29 October 2015

ich gone

Successfully, I think. Saw the last spots twelve days ago, but treated a few days more to be sure (there were several days I didn't get a good look at the fish to be certain; the plastic sides are dim and I had to drape a black cloth behind the tub to get enough contrast). Then spent three days doing small water changes to remove the salt and gradually lowering the temperature, held it at norm temp (78°) a full day extra to keep observing. On the second-to-last day the fish were no longer hiding so much and began to take offered food- garlic-soaked pea bits. They were immediately anxious to escape into the main tank once I started floating in a baggie, so the picture is blurry.
They are already comfortable among the other fish, no hiding or clamped fins. Still have pale color, but the fins are nicely orange and they're already feeding with the rest. I think they will be fine. The others are looking better, too- pale patches and split fins disappearing.
I discovered I had a filter problem. The pre-filter traps so much fine debris I think it's why I had high nitrates the past few weeks, and fish were looking ragged. I rinsed the pre-filter sponge on the usual fourth-week schedule and amazed at the mass of mulm that came out. (Conversely, hardly any gets rinsed from the sponge media inside the filter). So I think I need to alternate differently and rinse it more often, every second or third week.

I didn't type out the daily notes on ich treatment this time, but here it is for the record:
I'm glad the treatment seems to have worked, but discouraged that I lost two established fish at the same time, from using meds. Two new fish minus two old fish doesn't get me any closer to a fully stocked tank. Bah.

27 October 2015

little snake

Found a small snake in the grass while raking leaves yesterday. I think it's a young garter snake northern brown snake. It was so little I thought I'd found a skink again when caught its tail- at the widest point no thicker than my pinkie finger.
We scooped it into a plastic bucket so my four-year-old could see it close up
and then turned onto an outside tabletop to take a few pictures.
Let it go again in the yard. I hope it hangs around. Great for some pest control. Garter snakes are relatively harmless but I didn't let my kid hold it because I don't want her thinking she can just pick up any snake she finds in the yard. I did let her gently touch its tail as it was sliding away through the grass. Smooth.

26 October 2015

dead tree

One tree in our front yard has been looking ill for a while. The bark sloughs off in sheets, and last year leaves withered on half the upper branches. Based on symptoms I tried to figure out what was wrong with it, my final best guess was some type of fungal canker. We knew for sure the tree was dead when this year it did not produce any foliage. The tree-removal crews have been cruising our neighborhood and kept stopping at our house to offer quotes. My husband had always shrugged them off, but this friday he spontaneously decided to have it taken down when another crew stopped on our curb, and within an hour the tree was in pieces on the ground.

Guess how long it takes one person (me) to haul the broken mass of an entire tree around the house to the backyard, break up the smaller branches, and cut the bigger ones into arm-length chunks with a handsaw? Three days. I had to roll the biggest segments of trunk down the hill, couldn't lift them. C. then carried them over to put under the deck. My ten-year-old helped fill a few wheelbarrow loads of sticks off the yard. There's still a stump to deal with later. I thought I would miss the tree, but after two years of looking at a dead arrangement of limbs poking at the sky, the empty spot is an improvement. I plan to put a crepe myrtle in its place, after we get the stump taken out.

And now there is several years' worth of firewood under the deck.
Usually I only collect sticks off the lawn that fall in windstorms (the sycamores seem especially prone to dropping branches) and by the end of fall have a stack under the deck that is enough for occasional fireplace use. (This is just because I enjoy a fire on cold nights, we don't use it to heat our home although sometimes I amuse myself by cooking food on it too). It's always been an untidy heap covered with a tarp, and whenever I felt like building a fire it was a chore to collect wood from the pile and break it into useful lengths. I'm tired of dealing with the tarp and I wanted it more organized. I rearranging things under the deck to have the house wall clear under an overhang, to make this stack from the dead tree where it will stay dry from the rain. Then broke down and sorted the untidy pile. Moved it all onto this stack. That was another half-day's work, as there were quite a few more bigger branches to saw into pieces.

Now I'm tired. It's satisfying kind of work, though.

