75G – Blyxa Japonica replaced by anubias.

September 28th, 2006

Blyxa JaponicaSince I’ve been dosing regularly, keeping the CO2 levels fairly high, and finally have the lighting period set nicely, the plants in this tank have been doing really well. So, as usual, the blyxa japonica (pictured left) really overgrew itself, throwing the whole aquascape out of balance. I was debating whether to simply flip the anubias and blyxa, putting the anubias in front and blyxa in back, but ultimately, I decided to just yank out the blyxa altogether and go with all anubias. (I’m a maintenance kind of guy, and if one plant is less maintenance than another, chances are, I’m going to go with the lesser maintenance plant.)

75G - Angle View
75G – 09-28-2006 (Angled view)

Utricularia graminifoliaAnyways, as you can see, I’ve replaced the blyxa with anubias barterii var. nana. I like how more of the hardscape is revealed by doing so. I’m pretty happy with it thus far, but I might yank the anubias afzelli, which is the long slender leafed anubias in the center-left part of the tank. Additionally, I’m anxiously awaiting the utricularia graminifolia (pictured right) to grow in on the bottom left side. I’m currently blaming my whiptail catfish for hanging out over there, and uprooting the plant. As always, I welcome everyone’s comments on this scape.

75G - Front View
75G – 09-28-2006 (Front view)

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Contest Results

September 27th, 2006

Well, I couldn’t manage to pull out a win for 1st place in the advanced category. GWAPA members awarded first place to Sean’s tank pictured below. Congrats Sean!

Sean's 2.5G tank


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2.5G – Night Before GWAPA Contest Judgement

September 22nd, 2006

Well, it’s Friday night before the Saturday GWAPA meeting. Tomorrow’s meeting will conclude what has been a 5-month effort in preparation for GWAPA’s first annual aquascaping contest. I tidied up the tank, cleaned the glass, removed 2 dozen Endlers, and snapped some photos.

2.5G - 9/22/2006
(Front View – Straight on)

Tomorrow afternoon, I will drain all but an inch of water from this take, pack it up at securing it as best as I can, and take it to the meeting, where GWAPA members, beginner and advanced, will rank my tank aside everyone elses. I’m not sure how mine will rank, but I’ve it’s been a great challenge getting this tank to where it is today. Comments welcome!

2.5G - 9/22/2006, Top, Angled View
(Front view – Looking down at an angle.)

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CO2 Out, Algae In

September 19th, 2006

Green spot algaeIt’s amazing how fast things can turn south. We had to leave town for a few days due to a family emergency, and of course, this is the time it always happens — the CO2 tank ran out. Now mind you, it could be a coincidense, Cladaphora - SOS pad algae!but really it’s just a crewl joke, that not one, but two, CO2 tanks ran out this past weekend. So, while my aquariums are not unsalvagable, they most definitely now range from algae scapes, to minor eye sores on the glass.

Here, is my gallery of shame. On the top left: green spot algae on the glass, with perhaps some late stages of green dust algae. To the right, a nice mat of cladaphora. Note, there’s not a good cure for this algae. Finally, below, notice the free flowing pad of staghorn algae.

Staghorn algae mat

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40G – New Hardscape in Place…

September 13th, 2006

Well, I finally got fed up with lots of not-so-dwarf hairgrass, full of brush algae, that ended up not staying rooted in the substrate. So, I pretty much yanked everything out of the tank. I had neglected this tank for about 2 months, allowing a lotus plant to nearly cover the entire surface. I had hoped that if I let it go long enough, I would finally got a beautiful lotus flower. It figures that the day I pull out that lotus, I see its first flower stalk shooting up. Of course, I only realized this after I ripped out the foot long root system, uprooting the entire left side of the tank. So much for patience — I’ll try that next time.

So, anyways, I’m working with a very limited set of slate rock that’s leftover from redoing my 75G. One of these days, I need to get back down to an excellent slate collection site by the side of the road in northern Virginia. Below is what I’ve come up with thus far for the hardscape. I want lots of caves, as this tank houses several apistogramma panduro. Please ignore the horrible derth of flora right now. I need to make a serious visit to my LFS (and a few GWAPA member’s tank) to find some new and interesting plants to throw in here. I’m open to any plant suggestions, particularly for the foreground.

