Some new pics:
The tank is now spectacularly green.
There is a rather handsome mossy growth on the driftwood, but all other surfaces are infested with a fine filamentous alga. I scrape the front and sides a couple times a week, but there's not a lot I can do about the substrate. It has proved essentially impossible to use a gravel vac in this deep tank. I scoop out detritus as best I can with a net, but it's clearly not enough. The pond snail population has largely relocated to the filter, though at least a few are still in the main tank; they hide during the day, but I can see their grazing tracks on the glass. I think I may add some central stonerollers soon and see how they do; I need more minnows anyhow, as the warmouths are just about big enough to begin the inevitable annihilation of the fathead population.
Speaking of fatheads, they are looking mighty fine. There are always some breeding males, like this guy:
guarding nests, and gravid females. I have seen eggs, but no young. I don't know if the eggs are not hatching or if the young simply are being devoured/sucked into the filter too quickly to be spotted.
The golden shiners are finally starting to show a little fin color:
I obtained 10 sunfish from Zimmerman's - four warmouth and six red-spots. All fish were healthy and hungry upon receipt, and Brian had already converted them to prepared foods. Over the months I found one red-spot dead, and two of the warmouth vanished without a trace, but the other fish are growing rapidly and look great.
The red-spots have a subtle coloration and are rather translucent with a reddish suffusion:
Who could turn away from this pout?
They are quite active, and even occasionally school with the minnows.
The warmouths, on the other hand, skulk in the shadows unless food is in evidence. They are much more aggressive feeders than the red-spots. The red-spots sometimes come close to having their faces swallowed when they and a warmouth go for the same bit of food, and the warmouth frequently try to ingest my fingertips when grabbing for food. The warmouths can ingest an entire jumbo cichlid stick, while the red-spots can only take a small fragment of a stick. The day one of the warmouths realizes that he can he fit a fathead in his mouth will be a day of great carnage in the tank.