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post #31 of 269 (permalink) Old 04-02-2016, 01:32 PM Thread Starter
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My tenner looks so different with the snip of just one stem.

Cut the tallest ludwigia stem to match height of the others, and now suddenly that bunch has a nice shape. I can't keep wisteria from spreading out of its corner and blocking light/view of the rotala indica, so I moved it behind the driftwood log. The potted wendtii switched places with it, but that's not a permanent thing. I don't think I want to actually plant that crypt in here, it would get too large for this tank. Thinking what to put in that corner instead... I've taken out all the subwasser that was on wood pieces, it didn't look good. Moved the clump on a stone to central spot, and repositioned the individual rotala rotundifolia stems into that right front corner.

For the first time, duckweed is something of a pain. It got thick enough that was piling up on itself, and I think some of it was starting to die from that- I found tons of fine, thin white hairlike bits floating all around the tank. Looks like this is detached duckweed roots? (I guessed before that it was decaying tissue from where I trimmed an anubias petiole, but now I think I was wrong about that). As my usual routine, I scoop out most of the duckweed with the first two gallons of a water change, to get it out of the way. This time instead of replacing most of it, I just put a few handfuls back in. Nice and scattered once more.

I want to put a different floater in here- I've read that giant duckweed is more easily managed, and I'd like the appearance of it on the surface to be a bit more pronounced- visually- but not as much dangling as say, water lettuce seems to do. But I'm confused as to the difference between giant duckweed and salvinia minima- which has little toothed hairs on the leaves- some people seem to use their names interchangeably or call what I think is salvinia a duckweed? Need to be sure I get the plant I'm really thinking of...


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post #32 of 269 (permalink) Old 04-24-2016, 04:03 AM Thread Starter
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My tenner continues to do much better than the main tank. This morning I even saw a range of bubbles scattered across the surface in one corner. The only thing I can think of is that Oliver might finally be building a bubble nest!

There's a lot of duckweed now. It makes a strong green cast to everything.

I pull out half of it every week now- and it grows back just as quickly. In spite of this, I'm still glad I have this plant. Maybe it's the reason this tank stays algae-free for me!

Discards piled up in the cup:

The smaller java ferns now cling on their own to the fake skull, I've removed all the rubber bands except one.

I like the subwassertang on a rock, but I keep moving it around because I can't figure out a spot where it looks nice.

I can't understand why the buces do so nicely in here, compared to those in my thirty-eight. They're like little plant jewels. Maybe it's a matter of light intensity...

The newer leaves on buce 'selena' are getting bigger and bigger!

I like the look of wisteria in its new spot behind the anubias log, but it needs time to recover and bush out.

Funny thing happened with my smaller windelov fern bunch (not a good picture of it). I started taking the old rubber bands off- one half of the rhizomes were obviously clinging on their own. But when I lifted the other rubber band, the other part of the plant came up with it. Somehow the rhizome had run over and along the rubber band, was clinging to that instead of the rock! I'll have to wait for it to grow out enough to grab the rock surface on either side of the rubber band, so I can cut the ends off. Or fasten it down with a new one...

Ludwigia I am not sure about in here, anymore. The lower leaves die at a pretty fast rate, it seems every other day I'm finding orangish leaves floating loose. So it ends up with naked, dark stems the lower half. Which would be okay if I kept it trimmed back to promote side shoots, or had something in front to hide the stems. But it also still has kind of warped leaves, and the bacopa behind it looks so much more attractive. Maybe I will scrap it and just keep bacopa and rotalas in here.

Also starting to think I might take out the big anubias, and plant buces all across the top of the driftwood. It would fit more with the scale in here. I'm only loathe to do so because I like large foliage, and this individual plant I've had the longest (over two years). And because Oliver seems to really enjoy the plant lately- he drifts slowly under its leaves as if hoping to ambush someone, and rests on top of them sometimes, too.

Most of all I'm glad here to see the fissidens taking off. It's a reputedly a slow grower, but I've been able to see the difference week by week, and that's satisfying. Here's some on the top edge of an elbow of driftwood-


For the first time I've trimmed it and refastened a bit on another part of the wood.
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post #33 of 269 (permalink) Old 05-22-2016, 09:20 PM Thread Starter
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I don't have any pics this time around, but there are some changes. A little while back I took out all the duckweed and replaced with giant duckweed- Spirodela Polyrhiza. To remove the smaller duckweed I scooped out as much as I could one day with a cup. Waited a few hours for the remnants to congregate again, then scooped all of that out. Wiped down the glass under the top rim to get any that were stuck there- lots. Repeated it the next day- scooping out bits I found still floating, wiped off under the rim. Third day I didn't see any. I might still get some growing back if I missed a tiny bit, but as long as the majority in the tank is spirodela polyrhiza I don't mind.

