Small World in a Basin      

Pond Days

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03 April 09

 A while ago I rearranged my 25G a bit, took the flat rock out that was the roof of the cave and added more wood instead. No more neons, and I also sold the skyblue tetras again. They were too hyper and scared the pants off my glowlights, little emo kids that they are.

  The plants have been growing slowly but nicely, I found out what works and what doesn't with under 1 wpg and added a couple more anubias. They thrived under the neglect of my recent vacation and awarded me flowers. Yay.


09 November

 I've been busy setting up the 10 G river tank for the WCMM in the basement. It has a bit of wood and some medium sized rocks, but mostly pebbles of three different sizes. I scrounged some parrot feather and salvinia out of the pond and one of the little water hyacinth plantlets, added some java fern and African fern from the big tank and dumped in a Japanese moss ball and a few physa and MTS. Here's a shot while I was planting:

 In early October I started to scoop the minnows out of the pond. I found nine out of ten. One of them had had a spine deformity - he looked like a Z from above, and we were always amazed that he was still swimming along with everyone else. But in the end, I guess he didn't make it.
  The nine seem happy enough in their smaller quarters. I put a little powerhead in for them, and they love swimming right in it's stream.

  Two days ago I added Cthulhu, the Bristlenose from the blackwater tank. I've carefully acclimated him to the cooler and somewhat harder water over the past 10 days. And while he seems a little shell-shocked by having been moved twice in two weeks, he's slowly regaining his colour and starting to explore his new home.

  I took him out of the big tank, because he'd been harassing the Ranger Pleco, who's a bit of an emo kid. Rory, the Ranger kept showing up in the mornings with torn and ragged fins and grew more and more shy. Now, the fact that his nemesis is gone slowly dawning on him, he's finding back to his happy scamp self, and, ye gods, is he ever beautiful, proudly displaying tail and sail and with all his fins fully healed.

06 October

 Added three sky blue tetras that had been in the QT for the past weeks, but I find them quite nippy. Could be that there's not enough of them to make them feel secure, but I don't know when or whether I'll up their number. They're a bit hard to find around here. We'll see. First, I should get the neons up to group strength again. 

05 September

 They sure love their canned green beans (the 'no salt, no preservatives' kind).

19 August

 Changed the background today to something more in keeping with the wood and plant look of the tank. Now that the water is not so brown anymore from the tannins, the rock background was starting to look very gray. Note to self: more plants!

04 August

  Added the last dose of medication on Saturday. Yesterday I did a 50% water change, added carbon to the filter and set the temp two degrees lower. So far things are looking good, but I won't breathe relief until I've had my first two weeks without a relapse. Incredibly, the cory baby (lower right corner) never missed a beat.

28 July

 While I'm still medicating and doing daily water changes, everyone looks a lot happier and healthier. The fins on the cories, which had been a bit ragged looking are hale and smooth again, and everyone's active and eating like they got paid for it.
  For some weird reason the diamonds refuse to recognize the NLS pellets as food. They're always the first waiting when I open the lid and gobble up flakes and chase after bloodworms like lightening, but the pellets sail by them like so many grains of sand. Well, the catfish sure appreciate them.

20 July

 Well, seems like the diamond's lost for good. I never found him. The glowlight was dead yesterday morning, and the day before I had discovered a new spot on one of the cories. So Friday I took a trip to my trusty LFS and cried them a river. The guy listened, asked some informed questions and recommended a different dechlorinator with my ich medication, but said otherwise to keep doing what I was doing, sometimes ich just took a second swipe. So yesterday I started treating again, this time without salt and with the temperature not as high as I had it the first time.

  Also, cudgeling my brain for what else was going on (if the water didn't test pristine every time, I would almost have suspected the dead tetras to have had ammonia poisoning from the descriptions I read), I removed the pothos that was hanging in the tank and growing merrily in there. I had read up on it before allowing it in there and been told that lots of people grow it in their tanks without adverse effects, which is probably true as long as none of the sap is released. It seems that that can be an irritant to cats and dogs, and it might have been an additional stresser every time a leaf broke off or the fish nibbled on it. Anyway, I took it out yesterday and did a 50% WC, and the fish seem a lot happier this morning, eagerly going after their food. Even the neon that still keeps mostly to himself joined the fray.
  So, I'm only guessing here as to reasons, but as far as I'm concerned, the only non-aquarium plants that go in my tank from now on are the ones I'm ready to eat.

