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Herbie the baby Angelfish

11 Mar

Herbie is not a healthy Angelfish. The poor little guy is a runt. He was born 2 months ago. His brothers and sisters are big and healthy. He is not.

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Herbie should be culled. Which means, he should be “disposed” of. Fed to the Oscar.

But, my wife spotted Herbie. He was not Herbie yet. He was just pathetic.

She asks me How is Herbie? And I say he’s hanging in there. He scrambles around and lives another day.

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See little Herbie?

What can I do. I’ll let poor Herbie live as long as he can.

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Baby Angelfish in the kitchen

8 Mar

Angelfish from egg to dime-size. Thanks to my wife for helping feed them live brine shrimp several times a day.

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One of the parents.

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Brine shrimp hatchery, old school style, complete with wooden clothes pin.

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Then back downstairs into a planted tank.20190129_203609.jpg20190208_180354.jpg

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That’s it! Live baby brine shrimp. Daily water changes. Water temperature 80 degrees F (27C)

 

 

 

 

Starve mollies to get rid of hair algae

8 Mar

I’ve got hair algae in some tanks.  It’s hard to get rid of. I had heard that Mollies will eat it, if they are hungry enough.

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So, I gave it a try. A pair of  Black Mollies in a planted tank. No food. After a few days I saw the Mollies eating algae. I got my hopes up. I saw piles of green poo at the bottom of the tank. But, after a few weeks the algae was looking as strong as ever. I started feeding the Mollies just out of sympathy. I fed them a small quantity  and only once a day.

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See the green squiggly stuff below the fish?

I pulled the algae out by hand. The aquatic plants (Ludwegia and Rotala) began to take over and now the plants dominate. The algae is still there, but not much.

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Much better!

My conclusion is that the Mollies won’t solve a hair algae problem, but they can help, in combination with hand removal and other live plants that use up the nutrients.

Oscars and Classical Music. Or, How to lower your blood pressure.

25 Jan

I have two big Oscars in a 75 gallon tank. What surprises me is how graceful they are. They just float through the water, moving effortlessly, in total command of their world.

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I play the radio while working on my fish tanks.I don’t know anything about classical music but it fits so well with fish-watching. Try it!

Especially with the Oscars. I think mine are a pair. They always stay in close contact, barely twitching a fin to feel the others presence.

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There are 2 Jack Dempsey’s, a Red Devil, and a large Plecostomus in the Oscar tank.

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You’ll find Oscars sleeping on their sides in the morning.

As serene and graceful as the Oscar’s appear, I make sure to keep them well-fed so they don’t turn into murdering maniacs.

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The Red Devil. Do not adjust your eyes, this fish is yellow.

 

Used flowerpot WARNING

25 Jan

A Spring ritual is putting aquatic plants in clay flowerpots and placing them in my small outdoor pond.

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A few years ago this killed some of my fish.

I start with flowerpots plus some clean sand and gravel.

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Gravel goes on the bottom.

Then the plant, maybe a little soil, then sand on top.

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As I mentioned,  a few years ago there was a problem. I had fancy goldfish, platies and swordtails in the pond. Everything seemed fine but after a week the goldfish were dying and the small fish had quit eating and were sitting at the bottom.

I captured the remaining fish, then completely cleaned the pond. I still had no idea what had happened.

It was a year later that the president of the local fish club (Mr. LVH) said something about pesticides in used flowerpots. It became clear as a bell.

I had bought some used flowerpots at a garage sale. My first use of them was in the pond. Things were fine for a week but then the poison began leaching out.

Another week went by and I had dead fish. The ones that were brought inside were thin and disfigured but, if they could be induced to eat, recovered quickly.

So if you buy used clay flowerpots soak them for several days in a bucket of water. Pour out the water and do it at least 3 times over a week.

Also in Springtime I put Water Lettuce outdoors that has been growing in an aquarium.

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First, I put the plants in a plastic container and tuck it in a shady spot to avoid sunburn.

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If I move it into sunshine too soon it looks like this.

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Water Lettuce can recover and eventually gets accustomed to bright sun, but I think it does best in partial shade.

Partway through summer I have to remove handfuls of Water Lettuce from the pond.

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I also have flowerpots in several of my aquariums.

Amazon Swords do best growing in soil.

The only problem growing aquatic plants in pots is that the plants grow too fast.  The tank becomes a jungle. Not a bad problem  to have.

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The beautiful Madagascar Lace Plant

16 Jan

Here’s a  picture of my beautiful Madagascar Lace Plant. Here’s what I know. The Madagascar Lace Plant is probably from Madagascar.

Before I write about the beautiful Madagascar Lace Plant that I have, I should Google “Madagascar Lace Plant”.

Okay, I have Googled Madagascar Lace plant and it appears I have made a grave error. I do not own a Madagascar Lace plant.

What I have is an Amazon Sword Plant that is being eaten by Bristlenose Plecostomus. I think I might call it an Amazon Lace Plant.

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Bristlenose Plecostomus love to eat Amazon Swordplant leaves. If your Amazon Swordplant is healthy and fast-growing, the plecos will not kill the plant. They’ll just nibble a few leaves here and there and everyone will be happy.

One Bristlenose Pleco lives in the tank with this Swordplant and you can see it’s doing fine.

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The perfect beginner’s aquarium

30 Apr

Here is a recipe for the perfect beginner’s aquarium:

Get the basics. The tank, a light, a small heater, a filter. Decorate it how you want.

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Get some Platies. Just a couple to begin. Do not get tetras, angelfish, catfish, bettas or anything else. This tank is to guarantee success. If you are setting up a tank for your kids, buy goldfish and watch them pollute the tank and die. Buy tetras and watch them die from poor water quality. But if you want your kids to enjoy their first tank BUY PLATIES.

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Yes I know, that’s a Red Swordtail with the Platies!

Now here is the secret. Add a small amount of salt to the water. I would use salt that is made for a marine aquarium but you can use any non-iodized salt. For a ten-gallon aquarium use a couple of teaspoons for the entire tank. It’s not much salt. The reason for the salt is to suppress diseases like Ich and Fungus, etc.

After a few months and the tank is stable, add more Platies. Or maybe you won’t have to, your Platies might be making babies by then.

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Do regular water changes. Change 25% of the water at least once a month. Once you are done adding new Platies discontinue the salt addition. If your tank is disease free you don’t need it. As you do regular water changes you’ll eventually have salt-free water.

You will be tempted to add Neon Tetras and Tiger Barbs and all that. DON’T DO IT! Look at all the color variation in Platies. Yellow, orange, red, black, blue, hi-fin, spotted, speckled.

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A few months ago I put about 8 platies in a 10-gallon tank. In the morning when I turn on the lights I see babies. I scoop them out and now I have about 70 of all types and colors. Soon I’ll put them outside in a little pond. Once they are an inch long I’ll probably take them to the fish club meeting and give them away.

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If you got Platies from me you wouldn’t need the salt at all! The whole idea is to avoid the diseases that come from store-bought fish which leads to all those aquariums being sold on Craigslist.

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A 2 inch fish swimming along with 4 inches of poop makes for educational conversation with the kids.

Final note: This same idea will work with Mollies and Guppies.