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Algae Eating Crew

April 30th, 2012

Believe it or not, but this piece of African bogwood used to be completely covered by black brush algae (BBA). I got my act in order, and have been routinely dosing the tank for the past few months, cranked up the CO2, and added some extra Amano Shrimp and Zebra Nerite Snails. As a result, I’ve literally witnessed a daily receding of this BBA as the algae crew have fed.

BBA on Wood

What’s very interesting is that I still feed the catfish in this tank veggie wafers, but I guess either the catfish aren’t sharing, or the shrimp/snails prefer the BBA. I honestly believe that it’s the zebra nerites that are doing more BBA eating than anything else in the tank. I had never previously realized that zebra nerites had such an affection for BBA, but I’m quite pleased that the latest crew seem to enjoy it.

BBA on Wood

As I mentioned, I regularly feed algae wafers to the catfish in this tank. While the shrimp and nerites don’t seem to go after these provisions, the Malaysian Trumpet Snails cluster around the wafers. Today I watched one MTS slither over the back of a Red Lizard Catfish who was also yearn for some veggie goodness.

Snail climbing on Red Lizard Catfish

The take away is that in my tanks, algae is inevitable. I’m going to get lazy on my dosing, CO2 is going to run out, or I’ll let a filter go slightly too long between cleanings. It’s good to know that when this happens, I’ll get some help from Amano Shrimp and Zebra Nerite Snails to keep things looking decent. My laziness is their gain!




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Blue Tiger Shrimp & More…

September 6th, 2010

I wanted to share a few pictures that I took this afternoon in my fish room. I was experimenting with a new macro lens and flash that I got a couple months ago, which is why a few of the shots are obviously unrealistic. In any case, the blue tiger shrimp are one of my new favorites, with their black bodies and bright orange eyes.

Blue Tiger Shrimp

Of course, when you’re breeding these shrimp, you’re never going to get 100% solid black bodies. Some of them will come out as “blondes,” or shrimp with transparent bodies with the signature tiger stripes.

Blue Tiger Shrimp

Otherwise, these don’t seem to be too difficult to keep. They’re slightly smaller than cherry red shrimp, but similar in size to crystal reds.

Blue Tiger Shrimp

Mine are all housed in my 12G GLA bookshelf aquarium, where they graze on a little bit of beard algae that’s snuck into that aquarium.

Blue Tiger Shrimp

They also love to hide in the short Eleocharis sp. ‘Japan’ hairgrass that makes up the foreground in this tank, picking at whatever tiny goodies they can find.

Blue Tiger Shrimp

In my 50G aquarium, I have a breeding colony of bristlenosed plecos. Their are several generations cohabiting the aquarium, which are constantly working the driftwood and glass.

Pleco

I caught one such pleco hanging out on the front glass. I like to think that I keep my glass pretty clean, but I guess she’s finding something of value there.

Pleco

Finally, I snapped a quick shot of one of my beautiful angelfish, which really are the most personable fish I’m keeping right now. When they’re hungry, they follow me from end-to-end of the tank, begging me to drop in some tasty morsels for them to devour.

Angelfish

I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at my latest shots. Feel free to leave a comment if you’ve enjoyed these same creatures for yourself…

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50G: Updated Picture + New Shrimp

August 14th, 2009

It’s been a few weeks since I replanted the 50G, and as you can see the plants have been growing quite well. The tank is definitely due for a trim right now, especially the Ludwigia brevipes on the left, and the Limnophila repens var. ‘Mini’ in the back left. I do have two notable additions to this aquascape. In the back-left, I added a number of Blyxa aubertii plants which were previously in my 75G aquarium.

50G

Also, I was fortunate to get in on a fantastic group buy that GWAPA conducted to add 15 crystal red shrimp, and 15 crystal black shrimp to this aquarium. Below is a picture of one of the red ones, which I believe is a “tiger-tooth” because the one red band looks like two teeth coming down. I don’t know very much about grading the shrimp, and really don’t care, as I just think they’re quite striking inhabitants in a planted aquarium regardless of the grade.

Crystal Red Shrimp

So, hopefully, these shrimp will start a little breeding population in my 50G! Elsewhere in the aquarium, the hairgrass is starting to spread in the corners where I transplanted a few plants, and I’m generally pleased with the direction that it’s headed. I’m waiting on the stems on the right side to grow out a bit more and multiply, so that I can really focus on trimming them into new compact bushes of plants. Comments/critiques welcome!

