24 July 2014

baby crassula

The other day when reworking the top layer of soil for some plants, I took this baby jade out and put in its own tiny pot. I don't need any more crassula- I've got two big ones and two youngesters- but this one grew all by itself from a fallen leaf on the soil, and I didn't want to just throw it away. Let's see how it grows up.

23 July 2014

pink glitter

There are some happy things! A few of my younger Violets have finally begun to produce buds:
Just the other morning I was admiring how when the lights falls at a certain angle on them, the petals sparkle with a fine, velvety texture.

22 July 2014

more ills?

I am not sure what is wrong with these plants. But verified that my decision to put the potted Coleus outside was a poor one. The indoor cuttings are looking lovely:
The outside one looks like this:
The leaves are turning pale, with blackened spots and edges that wither away to nothing.
It's not the only plant doing that. Some of the Tobac leaves have blackened, withering patches too.
Ugh, this might be anthracnose. It's very infectious.Which basically means I have to throw out all the affected plants. Surprise! what a familiar summer- one failure after another outside.

There's also a Violet inside with some scarring on the leaves. But I don't know if this is the same thing. Violets are so prone to leaf decay from a mere water drop, I could have easily splashed it by accident.


I am still feeling bad about loosing Flash. I did not do right by that fish. I lagged in getting him a filtered tank, and by the time he moved in it was too late. Realized looking back at pictures of him the other day, that it had been a long time since he'd looked so healthy and active. At some point I should have euthanized him rather than let it drag on, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Freezing is said to be slow suffering for the little fish, and I know I couldn't execute the quickest, painless method: cutting off the head. I don't have clove oil, which is supposed to put them to sleep. I thought of putting the fish in a plastic baggie and striking it hard against a flat stationary object (the wall, or side of my desk) but just couldn't. By the time I made a final effort to save him, it was that very attempt that did it. He might have lingered on a few more days, a week even, if I hadn't tried to move him. I'll never know.

21 July 2014


I redid some pots today. Using my vermicompost as top-dressing didn't really work. Well, most of the plants seem happy enough. Bold color, although I'm not sure if they really are more vivid, or I'm just thinking they are.
Problem is the top-dressing doesn't get mixed into the soil in a pot like it does in a garden, from the action of worms and other critters. Of course it doesn't. It just sits there getting crusty and in many of my pots, a white film of mold (or it could be minerals leeching out- my water's pretty hard). I don't like seeing that. Also a reminder that I'm probably overwatering- the pots feel heavier, I think the compost holds more moisture than the old soil, and I haven't quite adjusted my watering habits yet. So today I took some plants, removed the top-dressing of dark compost, scraped out a top layer of potting soil, mixed it together well, breaking up with rubbing fingers to fine crumbles. In some cases I took a further thin layer out of the pot and put them back in reverse order, so the old soil actually was top layer now. That way if the compost continues to get a bit moldy, at least I won't see it.

Maybe it's just too rich and I should have left it in the bin to break down further. Learn by experience.

little tank

the ten gallon looks empty now, with just two small fish in it. I have not seen the little barbs glance for five or six days now, and I never did see any spots on them- but they are so small it is hard to look close. I did a large water change when Flash was removed and quit dosing the tank. But am keeping the temperature high for at least another week, to be sure the ich is all killed.

When lifted the driftwood to find my ill fish, lots of fine brown sediment rose into the water. Much of it settled onto the broad anubias leaves. I thought I could siphon it off with my smaller hose, but the suction was harder than I expected and it tore a semicircular hole in one leaf!
So they are still dirty. I try to rub some stuff off but it just settles again. The Nerite goes after it, he's cleaned three or four leaves nearly spotless already, but it will take some time for him to get to all of them...

But the plants seem happy enough. Anubias making new shoots:
and new young leaves on the java fern as well:
Right after the large water change I saw spawning behavior. The little male barb following his female closely, twitching his fins at her, seemed to be coaxing her among the plants and in the skull cave as if he were saying, begging: this place? here? this is a good spot, don't you think? what about over here? Then they twist their bodies together with a little spasm. I even once saw an egg fall. I don't expect any baby fish, but it's nice to know they are feeling good.

20 July 2014

an end

I lost a fish today.
Was expecting it. Am still treating the tanks for ich, but Flash did not make it. He has been looking terrible for days now, crashed on the bottom, rarely even rising for a breath, not eating. I finally decided to move him into the QT tank (but that wasn't cycled so it was a big risk) so I could dose him with aquarium salt, and so if he died in the night wouldn't poison the small tank with ammonia, but he did not survive the transfer. The stress of being caught was too much. I had to move the driftwood he hides under- he twitched away, thrashed a bit, was gone. My hand doesn't fit down into the gap behind the wood so I lifted his poor body out with a gravy spoon. Even in death he still had some beautiful colors.
I'd had him for eight months. This is my favorite picture of him:
Some other nice photos:
Goodbye, Flash.

18 July 2014


more green shoots coming up in the Ginger pot!

15 July 2014


The slowest-growing plant ever. I keep moving it around hoping to find the perfect spot that will make it happy and thrive. Bright, indirect light seems best so far.