It does not appear that I am meant to keep altums. The importer suggested 25% water changes twice per week and I am doing so, yet after nearly each change I find a carcass. The new water is aged and pH matched to the tank and everyone looks healthy enough at all times. Short story is I now have a total of four altums left. If I can keep these four I will have a total of six angelfish (includes two scalare that spawn regularly) which won't be as many as I envisioned, but will still make a nice display, especially when fully grown.
I feel somewhat limited by not diving into an RO setup - a difficult arrangement in an office setting - but I accepted that restriction and gave them my best effort and this is what I have as an answer. Sometimes our reach exceeds our grasp.
Plants are stable. I detached and gave away the wisteria on the left while the patch on the right now covers 50% of the surface. If it takes 3 months for a CO2 scape to show its stuff, I expect at least 6-9 months before this one is where I want it. Let's hope altums are still in the picture.
I sense a rescape coming soon since especially the right side is not what I want. Anyhoo, here are some pictures of the primary residents, endler livebearers. I got two different sources of black bars, one with mostly red and orange males, the other with vivid neon colors and larger black bars. I look forward to their crossing; there are a dozen fry swimming around just this week.
Wow I just went through the whole thing, this is awesome! I love Altums, a dream fish for me. Are you running co2 on this tank? If not, that could be your answer to the algae. It seems like you're running 8 t5ho bulbs, i know the tank is deep but that's still a lot of light for a non co2 tank.
I am not injecting CO2 into the big tank. Half of the lamps are white and half are blue. The white ones are on for only ~6 hours per day and two of the three glass tops have black screening keeping out ~40% of the light. And of course the water sprite ( not H. difformis as I mistakening thought) is blocking and absorbing a bunch of light although I hope to eventually open up that blockage and maybe evne eliminate it altogether once my rooted plant mass gets higher. Most of the algae I am getting now is easily scraped from the glass.
Those are two Eheim 2080 Pro 3 filters. One has regular media, the other nothing but peat moss (which does not seem to be discoloring the water much anymore).
Sorry HD, not hiring just now. ;-)
Today's news: I sold the two P. scalare from the big tank. I have had them for years and watched them spawn dozens of times without any ultimate success (I made no effort) and found a guy locally who wanted to give them the chance they deserve. And since I want some more wild blood fish in there, away they went. A bittersweet moment to be sure - who likes saying goodbye to long term friends? - but one that will be best for them and for me I hope.
I will miss their sparring; she really went after him when ready. Here they are mugging for the camera earlier this year: