Dirt, plants, CPDs, Inverts, and an Endler--29g journal - Page 2

AP1

Just a tank pic for today, about a week after big trim:
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AP1

Came very, very close to purchasing either 12 Cory habrosus or 12 Cory pygmaeus today at my LFS. Ultimately what held me back was primarily worries about how they would do in our harder water (~300 TDS, though I think the tank ph has dropped from close to 8 down to close to 7 over time). What does everyone think? Dwarf cories in this tank--good idea or bad idea?
 

AP1

Well, I went for it today—purchased 14 Pygmy corys. They look great and healthy, though I only realized once it was past the point of no return at the fish store that they were wild caught ( I prefer captive bred for several reasons). Fingers crossed that this goes well in my hard water. The feeding frenzy resulting from 11 CPDs, 4 endlers, the Pygmys and shrimp + snails going after the Cory wafer I put in was something to behold tonight!
Unfortunately no pics of the new inhabitants, just the tank:
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KianMan

Well, I went for it today—purchased 14 Pygmy corys. They look great and healthy, though I only realized once it was past the point of no return at the fish store that they were wild caught ( I prefer captive bred for several reasons). Fingers crossed that this goes well in my hard water. The feeding frenzy resulting from 11 CPDs, 4 endlers, the Pygmys and shrimp + snails going after the Cory wafer I put in was something to behold tonight!
Unfortunately no pics of the new inhabitants, just the tank:
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nice use of hornwort
 

AP1

nice use of hornwort
Ha! Thanks. One of many reasons the tank runs nearly zero nitrate (between water lettuce, duckweed, the hornwort, and pothos--never mind Pogostemenon octopus and wisteria) the tank is a machine in that regard and I am actually hoping that the extra feeding for the corys brings nitrate levels up a bit. The tank would look great if I had the heart to kill snails. I will argue all day with anyone who says that snails do not eat plants--my small sword looks like swiss cheese at the moment. And it is absolutely the snails work (I think the bladder/pond snails, not sure which they are). There were holes in my dwarf aquarium lily days after being put in the new tank, which would decidedly not happen from a nutrient deficiency (there are definitely nutrient deficiencies as well, but the snails are doing quite a bit of work on the swords, water lily, and mini anubias).

With the addition of the wild corys I am thinking of starting to cut my water with ro water again. My supermarket sells it for 39 cents a gallon, so I could concievably work up to 3 tap water to 2 ro balance to get the hardness down somewhat over time. What does everyone think?
 

AP1

I have tested ammonia the past three days to make sure the new fish and increased feeding are not causing a spike. Readings have all been good and so the tank seems to be metabolizing the increased ammonia just fine. As far as I can tell the pygmys are well too, though it is difficult to get a head count!
 

AP1

Just a note that the pygmys are really cool little fish--fun to watch as they school, sift through the mulm, shimmy, and lay around the tank resting before their next move.
 

AP1

Did my first water change with the pygmys in there today and then doubled-up on feeding (two Sera Viformo Nature bottom feeder tablets). I had been pretty careful with not overfeeding during the first week to protect against any ammonia/nitrite spikes, but I have also been worried that some of the smaller pygmys did not get their fill with just one tablet, thus the double feed.

Speaking of the tablets, everyone in the tank loves those Sera tablets. Anyone else using these? They break up into small pieces; in the words of my LFS guy "They are my new favorite cory cat food."

During the feeding frenzy I got up to counts of 13 corys. Given the tangle in the back, I think all 14 are still here. I will post soon in the cory forum about whether a Prazipro dose is in order--since they are wild caught and came from an LFS from which I bought other fish that apparently had parasites I would like to, but I also know corys can be more sensitive.

By the way, little miracle CPD is now about halfway grown. I think she is a female and has had her adult pattern for about two weeks now. With the corys in there I find it hard to believe that there will be more without more drastic measures--I am thinking of buying a mess of moss to stuff on the right side of the tank and hopefully aid eggs in making it past the corys/snails/fish.
 