I always wondered why the stems of the rotala indica in here bent over at the tops, leaning sideways. Figured it out when I had the tank on blackout for three days- then they stood up straight to the lightstrip. So the ambient window light from the side is probably making them bend. I blocked the end of the tank with a sheet of dark paper and now they are straightening again. But now Oliver can make out his reflection and he hangs out on that end of the tank dashing up and down the side displaying. When he gets too excitable he lashed out at the oto. The other morning, when there was no lights on and no reflection visible, I still saw him chase the oto deliberately several times. Not just following, but lunging at him and chasing him around corners of the tank.

I am not sure how to resolve the reflection issue while keeping the light blocked from the side, so I moved the otocinclus out of this tank and into my thirty-eight. More algae for him there anyways.

Now Oliver is alone with the snails. He probably likes it better that way.
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post #34 of 269 (permalink) Old 06-20-2016, 03:35 PM Thread Starter
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Not much has been happening. The plants grow steadily, if slow. Bacopa and ludwigias across the back recently got a trim with tops replanted to increase the stems, so they aren't any taller.

I'm still pleased with spirodela polyrhiza (giant duckweed).

It doesn't grow too fast- if I scoop out and discard two or three handfuls each week during maintenance, that keeps it nicely in check with enough open space at surface for Oliver to reach his food and breathe easily.

I switched positions of the subwassertang clump with the windelov fern on a rock. I like the subwasser better in this corner, not sure about placement of the windelov yet.


Removed a few rubber bands as most of the plants are holding on firmly now- no more bands for the windelov on mopani wood,

or java fern on fake skull.

This little cluster of bucephalandra only has one piece that needs holding down still.

I was really surprised to see that some leaves are finally sprouting from these bits of buce stem I tied on another stone. I never took them out of the tank because they simply didn't rot yet, and they are finally growing!

And here's buce selena, still going strong. I'd love to move some of the buces (or cuttings of them) from the thirty-eight into here, but afraid of spreading thread algae or BBA....

Did a little experiment with my mid-sized anubias plant. I know to divide the plant you can cut off a segment of rhizome at least an inch or two long, and it should grow new foliage. I cut the rhizome in half just behind the main set of leaves, but left it in place. To see if I could get more leaves growing. It took two weeks, but there is finally a sprout. Tiny, spade-shaped leaf just below left of center in this picture.

Not to be outdone, my big anubias barteri is sprouting a new leaf too. (I put in root tabs last week, so it got a good boost). I'm thinking of cutting in half and removing part of this one soon, it really overtakes its corner of the tank. Have been thinking of removing it altogether, because it really changes the scale of everything else in here. But I'm reluctant to get rid of it- this is the one plant I've had the longest, since the days of betta bowls.... And I'd still love to have an anubias coffefolia someday but I think that one is just as large!

Rotala in this tank still looks best from the short end, where I think it holds its leaves broadside to the ambient window light. I've also been thinking lately of removing one layer of plastic sheeting from the light strip. Maybe with the duckweed in place I can now increase the light level a bit. Could be better for the stem plants. But I'm afraid to throw things out of balance, since it has all been doing nicely for so long.

Oliver himself seems to be feeling his age (he must be at least two-and-a-half, maybe close to three years old by now). He spends more time just resting on the barteri leaves now, or hanging out quietly in a upper corner of the tank. But when evening comes if the tank light against dark room shows him his own reflection, he still flares and displays all up and down the glass. Spunky!


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Last edited by JJ09; 06-28-2016 at 07:39 PM. Reason: fixed a typo
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post #35 of 269 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 03:55 AM Thread Starter
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Part of Oliver's face lost color. There's no fuzziness so I don't think it's a fungus, and it doesn't quite look like a scrape or injury- I wonder if he is just getting old? A few days now after water change, the pale mark looks smaller, so I hope it's healing, whatever it was.

Here's the buce 'emerald' cutting I moved in here from the thirty-eight, to the left of buce 'selena'.

Subwassertang looks significantly bigger- I realize I took pictures of mostly the same plants this week as last- I suppose because I like them best right now!

I tried taking some low-angle shots of the windelov fern in here. It kind of flattens itself out, holding the widest part of the fronds horizontal. So it's hard to get a good view of it.


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post #36 of 269 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 05:58 AM
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This is a honest, down-to-earth, and a totally awesome journal, I felt like I was there through all your trials and tribulations..very well documented, sir..
Thanks for sharing.
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post #37 of 269 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 06:50 PM Thread Starter
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Hey, thanks! The only way I can learn from my mistakes is by making a note of them.... I'm actually embarrassed by many of the early photos from when I started my tanks- but it's nice to look back on it and see how far things have come.
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post #38 of 269 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 04:04 PM Thread Starter
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There are tiny roundish clear things showing up on the glass. They don't have the right shape for baby MTS and look like very tiny translucent blobs with a dark center- which is a hard bit when I scrape them off w/my finger.