22 October 2015

final coleus

A sudden drop in overnight temperature killed my outside pot of coleus. I had just taken these pictures a few days before. I don't know if I was imagining things, but it seems the pink hues were more vivid than ever, those last few days it had bracing in the cold.
I still don't know why some leaves come out rounded edges
and others the normal pointy shape.
Glad I have more of this pretty in the windowsills until next spring.
and here's what the cold did to it:


The two fish in my smaller QT died overnight. I made an error when dosing the medication. After doing water change and salt dose on the first QT tank in the morning, I automatically moved on to taking care of the second one. Forgot that it was much earlier in the day than when I'd treated the tank before- it hadn't been a complete twenty-four hours yet. I think what happened is that the prior medication hadn't entirely dissipated yet, so when I dosed again the concentration was too high. I did see them hanging out near the surface but did not stop to think what this meant. Also this morning when I found them lifeless on the bottom, the plastic plant had drifted over the airstone, blocking flow to the surface, so there was very little turbulence. They probably suffocated.

21 October 2015

ich report

It has been ten days of treatment now, the two fish in 7 gal QT continue to hide and quiver, but no more sign of ich. They haven't eaten (except for maybe a few bites of peas I offered) but have been pooping and the one that was bloated almost looks normal now. No longer alarmingly distended. I'm starting to gradually reduce the salt concentration. Keeping up the temperature for two more days, then will start slowly lowering that as well.
Unfortunately I might have cross-contaminated my main tank. Two days ago thought I saw ich spot on the tails of two female barbs in the thirtyeight. One is the skinny, harassed-looking one the males keep chasing and inducing to spawn, even though she doesn't look gravid at all. I know it's a crazy idea, but I thought if I grab these fish out before the ich drops off them and infests the tank, maybe I can avoid treating everything. So far nobody else in there looks ill.

I put them in the smaller 5 gal QT but only have the 10 watt miniheater, all others in use. This one isn't adjustable so I can't hold a high temp steady. I am using a medication on them, Ick Guard (victoria green and acriflavine). First two days they looked fine- no stress at all, swimming around relaxed, even ate some flake. Yesterday I gave them a salt bath- 2 TB/gal in a small bucket for 30 min, then slowly diluted back to normal. Even in the salt concentration they looked fine. I swear the ich spots dropped off the day of the salt bath- this morning peered closely and see no sign. But the smaller female looks uncomfortable, her pectoral fins clamped, swimming a bit unevenly. Will continue to treat w/meds three or four more days, hope both QT tanks are clear of illness by end of the week.

18 October 2015

glorious fern

I brought my boston fern inside from the cold. I hadn't realized how big it grew this summer. It's doubled in size. I'm amazed. I had a few hours to myself today so did a plant spa and soak in the tub with a book (it was a small one, only other plants two parlor palms and vase of arrowhead). The fern completely dwarfed the toilet.
I put it first on this cupboard it has sat on before, but I think it will get hit by too much sun.
So swapped places with the mother spider plant. Fern looks very imposing up on top of the display case,
and the spider plant likewise seems diminished here on the cupboard. It doesn't have very good form right now, but looks healthy enough. Maybe it wasn't getting quite enough light, and the two will be happier in new places.

15 October 2015

kuhli dreams

I have been dreaming of fishes lately. I don't remember now what the one was last night, but a few weeks ago I dreamt of kuhli loaches twice in a row.

First I had a dream that I am visiting the house of a friend-of-a-friend, someone I don't know well. They are talking and I wander into another room, which belongs to a grown son who was away at college. There's a twenty-gallon fish tank installed into the wall, like a window straight into the tank. It's at eye level. It's nearly barren. A rumple of gravel on the bottom, not much else. But I see something moving and look closer- there are a few kuhli loaches in there, banded ones. And one is the biggest, fattest kuhli I've ever seen. It's so wide it looks gross, but I'm enthralled nevertheless. It looks to me like no one is taking care of these kuhlis and I really really want to rescue them and take them home with me, but I'm too shy to ask the host, they will think I'm being silly.

The second dream was similar- I go into an empty room and find a tank (this one better-cared for) with kuhli loaches in it. Here there are kinds I've never seen before- some very pale, their sides transparent like glass catfish- their spines visible, their stripes just pale gray bands. I'm fascinated. I know these fish aren't pale from sickness or stress- that it's a genetic anomaly. There are a few normal-looking kuhlis too, and some that are light tan with large black blotches near their front ends. I wonder if these two mating produced the clear ones, and if I did some selective breeding can I produce more. But then I think: they're so freakish looking, no-one will want clear kuhli loaches. I'd do better to breed like to like and get recognizable types. All this speculation while they aren't even my fish.

