05 August 2016

plants in the tank

A little less on the ferts this week- smidgen and a half of the KN03. I'm trying to find the fine line where plants still get enough to look healthy but algae gets outcompeted. These pictures are not very good because I took them at the end of the day, lights were starting to go down. Will try to get better ones soon.
Moved some of the subwasser on stones, trimmed a few. More got trimmed from the tenner. Just behind them can see a new shoot going up from an aponogeton plant.
Cleaned out the elodea thicket in the corner- about half reduced. Lots of stems were getting algae coated, I just remove them. I've noticed that when I trim a stem and it sprouts a second shoot, one of the now-double tops always gets ratted and dull-looking from algae, the other remains clean. I cut out all the poor ones leaving the nicer tops, but curious why it does that.

Hornwort long and very healthy-looking this week. Trimmed about a third of that back and saved some nice plumes to grow out floating loose, tucked between the tethered stems.
Cleaned a lot of thread algae out of the rotala by hand. It was like grooming the plants- I put my fingers around each stem near the base, gently ran hand up it slightly pinched, so the individual leaves ruffle between my fingers. I can't see the thread algae, unless the light is very bright, but I can feel the slight tug when they resist or pull on the plants. Pinch fingers snugly when passing the top of the stem, then dip and release into a small container of water- the threads fall free. I'm surprised at the end, how many threads I got out of there, more than I'd expected. I think it was the first time I actually groomed all the stems, not just where I could actually see the algae. So far they are still few in numbers, so it wasn't too painstaking to do.

Aponos I moved to the back wall are each sprouting a new leaf this week, so I guess they are settling in. I will wait to move the rest until done with some other stuff- next week I plan to lift out the buce log, trim off the older leaves that still get BBA, and thin out the vallisneria.
I have gradually realized that I don't like the look of windelov fern on driftwood bits. It looks loose and messy. I have gently detached all the ones that were on pieces of wood, and retied them onto a flat stone. Much better in appearance.

The wood bits I used to tether down some baby watersprites. The big ones behind the driftwood I had recently tethered to glass beads with loose loops of fishing line- so they are held just at the substrate but not buried. Their roots can go in to get a hold, but they won't drift loose and come up like happens so often. I've tried it again with a few more baby plants, but this time looped them onto the driftwood. My plan is that the new stems will grow up through the loops, and keep them in place. But maybe I tied it a bit too tight for that.
I've noticed that each plant only grows three main stems, before one starts to die off and another fiddlehead emerges. Not sure if this is always a pattern with this plant. Since using glass beads and doing my filter improvements, I've also noticed that the baby plants coming up piggyback on the main stems have a different form- they grow with a thick, straight upright stem uncurling right from the start. Before all the young plants formed as tiny sprigs of leaves at the junction, which gradually grow more fronds. I don't know if this is because the plant is responding to the better flow, or just because it has matured.

For the first time yesterday I was able to feed my kuhli loaches garlic-soaked bloodworms. Before, I had no way to get them this particular food before the barbs grab it all. This time I gave the barbs their share, and then shortly after lowered the food trap (empty) into the tank. The kuhlis are learning- all four black ones swarmed the entrance at once. Two of them were already in there by the time I reached in a syringe of worms to inject food through the top hole. I waited a while for Albert to go in the trap, then moved very slowly to put in a second helping of bloodworms. Unfortunately this time Albert panicked when I bumped the trap slightly, and scrambled for the exit. The black loaches startled too, but they came back right away, and by the time Albert had got up his nerve to approach again, they had eaten all the bloodworms.

Oh well, I think he is learning. The black kuhlis know this thing means food, hopefully soon Albert will too, and realize he doesn't get hurt or stuck in there. I'm using it two or three times a week now, to give the kuhlis an extra helping of algae wafers, shrimp pellets or soaked micropellets. And now bloodworms. Feel very satisfied to finally see them get that treat.

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