31 December 2018

happier fish

Photos of the newer floaters in my window tank- more salvinia minima
and hornwort (above and below view)
my paradise fishes have better colors with these additions-
Perry especially seems more at ease- no longer hiding or lying on the bottom for long periods of time. Pics from short end of the tank:

plastic baskets

My tank has a slightly new look. Unfortunately, I had my camera on the wrong setting when took these photos, so they are awfully small.
I sewed some basket containers out of plastic canvas-
for the crypts and aponogetons. The previous containers I had fashioned from strawberry baskets weren't working out for me- after time the plastic turns opaque white which I consider something of an eyesore, and the gravel kept leaking out the bottom slots.
Already I prefer my handmade baskets- they blend in very well with the background, the gravel stays mostly in place, and I can make them any dimension I want.
Here's M. Beautiful- still pretty chill with the tetras. Only once this week did he 'crash around' when someone walked downstairs- and I can't tell why. Maybe he was resting and startled awake.
glimpse of a kuhli- this one is Sassy
happy java fern in the front corner- since I took this pic a few days ago, it has sprouted a new fiddlehead!

24 December 2018

notes on some tanks

My paradise fishes appear to be fully recovered. I was concerned for a while that Perry still had lingering parasite load- he often lay on the bottom of the tank, or hid. Lady looked fine. Then I did the third water change to reduce salt- and brought home a good amount of floaters from fish club- more salvinia minima and hornwort, very healthy-looking stuff. Most of it went straight into my window tank. Perry's demeanor immediately changed. I realized then, a lot of the plants had probably done poorly due to the medications I'd been using on the tank. Now that they're mostly cleared out, the stem plants are perking up again and Perry once more races back and forth across the tank eager for his meals. I'm glad I tried out the tiny-leaved ludwigia arcuata- it's starting to look nice in here (although have to look close to appreciate it).

In the 45 downstairs, my angelfish is settling in with the new companions. Rarely looks pale or frightened now. Still occasionally will startle and move off when I walk down into the hall, but he doesn't crash around like used to. I'm very glad. I give a bit more at feeding times now, and scatter it across the tank instead of dropping in one spot at surface- so all the fishes can have a chance. This makes M. Beautiful a lot more active- swimming eagerly around to snag the largest bites- instead of liesurely plucking food from the surface. The blackskirt tetras are getting a little bolder, darting in near the angel after food themselves. Yesterday for the first time I saw M. Beautiful threaten them- turning his body horizontal (I think of it as "planing" though I doubt that's an actual term) to make quick dashes at them. They easily get out of his way. I guess he sees them as competitors for food, now- but if I just sprinkle food on surface like I used to, the tetras won't come for as much.

It is going to be longer before I can bring my other four tetras into this tank, if at all. I should have been more cautious. When I got them from the store- just over 2 weeks ago now- there were a few fish in one other tank -further down the wall- that looked like were starting to get ich. That should have made me leave, not buy fish. But I did. Sure glad I quarantined like usual. Few days after bringing them home, two of them suddenly had white spots, all over. I started treating the QT tank every day with a 25% wc and dosing meds- I tried using Tetra Ick Guard which has victoria green and acriflavine. Being careful to wash my hands and use a siphon hose that's just for the QT tank.

They appeared to be getting better and I was feeling hopeful for full recovery, until the day I forgot to replug the heater in after doing a larger wc- fifty percent- because I thought the treatment was done. Temp dropped that night, in the morning I found the problem, plugged the heater back in immediately- but all four tetras white spots now. When I had only have one tablet left of the Ick Guard but the fish looked bad- they are hanging still in one area and didn't come to the front for food like before. Now I don't know if I can beat it. They look positively awful this morning. Starting to get fin rot, which is advancing rapidly. Two of the smaller ones are having trouble swimming. I did a large wc this morning and dosed meds again- using Fungus Guard which has a higher concentration of acriflavine and victoria green (as far as I can tell) because my only other med on hand is the Ick Attack- which doesn't seem as strong. Now the water is tinted and the tank shrouded and I hope I don't come home to dead fish.

It was a poor idea to have new fishes in QT over holiday season- I get distracted so much going on, do the wc late or can't find meds fast enough...

16 December 2018

cold tank

Perry often sits still - either in a top corner of the tank, or substrate level behind his filter. I can't tell if he's sleeping more, lethargic in the winter chill, or feeling unwell. Once I started feeing Lady this morning, he perked up and came over to take his bites.
Lady's spunky as ever but had a white spot on her head yesterday
Not sure if I should dose the tank anymore- doing a good substrate cleaning at water changes, have removed a third of the salt so far.
Here's a bit of the new ludwigia arcuata I planted. There's more in the background against the glass.
Three more bits of wisteria sprouted roots. I planted them- can just see leaf at substrate level in the center here.
Here's another one, in the back just to left of crypts