13 October 2015

ich, ugh

My two females in the QT tank showed white spots the day before yesterday. Then realized I'd seen the 'normal' one dashing up and down one corner the day before. I thought it was just a nervous, skittish fish, but now I guess it was flashing from irritated gills or skin. I'm dismayed, but have dealt with this twice before so more confident I can beat it again. They're isolated, so I can treat it more aggressively. I looked at my past records and a bookmarked article to remind myself of the regimen. Siphoned out the thin gravel layer (threw it away) and removed the pvc pipe. It needs to be bare-bottom. Took out and threw away the hornwort trimmings. I've also taken the precaution of separating out all the equipment- only using certain items on the QT tank, not carrying back and forth. This makes some tasks a bit awkward as I'm now short on buckets for work on the main tank, for example. I sterilized all the fishkeeping things that I'd touched the day I found out the fish had ich, in case it got used again. Sprayed with 1:10 bleach solution, boiled small hard plastic parts and pvc pipe for five minutes, rinsed a dozen times until no more bleach odor.

Plan of attack is to gradually raise the temp to 86°, dissolve in 1 tsp salt per gallon the first day, another half per gallon the second and third day, with a total of 2 tsp per gallon for the rest of the treatment period. Doing 30% water changes daily (with replacement salt doses) vacuuming the bottom. I was at store for something else so grabbed a slightly larger plastic tote. Bought a new fifty-watt heater too, because the little one I had wasn't adjustable and it's crucial to keep the temp steady and high (then gradually lower it again). Treatment period is for ten days. I'm keeping written notes, will review when it's all done (unless a fish dies).

In the notes I'm referring to one fish as 'norm' and the other one as 'bloat'. I've fed peas, saw them each eat a few bites. One has reduced a bit and looks almost normal, the second one is still severely fat. I thought maybe they were egg-bound now I just think it's due to prior overfeeding or poor diet- if constipated they can bloat up with gas. There have been a few fish poos in there, but not nearly as much as I should see if Bloat expels what she needs to.

Blah. It's either buy convenient, cheap fish at the pet store and risk diseases like this, or pay an extra thirty, forty dollars to mail-order! Or the in-between route, find someone local who has spawning fish and will sell you the offspring. There were cherry barbs at the auction I recently went to, but all the lots had way more fish than I want to add to my tank....

The main group of barbs don't look their best, either now. The fishes are all alert, active and eating but quite a few still have pale marks on their bodies, and some have split fins. Again, I don't know if this is from their enthusiastic spawning lately, or something about what the hornwort emits? or was my water quality very poor before I fixed that intake tube elbow piece? (I did test though, haven't seen any alarming levels this past week or two). There were high nitrates yesterday, I think because I accidentally pulled up a few rotala stems. I did a partial 10 gal wc without a ferts dose...

10 October 2015

hornwort trim

I had to cut this stuff back already. It's shading everything else in the tank. I might remove half as many stems again entirely, but for now just cut some tops off, and removed some short branching horizontals. I took some leading ends off, thinking that new shoots sprouting close to the top, off to one side, would become a new leader. Instead those few stems now flop over in the current, as if the side stem (no matter how small) drags it down... I will have to trim differently next time. But now the other plants are visible again, and they're growing!

Another good thing is while the algae has disappeared from the front/back walls and tubing, there's still enough of it on the short ends were indirect light hits the tank from windows, that the nerites seem to have enough food supply.
I put a more short hornwort cuttings in the QT tank.
Tested water levels and there were traces of ammonia and nitrite so I did a 50% wc on it too. The two fish had been just sitting still in the water- not crashed or pinched exactly, but not happy looking either.
Once the new water started going in, they began to look interested in things and move about again. So far so good, no sign of disease. They still look awful fat but the smaller one seems to be slimming down. I offered flakes yesterday and they weren't interested yet.

plant signs

Reading the plants' response to light.
Noticed the other day that my echeveria in the front room was starting to get leggy. I'd suspected that spot didn't have enough light for them, but gave it a try. No good. Moved them to the other side of the house, where it's plenty crowded now.
The hornwort in the tank told me about light levels, too. In just a few days it went from looking rather compact to having more internodal spacing. So I know the person who kept them before me had higher light levels in their tank.