AP1

There are, I think (and rather conveniently), 29 fish in this 29 gallon—11 CPDs, 4 endlers, and 14 Pygmy corys. There have been precious few good pictures of the fish in this thread—let’s see if we can start to change that. Unfortunately couldn’t get the holy grail tonight—a good pic of one of the several colored up male CPDs, which are the flightiest fish in the tank. But got half decent pics of several others. First, the tank, which had to my eyes been looking especially nice since the last water change and floating plant thin out:

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Then a pic of ‘an endler’ from the journal title—this is the little fry that was thrown in with the shrimp I purchased way back in September. All grown up! (top leftish of pic)
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Next, the half-grown CPD fry, born in tank( also in shot above):

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Next, a pygmy cory doing pygmy Cory things:
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Next, an epic photo bomb of a male cpd by another tank inhabitant—garr!:

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Finally, a female CPD:

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AP1

5 gallon water change today included adding a gallon of RO water. And then I dosed Prazipro—fingers crossed it works out OK!
 

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AP1

Prazipro dosing is all done (water changed at the end of the dosing period and then ran a carbon filter for a night to hopefully get the meds out of the water) and without any apparent losses. All is well overall with the tank. A couple of worry areas (as always) remain:
1. I know that I have lower kh in the tank than when I started back in August. But because I haven't had a kh test I have always used only test strips and so I don't actually know what the values are. So I finally bit the bullet and ordered a gh/kh test kit that will arrive Tuesday. Last week I stuck a large half of cuttlebone in the filter and we will see where things sit--it is possible that I may need to do more (just want to make sure there are no ph crashes).
2. One of my endlers in particular is a bit of a worry. He shimmies and has a somewhat swollen looking torso. Not sure if there is a concern or not here--the shimmying could certainly be from stress, as he is certainly the weakest of the four male endlers in the tank. Could also be related to the possible kh problem. Or (and this is the scenario I really hope is not true), it could be some sort of prazipro resistant worm. It has been about 5 months and 3 or 4 doses of prazipro since the last seemingly worm-related death in the tank (I did have a male tiger endler disappear about a month+ ago) and so hopefully it is not the latter.

As I wrote above, otherwise all is well. The CPDs remain very colored up and the pygmys seem to be doing well so far--no deaths as far as I know and so far no apparent illness.
 

AP1

Did the bi-monthly 'hack-back' yesterday, cutting out a bagful of Pogostemenon +Hornwort. The wisteria had gotten so shaded out that they had dropped leaves from the first foot +of each stem. So I cut the stems out of the ground and replanted the cuttings on the left side and in the middle back.

The main purpose of the hack-back, as always, was to save the big Amazon Sword. It seems to hang in there as long as it gets 2-3 weeks of good light every couple of months, but wouldn't want to go much further than that. The small sword in the center would be an absolutely beautiful plant but just gets ravaged by the snails.

One really nice by-product of the hack back is wonderfully improved flow. Whereas 3/4 of the tank had essentially no current before yesterday, about 3/4 has current now and the CPDs and endlers have been out and playing in it at the front of the tank.


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AP1

Fish seem to generally be well, but there are indeed kH issues—tested at only 3 degrees KH last week. PH was OK, somewhere in the 7s (shade of blue was hard to match against the chart). So I am experimenting with more frequent, twice weekly water changes and will also try to get my hands on some crushed coral (currently have cuttlebone). Tank shots from after the water change today are below:


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AP1

Well...a strange, quite possibly bad, time for the tank. A number of things are going on:

1. I may have lost a number of the Pygmy corys. There were a couple of days last week when I thought they were all gone. Finally figured out that they had gone nocturnal (apparently this is a thing) and now spend the days hiding. I discovered tonight that they will come out for food with lights on if there is no movement near the tank—being very still I got up to counts of 8 or 9 today. The original number was 14. So that could be 5-6 gone...or maybe not all came out? I have not seen any bodies and most of the ones today looked ok. If I had to guess I would say there are 10-11 in there. :-(

2. The tank is no longer a very low nitrate tank. Got up perhaps as high as about 30 ppm last week; after multiple water changes now about 15 ppm.Part of the reason is definitely more food after getting the corys, which in turn has led to more snails. It is also possible that there have been Pygmy losses per the above and that this resulted in a large nitrate increase. KH is also still low, though perhaps 4-5 degrees after all the water changes.
3. On the bright side, the CPDs, Endlers, shrimp and plants are all well (the higher nitrates seems to have contributed to the water lily in particular taking off, though the snails seem to also be shredding it).

