29 January 2016

tenner plants

The report here is much the same. Buces and java fern came loose where the thread rotted way before I expected it to. I went back to using rubber bands.
Here's one tiny buce 'blue bell' that has its own stone now...
Next to the others it came loose from:
Yeah, that didn't work so well either. Band slipped loose again.
The 'isabelle' came loose from the driftwood and I really didn't want to pull that one out again and kick mulm all over the place. Tried to fasten it down hands in the tank, but it didn't work so well.
There's only one piece of bacopa monnieri still intact in my bigger tank, but it is growing new leaves. Here in the tenner I had to peg the two monnieri down again, this time with pinched plastic strips. If that doesn't hold them, I give up. (Seen through the plastic sheeting here, ambient light so not so pretty all the scratches on the film visible).
The downoi plant stayed down, now that I've got it pegged with a lead strip. Waiting to see if it grows.
Noticed my wisteria plant has some uneven holes in the leaves and ragged edges. Not sure if it's a snail eating them, or a nutrient deficiency or what. But it looks like something I've seen online, so going to see if I can figure it out..
There are lots of tiny roundish snails in here now. Some look like pond snails, others I viewed under the microscope and they're definitely ramshorns. I took out the mother ramshorn, also the one with white-streaked shell in the thirty-eight (my kid said "that snail looks old") and they became escargot for the fishes. Because for some reason suddenly when I started seeing tiny baby snails everywhere I didn't want them. Trumpet snails are okay, but I don't want loads of pond snails or ramshorns too, and I didn't realize that until I saw them in there. I've scraped out two more ramshorn egg cases, gradually plucking out all the baby snails I find, and will bait with lettuce too.

thirty-eight plants

I think they are slowly recovering, from when I changed the light back. It's been up 1/2" above the rim for a week now. I do think the crypts are looking greener.
But most plants still have brown algae on the lower leaves. Looks like new growth is keeping free of that; some of them (aponogeton) I have been rubbing off the algae, others that are too fine or small I left alone. Or, in the case of ludwigia, I cut and replanted the tops, discarding all the bottom half of stems that were dying from lack of light/algae coating. Only did this to the oldest ludwigias on one side of the tank so far (short row in the front here).
The other side they still have their dark skirts.
There are no more carpeting type plants in here. All melted away. One bit of staurgyne repens left that I pegged down, but I don't really expect it to stay on. The baby downoi plants all melted to nothing- I still have the older two plants. Their outer leaves are melting, new growth in centers and stems stretching up to reach the light. Might end up looking funny.
I was worried last week about buce 'dark godzilla', it had a fine coating of brown algae that I can't quite seem to rub off. New leaf growth looks better and at least the algae on it hasn't gotten worse this week.
Dismayed that the cotton thread I used is already disintegrating! I had to lift the driftwood log out of the tank again and refasten most of the buces with rubber bands. All had come loose except for 'isabelle'.
Some of the 'blue bell' leaves have holes in them. In my other tank the buce leaves with holes kept melting away until only skeleton edge of leaf margin and rib was left, then it rotted completely. So far not too many have done that.
I removed the mondo grass. A light nudge uprooted it and I saw there was no new root growth at all, so even though what's still there looks healthy, I don't want to wait for it to go into decay. Put root tabs in the tank today. Found it's much easier to get them deep in the substrate with tweezers, and hopefully that releases less into the water column too, because I get them in quicker and farther.

24 January 2016

more snow pictures

I took a yardstick out this morning. It drifted higher in places, but the flat part of the yard was about 29"
My husband's car:
The coldhouse is buried. I haven't gone out yet to see if the test plants in there are still alive, but at least the thing didn't collapse!
Echeveria against the wall of snow piled on the sliding glass door.
Now I'm going out to dig some more- there's a lot more work to clear the driveway and sidewalk.

tenner things

Well already I see response in the plants that went into my tenner a week ago. Some good, some not. Staurogyne repens is gone- I couldn't get any of it to hold down and gave up on that. Most of the monte carlo melted away to nothing. There are still a few little bits of plants in front of the skull, but I think they're stems of dwarf rotala that I missed when I moved stuff:
The pennywort is still here, and it even grew two new tiny leaves, but it has floated loose again too, I've tried pegging it down.
Bacopa monnieri came loose too. One piece too far gone to keep, the other two I replanted in a different corner.
Creeping jenny I am not sure if this one will make it. Bottoms of stems melting away and most go too quickly. By the time I get my hands back in the tank to replant loose stems, there's nothing substantial enough to grasp. I only have five stems of it left.
Downoi also might be a goner- the stem broke off and I have pushed it back into substrate several times and it won't stay. Need a peg. Not sure if it can grow new roots at this point. Ends of leaves are melting.
I am pleased with the ludwigias- a lot of the bigger pieces I bought as potted plant even still have their red top color. I wasn't expecting them to hold on to that.
The tiny repens one -here just under the oto- is growing new leaves and they are rounder than the original ones.
When I made the driftwood log in the thirty-eight all buces, plucked off the remaining java ferns (which don't seem to do well in that tank for some reason) and tied them onto the skull here. Some in the front over the teeth, some in the back.
I left one piece of java fern behind. It surprised me by growing from a rhizome fragment on the wood so small I had forgotten it was there. Too little to move- I wouldn't have anything to tie it by. If it grows a bit bigger maybe I will bring it over here too.
I don't want to keep shifting plants around, need to keep my hands out and just leave things alone now. But the ludwigias keep sending their aerial roots into the sponge filter, and I can't see bacopa caroliniana or watersprite for the jumbled mess they are with each other. So I moved one stem of ludwigia, moved most of the bacopa over against and behind it, and put the sponge filter further into the corner, between the wisteria and bacopa. Looks distinctive now (I hadn't realized how well my wisteria is doing!) and hopefully that keeps the roots out of the sponge (so I can lift it out to rinse now and then without trouble).
Current full tank shot-
I just wish I didn't have so much of this happening.

