I began adding dry ferts, and my plants really took off.
I think this photo might be the pinnacle of my tank. At this point maintenance was becoming pretty demanding. I had to constantly change out the solution in my CO2 bottles, give away the never-ending platy fry, and prune all these fast growing plants.
But I was getting by.
Hereís one of my favorite photos of my ghost shrimp from this time period.
A photo of some platy fry in my Java fern. I really liked the java fern because it provided lots of good hiding places for my fish.
I also bought a bristlenose pleco. She was very shy and would not often make her presence known. This is the only photo I have of her. Unlike my other pleco though, she did very well and survived through several years of some tough times, up until the storm.
Hereís some more context of the aquarium in the corner of my living room.
A friend of mine gave me a dozen or so red cherry shrimp. They really took to my tank and began to breed. I think they liked all the java fern and good hiding places I had. (side note: this is also around the time I got a new camera).
For the second time, I moved my aquarium. I took the opportunity to replace my gravel (which I always thought looked rather ugly) with some pool filter sand. Oh my how milky white it was back thenÖ I also upgraded to an Eheim 2213 canister filter and a pressurized CO2 system to make my life easier.
A year or so went by without much changing. The plants got a little overgrown at times and I began having trouble giving away all my platy fry, but for the most part my aquarium did okay, until the storm hit.
While I was out of the country on vacation, a large snowstorm struck our area and knocked out the power at our cabin for several days. With no heat in the house and no electricity for the tank heater, the temperature in the tank dropped drastically.
Out of all of my fish, only two were able to be rescued. Two young platies. They were joined by my colony of red cherry shrimp, who continued to thrive.
The ballast in my light also went bad, and it took me a good three weeks to get a replacement. The plants that survived the cold had to endure three weeks of darkness.
Hereís my aquarium after I got the light working again and cleaned out the tank. Population: 2 platies and about 50 red cherry shrimp. But all is not bad. Getting my tank back in order re-kindled my interest, and Iíve decided to use this tragedy as a chance to improve things and approach things from a fresh perspective.
Once things had stabilized some, I went to the LFS and picked up some plants and fish to add. I added some Green Cabomba, Dwarf hairgrass, and some sort of ludwigia. I also picked up some more harlequin rasboras, julii cories, and a Siamese algae eater. This is roughly what my tank looks like today.
But itís not going to stay this way for long. Iíve decided I want to up my game a bit and rescape the whole tank. As much as I love the java fern, it takes up too much space and doesnít leave much room for other plants. I also want to replace the plastic rock with something thatísÖ real.
I want to develop a layout that has more depth to it and creates an illusion of a large landscape. I will accomplish this mainly by having some small, intricate driftwood pieces and using more plants that have smaller leaves. Iím also taking some steps to make maintenance easier so that doesn't become an issue again
I will post more details about my plans soon, including more photos. Iíve already bought two very nice pieces of driftwood, and I also collected some rocks from a nearby stream last week. I'll chronicle some of my recent issues with algae, some new equipment and the changes in my maintenance, and I'll post some potential layouts of the new scape. Thank you for reading.