We are leaving in about ten days for a research trip that may stretch to a month. Neighbors will be helping to feed and a teenager down the street will change the water once a week. The big decisions at present are whether I want to add crushed coral before leaving (currently leaning toward no as everyone seems ok and the water changes will hopefully help to replenish KH) and whether I need to reduce the snail population, both for nitrate control and to ensure the Pygmys get enough food (those who have been following this thread know that i do not like killing things, but at this point there is only about a 20 minute window after putting a Cory water in before it is covered with snails.) Thoughts are appreciated as always and will update next week. Here are some pics from tonight:
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AP1

Just a tad freaked out:

A cory wafer fell onto the upper fork of the driftwood two nights ago. To get it free, I began tugging on the 'cotton wool' (that stuff that surrounds potted plants when you buy them at the LFS) that I had jammed in there long ago when I had a Java Fern growing there. While doing this, I could have sworn that I saw a dark, long shape dart out of the fork/wool and curl around the back of the driftwood. It happened so quickly that half of me thinks it was just debris, or maybe even a very (very) dark pygmy cory. But my goodness it looked real, and quite a bit like a dragonfly nymph or other similar insect. (about 2 inches long and blackish)

Could not find it afterwards. And there are are so many plants/rock/driftwood, etc. in the tank that there would not really be a way to really find it (or if found, catch it), without completely tearing the tank apart. So I guess I am going to just somewhat optimistically hope this was all a figment of my rather well-developed imagination?:eek:
 

AP1

In the end the research trip had to be postponed, and so we left only for a 6 day family vacation last week. Neighbor fed the fish until we returned and all is about the same as the last couple of updates, with the exception that I did another plant cut back before the trip and the lily has put out beautiful pads at the top. Also added a few red root floaters at the top.

The Corys have indeed gone nocturnal, and rough estimate of 8-10 left is my best guess, though I hope more. All is well with the CPDs and endlers as well. Tank pics are below:


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(and no more sightings, real or imagined, of whatever that was from the last post!)
 

AP1

Not a good week for the tank or me as a fishkeeper. I had let the tank temp creep up to 81-82 or so due to warmer house temps during the summer and this seems to have led to one of my male CPDs getting a bacterial or fungal infection. Had discoloration under one dorsal fin, a tuft on his mouth (and fraying areas around the mouth) and gasping. At the very end (after 4 days or so), I tried treating him in a hospital tank with Jungle Clear and Kanaplex, but it was too late and he passed today.

So far the other fish seem to have avoided infection (I changed the tank water for 4-5 days straight and treated with Melafix). But one female CPD seems to have a minor swim bladder issue. Not sure if this is new or if she has had it for some time and I did not notice. So fingers crossed regarding her.

By lowering the house temp a couple of degrees and keeping the lid open (with water lowered another 1.5 inches to prevent jumping), I have been able to bring the temp down to the high 70s and hopefully that helps to prevent any more issues. But not a good job at all by me in letting the temp get that high in the first time.

On a positive note, I did count 10 pygmys last night with the lights dimmed. So I am now hopeful that there are at least 11-12 (of the original 14) still in the tank. Count me as another who has seen a switch to nocturnal behavior from them (there are a few threads about this).
 

AP1

The tank seems to be back in a good place, with no more losses and everyone looking well. The recent experience may also have made me into a two water change a week guy—I feel like the tank and fish benefitted from the extra water changes. Perhaps it is just my imagination, but everyone looks extra healthy at the moment. The pygmys even seem to be out and about a bit more in the evening at feeding time.

Tank pics are below (water level lowered so that I can open the lid during the days to cool water without having to worry about leapers):
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Sabra

What do you do if you don't have a quarantine tank and a fish gets sick? I am just staring out with a single aquarium.
 

AP1

What do you do if you don't have a quarantine tank and a fish gets sick? I am just staring out with a single aquarium.
A few possibilities! The best is to get a QT. But as you see, this is something I haven't really done. Another if a QT is needed is probably what I did this last time, which is to repurpose a container of some sort (I used a 5 gallon bucket) w/ sponge filter and some cycled filter media (you want to avoid ammonia/nitrite problems). Ideally this would be a clear container/bucket so that you can easily see whether the fish has progressed or regressed.

In many circumstances you can or even should also treat the main tank as well, though there are risks to this depending on the situation. And, sometimes it may also be best to do nothing, though I am still struggling with exactly what this means and when applicable ( I am a relatively new aquarium keeper).
 

AP1

Yesterday I did quite a bit of water testing, including some reagent tests. It has been a while since I tested water parameters with anything other than the test strips and the results were revealing from the reagent tests. Nitrite was zero and nitrate low per the tests strips (I think--the new test strips are a bit harder to read than the others, but I think nitrate was 10, perhaps 15 ppm). All expected. I tested kH using the API test and came out at 5 degrees, so about 90 or so ppm. I also tested GH for the first time ever using the API test kit. I have tested many times with the test strips, but the results are difficult to read; I always assumed I was getting readings of 300 ppm on the test strip, but came out with 200 ppm GH yesterday. And I tested pH--very-difficult-to-discern results were anywhere from 7.4 to 8.0 (but definitely significantly less than the tap, which I tested yesterday at 8.4).