step backwards

It went wrong in my thirty-eight. Brown, yellowing plants. Some melt to be expected as new ones adjust, but the watersprite and hornwort is all deteriorating which is an indicator for me. And crypt wendtii is all turning brown- some leaves paling out brassy and pink color, melting fast. Either it was the lighting or I messed up the ferts. I distinctly remember putting the dry ferts in the tank last friday, but not really sure if I did the micros. Did I forget? the browning leaves look like starved for nutrients, to me. I rubbed some soft brown algae off the apono leaves wed and put half a dose of micros in, just in case. But if I hadn't forgot the micros, that could be an overdose of something. Gah.
I bet it's the light. I was so pleased at how my tenner responded to diffusion via plastic that I did the same thing to my big tank recently. I should not have made a change- things were going so well that I felt confident I could grow plants now, excitedly bought and traded for some more! I took the light off its blocks and diffused the LEDs with plastic taped on. Now things look awful and I fear for my new additions. I thought that reducing light with distance would be the same as reducing light with plastic. Nope. Or varies enough that I can't make it the same intensity.

So I've reset the light up on its blocks (will fasten securely this time) and took off the plastic strip- left on just one sheet of the more transparent kind. Photoperiod is still six hours with two hour fade, both channels same. Nitrates were high, did the alternate dose of macros. Hoping I can turn it around and not loose all the new plants I just got. Kicking myself for not being content the way things were. Why did I think: hey this is good, let's make it better!? No- be happy when things go right and leave them that way.

Well, one plant seems not to mind anything that happens- elodea.
It has grown all these long roots from the base of new shoots.
See this one against the background more clearly
I was wondering if I should trim and replant those parts, and the plant just decided for me. Moving my hand in the tank I brushed against some stems and they came loose too easily- I saw that the original stem ends were decaying and had no roots at all. So I cut the bottoms off to discard and replanted the new top growth with its roots under gravel now. See how that does...

23 January 2016


There's a lot of it, and it hasn't stopped yet. I went out this morning to shovel when it was relatively calm- at that point it was about 28", there's definitely more now.
I did not make a lot of progress. Cleared a path across the head of the driveway and that was it. Wind came up again and I went inside. Plenty of time to shovel when it's all done blowing. 
Other side of my car- I bet it will be completely buried again by morning!
My husband's car- when I started shoveling the path (a few hours ago)
and now-
It's nearly buried my coldhouse, too.
And flattened some of our shrubs- I knocked the snow off one by the front door which normally has an upright box shape but now was a flat, splayed fan. I didn't make the effort to reach the others- hopefully they don't break too many branches.

snowed in

but we are staying warm enough. I noticed this morning the heat was going constantly. Turned the thermostat down to 66°, shut the heat vents in all the unused rooms, blocked the bottom of those doorways with towels, closed heavy drapes across sliding glass doors in the basement. We didn't have more weather-stripping so I blocked the draft from an outside doorjamb with a wide strip of painter's tape. It works. Now the heat rests itself periodically, and we're wearing extra socks and sweaters. My coleus really don't like the cold- they have dropped some lower leaves. I put plastic wrap across that kitchen window to keep off some of the chill.
The succulents don't mind it as much, and other plants I have moved back from the windows, or they're near enough a heat vent to be okay. This morning the snow drifted against sliding glass door by the plant spot was just topping the echeveria pots-
It's gradually gotten deeper and deeper.
The pot of baby echeveria is looking lovely, by the way.
And in another room one of my parlor palms is throwing out some cheer- this seed frond thing.
The styrofoam behind the fish tanks has kept in some warmth, it seems. I haven't touched Oliver's heater, but now its steady at 79° (a degree higher than usual). On the thirty-eight I tried to adjust the heater yesterday, but its knob sticks and I wasn't sure if I manage to move it up a notch or not. Now that tank is two degrees higher than before- lately it's been around 74° but now 76°. Better for these fishes anyway.