21 October 2016

the thirty-eight

This one does not have much different in it. Except that I felt like having a different look, so thinned out how many hornwort stems are pegged to float at the surface, and anchored some down with stones again. Also I have been wondering for a while if small anubias would grow ok in the shade of the big crypt wendtii. So when I saw some in a gel packet at the store last week, I got them.
Anubias nana petite.
I keep feeling iffy about the crypt wendtii cluster. I love how big it is getting, and and the faint stripes- but I don't notice the 'hammered' effect anymore.
And overall I keep thinking they look too dark, they look rather brown, how can I keep them green? Especially how bright green the rotalas are coming up behind and through the crypt wendtii leaves, the contrast is too much.
I rather like how the narrow-leaved hygro looks in front of the aponogetons. Maybe I will eventually shift the rotalas to a different location, and have hygro flanking the crypt instead...
Speaking of hygros, they really are starting to look graceful. They grow kind of slowly, but that's okay.
Not as slow as the ludwigias- here kind of behind everything else.
The other, still unidentified crypts are getting taller.
The thicket of elodea and bacopa in the corner is so dense now, I can feed the kuhlis in there away from the other fishes (mostly). The barbs weave their way through those stems when they are spawning.
Still there are no results from that- not that I really expect any. But I did notice the other day they were spawning over a clump of subwassertang, and it looked like it was harder for the male to turn and eat the eggs immediately as they fell. Overall I'm pleased how nice and full these subwasesser 'bushes' on the baskets have gotten. I just wish the white netting didn't show.
Here's the other short end of my tank. It's getting nice and dense, but still the crypt wendti stands out so dark. Maybe I could add another medium-dark plant to soften the contrast, but I don't know what.
Some of the plants aren't doing so great- watersprite (behind the hornwort stems) for some reason isn't looking so good these past few weeks. Buces have a sudden outbreak of algae again. And even though some of my vallisneria are finally getting taller-
a lot of them are rotting away. The bases of them are turning brown. I thought they were planted too deeply and tugged them up higher out of the substrate, like I periodically do with my crypts, but now others aren't holding down at all. I'm starting to think maybe I will phase out my vals and find some tall, narrow-leaved crypts to take their place. That won't spread as rapidly, either...
Last of all I'm showing my windelov ferns in this tank. I'm glad I put them in the front, they're starting to look pretty.
It's hard to remember they used to be just a few tiny sprigs tied onto each stone.
Low-angled shot of them.

for now just snails

It is strange having a tank with no fish in it. I keep glancing over there expecting any minute to see him glide up out from behind a plant, looking for an offering... Of course there are still snails to watch crawling around- two nerites and plenty of trumpet snails. I am not certain, but it seems the limpet numbers are slowing down.

I have changed a few small things.  I took off one layer of plastic that covered the LEDs on the left side. Rotalas are definitely bending the other way now, they must be seeking light. Hoping this will straighten them out, and not cause algae on the anubias or buces.
Noticed the filter flow on hospital tank was stronger than in the tenner. I switched air pumps. But this one is noisy. So I suspended it. Looks ridiculous, but much quieter now.
Definitely more flow- some of the plants move gently, and the floaters drift around in slow circles. Which is kind of nice to watch. This is the best short end of the tank right now. There's a small anubias nana petite I added in the back right corner there.
Other end of the tank is not really attractive, although the ludwigia is growing well.
Much more interesting the green flaming fingers of windelov fern.
I need to do another overhead tank shot soon- here's a quick one of windelov and anubias, blurred on the edges because I didn't turn off the flow.
By far my favorite plants in the tank are the buces. They're all doing well. Lovely colors, sparkling specks on the leaves. These look so great I am tempted to bring over the buces out of the thirty-eight, which struggle to fend off algae.
But I'm afraid to introduce BBA into this tank. Maybe I could pull the buces, do a dip or a three-day blackout in a container... Here's the 'Selena', still looking lovely and wow it has grown a lot.
Doing cleanup was sad. I sprayed everything down with diluted bleach, rinse in tapwater. Filter sponge, pebbles and small plastic items get boiled for five minutes. Tank lightly bleached and rinsed out with boiling-hot water. Dry it all in the sun. Afterwards I ask my older daughter or husband to do a sniff test- if they detect the faintest hint of bleach I rinse again and again. My youngest said "why are you smelling things? does it smell like a dead fish? because Oliver just died in there."


One day back in august I looked out my window and wondered what that big orange lump was under a tree in the back. Went out there and it was a bunch of orange lumps- these bold mushrooms.
I have no idea what they are, but there were lots!
They lasted a few days and then shriveled up.
The kids were intrigued.
My favorite picture of them.


You can see how far behind I got with this garden/tank journal- these pictures are from august.
Liriope blooms.
I should divide them soon, to have more in the yard next year.

20 October 2016

rhubarb, azalea and a betta fish

I had to move my small rhubarb plants, even though this is better done in spring than fall. They were in front of a water spigot which drips, and I have noticed the crew working on our house at the moment are not particularly careful about where they put things. I had to rescue some hostas from metal sheeting about to get dropped on them, and my native lilies got flattened by a pile of lumber. So this spigot is due to get fixed soon, and probably the rhubarb would get damaged. I wanted to move it anyway to the backyard spot that was supposed to be a shade garden but now gets more sun. And I just bought a coral-pink azalea to go in front of the spigot.

