Tank is a good two months old now (well, since setup after the move). I had a setback in august when I was gone on vacation for two weeks. Leaving the fish alone and unfed is fine, but I didn't know how to leave a planted tank which gets dosed with nutrients weekly, and mine always suffers at any deficiency. I finally decided to bump up
the light period, because my worst fear was that the otocinclus would starve- if the trumpet snails being hungry without food to scavenge became competitors for algae. I put the photoperiod at ten hours. Came back and to my surprise it's doing relatively fine. (Gradually cut the hours back, now it's at 7.5 hrs). The broad anubias leaves do have more black marks, but newest leaf seem unaffected and I hope to get it looking good again soon.
I cleaned the inside of the glass, makes for much better pictures. Plenty of biofilm left on the back wall, lower edges and all the plant surfaces and decor items for the otos. I figure if they didn't eat it sparkling clean in the few weeks I was gone, they're not going to deplete their sources and starve anytime soon.
Here's how my tenner looked early Sept:
I took out a plastic plant. It was getting ugly with black stuff on it- algae I thought, but it was very hard to get off. I soaked it in a bleach solution to kill whatever it was and rubbed and scraped but still didn't come all the way clean and I broke off some of the plastic leaves. Didn't know they were so brittle. Water wisteria is in its place.
As for the other newer plants in here, rotala indica stem is doing absolutely nothing (but at least it's still alive) and cyperus helferi the outer leaves are rotting but inner leaves still green.
I like the short end view.
The day I put duckweed in my tank. Not intentionally at first. I brought home from the pet store two new nerites and another cherry barb for my other tank, and one more oto for the tenner. This one looked alert the entire time it was being transported and acclimated, and colored up right away once in the tank, not pale with stress.
It did look a bit thin to me, but I saw it feeding on surfaces and pooping already. The others have been with me nearly two months now so perhaps finally I will have some success keeping otos.
And in the bag with the fish I had a surprise freebie- this tiny green floating plant
I know a lot of people don't want this plant (just like they don't want malaysian trumpet snails). It's invasive. It multiplies like crazy. It looks cute, but I've heard it is awfully hard to get rid of. Well, I've been warned and I'm trying it anyways. I took a chance when I found it, and let it float in my tank. I'm not worried about it clogging filter intakes because my sponge filter sits on the bottom- so the only annoyance would be it clinging to my own hands, tools I put in the tank, etc. I don't think it will be too much trouble to just scoop some out each week to keep it in check, plus I want shade for my anubias. Looking close, I see that the lower anubias leaves which are shaded by upper ones, don't have the algae marks. Some leaves are half clean and half blotched with algae, a dividing line exactly
where the light hits. So I'd been thinking about getting some floaters- azolla caroliniana or frogbit or well, duckweed. If the mild current in Oliver's tank keeps it more or less on one side, maybe I could get it to stay over the spot where the anubias grows...
Oliver keeps grabbing the little plant and spitting it out again, to see if its edible I guess. If it survives that and this one tiny bit turns into numerous plants, hey that would be impressive.
Third day in and the new oto still looks alert and active. But pale, compared next to the others.
One of the older ones, resting upside-down on a driftwood twig!
It follows reason that if there is an imbalance with the nutrients in my fish tank, that the water I take out and give to houseplants will have the same imbalance. I noticed recently that the anubias lanceolata has pale leaves with darker veins, and it looked like the java fern was starting to develop that, too. So I dosed magnesium in that tank again.
And now just a few days after doing water changes and watering houseplants with the tank wastewater (as usual) the younger, lower leaves on my avocado plant show similar symptoms:
Older leaves aren't as affected. Maybe I should be dosing the magnesium once a month, or once every other month.
Late Sept tank shot. I trimmed off some roots on the side of the biggest anubias barteri that were getting all messy-looking. It's gripping very solid on the driftwood, has some thick roots that have gone down conforming tight to the wood all the way. Read that these hairy, thinner side roots aren't really essential to the plant.
Cyperus helferi isn't looking so good. I trimmed a lot of dying material out. Put a few handfuls more of gravel around this one and the wisteria, and gave them each a piece of root tab.
Still have the bit of duckweed, but it hasn't multiplied yet.
I made a new lid for my aquarium, out of clear panels of lexan (polycarbonate) that I got cut to fit at the hardware store. Even though it's not perfect (the cut was not right so I cut again at home with fine-tooth saw and tried to get it smooth with sandpaper but it has scratches on the edge now) I'm pretty happy with it. I followed examples found here
. Basically it's two panes (most people use glass) that fit into this plastic piece meant to edge tile. One sits in the channel, the other rests on top, and to open you just slide one back. The op recommended having the bottom pane slide to open but after a few weeks of using this I found I prefer to slide the top pane, from the front. It sticks less.
My only issue is that contrary to what I read online, the lexan does
start to sag in the middle. So I cut a piece of wire from a coat hanger for a center brace, and flip the panes each week to re-correct. I'm using a lot of coat hangers. I hate wire coat hangers for clothes, so those left around the house I've been cutting up for this brace. Three pieces out of each hanger. Every few weeks I replace it because it starts to rust a little on the ends. Someday I'll find something else to use.
I was going to glue a handle on, then thought of drilling a hole just big enough to put a finger into (or drop food through) but in the end I just left it as-is. It's easy to slide open with a push of fingernail, and nudge close from the other side. I like this a lot better than the hinged lid because I don't have to hold the lid open with one hand while I'm doing something. Also, I colored the top side of the plastic edging black, for appearances. I simply used a permanent marker. Not on the side that comes in contact with condensation- just in case it could get something toxic in the water.
Also since it's not glass, will probably cut out a little more light.