Archive | July, 2012

Silver Angels spawning

26 Jul

Last week the Silver Angels spawned on a plant leaf.
I have been fortunate to meet an expert Angelfish breeder. I snipped off the leaf where the eggs are and he is raising them at his house. So far I hear things are going well.
I found out that the brine shrimp eggs that I have been trying to hatch this past year may be DECADES old, so that was no good when I had baby Angels, and my plan to put them outdoors hasn’t gone well either. Maybe it was too hot. Those are my pathetic excuses anyway.

Earthworm sticks…yummy

26 Jul

I shared an on-line order of supplies with a new fish-keeping friend (who I am learning a lot from!). The company is called Angelsplus.com. I ordered two small heaters, some sponge filter blocks and some fish food. I bought flake food and also these little sinking sticks, called Earthworm Sticks.  If you love your Corydoras do them a favor and buy some of these! Wow, they go nuts!


Found pond plant on bike ride

26 Jul

My son and I rode past a small pond a few days ago and we saw these semi-aquatic plants growing there:

I am not positive about the identification but it may be Creeping Primrose Willow.

I was taking a picture of the new plant and I see this little 2 inch-long green Frog has moved in!

I put some into my 30 gallon pond and it looks great.

A little Iowa pond that is drying up

26 Jul

The drought we are having has been deadly.
Here are some pictures of what I call a duck pond in a local park. It’s normally about 3 feet deep. Now there is only a foot of water left.


It’s sad to see the dead fish. I saw lots of turtle heads poking up. A drought may be good for them as long as it doesn’t dry up completely. They have easy pickings on the dead fish.

Backyard nature (beetles and a woodchuck)

26 Jul

The U.S. is being overrun by Japanese Beetles. We had a mild winter and it seems there are more beetles than in the past.
My wife picked these off our plants and let them go swimming:

Here’s a glassful. Delicious!

My Golden Retriever was staring into our Redbud tree one day:

Here’s a closer look:

Woodchucks don’t normally climb trees. He might have been chased up there or he liked the seed pods of the Redbud tree. He didn’t say.

Another Wapsi river trip

26 Jul

Here are some pictures from another canoe trip to the Wapsi River. During this trip we released the little Softshell turtles on the exact sandbar where we captured them a few weeks ago.

A Western Painted Turtle. The plastron (underside) of a Painted Turtle is beautiful and looks like someone painted it.


A little Northern Water Snake who released his musky scent onto our hands. Very stinky.


Releasing the little Soft-shell Turtles.


Perfectly suited to it’s environment. The Softshell is sand colored, has a snorkel nose for sneaky breathing, and is fast as lightning when it comes to catching fish for dinner.


I almost brought this stump home but it is 3 feet tall about 4 feet wide, and weighs a lot. It might look good in my turtle pond. It should be there all summer so I still may go get it.


These 2 birds are called Killdeers. They run around on the sand and will fake a wing injury to lure you away from their eggs.


The river is getting low from the drought we are having this year.


We seined these out of a tiny little backwater pond and released them into the main channel.

A much cleaner pond! (I’m learning)

26 Jul

I am too cheap to buy a big fancy filtration system for the turtle pond and it has always gotten green in the summer. A few weeks ago I did two things:
I dropped a standard aquarium box filter to the bottom of the pond. Of course, I added filter wool and have the air pumping pretty strong.

The small airline is attached to a plastic box filter on the pond bottom. The bigger line is taking water from the water pump to the big filter box that flows into the stream at the other end of the pond.


The second thing is that I brought my 500 Gallon-per-hour water pump to the upper shelf of the pond and I clean the intake sponge daily. It only takes 3 or 4 minutes.
I clean the box filter wool every 2 or 3 days. I don’t replace it, just rinse it out.
The pond cleared up in about a week and is looking better all of the time!

This pump used to sit on the bottom. The water goes to a plastic tub filled with quilt batting. I used to leave the sponge pre-filter off the pump so the junk would go to the big filter BUT mostly the pump would just get plugged up with leaves and sticks. Now I can lift out the pump and clean the sponge in minutes.


Here is why I can’t have live aquatic plants in my turtle pond. These plants are FAKE FAKE FAKE and they still snip them apart.

Too many fish, too soon equals No fish

26 Jul

I need to get this post out of the way. I haven’t been able to write anything new for weeks because I made such a stupid blunder with one of my tanks.
The background is this:
I have three baby Red-eared Slider turtles. I set up a 55 gallon aquarium for them, about 5 inches deep so maybe 10 or 12 gallons of water.
I returned from a canoe trip to a local river with 2 Softshell turtles and various small local fish. Sunfish, minnows, Bullheads (a type of catfish). I put all of these creatures into the tank with the baby Red-ears. I was cautious about it, I was especially worried that the Softshell turtles would hurt the little Red-ears. But no, the Softshells were wonderful, beautiful and entertaining. They were also a little afraid of the Red-ears!
About 2 weeks went by, it was my favorite tank to watch. So much activity! The baby Bullheads were the best, forming a little school and feeding like little Piranha.
Then, disaster.
One day, I found a number of dead fish and I knew instantly what I had done. Like a brand new fish owner I had dumped all these fish into a tank and there was not enough of a good bacterial colony in the tank to process the waste ammonia.

WHAM, major stress on the fish and, just think, there were also 5 little turtles in there pooping like mad. I have a nice big Fluval filter running but that doesn’t matter. If I had filled the filter with used filter wool from one of my other tanks things would have been OK but I never thought of it.
I made a few major water changes. I should have gotten the remaining fish out and into buckets of clean water but I hoped they could tough it out. They couldn’t. By the next day, they were all dead. The turtles are all fine, just the fish are dead.
Moral of the story: Add a few very hardy fish to a new tank. Let it “cycle” about 6 weeks before adding any more. We all know that.
Since that happened the tank has stabilized. I added a school of my baby Zebra Danios, a few Mollies and some Endler’s Guppies. They are doing great. The Softshell turtles are back at the river where they were captured and the baby Red-eared Sliders are growing like weeds.

Turtle pond pic

6 Jul

One of my boys sent me this pic of my turtle pond. I like it.

Zebra Danios at one month old

6 Jul

I put these Zebra Danio fry into the pond about a month ago. I fed them every few days with some finely ground dry food.
Mrs. D, these are the babies of your Zebra Danios, so please take as many as you can. Pick a number between one and a hundred!