31 January 2015


I sold another bunch of java moss recently and started a new one, with tiny bits trimmed off the fake skull.
The surface of my desk where they've been is quite cold (near window)- so I moved the two jars to sit on the smaller aquarium's cover glass. The tank is near eighty and its heat now keeps the jars close to room temperature. They look better.

30 January 2015

tank notes

I have been trying to get a good tank picture, but it's hard to avoid glare on the watersprite thicket in center. This one is okay
but it actually looks more like this now, after I trimmed the rotala again:
Another overhead view:
It is starting to look full and green! Same doses on ferts with the water change, today. Most of the plants look good, so I'm hoping that java fern is just having an adjustment period and will recover too- at least the new fiddleheads coming up are nice. It's supposed to be a tough plant, so I'm surprised it seems more sensitive to changes. On the other hand, it's my only epiphyte in this aquarium, maybe that has something to do with it- since the other plants get nutrients from substrate, and this one only pulls out of the water column? I did cut out a few mottled leaves today, and tried to attach some down better. Have noticed that the ones that were tied tightly or held with rubber bands, with good contact to the surface, are clinging firmly. Others that I didn't tied so well (very tricky to do with wet thread!) are pretty loose, not holding well. I have weighed down one in the back with pebbles (but they fall off all the time, have to be replaced) and fastened a front lower one with new rubber band.
Now that the plants are looking better I'm starting to think about aesthetics again. Maybe the fine-leaved plants are better as background, and the apono crispus which I admire so much should be in the front. I am starting to try this out, gradually. Gave away my amazon sword (it just wasn't doing well in my tank) and moved one of the smaller aponos to front center:
I have also learned these plants like to stand alone, have space. Not sure if it's the reason, but the biggest apono (widest leaves) has surprised me with a new shoot- looks like a flower stem. I was not expecting, or even hoping, for my aponos to flower. I'm tickled that this one is- it means the plant is happy!!
Half a dozen rotala stems reached the surface again, so I've cut those back and replanted, two in back left corner behind apono, a few more behind the java log. Already I'm liking the effect:
Some more rotala pics- from above
and in dim light, the young green seems to glow (bad reflections in this one but I still like it)

29 January 2015


This one is growing lots of new leaves in the center. I am hoping even more for spring flowers!

28 January 2015

climbing kuhlis!

caught a black one sitting halfway up in the rotala bunch,
later same one resting on the broad crypt leaves (this one is Mo)
and a striped one going up onto the log
it's so fun to watch them

27 January 2015

geranium tree

another pic of this, just because I'm so happy with it

25 January 2015


I euthanized a fish today. I thought I was looking for a dead (missing) platy this morning, but found him cowering under driftwood- more tail missing, all the way to the body. It's hopeless.

22 January 2015

aloe babies

It's been several days of drying- lying out on a shelf and then stuck back into the soil. The biggest one on far left I did not remove to dry its cut end- just to see if one would survive the wrong treatment. They all look okay so far. Are in side window that doesn't get any direct light, for now.

21 January 2015

water plants

All the pics were of watersprite last time, I forgot to put these in with notes once again on progress/decline. First the happy note: my favorite plant is looking good! (At least, the two biggest ones- smaller guys are catching up, too). This is the oldest one in back corner:
It just keeps on growing! Other plants don't seem quite as happy- the java fern in particular. Java leaves that were the best ones right after I started applying ferts have suddenly turned brown, blotchy, dying. New growth looks good- I wonder if it is just adjusting once again to the change in fert dose? Yikes
Crypts have uneven color too when I look close- so I still need to tweak things...
I had cut back the rotala to be all even height, but other stems have taken off now and hit the ceiling again. Will trim more out this friday probably:
The one amazon sword is really struggling. I think it has too much root competition!
In my smaller tank, once again I notice that the anubias has many dying blotched leaves, and the newest ones so pretty smooth green. But some yellow,
and the java fern in here looks like it is all suddenly dying. I think I shouldn't have reduced part of those ferts- going to give all norm dose this week again (and buy some chelated iron as well).
The saddest thing is not a plant. Smaller platyfish is in bad shape. Its fin was growing back but it got bitten just yesterday again- I still can't figure out who is the culprit. I should pull her out and put in QT but older heater broken, and the apartment is way too cold. I'm afraid I will loose this one.

20 January 2015

little plants

My youngest is dismayed that "her" plants aren't growing in the little greenhouses outside yet. She helped sow seeds and claimed some purple Nicotiana for her own, but it's hard to wait. I was tidying up some houseplants and showed her a teeny little crassula plant growing off a fallen leaf (I've never seen one so small)
She wanted it for her own. I gave her a Geranium trimming too.
She helped mix the soil (with worm dirt and eggshells), fill the tiny pots (the drip saucers are caps from juice jugs- that's how small they are), tamp them down, and carefully put her plants in by herself. They're on a windowsill now with sun and in easy reach. She's eager to water them already- I had to remind her to wait until they are thirsty!

19 January 2015

winter green

So I don't get christmas color out of this, but I still love its bold green all through the coldest time of year.


This flower thing is still going on my parlor palm:
The two are so lovely- up to my knees now. Soon they'll need bigger pots!

18 January 2015


This lovely plant
is growing new root hairs below!


This one still looks lively and green!

17 January 2015

aloe redo

My big Aloe is collapsing. It's either out in the open getting knocked around by the kids (accidentally) or crammed into this space between my desk and tank support that isn't large enough. Falling over and crushing the pups, so I knocked it out of its pot today to see if I could separate them. I'm not sure if this was a good idea (probably too soon) but I am glad I did it anyway. I found stuff in there that might be harming my plant!
A big fat earthworm (not a red wiggler)
and even worse- these grubs. They're japanese beetle grubs. Really creepy to see how after a few minutes dumped on the table- I sifted them out of the potting soil- they uncurled and started crawling towards shelter- one to the dirt pile, the other to hide under the pot near it. Needless to say, I disposed of them and gave the mother plant new soil.
The roots look healthy enough. But it's too damp. I've been overwatering. (I'm not so good with succulents. Cacti- forget it!)
I tried to separate the pups, they're all over an inch high, but none came away with roots. So I'm not sure if they'll make it.
Then I made the mistake of watering them and putting in the windowsill to admire the bright tanslucent young green among older plants:
I should have read more articles on separating aloe pups, first. You're supposed to let them sit out a day or two to heal the cut before potting up, and then wait another few days before watering. I moved them into sheltered spot, other window that gets very indirect light, hope they recover but I might have condemned them to rot and death... I pulled three back out of the soil and set them to dry- crossing fingers.
Incidentally, I used the vermicompost that's been sitting in a bag under the counter for a month. It was a lovely soft fine texture. I found a few worms- very small, stunted and hardly moving- tossed them into the worm bin. Mixed the vermicompost up with some old potting soil and eggshells for these plants.