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Aquabotanic was selling these blue shrimp that I really wanted. The only problem was that I wasn’t sure if I should get them. They were upwards of $6 each, plus shipping, so I decided to hold off on them for the moment. I wanted to see of my red cherry shrimp would survive under my care.

In the meantime, they were also selling some nerite snails as well as some fontanus fissidens(a moss that I liked the look of). I’d been looking for the nerite snails, but of the zebra and tiger variety only because I liked the looks of them. So I ordered these things from this company.

I hadn’t read anything bad about them and they were sponsors on theplantedtank.net, so I thought they were a reputable company. (Well, it turns out that since they are sponsors, anything negative posted on the forums are quickly removed! And I might end up with the ban hammer on several sights for posting this, but that’s what multiple email addresses are for aren’ they?) So I bought two tiger nerites and two tiger nerites along with the fissidens.

When the products arrived, I discovered that I hadn’t gotten what I ordered. One of the tigers didn’t look like the other. In actuality, it was an olive nerite. I notified the company and received an email that offered no resolution. It was something akin to “what do you want me to do about it?”. Not something I was expecting. I have yet to receive any resolution and quite frankly, I no longer wish to deal any further with him.

Honestly, I only lost about a dollar between the olive and the tiger nerite (if I bought the olives online). However, if I had a choice, I wouldn’t have spent any money on the olive. I can get olives right here in Florida. They’re native to here, so why would I spend money for shipping if I can get them locally? And for much cheaper?

It wasn’t worth the effort to argue with him about what a good business would do. I am not running his business and I had better things to do. I won’t fight someone over a what amounts to a dollar. But I also won’t be silent about it either. By all means, buy from him if you want, but I’m just saying, caveat emptor.

I’m actually quite glad that I did not get the blue shrimp as he does not guarantee doa nor does he refund your money. You simply get a credit for your next purchase minus your shipping fee. If I had gotten the red shrimp (which average $1-2 each) instead of the blue shrimp, I would have spent a lot of time fighting him about it. I would have overpaid for the shrimp since I would have had to pay for shipping again. I personally won’t be ordering from him again. And I suggest that you should look at his Better business bureau rating before you order. And also read his policy because it says that your are responsible for the risk of ordering from him. And since you are risking the possibility of getting something you didn’t even order, well, that’s too much gambling for me. If I wanted to gamble, I’d rather do it drunk at a poker table.

There are plenty of other vendors who will guarantee your delivery and I think that they are a better bet.

And also for reference. Here is the fissedens that I received from them. It was $9, covered in algae and came with several snails and some creepy crawly things. Not only that, it smelled heavily of fishiness.

I removed as much of the algae as I could before sewing it on the canvas. As of today, the algae remaining on the fissidens is growing quite nicely. However the moss is all brown. It may or not be dead, but I have no hopes for it.

For five dollars, I got this from skewlboy from the plantedtank.net (another hobbyist, not a vendor). No algae and no odd critters and didn’t smell fishy at all. It’s already growing new shoots, so I know it’s healthy. I think I might just toss the brown moss and use the healthy stuff. This way, I won’t have any algae issues on the moss too.

And for your weekly update, here is the 20 gallon:

I can’t seem to stop moving the plants around in this tank. I’ve also removed a bunch of it as I didn’t feel they were adding anything to the tank. I think it looks better now, but what do I know. Next week, it’ll probably look different again.

This tank is having some serious issues with black beard, fuzz and hair algae. I’m trying to get the co2, lights and fertilization into balance as well as dealing with the algae, so there isn’t much that’s happening in this tank either. I want to get it healthy before I deal with how it looks.

And that’s it for this week’s tank update. Until next week!!

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

Red Shrimp

Feb. 8th, 2010 12:00 pm
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Oh yes, it’s more update time. All these photos were taken Sunday rather than today.

I can’t seem to stop mucking around with this tank. Plants keep getting moved, so they never really settle in. And the red plants aren’t as red as I like. I haven’t figured out if they need more phosphates, or iron or more light. Because the same plants in this tank aren’t as red as the plants in the 10 gallon.

For instance, these red plants from the 10 gallon

Are much redder than the 20.