I dug up the rhubarb and moved it yesterday. With a handful of my best vermicompost, a few shovelfuls of garden soil (rearranging part of the garden beds too, that's for another post) and a thick blanket of leaves. One little leaf is perking up already.
Oliver did not make it through the night. He is now at rest under the rhubarb.
The spot in front of the spigot is empty now, the azalea is waiting in its pot.
Here is a picture of Oliver hiding under anubias leaf. It was taken about a month ago, when I had first noticed the parasite on his side.
Showing off his good side, when I was trying to get a closeup of the spot.
Final picture. I know it's kind of gruesome, but I sometimes take pictures of my fish when they are dead. It's a rare to get a closeup of their scale and color patterns. I was trying to focus on the irridescent blues and reds in his tail, but the paleness and bloat shows too well.

19 October 2016

small update

I have gardening stuff to post- and no time. I've been cleaning up, there were flower pictures, I planted a second set of swiss chard. Tomatoes are still going. For my birthday I splurged on some shrubs for the yard- nandina, hydrangea, rhododendron, one azalea. A tall leggy aster, five mums in varying shades of pink and purple. There are various cuttings on the windowsills, and my daughter brought some new plants home too. I bought a few new (small) plants for my larger aquarium.

But this post is about Oliver. It was supposed to be his last day in the hospital tank. I put him in there with the usual half tank water/half new, some ceramic cubes out of the base of the home tank sponge filter, heater and a handful of plastic plants. Treated with two doses (forty-eight hours apart) of API Fungus Cure (malachite green). He looked okay, even better the first few days- swimming around, picking curiously at stuff on the bare bottom, ate a few fruit flies I caught. Third day in started hanging still in the plants. Fourth day, laying on the bottom. Now appears bloated, colors very washed out. Hard to tell because his stress colors are gray, but I think the fungus is gone. It looks like he is either constipated- which doesn't make much sense as he hadn't eaten in nearly a week now (aside from two fruit flies)- or is getting dropsy. As far as I can tell from reading stuff, this is not curable. It is internal buildup of fluids caused by organ failure. Kidney failure.
Yesterday I did several partial wc to remove the malachite green. He did not look better from that. Sruggling to swim. Listing on his side, sometimes on his back. More bloated and pale. Last night I gave him an epsom salt bath to try and relieve some of the bloat (he is not at all interested in eating peas). Able to get a closer look while he was in the bath (lying on his side the whole time, but still breathing). It looks like he is starting to pinecone. Which means the end.

14 October 2016


I was so happy when Oliver moved back into his home tank a few weeks ago. Tried to get a closeup of the clean scales on his side, but this was the best I could do- in the baggie ready to float. Water spots and smudges on the plastic obscure it, but yes his scales were clean of parasite.
Oliver in the new setup.
Which looks a little different now- I removed the anubias from the rear corner and trimmed some bacopa to fill in. Also thinned out and trimmed some of the rotalas, which are once again bending to the glass. Maybe I need to remove some of the plastic sheeting over the LEDs, give it more light.
Can see here that one of my anubias did not like getting moved around- the one I think is 'lanceolata' variety. It's got pale areas and holes appearing on the edges. None of the other plants reacted to the rescape like this, so I think it's because I detached it from its driftwood and tied down to a new piece. Hopefully will be okay once it recovers from the shock. Just behind it to the left, can see the water wisteria. That one is growing more since it got moved again- I think it prefers the center spot.
The buces are doing well. I even found one I thought I had lost. After rescaping I looked in the tank a few days later and realized a buce was missing- one that had grown back from a broken rhizome on the old log- and I hadn't seen it since. There was also an odd smell in my room, I wondered if I'd dropped it during the work on the tank and didn't notice to pick it up. I searched everywhere. Finally vacuumed thoroughly and the smell went away.

Then I finally saw the missing buce, when looking for a snail. It was snagged among some small rotala cuttings I had replanted behind the new log. I wedged it into a crevice here on the end of the log. (And now I think the smell was maybe a dropped trumpet snail).
Hydrocotyle is finally growing- because it started floating up instead of staying pegged down. I had it attached to the side end of the log here seen in center- but it has come loose from that now and floats about.
Short end of the tank:
All this was good over the past few weeks, but now Oliver is unwell again. I have been really busy of late and not paying much attention to the fishes besides checking filter flow and temp, feeding them each day. Oliver started spitting out his food. Two days it was like this, I had to coax him to eat. Then he started just eyeing it, not taking any at all. And hanging still in corners, not cruising up and down the tank glass flaring at his reflection like he usually does. I moved the light around to get a good look at him- he's got fungus patches.

Last night I did a partial water change. Today went and got API Fungus Cure- which has malachite green. Some people say it kills their plants (no warning of this on the package) and I know it can stain ornaments and sealant. I set up a quick ten-gallon hospital tank again- plastic plants, threw in some sacrificial duckweed floaters. When I first put in the dose of meds Oliver seemed to feel better- he was swimming around actively. Now he lies on the bottom for long periods of time. I am keeping a close eye on him... Treatment is only four days, and then one more of water changes to clear the water (and make sure he is symptom free before I put him back in the home tank). I am not sure how he got the fungus. Maybe it happened when I fed him a moth larvae and didn't realize he had spit it out after I left the room. I found it the next morning in his tank- I bet it fouled the water. Although I tested it and there was only a slight bit of ammonia 0.05, no nitrites, nitrates 5ppm.


Remember when I thought this plant would die from rot? Well, now I know it surely has recovered, because there is a new shoot!
It's growing fast, too- a week between these sets of photos and already it is twice as high again.
Here pictured next to the schefflera, which is such an unfussy, unremarkable plant it gets very little attention.