09 October 2015

cherry tomatoes

It's getting a lot cooler and I was starting to think it's time to cut the tomato plants down, most of the fruit just green. Then I read on another garden blog (forget whose) that you can hasten the ripening by removing the blossoms and cutting back the roots (shovel in the ground around the plant). I have never tried trimming roots like that before, but I did pinch off all the emerging blossoms on my tomato plants. Also trimmed off some decaying leaves, inspected for caterpillars and cut back some top growth that I guessed wouldn't support new tomatoes anyway.
What a response! My cherry tomatoes did start to ripen suddenly, and what's more, these tomatoes are a lot bigger than all the ones I picked earlier in the season. Is it because the plant felt it had to throw all its resources into the fruit? Or just because we've had more rain lately (some tomatoes split their sides with the influx of water).


There are great fat worms in my garden spot. Probably normal size for earthworms, but the girth is twice what I'm used to after handling the smaller red wigglers all the time!
I'm in the process of moving the composting worms into a new bin. Prepped it with shredded cardboard a few weeks ago. Trying a new method I came up with, to transfer them over. I put the worm food in a shallow plastic container with 1/2" holes cut in the bottom, and put that on surface of the old vermicompost. When a new collection of food is ready, I dump this one that's been sitting in the old bin, into the new bin. By that time it's full of masses of worms who moved in to get the food. Scoop up more masses from just below it, too. Put new food into the container and do it all again.
This does move tons of worms over at a time, without me having to comb through the bin contents by hand. I've been doing this process for several weeks and probably have enough worms transferred to the new bin by now, but it's not nearly all of them yet.
I don't think I'll be putting vermicompost into my houseplant soil anymore. My houseplants get enough extra nutrients from the fish waste water, I think they can do without the worm poo. All the pots that had it added, have been having problems retaining too much moisture, and even though it's been a year, I still find an occasional worm in a plant pot. It tends to be the plants that look unhealthy, too. So whatever worms are left in the bin at some point I will just throw them into the garden when I rake the vermicompost into the soil. Either they live, or die and feed the soil...

08 October 2015


This stuff had an immediate effect.
Overnight my nitrates dropped by 20-25 ppm. In a day and a half the green algae has complete disappeared from the glass. I did a small water change (10 gal) because noticed that one male and two female barbs have pale, scraped-looking patches on their bodies. The smaller female with these marks is also the skinniest right now, and was chased the most by the males during a spawning frenzy when I first introduced the new plant. I've never seen them so active. Squirming into the densest parts of the plants. I'm not sure if the marks on them are from scuffling with each other, or if some pathogen came in on the plant. So I fed them garlic and did the water change. Keeping a close eye. The smallest female had slightly clamped fins yesterday, today she looks a bit better. I've found it's easy to spot these marks after dark with the moonlight on the pale patches shine in the dark. I don't think it's fungus...

Also saw that right after putting in the hornwort, most of the other plants seemed to pick up growth, algae began to shed off some, but some of the watersprite had gone pale and rotala looking dismal. Yellowish, brown, curling. I've seen these symptoms before- starving plant. I bet the hornwort took up too much nutrients. With the small water change I dosed a few finger pinches of the dry fert (relative proportions to each other) and a fourth-dose of micros, and this morning see some improvement.

If the hornwort is that effective, it could well starve out my algae-eating snails! I've already sold half the lot- all the floating stems that were crowding up the tank. This stuff grows fast, too. Some of those stems I weighed down with rocks are hitting the water surface in just a few days' time. It worked a lot easier to do that when I got some larger-sized river pebbles (from the pet store).

And- I have two more fish. Female cherry barb. In the little QT tank with some floating hornwort stems and the sponge filter. They look alert but haven't seemed interested in eating yet, and chased each other madly all over for the first day. This morning one was under decor, other in the hornwort, I guess they sorted out a little pecking order. They'd be more comfortable in the big tank, but want to make sure whatever is ailing the established fishes cleared up, and that nothing is afflicting these two. They are bloated looking- square fat stomachs. I thought overfed and am fasting them for a few days, will offer peas. If they are just egg-bound hopefully meeting my four red males will cure that.

