September 2003

September 2003


September 2003

Guess your wondering at the opening line…well will get to that bit a little later as you will see.

A quick update on the dark green algae that was growing on the leaves of the Windelov Fern…after pruning off all of the infected leaves and occasionally doing so over the course of a month it finally went away:)

For those that have been following along and remember the last instalment, it was about me changing the aquascape of the tank over the course of time. Well as of the last change that you saw, there have been a few more. Here is a picture of the last you saw it as a reminder plus the colour coded plant index.

All of the Lilaeopsis Brasiliensis that I had planted was not doing to well. Originally it had taken off and was growing well. Now for some reason it was thinning out and becoming quite sparse. All of the necessary needs of the plant were being given i.e. light levels, water column addition of nutrients plus substrate fertilisation. So I have given up having that nice matt effect I had in the last setup. I am going to try hunting up a couple of other plants that may be suitable for ground cover.

Off to the local LFS’ to see what I could find plus was still on the hunt for the Hairgrass and Riccia Fluitans as mentioned last time. No one really had anything at all. Mind in one place I was able to get some Hairgrass finally!

At one of my more favourite LFS' that is willing to order in stuff and take a chance every once in a while (ordering the odd stuff). I made a request for some plants that I wanted for the tank plus some others just to experiment with to see if they would grow in a Discus tank.

Here is the list of stuff I asked for: Riccia Fluitans. Ludwigia inclinata (yellow/orange coloured plant). Nesaea crassicaulis (said to have red/brown to cognac coloured leaves). Rotala wallichii (again red tipped shoots) these last three because I wanted some more reddish toned colouring to the tank for more contrast. Hairgrass again. A couple of crypts, Cryptocoryne parva and another crypt that I have forgotten the name of as future foreground plants.

As I wait for that order I re-evaluate the tank, notice a couple of things and fiddle a bit more.

The Madagascar Lace plant is staying really small and so is the Windelov Fern, both I think due to too high light. Might in the future just replace the Madagascar Lace with something else, maybe something from the order.

As the tank has settled in a bit and some of the original plants are now full bore. I am noticing a bit of a discrepancy with one of my plants. If you remember I had picked up a couple of plants at auction way back. One of the plants was labelled as E. Quadricostatus. At the last auction before this one I had picked up the same plant. The plants in the tank now however were not exhibiting the same characteristics as the plant I know to be E. Quadricostatus. The leaf shape was almost the same and the plant propagated by runner but this time round the plant is way HUGE! It is about twice as high as E. Quadricostatus should be! Listings of height for the plant should be in the 10-15cm range. These plants are hitting the 35-40cm mark! Something’s up and need to do a bit of research to find out what the plants are that I really have. Due to this new development I have a bit of a problem. I had placed this plant in three places around the tank. One of the places was just in front of the base of the root and right front and centre to the tank. The problem this was creating I am sure you can just imagine. The plant was way to big for this area and was starting to block out everything behind it and had gone well above and beyond being a focal point! Well have to take that plant out at least the one in the front, I will keep the two other ones for now they do not look too bad where they are.

Now have to decide what I would like to plant there…

As mentioned before I really did not want the Val’s in the tank, they grow way to fast for me and I have to prune back the runners almost every other day otherwise they just overtake the tank. I decide to take them out and replant just 3 plants in the front right hand corner of the tank, just in front of the crypts there. As time progresses over the course of a month they start taking over the area so much that the Large crypts that are planted beside them are now starting to die out due to lack of light and being over run in space. Since the other plants have now established themselves I decide to do some pruning and take out almost all of the Vals and just leave one very large plant.

Also I really did not like the growth I was getting from the hygro that was planted in the back right area beside where the Val’s used to be. The plants were quite big and grew like gangbusters also. They had to be pruned at least every week also. The problem was their leaf nodes were not close together (this was a large variety) and to be able to prune and leave enough leaf nodes so the plant would not die would leave about ¾ of the plant behind. Hence every week pruning that ended up looking horrible. So plans were to get rid of this plant also.

Due to both of these plants and where they were planted and growth rates and stuff one of the two swords planted in front of them as would be the future occupant alone of the area when fully grown died with no light. So now with only one sword in that area still struggling to establish itself I needed to really find the right temporary plant to put in the just vacated space to allow the sword to fully develop.