40G - 09-13-2006

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2.5G – Glosso aquascape

September 11th, 2006

In less than 2 weeks, GWAPA will be judging the aquascapes of our member’s 2.5 gallon tanks. Earlier this spring/summer, GWAPA announced a club aquascaping contest. Any club members, who wanted to participate, would be given a 2.5G tank, complete with 3M ColorQuartz Sand, a 2x13W PC light with legs, and a set of Seachem fertilizers.

We soon found out that the ColorQuartz sand was nothing near the substrate we were used to dealing with. To put it lightly, growth was terrible! After adding a few root tabs, and fertilizing heavily, the glosso finally started taking off. Below is a picture of my tank, two weeks out from it’s final trim before judgement.

2.5G Aquascaping for GWAPA Contest

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Bolivian Rams – Microgeophagus altispinosa

September 8th, 2006

Bolivian Ram

Below are some pictures of one the male bolivian rams, microgeophagus altispinosa, that I have in my 75G tank. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any female rams to try breeding this fish. The local fish stores, generally only carry males because their coloration is much more profound than their female counterparts.

Rams are very nice additions to your tank, even in community tanks. Unlike some of their more aggressive cichlid cousins, these dwarf cichlids from South America are quite docile. I have found that when multiple males are put in the same tank, a hierarchy is definitely established, where the dominant male is the largest and most colorful.
Bolivian Ram

I have kept both rams and apistogramma in the same tank without problem. They will not interbreed, and so long as the tank is large enough, the two will not bother each other. The obvious exception is when either is spawning. Recently, my apistogramma cacatuoides began rearing fry, and seem to purposefully pick out the bolivian rams to chase away from their “nest”. They tend to leave various other rasaboras and tetras much more leeway than they do their dwarf-cichlid-counterparts.

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75G – Updated Pictures

September 5th, 2006

I decided to snap a few updated pictures of my 75G tank today. I’m still figuring out all of this photography stuff, so bear with me as I try to get better and better pictures of my tanks.

75G - 09-05-2006
(Front/Angled view)
75G - 09-05-06 - Side View
(View from right side)

Nerite Snails - 09-05-2006

Apistogramma Cacatuoides Male -09-05-2006(Left – Apisto. cacatuoides, hovering over some anubias barteri, where his fry are swimming between the roots.)

(Right – Two Nerite Snails cling to one another. I don’t want to know what they’re doing!)

As you can see, the glosso is growing in quite nicely. The Rams have taken a particular liking to swimming in the open “glosso field.” That is, of course, when the female apisto. cacatuoides is not chasing them away from her fry.

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Ranunculus Inundatus Hill

September 4th, 2006

Elatine Triandra overgrown As you can see to the left, the elatine triandra that I had planted, in hope that it would fill the hill in my 75G has grown unmanagable. It looked fabulous for about a week, and then it overgrew itself, to the point where half of it wasn’t even rooted in the substrate anymore.

Ranunculus inundatus - overhead view

So, I decided to rip it all out, and instead try ranunculus inundatus as my “hill plant.” This is a funny little plant that is somewhat new to the hobby, and isn’t likely to be found in all but a few local fish stores.

Planting this plant is quite similar to planting glossostigma elatinoides; you break it into sections of 1-2 nodes, and plant them individually. Before long, each node will send out new nodes via runners, covering your substrate. From the picture below, you can tell that the leaves can be a number of inches above the substrate. These plants were transplanted from a more shaded aquarium, so they are quite high. I’m counting on the new growth to hug the substrate a little bit more tightly, as I have 220W overtop of this tank, with the top of the hill only being about 10″ from the lights.
Ranunculus inundatus - just planted on the hill in my 75G
Ranunculus inundatus is a relatively fast growing plant when in the right conditions. Generally speaking, the required conditions are similar to glosso: decent light, plenty of macros, and CO2. You might be able to grow it in less-than-ideal circumstances, but the growth will likely be leggy, with deformed leaves.

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