I was wrong. The shrimp did not die. The day before yesterday I saw all five of them hanging out. Hosanna!
The Ceratophyllum demersum and Egeria densa were dying quicker than they grew. I had to remove them. They are now in a quarantine bucket to see if they can recover at all. I also removed the Java moss. I don’t know if they were dying because of the high temperatures (way over 27 °C), allelopathy, or too much light. The temperatures seem to be down to the more acceptable 26 °C now. I also reduced the illumination duration to 10.5 hours plus 4 hours of indirect daylight (what Walstad recommends as a siesta).
The tank currently contains these plant species:
Rotala indica, or maybe rotundifolia
Heteranthera zosterifolia, shown below
Older specimen of Heteranthera zosterifolia
Heteranthera zosterifolia, new shoots
Also I found a some duckweed and other floating plants which I have put in the tank as well. They are doing ok, but are not growing too much. What is growing, however is brown algae and other algae. They are growing so fast that I have to brush them off the leaves every other day and exchange 50% of the water or more.
Tomorrow I’m getting some snails which should help with eating the algae and dead plants.
I decided to add some Snails and Shrimp about one week ago. I took the recommendation of another natural aquarium hobbyist and added several Physa fontinalis, Planorbella duriy, Melanoides tuberculatus, and M. maculata. I also ordered five Shrimp, Neocardidia davidi. To add the shrimp this early was my own decision.
Unfortunately, almost every creature died. I think the Physa fontinalis which live in the soil may be still alive. I think they died because of the extremely high temperatures. The heat wave caused the temperature in the tank to rise to steady 29 °C, some days as high as 31 °C. Of the five shrimp I only saw one yesterday, none today. I think they are all dead now.
I was changing about 40–60% of the water every day or every other day but it did not save them. Several times the water has foul smell of reminiscent of decomposing fish I smelled at the shores of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea.
Once the heat wave is over, I’ll try to repopulate the tank.
Last water change seems to have helped Egeria densa (in the title image). The plant is recovering and has two healthy offshoots which are growing rapidly. Other egeria densas are, say, half-healthy. Some of their leaves are rotting away, but the bigger part of them is still green and alive.
Helanthium probably had no brown algae. I could easily wipe it off with my finger. One of the plant guys in the aquarium shop told me that if I can wipe it of with the finger easily, it’s probably just some dirt. The plant looks much cleaner now:
Ceratophyllum demersum is as happy as ever, growing steadily.
Hygrophila polysperma is now more than twice the size it was when I planted it. It’s slowly getting into shape to look like one.
The Dwarf Hairgrass I have is not an eleocharis pusilla (as I first thought) but an acicularis. The longer kind of it. It’s grown some shoots long shoots. I will leave it grow wildly for couple more weeks before I cut it.
Hemianthus micranthemoides is growing higher, but not wider. They say you have to cut it often to make it grow to dense patches. I didn’t want to cut it just yet, but may start doing so later this week.
I did not get a good shot of my rotala indica today, but all of them are growing really well, with many new offshoots. Maybe I’ll show it later this week.
Ceratophylum demersum has forked many times and has grown so high that it bent under the water surface. I cut off the larger branches and planted them on their own and I shortened the others by about 50 cm total length. I pulled them out of the soil, cut off the lower piece and planted it again so that the top remains intact. That’s what Foo the Flowerhorn did and that’s what the folks at the aquarium shop told me is normal to do if you want to keep the nice looks of plants.
Above you see the photo of the front of the tank, side and back follow
I did not trim any other plants. The dwarf hair grass has some new shoots but it’s hard to see on a photo. A couple of days ago I saw some fluffy dust-like particles on the leaves of the plants. First I thought it’s something which was floating in the water and now settled on down on the sand and leaves. It turns out that it’s Brown Algae. I had suspected that it could be algae, but wasn’t sure before I read about the various types of them.
Getting brown algae is typical for newly established tanks which are not in balance yet, I read. They occur when there are too many nutrients in the water. Plants can’t use them all, so brown algae have a feast. What helps to lower the amount of nutrients is frequent water changes. I only changed 30% water today, so I’ll change more every day or every other day from now on until I see the brown algae gone.
I also should measure the amount of nitrates in the water. To get rid of brown algae I should have less than 20 ppm of nitrates. A quick and imprecise stripe test is telling me that I have got only around 10 ppm of nitrates, but I’ll do a more precise test soon.
Plants are happily growing. I wish I had posted some photos or videos but since I had a busy weekend doing other housekeeping stuff, I postpone this. I have some pretty plans for the future, though, as far as media is concerned.
The temperature in the tank is stable at 25 °C. Without any heater. The room temperature is lower, but I think the LED light is warming it up 2–3 °C. There is no trace of algae yet which is both good and bad. It’s good because more CO2 is available for plant growth, but it’s bad because I can’t buy shrimp yet. They’d have nothing to eat.
Some plants forking and saplings growing. About 1 cm of water has evaporated. I have filled a bucket of water for tomorrow’s fill-up. I just let it stand for 24 hours to lower its chlorine content.
Today was planting day. I underestimated the amount of time needed for this, especially when this was the first time planting for me, without any prior experience. Nothing is as easy as it seems. For the lack of time I just put the plants in rather randomly and haphazardly, which I don’t feel much happy about. I wish I had thought it through a bit better. I also found the plant preparing and planting procedure quite strenuous. Hence just a short single-photo post. I’ll try to post more updates this weekend, including a plant list. Let’s hope they all will grow well.
Sleeping and water are lifesavers – that’s true beauty right there. — Sofia Boutella