06 October 2015

tenner plants

Since I put a root tab under it, the watersprite has quit looking like it wanted to die, and stayed green instead. I expect these to be slow growers, with the light level so low, but waiting to see something happen.
The anubias seems to be proving my assumption that it got black algae marks from too much light when I bumped it up those two weeks gone. Newer leaves show no sign of ill. Third oldest leaf has the pale marks of Mg deficiency, I think that's corrected now as long as I put epsom salts in once a month. I'm gradually cutting off the older, black-mottled leaves (as new ones grow in) just one a week or so.
The smaller anubias are showing similar response. Except for the more narrow anubias lanceolata- the one on the right here- it still has really pale body to the leaf. Is it just responding slower, or something else amiss. It has come loose from the driftwood, I tried to fasten down again, but don't think the fact that it's not clinging like the others has anything to do with this.
Finally some duckweed multiplying - very slowly though, which suits me just fine. There are now three little clusters of minute leaves, instead of just one.
Java fern is really improving in here. Smaller plants have new leaves emerging now too.

05 October 2015

there, that looks better

This is more what I thought of, a little forest of bushy stems. Blurry and low light, pic taken while the light strip was fading out for the day, but I'll get a better one soon.
Fish still seem to be enjoying the new plant. I saw spawning again today.


So now my tank is full of green. Wow, this stuff gave the tank a visual punch. Even though it looks really disorganized right now.
I can see why people hate it though- it was a pain getting it into the tank. Sheds needles all over the place. (I was aware of that characteristic beforehand). I rinsed it in a bucket of tapwater to dislodge some pond snails (inevitable I'm going to get some of those now, a dip would probably hurt this plant) and then twice in buckets of conditioned water to inspect all the stems, rinse off more loose needles, and generally sort it out. My intention was to weigh down individual stems so I could have it looking planted throughout the tank, without actually rooting it into the gravel, because I intend to remove most, if not all of it later. (I want it in there to knock out the algae and give my other plants a growing advantage.)

I achieved that with some stems you see on the right there, but dang it was hard to do. The largest pebbles I had were too small and the stems break easily, so attaching ends to little rocks with tiny rubber bands didn't work so well. I finally gave up and stuffed most of the remaining stems of it into an aquatic plant pot (more like a plastic basket) which is that big mass on the left. I have two suction cups with little ring clips and I put a few stems into those, anchored low on the back wall. Those bunches look pretty, but can't really admire them with all the other stuff in front. And then I just threw the remaining short stems in to float on the surface.
I like the way it looks, but I'm going to get rid of half of it as soon as I can. If I can't find another aquarist to come get some, I'll just dry it out and feed to the worm bin.
Although it's not exactly what I want, and it does have its downsides, there is one thing: it shows me what I want to achieve. A tank full of lush, green, full growth. My established plants (not) aren't near that yet. It was putting in this vivid, healthy green that made me realize once again how poorly they are doing. The rotala and aponos look very brown/yellow next to the bold hornwort. Just last week I was thinking my rotala was looking green again, and now it doesn't. I think it was the filter mishap- when I opened up the tank to take apart the filter tube I had to set aside the light strip for a while, and then pulling out the sponge prefilter kicked a lot of debris into the water which settled on the fine rotala leaves too. Blocking out light to them. It might have been enough light reduction on that one day, that those leaves, already unhealthy, diminished yet again... I hope they bounce back still but if not I'll replant the tops (which still look relatively ok).

The fish sure are enthusiastic about the hornwort. They are darting all around and picking through it with lively action. I like to see that.

new experience

This weekend I did something I've never done before. I drove half an hour to attend a live fish auction. It was run by a local aquarium club- well, not local to me, but in the greater area. I'm considering joining the club- they hold a lot of interesting-sounding workshops on things like better fish husbandry practices, breeding methods, raising your own live food and so on. It's just a long ways to go...

It was really cool to be there. To walk into a room full of like-minded folks, very down-to-earth people in their plain clothes, toting styrofoam boxes and coolers to pack their fishes in. I always feel kind of silly when I go to the pet store with a lunch cooler in hand- but it does lessen the shock on the fish, whether keeping them warm against sharp cold air outside in winter, or keeping them cooler than the broiling temperature inside my car in summer (before the AC kicks on). But I digress.

I've been reading a lot on fish forums online, and it was something else to hear people around me talking about those very same things- fish behaviors, spawning triggers, the quality of finnage... I even got the jokes. And listening to the auctioneer I learned that quite a few fish and plant names (scientific and common alike) I've been pronouncing completely wrong, because I'd never heard them spoken before! I sat up close to the front just so I could see the fishes. They were laid out in bags on the tables (ready to be picked up and transported home) and I could only imagine the stress they were experiencing, although most people seemed to have prepped and bagged them properly. Most of them looked great, in fact. It was so cool to see bags of cichlid pairs with little tiny baby fry swimming around them. Many beautiful and interesting fish I had never seen in person before, but I was reluctant to pick up bags for inspection, which could stress the fish- I didn't want to contribute more to their handling. So I sat in the front to see them as they were held up by the auctioneer.

