18 July 2019

shifts in the 45

So I added hornwort recently again- just because there was some available for free at fish club. I don't know if these will last- surprisingly they aren't dropping tons of needles right away, so maybe.
I got taller uplift tubes; now the tank looks tidier, I hope the flow is better with increased circulation. I noticed right away when I finished installing the new uplifts, the single black skirt tetra quit hiding behind anubias and started moving alert around the tank. Maybe he feels the difference. I also pulled off most of the rubber bands that were still on driftwood pieces, not needed as roots have taken hold. It's a small thing, but looks nicer without those white ties.
My aponogeton capuronii in the background is finally growing out a bit more. I'm kinda frustrated that all the vallisneria died out, and that the floaters I wanted- frogbit, water lettuce- also died on me in here. Maybe I will try another kind of val species, or get more aponogeton and see how they do.

betta tank cycled

The day before yesterday nitrites started to drop in here, and it finally completed cycling yesterday, I did a large water change this morning.
Relieved it's all leveled out now- I could tell right away things were improving because Ruby quit looking crashed all the time and started swimming around the tank again!
Plants are mostly looking ok-
and rotalas are starting to straighten out too
Not thrilled with how I arranged them, but I'll wait for some stuff to grow back before I move things around again.

14 July 2019

the shrimp bowl plants

The bowl has a different look. I added some buces, 
the mermaid weed is growing new foliage steadily, 
the hornwort melted away and I replaced it with greater duckweed (spirodela polyrhiza). 
I tied some flame moss onto the large pinkish rock in the middle- tightly with many small rubber bands going criss-cross. So far the shrimps- busy picking at it constantly- have not dislodged this like they did the fissidens off the mesh. So I'm eager to see if the flame moss grows out in here okay.

Ruby's condition

My betta tank is still stuck in cycle, nitrites are not dropping.
Every time I cycle a tank, this happens, it takes forever for the nitrite stage to finish. I'm feeling terrible for Ruby, but there's nothing I can do but keep up the water changes (which stalls the cycle longer, I'm sure) because I simply have no other place to put him. Any other container I'd use, wouldn't be cycled either. I've dropped in more malaysian trumpet snails from the other tanks, I brought in new nerite snails, I'm feeding them as Ruby hardly eats.
He's definitely lethargic and I'm starting to wonder if he's starting to get popeye. I have replacement sponges coming for Laddie's tank soon- I'm going to swap out one new for old, cut the old in half, drop one piece in here, the other in my QT that's also stuck in cycle. Hope that gives them a boost.

Added some pieces of rotala colorata stem someone gave me, in this corner the other day:


In spite of the bug-riddled leaves, I pulled some turnips
They sure looked nice
but were awful bitter, although I followed the cooking instructions careful. It's either the heat, or I let them grow too large, or I should have diced them smaller for more thorough cooking. Well, there's plenty more still out there in the garden bed, to try again with another meal.

13 July 2019

back to plan B

Skye spent six days in a five-gallon bucket with a tiny sponge filter, some bits of hardscape and plants pulled out of the tank and a 50 watt heater on its lowest setting- which kept the temperature at 78°. I'm sure it was stressful for him, he quit eating and went pale but at least he was alive and not killed by M Beautiful (which I really feared would happen if I left them together longer). I posted in several forums and the club online, someone came and picked him up yesterday. A guy who breeds angels as a hobby, so I feel relieved he has a good home now.

Meanwhile M Beautiful in the 45 looked washed out, and crashed into walls of the tank again, startled when I approached with the hose to clean the tank the other day. Bruised her face again. Even though I was careful not to make sudden movements. Sigh.

I transferred all the stuff from Skye's bucket into my eight gallon tote, went to LFS next town over, and the chain that's out there too (they usually have healthier-looking fish and cleaner tanks than chain store B near me). Brought home one full-grown black skirt tetra from LFS, and six small ones from the chain store. The larger tetra went straight into the angel tank, after being acclimated. I took the chance. All the fish at that place looked great- I did not see a single sick fish- and I'm worried about M Beautiful being alone and jittery. (I stopped at local chain B, too, but came home empty-handed because there were fish with obvious ich and fin rot in other tanks nearby). The tetra was lying low the first few hours after release, but sat around calmly center of tank later in the evening, and this morning when realized I was feeding- first a bit of bug bites, then some crushed cooked pea- which the angel tried and spat out- it darted around quick to grab the food, that's good to see. M Beautiful has colored up nicely again and doesn't startle as much now.
The six smaller tetras in the bin- I'm going to put them through a full week or two of quarantine- were very pale when I first introduced them- but in spite of the bin cycling a bit- I checked parameters and did a partial wc this morning- they had colored up by morning and fed eagerly today. One is still a bit pale. I started a second bin which holds five gallons, on another airline splitter off Laddie's second pump for the filter- and pulled a large piece of hardscape out of the angel tank that has only one little buce on it- in hopes of boosting the beneficial bacteria load. Going to the other decent chain store out in Tysons Corner for a few more tetras this morning. Then I hope to soon be able to introduce a whole school of ten to the angel tank, and things will be settled.