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Misc Invert Pictures

July 25th, 2009

Last weekend, while I was trying to get pictures of the Apistogramma baenschi “Inka” in my 20L, I also snapped a few shots of the Nerite snails and Amano shrimp while waiting for the Apistos to come out of hiding. I wanted to share a few of those shots.

Nerite Snail

Olive Nerite Snails are by far one of the best algae eaters you can add to your aquarium, but many of them are quite pretty as well. I love the spiraling parallel lines patterned over many of their shells. I thought this guy (above) looks pretty good against the orange tones of the rock.

Nerite Snail

One of their key attributes is their willingness to slither along the glass, cleaning it of green spot, or other tough algae. You can see that this particular snail’s shell is slowly eroding away due to the lower pH and hardness of my water. This is fairly common in planted aquariums, especially when CO2 is injected as the carbonic acid is hard on their shells. I’ve known some hobbyists who used reef epoxy to fill in these holes, prolonging the life of their invert inhabitants.

Amano Shrimp & Algae Wafer

Amano shrimp are the other must have invert in nearly every aquarium. They can clear a field of hair algae in a matter of days, if added in proper proportion to the size of the tank. (That, by the way, is probably roughly 1 shrimp/2 gallons.) Too many, with too little algae, and they will start eating your moss fronds, or other delicate leaved plants. To minimize that, I feed mine algae wafers. The largest Amano in the tank usually swims right to the wafer, and holds it captive until he’s eaten his fill. Then the rest of the invertibrates in the tank swarm the leftovers. A day of the life of an invert.

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Cherry Shrimp Convention

January 13th, 2009

I was sitting across the room, watching some television, which I noticed a huge mass of cherry shrimp, all congregated in the front of my 75G aquarium. The 75G has been close to algae-free lately, so I have been feeding extra algae wafers for the plecos, but hadn’t really paid much attention after doing so. Apparently, the population of cherry shrimp was quite interested in the algae wafers, and called of their friends to join them in the feast.

Cherry Shrimp

Of course, with that many shrimp in one place, all of the rainbowfish in the tank wanted to see what was so interesting. They dove in and out of the population of shrimp, but didn’t seem to bother the shrimp any by doing so.

Cherry Shrimp

Finally, the Ancistrus sp. ‘L279′ bristle-nosed plecos realized that I dropped in algae wafers, and stormed into the middle of the shrimp. In some instances, they swam in fast enough to a send the shrimp flying out of the way.

Ancistrus sp. L279

All in all, it’s pretty entertaining to watch these critters interact with the rest of the tankmates. As you can tell, the cherry shrimp have had no problem breeding in my 75G aquarium!

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Dwarf Crayfish

September 22nd, 2008

This weekend, I spent some time over at another GWAPA member’s house, Dave (ingg), and I wanted to share a couple pictures of his Dwarf Crayfish. I have kept this kind of crayfish before, and even had them breed for me, but I don’t have them any longer. They’re really neat invertebrates, and since they don’t get as large as normal crayfish, they can’t eat your fish.

Dwarf Crayfish

Dave’s got a fair number of crays in a 37G aquarium. I think they’ve started to breed for him, but I’m unsure as to whether or not any of the babies have survived to adulthood. As you can see below, they’re pretty much just smaller replicas of larger crayfish.

Dwarf Crayfish

I wonder if these guys would survive in my sunfish tank? They’ve all but annihilated any of the shrimp that I’ve put in that tank, but since the crayfish are generally a little bit more feisty, maybe they could defend themselves? If anyone has any experience keeping dwarf crays with shrimp-eating-fish, I’d love to hear your advice.

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Sulawesi Shrimp – Six Banded Black Bees

September 11th, 2008

I haven’t talked about the Sulawesi shrimp that I got for awhile. Mostly, that’s because I only have two left, and am still waiting to get some replacements for the huge loses that I incurred from shipping. What I have left are Six Banded Black Bee Shrimp.

Six Banded Black Bee Shrimp

They’re aptly named this because of their black bodies with roughly six white bands across their back. The thing I like the most about them are their eyes, which are quite striking and intense. Due to the Hydras in their last tank, I finally moved them to a tank with more plants, which allows me to see them more.