So we will say 7.6-7.8 ph (partly because the test strips indicated on the lower side of things), 200 pm GH, 90 ppm kH.

So this is mostly good news, I think. It looks like my tank is basically eating up both some kh and gh from my hard tap water, and also reducing ph somewhat as well. Basically I have wound up with a tank that is certainly more suitable for the pygmy corys than the tap water. Not ideal for the shrimp (or endlers), though, and I think I can see this in the fact that I have not seen a berried female in ages (though also haven't seen any dead shrimp). Going forward, I think the trick will be to try to increase water changes enough so that I can perhaps get to 6-7 degrees kh for the shrimp and endlers (but not much higher, due to the pygmys).

Fish seem to be doing well too overall, so a good week overall.
 

AP1

Hard to believe, but the tank will hit the one-year mark this week. It has been a wonder since setup (though with many stress-inducing moments as well). To celebrate the one-year anniversary, I will try for a few posts recapping/reviewing various aspects of the tank since setup. Today, the equipment:

First, the Petco Aqueon 29 gallon tank. Grade: A. I got this at the 50% off sale, for about $38 if I remember right. Given the demands of family, a very busy life as dissertation writing heads towards its intimidating end, and the realities of graduate student finances, this was the perfect tank. Big enough that my perhaps excessively scrupulous worries about the ethics of fish keeping are mostly assuaged given the size of the livestock, but also quite manageable in terms of water changes, etc. And it hasn't leaked on the floor! I have also been quite happy with the way in which my stocking (both endlers and cpds are often in the top third of the tank), friend-gifted driftwood, floating plants, water lilies, and floating hornwort have nulled out the biggest disadvantage of the 29--the potential for empty, unused space at the top due to the height. (I should note that if 33 gallons long were cheaper, the 33 would have been ideal, but the price difference is significant)

Second, the used 20 gallon long (fits 29 gallon) stand (unsure of brand): another A. Was $40 for the stand and a used 29 gallon, the latter of which I later sold for 15 or 20 bucks. The stand remains standing and looks good--score!

Third, the Nicrew ClassicLED Plus light. Grade: A. Was about 40-45 bucks I believe and has grown plants pretty well (not fantastic, but pretty well) from the get-go. In other words, it has grown plants precisely the way you would hope a light at this price-point would; my impression is that it is somewhere on the border between high-end low-level lighting and low-end medium-level lighting, which is what you would expect for the money. It was about the most I could afford at the time. In hindsight, I lucked into a near-perfect light (though I think several others would have earned the same grade)--as I have since learned, low-level lighting can allow for a longer light-period per day and less algae growth. The tank has had nearly zero discernible algae since setup. And, the light still works.

Fourth, the Kasa wi-fi light plug. Grade A-. I was worried about the light buttons eventually wearing out on the Nicrew, and so I bought a Kasa wi-fi plug for the light. Great concept and usability; 'only' gets an A- because I believe it somehow accidentally got switched off for a day while I was on a research trip (luckily I noticed it or it would have been a major problem)--I must have butt-pressed off the button in the app on my cell-phone somehow.

Fifth, the Marineland Penguin Bio-wheel 150 GPH. Grade: A-. The 'low' grade is based on the needs of my tank only. On the plus side, it works, is big enough for me to cram a good amount of media in, and remains very quiet (I have had to play around with it once or twice when it got a bit noisier, but overall quite quiet). But especially because of where I have it placed (on the far left side of the aquarium), I have found myself wishing that I had opted for a slightly more powerful filter (250?) to increase flow. Still, quite happy overall.

Sixth, the Fluval M150 heater. Grade: A-. No real reason why an A- and not an A--I guess if I am being picky, the heater's settings seem to be a degree or two off from actual water temperature.

Ok, that does it for the first post. Next post will be the tank inhabitants. For now, three pictures of the tank are below. The first, on true set-up day (very early in the morning August 12, 2021, after an all-night setup); the second, a pic from when the tank was probably looking about its best from an aquascaping/aesthetic perspective (October 2021); the third, from today. I have the water level down so that I can open the lid during the day to reduce heat, some of the leaves are in tatters, and the tank is undoubtedly overgrown. But overall, I quite like its current looks and it seems to have largely fulfilled the goals set at the beginning of the build journal. So quite a bit to be happy about overall with the first year.

