Hi all, new to *ALL* of this
I need to start by saying that I never intended for this to become a hobby. I used to keep orchids and between a move to a climate that requires air conditioning, therefore a greenhouse and a cat...well...all the orchids died. I had bad luck with regular house plants but needed something green inside so I decided aquatic plants would be perfect. I started mostly collecting wild specimens from the bayou, the occassional addition of something or other from Petco or Walmart and a couple purchases from ebay. Then the snails showed up. Ok, no problem, I like snails and won't feel bad if they die. Got some fish food to give then occassionally and a cuttlefish bone or eggshells to keep them from canabalising each others shells. This went from "wanting plants in the house" to hobby about the time I got the test kit.
My largest aquarium is 1 gallon and I haven't had to change the water in months. Once in a while I have to cut the plants back because they over-crowd the space. I use treated tap water and occassionally give them all a couple tablespoons of bayou water to keep them healthy. A month ago I did some plant collecting snd realised when I got home that I ended up with some fish and a shrimp, all of which are doing amazingly well. I usually kill anything more complicated than a snail and less than a cat. The nitrate and ph levels have remained constant, the fish (no idea what they are) and shrimp have been happily grazing at the algae, the fish go after the smaller snails, snail eggs, and larger micro organisms. My smallest, I guess you can call it an aquarium, is about 2 cups, has a couple snails, java fern, and a bit of ivy growing out of it. One crashed 5 months ago excrpt for a fern so I left the water to see what, if anything, would happen. After zero activity there is now life coming back. My plan is to see if I can keep it going now.
Thing is...I have no *clue* what critters I've got living in there (besides pond and rams horn snails). I'm not even sure how I got 2 of my 5 vases so stable. I'll try to get pictures but the shrimp is only out at night and the only way I know it's there is by watching for the black eyes moving. The fish hide most of time.