03 July 2015

succulent experiment

Stuck some pieces of succulents into pots, from my wedding arrangements. Just for the heck of it. Kind of a little experiment- I don't know how these best root so I just tried a few things. In this pic, the two pots on the left have just a cactus/succulent potting mix, the two pots on the right have some gravel mixed in (because I had it on hand and ran short on potting mix).
There are so many bits, I did these a few different ways just to see which take best. The nicest big rosettes I simply sat on top of the soil. Two as-is, one I shaved the stem end (what little of it there was) off, raw surface (I don't think this is really the best way, they're supposed to be let heal over first).
The leaves I just pulled off some other rosettes
These I pulled the outer, largest leaves off and just planted the crowns (flower stalks in there on a whimsy, I'm not expected them to grow)
Let's see what takes!
(I don't even know the name of these succulents, can someone tell me?)

02 July 2015

forty inhabitants

more detailed pictures, because I was enjoying taking them. In full light this time- the biggest apno spreading itself out!
Crypts look nice, too. This one is in the front left corner
The biggest crypt flanks the fake root piece.
These two on the far right side- seen from the end here.
View from the other short end of the tank.
I feel certain that the vallisneria is already grown visibly in height.
Black kuhlis have been out and about from day one.
Here you can see the little ledge of gravel I made behind the wall of rotala. Glimpse of Albert climbing in the shortened rotala stems.
Seen from above, the line of rotala is a lot wider than in my old tank, since I replanted all the tops and thus quickly doubled the volume of plants.

pretty pink

nicotiana flowers
the pink ones are my favorites
side view of blooms
This one is pale pink, I don't remember this color among the flowers last year. I wonder if it's just one that didn't come up in the mix last year, or if it's from the self-seeded plants I got. No way to tell now, I didn't mark them.

01 July 2015

third day and onward

Tested water again yesterday. Had to do water changes again- the tenner had high levels as well. Guess I really do have to step back on the ferts dosing! This means the substrate is working just as I wanted- holding nutrients for the plants. I changed out half of Oliver's water, and 25% on the forty gallon tank.

The tenner is already showing response to the film I put on cover lid to block half the light. Much less algae on the anubias, new shoots on all the plants
and the snails are congregating on the right side, where algae grows more on the plastic plants now. Hardly any snail poo sitting on the anubias leaves anymore either, that was all the mess I had been siphoning off each day.
I love the arrow shape of Oliver in profile.
The big tank looks good so far. I had to re-root a few plants that floated loose. Everything looks very dusty, I hope the frequent partial water changes helps resolve that.
Fourth day nitrate levels better- 10ppm in the tenner, 20ppm in the forty gallon. I did no water changes that day, just fed the fishes. Everyone is looking good!

30 June 2015

garden plants

Everything is growing growing, though I've had no time to post about it. Tomatoes have gotten quite tall, lower deck ones above the top of the tomato cages.
Pepper plant looks very happy. It had an adjustment period where the leaves were pale from sudden increase in sun exposure, I think. Now all nice dark glossy green. There's even lots of new pepper flowers, and another pepper on it too.
Tomatoes are starting to flower also.
Green beans have climbed the railings all the way up past deck level, I love it. I need to get a pic from the other side, it looks great from the lawn.
And I bought a new rosemary plant at a farm stand.

29 June 2015

spider aloft

I've always thought that spider plants are meant to hang in front of windows. But I've never actually kept one that way. Well, now I do!
I tied string under the saucer lip, threaded it through holes made with hole-puncher in rim of plastic pot, tied three lines together and strung it up.
This is my second-biggest, second-generation spider plant. See its baby plantlet growing on the right
It's in the dining room window above C's lovely monstrous huge schefflera. I think this is one of my favorite pictures right now!

28 June 2015

forty second day

with the fishes in it. First thing in the morning checking on things.
The filter burble in Oliver's tank did not sound right- I found a crack in the airline so the flow through filter was diminished. Replaced it with new airline tubing and now it sounds/functions right again. Got my old bio-wheel filter on the big tank now; it doesn't splash as much as the aqeon HOB that came w/the tank did, is very quiet actually and if it does splash, that alerts me that the water level is low. Both tanks don't quite smell right, they don't have the nice musty bacteria smell but instead smell kind of acrid. I remember noticing this on my 20gal when it was first set up, though. I tested the water parameters- pH just where it's supposed to be, no ammonia, no nitrites, looks like the biofilter is working well. But yikes the nitrates were high! somewhere 50-60ppm. I guess I should have tested to see what the levels were before automatically dosing ferts this friday- substrate must be holding nutrients plenty well.
Did a water change this morning- about twelve gallons-, that got the nitrates down to about 30ppm. I'll check it again tomorrow. The fishes look fine and dandy.
There are no clamped fins, and only Sangre still looks a bit pale. Nobody is hiding or appears stressed at all, and they came up to eat without hesitation. I like the way things look in ambient light-
When the lights first come on, it's really warm colors
I took keeley cook's suggestion and cut out spaces on the cover of my filter box
to fit two cuttings of arrowhead plant in there. Will take up more nitrates and thrive, I'm sure.
Aponogeton this morning
I did put my hands in the tank again to move a few things, now that I can see everything clearer. I've sloped the substrate up quite a bit from back to front (maybe too much) and behind the rotala is a higher ledge that can see the kuhlis resting on (they think they're hidden behind the screen of plants, but in plain view on a kind of horizon line). On the opposite side, behind the fake root piece the substrate drops down kind of a ditch under the heater, a good hidey spot. Bit of rotala and the vallisneria planted in that corner.
and last but not least, a few better pics of the watersprite root hairs.
Even the tiny baby bits of plant have wild strong roots growing, which makes me think these are really going to do well now.

tenner progress

Last week the anubias in Oliver's tank looked like this:
now the upper leaves all coated brown algae. Too much light for this plant. I put plastic wrap over the glass just on the one side to see if it helps. If not improved in another week I'll either adjust the photoperiod or consider getting a different cover.
Other things are improving, though. For the first time ever, the java ferns in this tank have little fiddleheads coming up! They are responding either to the new substrate or the new light, not sure which but I'm definitely pleased.
I've never seen them look so well, and hope they continue to thrive.
Oliver is improving too, his eye less cloudy but still has a red spot on the right lens not sure what that is.