17 July

 The neon rejoined the crowd this morning, the glowlight's hanging in there, and the diamond went into hiding. Haven't found him yet. Hoping for the best. Everyone else seems fine.

16 July

 Now that temps are back to normal and meds and salt levels decreasing due to daily water changes, all the catfish are their perky selves again.
  The tetras are taking a little longer to get back on their fins, so to speak. Though most of them are acting normal, they're still not eating as greedily as I was used to before the outbreak.
  And I have three that are not well. One of the neons hangs perfectly still and by himself in the shadow by the heater, one diamond keeps coming to the surface for air and one glowlight is bloated and not eating. For the moment I'm keeping up the daily water changes, and hope that it'll bring relief. Without any recognizable symptoms and all three seemingly with different difficulties, I don't really know what else to do.

14 July

 Been battling a nasty strain of ich these past weeks, lost a glowlight and three neon tetras and quite a bit of courage. I can only hope it's over now. What brought it on I don't know. The diamond tetras I bought last never seemed to have gotten it.  

 I can only guess that the stress of varying temperatures, summer heatwave vs. cooler days and nights brought it out. I'll try keeping the temperature a little higher than I had it in the spring so the temp's more constant. Maybe that'll help. We'll see. Meanwhile I closely supervise the survivors and count them even more obsessively every morning than I used to. Miraculously the cory baby took it all in stride.

 The shrimp and snails seem fine in their exile bowl with daily water changes. 

 29 June

  Came home with four assassin snails today. We'll see if they can make a dent in the pond snail population. They're quite pretty. with brown and yellow bands.

23 June 

 Added 3 ghost shrimp 

 and 6 diamond tetras today

 and consider the tank fully stocked now. Water quality remains good, but I'm toying with the idea of getting a larger filter and putting this one on the 10 gallon I'm planning for the WCMM when they have to come out of the pond in the fall. We'll see. 

20 June

 I'd seen my peppered cories lay a very few eggs after the last heat wave subsided, but as the tetras are eating them as fast as they come, I didn't think anything of it. This morning as I was making sure everyone shows up for feeding, I saw a tiny movement at the mouth of the cave out of the corner of my eye, and sure enough, a teensy tiny cory baby is down there munching happily along the rocks. My very first fish baby. I must confess, I'm pretty excited. 

 Unfortunately it's way to quick for me to catch it on camera. I'll keep trying, though.

19 June

  I've been counting only nine neons for the last 2 or three days, even at feeding. Didn't find any bodies, but it is odd, to say the least.

04 June 

 Picked up 2 more peppered cories today, roughly the same size as the four I already have. And I finally got my neons; ten little guys. 

  I drip acclimated them for two hours and so far they seem ok. I guess the next couple of days will show how they weathered the transition. From what I heard from other aquarists, they can react quite badly to changes in their water parameters, so I'm a bit wary. I guess time will tell.

  The cories were adopted into the tribe almost immediately. At first it was easy to tell them apart, because they were so much lighter in color, but they're adapting to their darker surroundings quite nicely, and pretty soon I won't know who's the newbie anymore. 

04 May

 I wanted to divide the large java fern on the side, so took out half of the water to get at it, cut it up and restick it plus some seven or eight new little plantlets. First time I did a 50% water change since set-up. I hope the fish will be ok with this, and all the java fern divisions will survive. Unfortunately, I can't take any pictures 'cause the camera broke. *sniff*

 Even though I treat the new water with Blackwater Extract, the color of the tank water has cleared up dramatically with this. I can actually see that the rocks on the back wall print are gray rather than brown. Not sure I like it that much, but I guess I'll get used to it, and the water will get a little more yellow again, too.

  Still no neons.

20 April

 Added 7 glowlight tetras today, bringing their total number up to 10. It suddenly looks a lot more lively in that tank. I have the feeling the three old ones are a tad territorial, but it's not easy to tell them apart. Looks like mere bickering, though, I'm not really concerned.

  Still no neons.

19 April

 Everyone is peachy, and the little pleco doesn't look like he took any damage. I hope I caught it in time, and that the weeks he spent at the LFS were enough of a quarantine.
  I still don't know why the QT suddenly crashed like that, but I guess that small a system w/out any plants is always vulnerable. I might also change the filter material. I don't trust those all in one pads that came with it. When you change one (though I hadn't, so that wasn't it), all the nitrifying bacteria come out with it. That can't be good.

