Alright, more bad news, and good news + update.
(Skip this first paragraph if you are up to date with the experiment)
In the past couple of days I noticed that the huge surplus in population also came with the risk of potentially killing off the whole biosphere. I tried to combat this by adding more plants, but I could not think of a reliable option of curving the overpopulating disaster looming over the horizon naturally. I put a sheet of aluminum foil to help reflect light back onto the jar (glass reflects a lot of light) to provide extra light for the new additions and left it alone for a couple of days.
I moved the sheet over to check out the Anubius I set in the jar and noticed a huge pile of ostrocod corpses in the layered peaty substrate. One of my larger MTS had seemed pale and lifeless and a couple more juvenile snails had passed atop of the Marimo moss ball. Many seed shrimp seemed weakened, and dazed as many dropped to the bottom, unable to use the last of their strength to swim; what had once been a sprawling metropolis of organisms grazing on the sides of the glass, now were reduced to stragglers dotting the sides of the jararrium like the Pacific islands. Even the microscopic inhabitants (from now on I will refer to them as Microids
) that swarmed the waters had been reduced from millions, to just a couple thousands.
So, what happened?
The buildup of so many living organisms in such a small volume of space meant that too much ammonia and nitrite/nitrates overwhelmed the plant's abilities to absorb these overabundant nutrients. This quickly turned the water toxic which inevitably wiped out most of the residing organisms in it. I assume my constant intervention/opening of the jar helped in activating the toxicity of the ammonia buildup. So from now on I will abstain from opening the jar and intervening in general.. Maybe one day I will super glue the jar closed.
This unfortunately was a disaster waiting to happen that I could not avoid in time, but it is not over yet!
There also is quite a large surviving community taking refuge at the surface of the water.. Again a mixed sign, as it's a good thing that there are survivors, but again, low oxygen is a big problem in this instance.
I divided one of my Hornworts to increase plant volume, and I will get more aquatic plants tomorrow, but from what I see, if the organisms manage to survive this extinction event, than it will most likely happen again as a constant circle of life and death.. Or it's completely possible that I may wake up to the end of my experiment tomorrow. Nothing is guaranteed, but at the end of the day my goal is to keep my Utricularia alive. The seed shrimp only played its part in the long run, by providing constant nutritional support to the Gibba.
On another note, I finally planted my Utricularia Graminifolia in Specimen jar III yesterday (2/11/2018), and transferred a good chunk of seed shrimp over to that specimen jar as a backup if specimen I fails. I will post pictures next update, I get the feeling the Graminifolia won't fair too well since I kept trying to get it to stay in the substrate, and in turn broke it up in many pieces that are now floating at the surface; but we will see, I managed to anchor some down with rocks.
Instead here is some update pictures of the Specimen II jar, it has grown vigorously these past couple of days, and now has many shoots poking out of the surface of the water!
EDIT: I admit, I cheated. I added some Searchum Prime to the jar yesterday as soon as I noticed the huge loss of life to help cancel out a lot of the toxic ammonia buildup.. Seems to have helped a bit. I also dosed some liquid carbon to all my specimen jars today, and will probably dose 1 drop of liquid fertilizer tomorrow. I tested the fert in Specimen jar I a couple days ago and it did help boost growth, at the cost of also helping the algae make a foothold (more food for the animals
). I use Searchem brand liquid carbon & fertilizer, as the former is known to help keep algae in check and it is completely harmless to the organisms residing in the jar, whereas the latter is a great supplement for the aquatic plants other than the Gibba. I wouldn't recommend doing this as I have no idea how kindly the Utric will take to ferts, and I dose in very low amounts.