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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.

 

How to spawn Gold Barbs

30 Apr

How to spawn Gold barbs.

Do nothing.

That’s it, thanks for viewing my blog!

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I put a pair of Gold barbs into a 10 gallon tank thinking that I would separate them at some point, feed them some good foods like bloodworms and brine shrimp, then put them back together, hope they spawn, then deal with raising microscopic fish fry.

I have about 10 Gold barbs. I picked out the biggest, roundest female. A male is usually thinner but also, when healthy and in breeding condition, gets orange-colored along his belly. Note the orange-bellied male in the picture above. (the fish on the left)

In the 10 gallon tank I put handfuls of plants. An Amazon Sword just floating around. Some Hornwort. Some Red Ludwegia. Some hair algae also developed.

I made a water change one day and spotted a baby Gold Barb! I soon had caught seven babies. Last week I did this again and caught 6 or 7 more! I placed them in a 10 gallon tank with some Platy babies.

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What’s nice about this is that I didn’t do a darn thing. No raising infusoria or brine shrimp. I do have several cultures of microworms going and I feed that to the barbs a few times a week. I’m sure the babies benefited from that.

I really like the Gold Barbs. Peaceful, always active, always hungry.

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FEED ME!

 

Four seasons of a pond

14 Jun

If you build a pond these are the four stages you will go through every year:

(unless you live in a nice warm place but bear with me here)

During the season we call Winter let’s just call the pond FROZEN.

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Nothing happening unless your pond is deep and you leave the Goldfish or Koi outside to chill out.

As the Frozen season departs the pond thaws and we have that beautiful time of year when the birds chirp and the frogs croak and the pond is STINKY.

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Hey man, I mean stink, stank, stunk, ya know.

After some hard work we have the briefest season of all, which is simply CLEAN. The water is clear, the bottom of the pond is bare.

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This doesn’t last long. After A Hard Rain Is Gonna Fall the worms crawl in and die. Leaves blow in. Dirt blows in. Everything is Blowin In The Wind, right into your nice, formerly clean,  pond.

The best time of year I call LUSH.

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The plants are growing like a jungle. Maybe your fish are breeding. The pond is alive from every angle. Insects on the flowers and in the ground. Birds bathing in the stream. Frogs and Toads , of course, find this oasis you have created. This is why you have a pond. After all the work, and the smell, you have a little paradise in your life.

Clownfish in bed

14 Jun

It’s so cool to see Clownfish all nestled in a sea anemone. My Ocellaris Clownfish have never done that because my tank doesn’t have the strong lighting required for anemones and hard corals.

My tank does have several species of soft corals, and my Clownfish especially like the Wavy Hand Anthelia. This soft coral may be a nuisance to the more serious reefkeepers out there but I like it and so do the fish.

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It took my Clownfish almost a month to start associating with the coral. This type of Anthelia also reproduces quickly so you may find it very cheap from a local Aquarium Reef Club.

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If you read about this behavior on the Internet, it’s called “hosting”. A lot of people write, “My Clownfish is hosting!”, or “How can I get my Clownfish to host?”. Others will say, correctly, that they want to get a “Host Anemone”, and that makes sense to me.

CAM02725The Anemone is doing the hosting, not the fish. The fish is the guest.  It’s not like the coral can leave!

CAM02803These two Clownfish have lived together for 6 1/2 years. They cuddle and the male dances for the female (really!) and they make a little lovenest in a shell but I have never seen eggs.