31 May 2019

oh, Perry

what happened? This morning he looks paler and more pinched than usual, and has a dent, a dark vertical mark on his body- just below the dorsal fin.
And the bottom edge of the wall is pushed in towards Laddie's side.
I think Perry was trying to force his way under the wall at night, and injured himself. He got a small tear in one pectoral fin last week, and broke his upper caudal filament weeks before- I wonder if this is all the same thing- him trying to break through the wall and fight to get it all back. SIGH.

I am dosing the tank with metro and praziquantel- starting tomorrow- had to buy a new packet of meds. Just because Perry continues to have poor appetite yet looks plump, and occasionally flicks against things still. It's either one of two things: Perry is miserable from stress over his tank neighbor, or that stress had lowered his immune system so he fell sick to parasites while Laddie didn't. I don't know.

I am looking around this weekend to find something I can use for a solid wall between them. It doesn't have to allow water flow, as I have a sponge filter on each end.

45 improved

I think things are finally taking a turn for the better, in my angelfish tank. Today during maintenance I made two new airline rings- so I could separate out the larger of the water lettuce. I discarded a bunch of tiny ones and others that looked unhealthy. They're in three groups now.
After a week of letting the hydrocotyle settle, I clipped off all the leaves that were still bent oddly, making it an untidy clump (from how it had been bundled up in transit). Now it's in more pieces, but they lie relatively flat leaves floating and stolons just under the surface. And it's more spread out.
The angels seem to find this sheltering, along with the height of the elodea (which is growing!) and new mermaid weed- although they still have a way to go before getting near the surface! Lately the fish don't startle as easily, and haven't once lost their color- they get a pit pale sometimes but never loose the stripes. When frightened, they tend to swing away and cruise behind something,
then circle back and eye me again. It is much better!
I have not yet trimmed the mermaid weed- they're sprouting roots along the stem but lower parts haven't melted so far and tops remain relatively green. I'm hopeful the conditions are okay for it in here. I lifted the shorter one higher by putting its small wood anchor on the other driftwood piece, wedged behind an anubias. I also removed the windowscreen piece that was dimming my light- assuming the pennywort (hydrocotyle) might need brighter light, and will shade everything as it spreads across the surface.
I did a lot of work in the tank today- in addition to what I've already mentioned and the usual water change, cleared out a few dead leaves, lifted a filter sponge to rinse, and last of all wiped down inside of the front glass which had some algae. First time I ever did so in this tank, and the angels dashed away at that motion, bashed their faces into corners again. They both have bruises on the face now, I am cringing. But I hope this happens less and less, especially as the new plants fill in and multiply.

Female has for weeks now shown this redness where her pectorals meet the body- I was afraid at first of septicemia, but I gather she would be dead by now if that were it. I don't know if it's injuries from running into the walls, or fighting. They both have some scraped scales from fighting recently. I saw the female actually grab the male's ventral and tug on it! She shakes threateningly at him a lot. I get the impression she wants to spawn again and he's not really interested.
But overall it is better. They look calmer, and appear friendlier, and positively wag their whole bodies begging for attention if I'm nearby in the kitchen and haven't fed them yet for the morning.

in the shrimp bowl

My shrimp bowl looks a bit plainer. The sponge piece kept drifting around, sometimes sinking, and I'd rather not see it much- so I tied it with a short piece of monofilament line to a suction cup, now it stays near the filter uplift- reducing splash out onto the tabletop,
and mostly hidden from the front by the hornwort floaters.
Some of the mermaid weed started decaying, other parts of the stem sent out roots from the nodes. I cut it in half, discarded the rotting parts, and tucked the healthy pieces back into corners. Temporarily shorter now. Shrimps are thriving! I feed them once or twice a week- a bit of green (blanched lettuce, celery leaf or pea) or powder swiped off the inside wall of the fish flake can. That's it. I'm very pleased this little bowl seems to do fine with all seven shrimps, it's remained cycled and has no issues so far.
I had to replant a few of the rotala stems- the shrimps tend to pull them up if they're really going for some food bit they smell that fell down there. They're as persistent as squirrels!

30 May 2019

upcoming fruit and veg-

I have tomatoes forming!
and peppers- poblano-
and the 'sweet healthy' one-
the plants aren't very large yet, but they look content
Yellow pea pods, too. Maybe they are ready to pick!

cut to dry

Harvested a few herbs today- some because they were done for the season, others to get ahead of the insects while the plant has plenty of healthy growth for me. I noticed the epazote was making strong scent, and saw on one flowers forming as little buds at the leaf nodes. So I cut them to the ground, and hung the bunches to dry. That's it for epazote this time, but it's probably enough to last me for several years of cooking beans, since I only need two or three leaves per batch! I hung it in the basement window, where it's cooler- and also because I can't stand the pungent smell when it's first cut. Probably this cooler spot is better for drying herbs, anyway. I should put them all down here.
I cut some of the stevia- it had tiny leaf hoppers making some of the leaves curl- there's also a spider in residence so I'm not too worried. Poor photo against the light.
Another bunch of sage- this to get ahead of the leaf hoppers and mealy bugs that are starting to mar the leaves.
I made space for the newly cut herbs by putting some earlier dried ones into jars- summer savory, chocolate mint and another handful of epazote (the parsley and dill aren't ready to store yet).

