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I'm not sure about the growth under the substrate, I haven't poked around. Six weeks ago when I planted it, it was just a plantlet with a few roots. Do you have any idea how long it takes for a lily to grow a bulb?
The nomenclature can be a little confusing. I'm still not sure when a lily is a lily and not a lotus. They both grow pads and can look remarkably like each other depending on the individual coloring of each plant. My tiger lotus recently sent out runners that resulted in new plants. The new plants already had small bulbs attached to them by the time they were big enough for me to notice their existence in the tank.

ETA: I would say if the plant is sending up pads, it probably is past the stage where it needs nutrients from a bulb. I bet if you poke around, you will find a bulb and can probably remove it fairly easily.
 

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Discussion Starter · #42 ·
The nomenclature can be a little confusing. I'm still not sure when a lily is a lily and not a lotus. They both grow pads and can look remarkably like each other depending on the individual coloring of each plant. My tiger lotus recently sent out runners that resulted in new plants. The new plants already had small bulbs attached to them by the time they were big enough for me to notice their existence in the tank.
I see. Looking into their taxonomy on itis.gov, the genuses Nymphaea (your lotus) and Nymphoides (my lily) share a class, Magoliopsida. They are in the families Nymphaeaceae and Menyanthaceae respectively. From a few minutes of reading, it seems like your lotus is in the true water lily family, whereas my "lily" is an imposter. Its genus Nymphoides was named after its resemblance to Nymphaea (water lilies).

I haven't found anything yet about the differences and how to identify them, so if you happen to, I'd love for you to share.
 

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I see. Looking into their taxonomy on itis.gov, the genuses Nymphaea (your lotus) and Nymphoides (my lily) share a class, Magoliopsida. They are in the families Nymphaeaceae and Menyanthaceae respectively. From a few minutes of reading, it seems like your lotus is in the true water lily family, whereas my "lily" is an imposter. Its genus Nymphoides was named after its resemblance to Nymphaea (water lilies).

I haven't found anything yet about the differences and how to identify them, so if you happen to, I'd love for you to share.
Yeah, my brief wikipedia search reveals that nymphoides are a definite thing. We're most familiar with the nymphoides aquatica a/k/a, the banana plant. There are dozens of other species found all over the world, many of them considered invasive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
Day 62...

Plant Green Rectangle Vegetation Grass

7/22/2022
We've come a long way in a few short months! The tank has grown in better than I imagined it would.

I'm hoping the plants in the center back can grow dense enough to hide the heater soon. I think the limnophila is being slowly outcompeted by the bordering ludwigia and rotala. It just never really took off like the others.

The lily is resisting my pruning attempts. Almost daily it sends new surface leaves, already growing plantlets before they even open. For the most part, I've been trimming off these leaves and letting the plantlets grow floating, but the main plants seem to have abandoned the idea of growing submerged. The remaining submerged leaves are yellowing and providing food for many baby ramshorns and tiny crustaceans.

The carpet is wild and thick. I trimmed the pearl weed that was encroaching on its space because it had started growing up rather than out.

Floater problems are solved for the most part. Things are green and red where they should be and growing fast. I gave up trying to tame the water lettuce roots. The ostracods and shrimp enjoy them.

Shrimplets are unreasonably small. The first batch hatched sometime this week while I was out of town. My roommate sent me a picture, but you don't quite understand just how tiny they really are until you see them in person. They are barely twice the size of an ostracod, and just so, so cute.

I fed everyone blanched romaine today. It was a hit and I got some cute pictures that I will include below.

Just about everyone is happy except for the nerites. I'm worried about them. I haven't seen the tiger in a while, and the unicorn's shell is looking a little drab. The tank glass is really clean, and since they spend about 99% of the time on the glass, I'm worried they're starving/have starved. They don't ever come eat food on the ground and I can't exactly put it on the glass. I don't think they're as competitive or behaviorally adaptable as the ramshorns, so in this small of a space with so many cleaners, they're probably struggling. Makes me sad, and I don't know what to do for them.
 

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Day 62...

We've come a long way in a few short months! The tank has grown in better than I imagined it would.

I'm hoping the plants in the center back can grow dense enough to hide the heater soon. I think the limnophila is being slowly outcompeted by the bordering ludwigia and rotala. It just never really took off like the others.

The lily is resisting my pruning attempts. Almost daily it sends new surface leaves, already growing plantlets before they even open. For the most part, I've been trimming off these leaves and letting the plantlets grow floating, but the main plants seem to have abandoned the idea of growing submerged. The remaining submerged leaves are yellowing and providing food for many baby ramshorns and tiny crustaceans.

