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40b Lazy Tank

923 Views 3 Replies 1 Participant Last post by  Girl in Idahome
So I just started up a tank after a 4 year hiatus from the hobby. I got a 40b, dirted it with Espoma Organic Potting Mix after baking it in the oven for a little while (dirt was still a bit moist) and then capped it with Eco-Complete and a layer of play sand for future corys (planned on adding them next year). For the driftwood I found a branch of apple tree that had recently been pruned I think? It was covered in lichen and fungi, so I soaked it in a vinegar solution for about a week and a half and got off as much of the crud as I could. I did leave the bark on thinking that the decaying matter would add nutrients to the tank. A few lava rocks were added after being boiled for about an hour so I could affix some needle leaf java.

So here is my problem... I bought 4 ghost shrimp and got a few MTS and put them in my tank last night after it had been running for a few days. I checked this morning and the MTS were not moving and looked dead, so I fished them out and put them in a mason jar with fresh water (we are on well). I could only find 3 shrimp out of the 4, but they are still alive and look relatively normal. I did 2 20%-30% water changes and the shrimp look a bit more active and I've seen them munch on some flake food I threw in.

Do you think there is some kind of toxicity in the tank due to the lichens/fungi or the apple tree sap? I can't imagine it would be the substrate since it is capped. Water params all looked normal for a barely cycling tank and the well water here (Palouse area) is supposed to be really clean and good. Pics included of shrimp and tank.

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So at least 2 shrimp are still alive and they haven't developed anymore opaque-ness. I guess I'll just stick with the water changes for a while and periodically test with snails.

Update: All 4 shrimp are still alive! The one that went missing molted and hid for the day. I did another 50% water change and will get some snails tomorrow to "test the waters" with... ha. The fungus on one piece of the wood kind of looks like it is growing, but I'll keep an eye on it. If it doesn't start decomposing I'll take it out and run it through the dishwasher or pour boiling water over it a few times.

Thanks for following along!

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Woo-hoo! The two pond snails I put in are still alive and munching away at the protein film in the tank. All shrimp are alive as well. Get my order of Bucephalandra on Tuesday and the scape won't be so bare anymore :)

I can't decide what to put in the left back corner though... sword and hope for some emergent growth eventually? Some Hygro Difformis to really branch out and add a lot of green to the tank? I'm leaning towards the hygro as of now. Thoughts? Also thinking about going with plain java moss instead of Christmas tree moss...

Anyway, thanks for looking!

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So I finally got around to doing around a 90% water change. I slacked off for a bit because 1. None of the shrimp or snails seemed to be worse for wear and 2. I found out I'm pregnant.

I tied all the bucephalandra var. Fake Catherinae to the lava rocks I went out and collected, but now I really need some nutrient suckling plants to help with the bioload my apple branch is putting out. The whole thing looks like it's covered in snot along with the tank glass and rocks... I'm thinking hygro Difformis? Maybe some swords that I'd love to get emergent growth out of some day? If I could grow some peace lilies rooted in the soil that would be awesome, but I think it might be a little much to expect them to grow 18" before the leaves pop.

Any input is welcomed :)

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