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The male in the center of the photo looks like the tiger Endle's I used to raise. These actually originated as a hybrid between an Endler and a snakeskin guppy. Like Diana, I see no females.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Diana and Michael,

Thanks! I figured it was a male, but then I began over thinking it. The larger "belly" area made me wonder though. I suppose that's just the guppy in him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Check out what I just happened to catch! I’ve never seen such a complete exoskeleton in a tank, and then I wonder if it was the ghost shrimp behind it?

Regardless, a really great find.

6173F324-170D-4DE7-BC87-F704CC0C2C49.jpeg
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 · (Edited)
Watch out ghost shrimps will eat any fish they can catch.
So, apparently, there are ghost shrimp and macro shrimp. They look essentially the same until after their juvenile stage. Which means they’re often sold together.

Macro’s will grab and eat fish (larger size and claw), while true ghost shrimp will snack on what they find, but not known to attack fish.

There are red bands on some appendages towards the front of the body on true ghost shrimp (in their adult phase).

Below is a google image I found while looking into it. The top is a ghost, the bottom a macro.

60D45CFA-F5CB-4D02-8023-E5C9A6FEE865.jpeg
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 · (Edited)
A long, full update:

April 9, 2021

Livestock:
  • 7 blue Ramshorn Snails added to tank (from Aqua Bid). I’m a believer that their positives in the tank outweigh their negatives.
  • Shrimp are molting, which suggests positive signs in the set up.
  • A few Ghost Shrimp were introduced from my small tank a few days ago.
  • The Cherry Shrimp I got from Aqua Bid are really good specimens. The females are vibrantly red all over, and many are carrying eggs. A few tiny babes were in the batch and they are still alive and seen around the Hornwort. There are at least a couple of small males.

Endlers:
Originally, three males were purchased, but one did not survive overnight. A few days later, five new males were added to the tank, with one being a guppy hybrid and twice the size of the other fish. All seven shoal together most of the time, but sometimes a few will break off and go to the other side of the tank. I’ve noticed the Tiger’s (or maybe Snakeskin) flair up/show off more than any of the others. Whether it is to their own reflection or another one of their tank mates. There’s often chasing, but no nipping.

Tank Notes:

I decided not to add the half coconut shell after all. Since all of the plants are growing, there isn’t an ideal location for it. I did not want it to stick out like a sore thumb and take away from the jungle/nature feel of the tank.

Water perimeters are ideal with GH being on the high end of the spectrum.

Plant Updates:

Hornwort and Frogbit:
Half of the floating hornwort was removed as the floating frogbit has now covered the entire surface of the tank. I presume a little at a time is better than a large adjustment on a new tank.

Val Asiatica and Dwarf Sag:
Melting has stopped and both the Val and Sag plants have returned to near full vitality. They are each looking brighter and stronger. I keep checking for new plantlets.

Nana Anubias:
The last time I mentioned the Anubias, it was experiencing a yellowing of one of it’s leaves. That leaf quickly fell off, and there have been no issues since. It, like the other plants, is perking up nicely.

Flame moss:
A large section of the Flame Moss was experiencing pretty sever melting. However, out of the old, new “leaves” (moss arms) are growing in its place. There haven’t been any algae issues with this moss.

Christmas Moss:
This moss definitely took a little hit because of the hair algae (there’s still a little left), but it is hanging on. It is a slow grower, but I haven’t seen any growth at this point, compared to the Flame Moss. I assume that as the hair algae continues to disappear, the moss will make a comeback. It’s also in a more shaded area than the Flame Moss.

Glossostigma:
All four bundles of Glossotigma experienced leaf melt. Three of the sections are looking healthier and beginning to grow. One of them has a single strand of green growth, but I feel like it will recover. (Note: The new growth is growing up rather than out wide. While this plant is usually used as a carpet, I’m not worried either way. I just love the look of their little leaves).

Water Wisteria:
A large part of the stem had begun rotting. I went to remove it and saw that roots were growing and a new stem system was growing out of it. I removed the rot and replanted.

Bacopa:
All stems are growing like weeds! They are still having some algae issues (brown algae), but the amount of it continues to reduce.

Dwarf Hair Grass:
Out of all the plants, I really expected the Dwarf Grass to fail. It went through the least amount of melt, started growing new grass the quickest, and has begun slowing spreading. I’m beyond thrilled as I love the look of DHG. (The DHG is planted in the sand capped section of the aquarium).

Crypt wendtii:
All three Crypt’s are looking fantastic. One of them, however, was uprooted recently…I suspect it was from burrowing snails. It was replanted and continues to look good.

