31 July 2018

not to be neglected

My tenner has shown some vast improvement, everything is glowing with health in there. Well, the plants are. I'm definitely continuing to use Thrive in here. I know it's cheaper to dose the dry ferts, but this is so much easier, and seems to provide something my measurements lacked. Awkward side view (there's now a shelf up against the tank's short end).
Skull cave has sprouted a java fern tongue again.
I think the buce on far right here, is about to flower!
The others are just a gorgeous blue.
Really happy with crypt becketti in here so far.
And my betta Ruby has really mellowed out. He doesn't chase his reflection all over any more, he seems to notice when I approach the tank, and if he sees he's getting fed or tastes something extra-yummy, he pedals his pectoral fins double-speed, it's cute.
I like the spangles of lighter blue scales across his back.
He seems to suffer very quickly from cloudy eye if I slack just one day on tank maintenance, though. And I wonder if he has a problem with his mouth? The crease between the lips and the face, it always looks a bit inflamed. I never see him stretch his mouth out, and sometimes he seems to have trouble grabbing his micro betta bites. I don't know if he has some deformity, injury or infection there?
Whatever he misses, the shrimps grab. He shares space with nine shrimp now- the four malayas plus five amanos from the dismantled 38.
I don't think it's too many- in fact maybe the plants are happier with lots of little shrimp poops fertilizer. But those bigger amanos are bold! Once the betta missed a bite of flake and followed it down to the substrate level- where a large amano jumped at him (and hogged the flake). I don't know if it nipped with its little pincer hands or not, but poor Ruby darted away to the top level of the tank.
My malayas are bolder now, too, in the company of the amanos. I'm surprised to see that my older amanos have grown larger than the malayas. Who come out readily now when food is given, not hiding in the plants until dark. I don't know if I'll keep these shrimps in here... maybe when the 20H with tetras has stabilized, I'll transfer them back. I don't want Ruby stressed about the shrimps, and maybe retaliating. He seems chill now, but might suddenly go on a shrimp rampage. I plugged my stocking list into AqAdvisor and while the numbers are fine, I got screaming red warnings about the shrimps! and the nerite snails! being poor choices to live with a betta that require more research. So I'll probably move them back soon. I like my shrimps. I'd hate for them to all get eaten (which they would, living with angels or paradise fish!).

30 July 2018

33 progress

Things are still murky. Nitrites climbed even higher- so it's coming along!
Dismaying to see that the plants are going through shock, though. Crypts are melting- especially my lutea and undulata.  Bolbitis ferns look awful, and vals are melting, too. But I am hopeful- quite a few have bright new green peeking out at their base-
There's new leaves sprouting in the center of the crypt becketti
New leaf in the center of crypt cordata- which looks particularly unhappy today-
and quite a few of the anubias nana petite also unfolded a few new leaves- so I hope most will recover
of all things, the ludwigia doesn't seem to mind the changes at all- seems fine as far as I can tell
I added a new plant! Bought it when I got my female paradise fish. Crinum, commonly called 'onion plant'. I've wanted one for a long time.
I put it in the foreground, with crypt cordata on one side-
and aponogeton capuronii to the rear on the other. I hope it has enough room. I know it won't be able to get tall in this tank, but I hope it goes sprawling out tangling through everything!
Last two pics I took from sitting on the couch. Left end of the tank- you can see the remnants of hornwort on the top- it shed needles like crazy and is now just a bunch of threading stems with a few plumes on the ends. Crossing fingers that recovers well, too.
right side corner- vals all going pale and transparent with melt, sigh.
One thing sure is happy in here- the ramshorn snails are feasting on mess of fish food I've used to cycle the tank. I will have a population explosion, and then Perry and his gal will have a feast (I found lots of empty shells in the 20H, so I figure Perry ate all the ones I introduced to his tank before).

