFR were already mixed in the 10. I have no intentions of selling shrimp in the near future (even if I did obviously I wouldn’t while dealing with this!) and so I’ve gotten shrimp of various quality from multiple sources and don’t separate by quality.

One commercial seller, one private and a couple big box stores. So there’s no way of knowing for sure where the problems originally came from though as I mentioned the highly dramatic symptoms from the ghost shrimp make me suspect they brought in most of the problem. They were the big box store shrimp.

Also in moving shrimp one by one inside a tiny plastic cup I’ve had the opportunity to get a closer look then I can inside the tank. I have noticed 2 shrimp out of all the ones I’ve seen that do have Scutariella.

From my research it is a fairly harmless parasite unless the parasite load is high and in a whole tank of shrimp I’ve only been able to spot two individuals with the problem. Not a single deceased shrimp had evidence of them.

It should get taken out by the paraguard anyway but I’ve definitely learned something from this experience.

Quarantine your shrimp!

Lol; I always quarantine fish but, perhaps because before dealing with these issues I had no idea what to look for, I never have with shrimp. That’s clearly biting me in the butt now!

I also previously thought getting shrimp from multiple sources would make the shrimp less inbred and hardier in the long run but it also increases your likelihood of bringing in something not so nice. So that is something to consider when starting a colony.

Anyway:
Lost two more in the 10 gallon and I can see several with the highly suspect dark patch that I *think* is not just from dark food. All shrimp moved to the six are well so far.

I’m gradually ramping up to daily full strength paraguard in the ten. I’ve read cherries are fine with it and my experience backs that up so far. I dosed full strength for the first time today and no evidence of a problem. The lost shrimp had the dark spots so I blame the infection rather than being concerned about paraguard dosage. I’m also increasing my water change schedule. Now that I am aware the issue is illness rather then something related to water changing I’m going back to my old stand by MO of when in doubt, cleaner water. My tap and tank parameters are so similar and I drip water back into the tank so I’m pretty confident it’s not the major source of stress I once thought it was.
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Old 02-24-2020, 12:16 AM   #7
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Agreed about the water being similar and not a big worry.

Interesting that you found the Scutariella. I had that on a Crayfish once.

Online guy, mentioned a 10 second to 1 minute salt dip will cure it too. I imagine you might also have some eggs hatch later or however they breed. As you are using ParaGuard that isn't likely an issue.

Thank goodness it isn't Ellobiopsidae /green fungus.
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Old 02-26-2020, 12:18 AM   #8
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What I’m not sure about is how long of paraguard it would take to wipe it out; but as it doesn’t seem to be doing them any harm might as well just keep using it for a while. And in the meantime there does seem to be a drop in the death rate when I’m daily dosing paraguard. I’m not sure if it’s the paraguard or the fresh water or just chance.

6 gallon still no invert problems. Because I decided to move them last minute they are sharing the tank with my quarantined Pygmy cories.

I have one Pygmy Cory who has gone completely bone white and I keep waiting for him to give out on me but he’s still hanging out with the other Pygmy cories... a bit lethargic but hanging on. This happened the last time I bought Pygmy cories from this source too. One by one they turned white and died without showing any external issues except the loss of color before death. I lost about half last time. Never used any medication or saw any blips in the water parameters and eventually the deaths just stopped and the remainder have been fine since.

I have read that pratzi is shrimp safe and knocks out the worms in one treatment though so I was thinking about doing a little shuffling. Moving the pygmies to the 10, deworming both them and the existing ‘suspect’ shrimp population to see if either improves. I am concerned the same thing will happen to this population of pygmies as the last and they’ll just drop one by one with no visible abnormalities.

If I did this I would just keep the (so far) visibly healthy shrimp and my older Pygmy cories in the 6 and the 10 would become my joint new pygmy/shrimp “I don’t know what’s wrong with you so let’s give this a shot” tank. (Technical term :P).

I am removing molts from both tanks for a while too even though I’m not seeing wrigglers in the six. They’re so fricken tough to see I figure it’s better to assume eggs are there and make it up to my shrimp with mineral junkie!
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Old 02-27-2020, 01:03 PM   #9
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The 10 continues to be a cestpool of who knows what for my inverts. Lost another patchy shrimp and I found a cherry still alive with exactly the same symptoms as my ghost shrimp had (which makes me even more confident they were the source of this pathogen whatever it is.) paralyzed limbs and bent antenna. There are still some visible scuts as well which is less of a concern to me, but still something I’d like to knock out.