Banana Plant:
Similar to the Hair Grass, the Banana Plant had nearly no issues from the start, and began sending roots into the substrate surprisingly quick. (The Banana Plant was just placed on the substrate without any anchor or partial burying of the tubers). In fact, so much so that they can be seen on the side of the glass.

Pennywort:
I mentioned that the Pennywort came in an “ok” condition. All the worst leaves have died off, leaving only one or two “good” leaves on each bundle. The plant is still holding on, and looks much stronger now that part of it has died back.

Anacharis:
Has adjusted well. It took a few days, but the color and appearance is improving.

Ludwigia:
Not much has changed since planted earlier this week. The only noticeable difference is that the stems have strengthened and they stand straighter.

Lucky Bamboo:
Nothing new to update. I suspect they will begin growing again sooner that later. I put a stalk in my small jar previous to these stalks. After a few weeks I noticed new leaf growth on the original. This leads me to believe the three stems will follow a similar pattern.

Madagascar Lace:
Not much to note except that the plant looks healthy.

Java Fern:
The Java Fern has been struggling a bit, but hasn’t had any rot or melt. I suspect it will improve in time. I may add some additional (and smaller) Java Ferns to the driftwood at some point.

Plant Thoughts and Discussion:

My 12g long has been going for about two and a half weeks now. So far, I can’t complain about much at all. However, I find it really interesting that I only had a single stem plant die completely. I almost expected some die out would occur whether from allopathy or other competition. Hence the wide variety of plants used.

Maybe I got dealt a good hand, who knows. But, based on my previous research the true test will be in next few months as to which plants climb up the hierarchy scale.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
April 10, 2021

Livestock:

There’s a mass shrimp molting occurring in the tank. Hopefully that means some breeding is about to occur.

Plant Updates:

Half of the frogbit has been removed as maintenance and to allow a little more light to the submerged plants. I’ve continued to remove floating hornwort a little at a time. I assume these decisions have lead to much more light reaching the submerged plants, which would theoretically explain the sudden growth in the submerged plants. Also, I think the sudden growth could have something to do with the removal of the super hungry floaters. By reducing the amount of hornwort and regular maintenance of the frogbit, it’s allowing the rooted plants a better chance of absorption from water column nutrients.

All plants are definitely showing growth now. It’s incredible how one day makes such the difference.

Most shockingly, mere days ago I found the Water Wisteria rotting away. I trimmed that off and replanted the base which had roots and a tiny leaf section. — Today, it’s about 4 inches tall!
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 · (Edited)
April 18, 2021
Updated pictures included.

Tank Notes:
  • The tank has now been established for one month. I am only topping off evaporated water at this point.
  • The hair algae is completely gone, as is much of the glass algae. Also the algae that was forming on the Bacopa is gone.
  • Also, I ultimately decided not to add the coconut cave. I was eyeballing where I could place it and it just made the tank seem cluttered. The artist/designer (my profession) in me was sending up red flags, haha.
Livestock:

Endlers:
One of the 7 Endlers has died and no body has been spotted. I assume the shrimp and snails had something to do with that disappearance, haha. Now there are 6 male Endlers who are active and eating heartedly.

Pygmy Corydoras:
Yesterday I finally decided to add the Corydoras (which was the main force behind this tank. They are my absolute favorite). I decided to go with Pygmy Cory’s and purchased 10. I was second guessing myself about the Pygmy’s and I really love the more traditional Cory’s, but wanted to establish a larger school/shoal of them. They are the most adorable things I’ve ever seen and I’m happy with my decision to go with them. They often shoal with the Endlers and add a whole new vibrance and life to the tank.

Inverts:
I’ve kept Mystery Snails in the past, and also have one in my small tank. I’ve never seen them burrow (even though I know they can and sometimes will). The young Golden Mystery Snail in this tank is a burrower. It hasn’t caused any issues, and it seems like there is less burrowing as he is growing. Just thought it an interesting tidbit.

Also, I’ve not seen any plant damage from snails at this point. (There had been talk of the Rabbit Snails being a potential problem).

One of the super red Cherry Shrimp females is carrying a large amount of eggs.

Plant Updates:

Val Asiatica and Dwarf Sag:
Most of the plants from each of these species have begun sending runners.

Nana Anubias:
The roots have hit a huge growth spurt. The plant was attached to a section of the driftwood, but the roots are getting long enough that they will soon reach down into the substrate.

Flame Moss:
Amazing growth and at a fast rate. This variety is stunningly green.