So many different variables to consider. It’ll probably be a while before I figure out what I need to do for that tank.

In other news, I have discovered that the red cherry shrimp are carrying eggs. I’ve seen two females carrying eggs.

And there is one female that is ready to mate. She just needs to find the right man.

The babies should be born in about a month and they should be born little shrimp. Some shrimp species have babies that are a larval stage and some need salt water to transform into shrimp. But these shrimp come out of the eggs fully formed swimming shrimp. These will be my first batch, so hopefully most of them survive.

Of course, I will keep you posted on this progress.

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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Photo time! The plants have been growing in the 10 and 20 gallons. Nothing new has happened to the shrimp tank. It’s a low light tank, so things don’t grow that fast in it (I’ll skip the photo for this). Nothing has changed in the betta tank and I’ve torn down the 1 gallon. I’ll be doing something else in that. Not sure what yet though, but it was infested with hair algae and I couldn’t stand it anymore, daphnia or no daphnia.

Here is the 10 gallon.

Here it is after I trimmed it and moved around some plants. I also moved over the HC (the plant in the front that sits low to the substrate) from the 1.5 gallon and placed it in there.

The 20 gallon.

I moved around some plants, removed a couple of plants. I have some serious deja vu writing that sentence, but I’m moving on. I did a serious trim of the plants, but some of these grow back totally fast. I ran out of phosphorous fertilizer for the plants, so some of them are getting a little bit green. They’re supposed to stay pink to dark red depending on the plant. But there will be a package coming tomorrow that contains what I need.

I’ve also changed the lighting schedule for all the tanks. I read somewhere from another aquarist that algae requires a continuous amount of light to survive. So I’ve placed all the tanks on a 5 hour on, 4 hour off, 5 hour on lighting schedule. So far, I haven’t seen a difference, but it’s only been five days. The upside is that I get to see the fish tank while I’m not working. I was only able to see the tank for about 2 hours before the lights turned off before.

Also, did I mention that I found 5 baby fish? The sunset platys are livebearing fish, so they give birth to wiggling fully functional fish. They don’t lay eggs. I hadn’t see any of them give birth and they’re all still super preggers, but 2 of them at some point had babies because there are 3 fish that look to be about 4 weeks old and 2 that look about 2 weeks old. I don’t know what I’m going to do with them. These fish will have more babies, which means that I’ll end up with a ton of fish. Maybe I can give them away to someone. But this tank can’t support all the potential babies.

Here is one of the honey gouramis that I bought. They are always hiding, but they’re getting more comfortable int he tank. Unfortunately, the minute I stick my face near there, they go hiding again. Even though they’re gray, I still like them. I find their big eyes are kind of cute. I’m afraid their little feelers will get chomped on by somebody, but so far they all still have both.

Until next week!

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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Didn’t you!? But I didn’t! Here’s an update of all the tanks.

Here’s the 5 gallon.

Here it was on the 20th

Here it is today

As you can see, there aren’t many changes. It’s not a high light tank, so the plants won’t grow quickly. And it’s easy maintenance.

The shrimp are coloring up quite nicely. These are female shrimp. You can tell because there’s that white spot? That’s where all the eggs are. When a shrimp has that the peeps in the industry call that saddled. The reason why is that if you were like a teeny weeny little human and you rode that shrimp, that’s where the saddle would be. So they say. They’re about teenagers now, so if there’s a viable male, they will try to make. Right now, all the males are pre-pubescent, so no sex yet.

Here’s the 10 gallon.

2010-01-19

Why is the tank all murky, you ask? Well, it’s not because I dosed iron and phosphates at the same time. oh no, it’s because I decided to scrape the algae right before I took this photo. I tell you what, I’m developing one mean algae scraping arm! I dialed down the photoperiod to 8 hours. I’m in the office between 8-10 hours a week, so I wanted to keep the lights on when I was there, but I think that’s just too long and algae was growing on some of the plants.

And here’s the 20 gallon.

