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clownbaby

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  1. Probably a detritus / tubifex worm. These are microorganisms that eat fish poop and break down waste. They'll show up pretty naturally and are a sign of a healthy ecosystem & tank - nothing to worry about; these are good things! Plus, they're free snacks for fish. My cories love running up to the glass and eating them 😂
  2. Yo!!! Cool tank! I really love the cave structure ^_^ Aquatic photosynthesis performs best at 5000+ degrees kelvin. Blue light is incredibly important for plant growth and health. Blue light stimulates chlorophyll, which helps healthy leaves and strong roots. Blue light also stimulates auxins (plant hormones), which help healthy growth and recovery. "Researchers at the University of Florida conducted a study where they grew lettuce seedlings under different light conditions, including blue light. They found that the lettuce seedlings grown under blue light had significantly larger and greener leaves compared to those grown under red or white light." (https://www.mars-hydro.com/info/post/the-ultimate-guide-to-spectrum-science-in-led-grow-lights) For most aquatic plants, red light isn't as important (but it truly depends on what you desire). Red light helps plants germinate [produce flowers and fertilize seeds], but it also helps plants produce antioxidants and healthy cellular properties. If you go on Amazon or anywhere else and search for 'grow lights', you'll find these will have mostly blue lights with red lights incorporated throughout. I use a grow light that has a temperature of ~6000 degrees kelvin. This light has both blue and red LEDs. Personally I have seen amazing growth out of all of my plants. I also have moneywort and it has been spreading like crazy; shooting runners out and growing super tall... it has only been in my tank for about a week and I've already had to do two trimmings! So basically, I wouldn't recommend any specific brand or whatnot. I just went on amazon and found the cheapest grow light that would fit my tank. It is a hanging light and I have it hung about 10 inches above my tank. It was about 15 bucks and it is SUPER bright & I am satisfied with it. But... again, I'm cheap. So that is my cheap-but-effective advice for you! I hope it was helpful!
  3. First and foremost, look up your county / state / country's common aquatic plants and aquatic noxious weeds. Then simply compare and contrast between common species! Otherwise, these look like various species of hygrophila and ludwigia. You may also want to compare & contrast these between Elatine americana (and other waterworts), Persicaria hydropiper (water pepper), mentha aquatica (water mint), and various watercress species. Overall, quarantining is the best practice even if you do identify these! Do this whenever getting plants from the wild. 🙂
  4. It looks like a very young black-beard algae. Algae is a plant, so treat it as one. If you want to reduce it, you can: manually remove it reduce light do more water changes (removing nitrites, nitrate, ammonia, and excess nutrients) reduce the amount of fertilizers you're using add more plants to out compete the algae add a critter that will eat the algae You could do a combo of this, and I would recommend doing a combo. I've heard otocinclus will sometimes eat black beard algae, but siamese algae eaters are some of the only fish that actively do. I have also heard amano shrimp eat it... I have no personal experience though. P.S: love all that anubias! P.P.S: is that a wine glass? What is growing in it?? Cool tank!!!
  5. Entry Nine - April 17th, 2024 On Invasive Aquatic Species So, I was playing in one of my favorite streams on Sunday (April 14th.) I was having a rough day and my anxiety was killing me so I knew I needed to go take some time for myself. So I did! I put on my rubber boots, pond gloves, and some sunblock and headed down to one of my favorite creeks/streams. It is a pretty fast moving stream for being about a foot or two deep, but has a small shallow beach along one end. It was really fun to see all the copepods and water fleas and--the most exciting part for me--insect larvae! There was an abundance of mosquito larvae, but also some dragonflies and damselflies too. And some cool aquatic worms. But since even the shallow beach has some water movement, there isn't an abundance of species. Well, animal species. I was really taken a-back to see so many invasive aquatic plants! Diverse-leaved water starwort (Callitriche platycarpa) was growing like crazy and so was bog pondweed (Potamogeton polygonifolius)! Additionally, CREEPING JENNY!!!!! 😡😡😡 UGH! I HATE THAT STUFF! Well... actually, I love that stuff, but not in my native ecosystems! I started to remove the water-starwort and pondweeds first. Like many aquatic plants, these plants can grow by stem cuttings and runners, so I had to be sure to remove the roots and all the leaves & stems I could find. Which was not easy... but thankfully, the shallow area was super small in comparison to most shallow/slow-moving streams, so it wasn't too much work. The creeping jenny was pretty small, and was easy to take out. One bonus about having a planted aquarium is I get to keep some of the plants I remove! This was a positive I didn't realize until my mom told me to put them in my aquarium rather than boil them in vinegar*. I killed most of em, but selected the healthiest specimens to plant in my tank. The starwort is super cute as a floater, and looks a bazillion times better floating in an aquarium than my natural ecosystems! The pondweed looks kinda silly, but kinda cute ?? The creeping jenny is awesome in my tank! My pygmy cories love to lay on the leaves and take naps. It's already starting to send out runners too! A really awesome foreground plant. I did inspect the plants, and found no signs of eggs or parasites. I rinsed em in some dechlorinated water too... however, while doing so, I found a malaysian trumpet snail ?!?!?!? SUPER INVASIVE!!! That means there are probably LOTS in the stream... which means I'm gonna have to go remove them. I did keep the hitchhiking malaysian trumpet snail and let him hang out in my tank. I am pro-snail and I don't mind that much, plus he is a cutie pie ^_^ So... there is one positive to invasive species: I get to put them in my aquarium. *easy and sure way to kill noxious weeds... however it does kinda smell.
