19 December 2014

kuhli power

is in numbers! I have two new guys who just got introduced to the tank day before yesterday. They're black kuhli loaches:
They like resting in curves on the crypt leaves where they touch the glass
And they really like the rock cave, but can't quite fit inside it!
They're much more robust than my striped kuhlis.
And they have made the first kuhlis bold. I noticed immediately that I'm seeing kuhli squiggles all over the tank, even during the day:
I'm very impressed with these guys. They have given my original kuhlis enough confidence that for the first time ever, they came out to compete against the cherry barbs for spirulina wafers. I won't have to sneak food under the kuhli log anymore, they were hogging the food from the other fishes!
Even Pinkie shoving his way in didn't deter the kuhlis.
Yah kuhlis!
(All these pics taken with aquarium lights off, to let the new guys settle in. I'll get some better photos soon).


Not much happening with plants in winter- and the potato didn't grow it rotted, so will try that again later. So I keep posting about fishes. Oliver is not as accepting as I thought. I never see him actively chase or threaten the platies, but they were fine last week
and now one of them has a bitten tail.
I'm going to have to find them a new home... Maybe Oliver would do better with cories. Or shrimp. Or just snails (ie: nobody!) I've noticed that since Sammy moved out, Oliver the black flag hangs out in the sheltered driftwood spot more. Is this because the kuhli is gone, so he's moved into that area- or that he doesn't like sharing the upper levels with the platies, so sticks near the bottom.

13 December 2014


I didn't mention fish yesterday because nothing much was new- same ferts dose, continued improvement in the plants (see the lovely apono growing up in the background here? It's really taking off!)
a few java and crypt leaves trimmed out (blanching white, I think the plants are pulling nutrients out of the older, damaged leaves as they recover from the deficiency and put their energies into new growth). But something was slightly off- there was no happy kuhli dance. Nerite on the water line too, although he's often there so I didn't think much of that (this one is Mavis in the small tank)
This morning I woke sudden in the middle of a dream, before the alarm. First instinct was to check the aquariums- temp fine, nobody in distress. But the filter output on the main going through overflow. So I turned it off and did a little maintenance. There is no clog- it's still fairly clear of debris (I found a few tiny trumpet snails in the filter media, I guess they're doing their own kind of cleanup in there) but the loose filter pads tend to ride up in the box, and I think that's obstructing the flow somewhat. I had cut them off the plastic base to run without carbon during a prior treatment, but the media pads don't stay in place without the plastic backing, so they were wedged in there behind it again. Now I've loosely stitched the two extra pads onto the plastic backing again, so they stay where supposed to. Flow is fine now. Will be easy enough to cut the threads if I want them off again. I also put the baffle back on, so Pinkie doesn't struggle in that corner so much- he still has a crease in his tail.
(he's also acting camera-shy lately, so I tried to sneak a few shots while he was cruising across the back of the tank)
And this time, when I plugged the filter back in, I got the happy kuhli dance! Little wiggle squiggles around the edges, they're so fun to watch.

Bonus picture here of Mavis' underside. You can see her mouth parts scraping the glass!

12 December 2014


The pepper plant well into its second winter. One last pepper never grew full size, instead it turned red. There are still white flowers and baby peppers forming- I doubt to get more fruit but the colors are festive.


Made pinecone feeders for the birds- peanut butter and shortening slathered, rolled in seed. But we didn't get any birds- instead a pair of squirrels have been frequenting the balcony. They trample my pots a bit, but it doesn't matter as the tobacco have finally succumbed to the cold.

11 December 2014

in water

I'm happy with my arrowhead. Roots have reached the bottom of the jar already. Next to it I'm starting a new growing project- sweet potato vine. Had this idea in the back of my head for years, but I never tried it before. It took a lot of picking through to find a red sweet potato with some eyes on it at the grocery, but it might not sprout (they're commercially treated to prevent sprouting). If this one fails I'll look for an organic one.

10 December 2014


plants, these flowering tobacco. In spite of the cold, and some drifting snow, most of the smaller ones are still alive.

05 December 2014

fish notes

Everything the same today, but a possible close call. I did the water changes, gave the same dose of ferts, added seven more root tabs to the twenty gallon (three last week, making total of ten). Plants continue to improve- new java leaves in the tenner are growing quickly, nice clean color. Lots of green life in the main tank
Rotalia has hit the ceiling on both sides
Apono seems to be holding onto its foliage now, although leaves stay half the size as when the mature plant first came to me. I'm even starting to make out some strong cell structure on the leaves- very pretty.
Watersprite has nearly doubled in size.
But now I'm worried about Pinkie.
He looked fine this morning, but then suffered mishap. I had let the water level drop lower than normal- with the submerged heater now, it's not as crucial, has to drop very low for the filter to quit. Louder spashing noise, I noticed Pinkie struggling a bit against flow in one corner, but the barbs seemed to be enjoying it- hanging out in the outflow a lot- so I didn't top off before maintenance day. I didn't realize the lower water level would cause stronger current? or Pinkie just got into the wrong spot because all the fishes were rooting along the substrate for spirulina I fed this morning. I stepped out of the room and came back a few minutes later to find Pinkie stuck to the filter intake. Quickly shut it off and he swam free. It's lucky I came back in the room so soon, or he could have drowned. Doesn't seem to be injured- a few marks on tail just before the fin- he's got strong scales! Seemed okay, was acting normal until just as I finished up the water change and dosing plant foods.

Now he's hiding under the java log. For over half an hour.
Or scared of something? He looks a bit stunned, but I don't know why. All the other fishes seem fine- the barbs are calm (didn't even flinch when I added ferts today- dissolved it first again) and the kuhlis did their normal happy wiggles. Keeping a close eye on him. The only thing I did different today was filling a clean five-gallon bucket for refill water, instead of the one-gallon pitcher. I did rinse the bucket out and wipe it down first (paper towel)- could something in there still have harmed him?