Limnophila Aromatica Flower!

August 31st, 2006

Limnophila Aromatica Flower (immersed)I was out tending the garden today, on a cool, overcast day, and to my delight, I saw the first bloom on an immersed limnophila aromatica stem! The flower is very pretty purple, and is slightly fragrant. I hope to have many more in the coming weeks, so I’ll keep posting updated pictures as I take them.

As an aquarium plant, limnophila aromatica is a beautiful addition to any high light aquascape. Depending on nutrient and light levels, the plants can be anything from a bright green to deep purple, with bronze edges on the leaves. When planting, you will realize why it is called “aromatica,” as the plant itself has a distinct smell. In fact, limnophila aromatica, or “Rice Paddy Herb,” as it is known to the culinary world, is an ingredient unique to Vietnamese foods.

Some aquarists have noted that limnophila aromatica is an “indicator plant” for nitrate and/or iron levels. They say that when nitrate levels in the tank drop too low, the plant will turn a bright purple. I have observed the opposite, which leads me to believe that my iron levels were insufficient at the time.

Limnophila Aromatica

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Wonder Snails – Olive Nerite Snails

August 30th, 2006

One of the more recent snails to the hobby, Olive Nerite Snails are the wonder snail when it comes to algae eating. They have been reported (and observed) eating green spot algae, green dust algae, fungus on wood, etc, etc, etc… These snails are actually brackish water snails, but do just fine in our freshwater tanks. Due to their salty nature, their eggs never produce any snail offspring. Also, their thick shells, and tightly sealed trapdoor often allow them to coexist with loaches. (Much to the loach’s dismay, I’m sure.)
Nerite Snails

The only downside to these snails is that they tend to produce lots of sesame-sized eggs throughout the tank (shown below). Their egg production tends to be more prolific when they are first introduced to the tanks. Perhaps they are still acclimating themselves from brackish to freshwater?
Nerite Snail Cleaning Wall

I’d recommend Olive Nerite Snails for anyone’s tank!

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Apisto Babies!

August 29th, 2006

I got home this evening, and I noticed that my apistogramma cacatuoides pair was acting a little bit. The female had sectioned off the middle of the tank, guarding a bunch of anubias roots. Upon further examination, I saw that she had a small shoal of baby apisto. fry! I immediately ran and got my video recorder, and tried to record the event. Unfortunately, you can’t see any of the babies, but if you look closely, you should be able to see the mother acting quite standoffish. I also zoomed out a bit, to give a better overall of the tank layout itself. The camera angle is shot from the right side of the tank.

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Aquatic Gardener’s Assoc. Convention 2006

August 29th, 2006

All AGA members have been asked to help promote the upcoming AGA 2006 convention this November. I will be attending the conference, and plan to blogging from there each night. If you have the means to go, I highly encourage it. They have a great line-up of speakers, and the field trip to Monterey Bay Aquarium, is supposed to be worth the price of admission.

AGA Convention 2006

This is your chance to knock elbows with experts and hobbiests alike. Polish up your latin names and aquarium geek-speak, and come on out to San Fran in November!

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75G – New Scape, Bad Pictures

August 28th, 2006

I finally got around to snapping a few pictures of my 75G’s new aquascape. Unfortunately, the water is still cloudy from the water change, and the angle is kind of weird. Despite, my best photoshop magic, this is what I turned out with.

75G - 08-28-2006

(This picture was originally taken at an angle, and skewed/cropped, so it might be out of proportion.)

75G - 08-28-2006 - Angle View

As you can see, the glosso hasn’t quite covered the substrate yet. The elatine triandra is growing like crazy. Everything is growing quite well.

I hope you enjoy the pictures. I’d love to hear any comments you have on the aquascape!

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An Outdoor Tank

August 25th, 2006

This summer I decided to try my hand at some outdoor water gardening. My problem, of course, was that I didn’t have a pond outside, and we don’t have a lot of space in the backyard to make one. So, we came up with the idea of building something a little bit different — a small raised brick pond.