I separated the shrimp with the obvious paralysis illness, but I think it’s becoming obvious that I need to try something which targets bacterial infection in the 10. I will also increase water changes and vacuum thoroughly as I am now far less concerned about parameter swings then bacterial illness. (They’ve been getting so much fresh water lately the parameters of my tap are nearly identical to my tank anyway.)

Good news; the zebras and cherries that were (apparently/ so far) healthy in the six are still fine. There are still cherries in the 10 that appear healthy but I’m not pushing my luck. So far so good in the six so I think I’m going to leave it as is and not move any more (apparently) healthy shrimp over. I am continuing to dose paraguard and remove molts in that tank in case I missed any scuts.

I think I am going to reshuffle though. The six has not been isolated (since I moved healthy looking but not necessarily healthy cherries there from the 10.) so I don’t feel I’m taking any more of a risk moving cories around then moving shrimp. I’m going to catch (or try anyway!) my half dozen adult pygmies and put them in the 6 and move the Pygmy that has gone bone white into the 10. I don’t know what’s wrong with him but I’ve never had a fish live long after losing color like that so I might as well leave him in the treatment tank in the hopes something will help him along with the cherries. I may also move 1-2 of the new cories with him. They currently appear healthy so that would be a calculated risk just so the one ill pygmy isn’t alone and extra stressed by that fact. I’m still not sure I shouldn’t move all of them into the treatment tank, actually since I did have a bad experience with Pygmy cories from this source last time dying off one by one over weeks. I’ll need to think about that and welcome advice.

The two bamboo shrimp I think I will leave there. They are seemingly healthy but have a tendency to find a way to leave the tank when stressed despite my efforts at blocking. I think being exposed to reportedly shrimp safe treatments is less likely to stress them into escaping then moving them back into my bigger tank where a couple previous bamboos escaped (probably running from the rather frisky glofish.)

I should probably move my nerites from the tank as well since I’ve had no issues with them

So my current plan is to have:
10 gallon
Bamboo shrimp
A mixture of visibly ill and of questionable health cherries
1-3 of the new Pygmy cories, 1 of whom is obviously ill.

6 gallon (temporary stocking, so no one yells at me about stocking :P)
12-14 Pygmy cories
~8-10 Zebra babaulti shrimp (honestly not sure exactly how many of those are in there now)
~30 (apparently?) healthy RCS
Too many small nerite snails :P

The 10 gallon will get a course of Maracyn 2.

The 6 will get paraguard as a preventative against scuts and BacterAE to keep the overstocking of grazing nerites happy for the short term. (I could theoretically move them to the 29 but I won’t as the inhabitants seem healthy in there so I don’t really want to move anything in there from the two potentially contaminated tanks!)

Pardon the verbosity but at this point this thread is about half advice seeking and half lab notebook :P I hope that there will be a good outcome that will be of use to someone else someday!
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Old 02-28-2020, 12:07 AM   #10
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Keeping the hopeful healthy ones not mixed up with the others is best procedures.

I have had to do the same for similar reasons periodically.

For the Thai Betta, just in case his weird white growths are viral no more fish friends, or mixing, no sharing plants out of his tank. I might try a antibiotic flake for him.

Also I found a ghost shrimp in my wine glass tank with a white abdomen day before yesterday. NEVER seen that before in there :/ . Your experiments might help me too, sooner than later.
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Old 02-28-2020, 01:40 AM   #11
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Well unfortunately I can only do treatments in one tank while keeping the others isolated. I donít have two quarantine tanks set up to treat shrimp in one and the Cory in the other and my decision to move visibly healthy shrimp into the six means the six and the 10 are not really isolated from each other. The 29 has different tubing and everything but the 6 was set up from the 10 plants, decor and all.

So basically both the six and the 10 are suspect tanks now but one will be ďvisibly healthyĒ inhabitants and the ten will be visibly suspect inhabitants in active treatment.

Itís not actually a growth; itís the entire fish having lost coloration. You know how fish go pale when theyíre stressed. This one has done so in the extreme. Interestingly until yesterday I was sure this fish had hours or less. It was secluded pale and lethargic. Today it is schooling eating and acting completely normal except itís still completely white.

