13 June 2018

in the 45

most of my plants seem to be doing okay- some of the anubias are rather pale, especially the largest one on the driftwood (it just sprouted the first new leaf); this mid-sized barteri in the corner still looks the best
the smaller anubias thicket quickly gathers debris-
so do the smaller buces- these photos a few days apart-
only the more upright 'wavy green' buce on a higher rock, stay relatively free of that
and of course the vallisneria, with its vertical growth
(I added a few more)
I thinks it's this guy's fault. The seemingly excessive debris. Large snails poop a lot. I'd heard this before, but it's something else to see it all over your tank!
Well, I still think it's a very cool snail to watch.
I learned that at higher temps (my tank is at 78-79° right now) they have a shorter lifespan, sometimes as short as six months. I don't know how old it was when I got it. Certainly has grown fast. I may just wait for it to reach its natural end, before adding the angelfish.... . . . because I don't like seeing the mess it makes. It moves in very fast on the food sometimes- can even beat the kuhlis to a morsel if they're still blasting around the tank randomly with excitement over the food smell.
Here's a few of the ramshorns converging on food.
 They are multiplying- I find egg clusters all over the place. So far I'm still okay with this. The glass is perfectly clear of algae.
Here's one doing its job (same snail from the second photo in this post, just above the anubias thicket)
 I haven't yet got a good photo of the kuhlis in here, they are either hidden, or in constant motion. Come out very active when I drop food in.
I worried a bit their gills looked redder than normal?
I tested the water: zero ammonia, zero nitrite, less than 10 nitrates. I still did a water change just in case. I think I know what went a bit wrong. I'd bought two 40-gal capacity sponge filters to replace the one 80-gal size borrowed from a friend. The other day I rinsed out the media from the corner filter in a bucket of tank water, then squeezed the new sponges in there a few times. Dismantled the original sponge and place the two new ones in. I kept the first sponge and the corner filter of media in the tank, sitting in corners near the new filters, so the bacteria colony could transfer, if it might. But the next day realized with the media still encased in the corner filter housing, no flow going through, the bacteria would die off quickly. Even with the lid off, I don't think it would do much good sitting there stagnant. I pulled it out, put the media in a mesh bag and put it like that in the tank. Doesn't look very nice, but it's temporary.

I also found a better way to do my water changes. Traditional vacuum is no good in a tank without real substrate. I got a piece of tubing, attached a rigid pipe on the end long enough to reach the bottom easily, and I can maneuver it into crevices to remove mulm. Rubber-banded a bit of mesh on the end to prevent larger pieces of leaf getting sucked up. Works a charm. Easier with a shorter hose, too.

I had my first alarming accident the week before when tried to do a water change with the regular siphon- it was awkward to say the least. I was looking close at my doings in the tank and jostled the wastewater bucket hard enough that a lot of water sloshed out. It was all over the floor and running under the tank stand and baseboards- I hollered in alarm and my husband came running and got out the shop vac. Now it's kind of funny- a few towels mopped it up and really it was only two gallons of water that had spilled. I was able to wick it out from under the stand with paper towels, but then had to re-level with composite shims because the cedar ones I used got wet and shrank. Yikes. Just a few gallons so alarming, I can't imagine what a real leak or spill would do. We reacted fast, and I am more careful now, and it's easier to do so with a better (in this case handmade) tool for the job.

Final shot: one little java fern that came loose from its hold. I've had to re-tie quite a few plants, actually. Some of the other java ferns have new fiddleheads arising, so I hope they do well in this tank.

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