This is from the 19th

All the plants finally came and this is the final look of the tank. I just have to wait for it to grow in a big. The fertilization schedule is a little off. I’ve ordered a couple of testing kits to help me with it. Most of the plants need a high phosphate count and also iron. I can’t tell if I’m putting enough of each because some of the plants aren’t staying as red as when I first got them. They’re getting paler and some are reverting to a green shade. And still others are looking like they’re having nitrogen deficiencies. Last time I checked, it was about 10ppm, but when I checked two days ago, it was 0. So, I definitely need more fertilization in there. This is the first tank that’s got really high demanding plants, so this is a learning experience for sure.

Also, I discovered 3 baby platys that are about 3 weeks old, and 2 new babies about 1 week old. Umm…I need to get some hunter fish. I can’t have these things replicating so quickly.

But wait! What is this?!

It’s a new tank for the betta. I was noticing that his tail was a little shorter than I remembered it. I have a feeling that the bumblebee gobies were taking a bite out of it. But just the lower portions. I imagine that the gobies think that the wiggling tail looks like food. They are a “wait until something wiggles by” type of eater. So I think that’s what’s happening. So I got a 5.5 gallon for the betta. Right now, he’s in there by himself. It looks funny, I know, but I promise you, there’s big plans for it. I’m hoping that I can get it looking like I imagined it. And the tank is made up of old stuff, from the filter to the gravel and the ornaments, they’re leftover from other tanks. So it was cheap to set up.

This will be a low maintenance tank. No light, no CO2. Just whatever comes from the window. It’ll be the complete opposite of the 20 gallon! I bet you can’t wait for the updates next week. Oh, yeah. Exciting.

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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Next week, however, I make no promises!

This is the 1.5 gallon tank that I’m not sure what to do with. The original plan was to make this the shrimp tank, the 5 gallon the betta tank and the 10 gallon into a honey gourami tank, but obviously that didn’t happen.

What happened was that this tank was (and still is) getting too much light. This also sits on my desk (yes, it’s a really big desk, one day when I clean it, I may take a photo of it for you. You’ll be envious.) Anyhooters…

It sits on my desk next to the window where the sun comes directly into the tank. So the water was a little bit murky (turned out it was because I put in phosphates and iron in at the same time, it wasn’t a bacterial bloom that I thought it was!). So anyway, I threw in some daphnia (they eat bacteria and green water), and the next thing I knew, this tank was swarming with daphnia. And I’ve been having a really hard time growing these suckers to feed to the bumblebee gobies (who love them, also so does the betta). So I was like, well, what now? I mean, the daphnia love it in there. And since there’s daphnia, I couldn’t get a filter for it to suck up any debris. And hair algae is just all over this tank. It’s on everything (though it’s not keeping any of the plants from growing.

I manually go in there periodically and remove the algae from the tank, but it’s like a losing battle. But I’ve put in some CO2 for the tank (which is supposed to help in getting rid of algae, we’ll see). I’m thinking of taping black paper onto the sides to reduce the light. And hopefully it will get clear soon. Or it may just be The Algae Tank! At this point, I’m not caring all that much because the daphnia are growing! Until next week!

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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And since I’m talking about fish tanks, let’s talk about the old 10 gallon that I had. Sometime around my wedding, I had let this tank go to ruins. I think the last time anyone saw it was Jenn, it was covered in blue green algae.

So over the past year, I’ve been trying to rehabilitate it. But there was just too much algae of several types. It was just easier to start over and save whatever plants were left. (Luckily, these were cheap Petsmart plants and nothing fancy.)

Back in its hayday, it looked like this:

I got new substrate (since those bllue rocks were just covered in hair algae. The new substrate is eco-complete, btw, for those who care.). And placed the salvaged plants in.

Don’t ask me what I was thinking putting that plastic cup in there. I thought the shrimp could hide in there, but it’s clear, so everybody knows where they are! Turned out that the fish liked to hide in there, but the problem is that sometimes they couldn’t find their way out. Cuz, you know, it’s clear. So I took it out. There’s nothing worse than watching fish freak the hell out. You think they’re dying.

What’s all that junk hanging off the back, you ask? Well, the very left is a Hagen CO2 generator holder. And the middle 2 are filters. The right filter is the old one that’s not doing so well. The impeller has died due to the fact that thousands of pond snails have wandered in there and got pulverized. So for the time being, there are 2 filters until the tank goes through it’s new nitrogen cycle. You know nitrifying bacteria lives in there!

