Plant update (week 17)

Before trimming

I have been trimming the Hydrocotyle sp. ‘Japan’ once per week, selling off 60-100 cm at a time. If you want some, send me an email or leave a message! The H. leucocephala, which can be seen growing at the centre front has been moved to the back now.

The Lindernia rotundifolia has also started to take off, and since I took the first cutting two weeks ago, a couple more stems are now close to the surface, so I expect to cut them back next weekend or the weekend after.

All of the Cryptocorynes are growing well, although slowly, with C. beckettii ‘petchii’ being the fastest.

I have even managed to find some Rotala rotundifolia cuttings which are recovering slowly!

Mosses are also doing well. While I originally added only Vesicularia ferriei, the weeping moss has sprouted strands of Taxiphyllum sp. ‘peacock’ and there are a few strands of what I suspect to be T. sp. ‘stringy moss’, which is also sometimes labelled as ‘Japan moss’.

Another couple of hitch-hikers have also made it into the aquarium: Hemianthus callitrichoides ‘Cuba’ and Riccia fluitans. The Riccia is not doing so well, while the Hemianthus has gotten caught on one of the C. beckettii ‘petchii’ leaves and seems to be growing. Both species are often considered difficult or impossible to grow in “low-tech” set-up, so it will be interesting to see how these do.

The Pogostemon erectus is surviving, although no longer doing well. I added a root tab underneath it a couple of days ago and moved it out from under the C. wendtii ‘Tropica’, which had started trying to grow over the Pogostemon.

After taking the photo, I pruned back all the Hydrocotyle sp. ‘Japan’ from around the heater as I did not like how it looked and gathered the L. rotundifolia closer together, towards the back of the aquarium.

Test results and maintenance update

Almost two weeks ago, on Friday when I collected the loaches, I did a 20 litre water change on the tank because I wanted to acclimatise the loaches directly to the water they would have in the end, so I used the water from the 60 litre for the quarantine tank. The test results for the water from the 60 litre before the water change were (on day 113):

  • KH: 7 ° (125 ppm)
  • GH: 19 ° (339 ppm)
  • ammonia: 0 ppm
  • nitrite: 0 ppm
  • nitrate: 20 ppm
  • pH: 7.8

And today (day 124):

  • KH: 8 ° (143 ppm)
  • GH: 18 ° (321 ppm)
  • ammonia: 0 ppm
  • nitrite: 0 ppm
  • nitrate: 20 ppm
  • pH: 7.8

The temperature has been steady at 20 °C, which is perfect for these fish and fits in with the recommendation of the breeder from whom I bought them.

Following these tests, I performed an 8 litre water change (with the old water going into the quarantine aquarium that contains the loaches) and finished off by wiping the glass on the outside.

Current maintenance schedule consists of cleaning the glass and pruning the plants once per week. While normally I would recommend weekly water changes to beginners, in a well balanced aquarium such as this (which is lightly stocked and is planted enough that individual plants can not be counted) which does not contain young fish and where the fish are not overfed, the water changes are not as important because the plants can maintain the water quality. For the moment, I do water changes when I feel that they are needed or need water for the unplanted quarantine aquarium.

Hypostomus cochliodon

Rusty pl*co

Hypostomus cochliodon is one of the more interesting plecos that I have kept as it is a diurnal wood eater. My fish is currently around 128 mm SL (170 mm TL) as measured today. I’ve been meaning to measure it for a while as it would be interesting to know if it ever reaches the 230 mm as reported by Webber (2003)[1], or remains at the 7 inch mark, as the original paratypes mentioned by Kner[2]. The fish feeds well on courgette and wood, but takes no interest in dry pellets.

I was quite surprised that the fish had no Wikipedia article… it has one now!


[1] Webber, C. (2003). R.E. Reis, S.O. Kullander and C.J. Ferraris, Jr. ed. “Loricariidae – Hypostominae (Armored catfishes)”. Checklist of the Freshwater Fishes of South and Central America (Editora Universitária da PUCRS): 351-372

[2] Kner, Rudolf (1854). “Die Hypostomiden. Zweite Hauptgruppe der Familie der Panzerfische. (Loricata vel Goniodontes)“. Denkschriften der Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftlichen Classe der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien 7: 265-267 (15-17). Retrieved 6 November 2011.

Almost Yunnanilus sp. ‘rosy’, but not

The 10 Yunnanilus loaches that I bought from Welsworld turned out to be Y. brevis, not Y. sp. ‘rosy’. The mistake is easy to make because the juvenile Y. brevis have very similar colouration to adult Y. sp. ‘rosy’ and I was not able to view the fish before collecting them. I have emailed the seller explaining the mistake and asking whether they are able to swap the loaches for the correct species. If not, I should be able to return the fish as they are not what I ordered.

Y. brevis grow to double the size of Y. sp. rosy and come from Inle Lake, so would be more suited to a 90×30×30 biotope with Danio erythromicron.

Yunnanilus sp. ‘rosy’ are here (well, almost!)

I picked up the 10 Yunnanilus sp. ‘rosy’ today from a drop-shipper, so since I was not able to observe them and they are almost certainly wild, they are not in the quarantine aquarium for the next 4-6 weeks. The water the loaches came out of was:

  • KH: 9.5 ° (170 ppm)
  • GH: 19 ° (340 ppm)
  • ammonia: 0.25 ppm
  • nitrite: 0 ppm
  • nitrate: 40 ppm
  • pH: 8.2

And, after acclimatisation, they have gone into:

  • KH: 7 ° (125 ppm)
  • GH: 19 ° (340 ppm)
  • ammonia: 0 ppm
  • nitrite: 0 ppm
  • nitrate: 20 ppm
  • pH: 7.8

I put down the ammonia in the water they came with down to the water being of dechlorinated chloraminated water… I think I just made up a word :-S

First pruning of Lindernia rotundifolia

Lindernia rotundifolia cuttingYesterday, I finally took the first Lindernia rotundifolia cutting! Pruning would be exaggerating a bit as only one stalk had reached the surface, so I cut it back by around 5 cm, right above a node and planted the new cutting towards the front, where I can observe how it does. It is possible to see the first node in the photo, with the stem buried in the sand.