new lady fish

Here is my paradise female.
Difficult to get a photos, as the tank is unlighted, in a dim room, but I tried anyway.  First few just a blur:
She spent most of the first day going round and round the perimeter of the tank, exploring all the boundaries I guess. Is now inquisitive and will cautiously come up to eye me through the glass.
I can tell right away she is much stouter in body than Perry, and more speckled than striped, and duller in color.
Charming in her own way, I think.
I thought she looked perfectly healthy in the store, but when I got her home, alarmed to see a white mark on her head- not fuzzy like fungus so I think it got bumped when the employee rather abruptly dumped her from the specimen container into the shipping bag. I hope she just grazed her scales- it does seem to be improving already on this second day.
I don't know if it is worrisome that the side of her head looks a bit reddish- I can't quite tell if this is part of her natural coloration or not. I didn't notice it until looking at the photos.
She ate flake on the second day I had her home, and then I gave her some mosquito wigglers. That made her colors intensify! She went about hunting them in the leaf litter, much more methodically than Perry ever does. Later I was using celery for dinner, so blanched a few leaves and minced them fine. Perry at his, the serpae tetras squabbled over theirs. I offer a few bits to the new female. She cautiously tried it, kept spitting out. I bet the flavor is new.

I should not get too fond of her already. The likelihood that my two paradise fish will just fight (or that Perry will harrass the female) is high- although the fact that she did not seem aggressive to other fishes in the shop tank makes me hopeful it will work out. Also having a tank with much larger footprint that they will both be introduced to at the same time. I really would like to find a second female- the chances of it working out are much better with a trio than just a pair- so Perry can divide his attentions- but this is the first I'd ever seen a female in person- so I doubt I'll come across another anytime soon.

Also, I also know she's already two or three years old. Some sites say the best to hope for a paradise fish is three years (I've never got past that with any of my bettas). Others cite five years as average, and eight with good care...

Oh, and she likes the clay pottery cave. She creeps into it, rests for a while, slides out again. So I'm probably going to move it into the home tank with her, it will be her own space.

28 July 2018

plants on tanks

I put some sweet potato vine cuttings on the new window tank. It's in second stage of cycle- I have zero ammonia, and nitrite spiking. Food I've been dropping in growing mold or fungus- ugh, I hate that part. But it's progressing, and the snails are chowing down. I had wondered if all the ramshorns I previously put in Perry's tank just hid? or did poorly with conditions. But when I cleaned out the tank to turn it over to serpaes, found plenty of empty ramshorn shells. And now the newly-introduced ramshorns are crawling around steadily with the trumpet snails. So I guess Perry did eat the rams.
He's getting a daily gallon water change on the bin, because I took out his pothos and moved it onto the 45 downstairs (it will do well in the very low light of that hallway). The roots are very long. I managed to work them back through the holes of plastic support strip without breaking many (had to reposition a few).
I also swapped lights- took the kit hood and light off the 45, and put on it LED and glass lid that used to be on the 38. And I took all the plastic plants out, and some bags of media, to make a QT setup. And I took the hornwort out, gave it to the serpae tetra 20H, moved frobits in. Rearranged a few plants, too- and of course the sticks always get shifted around a bit when I do a cleaning. Before:
After. I replenished some leaf litter, too.
With the new light- probably too bright now. Experimenting with plastic layers to see what will get the light level back to where I had it- don't know if I can match that close enough.
However I have a few more plants in here (so much for making this a driftwood/leaf litter only tank). I moved in the buces on dragon stone. Green 'wavy' in the background
and brownie ghost piece in the fore.
My other buces are still doing pretty well, in here.
I am moving my entire kuhli loach gang into this tank now. They certainly can't live with Perry, and I don't want to overcrowd the 20H (although tetras look very happy now they're starting to settle in). Today I introduced to the 45 my three newer black kuhlis, and the striped ones Albert and Tiger. Have a trap set for Sassy and Monty in the 20H- nearly all day has gone by and just now Sassy is starting to creep near the trap. He must be hungry.

