Wow, it's been a long time since I updated this. I've been posting more about this tank over at MIAPG,
but it might be nice to get this thread back up to speed as well.
It's been a good summer and the tank has done well, though it's gone through what seems to me to be a lot of changes. My CRS population is up around 75 shrimp now, and still climbing, though not as explosively as a couple of months ago.
Here's a video
of them swarming an algae tablet, along with my nerite snails. Now that the population is so large I find that they're always hungry, so they'll eat almost anything I drop in there. Cucumber skins and green beans are a favorite. I think my failure with those foods before was that there was so much other stuff in the tank to eat.
I've added a single Crystal Black to the population. My wife has dubbed him "Waldo" and I hope to get him some like-colored companions soon. Here's a photo:
I went through a severe round of crypt rot that really denuded the tank, but since I've been able to keep the tank cooler with a simple fan, the crypts have recovered nicely and are starting to look pretty wild. They're way too big for the tank, but I like the look even if it's not much of a 'scape.
Anubias nana and coffefolia have done well, though the coffefolia grows v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y. Nanas have put on enough new babies that I've been able to cut off some and attach elsewhere in the tank. I also have a tiny nub of nana petite that is doing well, though it grows about as slowly as the coffefolia.
Java moss went everywhere except where I wanted it to and as a result has been mostly removed, replaced by Fissidens fontanus. The fissidens is still taking hold, so it'll be a while before I see how successful it is, but it looks promising. In the photos below, Fissidens can be seen upper right on wood, and lower left on a rock. Upper left on wood is still java moss.
Micro swords have died out, as I predicted, but I have some Marsilea minuta and M. hirsuta coming in later this month to replace it. I know they probably won't carpet under such low light, but they're worth a shot. Tropica claims hirsuta will grow well under very low light, so I'm hopeful.
I added a couple of very small Java ferns in about August. They seem to be doing well, attaching to the driftwood and putting on new leaves. Not like they're hard to grow, but it's still satisfying to watch them prosper.
My modded filter seems to be handling the bio-load very well. I've added a small bag Purigen into the filter box and that has really helped polish the water. Keeping up on Seachem's dosing schedule and doing weekly 30% water changes keeps things humming along.
Here's a couple of update photos of the tank:
My only ongoing problem is a growing planaria populaton. I hate those slimy little buggers and have been looking for a good way to rid the tank of them. I was considering fenbendazole dosing as outlined here
, but was worried about how to handle my nerites during dosing, especially given what I had read on this forum about long-term effects on snails. Today I hit upon a better solution while reading a 1953 edition of Innes' Exotic Aquarium Fishes
. I dropped in a small piece of thawed fish meat (about 1/2" x 1/4") and turned off the lights. At first the shrimp wanted to eat it, but soon it was swarmed with planaria, driving the shrimp off. I waited until the whole piece was covered, then just siphoned it and the planaria out of the tank, taking a little substrate with it for good measure. Lather, rinse, repeat and after three such attempts over a couple of hours I'm happy to report my planaria population is down by 400-500 denizens. Hooray! I'll keep doing this all week and see how many I can get out. Already things look much better! I guess the old ways are often the best ways, huh?