Six Banded Black Bee Shrimp

The previous tank had black sand as a substrate, so they were quite difficult to spot. They’re a little bit smaller than full adult cherry shrimp, but still big enough to be seen. Unfortunately, the ones I have are all the same sex, which means I’m still in a holding pattern in terms of breeding these fellas.

Six Banded Black Bee Shrimp

The ones that survived the shipping seem to be pretty tolerant of my water conditions, as I haven’t had a death in a few months. I really hope that all of these Sulawesi shrimp are starting to be commercially bred so that we can start having easy access (both in accessibility and price) to more of them.

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Attack of the Hydra!

September 6th, 2008

Today, I had the misfortune to discover a new creature in one of my fry tanks. Quite a few Hydra are present in this tank, presumably introduced by feeding incredibly small fry foods, such as newly hatched brine shrimp. It’s also possible that they’ve been present all along, but couldn’t survive until I provided high-quality micron-sized protein powder for them (and the fry) to feed on.

Hydra

Hydra are bad to have because just like their marine cousins (jellyfish, corals, and sea anemones), they feed off of small organisms, capturing them using their stingers. If they just stuck to water fleas or infusoria, I wouldn’t mind, but they will also attack newly hatched fry. That’s unacceptable. Now, I have shrimp in this tank, which some folks report will keep them under control, but nevertheless the Hydras are still present. Supposedly, they can be killed by using Fluke tabs, raising the temperature significantly, or by breaking down the whole tank, and sterilizing it.

Hydras

I’m not going to break down the whole tank because feeding fry will just continue to promote their presence in the future. For the next couple of hours, I’m just going to watch them, since they really are neat looking creatures. But, then, I’ll start my assault on their lives. Suggestions welcome!

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Horned Sun Snail & Tiger Snail

September 4th, 2008

Yesterday, I got two new types of snails for my aquariums. The first is one that I’ve been looking at for a little while, but only recently had the opportunity to obtain. The Sun Snail has little horns or spikes spiraling off of the their shells.

Sun Snail

The bag that I got them in was actually punctured by the spikes. From what I’ve read, these snails should be similar to the Olive Nerite Snails in terms of their algae eating ability. In addition, I don’t think that they will reproduce in fresh water.

Sun Snail

The other type of snail that I got was the Tiger Snail, named for the orange and black pattern on their shells. These seem to be larger than the Olive Nerite, and much larger than the Sun Snails.

Tiger Snail

As such, they have a larger foot, and can really propel themselves across the substrate. I’ve also found two of them outside of my tank, thus far, hanging out on the light fixture above the tank, and on the rim of the tank. I suppose that means that they’re still adjusting to the water in my tank.

Tiger Snail

While these snails really just serve the same purpose as their Olive Nerite cousins, they add a little bit of variety to the options we have for snails in our tanks.


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Yellow Shrimp – Neocaridina heteropoda var ‘Yellow’

July 16th, 2008

After much anticipation, today I received a dozen Yellow Shrimp, Neocaridina heteropoda var ‘Yellow,’ via a trade with another aquarist. I’ve seen some pictures of these guys online, and knew that I must have them. Yellow Shrimp are the same species as Cherry Red Shrimp, but they have been selectively bred to exhibit a striking yellow coloration.

Yellow Shrimp

As soon as I put them in their own dedicated 10G tank, they went to town exploring the space. I added an algae wafer, which they quickly dismantled, and readily absorbed. The shrimp that I have are not full grown adults. Like cherry reds, when full grown their exoskeleton can become much more opaque in color, making them an incredibly bright yellow.

Yellow Shrimp

The best thing about these shrimp is that they’re supposed to be just as easy to breed as the Cherry Reds. This makes sense since they’re the same species, but that isn’t always the case. While some of you may be wondering, “if you crossed a yellow shrimp with a cherry red, would you get an orange shrimp?” The answer, apparently, is no — they would revert back to their drab natural coloration, brown.

Yellow Shrimp

It’s a shame that I’ve already stocked my pond with Cherry Red Shrimp, otherwise I would probably have put these guys outside. Last year, I pulled hundreds of Cherry Reds out of the pond in the fall after only having them outside for 3-4 months. I’m hoping to be as lucky with these guys, albeit, inside. If anyone has kept these shrimp themselves, I’d love to hear your experiences.

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