15 December 2018

in the angel tanks

There is still no trouble between M. Beautiful and the black skirt tetras- and I do think their presence is having a positive effect! Angelfish is beginning to act much calmer. Half the time he comes eagerly to the front waggling tail in anticipation when I walk downstairs- other times he still startles or turns away, but doesn't go pale as often, doesn't crash around in a panic anymore.
Tank seems a lot busier than I ever wanted, especially when the kuhlis smell food and dash all over the place searching it out. In a week I'll add the four more tetras out of QT. Gave up on my idea of having this just sticks and leaf litter. Starting to think of adding more plants: anubias coffefolia instead of anubias lanceolata, and I'd like to try my crypt wendtii in here, maybe some vals (in another planter) and attempt floaters again- dwarf water lettuce?
Here's the tank I'm not proud of- 20H where Skye lives alone (snails don't count as company)
Thinking I'll move all the anubias lanceolata in here if I do take them out of the 45- lighting is fine for it. This angelfish is always eager to greet a person- so much I have trouble getting a photo of it broadside.
I'm still going to attempt a re-introduction a week or so after moving the last of the tetras into the 45.

some tenner pics

Bunch of java fern 'windelov' on the driftwood- subwassertang is creeping through it. Anubias barteria growing out looks fine now- so I think the older piece I cut off was just dying back from adjustment.
a few older leaves on buces have ominous dark algae on leaf margins- but otherwise look fantastic. I need to get in there with small scissors and trim out the damaged leaves.
buce 'isabelle' and 'blue belle' on the skull
amano shrimp walking across more buces
crypt becketti is still among my favorites
short end- crypt becketti, buce 'selena', ludwigia whatever-it-is- grown a lot straighter now
other short end- at an angle

13 December 2018

others are great

Not all the houseplants in my winter sun spot are doing poorly. Cuban oregano cheers me with its bright glow.
Salad burnet has grown back healthy young stems after I pulled out a bunch that looked pale. Tarragon I've been eating. Well, lithops still looks to be on death's door. But the rest are fine. On the floor (top to bottom, left to right): ice plant (before I moved it), curry plant, jade, mini geranium tree, salad burnet, chives, lithops, tarragon, cuban oregano, sweet potato vine.
On the little shelf, back to front: zebrina (wandering jew), mini geranium, and underneath the geranium's leaves are the younger succulents I've been trying to start-
the pretty one I think isn't ponytail, kalanchoe- not visible echeveria and two others I don't know the names of... . . .

12 December 2018

lemon balm start

Of all the lemon balm cuttings I kept in water jars to have fresh tea for a while- one sprouted a little root. So I stuck it in a pot. It's a bit droopy because of chill I think- have to remember to move it off the windowsill overnights. Maybe if this grew enough I could keep it as my winter tea supply, and leave it alone to regrow every summer when the outside plant is thriving.

11 December 2018

I found Albert!

The day I posted about missing that one, I did see a kuhli nose with white barbels poking out from behind the containers that hold crypt balansae and apono capuronii- it was down in the crevice between them. I thought well if the kuhli got in there, it can get out. Didn't see it again until today, I fed thawed bloodworms and again saw the kuhli nose poke up from the gap. Then Albert swam out- looking nice and plump so even if he was stuck in there a few days, suffered no harm.

spider plant repreive

I was going to get rid of this spider plant- either compost or freebie it- because I don't like how it droops out of the pot. Found the foliage got better color and stood more upright when I shifted its location again (less light) and reduced watering. Then I noticed there were nubbins of roots coming out along the stems, where they hung over the pot edge.
So I cut them shorter, tucked the stems into the soil and pinned them down with bent paper clips. I think it looks better now. Watering it very sparingly while I wait to see how it does, if those roots will grow out and take hold.

10 December 2018

winter plant ills

This notched sweet potato vine is doing pretty well in the window spot- although one leaf edge blackened from draft. The other one- still in a jar of water- continues to have pale leaves. I finally caught the culprit- saw an insect on the window and thought: oh, there's a bug. Then I noticed it scooted sideways- and I recognized that motion. I darted over there and pinned it with my fingers- a leaf hopper. I bet it's what was making a few of the coleus look poorly, too. I inspected them all close, but didn't find any more bugs among those windowsill plants.
Others at the best spot for winter light- in front of the sliding door- aren't doing so well. The ice plant is worst of all- it keeps dropping leaves. I can't see any bugs on it- and I have tried spraying it twice- so finally I just separated it from the other plants. But it doesn't get as much light now.
Curry plant had this. I think it is some kind of mites. I pinched off all the stems that had this pale, slightly withered appearance
Making the plant go from this
to this
and then sprayed it with soapy oil/water mix, and rinsed twice, and pinched it back again when I found a few more ill-looking stems. Now it's down to this- but finally looks healthy.
Geranium plant had some pale, anemic-looking leaves, I pinched it back too.
Jade looked okay, but I gave it a serious trim, because upper stems were getting overbalanced. Here's two views of its new look.
Several other plants that share this window spot got doused in soapy water too just in case, and I moved everything out of the corner and vacuumed. I hope I've stopped the bug issue- this happens every year I bring plants in from outside. But seems I've got it more under control this time around. If I loose one, it might just be the ice plant.

new rue plants!

My rue cuttings seem to have taken! New leaves are sprouting- not at the crown as I expected, but from the base.
I removed the cloches. I'm glad I took these closeup pictures, too-
because found the lower stem covered in tiny bugs. Aphids or something. Bah. Probably what made my rosemary nearby look all peaky and sad. I dipped cotton swab in soapy water and wiped the stems and underside of leaves all down. Will have to check every other day make sure problem is gone. I'm happy to have more of this plant to set outside when spring comes.