The carpet is wild and thick. I trimmed the pearl weed that was encroaching on its space because it had started growing up rather than out.

Floater problems are solved for the most part. Things are green and red where they should be and growing fast. I gave up trying to tame the water lettuce roots. The ostracods and shrimp enjoy them.

Shrimplets are unreasonably small. The first batch hatched sometime this week while I was out of town. My roommate sent me a picture, but you don't quite understand just how tiny they really are until you see them in person. They are barely twice the size of an ostracod, and just so, so cute.

I fed everyone blanched romaine today. It was a hit and I got some cute pictures that I will include below.

Just about everyone is happy except for the nerites. I'm worried about them. I haven't seen the tiger in a while, and the unicorn's shell is looking a little drab. The tank glass is really clean, and since they spend about 99% of the time on the glass, I'm worried they're starving/have starved. They don't ever come eat food on the ground and I can't exactly put it on the glass. I don't think they're as competitive or behaviorally adaptable as the ramshorns, so in this small of a space with so many cleaners, they're probably struggling. Makes me sad, and I don't know what to do for them.
I really like this tank. The only other one I can compare it to is that chap's from Australia with all the blue platys. You both have had extraordinary luck with your stem plants. In your case, I think not having fish gave you an unanticipated advantage in never having to worry about toxic levels of nitrates. You could play around with ferts and the proof is in the pudding, as they say!
 

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Discussion Starter · #48 · (Edited)
I really like this tank. The only other one I can compare it to is that chap's from Australia with all the blue platys. You both have had extraordinary luck with your stem plants. In your case, I think not having fish gave you an unanticipated advantage in never having to worry about toxic levels of nitrates. You could play around with ferts and the proof is in the pudding, as they say!
Thank you! It's been a lot of fun.

I've been debating whether or not to add fish eventually. I originally planned on adding them after I finish my summer classes, but the shrimp are so enjoyable on their own already. I would be sad if the fish caused them to become more reclusive and/or ate all the babies.

I am drawn to CPDs but my tank might be a bit on the small side for them. I don't think I'll do a Betta because of the risk to the shrimp. So I'm not sure.

Also, do you have a link to the blue platy tank? I'd love to see it.
 

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Thank you! It's been a lot of fun.

I've been debating whether or not to add fish eventually. I originally planned on adding them after I finish my summer classes, but the shrimp are so enjoyable on their own already. I would be sad if the fish caused them to become more reclusive and/or ate all the babies.
Great to see this tank! You've got stem plants, hair grass, and Yellow Shrimp going to town. All things that I struggle-- or have-- struggled with. (I bought two populations of Yellow Shrimp (30 individuals) and have about nada after two years. After seeing your pictures of them cavorting around, I admit to be envious!)

I would enjoy what you have. Your are correct to be wary. Any fish will make the shrimp more reclusive and/or eat their babies. Then, there's always the risk of fish diseases and all their little problems.

If you need more challenge, set up a new tank.
 

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Discussion Starter · #51 ·
If you need more challenge, set up a new tank.
Don't tempt me. I live in an apartment and will be moving sometime next summer once I graduate, so I'm not letting myself start another tank until after that.

I went into this knowing that this tank would only have about a year lifespan, so I think you're probably right about it being best to keep it shrimp-only. I'll enjoy them in this tank for now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #52 ·
Day 71...

Slideshow photos in order:
1. Before trim (7/30/2022)
2. Before trim with floaters removed (7/30/2022)
3. Look at all those floaters
4. This morning with baby food (7/31/2022)

I had to do a pretty big trim this weekend because I didn't have time last and things were getting wild. I tried to remove as little as possible in fear of initiating another cloudy period, but I had to get rid of some stuff. The L. belem has been struggling since the beginning, so I removed it and replaced it with the hornwort stems I've been growing in the back corners. I also couldn't replant all of the ludwigia stems, not enough space. And the layers and layers of salvinia were ridiculous. When I put as many floaters back as I possibly could, the top was covered again, I still had over a golf ball sized portion left. So those, the L. belem, and the extra ludwigia will be going to my friend's Betta tank, along with a good amount of ostracods (for snacks).

The copepods have virtually disappeared. I only saw one last weekend and I haven't been able to find any this one. Maybe the ostracods outcompeted them. They are abundant.

The shrimplets are growing and new ones were born. I love watching them submarine around the water column, fearless. It is lovely to see prey animals who have never been exposed to predators. So free.

