30 April 2020

coleus out

The weather forecast looks good- no more dips below forty at least- so a few days ago when it was overcast and due to rain, I planted out a lot of coleus across the front yard bed. Select few went into pots for my deck. Just for fun, I planted the pots half with deeply-colored coleus and half with paler ones of the same type. To see which intensity of coloration they shift to when adjusted to their final space for the summer.
Some of the 'exhibition limelight' and 'rodeo drive' I still have in their first pots- haven't decided yet whether to put these in larger containers as well, or plant out in the landscape (which hasn't worked so well in the past, but maybe if I put them closer to the garden, I can keep a closer eye on them).


Most of my latest set of seedlings are up. What didn't sprout yet: one basil tray, the sunberry, and the peppers. I did some reading- my pepper seeds might be too old after all. They usually only last two to five years, twenty is really good if kept in perfect conditions. Which means perfectly dry. You're supposed to let the container come to room temperature before opening it, because sudden influx of warm air the seeds get humidity and don't keep. I have probably many times opened a seed storage box out of my fridge without letting it sit first. And most of my pepper packets are more than two years old.

I was out cleaning up some of the back perennial bed yesterday. Trimming down the old liriope foliage, it had lots of rusty looking spots with paler edges. I had thrown everything into the compost pile (also trimmed out older cold-damaged leaves from base of hellebores) and then looked up info about it. Could be anthracnose. A soil-dwelling fungal disease. Which probably won't be killed in my compost pile. So I went back out this morning to pull all that material off top of the compost pile and throw in the trash.

Also saw lots of damage on my echinacea plants- holes everywhere. Some of the leaves completely skeletonized. Rudbeckia too. I thought slugs at first, but found little black spiky caterpillars. At first I guessed the larvae of leopard moth (that would be cool to see again!) but more looked it up, they're probably silver checkerspot butterflies. Which yes, tend to eat echinacea but don't grow very large before they pupate (an inch). I left them all alone. My echinacea patch sure is thick enough, I don't mind loosing some of the plants there will always be more at this point.

29 April 2020

creeping charlies

Potted up the cuttings I had in a jar on top of my bookcase. I'd forgotten to change the water often, so some of the stems had rotted and got tossed.
It's doing much better than its parent- still here on my desk corner- where it probably gets too much light.
But up on the bookcase I can't see the newly-potted charlie well, so I moved it to a shorter bookshelf between two windows
Here's the one that's been by sliding glass door in our living room. Still yellowish. I moved it further back into the room, to sit on the tv furniture.
And here's the remnants of the original pot, recovering nicely now.
Creeping charlie all over the house! Yet another sprig stuck in water to root (from the jar I just potted up, this one had no roots left when I trimmed off rotten stem), and there's a small pot of newly rooted cuttings in my kid's room too.

shrimp feed

Gave my shrimps each a flake.
This one perched in the bolbitis fern eating its share for quite a while.

28 April 2020

yellowish mushrooms

More and more mushrooms coming up in the empty bed next to the stump and pink turtlehead spot. I suppose that stump is breaking down now, the roots underground.
Looks like I missed a piece of sensitive fern, too.
It's the bed I was planning for a variety of peppers, if the seeds ever grow!

27 April 2020

what came up

First seedlings to appear since my latest sowing. Cosmos and Zinnias.
One more african violet baby!
I now have little violets from the leaf cuttings of 'Royal Rage', 'Crackerjack Red', 'Frosted Brandy' and two 'Bob Serbin'.

45 bit of changes

It started with a removal, and a desire to do something to my angelfish tank, so I'd feel more motivated to care for it. I've gone lax with water changes- for a while they were happening about once every ten or twelve days (instread of the usual seven), then two weeks went by and BSA started to show up on glass and anubias leaves, and I felt guilty. Did a larger water change and rinsed one of the filter sponges. I hadn't tested nitrates before working on the tank but the day after they were below 20ppm, so that looks good.