With all of this in mind as I was going along and any chance at all in passing to just drop into any of the LFS’ to see if any of the plants I was hunting for would appear miraculously, I picked up some Cyperus Helferi. I thought that this would be a great plant for that area due to it being tall and thin which would still allow light to get at the still developing sword plant. Also on this same trip I happened across a plant that said it was slow growing and looked ok. If planted in the vacant area of where the Val’s used to be between the Bacopa and the now new area of Cyperus the leaf shape would be a nice contrast between both I thought. The plant is a Lobelia species. I picked it up thinking would be good to try until my red bases plants came in. Got home and planted them both and ended up having a few extra Cyperus and planted them in behind the rock on the right side of the tank.

Well another plant as you know in a tank with very high light can be a bit annoying also. It is the Limnophilia Sessiliflora. Like the Val but in some cases is a bit worse, I have to prune this plant back at least once a week or it will grow forever and block the light out to all other plants. It is a great plant mind and has it uses and will forever always be on my plant list of musts. It is a must have in my mind for a beginning planted tank due to its speed of growth but once the tank is established if you so choose you can take the plant out and replace with a slower growing plant.

I went back to the LFS to see if my order came in and to my and the LFS owners utter dismay the plants had arrived with at least half of them melted beyond any signs of life. Out of the remaining half, half of those not really worth keeping and the remaining plants were what he had wanted to bring in not any of the ones I wanted. While there though just to bring my mood back up and with the thought of the Limnophillia in mind I picked up an Ozelot sword. One good thing about this LFS person is that they have quite a few books on plants, a few that I already have, but a few that are not run of the mill and also one that looks like a book but in fact is actually a catalogue.

While perusing this catalogue I was finally able to figure out what plant I had that was not the E. Quadricostatus! It is E. Latifolius! Hooray one mystery solved!

Asked the LFS owner if they could re order the plants again and they were not really sure whether they wanted to take the chance with the same thing happening again.

So off I went a little dejected but at the same time elated to have solved my mystery plants identification and took the Ozelot and planted it just in front of the L. Sessiliflora. I also pulled out the E. Latifolius and planted some of the Cyperus there.

During my LFS rounds that day I had picked up some small crypts also or at least that is what the worker assured me they were since they had no tags on them and were local trade ins.

Couple of last things. The Red Ambulia did not do well at all just behind the root in the centre of the tank, so I took what was left of the dying stems and planted the small crypts I picked up there. I also planted some in front of the rock on the left-hand side of the tank (if I ended up with a large variety they were easily accessible later on to be able to take out)

So here is what the tank looks like now with a new updated plant names list (please use this new names list when looking at this picture since I have run out of imagination on colour choices, so there are new names to colours from the last list:

As you will notice there is not a listing as of yet for the Hairgrass. As of right now I have not planted it yet and am shuffling it around in little clumps that they came in until I figure out where I want to put it.

Ok so bet your wondering about the Arrrrrrggggggggg!

Well as life would have it and my luck I ended up being so busy that I did not have anytime at all to do regular maintenance on the tank, this included water changes and taking readings and also adding in nutrients. So low and behold a two-week period goes by and I look into the tank and what do I see…stag horn algae! It is over everything! Man this sucks :( Mind no one to blame but myself for this stupidity. Ah well here come the water changes pruning of the algae by hand off of almost every leaf on every plant in the tank. Here is a picture for you with it already pruned off a bit just to give you an idea...

The Wilds that I have in the tank are doing ok if a little stressed from me doing all the fiddling with getting rid of the algae. They should be all right in a couple of days at the worst.

Also as luck would have it my CO2 diffuser gave out and wouldn’t you know. No one in this city carries Azoo CO2 stuff anymore. Actually almost no one carries Azoo period here any more. So on the net I go and man it started to become not worth it trying to replace the dang thing with all of the effort it was taking in trying to find a replacement ceramic disc! So back to the LFS I go and end up purchasing the reactor part of those new CO2 kits you can buy (you can see it in the picture front and centre because I was unsure about it and wanted access to it just in case). Man now that is a funny and ironic product. You know the one, it looks and more then likely is just a fancy schmancy remake and reconfigure and wizzy package deal of the DIY CO2 that we all read about and have tried. Will life never amaze.

Dum De Dum, an algae pruning we will go, an algae pruning we will go, high ho a darry oh, an algae pruning we will go…



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