Glossostigma:
I mentioned previously that the new growth was vertical rather than horizontal. Since then, each individual plant (3 in total) have begun sending new growth horizontally and small leaves are popping up from the substrate. I hope it continues this carpeting growth which would be exciting for those of us using the Walstad Method. Hater’s are quick to say this plant wont do well without added fertilizer and added CO2… but perhaps that isn’t the case.

Pennywort:
I “think” I lost both bunches of the Pennywort. At a quick glance I may have seen a few viable stems floating in the frogbit roots. If they root, I will replant at that time.

Banana Plant:
I’ve had Banana Plants in the past that have done “ok” at best— This specimen is a superhero. There are 3 large leaves growing from it, and it continues to grow new roots that are being sent into the substrate.

Madagascar Lace:
Vibrantly green, and a few new leaves have grown. The bulb was sitting on top of the substrate but it has grown roots that are anchoring it into the substrate.

Christmas Moss:
Now that the hair algae is gone, the Christmas Moss is receiving good light and benefiting from it. New, vibrantly green growth is occurring from the old section. Only a small part of the moss browned from the hair algae.

Ludwigia:
This plant was also received in “ok” condition but has since settled in nicely. New growth is forming from the original stems and even have some of their signature red color.
 

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What a pleasure to see this tank. The Madagascar lace plant and the bamboo plants add a little flair. Good that your Val asiatica and S. subulata have started growing. It suggests your tank is off to good start. Nice going!
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
I know some may find these posts wordy and tedious, but I've always appreciated notes like this that include not only success, but failures. So hopefully some is getting something out of this (one day). That said, there are a few questions at the end I have for anyone willing to throw in their thoughts.


April 28, 2021

Tank Notes:

I’ve noticed a decline of available GH and KH in the past week. During this time there has also been an increase in the population of both RCS (red cherry shrimp) and Ramshorn Snails.

With the increased number of inverts, there have also been some casualties. So far, 2 Ramshorn, and a couple of RCS. The deaths of the RCS have come from molting issues (I believe). I spotted a few “ring of death” on a couple of shrimp, and I don't believe they survived. I’ve left empty Ramshorn shells in the tank, and let nature take its course on the deceased RCS.

In response, I’ve added crushed cuttlebone, which the shrimp and snails have been congregating around and picking at. I’m currently testing my water parameters frequently and preparing for any further adjustments.

Livestock:

Shrimp:
See above (Tank Notes) for information on recent death and molting issues. —— There are many baby RCS actively feeding and moving about the tank. Some of the original adults have been affected by recent changes in water parameters. Symptoms include incomplete molting and dull coloring. I’m not super concerned at this time because of the successful rearing and release of babies, but am monitoring my water conditions closely.

Snails:
A few Ramshorn losses, but the production of baby snails has been occuring. I’ve seen a handful of new, tiny Ramshorn snails.
I’ve also seen at least one or two new baby snails with a pointed shell. Unclear as to whether they are MTS or Rabbit Snails until they grow larger.

Endlers:
I’m down to 4 Endlers (one being the guppy hybrid). I’m not overly worried, as genetics probably have a huge part to play in this equation. The remaining little guys are active and eating.

Pygmy Corys:
These little guys are curious. I knew that they don’t school as much as their larger cousins, but I rarely find them in groups larger than four. They hide more than I expected. However, I few love to hang out on the rapidly growing Flame Moss, or on the larger leaves of the Anubias or Banana Plant.

Plant Updates:
Overall, due to the drop in hardness and carbonates, a few of the plants have turned pale. I haven’t seen any overall deaths, but I’m keeping a closer eye on their health and my parameters. I haven’t seen anything severe enough to panic.

All Hornwort has been removed.

Additionally, all current plants are still growing almost as expected. Below I will single out a few species for additional notes and observations.

Christmas Moss:
Growth has taken off beyond my expectations! While still a slow grower (more so than the Flame), I am seeing new growth on each stem segment and an overall healthier look to the whole system.

Flame Moss:
Officially my new favorite moss. It is growing really fast, growth is dense, spreading better than anything I previously read about it, and a fan favorite of shrimp and Pygmy Corydoras. Plus, it’s a beautiful moss. Honestly, its the first thing my eyes are drawn to. It receives pretty high lighting and is spreading on Spider Driftwood. It is even spreading around the whole circumference of the wood stems.

Pennywort:
I believe it is safe to say this plant was not successful. I do not see any remnants of it.

