20 January 2017

tenner details

All the buces in here are looking better than ever!
For the first time ever, I have been able to propagate my bucephalandra 'Selena' via a cutting. It's in the center here, the one with the young pale leaf. The plant on the stone was getting taller, and I noticed long roots coming down from the stem, but there were four or five nice leaves below that- so I thought why not cut it...
Soon I will do the same thing with the taller buce 'blue bell' on this stone- see where the long roots are coming down from the rhizome? there are leaves growing below that, so I can clip it off and replant.
This small creeping one on the log has busted out a bunch of new leaves (top right of image at an awkward angle).
Can see here it isn't actually grabbing onto anything- I'll have to peg that one down.
Fissidens moss is filling in nice thick tufts on top of the log-
And I can just glimpse the anubias afzelii behind the log and skull, here. I hope it grows big enough soon that I can divide it and put more of it back in the main tank!

new filter

All that extra work I did a few months ago, finally got paid and I bought a new filter for my main tank. Mostly to solve the kuhli escapist problem once and for all. It's an Eheim Classic canister filter- the 2217 model. It's supposed to have a flow rate of about 140 gallons per hour, which means it will turn over all the water in my tank 4x/hr. Good flow rate is supposed to be 4-5x so I think this will be a big improvement. It makes me once again feel ashamed of how poor my filtration is-
this thing is a beast! It has easily five times more (and then some) the amount of media inside the canister, as my HOB. It will minimalize the amount of hardware visible in the tank too- I won't need the sponge filter in corner anymore.

I've got it running on my empty ten gallon QT right now. To test for leaks- the only flaw I've ever read about was people finding the plastic fittings cracked during shipping. And to make sure I know how to setup and use the thing before drilling holes in the back of my aquarium stand to install it. So far so good. I rinsed and filled with the new media today, in used tank water. Threw some hornwort in the QT and a few handfuls of trumpet snails. Just in case their waste helps to start seeding the media with bacteria.

I'd put it on the tank tomorrow, but I want to paint the spraybar and intake tube black. Got Plastidip, but it's cold and raining and small as it is, that's a job I want to do outside... then it has to cure for a day or two before safe to go in the tank. So right now this thing is humming in the corner.

Not much to note on the main tank itself, this end-of-the-week. Nitrate levels, water change and fert dose as normal. Plants continue looking great, I do think it's an improvement that I'm leaving a gap between dosing the macros and micros. An hour, today.
My aponogeton balansae in the corner is sending up another new leaf- and this one is broader than the last. I really like this plant.

Fish look well. Oddly, they don't seem to care about zucchini anymore. I had an organic zucchini the other day, saved a slice in the freezer for the fishes, thawed it in some warm water to soften, rubbed off the skin and sunk it on a line. Everyone gets excited for a few minutes- but after a while the cherry barbs drift off and only a few of them stay to pick at it. The black kuhlis were all over it at first, but by lights-out nobody eating. Maybe they were all full already? Albert and Tiger came late to the party as usual, and left early. Sassy never came to eat. I always expect to see snails all over it in the morning- I found one shrimp is all. They hadn't even eaten the center out of it this time.

They all go crazy for peas every time, though.

19 January 2017

new subwassertang project

The other day I saw a video about making moss trees (something I've never really wanted to do in my tank but they do look cool). The way the guy bulked up the 'tree' top with foam before gluing on moss to get an instant visual effect gave me this idea.

There's a spot where the log in my tenner has a little elbow ledge that sticks out at the base. I wanted to grow some subwassertang there, but don't have a stone that will fit nicely in the narrow spot. Tried before and it just fell off. Don't want to tie the subwasser on, because it would be nice to lift it out for trimming.
Instead I took a piece of sponge and cut it to fit in the area. Made slits in the sponge and wedged some pebbles in there to make it sink.
Glued subwassertang bits on top.
It's not staying in place on the ledge, though. I need to add pebbles or trim some of the sponge to refit...
I was so pleased with the result I made another one for the main tank.
Nice little bush shape. The initial enthusiastic kuhli inspection failed to dislodge any pieces of subwassertang.
I still had plenty of plant bits in the jar
And more scrap sponge material- pieces too small to use in the filter. One long rectangular shape, I rounded the corners and cut two cavities underneath. Made it into a kind of hedge with little tunnels for the kuhlis.
It doesn't look so good yet- this sponge is coarser than the other one I used, so I had to press harder to get the pieces to adhere and the glue spots show. I wasn't able to cover it up well with plant material (ran out), but now whenever I trim or siphon off bits out of the tank, can attach them to this until it is filled in.