one-fish tank

My window tank looks beautiful now, without the dividing wall.
I get comments on it when people visit- admiring all the plant life. Small crypts in one corner keep loosing leaves that go pale, a few elodea stems have died off, and salvinia minima has lots of browning, dying leaves- probably because of recent changes. Mermaid weed is growing slowly- the leaves just have serrated edges, not the pretty fine toothy look as when it arrived. Oh well.
Most of the other plants are doing well- I even cut and replanted a few stems- and Laddie the paradise fish is lively and spry as ever. I still miss Perry, though. It's not the same without him. I saw a young, blue paradise fish at LFS yesterday and wished to bring him home- but didn't, because I bet Laddie would just beat him up.

Laddie owns the tank now-
from the crypt end
to the clay arch- and seems very pleased about it

betta upstairs

Ruby's tank was in the basement for over two months, all scattered plants and ignored. I did the water changes regularly, fed the plants and fish, peeked in there once in a while to make sure he was still alive. He swam around the tank looking curious about stuff like usual. The buces did really well. Other plants kind of languished, anubias started to get black spots of algae, windelov fern had some dieoff.
Spriodela polyrhiza floaters were thriving, but all the other plants floating became a jumble and grew in contorted ways- the stems turning on themselves, the echinodorus sprouting roots between the leaves. Ruby seemed to like the plant mass at surface.
Then last week I took the bulk of a morning and moved him upstairs, put the ten gallon tank on my now-empty stand where the 20H used to sit. Rinsed the old substrate four or five times, then replanted everything. Lots of the stems are all bent oddly, especially the rotalas but I hope they grow straight again soon. Will update with new photos soon as I can.

I thought the tank was doing well, I only saw a bit of ammonia on testing for the first few days, but then it went into a full cycle. Ammonia zeroed out quickly, but there's been high nitrites for a week now, it just can't seem to finish cycling. Probably doesn't help that I'm doing wc every morning- two or three gal- to save the fish from toxicity, and he's not eating well, so there's not a lot of nutrient input to make the waste to feed the bacteria. Sigh. Ruby now spends a lot of time lying on the tank floor, under plants or hidden in the skull cave. It distresses me to see that.

Unfortunately, I seem to have lost my bumblebee horned nerite snails. I took a photo of this one a week ago when the tank was still downstairs, it looked fine. I often saw one or the other crawling around so didn't worry about them. But now after the tank move, I've only found one empty nerite shell in here. I don't know what happened to them all- too much shock with change in water parameters? were they old and just succumbed to the small ammonia spike the day after the tank move? Did I accidentally bury one that was clinging to the underside of a hardscape piece? I don't know.
At the LFS next town over yesterday, I bought three new little horned nerites- one yellow and black like all the others I've had. Two are more golden brown with black stripes, and one has a neat stippling pattern that makes it look as if it has scales:

10 July 2019

angel tank changes- again

Something is happy in my angelfish tank. This anubias is flowering!
Some of the others have new shoots- I can't quite tell yet if this one is going to be a flower spathe, or just a new leaf.
Mermaid weed is rapidly shedding the old, original leaves now, and new ones growing out on the ends of the stems. They all look disappointingly smaller, though. I don't know if will grow out to similar size or stay so small.
My male angelfish Skye is moving out.
The female has been attacking him with more and more force. I've watched it several times now- he tips his chin up, showing her his belly, backing away and sliding down until he's in a corner or behind a chunk of wood out of sight. She sits in the center of the tank and swings to strike immediately if he came out, planing her body horizontal and hitting him with such force I can hear it outside the tank.
I also heard a lot of dull knocking or clicking kind of noises, I thought it was an odd sound coming from the equipment, but checked it all and found nothing amiss. Then I noticed I heard the noise when the angels where threatening each other, jerking little shakes with pelvic fins spread in a v, or darting and biting. I looked online and found other angelfish keepers have reported hearing such noises when the fish are "agitated". Well. I think it was M. Beautiful making the noise as a threat to Skye.
Since I moved Skye out of the tank. I have not heard the sound again. M. Beautiful looks kind of at a loss, sitting around, dull of color- I don't know if she actually misses him, how could she, after protesting his presence in the tank so strongly? Probably she was stressed out by the moves I made in the tank to catch Skye, although I did so carefully, using a plastic box not the net (to avoid damaging his fin extensions). I'm considering moving back to my old plan, getting dither fish again (sigh).

07 July 2019

favorite Perry photos

He was so little when I first got him! just over two years ago:
First day he flared to the mirror:
Beautiful color in his tail:
More growth:
Love the color in this photo, even though it's blurry:
Second year, his tail extensions really grew out
One day in a fish bowl for treatment:
Caught displaying to Laddie across the wall:
Always those yellow eyes were looking at me-
Until the last week, that is. Then he seemed to see nothing . . .