Dwarf Hair Grass:
The grass is growing fairly quickly and trying to spread. I’ve noticed some of the new shoots don’t stay in the sand/soil substrate. I’m not sure if this is because of burrowing snails, or snails moving over them, or some other reason. But the most established blades have rooted deep and can be seen on the front of the glass into the soil layer.

However, they have seemed to lose some of their vibrance. I suspect it is from recent changes in water quality. Nothing has died or rotted at this point.

Banana Plant:
The submerged leaves have some translucent areas to them, which I’m monitoring. They haven’t gotten any larger or spread for maybe a week now. However, the plant continues to grow new roots that reach the soil layer. The plant has also sent a long stem to the surface with a leaf.

Dwarf Sag:
The one plantlet that hasn’t sent out any runners has become a bit dull in color, almost appearing white on the ends of the leaves. The individual’s who have sent out new runners, show no signs of problems.

Glossostigma:
Growing has continued at a slow rate, but it is worth noting that all new growth is occurring horizontally spreading through the substrate.

Frogbit:
The largest individuals are getting some browning and yellowing. Perhaps it is sunburn from the LED lights they are a few inches from? I tend to remove those first when I cull the amount.

Interestingly, new growth has now stayed in a much smaller size aerially. However, they still form healthy roots.


Questions:

Plants:
  • Do you think the browning and yellowing of some of the older (and larger) Frogbit is from light exposure? Or should I be aware of anything else?
  • Re: transluscent/parent areas on the Banana Plant (which is also happing on one of the crypts). What should I be looking into regarding this?
Water Parameters:
As noted above, I have recently added some cuttlebone which the shrimp and snails have been feeding off of. Should I be considering anything else at this time?

(In the past several days to up to a week) My KH fluctuates from 0-40 mg/L and the GH is from 0-25 mg/L. pH has stayed around the 6.4 general area. Nitrates, ‘Trites, and Cl2 have been in the 0 (zero) range ever since I first balanced the aquarium.

It was this morning (April 28) that I added small chunks and powder of cuttlebone. I plant on retesting the water tonight.

Any advice, feedback, or constructive scolding would be happily accepted!
 

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Plants:
  • Do you think the browning and yellowing of some of the older (and larger) Frogbit is from light exposure? Or should I be aware of anything else?
  • Re: transluscent/parent areas on the Banana Plant (which is also happing on one of the crypts). What should I be looking into regarding this?
Frogbit has wide light tolerance, so i doubt that is a problem. Individual plants don't live too long, if they are reproducing they are fine.

Banana plants are related to water lilies. Older leaves become "senescent" and die regularly If the plant is growing new leaves it is fine.
 

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As noted above, I have recently added some cuttlebone which the shrimp and snails have been feeding off of. Should I be considering anything else at this time?
From what I've heard from others on the forum, adding cuttlebone/coral/aragonite will very slowly increase hardness. It may not be fast enough to save the plants, especially with it as low as it is. If you don't see a rise in GH and your plants don't seem to be improving, I'd consider a more immediate solution, like Ms. Walstad's recipe or wonder shells.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
From what I've heard from others on the forum, adding cuttlebone/coral/aragonite will very slowly increase hardness. It may not be fast enough to save the plants, especially with it as low as it is. If you don't see a rise in GH and your plants don't seem to be improving, I'd consider a more immediate solution, like Ms. Walstad's recipe or wonder shells.
I went back and reviewed some posts as well as chapters in Diana’s book. Between the cuttlebone and adding a bit of baking soda (I have a 12g tank, and used a little less than what is recommended for a 10g). I saw the results I was looking for without having too much effect on the other parameters (or a balance of some)

After the baking soda, I saw a great response in some of the plants, especially the Dwarf Sag. The DS sent out some healthy runners from parent plants that were previously not doing much.

Also, the bits of cuttlebone collected a large congregation of snails and shrimp. I’ve seen better health from each of them since. (And a breeding outburst from the snails).

Anyway, that’s a bit of an update, but I learned through the process that your post and concerns were definitely true! Thank you for bringing it up. The cuttlebone helped (visibly) the inverts, and the baking soda helped bring some of the plants up to speed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
A little more food for thought:

I noticed my GH (and KH to a lesser degree) decline after doubling my snail population (and breeding occurring) as well as after my shrimp bred heavily and increased their population.

I feed heavily, which I suspect has led to even more breeding between the inverts. When this happened is when I noticed “the ring of death” molting issues with shrimp, and the shell of snails looking transparent and dull.

I wonder/suspect if it’s all intertwined. I don’t have any invert predators in my tank, but have thought about adding one to help control populations so I can continue feeding enough for the tank as a whole.
 
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