  6. I imagine this is safe and a good snack as a live food, but I just wanted to be sure. Having some bladder snails hitchhike on my plants, I now have hundreds of itty bitty baby snails all over my tank (despite manually removing eggs like everyday and slowing down feedings 😭), but that is honestly okay! They're really cute. My pygmy corydoras keep eating the smallest ones off the glass though. I don't have a problem with this (good population control!) but I did want to know if this is safe / if it would cause any problems. Does anyone have any input? I would guess it is totally fine but I just wanna check 🙂 Thanks everyone!!!!
  7. I get your point but I did edit my post to say I enjoy black/brown algaes as well as green algaes. green is prefered but I do still find all algae very attractive. maybe I'm odd. I also did say I would like it to cover my glass & substrate. perhaps we just have different perspectives on aquascaping & the extent in which nature can be present. but that is okay! 🙂 I appreciate your opinion a lot! I just disagree to an extent. Being such a nerd I love all plants, even ugly ones like some algaes LMAO 😂 I've been trying to discourage my mystery snail to leave any algae alone (he is mildly receptive, but he does like to graze!) by spot feeding him. again I love how algae looks and I have a lotttt of free time. If it starts to take over I am more than willing and able to manually remove some of it, much like I have had to do with my rotala & pearlweed. I would actually really enjoy that. Perhaps for clarity I will say this: your knowledge was much appreciated! And helpful! Now I will take that knowledge and apply it in a way that I see fit, yes? /nm I appreciate you a lot!! Thank you so much.
  8. First and foremost, your tank looks amazing. I would advise you to 1) stop and appreciate the fantastic growth your tank has; and 2) be patient for those nutrients to kick in. I am pretty new to keeping aquatic plants, but I am not new to maintaining ponds & ecosystems. Juncus repens, or lesser creeping rush as a common name grows native in wetlands and marshes across the U.S. Same with lobelia cardinalis, or Cardinal flower. The issue with these plants is they are amphibious, meaning they grow both underwater [submerged] and above water [emergent]. Most often, however, amphibious plants grow with their stems submerged and their leaves and/or flowering parts emergent. Some amphibious plants may have different forms underwater and above water. In some cases, amphibious plants can grow perfectly fine either submerged or emergent, which is typically the case with juncus repens. That being said, the store/seller you purchased it from may have had it growing fully or partially emergent. This happened to me with my Amazon sword plant. If your seller had it growing either partially or fully emerging and out of the water, being completely submerged will shock the plant. Luckily for you, there is an easy fix to this! Get some scissors and snip off any leaves that are yellow, brown, or slimy. Try to do this as close to the base of the root/stem as you can. Most of your leaves look healthy, so try to leave ones that are more limey-yellow. If it looks kinda green, I say keep it. Juncus repens and all rush/sedge plants have incredible color variation. From yellow to green to brown to purple, one plant of the same species can be quite different from another! In the case of your lobelia cardinalis... this is a doozy. If you have a cultivated variety (such as lobelia cardinalis 'mini') disregard what I am about to say and just follow the same advice as above. However, if you have true lobelia cardinalis or a wild-harvested plant, you might be in some trouble. This plant can grow up to 6ft tall and is almost always emergent. Having this plant be submerged for over 18 inches of water is not recommended, especially in the case where it does not emerge from the water at all. It rarely flowers underwater. Final note that may be a slight issue: your substrate. In the wild, wetland plants fall into two main categories: "what are roots?" (think something like elodea or hornwort. These plants can be planted, but they don't have extensive root systems and can do very well floating,) and "the claw" (large taproots, tuberous roots, extensive and large root systems.) Juncus repens technically have some roots, but they're pretty shallow. Lobelia on the other hand prefers to develop deep roots. It is hard for plants to do that in sand, because sand does not "waterlog" and is very easy to flow through. I would recommend having at least some of the substrate on the bottom layer consisting of a clay-based organic soil to encourage better growth. From there having a fertilized substrate isn't too important as much as having a dirt/clay substrate. In ponds and lakes, the bottom-most layer is clay, followed by dirt & sand, followed by leaf litter, followed by more sand (depending on the lake anyway!) To summarize, it would be best to have some of the substrate have dirt on the bottom-most layer, but I also understand you might not want to interrupt your whole scape. You could also buy small plastic pots with drainage holes, fill half way with clay-based soil*, plant the lobelia, and top the top half with pea gravel / sand to lock in the dirt. Then dig a small hole in the sand in your aquarium and plop the pot in there, cover with sand, and no one will ever know!! This is a common technique for ponds. Sorry this was so long-winded. I hope everything made sense! You're free to ask questions 😁 Basically, you're doing a great job and I don't know if you have much to worry about. Your plants look great!