August 2020:


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October 2020:


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Today (August 7 2022):
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AP1

Today we'll do part 1/2 of tank inhabitants for the one-year review: the fish.

To recap, over the course of the year, a total of 7 (male) endlers, 12 CPDs, and 14 pygmy corys were added to the tank. Two endlers and 3 CPDs passed; one (tiger) endler was also returned to the store due to aggression. At least two CPDs were also born in the tank and one made it to adulthood (the other I only saw briefly at a very small size and was assumedly eaten). My best estimate at present is that there are 11-12 pygmys left of the group, though because they have gone nocturnal it is very difficult to say for sure. 10 would seem to be the lowest reasonable number remaining based on what I have seen at feeding time; I suppose it is just possible that there are actually 13 or even all 14 still in the tank.

So there are 4 endlers, 10 CPDs, and 11-12 pygmys in the tank at the moment.

Before getting on to a bit more on each fish species, a bit more on fish survival and reasons for death (keeping fish alive obviously being one of the most important things we do, perhaps this will be useful for others). Of the fish I brought into the tank 2/7 endlers and 3/12 CPDs passed under my care this last year (as I wrote, unsure on the pygmys). Realistically 3 or 4 of those 5 deaths were due to things that a more experienced fishkeeper might have caught in time--I am pretty sure the endlers and perhaps CPDs had internal parasites and the first endler to pass was due to this I think, as was perhaps one of the CPDs. If I had treated earlier perhaps they could have been saved. One female CPD ended up with a swim bladder disorder after I accidentally forgot to turn the heater on; another contracted a fungal infection due probably to high water temperatures this summer. Hopefully this next year will see improvement in regard to survival--hate seeing fish die in the tank/under my care.

In terms of thoughts on each species:

CPDS: A delight to keep. I really like 'mysterious' tanks, i.e. tanks that you need to look at for some time before seeing all of the occupants. The reclusive CPDs (think twice about purchasing them if you like 'out and about fish,' though I know some say they act this wayin their tanks) fit this perfectly. Especially in times when the tank's upper reaches are heavily vegetated, they tend to be mostly out of sight behind clumps of vegetation near the top. They are very aware of humans in the room (though recently they seem to have relaxed a bit), and the above is especially true whenever I am near the tank. On the other hand, if I sit out of sight 10 feet away on the couch, I can see males chasing females in and out of the vegetation on the less oxygenated right of the tank (otherwise they tend to stay on the left, in the water flow). There seems to have been a lot of spawning in my moderately hard to hard water, but most of the eggs get picked off by the fish and esp. the large number of snails in the tank I believe. As I noted above, one fry did make it to adulthood in the tank. In terms of feeding, while some online sources call them mid-water feeders, I have found that they also love to peck at catfish food on the bottom; some will also take floating flakes from the surface, though they do seem to be more reluctant to do this. They primarily eat spirulina flakes and frozen BBS.

Male endlers: Besides my decision to purchase shrimp (which means no sparkling gouramis, pea puffers, etc.), probably nothing affected my tank stocking list more than the inclusion by the seller of a free 1/4 inch endler with the shrimp I purchased just after the tank cycled--had that endler not been included, I suspect that a school of 8-10 norman's lampeye killifish would have been purchased and added instead. That small endler grew quickly into a young male endler--I felt bad for it being alone and purchased 6 other male endlers to keep it company. But in all honesty, I am not sure that I would have purchased those extra endlers knowing what I do now. A 29 is not a small tank, but since putting them in, there has been A LOT of chasing, sparring, and sometimes outright fighting. I purchased three endlers that had red stripes like the one that I have and three tiger endlers. The three tiger endlers together were the most aggressive and I had to return one to the store; doing so seemed to reduce the capacity of the remaining two to gang up on the other endlers (they especially liked chasing my original male, since it had a thick, female-like body). Another tiger endler later disappeared a day after I saw it with a ragged tail, perhaps from chasing. This left four. These four seem to be in a 'relative' groove now after 9 months together, but I wonder whether they are really any happier for each other's company given all of the continued chasing.

So, while I like them individually and admire their spunk, in some ways I wish that either the solitary endler fry hadn't been given to me or that I hadn't bought it company--perhaps it would have been happier on its own (since I don't want females and resultant endler fry). Suffice it to say that this has all made me a bit skeptical of whether all-male endler tanks are a good idea.

