Thought I would give an update.
Since my last post, my 20 gallon tank has been set up and running since before Easter. I have a base layer of locally sourced compost with a gravel mixture on top thats 2/3 pea gravel and 1/3 smashed brick and rocks I gathered out of the creek behind my house (the soil and the brick causes the water to have this slight brownish hue, which is fine because I wanted a blackwater aquarium). For cover I have a large antique aquarium castle from 1900-1920s and a rock hide I made with creek rocks and I've been replanting cuttings of hornwort with moderate success.
I initially bought 5 feeder fatheads and about 11 ghost shrimp from a local pet store that also acts as a wholesaler. After about a week or I lost maybe 3-4 shrimp and I noticed that the fish were rather wimpy that would hide in the corner of the tank (one having a messed up caudal fin and only one of them was 2 inches). I decided then to go to PetSmart and pick up 3 additional fatheads that looked bigger and healthier and maybe 6 more ghost shrimp. I'm glad that I bought the other fish, as I noticed that they became much more active, brave, and display schooling behavior (though they still love my castle to death). I've only had one fish die on me in the last 3 weeks (one of the feeders) and they appear to be doing pretty good.
Unfortunately, the ghost shrimp have not been doing as well. Last I checked I see maybe 3-4 left and it seems as if every other day I have to scoop out another dead one. It's heartbreaking because two of the shrimp were pregnant (the last one that went missing was very close to birth)
So some questions:
1. Is this level of die off common for ghost shrimp? How can I lessen it?
2. Are there any kinds of aquatic moss native to North America?
3. I'm thinking about getting a snail for detritus clean up. I've been going kayaking every weekend to get ideas on how to sculpt my tank and I actually found an empty snail shell with a neat black and tan spiral design. Any advice on the best way to trap some? I saw some video online of this guy putting fish offal in a pasta strainer and put it in shallow water...
Edited by tabbycat, 15 May 2019 - 07:17 PM.