31 December 2014


to myself. I've improved a few small things with my fishkeeping- silly probably, but don't want to forget.

For a long time now I had wondered if the timers on my tank lights were not working properly- they always seem to lag behind after a while. Finally I realized- duh!- that whenever I turn the power off for tank maintenance, the timer will lag by however much time it was off. Of course. I'm not yet in the habit of resetting it every time (I should), but when I notice the aquarium is turning on/off a lot later than I want it to, I readjust.

Since I quit doing gravel vac I have been using a designated plastic "fish cup" (the ugliest kid's drinking cup in my house- covered with bright, garish pictures) to scoop water for removal. But I don't think this is the best method- I wonder if the bright color distresses the fishes, and they definitely feel the disturbance of the water rocking around. Instead last week I took the hose off the vac and used that to siphon out the water. Why didn't I do this before? It's a perfectly smooth operation, takes less effort, and instead of hiding the fishes come up curious. Pinkie even nibbles at my hand and once bit at the end of the tube- until he felt the suction pull! Now he doesn't approach so close.

I'm still growing java moss in jars on my dresser- from bits I find in the big tank and from trimmings off the skull in the tenner. My method has been to put the skull in the 2 gallon fish bucket with some removed tank water, trim in there, then fish out the trimmings. By hand. Which is tedious and tricky. Much easier to simply siphon out the bits of greenery with a straw- like how I used to retrieve dropped pea bits from the betta bowls. Again- why didn't I think of this before?!

Also to note- I've been reading more about fishkeeping- got hold of a few old (seven years at least) aquarium hobby magazines. I'm learning a lot. Things that don't really apply to me yet (or ever) like that the miniature octopus that some aquarists keep as pets have a poisonous bite! Or that the temperature fish eggs hatch at can affect the male/female ratio in the brood. It's fascinating to read about collection techniques in the wild, too. I'm also dreaming more and more of a future 40 gallon tank for angelfish- have learned that it ought to be established at least a month before the angels are introduced, and that the young fish should be put in their destined home tank from the beginning- because they can reach full size in just a few months. I was planning on that anyways, but it's good to know!

I am actually excited for maintenance day this friday, because I now have all my macro ferts! The response of the plants to just the potassium sulfate and micros has been wonderful, so I can't wait to see how much better they do with the balance. Java fern seems to be lagging now (no new fiddleheads in a while) and the amazon sword is looking peaky. Watersprite has hit the ceiling- three large stems spreading out, so much dense growth below when the fishes hide I can barely see them- and yet no stems turn brown (hooray!) I think the fishes are enjoying the improved cover- it's been a long time since I've seen any posturing among them, but yesterday they were picking through the watersprite, nibbling on the leaves (or some microorganism on them) and the largest female Freckles- she has a dark spot on her anal fin- was jerking her fins wide and tall, turning sideways to other barbs in display. I thought I saw Buster or Sangre wiggling their fins eagerly at females among the foliage too.

A bit worried that Buster seems to have a very small gray patch on one side- the size of a few scales- that might be fungus? I am keeping a close eye- maybe should pull him out and put in QT but he is behaving perfectly normal so far. One of the large females had a similar patch on her back for several weeks but now I can't see any fish with that so I think it's healed. Pinkie has a missing scale on his right side near the belly- I think he might have gotten poked by a kuhli spine- he likes to cram under the log in the space they occupy too- and maybe there was some excitement during a feeding or water change and he got poked. I can't think what else would have caused it.

And that's all my fishy thoughts for the day.


keeley cook said...

I check your sight every day for updates :p have you ever thought about sand for your aquarium? Fish like it WAY more. I don't use anything fancy I just use playsand from lows :-) it's 100% fish safe and it's more natural. (It's like 4$ for a 50 pound bag) plants also love it! One of the reasons I recommended it was because your kulhi are always on the floor of the tank and they would like it more. (Also I got an African dwarf frog for my tank he's the best!)

Jeane said...

Yes I have thought of it but I think the plants I have won't do well rooted in sand?

keeley cook said...

All my plants have transitioned from gravel to sand perfectly :-) I have crypts mostly. I have not seen and I'll effects of sand and it's been almost a year. (If anything you could try it in your small tank before your main one) also! Because you like the apono and it's ruffle leaves you might like cryptocoryne balansae. (If can almost 100% gaurentee your plants won't mind sand) :-)

Jeane said...

I looked at some pics- the crypt balanase is pretty. I'll have to see what kind of light level it needs- I'm still on low/med light and no CO2. I was actually thinking of converting to Eco Complete but then read it can be rough on the kuhlis. How does sand work with root tabs? because since I added those my plants are doing better- they were hungry! (If I do change my substrate, it will wait awhile until I am ready to upgrade the 20 gal for a 40 gal).

Jessie MacIntosh said...

I've been taking care of a huge freshwater tank for the last few months, which has a gravel bottom. It's not been a challenge to maintain, and I'm learning a lot from blogs like yours. On the other hand, the owners are not using live plants.

Jeane said...

So far gravel is working fine for me- the kuhlis don't burrow in it, but they do poke around retrieving bits, and the snails get whatever falls further down. I'm not sure if eco-complete would be any better now- it's supposed to retain nutrients, but it is also inert so have to supplement with the ferts anyway- so I think when I upgrade I will just add a bit more gravel to top off what I've already got- thus not loose part of my bacteria colony as well, and avoid a new cycle. I do want finer-grained gravel like my smaller tank has, but I might sift the main portion to get the biggest pieces out... just thinking.

keeley cook said...

I have root tabs in mine and they work fine :) also crypt b. Can take very low light to high light in my experience :)