The one item I was hoping to get -hornwort- had been listed at a fixed price, but by the time I got to the venue that lot had sold. I saw four more bags of it on the table though, so I got a card and joined in the bidding. This is also something I've never done before, bid in an auction. I waited to see how the first bid went- the first lot of it sold for $12. I'd been hoping to pay $10 or less, so I thought: I can do that. I'll bid up to $12. But the auctioneers kept switching out (can you imagine how tired their speaking muscles get!) and when the next bag of it came up, the guy really touted its qualities as a natural algaecide. That lot went for $20. I didn't really want to pay that high, but I saw the crowd was thinning out and I did want to see more of the fishes, so I waited. I sat in that chair for about four hours, all told. When the third bag of hornwort came up, a lot of people had left already and I bet that some of those other folks interested in hornwort had gone home. I bid on it and got it easy for $8. That's a steal. Especially when I got it home and saw how much there was.

I know where I'm going when I'm ready to buy my angelfish someday.

04 October 2015

coleus pots

All the little jars of coleus have grown tons of roots.
They either grew faster than I've seen before (lots of aquarium waste water!) or I left them in the jars longer than I usually do.
I potted them all up a few days ago- two or three stems per four-inch pot (they like being root crowded).
Makes the windows feel cheery on gray cloudy days of rain.

03 October 2015

equipment mishap

All of a sudden I saw, in my main aquarium, that a bit of loose plant part was clinging to the intake tube. Not to the tube itself, to an elbow piece that fits on to hold the prefilter sponge off the wall. It was clinging and waving in current that was pulling it in. That's when I saw the elbow fitting had a crack in it. And I remember when it happened- a while ago I turned the fittings to adjust the angle of the prefilter to the wall, and heard a sharp snap noise. Saw nothing amiss and left it. I don't know how long it's been like this- a week, two? I don't know if it's been compromising the performance of the filter, but several things stand out.

- The nitrates have continued to be higher than norm (35-40 ppm) even though I'm dosing less ferts now.

- There have been small particles loose in the water- I noticed this just yesterday and thought maybe the prefilter was clogged with debris but I didn't want to rinse it yet because I'd just unintentionally rinsed everything the week before- so this friday I'd just done the small sponge filter. Wanted to let the bacteria levels recover after that mini-cycle.

I turned the filter off momentarily to lift out the intake tube and fittings. Removed the elbow pieces and put the prefilter/intake part back on straight off the main tube. So now the prefilter sponge part is resting against the back wall, I don't know how much that reduces its efficiency, but when I put it back on at first the filter wouldn't run. I unplugged/replugged it, nothing. I primed it, nothing. Saw that the water was rushing through overflow, why? I pulled out the main media sponges and gently rinsed the fine one in a bucket of tank water (still here from friday, thank goodness I hadn't watered plants with it yet). Put that back in the filter, plugged it back in, started right up and the current significantly stronger- I saw plants waving around that I hadn't noticed movement from in a while (not good).

- The fish immediately came to play. Barbs were running up and down the wall around the prefilter, flirting and chasing and displaying at each other.

- The tank clouded up with lots of fine debris when I lifted out the intake tube- the one thing I don't like about sponge filters- but to my surprise it cleared up again very quickly. By the time I was done fixing the cracked piece, the tank was nearly clear. And the fishes still darting about looking refreshed. Tells me it's been a problem for a little while, if they feel so relieved and spunky with renewed current. Gah. Why didn't I see it sooner?

Here's the crack:
It's an inch long straight and then curves.
I'm glad I have aquarium sealant on hand. And I know it's strong stuff- the hinge I made on the prior glass lid for the tenner was so stiff I could lift it off the tank by one panel and it wouldn't flex. I smeared it on both sides of the crack and pinched ends together tight for a few minutes.
Not pretty, but I don't care as long as it seals.
Now it has to cure for at least 72 hours.
In the meantime the tank intake is on a straight shot, but I don't think it will matter too much. I wonder if fixing this will help my algae issues any? maybe weak filter pull was degrading quality for the plants in some way.