General maintenance update

I have lately moved to the reduced water change way of doing things, gradually reducing water changes over the last couple of months. This is working well, the with Amazon sword showing improved growth, although the rest of the plants suffered until I increased the lighting and finally switched to a “siesta regime”, which is 5 hours on, 4 hours off, 5 hours on, off for the night arrangement. This new regime seems to have helped reduce the hair algae.Since I removed the duckweed (Lemna minor), which was not a great idea, the Limnobium laevigatum (Amazon frogbit) had been flourishing alongside the Riccia fluitans.

Removing duckweed and adding reflectors

Once duckweed, a very invasive plant, is in the aquarium, it is very difficult to remove it again because even a single leaf is enough for the plant to take over. So, to remove the duckweed, I used fishnets to take as much out as I could, removing the rest of the floating plants in the process. Next, I removed all duckweed which was on the filter inlet and stirred all the plants because some of the duckweed was caught in them. After netting that out, I checked all the sides, under the stress bars, around the cables and tubing, then netted out all which I found. After about an hour or so, I couldn’t spot any more leaves floating around, so I rinsed the duckweed off of the floating plants I wanted to keep and put them back into the aquarium. The Riccia was quite difficult to separate, so I added some from a different aquarium.

Since I already had the lid completely off for removing the duckweed, I decided to add a reflector to the lights. I used super glue to attach some kitchen foil to the underside of the lid, which resulted in the aquarium looking twice as bright as it did before the reflector.

New plants are here!

Here is a list of the new plants I bought from a serious plant keeper:

  • Blyxa japonica
  • Cabomba furcata / C. piauhyensis
  • Didiplis diandra
  • Echinodorus cordifolius ‘Mini’
  • Echinodorus tenellus
  • Eichhornia azurea ‘Rotstängelig’
  • Fissidens fontanus
  • Glossostigma elatinoides
  • Helanthium tenellum ‘parvulum’
  • Helanthium sp. ‘Longifolius’
  • Heteranthera zosterifolia
  • Hygrophila corymbosa angustifolia
  • Hygrophila salicifolia sp. ‘tiger’
  • Limnobium laevigatum
  • Limnophila aromaticoides
  • Limnophila indica
  • Ludwigia inclinata var. verticillata ‘Cuba’
  • Ludwigia repens glandulosa
  • Myriophyllum aquticum ‘Santa Catarina’
  • Najas guadalupensis
  • Najas marina
  • Najas marina from Lake Edward
  • Nymphaea micrantha
  • Pogostemon erectum
  • Sagittaria subulata
  • Staurogyne repens
  • Rotala nanjenshan
  • Rotala wallichii
  • Rotala sp. ‘Vietnam’

Some are settling in well, while others not so much. Fissidens fontanus is currently being blacked out as it came with blanket weed (green, hair-like algae).

Rams spawning (cont.)

So, the ram pair which I separated off have spawned again, only 11 days after the previous spawn and 9 days since the eggs disappeared (I don’t think they appreciated being moved). I was actually planning on giving them a cool water change with blackwater on day 14, to see if that would trigger them.

I have been feeding the pair on a little bit of high-protein live food diet, once every other day. They also have plenty of vegetation to nibble on, if they get peckish. The aquarium itself has lots of muml on the bottom a quite a few species of tiny crustaceans in all the plants. I’m running it filter free (using the pump of one as a powerhead) as the plants use up any ammonia (and provide a home for the bacteria) which the two fish can produce… not something beginners should consider, but works well for low-stock, plant-heavy aquaria.

Oh, and I’m getting a delivery of new plants tomorrow! It’s an odd job mix from another hobbyist, but I hope I can get some Asian species which I want for the new 60 litre.

Rams spawn and keyholes are ready to

The “second” pair (as in, the second strongest and the second pair to pair up) spawned on the Amazon sword today, I was planning to move them to a breeding aquarium because the snails give the fry no chance of survival in the display. Since they beat me to it, I ended up moving the pair and tearing off the sword leaf to move with them. They are now in a 60 litre quarantine/breeder, on their won and still guarding the eggs.

Keyholes and the “first” ram pair both look ready to spawn, the two are competing for the same area of the tank to spawn in, which means that the rams will get it and the keyholes will have to find somewhere else.

Stocking update and on buying discus

Because of the plants, the total stock is quite difficult to count, but here is what I counted last night at feeding:

  • 3m 1f adult keyholes
  • 3m 3f blue rams
  • 25 harlequin rasboras
  • 1m 2f bristlenose plecos (and 5-30 fry)
  • one mustard spot panaque
  • one rusty pleco
  • 1m 1f dayi gouramis

I have recently been looking at buying some discus, which has proven to be quite an interesting experience. First, it was quite difficult to figure out what the colour I was after was called.. after a long search and conversations with some discus breeders, I was able to determine that I wanted “royal green” discus. Next came the challenge of finding a seller, which was more difficult still and in the end I had to settle for “red spotted green”. The difference between the two is that “royal” have a blue sheen across the whole body, while “red spotted” means a dusting of red spots on the discus’s flanks. “Green” indicates the body base colour, which is yellow cheeks, changing to blue around the fins. I also wanted ones with a dark blue stripe circling the body along the dorsal, caudal and anal fins. After a few hours of looking and reading reviews, I setted on a breeder near Hanover.

Unfortunately, this breeder refused to communicate by email and we had a misunderstanding when communicating by phone, so the difference in total price for 10 discus delivered was 400 EUR between what we agreed on by phone and the invoice he sent me.. so my search goes on.. In the worst case, he will have discus of the right size in about 8 weeks from now. In the mean time, I have shifted my search to sellers in UK as I know of someone who will be able to drive them over for me.

Post-holiday update and maintenance

My friend came twice to check on the fish in the two weeks that I was on holiday and each time did a small water change, then fed the fish.

The hair algae has made a come back, while I was away, so I’ve had to pull out more of it. It is growing predominantly on the side of the aquarium where natural sunlight falls. I also gave the plants a trim and did a 15% water change. While I was on holiday, I managed to trade some Crypt. for water sprite and Riccia.

Water parameters are nitrate at 30 ppm and pH 7.4-7.6, I also tested for ammonia and nitrite, which I would normally not do in an established aquarium.. both were 0 ppm. Filter claims that it does not need cleaning, so it didn’t get any.

Weekly maintenance and update on plants

420 litre: Ludwigia removedThe Ludwiga brevipes has been growing fuller of hair algae and loosing its leaves, so I have pulled it out for the moment and am trying to perform a blackout on it, in the hope that the algae would die back before the plant.

During the more major weekly maintenance, I performed a 10% water change and tidied plants. Water readings were nitrate at 15 ppm, pH 7.4, 20 °GH, 3 °KH.