18 January 2017

taming the capuronii

I just started reading an aquatic plant encyclopedia I bought myself last year. And found instructions for keeping aponogetons from getting too big. Trim back the outer leaves before they reach full height, it says. Then all the new foliage that grows out following that will stay smaller. If you let the first set of leaves grow to full height, the plant will always grow new leaves to that same length. I don't know if it's too late to train my aponogeton capuronii to stay smaller. Quite a few of its longest leaves hit the surface and curve back down, now.

I trimmed out the tallest today-
longest leaf including the petiole was 21.5".
It feels like such a shame cutting off so much nice, healthy growth though.

17 January 2017

green in winter

Well there is something to be said for dianthus. When everything else is dull brown and dormant, this plant is a fresh green spot. I think I will divide it in spring to have more around.

16 January 2017

tenner notes

In the tenner I trimmed back my subwasser clump on the driftwood for the first time. Did it very carefully with the tiny stainless steel sewing scissors- just enough so it's not hitting the wall of the tank or encroaching on the anubias nearby. Samblu likes to swim low around the corners so now he won't feel stuck and thrash around.
Some of my windelov ferns are hitting the wall here, and getting bent leaves where they flatten against the glass. Also quite a few are extending rhizomes off the stones or logs I've grown them on, so soon I will trim them back and either start a new stone or sell the pieces...
One bit for now I've fastened to a pebble and placed on the driftwood log where there's a little ledge on the backside, just in front of the skull. I was hiding the fake skull behind the log but it looks kind of cool in dim ambient light- with the fangs looming out of the shadows under a crown of java fern greenery.
Yep, marsilea hirsuta is going to have plain, round leaves after all. New ones coming up among the 'hand' shaped ones are single-lobed.
Quite some time ago I planted rotala rotundifolia out of a packet. Most of it died but I tried to keep the few stems left in a group separate area of the tank from rotala indica, so I could tell them apart.
Now the group of five or six stems I have of rotundifolia has grown to a decent height. This first pic is the rotundifolia, the second pic is of a rotala indica stem. They look almost exactly alike to me.
I took a picture of the flame moss cushion almost two weeks since the trim. Can't quite tell if it has grown in thicker, but it is definitely growing faster than I expected.
Mirror shot: if the glass were a bit cleaner, I think this would be a cool picture.
full tank shot

15 January 2017

kuhli scrum

There are several areas in my tank where I can drop sinking food and the kuhlis will get a large portion of it, because the barbs don't like crowding down among thickly grown stems. The "grassy corner" with vallisneria and crypts balansae and retrospiralis. The opposite corner where elodea grows. And today I discovered another good spot, where windelov fern is near the front tank wall. Black kuhlis were the first there- and they were all over that food.
Tiger showed up next.
By the time Albert arrived, the six kuhlis pretty much kept the food entirely covered with their writhing bodies, so the barbs couldn't get it.
I admit I helped them hog the advantage- every time I leaned into to get a close look or snap a photo the barbs would scatter in alarm. Kuhlis, unfazed, kept eating away.
I haven't had so much fun watching them eat since I used to put food under a rock. Lookit Albert's little eyes!
Seen from above.
This picture is pretty funny- the black kuhli's posture makes his barbels look like fangs threatening the smallest cherry male- haha.

Of course eventually the loaches themselves pushed the food out into an open area, and the barbs got their share.

palm 'flowers'

A beautiful new leaf, opening like a fan.
My parlor palms have produced these funny bead-studded flower stalks again.
It seems they do it every year in january.
Kind of hard to see, but this plant has two!

14 January 2017

bucephalandra in my tenner

Taking a look at how they are all doing. This is one of my favorites, a thin-leaved blue one that I have on a stone. It's grown enough I'm thinking of taking a cutting from the tallest stem.
Another one that's grown significantly- this bright green one (on the right) is the tiny bit that grew off a dead-looking rhizome fragment.
'Selena' is another one of my favorites- but I'm not sure why some of its leaves are looking brown. Maybe too much mulm settled on the and blocked light? or just an older leaf the plant will drop.
Happiest, these two among the marsilea hirsuta, are from the group I pulled out of the thirty-eight and treated for BBA with amano shrimp in a vase. It worked. They have stayed algae-free and are growing out new roots and leaves in here.

anubias flower!

Flower on my anubias afzelii got taller
and yesterday it started opening-
it kind of unfurling at the tip. I've seen pictures of this but never really expecting mine to do such a thing.