 The mystery Ranger Pleco btw. seems to be a Pterygoplichthys weberi.

16 April - QT crash

 Had a heart attack this morning. Went to check the ammonia in the QT as I did every second day, and it was through the roof. Did an immediate 75% water change w/ Prime and Stability, and the pleco, who'd been just hovering on the bottom immediately picked up a bit, but ammo was still not in any comfortable range. I did small 1 quart water changes every fifteen minutes for a few hours, w/out bringing it down any further.
Around 4p.m. I finally gave up on it, netted the pleco, checked him over for any signs of burns, but didn't see any, and moved him into the main tank.  

12 April - Lost one of my cories today

 He was the smallest and always a little less boisterous than the others. Yesterday afternoon I missed him at feeding time, and searched in vain all evening. This morning I found him still alive, but sticking to the filter intake. I put him in a QT by himself so he wouldn't get picked on (not that there was a mark on him), and an hour later he was dead. I have no clue what killed him. All I can think of is that he was fighting something since I got him, and the stress of being moved to the main tank on Wednesday weakened him further. But I have no idea what he could have been fighting. Apart from the fact that he was half the size of the others (and they're all not fully grown, so I thought he was just a bit younger), he didn't look any different. He was definitely out and about and feeding with everyone else yesterday morning. Water tested the same as always (amm/trites 0, nitrates under 20).
Needless to say I'm keeping a sharp eye on the others now.

10 April

 They still had the Ranger (mystery) Plecos at my LFS today, and they assured me that they would take him back in case he got too big for my tank. I mean, what's a girl to do, faced with the tiniest cutest wiggliest most interestingly patterned pleco ever seen? And who can resist a mystery? Right? Right? Right. So *erm* anyway. He's in the QT now. Most people I talked to who know plecos, seem to think he's some kind of peckoltia. Anyway, I named him Rory ('Rose is Rose' fans will understand).

09 April - Big Adventure

 Moved the cories into the main tank today. They, of course, went immediately for cover. I think I'm almost as stressed out as they are, even though everything went smoothly. They were easy to net in the QT. I added some Prime and Stability to the main tank to give everyone a good start, and now we'll have to see. The glowlights are merely curiously peeking at their new neighbors now and then. Cthulhu hasn't come out yet. I know I'll be eagle eying that tank again now for the next 78 hours to make sure everyone is ok.  


 Here's one in the background, trying to blend in behind the glowlight tetra. 

 Tomorrow I want to see what my LFS has for as as far as a next batch of newbies is concerned.

05 April

  They sure like their brine shrimp with spirulina. Niam.

02 April - Corydoras Paleatus

  I was just going to buy fish food, and then they had these cute little cory cats. You know how it is. Anyway, five of them are in my QT right now, happily munching on some NLS pellets I got for them yesterday.

 The Mohicans really appreciated the change from the flakes and gobbled up quite a few of those yummie new pellets. The guy in my LFS said, even his BN likes them, so Cthulhu might be in for a treat tonight.

28 March 

  I came home with three little Glowlight Tetras yesterday. They were the last of a whole shipment, so I named them The Mohicans. So far they're ok, though they weren't terribly interested in food this morning. They're incredibly fast movers, which is why there's no picture yet. I'm trying out videos, but they need to be worked on, and I need to figure out the software before I can do that. So, only verbal update for now.

17 March - Happy Paddy Day

 Ooh Kaayyy. I got a really nice macro shot of him just now. You can even see the pale green spots under his eyes. (He's a Green Dotted Bristlenose.) 

He'd been hiding all day, to the point where I got quite nervous, but he came back out around 5pm. I put in a spirulina wafer, but he hasn't discovered it yet. Still busy munching away on the wood.

16 March

 Finally. A fish. Meet the first resident: Cthulhu, the cutest little Bristlenose this side of Peru. After a couple of hours of hiding shyly behind the rocks, he's now happily scampering all over the place, not the least bit fazed by the flash.

12 March

 Aaaand: Lights on! Could use a leeetle top-up. But otherwise bright and shiny. Yeah. Now, if the values keep being good, I'm ready for a fish next week.

 Ok, I got the fitting hood now. Looks a lot sleeker. No ugly waterline, no huge gaps. Me's happy.

07 March

 Last not least, the nano apparently already had a snaily inhabitant. He looks different from the ones I had so far. This one is about 1,5 mm. Ramshorn?