A second Pygmy is looking a little pale as well so I think both will go into the ten for antibiotics. It may not be bacterial but at least if it isnít theyíll be separated from the visibly healthy fish. (And if it works Iíll know how to treat if the other cories follow suit)
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Old 02-28-2020, 04:23 AM   #12
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In the shrimp I believe it was called muscle necrosis.

Hoping the little Pygmy pale guy and the other one which is suspect will pull through in treatment. My local area P..co box stores now are going to be carrying Pygmy Cories (1.49 ea) and I got 13 last weekend. Lost one one in the bag on the way home. I think I have 12 still - in QT!!! I am ordering the antibiotic flakes and new dewormer flakes tomorrow.

Keep up in the previous routine for deworming all new fish and maybe every 6 months (need to do more research about that still). TBH I slacked off after the fish seemed to be doing alright.
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Old 02-28-2020, 06:24 PM   #13
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Yeah I have never treated new fish as a preventative and I wonder if that may have increased my success with those first week die offs. I always just quarantine and give lots of clean water and while I have never had an illness break out even in my quarantine tank I have lost fish in those first days and written it off as stress etc.

Certain species have been a problem for me almost exclusively. Cories and guppies I could not keep alive even when all other species were fine. I didn’t have a local fish store of any quality for about a decade and I tried to keep both julli corries and guppies at one time. I purchased multiple fish multiple times and lost every single one over a couple weeks despite zero issues to other old or new fish and textbook water parameters (except pretty soft.)

Eventually I just gave up on both species and had no further issues with other new acquisition species. I wrote it off as poor stock / inbreeding lack of hardiness) and moved on. I decided to take a chance on cories again recently with the Pygmy cories and I had greater then 50% losses over the first week with no external symptoms. The surviving six have been fine ever since. However now that I’m seeing the same pattern as last time (going pale one by one) I’m wondering if they’re coming from wherever this store sources them from with an internal infection or parasite. So perhaps the wisest course of action is to actually move all of them to the treatment tank and hit them with antibiotics and a dewormer, not just the two pale ones.

Re: muscle necrosis, I think that’s more of a symptom than a disease. All that means is that tissue is dying and it points to some kind of internal infection or parasite but I’m not sure it tells you exactly what is killing off the tissue.
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Old 02-29-2020, 12:13 AM   #14
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I decided to treat the whole population of cories including the older ones. This is only partly by choice. I was only going to treat the new population but.... my ten gallon is so densely planted I just couldnít catch the older cories to move them out of the treatment tank.

I stopped paraguard while doing this treatment. Mixing meds can be risky and I havenít read up on this combination.

I did a water change then dosed the full dosage on the box. Now normally with shrimp and cories I would probably do partial dosages but maracyn 2 being an antibiotic, partial dosages are a recipe for antibiotic resistance. I probably should have dripped the meds in but sounds from the nursery indicated I was about to be interrupted so it was basically all added over just a minute or so. No immediate signs of stress of any inhabitants.

So full dosage maracyn 2 in a tank with shrimp, nerites and Pygmy cories. Iíll let you all know if there are any poor reactions. I did remove my biomedia to the 6 as well for the duration of the treatment so Iíll also have to watch out for ammonia. Iím fairly certain that maracyn 2 will effect biological filtration because those guys are gram negative too (need to look that up to confirm). Fortunately both shrimp and Pygmy cories are tiny with tiny bioloads so hopefully it will not be too much of a problem. That and the mechanical media in that tank is an absolutely ancient sponge filter so if I was incorrect and it doesnít bug nitrifying bacteria that may prevent a mini cycle.
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Old 02-29-2020, 12:35 AM   #15
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Also a point I wanted to make: any water changes that I need to do during treatment and for several days afterwards will be done into a bucket running a carbon filter before being dumped. (I told you I take antibiotic resistance seriously, itís an easy enough precaution and prevents low dosage antibiotics from ending up in the water supply.) Something to think about when we run antibiotics in our fish tanks.
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Old 02-29-2020, 01:02 AM   #16
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Sounds great!

Bacterial infection is usually the cause (but could be something else) with the result of muscle necrosis.