This is what it looked like on the 14th, before I took all the tetras out. The reason why I took them out was because they were fin nippers and I wanted to put in a betta. It seems that I’ve always had bettas. And I’ve always had this particular kind. It’s a crowntail, which means that it’s got frilly tail. We haven’t named this one yet because we got a yellow one, that didn’t survive. His name was Swavwell. Chris said he was only going to name this fish if it survived longer than a week. He’s going on four days now, so his prognosis looks good.

Here is a blurry picture because he won’t sit still. I’m thinking of calling him Hamtastico because every time I try to take a photo of something else, he comes right in front of the frame. I think he’s dark purple and red. But in this photo, he looks blue and red. It can be a trick of the light. He could be both blue and purple!

The other inhabitants of the tank are 2 otos (for cleaning algae), an innumerable bunch of ghost shrimp (also for cleaning algae), and 2 bumblebee gobies (because they were cute! You can’t find them anywhere anymore. Like people stopped selling them because people couldn’t keep them alive. Same with dwarf puffers. What the hell? I had dwarf puffers for like 2 years and these bumblebee gobies are going on three. So I don’t know what people were doing to kill these things. And if I had another tank, and I could find dwarf puffers, I’d totally get them again. They are way cute.).

I am not completely satisfied with the tank yet. There’s something that’s a little bit off that’s bugging me, but shifting around plants hasn’t helped at all. Maybe it just needs to fill in some more. We’ll have to see, I guess.

Here’s a photo of what it looks like as of yesterday.

I also have a 5 gallon and a 1.5 gallon tank. Oh yeah, it’s going to be all about the tanks this week. I bet you’re thrilled. Just THRILLED.

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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Happy New Year! Yes, I am a few (weeks) days late. Don’t shoot me!

So I’m going to go back in time a little bit to tell you about my Christmas present. Santa brought me a new 20 gallon fish tank complete with stand.

The tank came in a kit from Petsmart. Now that I think about it, I should have just bought the setup piecemeal. The light and hood that came with the tank weren’t up to specs for growing plants. Even though the bulb might say for plants, the likelihood that it will actually grow anything but moss is quite unlikely. (There’s a whole long ass article about PAR and lumens and all sorts of things, all of which bored the crap out of me and no doubt will bore you too, so I won’t go into detail about that. Suffice it to say, I needed a new light).

I had read about these new compact flourescent lights that you could get at any neighborhood store (Target, Walmart, etc.) and they were only about $5 a bulb. (Most plant bulbs are about $20+.). So I decided to try it out. The only problem was that I had miscalculated. Instead of 2 bulbs, I needed at least 4. And the light fixtures I bought couldn’t handle that.

Don’t ask me why I bought plants before I had a light solution. It wasn’t the best idea, but the tank looked so bare with just gravel and flourite! (Flourite is a substrate that helps plants grow, but you can grow things in regular gravel or sand or whatever. You just need to fertilize them more. Flourite will soak up the fertilizer and keep it handy whereas inert substrates won’t.)

So while I was researching alternatives, I bought 5 sunset platys. (Tanks need to go through a nitrogen cycle, that consists of fish poop, ammonia being turned into nitrite, then being turned to nitrate and then the plants can use that to grow.). All tanks go through these, and the suggestion is to get some hardy fish that you want to keep (don’t use goldfish they poop like crazy. You’ll end up with green water, so don’t listen to people who tell you to use goldfish.)

So I bought 5 platys. 2 died, were exchanged for 2 more, 2 died (1 old and 1 new), and exchanged for 2 more. Then I realized that they had ick. Oh yes. Why did I buy these at Petsmart? I returned to the store and bought organic medicine for the fish. It cost a bundle and turned the water brown, but hey, it wasn’t toxic!

The one with the worst ick died. I finished the medical regiment and everyone seemed to be fine. After I was sure that all the ick was gone, I moved some of the fish from the 10 gallon to their new home!

