2010 AGA Convention: Register Now!

June 29th, 2010

2010 AGA Convention Banner

The Aquatic Gardener’s Association convention in November is now open for registration. There are a number of compelling reasons to go to this year’s convention:

Don’t miss the premiere U.S. planted aquarium event this year. Register today!

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50G – Riverside Disaster…

June 28th, 2010

I’ve long had the desire to simulate a steep sloped riverbank aquascape with tree branches hanging down into the water. After finally securing the branched manzanita that I wanted for the tree branches, I rescaped my 50G aquarium using those branches, as well as, manzanita stumps to create the sloped hardscape. Unfortunately, my idea has been very slow to materialize, with the manzanita stumps radically altering the water chemistry of my aquarium resulting in a few fish deaths and lots of algae.

50G - June 28, 2010

I think I’ve stabilized the chemistry issue, but am still dealing with some of the resulting algae. Now, I need to let the plants themselves grow in. I’m not 100% convinced that the plants I have (Dwarf Sag, Blyxa aubertii, Rotala sp. ‘H-ra’, and Ludwigia senegalensis) are the plants I ultimately want in this aquascape, but if they can defeat the black-brush-algae, I can go from there. Honestly, I should probably adjust much of the hardscape itself while I’m at it. In any case, I just wanted to share what I was up to, and prove the point that an aquascaping idea doesn’t always work out exactly as you expect; sometimes for the better, sometimes not so much… Suggestions welcome!

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Crinum americanum – New Lily Flower!

June 27th, 2010

I was very happy to see our Crinum americanum flowering outside in our pond this weekend. I’ve been growing this North American native lily for several years in my pond, bringing it indoors every fall to overwinter in a 5-gallon bucket in my office. The flowers are some of the most fragrant flowers I’ve ever grown, very much resembling a woman’s perfume.

Crinum americanum Flower

The flowers themselves are very delicate, lasting only a few days (or until the next rain), but they are nevertheless quite striking with purple/pink stamens. The stalks themselves run a couple feet tall, towering above the rest of the plant. The flower stalk begins like shoot from the base of the plant, and eventually, opens on the end exposing three separate flower pods like below.

Crinum americanum Flower

Those, of course, open into the flowers. Interestingly enough, the flower pods themselves are not really fragrant at all until after they open. (This may not surprise you, but if you’ve ever smelled how intense these flowers can be, you’d expect the scent to diffuse through the walls of the flower pod.) All in all, these Crinums provide a lovely backdrop for the rest of my pond. Comments welcome!

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2010 Acuavida Aquascaping Contest Results

June 22nd, 2010

The 2010 Acuavida Aquascaping Content results have been announced and are online. The overall winners are listed here. To view the actual gallery of results, please use the following link:


Here are the top contestant’s aquariums…

Mini Sized Aquariums

1st Place

2nd Place

3rd Place

Medium Sized Aquariums

1st Place

2nd Place

3rd Place

Large Sized Aquariums

1st Place

2nd Place

3rd Place

Many more fantastic aquascapes from the AAC contest online here…

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Growing Garden

June 2nd, 2010

I’d like to share a few photos that I snapped while I was outside in the garden today. The garden itself is really starting to take off with the warmer weather that we’ve been having lately. I have a number of volunteer tomato plants that came up from an heirloom assortment I grew last year. I’m sure they’ve hybridized now, but the outcomes have produced some very unique looking flowers (below).

Tomato Flowers

I’ve planted Nasturtium throughout the garden as a pest deterrent, and a wonderful peppery addition to salads. The Nasturtium leaf reminds me an awful lot of pennywort in our aquarium.


I’m also beginning to put some of my aquarium plants outside in the pond to grow for the summer. Already, at least four frogs have taken up residence in our small watering hole; more than in any previous year. That’s okay with me, however, as they certainly bring more intrigue to the backyard.


We’ve been picking a huge amount of lettuce greens from the garden. We have 8-9 different varieties, so our salad plates have been very full and tasty. In combination with a handful of strawberries, we’ve loved our early harvest.

Pick'n Lettuce

On Monday, our first tiger lily flowers opened up, revealing one of my most anticipated photo subjects each year. The colors that these flowers exhibit is nothing short of breathtaking. Even the unopened pods are pretty with striking orange colors.


I’ve been spending some time picking the flowers off of our thyme plants in order to encourage them to keep producing more leaves. The small purplish white flowers are abundant and fast replenishing after every picking.

Thyme Flowers

The pea vines are now several feet tall and producing the first pods of the season. The white flowers are a nice precursor to what I hope will be a plentiful yield of peas this year.

Pea Flower

Finally, it looks like our spinach season is over before it really even began. I got the spinach seeds in the ground too late this spring, so we only managed to snag a few flavorful leaves before the plants began to bolt from heat. I will replant in the fall, and try to overwinter them for a great harvest next year. I also have some warm-weather spinach in the ground now, which I hope will soon satisfy our spinach fix.

Bolting Spinach

I would love to hear how everyone else’s gardens are progressing. Please feel free to leave a note in the comment section.

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