10 February 2017

maintenance notes

Today was the first time I cleaned my new filter. The fine filter pad (last stop before the tank) was very dirty. I rinsed that one out thoroughly, gently rinsed the coarse blue pad, left the rest alone. It was easier to do than I'd expected, and I managed to bend that one clip more or less back into shape. A big plus of this new filter setup: I'm loosing hardly any water to evaporation anymore. Used to have to top off a half gallon or so midweek, but now there's no need. Still a large gap cut out of the plastic skirt of the lid, but I've covered it with a piece of clear plastic and it's doing the job. Small downside is that it's no longer easy to lift out the intake tube for rinsing. I don't want to undo the snug fit the intake hose has onto the elbow of the intake pipe, and the way I've sewn the coarse sponge onto the slotted prefilter it might be tricky to get that off/on the pipe. This week I just picked the largest bits of plant debris off the sponge with tweezers, when cleaning. The shrimps do feed off that area constantly, but I don't want a lot of plant debris building up.
Plants are doing great. Last week I cut and replanted some stems of hygro, extending that thicket even further to the left behind the mother crypt.
This week I had to trim and replant the tallest bacopa stems- they hit the ceiling again.
Not sure if apono capuroni got the message when I cut back all its tallest leaves- I took out three today that had enough height to hit the water surface and curl back down.

I'm really pleased with the new arrangement I have for tethering hornwort stems in place. Clipped onto the braided fishing line, it's easy to slide the individual stems back and forth when I'm working up there. Getting the clips on/off the line is a bit tricky, I just have to do it carefully and maybe with a little practice it will become easier. There's a lot more space for stems now. Last week with trimming I added four more clips to the row, this week I added another six. I think that might be the max- there's now over twenty individual stems on the line.
Not doing so great is my 'grassy corner'. I had been using it as a feeding spot for so long- the kuhlis always zip over there right away when they smell food. But all the little bits of rhizome I'm hoping will grow out kept getting disturbed by kuhlis and snails uprooting.
I've started feeding sinking foods in the opposite corner instead, where the elodea thicket is.
It's getting denser as I cut and replant stems fairly often. You can see the barbs above hesitant to force their way in, kuhlis down below at ease winding in and out of the stems.
Today I lifted the log out so I could get the tweezers into the 'grassy corner' area and replant some of the crypts, also wiggled the rhizome pieces a good half inch down into the substrate, so hopefully they will stay put now. I'm going to avoid feeding in that spot until those plants are well rooted again.

I found out what a tough, undemanding plant subwassertang is. Last week one bit got siphoned up when I was cleaning the tenner upstairs. Not having a free container to put the piece in, I dropped it into the fish pitcher which held some newly conditioned tapwater I hadn't used. Meant to add it to my growout subwassertang jar but I forgot about it completely when putting stuff away. For storage during the week I have that fish pitcher inside the clean white fish bucket, under a table. With a lid on it. So I doubt much light got in there, through two opaque sides. I was surprised when I got out the pitcher for use today, to find a nice green bit of subwassertang floating in there. No algae, no melting, it looked perfectly healthy. And it had absolutely no nutrients all week! Just plain (conditioned) tapwater.
Those subwasser bushes I made on sponges are not working out. The bits are too thin where they were glued on, or for some other reason coming loose. The small one I made two weeks ago has lost over half its greenery,
and the 'bridge' piece is only doing slightly better. I might have to give up on that idea
and just stick to using baskets (or tie netting over a different object to anchor down, hm).

Another female cherry barb has a piece missing from her tail this morning. Not as tidy as the other one, but right from the center of it again. I am really suspicious the amano shrimps are attacking them at night when the fishes sleep?

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