I thought maybe just-hatched pond/bladder snails? A few weeks ago I did find another pond snail in here (thought I'd got them all, guess not). I squished it, but maybe it managed to lay eggs first, or I missed another one. I wanted to clean the front glass this week, so picked all these tiny things off with fingernails (tedious job) and put some under the microscope. But I must have crushed them when removing, it's a mess of tissue and a bit of blood and I have no idea what they are. There is a hard, shell part or carapace- I can see bits of it, so must be a snail I think.

So my next thought was- snail egg cases? that hadn't hatched yet? Maybe the dark hard bit in centre was a shell forming on an unhatched snail. But the egg cases I've seen from ramshorns and pond snails in the past had multiple eggs forming in one blob. This looks like just one thing. So I guess it's another organism altogether. It's too small for me to get a picture of. I couldn't find my husband's loop to get a better look at it when in the tank. It's wider and more transparent than a nerite egg.

Any ideas??
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post #39 of 269 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 04:39 PM
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Might be a freshwater limpet of some kind...kind of like a cross between a clam and a snail


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post #40 of 269 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 04:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks- I think that's it! Pictures of tiny ones online match pretty close what I'm seeing. I guess they're not harmful- I think they showed up when I got higher nitrates than normal from adding root tabs...


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post #41 of 269 (permalink) Old 07-05-2016, 01:23 AM
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Part of Oliver's face lost color. There's no fuzziness so I don't think it's a fungus, and it doesn't quite look like a scrape or injury- I wonder if he is just getting old? A few days now after water change, the pale mark looks smaller, so I hope it's healing, whatever it was.
How is Oliver's head doing? I had something like that on Buster's head a few days ago. Under magnification, it looked a little fungusy. I did three 25% water changes over the course of three days, adding stress coat each time and it cleared up on its own.

The tank is shaping up nicely. I love your choice of plants.
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post #42 of 269 (permalink) Old 07-05-2016, 02:52 AM Thread Starter
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It's looking better. The pale area has reduced down to a spot- it actually looks like an ich spot now but he doesn't have any other spots on the body and isn't flashing in irritation. I'm keeping an eye on it.
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post #43 of 269 (permalink) Old 07-06-2016, 06:41 AM
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It's looking better. The pale area has reduced down to a spot- it actually looks like an ich spot now but he doesn't have any other spots on the body and isn't flashing in irritation. I'm keeping an eye on it.
I'm glad to hear it is healing. He is such a cutie!
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post #44 of 269 (permalink) Old 07-09-2016, 07:09 PM Thread Starter
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change of scenery-

I probably did more to Oliver's tank yesterday than I ought to have.

First pulled off a dead java fern leaf and cut out some of their long root hairs that were getting in the way. They were pointing up and tangling in the foliage, having been snagged with the siphon a few times. Then plucked out a few yellowing spirodela polyrhiza. I took four handfuls of this out last week, and I think it was too much. It hasn't multiplied enough to entirely cover the surface again yet, and for some reason stays clear of the area just above the big anubias. One anubias leaf had a lot of brown algae accumulating. Easy enough to wipe off, but I want to prevent that.

I cut the big anubias rhizome into three pieces. Put the largest two on suction cups on the back wall. Looks very different this way.

The smaller part with just two leaves I put low on the wall in corner, as a backdrop to rotala stems. I'm sure it will look different again in a week or two after the leaves reorientate themselves to the light. (Even shorter segment, which had no leaves, I fastened back onto part of the driftwood, in the rear. Just to see if it grows again)

Now that the barteri is moved, the smallest anubias in here, positioned in front on the wood, is becoming a focal point.

I also moved a few of the buce isabella- they were on top of that little peak of the mopani wood on the right, looking awkward. When I took its rubber band off (hadn't rooted), noticed it was bent in an odd way so I cut it in half.

The water wisteria doesn't seem happy that I moved it. Taking a long time to recover. One stem came loose and I replanted it.

Trimmed quite a bit of fissidens- very tedious work. To avoid loosing the bits of moss all over the tank, I held each individual stem with tweezers while snipping with scissors in the other hand. Tied all these down to another side of the driftwood. While doing that, I nudged the wood up a few times by accident and some large bubbles came up, with a very foul smell. I've noticed in the past few weeks that lots of black stuff is decaying off the driftwood. I focus on using the siphon around the base of it because a ton of black mulm collects there each week, and it smells sulfurous. I hope it won't harm my fish. He seems okay (and the white mark on his head is gone). Don't know why another layer of the wood is breaking down now, after more than a year in the tank. When I first put it in, I boiled and soaked it and peeled bark off with a pocketknife. I thought I had scraped all the bark off but I guess this was another deep layer. The other half of this driftwood is in the thirty-eight, and it isn't doing this. That I can tell.
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post #45 of 269 (permalink) Old 07-10-2016, 06:35 PM Thread Starter
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I went to the tank today wanting to get a picture of something I forgot yesterday- growth of the new leaves on anubias I cut in half:

And then focused to take a pic of buce 'selena' in the corner, in ambient light:

Then since I was being camera-happy, made a painstaking setup to get some overhead shots, which I haven't done in a long time. Pics upcoming.


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