GWAPA – February 2012 Meeting

February 27th, 2012

On Saturday, Judi hosted GWAPA’s February 2012 meeting on Amano-style/Nature Aquarium Style aquascaping. I gave the presentation, and had a pretty decent turn-out of 20-25 folks show up, including several new members. We had a lot going on at this meeting, as members picked up fish/inverts from a group buy from, Cavan Allen debuted our first “plant of the month” talk with a 5-10 minute introduction to Eriocaulon compressum, and we announced the rules for GWAPA’s member-only aquascaping contest.

Judi's 2.5G Aquarium

Judi's 2.5G Aquarium

This year, GWAPA members voted to require all submissions to our contest be in the Nature Aquarium Style, excluding Iwagumi. Last year, we had a fun contest with similar requirements for Dutch aquascapes. You can see last year’s winning tank online at GWAPA’s website.

Judi's 2.5G Aquarium

Judi's Other 2.5G Aquarium

Judi has an assortment of tanks scattered through-out her house, which made going from room-to-room a lot of fun. In the kitchen, she has two 2.5G aquariums side-by-side with very nice nano-scapes going on.

Judi's Tank

Judi's Aquascape with Cryptocoryne nurii

In the dining room, she had a 30G (I think) aquarium with some of the nicest looking Cryptocoryne nurii I have ever seen. At first glance, I thought it was a batch of C. wendtii, but the leaf pattern on C. nurii is unmistakable. The foreground is Eleocharis sp. ‘Belem’, with lots of Anubias, Hygrophila pinnatifida, and a few other stems throughout. Overall, it was a great way to spend a chilly and windy February afternoon.


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Raleigh Aquarium Society Workshop

February 22nd, 2012

This past weekend, I spoke at the Raleigh Aquarium Society’s annual workshop and auction, along with a lineup of several other fantastic speakers. We had a little bit of everything with talks about Barbs, planted aquariums, West-African fish, collecting in Cameroon, large-scale fish farms, Central American cichlids, and even labyrinth fish. Many of the speakers were the same folks you read in the popular aquarium magazines, so it was a treat to be able to learn from other experts in the hobby.

I was also treated to some great activities in Raleigh by local members. Neil Frank invited me over to see his fish room, which consists of three wonderful planted aquariums. Neil is a long-time planted aquarist, and has lots of interesting things going on in his tanks.
Neil's Aquarium

In the tank above, he has a breeding colony of Melanotaenia praecox rainbowfish, that were buzzing all throughout the tank. I was blown away by the red sword plant in the 90G aquarium below. This old narrow-leaf sword was a single plant, but took up a foot in circumference. The contrast against the greenery surrounding it was even better in person.

Neil's Aquarium

He had another 90G next to this one (shown below) that had an oddball cultivar of Java Fern where every leaf was complemented by two smaller leaves at it’s base, making it look like the fleur de lis.

Neil's Aquarium

All of Neil’s aquariums had sumps, which allowed him to hide most of his equipment, aside from the built-in overflow boxes. I’m seriously considering a sump for my rimless tank now, as I didn’t realize that sumps allow you to keep a constant water level in the tank. Rimless tanks are a pain to refill water lost to evaporation through the week otherwise.


Outside of the conference, I also got an invitation to tour the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Many of the exhibits at this museum feature fish and other fauna that are native to North Carolina. My absolute favorite exhibit was one featuring Blackbanded Sunfish, which are one of the most striking native fish you’ll find.

Black-Banded Sunfish

A close second-favorite exhibit was one featuring native Kanawha darters and Redlip Shiner. The shiner were incredibly active, zooming around the tank, while the darters pretty much hung out on the logs.

Kanawha Darter

This tank was in a wide-open area, so I bet these fish weren’t displaying their top coloration. I’d love to see how red the shiner would get in a nicely planted aquarium after feeding some quality food for several weeks.

Redlip Shiner

After a great time at the workshop on Saturday, Sunday was an all-day auction. I wasn’t able to stay for most of the auction, but there were at least 500-600 items for sale on 10+ tables. They did a fantastic job of dividing up the auction items into categories like south american cichlids and plants so that you could target a specific table for items that you might want to bid on later. All-in-all, it was a great weekend! Thank you to the Raleigh Aquarium Society for inviting me down to such a wonderful event. I had a truly wonderful time meeting and hanging out with everyone, and highly recommend the event to any aquarist.

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Mini-S Update

February 13th, 2012

I snapped a photo of my Mini-S nano aquarium this morning. The Hemianthus callitrichoides is growing in well, however, I’m scratching my head a little bit regarding the difference in appearance of the HC on the right side verses the left side of the tank. The left side looks fantastic, with lush, green growth. The right side is growing, but many of the leaves are brown or even decaying. There’s definitely more flow on the right side of the tank, but usually that’s a good thing.

Mini-S Update

The stuff on the right side probably doesn’t have as much substrate to root itself into as on the left, so I’ve added a little bit of powder-type ADA Amazonia on the right. We’ll see if that helps improve the help. Otherwise, comments welcome!

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GWAPA’s January Visit to Amazonia Exhibit

February 7th, 2012

At the end of January, GWAPA members were treated with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Amazonia Exhibit at the National Zoo. Below are pictures from that tour:

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