So, as far as the platies go, they seem to be thriving. About the first of August the large female, Zelda, had our first order of fries--about 12. They ate them all, but one, who lasted about two weeks, until I went out of town for the weekend and my husband neglected to feed them. Someone ate the baby....
About a week and a half ago, Zelda and the smaller female, Molly, had "litters" at the same time (Zelda's 2nd since acquiring her), about 20 fries. So far, we are down to about four uneaten. I am hoping a female survives. I think I need another girl to take the pressure of Molly, and my husband does not want to buy another fish. He wants us to raise one ourselves. I'm not sure why, but the male, Derek, escorts the large one, Zelda, around like a chauffeur or a chaperone. Anytime Molly comes near, he darts at her, pecks her and chases her away. It is annoying to watch, and I don't understand why he's behaving that way....
Shrimp: As I reported, the berried female expired a few days after I added her. (I am attributing it to stress.) After about 4 weeks, the other two were still doing well, so I added two more, females I believe, bringing the total to four shrimp (1 m, 3 f). After about three-four weeks more, the male, who was among the original three, croaked. I am beginning to worry. Somewhere I read that if water parameters aren't perfection, Cherries will last about 4-6 weeks, then croak. That little guy made it about seven. So one original has been with us about 10 weeks, and two newer for about 4-6 weeks. Unfortunately, all female. One of them, one of newer ones, was going crazy last night swimming along the edge of the tank, swimming around and around and around. It was following the glass all around almost like it was looking for something. From what I read online, it sounded like mating behavior, but there ain't no boys in there! Any ideas?
I was getting quite a bit of green spot algae on the glass, so I bought two Zebra Nerite snails. They had the tank spotless in one weekend! So much so that I was afraid they would run out of algae to eat, so lights are back on about 12 hours a day again.
For now, I am letting the wisteria go wild. I want to give those four remaining fry a fighting chance and as many hiding spaces as possible. Right now, in addition to wisteria, we've got: anubias, aponageton (sp?), dwarf hair grass, and a tropical fern. There's a amazon sword plant in there somewhere but the wisteria has overgrown it.
As far as the interloper pond and MT snails go, they are not taking over as yet. I really like the additions. After a feeding of the platies, the snails and shrimp gather in the front of the tank and look for leftovers. They are really keeping the gravel and leaves clean. BTW, there is this one snail that resembled a pond snail in shape, but was completely clear, a clear white body and see-thru shell. Now he's clearly outgrown all the pond snails. He's easily triple their size. Nowhere near the zebra nerite size, but way bigger than the pond snails. Is this a different type or just a freakishly large albino?
Anyway, that's the update. Beaslbob build: SUCCESS! I'm not sure if things are perfect for the shrimp. I will post water parameters later. Pictures to follow. Thanks for the guide, Beaslbob!!