Sunday, April 28, 2013

Poncirus trifoliata

Some pictures I took today of some new plants I bought to grow out on the front porch and a couple of new views of the Aquarium foliage.  I am especially excited about the Poncirus trifoliata a close relative of the Orange that grows in China and Korea and can winter over here in Portland.  Looks very interesting.  I have a small 10 gallon Aquarium in the basement that I am setting up as a quarentine tank when I start introducing fish to the new environment in a few weeks.    I had a bunch of this Microsorium or Java Fern that I wasn't all that excited about.  It is a terrestrial fern that can grow either on land or in water.  It's an epiphyte you don't plant it in the substrate but attach it to stone or driftwood and allow the roots to take hold.  As soon as I took it out of the Quarentine tank which has no CO2 fertilization and put it in the the tank that does it became covered with bubbles. 

The long view and the short.  Photo of front of Aquarium at two weeks.  Close up of the green slime that I am battling for control of at the moment.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Cambomba pulcherrima

Riccia under a microscope
I am enjoying the creation of this new Aquarium and photographing the progress.  Yesterday I used a microscope to check out the many life forms in the Aquarium that can't be seen.  No fish yet but many plants and teeming with microbial life.  Hopefully this will be the foundation of a well balanced Aquarium.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Finished planting the aquarium last night. I have around 20 different species of plants.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

"Give a Man a fish and he will need to buy an Aquarium"
Dr. Science.
I haven't had an Aquarium for long enough that I must have forgotten the amount of trouble it can be so I started longing for one again.  I found a book on The Nature Aquarium by Takashi Amano and began checking out web sites on an aquarium that contains more plants then fish.  The Planted Tank requires better lighting and CO2 infusion.  I started looking for a used Aquarium on Craigslist and found a bare 29 gallon tank.  I decided to also get an Aquarium cabinet where I could hide the filter and CO2 tank the tank also had a black painted back glass to further hide the cords and tubes.  I found a used 4 bulb HO bulb reflector and went with an external canister filter.  I bought a CO2 regulator with a solenoid shutoff that I can attach to a timer so it will only be on when the lights are on.   
CO2 has to be regulated because too much will kill the fish so I bought a drop-check indicator to help monitor the amount of CO2 in the Aquarium.  This two bulb glass indicator has a reference solution that is green showing the proper color for the correct amount of CO2.  The solution in the top bulb changes color when exposed to different levels of dissolved CO2 in the water.  Blue for too little Yellow for two much and Green for just right.

The Planted Tank also requires a substrate to encourage root development and provide a good environment for bacteria needed in the Nitrogen cycle.  I am using ADA Power Sand Special made up of Pumice with bacteria cultures and Ammonia for the bacteria to feed on until the natural cycle of Ammonia break down to Nitrite and Nitrates that can be used by the plants.

Above the Power Sand is a layer of Amazon Aqua Soil a clay based soil that is like the natural bottom of a lake or river where Aquatic Plants would naturally take root.  On top of that I put a layer of Aquarium Gravel to contain the planting medium.

 The first thing I noticed when I turned on the CO2 was the bubbles of O2 streaming out of the plant leaves.  In some plants the bubbles adhere to the leaves which I understand is called 'Pearling'
 I found near my house what is probably Portlands best Aquarium Store for the planted freshwater Aquarist.  The Wet Spot.  This is an amazing place with a huge variety of animals, plants, and equipment for the freshwater gardener.

 Here is the tank a few hours after planting the filters starting to clear up the water.


Here is Riccia showing the "Pearling" of Oxygen bubbles adhering to the foliage

 Detailed close up of the substrate, lower level Power Sand, mid level Amazon Aqua Soil and Aquarium Gravel.  I'll continue to post pictures of my latest project as it literally Evolves.

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