Pulled out one of the fake plants. Snails have been scraping them- probably to eat the algae but also removing part of the surface and then little bits of white float around the aquarium (I think that's what they're from).
Took that one out so I could see better the crypt balansae.
Then on a whim I pegged down a bunch of hornwort stems again. Usually have to thin out the hornwort weekly, it had gotten quite thick on top and was starting to block the light. This time instead of tossing the trimmings, I tied a bunch of stems to pebbles and glass beads, and filled in the tank with vertical lines of green needles again. So they're still in there taking up nutrients.
It looks nice and jungly now, and the tetras are loving it- darting excitedly all over the place. But my angel has suddenly taken to hiding- behind the filter uplift tube and stand of vallisneria rubra.
I saw a few days prior that one of her pelvic fins had broken, and then it fell off at the break, and now it's split. She came out from the corner to eat when the tank lights were off- her right pelvic is the broken one
split visible
Doing another wc soon, to get back on the weekly schedule. Hoping with clean water she will heal and the fin grow back? Not sure how it happened, or if it's also part of the reason she's been hiding the past few days. I wonder if something scared her and she crashed into a wall again, though I haven't seen that occur in a long time now.

25 April 2020

bolbitis for the bowl

My one-and-a-half gallon planted shrimp bowl is still in the bedroom. Some plants didn't make it through winter- java fern died and the little sprigs of rotala look pathetic. Elodea even worse. I pulled them out. Instead, put in some bolbitis tied onto bits of wood and stone, from my window tank (where it was ready for a trim!)
Bolbitis does fine in my kid's unheated snail bowl in the other room, so I figured would do okay in here, too.
Still have a few stems of mermaid weed- they don't look great, but don't look terrible either.
Anubias has been very happy in here. It's grown so much I need to shift the rock stack/ shrimp cave over,
as some of the anubias leaves press against the glass-
Buce is really happy too (photo not at the best angle though). I ought to try a few more buce in here.
Ramshorn snails have started multiplying-
There's some very tiny ones-
And I still have four amano shrimp- although they scurried around with such excitement when I added something new- the bolbitis- that I could hardly get a picture.
I really thought the rotalas and elodea would grow tall and the subwassertang fill in spaces with green fluff. I think the rotalas and java fern suffered because of low nutrients, but I wonder if the subwassertang and elodea got picked apart by the shrimps? Thinking to try a few of the small crypts in here, see how they do.


My tenner with the guppies is one of the nicer-looking tanks now. Lush with green. All the plants -except windelov fern maybe- seem happy with just fish waste in here- I haven't dosed ferts in months. Probably if I went back to keeping a single betta, would have to dose again.
All the young males have their blue color now, though some are still not fullsize. Turns out a few were females, so to avoid more breeding I moved those into the window tank.
The two moms are still in the 20H alone now. Haven't seen any babies for quite some time. I would tear this tank down, except I keep hoping to someday soon get more white clouds for the window tank, so I wanted to keep this one cycled meanwhile.
Might be a long while yet, though.

24 April 2020

the window tank

Laddie is still here, but not very active. I still can't figure if he's sick, generally unhealthy, bored or just lazy. He only really perks up when he finds a snail or I drop in a few guppy fry (but haven't had any for a while). He seems to have trouble now eating harder foods- the NLS pellets or bug bites- goes easily for flake and betta pellets though. Sometimes still just eyes the food and lets it fall. I don't see any other symptoms other then the continued lethargy- no sign of worms, no fungus or torn fins or red streaks . . .
Other fishes are active and spunky. Three white clouds always chasing each other- still one fat female and two sparring males but never any fry. Three female guppies in here now too (from the tenner). Would like to get more white clouds, but not eager to go to the store.
Crypt moehlmanii has more new leaves-
other crypts doing fine-
Bolbitis fern a nice thicket (if fry hid, it'd be here)
Only a few vallisneria left, away from the edge of the tank, where they get more light probably
This rock has no moss. It all died. Now it just has algae. Why does my moss always die.
This is sad, too- the remnants of what was once one of my 'mother' crypts.  They have just been barely hanging on in the angelfish tank. Figured it was time to move one or it would die altogether. The small green leaf in center is what grew as it started adjusting in here.
Still quite a few parrot's feather near the rear of the tank- very fine thin leaves-  not very visible to the camera among the crypt undulata.
Above tank the parrot's feather is growing back now there's more sun. I did have to swipe off some aphids again.