The water lettuce are huge and their roots are crazy. One has a flower.
Flower Plant Water Petal Leaf

And to end the update on the uncertain: When I was replanting ludwigia stems in the front left corner, I hit what felt like a cavity in the dirt with no resistance. When I removed my tweezers, a large amount of gas released from the soil. And wouldn't you know... rotten eggs. I poked around the area until they stopped coming up. This didn't happen anywhere else I was replanting stems. I will keep an eye on it and hold off on panicking for now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #53 ·
Day 86...

Plant Green Botany Rectangle Vegetation

Before trim (8/15/2022)

Flower Plant Plant community Light Rectangle

After trim (8/15/2022)​

The tank has never needed a trim so badly. I may have gone overboard while trimming, we'll see if I regret it.

The water lettuce was becoming too obstructive, so I removed the three largest plants. The lily is still trying to become a surface plant. I may experiment with trying to reconvert it to a submerged form, or I might uproot it and put the plantlets in its place. Might be more successful keeping them submerged by starting fresh.

There are many worms on the glass. I can't tell what kind they are. I don't think they're planaria, they're too skinny, but I could be wrong. I'll attach a photo.

Other than that, not much to report. I have no idea what happened to my larger tiger nerite. I haven't seen her in weeks, so I assume she died, but I never found her shell. The smaller horned nerite is still kicking. The first batch of shrimplets are about half an inch long now, and I think they're all wild type which was expected. All the males are very low grade.

When replanting, I thankfully didn't come across any H2S patches like last time.

I go out of town again on Wednesday for a week to visit family across the country, but after that I'm home for the summer. Happy about that.
 

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The lily is still trying to become a surface plant. I may experiment with trying to reconvert it to a submerged form, or I might uproot it and put the plantlets in its place.
I think it's the nature of this particular nymphaea to just keep growing long, submergent stems. Are the plantlets the result of runners? My parent plant was grown from a rhizome that recently became completely detached after more than a year:
Plant Snow Twig Tints and shades Flowering plant


It was just hanging by a thread to the substrate, one end pointing 90 degrees toward the surface. It was sold in a box filled with peat moss and labeled "Hardy Lily (Nymphaea)" but I'm having my doubts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #55 ·
I think it's the nature of this particular nymphaea to just keep growing long, submergent stems. Are the plantlets the result of runners?
It's not from rhizomes, the plantlets grow from a node on the stem of the leaves that sit at the surface. This didn't happen until the leaves started reaching the surface. Once they did, buds began to form about an inch down the stem from the leaf. From this bud, new small leaves and roots would begin to grow.
 

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It's not from rhizomes, the plantlets grow from a node on the stem of the leaves that sit at the surface. This didn't happen until the leaves started reaching the surface. Once they did, buds began to form about an inch down the stem from the leaf. From this bud, new small leaves and roots would begin to grow.
Wow, that's the most unusual reproductive method I've come across for a nymphaea. Clearly, long, submersed stems are a natural adaptation of some sort.
 

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Discussion Starter · #59 ·
Day 100... (!)

Light Liquid Plant Rectangle Fluid

8/29/2022 (100th day)​

The 9.6 gallon NPT is now 100 days old. And how fitting that our first inhabitant, the survivor ramshorn, positions himself front and center for the momentous occasion.

The system seems to be in "maintenance mode" as I'm calling it. Plant density is about as high as it can be in the space. The water is clear as crystal. Numerous species of crustacean, worm, and gastropod subsist on biofilm and reproduce consistently.

There is an exponentially growing population of baby shrimp, and I always find them hanging about in the "rafters." If you look at the tank from above, you can see them skimming the surface biofilm between the floating plants. I love peering through the roots and lily leaves to find them living their little lives. Without looking closely, you'd have no idea how many were in there. They do not make themselves obvious.

Please enjoy the photos I've included below of the rafters, baby shrimp, and my remaining nerite. (I encourage you to try to find the baby shrimp in the third one, he is especially hard to spot.)

I feed the tank once a day, when I remember to. Besides that and occasional plant trimmings, the system runs smoothly on its own. I'm extremely pleased with the independent little ecosystem it has become. I wish you all could see it in person; my photos really do not do it justice.

It is a lovely thing to foster a naturalistic aquarium such as this.

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(On the human side of things, please indulge my extravagant tone. I have been listening to jazz all evening while I prepared a gourmet meal for myself involving goat cheese, roasted beets, and several glasses of chardonnay. So, I'm feeling rather fancy. I hope you all are well.)
 

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