December 2001

December 2001


December 2001

Hello again to all:)

Another month has gone by and I thought that I was just going to sit back and watch the tank grow...NOT! Hahahaha. This month proved interesting for me and taxed my brain a bit. Everything was going along fine; sitting on the couch just admiring the tank was a pleasure. This didn't last long though. I had forgotten from my previous setup (1 year ago) how long a tank needs to acclimatize when planted in the beginning and the work that is involved in helping it along its way.

Almost all of the plants used in the current tank were taken from my previous setup. Even though I trimmed off all of the dead leaves and soon to be dead leaves and 40% of the root system to encourage growth during the month I had major pruning to do. Allot of leaves were dying off while the roots were trying to establish themselves. The plants that were doing this the most were the Vals. By the end of the month I didn't have to prune them as much, they finally settled in. All I have to do with them now is trim the offshoot plantlets every once in awhile.

Thank God I had some foresight and previous experience with the Limnophila Sessiliflora and had planted it in that plastic yogurt container! I was pulling it up, snipping it and replanting it every week! It was growing so fast (still want to get rid of it later on once everything else settles). I am letting one shoot of it grow though, I would like to see another one of it's beautiful flowers bloom in my tank and hopefully I can get a better shot of it this time with my camera:)

The E. Tenellus is growing good in the tank. It is amazing the difference even in one tank that this plant shows with the amount of light it receives. In shadier areas it grows to about 4" high and is a mid-green colour. In the highest light areas it grows quite compact at only 1-2" in height and takes on a red colour to it with dark vein of green up the centre of each lancelet leaf. This plant as with the Val had allot of die off on the outer leaves but because of it's slow growth I only sucked up as much as I could with the python over these plants about and 1" or 2". If I got any closer I would end up sucking the plant out of the substrate. By the end of the month the die off settled down and quite a few new shoots starting sprouting up and the root system started to grab a hold.

The Amazon and E. Uruguayensis had to be cut back big time through out the month to help them grow and establish. Almost half of the leaves if not more were pruned off by the end of the month but by this point some new shoots had developed that were already hitting the top water level mark:) The Discus love hanging around this style of plant.

The Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis was giving me a bit of trouble. Thank God no BGA anymore so that was a great sign! Didn't want to go out purchasing more of that! Costs a small fortune buying enough for a lawn effect! Well the problem was that the Discus and my Cory's every day would at least pull up one bunch of it and I would have to replant it every morning! Ahahhahah man wanted to get my hands in there and give them a shove with my hands by mid month ahahahhahhaha. They finally stopped doing this and the plant has now had time to settle in. One of the things about this plant that was bugging me a bit was allot of the offshoots that were growing were not heading into the sand to start there new lives, they were trying to reach for the sun! So ended up every day not only re-planting the ones that the fish were uprooting but also with a pair of tweezers pushing in all of the new shoots that were not taking to the substrate. Also this plant was taking a long time to grow so I decided to try an experiment with one of the batches I planted. I lopped it off to within 1" of the substrate to see if this would encourage new growth. These plants on my tank grow to 4" high under the direct light of all 8 of my tubes. One thing that was great was that I got a hitchhiker with the purchase of the new Lileopsis! I ended up with some Glossostigma elatinoides! Made a little spot for it and am going to see if it takes off. Thing is this plant goes against my idea of keeping this tank Geographic specific since this plant is from New Zealand.

The Athernanthera reinneckii again was another plant that was giving me problems initially. Think this plant does not like transplanting that is for sure. The BGA in the tank initially didn't help this plant at all and was pretty scruffy to say the least right after the BGA outbreak and subsequent removal of the BGA. This plant does not do well at all if ANY algae gets on their leaves. This plant demands high light levels, if anything interferes with it will die off. I thought that I would probably have to remove this plant from the setup because it was so hard hit and didn't look like it was going to survive at all. Well I decided my pocket book couldn't handle another purchase at the moment since I spent so much on replacing the Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis, and went with what I got and tried to nurse it back to health. I ended up cutting this plant down to 2" in height and planted the stem in the substrate 1 3/4", so only a couple of leaves were showing. Well I am quite happy to say this plant bounced back nicely and is growing quite well now:)

The Heteranthera zosterifolia was growing at a good clip. I had and am still learning how to best prune this plant, I want it to grow with this profile in the tank ( \ ) the lowest point being at the front of the glass and the highest point being near the back of the tank at the high point of the root stem on the left side of the tank. This plant started giving me problems by the end of the month and will tell a bit about that at the end of this update.

Mid month it was a great pleasure of mine to be able to head off to an Aquarium club auction and see about making a couple of purchases there with a friend that you all know from the forum Leo. We had a great time and ended up making a couple of purchases each:) I ended up buying a couple of plants that I really wanted but had had no success with previously, I had ordered them from an LFS in my first setup but they had been grown emersed and never did survive in my tank:( This plant was Echinodorus quadricostatus. I had gotten there early enough 8:30am to actually see the guy with his plants putting stickers on the bags before putting them on the auction tables. Chatted with him for a bit and found out that he had these plants and that he said were grown submersed and that there would not be any problems like I had last time with them melting on me. Man, thing was the only two plants he had ended up on tables 13 and 14 in the auction! There were about 22 tables altogether of stuff and by the time table 13 rolled around it was 4:30pm in the afternoon there was so much stuff! But well worth the wait I have to say bought the first plant for a $1 and the next one because someone else smartened up and saw that there were only two of these plants available for $3 with 4 off shoot plantlets on this one:) Heheheheehehe. While waiting for the plants to go up for auction I ended up making a couple of other purchases. Hey that's what auctions are for right? hahaha:) I ended up purchasing 16 Golden spotted bushy nosed plecs and a wonderful new book "Aquarium Plant Paradise" by Takashi Amano. Great book and will give a book review on it for DPH later:) So all in all a great day was had by all:)

Another development happened in my tank over the month that surprised me and ended up frustrating me at the same time. My 5 Adult discus in the tank ended up pairing off into two pairs, I already knew about one of the pairs. This pair had been laying eggs for me on a 4-day cycle for the last 5 months and had been eating them on the 3rd day every time. Well! This second pair laid eggs and guess what? They were viable and they got them to free swimming! Can you say big smile! They only lasted a day free swimming but hey was a real treat to see this in the planted tank was a wonderful site:) Only thing...about a week later the first pair I think got mad at the newly found parents and decided they were jealous and would browbeat the new pair into a corner while browbeating the odd one out into another corner:( This got so bad while both pairs were alternating laying eggs every 4 days (so eggs every two days for me now) that the male of the new pair was getting a bruised lip and allot of them were getting scratches all over their bodies from dinging into things that I decided to split them all up. The odd man/woman out went to a local LFS and the original pair went into my hatchery in a 20g tank. They are all still laying eggs every 4 days but no viable fry anymore.

Well at the end of the month some stuff crept into my well laid plans of sitting back on the couch again and just admiring my handy work...all of the plants looked good, green, red, no algae, lush growth but something was wrong...For some reason the Heteranthera zosterifolia's stems were breaking off everywhere no specific place. Sometimes on the bottom of the stem (which would lead me to believe that no light was getting there) but other times almost right at the top of the stem? Also it had taken to growing sideways? At first I thought that this was due to too much light but even the shoots near the bottom of the tank were doing the same thing!

K gotta figure this out.........................


Merry Christmas to all and a happy new year:)

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