Pygmy corys: after fears that most of them had died back in early June, it turns out that the pack had just gone nocturnal. As indicated above, my best guess is that 11-12 remain. This is another purchase that I regret, though only because I did not realize that they were wild-caught until halfway through them being bagged at the LFS (I prefer to purchase captive-born fish). At the time, I was also worried about my water parameters, but it seems as if the tank water has become a bit softer with age and a bit more in line with pygmy water parameters.

Other than the above, I like, probably love, having them in the tank. Again, I like reclusive fish, and it is quite cool to occasionally get a glimpse of one during the day. And even cooler to see them literally come out of the rockwork to feed in the last hour of light during the day. They seem to mostly have gained some weight in the tank, and so I think they are getting enough food.

In terms of future additions, the big one, hopefully, will be half-grown CPD fry later this fall--I plan to try to breed some of my CPDs in a separate container/tank during the fall and then add them once they get big enough to avoid being eaten. Other than that, there is a small chance that I may add more fish of some sort (I could just see anything from pygmy sunfish to chili rasboras to female endlers to gobys), but I think that most likely I will not--the better thing seems likely to be to concentrate on providing the best environment for what is in there.

That is it for the fish, next will be the inverts.
 

AP1

Part 2 of inhabitants: the inverts.

While my experience with the fish is perhaps best represented as a slow and steady learning curve, the last year with inverts has been more akin to a wild, unpredictable roller coaster. If any newbie makes it through the entire build and journal to this point, you have probably realized a fact both amazing and horrifying that is also one of my most valuable/important takeaways for the year: water parameters change over time! Out of the tap, my water comes out hard (~300 ppm gh, perhaps 80-120 kh, and with a high pH of 8-8.4). I thus thought that keeping inverts would be a breeze (this was bolstered by a brief experience keeping them previously). And, indeed, the first 4-5 months was a breeze, capped by arriving back from a trip in January to 6-8 baby shrimp in the tank to bolster the population of about 13-14 I added in September.

In retrospect, that was the high point of my invert keeping. By about February, I noticed a hole in my mystery snail's shell; smaller pest snails actually appeared to be sucking his flesh through the hole. As I later realized, the hole was likely due to the fact that the large number of plants in the tank had used up much of the calcium/carbonate out of the water column, significantly reducing kH. This was certainly made worse by the fact that because nitrates were almost undetectable I stopped doing weekly water changes. Eventually I had to return the mystery snail to the store, but since winter there has been a noticeable number of snails with white shells, indicating continued calcium deficiency. When I measured hardness a few weeks ago, I found that the tank, even after steady water changes (which serve to bolster alkalinity/hardness in this tank given the plants), is running about 200 gh, perhaps 40-50-70 kh and somewhere between 7.4-8.0 pH, all well beneath what comes out of the tap (though all better than they were at the height of problems I believe). I.e. the tank water continues to be significantly softer than the tap water, creating some continued difficulties for inverts.

These difficulties seem most acute for the bladder/pond and ramshorn snails that came in with the plants, as can be seen by many white/thin shells. The dozens (hundreds?) of Malaysian Trumpet Snails seem less affected; the single nerite is somewhere in between. The shrimp are surviving (estimate 14-16 davidii and one amano shrimp) and seem fairly healthy (I have only seen one dead shrimp since the tank was setup, though I do sometimes seem what appear to be coloration/molt problems on their exoskeletons), but I have not seen a berried female for perhaps 4-5 months, so not exactly thriving. I have been adding cuttlebone to the tank and increased water changes up to an average of two per week, but due to the purchase of the pygmy corys (which likely prefer tank conditions as they are now), I have not taken more drastic measures such as adding crushed corals.

These problems aside (though in some ways it is difficult to put them aside), I quite enjoy having inverts in the tank, with the shrimp being the stars of the show. The shrimp are very interesting to watch. And, the inverts as a whole (and to a lesser extent the pygmys) now keep the sandbed almost pristine in terms of debris. The tank also has no visible algae. I know that I have at least one amano shrimp of the four I added last fall; I have not seen more than one for months, but the 'one' I see does often seem to be different colors, and so it would not surprise me if there is more than one left in there.

That's it for the tank inhabitants. Next up will be a review of the plants after a year.
 

AP1

Naturally after typing the above, I found a baby, 1/8 inch shrimp at the front of the tank today. So I guess the more frequent water changes and cuttlebone are helping a bit more than I thought!
 

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