Also cut some lemon balm. I threw out most of last year's frozen leaves, they were getting freezer burn by now. From the cut stems, picked just the largest leaves to freeze for winter use, then put the stems with remaining smaller leaves in a jar of water, to keep it fresh for a few days while I use them up for tea.

swollen nodes?

Where my paradise fish Laddie had fungus on his fin, the fuzz is all gone now and it's starting to grow back. But I'm concerned because there's small lumps or swollen spots on his fin rays, largest right where the fungus was. Looking close I think there are also lumps where the fin joins the body. I'm not sure how to treat this- thinking of isolating him in a small QT and dosing anti-fungal meds, but could well be something else and the fungus was secondary. He is still spry, alert, eager for food- whereas Perry next door looks mororse or ill. (Separation would also let me see if Perry's behavior changes without a competitor next door). Here's photo of Laddie's bad fin:
Good one for comparison-
I'm asking advice on the forum . . .


I haven't seen the catbirds in a few days- I distinctly miss their presence hopping along the fence or flitting in the nearby trees. I am feeling guilty that maybe I disturbed their nesting site- they seemed fine with my nearness working in the garden, but probably when I peered into the bush it was too much. After realizing they were gone, I went ahead and trimmed the top of that euonymus, where new growth was sticking up awkwardly. No birds flew out in alarm. So I peered into the nest from above- three blue eggs. No parent. It's just as likely they met with some accident, but still, I feel bad.

29 May 2019

nest and fossil

When I peeked in the shrub to see the catbird's nest, I found this smaller one on the ground below- I think it's from last year- but not sure what bird made it. It's a tidy little bowl shape, woven of dry grasses, hair and thin plastic strands. I think it's from same bird species what made the nest I found several years ago
I put it next to the other one on my shelf- and just for fun (since the egg that was in there has crumbled) I set inside them two pieces of a fossil
It was given to me by the friend I swapped plants with recently- the impression and positive of a tiny fern frond
300 million years old, from Mazon Creek in Illinois. My husband says this is a famous place for fossils.
Not something from my garden, or even something I found myself, but it's something from nature that I'm displaying with an item from my garden- so I thought to put here. When the two halves are fitted together, it is just a rounded stone:

28 May 2019

the newer tank ones

One buce in the angelfish tank came loose from its hold- I stuck it in the shrimp bowl, wedged the roots between sponge and a rock-
Mermaid weed in the angel tank is starting to look more upright-
the bits of it I planted in the window tank are still alive- there's one in the background here- can just see the tothy leaf margin under the crypts in the center-
two others are behind the rock on Laddie's side- they're rather yellowish but a day after this photo, starting to show some new tender green on the tops so I hope they adjust and grow


I finally moved up a few more plants that were getting crowded in their original pots. My bay laurel:
It's already growing new leaves
I really like their reddish hues (its way of protecting tender young leaves from strength of the sun)
Also my madagascar palm-
I wasn't sure if I was doing right by this one so far- with the watering schedule and light exposure- but it has new young leaves in the crown of thorns, so I take that as a positive sign!
and last of all, the 'wild' coleus (if that's what it really is)

maple seedlings

I don't have a lot of weeds in the garden and yard, but I do have a ton of maple seedlings this year- the trees were prolific!
I've been pulling them out of all the usual places- cracks in the deck, between paving stones, garden plots, the lawn- and found a few growing in a rotting piece of the old cherry tree we took down years ago.
There's one in the center of this cherry log piece, too.
I didn't pull those up, I'm amused to let them grow for now- there seems something appropriate about letting a young tree grow in the remnants of an old one.

27 May 2019

yard plants-

Just some photos of things growing in the yard. All the plump, oblong buds my camellia had this spring, turned into a flush of bright new leaves. I have a fall-blooming one.
Milkweed is setting buds-
Can't wait to see black-and-blue salvia bloom this year!
Bright edges of liriope glows against the duller mulch and darker hellebore behind it
Feathery flower buds of astilbe-
Several of the astilbe are nearly hidden among the monarda and echinacea-
Rhubarb is in that thicket, too-
Rudbeckia came up very lush-
Mostly echinacea in this photo- hellebore on the left, fern in the back against the tree
Rudbeckia in front, echinacea behind, monarda in the background- it's a wall of plants!
Red-striped rumex with liriope, hellebores, echinacea and rhubarb
Purplish-red flowers on the new salvia-
Here's a full shot of the rear perennial bed, I thought it would be nice to compare to similar one from last year or the year before (but haven't located the older photo yet).