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Saltwater Aquarium/Skunk Cleaner Shrimps dead...


Hello there. I have a 20 gallon nano. All water specs are kept at "0", ph is kept at 8.2 and temp at 78. A few days ago, I came home from work, and found my two peppermint shrimps were pretty much at deaths door and my two cleaners looked extremely weak, where they couldn't move and wherever the flow was, they were almost flying along with it. Both had very minor twitches going with the occasional antennae moving about. I did a 2 gallon WC immediately, hoping that would maybe help. I've had them for about 6 months with no problem. They've been acting weird for the past few days prior, like staying behind the rocks, just staying still and not being very active, then this. Within a few hours, they finally gave up and kicked it. I do bi-weekly water changes, as I have a skimmer going on the tank. All my water params seem to be perfect, and I just don't understand what happened that killed all of my shrimps. At the last moment, I had realized that skimmers take out Iodine. Could it have been a full depletion of Iodine that killed them? I have never ever had a problem with my 13 yrs of SW keeping, until this. Also wanted to add, I have the following in the tank as well: False percula clownfish, red firefish, green clown goby, blue tuxedo urchin, Hawaiian feather duster, green emerald crab, strawberry crab, two turbo snails, one pyramid snails, 3 narc snails and two bumblee snails. Any answers, pointers or whatever is GREATLY appreciated!!!

Hi Rich:

Perhaps the Iodine and Calcium were at extremely low levels, not allowing the exoskeleton to harden fast enough after your Peppermint and Cleaner Shrimp molted, leaving them vulnerable to predation from the fish, and even the crab would grab at them if he knew they had no protection.

Other than this I can't think of anything else... sorry I wish I had more for you.

I wish you the best of luck with all your future saltwater aquarium endeavors.


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David Ocreef


Technical saltwater coral reef related aquarium questions are welcome. Coral, invertebrate, and peaceful species of saltwater fish questions are welcome. Questions asked on Saturday and Sunday will be answered the following Monday. REMINDER: Please check the answers pool to see if your question has already been asked and answered. Questions typically are answered within a 48 hour period, however sometimes it may take longer.


I possess over twenty-five years of hands-on experience and knowledge in the ecology of aquariums. Beyond the traditional, I have successfully tested and sustained environments that have been uncharted territories for hobbyists, for decades. I am the first to admit I don't know it all because there will always be something new, amazing, and exciting to learn about, as discoveries are made. It's a hobby one can never outgrow, or grow tired of.

MASNA - Marine Aquarium Society of North America. Director of Orange County Reef Aquatics -

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After High School, my experience and love of marine animals influenced me to take up studies in Marine Biology. Throughout college, I studied Microbiology with an emphasis on Marine Life, as well as numerous other sciences. I continued to advance in this hobby, by building a dozen or more saltwater ecosystems all utilizing Microbes as the major source of my filtration method.

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