Small Brick Raised Pond
(Photo immediately after construction – May 2006)

Since construction, our “pond” has gone through a number of phases. One of my experiments for this project was to see if I could get away with keeping the pond healthy without your typical pond filtration. I found out that while I could get away without filtration, I couldn’t get away with a lack of circulation. Within a few weeks of filling the pond, the surface was pretty much covered in blue-green-algae (BGA). I decided it was time to invest in a pump to move the water around. The obstacle, was that I didn’t want to go to the trouble of extending our outdoor electrical circuit over to the pond. So, I found a solar-powered pump instead, which has worked out beautifully.

Solar Panel for PumpThe pump circulates approximately 170l/h, which is just about perfect for the 65-75 gallons of water in our pond. As you can see, the panel itself is not too large, and doesn’t take away from the overall view of the backyard.

Now, with the algae under control, I introduced a number of plant species from my aquariums. I added heteranthera zosterifolia, sagittaria subulata, limnophila aromatica, hygrophila polysperma, hydrocotyle leucocephala, phyllanthus fluitans, frogbite, and echinodorus quadricostatus. Additionally, I added about 2 dozen Endlers livebearers fish, some cherry shrimp, and plenty of common pond snails.

As expected, the Endler population has exploded. From the 2 dozen initial fish, I estimate there to be no less than 200 fish currently in the pond. They’re quite active fish, and do not shy away if you put your hand in the water. In fact, they will readily swim up and nibble on your arm hairs, if you let them.

Endlers swimming into your hands

This fall, I hope to drain the pond for the winter and sell off or give away most of the Endlers and plants. It’s been a really enjoyable project that’s enhanced the look of our backyard. Additionally, it’s become a gathering spot for our two cats to amuse themselves, and for our dog’s a drinking trough. (Regardless of how much we discourage them.)

L. Aromatica Emersed

Sag. Sub. Flower Finally, I snapped some pictures of a sagittaria subulata flower, and the  limnophila aromatica, which has started growing emersed. Did you know that in some asian countries, l. aromatica is used as an herb in cooking? I hope it flowers too!

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About Me

August 22nd, 2006

So, I’ve decided to start a blog about aquariums. Why, you might ask? Well, it’s quite simple, I like aquariums — freshwater planted aquariums specifically. I’m active participant in my local aquatic plant club, GWAPA, and would like to start documenting some of my experiences in the hobby. I hope to keep this blog updated at least once per week, probably corresponding to my weekly water changes. Let me introduce you to my tanks:

20G Jungle Tank

This tank has a breeding population of apistogramma borelli, which readily breed inside the hollow bog wood, and moss/plant cover. There’s currently an amalgamation of plants including: hygrophila corymbosa “narrow long leaf”, hygrophila polysperma, sagittaria subulata, utricularia graminifolia, ludwigia sp. “cuba”, ludwigia palustris, ranunculus inundatus, heteranthera zosterifolia, and assorted java, taiwan, fisidens sp. mosses.

40G Breeder Tank w/ADA Amazonia Substrate
40GThis is my first attempt at an iwagumi scape. A breeding population of apistogramma panduro are the main occupants in this tank. Most of the aquarium is covered by eleocharis acicularis, with more stargrass, rotala macrandra “green”, limnophila aromatica, and nymphea “red lotus” occupying the back left.

75G – My Largest Tank

This is an old picture of my 75G tank. You will soon see some updated pictures of the tank, along with a dairy of DIY attempts to build a scape. As you can see, I have no problem adding as many plants as I can get my hands on inside this tank!

54G – Rainbow/Low Maintenence Tank

This is the tank that I never do anything to, outside of changing the water every two weeks. The anubias may not look perfect, but they keeping growing, and the rainbowfish stay happy and show great color. There is also an assortment of loaches, cories, and plecos hidden in this tank.

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