27 July 2018


My garden is a soggy mess. Flower stalks have fallen over- especially the borage. Potato foliage appears to be dying of virus or some kind of bacterial wilt, ugh. On the other hand, carrots and lemon balm look fantastic. The sink bin provided a ton of mosquito wigglers for my fishes. And I pulled a few young beets.
The greens looked so good, I tried sauteeing them with garlic and cooking into a pasta dish in lieu of swiss chard. Flavor was not quite right. I ought to look up a recipe next time.
The beetroots themselves, simply boiled, tasted very nice! Golden beets were new for me this year.

26 July 2018

fishes every way

I moved everybody out of the buckets this morning (Perry is still in the bin). They continued to look very pale, stressed, the snails and kuhlis were trying to crawl out, and I thought it was a very bad location for them- near a door, so lots of foot traffic around (closest available plug for the spare air pump). The 20H as-is wasn't cycled yet- small reading of ammonia (0.25) zero nitrite, I didn't test for nitrates as I did a 50% wc earlier in the morning to clear out some of the silt. But I thought: hey, if the buckets are continually reading zero on ammonia/nitrate having those chunks of media in there is working- if I move all that into the tank, surely it will stay relatively stable.

So I did. The fishes started to color up as soon as I had them floating in the tank- they saw the plants down there and immediately wanted out. It makes me chuckle. They sure are spunky. Tank looks awful ugly now- two large panels of sponge media propped behind the overlarge filter (it's a bit crowded on stocking now), three mesh bags full of sintered glass bio-media, and two more with the ceramic rings. It's all in there, tucked between plants. And the fish look fine as can be. Funny, they swim with a tilt again, as if re-orientating themselves to the walls. It's odd to see them back in here again, the tank where my keeping of serpaes began.

I did not mean to introduce any of the smaller critters with them; I was going to put all the shrimps in Ruby's tank, and the striped kuhlis downstairs in the 45, along with the zebra nerite snails. But I only found two snails when I had the buckets empty- one must have been clinging to a piece of media and I didn't see it. I accidentally transferred two of the shrimps- I saw them leap off into the tank when I moved a media piece over, and I was kinda surprised when I emptied the leaf litter and only found two kuhli loaches in the bucket. I have Tiger and Albert (who looked ghostly pale)- I acclimated them to join the three black kuhlis in quarantine, where I can keep a closer eye on them for a few days.

I can only think of three things: either my other two kuhlis jumped out (but I see no sign of them on the floor), or died of stress and the shrimps ate them, or they had wriggled their way into one of the bags of media, and got moved into the 20H. A sudden, abrupt entry. The tank is draped in dark cloth, but I keep glancing in there, and I did see Sassy creeping around. I hope Monty made it safe too. I don't want to leave them in there long term- but I will be patient and bait a trap this time, not stress them out with a net again.

25 July 2018

33 long for paradise

my newest tank:
Already I am loving this tank, and can't wait to put the fish in, see how he reacts to his new home (and, hopefully, to his new companion). But of course, it has to cycle first. Very murky the day of planting:
Next morning:
It's really hard to get a good photo of.
Putting a backdrop on doesn't help much, if outside light is still bouncing off framed photos and thru windows across the room.
Had to wait for after dark, but then the camera can't pick up all the light- right side I had a lamp on it. Will have to use two next time.
Anyhow, you can see the two featured plants are my crypt cordata-
and the aponogeton balansae (pictured in the haze)-
Not too original, I used similar arrangement as the prior 20H, planting vallisneria on both short ends of the tank. On the filter end there's crypt undulata, and on the other side a few crypt lutea mixed in.
I planted most of my ludwigia repens var arcuata in the background, but kept a few stems in reserve in the 20H (heated).
I also have in here java fern windelov, bolbitis fern, anubias nana 'petite', crypt becketti petchii, several small buces, and hornwort floaters. Oh, and there's more plants to add, still in the bin with Perry- several bolbitis, more windelov fern, subwassertang,
and of course, all the sweet potato and pothos (roots).