Sunday, March 30, 2014

Madagascar Lace Leaf detail

Java Fern

Nerite Snail

Threadfin Rainbow Male
Flower bud of Madagascar lace leaf

Ember Tetra

Pair of Betta Albamarginata

Hair Algae the bane of my existence

The Aquarium has been set up now almost for one year.  I recently replaced the 5lb tank of CO2 which at the rate I use it lasted almost one year.  I am now only infusing the aquarium with the CO2 for 6 hours a day when all four lights are on. I replace on average about 10% of the water once a week and monitor the water chemistry also weekly.  I had a problem early on with low but persistent levels of Ammonia which I believed was coming from the tap-water I was using so I switched to distilled water and have started collecting rain water during heavy rain storms.  In my filter I use a product called Purigen to absorb ammonia and crushed coral to increase the water hardness a bit hopefully to provide some buffering against extreme changes in the ph levels which I notice are influenced by the CO2 infusion.  I still lose a few fish each month for mysterious reasons.  I usually try to buy a minimum of four specimens each time I introduce a new fish variety, that way I end up with at least a couple of healthy ones and if they thrive I add more of the same type later. I've done real well with the Threadfin Rainbows, these seem to like my water conditions.  I also have one pair of Dwarf Gouramies that I've had for almost a year now and spawn frequently.  Recently I added two different wild betta pairs, Betta Rutilians and Betta alba-marginata.  I believe they are keeping my Endlers livebearers in check.  I still cannot manage the hair algae which will coat the surface of the aquarium if I let it.  Twice a week I pull out masses of it.  I keep the water circulating with a air-stone and a spray bar but this doesn't seem to deter it.  The masses of algae though does give pretty good protection for the tiny gourami fry.  I'd like to have several pairs of breeding fish that can sustain a small population.  I wish I had never planted Sagittaria it has taken over the Aquarium and pulling it up disturbs the substrate but it's really blocking out the nicer plants like the Swords, Lotus and Lace leaf.  Crypotcoryne is a much better choice as well as Java fern both are slower growing.  I'll just have to keep working at pulling out the Sagittaria and see if the other plants can then dominate. I may at some point remove all of the water and fish and plants that I want to keep in to a spare 29 gallon I have and then starting again with a new landscape with fewer choicer plants that I want to cultivate in a new substrate using the same Amazon aqua soil and gravel that I used before but preserving the water and the biological filtration that has become established.  I've learned a lot in the last year.

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