Guppies are usual internal parasite carriers. Not too sure why. I have lost several batches because of that, before starting using deworming when I got them. Started with a local hobby breeder who competes, and got them at out local club auction. And they were so beautiful but displayed increase of hollowed lower abdomen. And died off.

Didn't know about parasites really - how it looked, hadn't seen it before in my fish. Then after realizing what happened, I realized I had a Swordtail which had it too before (different tank & time frame).

That's when I got some flakes with Fenbendozole. And for a nice long time had much healthier fish!


Guppies at my location seem to do a little better with more mid range or higher pH, at least what I have seen in my water conditions.

Love your thinking of the carbon to help remove the antibiotics.
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Old 02-29-2020, 10:27 AM   #17
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Just an FYI to both of you as I know Autumn is in the States and I was *assuming* from the screen name Liberty was too

I'm up in Canada and recently - I honestly don't remember when - ALL *Over The Counter* ANTIBIOTIC meds were banned and can only be administered by a vet after an *office* consult. The reasoning given was over medication by aquatic pet owners. Ick meds are still available as it is a parasite NOT an infection. This has made treating ill aquatics prohibitively expensive - vet visit alone is ~$100 before meds - or you just don't do it. I have used salt baths - without much success, regular WCs in a quarantine tank and am considering trying food with garlic added as a preventative, but nothing seems to have the quicker results of meds so I am following this thread with interest to see if I can pull bits info I can on problems I might run into
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Old 02-29-2020, 04:42 PM   #18
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earhtmother - Can medications be obtained through farm supply stores?

Fenbendozole is a dewormer for animals and the Goat dewormer is a liquid which is ideal for dosing due to the suspension.

And there are medications for farm animals one can dispense to the animals as a stock animal keeper (USA). Like antibiotics also.

Always have been curious about that... for Canada. How much medication could have possibly been given to hobby fish to make that a law?????
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Old 03-01-2020, 09:20 AM   #19
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After reading multiple posts both here and on club sites I'd be willing to say more people use meds as a preventative measure than you would think and probably at least 50% of the time a quarantine time with regular water changes would do just as well.
I'm interested in your thoughts about guppies, sunken bellies & internal parasites because I've experienced something similar and it's what has started my change from Guppies to Endlers which don't seem to have the same issues. I've noticed that is happens more often after a mother drops her babies so I'm wondering if there is correlation between females that are carrying internal parasites while pregnant and once the fry are gone have no reserves left to fight.
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Old 03-02-2020, 12:47 AM   #20
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Yes I was just going to point out... how many times have we seen threads in the unhealthy fish section describing ailing fish that have not gotten better despite Ďbacteria medicineí of some nebulous variety when most often itís some kind of a water quality issue. There is a lot of just in case use of antibiotics (both in human and animal healthcare) which is almost always a big mistake.

The other issue is, that Iíve read articles about some people taking fish (and other small animal) antibiotics themselves just adjusting the dosage for mass in order to avoid having to get a prescription.

You think all those people are using the right drug at the right dosage for the right period of time only when necessary without the input of a vet or doctor.

Point is I think itís a bigger issue in the aquarium hobby then people realize.

~~~~~

Lab notebook portion of todayís post:

Day 3 of maracyn 2 in the 10. Tank has gone cloudy but no apparent need for a water change. Ammonia and nitrite remain zero.

Lost another dark patchy cherry shrimp today. There are several more that are visibly patchy and I wouldnít be surprised if theyíre too far gone. Cories and remaining cherries and nerites fine. Unpleasant surprise: I lost a bamboo shrimp today. I canít say for sure that the medication didnít agree with him because the other bamboo shrimp in the tank is fine. Pale Pygmy Cory remains pale but is still around.

The cherry shrimp in the 6 remain symptom free. This does (so far) suggest that in absence of available treatment something as simple as moving a healthy appearing sub population into a new tank might help save a population of ailing shrimp. Perhaps not all shrimp are infected and itís just passing between shrimp when one dies and is nibbled on before being removed. Or perhaps it just has to do with titer . Removing shrimp takes them from an environment with a potentially high population of disease causing bacteria to an environment where there are few enough Ďbugsí that their immune system can fight back.

Just a theory but it is interesting that this sub population from an obviously ailing population is running with zero losses while the original tank continues to lose shrimp at the same rate.
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