 Looking around for the macro snails, I noticed that there's also a batch of eggs on the Vals. And here I thought I'd be bored waiting for the fish. ;o)


 The eggs seem to be hatching. There are teensy snails in the nano now. About the size of a quarter pin head. I left the side of the tank in the picture when I cropped, so you get the thickness of the glass and the silicone strip for scale.


 And? Is that a Physa? Anyone want to hazard a guess? To me those triangular horns (see 2 pics below) look quite different from the one I first fished out and think is a physa. But I find it hard to get relevant info on the net. The pages that are there all seem to be disagreeing as far as taxonomy is concerned.


  And another one. Both have been kicked into the nano. I also found more leaves with eggs (they were on the Crypts), which I at this point just threw out. I'm sure there'll be more.

  Found another one in the big tank.

 06 March

 Happily munching away.


 Here's a better picture of the eggs. It's easier to photograph in the tank than in the jam jar. ;o)


 A view of the nano tank after replacing the twisted with the straight Val. If you look closely, you can see a speck on the glass; that's the snail heading back down after her breather. 


 Takin' a deeeeep breath.


 I put her and the leaf w/ eggs in the nano tank. I was afraid she'd run out of oxygen in the jam jar. Here she's on her way to the surface to get some air.

And here's the captured snail that I think belongs to the eggs (or vice versa). It looks like a tadpole snail (Physa), about 2-3 mm.

05 March

 Seems I have imported some small snails with the plants. They're hard to make out, so I put up a trap. Maybe I can identify them. I want to know if they're friend or foe. Looking around, I also spotted some eggs on a leaf. Sorry for the poor picture quality. I have to learn to take pics through water. I carefully put the berried leaf in a jar with aquarium water to see what's going to happen.

04 March

 Ok, ok, I couldn't resist. I tried a pic w/out flash, just for the pretty color of the light. So, sue me. At least I found a position where the reflections are kept to a minimum.

 Close-up of the Tiger Lotus. The flash swallows the colors a bit, but if I try w/out it, the reflections are bad on the glass. 

 Filter's running, and everything's in place. 

I'm not in love with the canopy that came with the kit. Not that it's bad, it's just the wrong one for this tank. It's 5 cm too short and not made for rimless tanks. If I can find a light-glo or something similar for not too much money, I might try to sell this one while it's still new. It's either that or rig something up that keeps the fish from carpet surfing.

03 March

 At the end of the day, it doesn't look half bad. I have quite a bit of straight Val left over (that was a big bag) and some tiny Java Fern plantlets. They're in the nano for now that I freed up when I took the Spiral Vals out.

 I came home with an amazing pile of loot, and an OVAS membership card, but too late to do anything but collapse on the couch. Now I'm back with fresh energy, planting some plants. There's Java Fern (both kinds), Java Moss, Vals (straight and spiral), Crypts, Swords and Nympheas (Tiger Lotus). 

I had to move the rock formation to the back and replace a couple of the stones with smaller ones to make room for the big rooted stump I bought. That thing has an amazing volcano-like opening in the top that just begs to be stuffed with plants.

02 March

 Already looks much better with a bit of water in it. ;oP

Anyway - off to the big auction.

01 March 

 Gravel's washed, rocks and wood scrubbed, and a first set in place. I might have to play around with it a little, though. Depends on what I find at the auction tomorrow.

 Here it is on the assembled stand, background in place.

 Meanwhile the tank is being tested for leaks. Everything looks good, though.

 Building the stand.

26 February

 Seems I found a stand. It's gonna get here Saturday, so pics will have to wait. Meanwhile I finished reading Mein Erstes Aquariumbuch (how fitting) which is a first rate starter book for kids (kudos to you and Monika, Volker), and Freshwater Aquarium Problem Solver, an easy read, also aimed, or so I'd think, mainly at beginners and new tank owners.

20 February

 Had to do some major rearranging to clear the perfect corner for my new tank. So, here's where it's gonna go. Now, I need to find me a stand and a timer and a big ass power bar.

12 February 08

  I'm so weak. After discovering that Ottawa has an aquarium society, I went to their January meeting and bought my first aquarium plants (a bunch of Vals and some Java Fern). And the tank is still in it's box. Good thing the tiger had a 2 gallon nano he was willing to lend me for the time being.

Fall 07

  It seems the fishbug is indeed contagious. So, after starting the pond last year, I got me a 25 gallon tank for a freshwater aquarium. Go figure. Does that already count as multiple tank syndrome?