Currently, there are 4 sunset platys, 2 black skirt tetras, 1 neon tetra, and 1 blue tetra. The tetras used to have more buddies. I originally bought 2 or 3, but as with all fish, they eventually die. So the one’s that are left are the really hardy ones.

In the meantime, I’d decided to just buy a new light. For a little while, I thought about making my own canopy, but the cost was almost as much as buying an already built fancy one. And then there was the fact that I would have to make it. From scratch. With tools. Yeah, no.

When my light finally arrived(without legs! I had to wait another day before I could properly put it on the tank), I started to order plants from other hobbyists.

This is what it looked like on Saturday.

You might think that the bland bland plants that you see in fish stores are the only plants possible in the planted tank trade, but that is not so. The one’s you see at the store are the one’s that are easy to grow in masse and easy to keep without much problem while at the store. Much more colorful and rare plants are available by special order. Luckily for me, a lot of plants have already been ordered by enthusiasts and sometimes they will sell clippings for a moderate and sometimes downright cheap price.

This is what the tank looked like yesterday (I tried writing this entry twice, but the iPhone Wordpress app never saved them!). I trimmed the plants at the sides, moved some plants around and I also have a few more plants coming this week.

The photo period was about 12 hours, but that was growing too much algae, So I’m dialing it down to 10 hours. Hopefully, that will get the algae growth to go down. I had to scrape the sides of the tank twice already! If this doesn’t work, then it goes down to 8 hours. If that doesn’t work, then I need to get more plants. The idea is that the plants will out-compete the algae for available nutrients.

Once all my plants are here, all that’s left is to do is make sure there’s enough CO2 and fertilizer. And just wait for them to grow.

I will try to update you when I get new plants or if there’s tremendous growth. Maybe I’ll just take a photo every Monday and show you progress. Until next time!

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

Bent fish

Nov. 4th, 2009 06:33 pm
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My mom has always kept goldfish. As long as I could remember we’ve always had them. They were our only pets (except for this one month when we had a dog because a little old lady couldn’t find a home for her precious Toto so we took her in until we found a new home for her.)

Now my mom has always bought feeder fish. She like them. So go figure. And she also feeds them koi food, so they get super big too.

And when you get feeder fish, you’re bound to het one that isn’t quite perfect. This fish has a funny kink in it’s tail, but it hasn’t kept it from growing initial a ginourmous fish. It may not swim so well, but it does well enough!

Until tomorrow!

Crossposted to Samantha Ling, Dreamwidth and Livejournal

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About a month ago, Joanne was looking at my fishtank. It's got a bunch of apple snails, 4 black skirt tetras, 2 bumblebee guppies, and the 2 infamous guppies that I did not buy. (The third one died a while ago. Don't ask me when as I hadn't noticed any dead bodies in the tank. Those fish are viscious carnivores.) She had thought one of my bumblebee guppies had died, so I brought over the magnetic algae scraper (which are totally ingenious as you never have to actually get an algae scraper in there. It's easy to use whenever you see algae, except when you get lazy and it's no longer strong enough to get more the tenacious algae.....which is also what happened to me. So I'll have to go in there with a real scrubber at some point and scrub the hard stuff.)

So Joanne thought that one of my fish was dead, so I moved the algae scraper near it and the goby moved. They like to just sit around on leaves and hang out. Then she discovered that one of the infamous guppies was floating upside down. And with a few pokes of the algae scraper, it did not move. But since I could see that it was still breathing, I let it be. Who am I to prematurely send it to its death? I figured I'd fish it out when the time finally came. Or the other fish ate it. So I checked it the next day and sure enough, it's not there anymore.

The damned thing was actually swimming around. So I checked it the next day and the day after that thinking that it was just a fluke. It'll totally bite it any day now. And I kept checking it until I gave up. Because you know what? It's still alive. And whenever I go near it, the thing wants food. Like all the time. Damned thing came back from the near dead. Don't ask me what was wrong with it. I have no idea. I'll probably have these guppies longer than any of the other fish. And I didn't even want them! They clash with everything else in the tank. Ah well. It's not like I wanted to replace them with other fish.

Until tomorrow people!

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Samantha Ling

August 2013

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