  9. (Not in an arguing way btw, just curious!) Is there any reason I should avoid algae? Like any health concerns, diseases, etc? I honestly am just curious if there really is any reason algae should be avoided / what downsides there are? I trust your input a lot!😁
  10. Thanks for all the advice everyone! On one hand I am really thrilled my plants do a great job at keeping my tank healthy. On the other hand... me like algae. You are all so awesome for educating a newbie like me!
  11. 4 months total but only a month or so with fish. My plants are actually growing amazingly well, which is a surprise since I haven't used any fertilizer. Rotala & pearlweed is taking over, amazon sword is starting to get huge! Ludwigia also doing amazingly well. My tank is 30 gallons, and is stocked with one mystery snail and four pygmy cories (more soon.) It is a pretty new tank, it has only been up for about 4 months. ALSO just know my snail & cories do a horrible job eating algae (which is what I want) ... probably because I spot feed them LMAO 🙃
  12. Entry Eight - April 10th, 2024 {quick note} I am researching native evergreen ground covers to replace my lawn with. Ideally at least one ground cover would be tolerant of moderate foot traffic, as I like to play in my yard. So do my dogs 🤩 update if I find anything!
  13. Okay, I know this is a weird thing to complain about... but my tank has basically no algae and I don't like it!!! 😡 It has the slightest bit of brown hair algae on my wood, but you cannot even tell because my wood is yknow -- brown. I want something like this to grow on my wood & rocks. Even some growth on my back and side glass would be really cool. I mean that looks so good! So pretty! How do I encourage the growth of green hair algae and green dust algae? My light is on 12 hours a day. Do I need to use fertilizer? My tank does have live plants. I just want live plants and some pretty algae to grow on the rocks. Is that so much to ask? Algae looks incredibly natural to me, and it is good for fish tanks' health; so how do I get some darn algae to grow?!?!?!? Any advice is appreciated. Thanks! edit: I wouldn't mind black / brown algae or diatoms. All of it is honestly appealing to me. edit 2: tank is 30 gallons, planted with 6+ species, stocked with 4 pygmy cories & mystery snail (and bladder snail hitchhikers <3), nitrite & nitrate 0, ammonia 0, pH 6.8 - 7.4, dgH 9 dkH 8; temperature at 73 degrees F (~24 degrees C) currently using no fertilizers, just relying on my substrate (clay, organic soil, leaf litter, peat moss, crushed lava rock; then capped off with pebbles pea gravel and sand mixed together)... but plan on buying fertilizer soon. Light is 6000 degrees kelvin, on for about 12 hours a day at this point. Sunlight also hits one corner. I can tell I am overfeeding a little too because my bladder snails are laying eggs like crazy... trying to feed less but confused of why my plants are doing such a good job at sucking up nitrite and nitrate... like STOP making me look good I am supposed to suck at being a beginner dude /nm lol 😂 my tank has been running for 4 months but only had stocking since March 6th.
  14. Entry Seven - April 8th, 2024 Update on my saplings Well, I've got a lot to talk about. Let's just jump right in! First, to review the trees I have (in order of approximate age): Garry White Oak (also referred to as 'Oregon White Oak.') - deciduous, angiosperm. Heavily lobed leaves, acorn fruits. Grows in prairies. Close to one and a half years old. Hawthorn spp. - deciduous, angiosperm. Toothed leaves, spikes, apple-like fruits ... unsure if it is crataegus douglasii or crataegus columbiana; will not be able to distinguish until the tree matures to produce fruit. Both species are native and important food sources for birds & rodents. This tree was planted in March of last year, it already stands about 18 inches tall. Nootka cedar (also referred to as 'Alaska Yellow Cedar') - evergreen, coniferous, gymnosperm. Scaled leaves and rough bark. Almost nine months old, about ten inches tall. Douglas-fir - evergreen, coniferous, gymnosperm. Needle leaves and iconic cones. Unknown age, but I would guess about six or seven months old. Pacific yew - evergreen, gymnosperm, male trees coniferous (females produce berry-like seed capsules known as "arils".) Propagated by a clipping of a healthy wild specimen... the stem piece is probably two or three years old, but the parent tree is about 160 years old or so. Even though the stem piece that I planted is the oldest tree, I am including it below the others because I've only personally had the tree for two months. Bigleaf maple (x5) - deciduous, angiosperm. Massive leaves with 'helicopter'-like seeds. Important food source for squirrels, birds, and rodents. My oldest sapling is four months old, the other four are about three months old. Ponderosa pine (x9) - coniferous, evergreen, gymnosperm. I received these seeds in the mail two weeks ago; none have sprouted. That is expected, however, as they typically take about four to six weeks to sprout. I only expect one or two of the seeds to sprout, due to Ponderosa pines very small germination rate. Garry White Oak This tree was a very nice surprise. On the side of my house there is a fenced in dog-run, which my family uses as a vegetable garden. It's my job to tend the garden, (as I love it and no one else does!) and in September while I was mulching the beds in preparation for the first frost, I noticed a cute little stick growing from under the fence. The stunning orange leaves with their wavy lobes made it very obvious to me; it was a Garry White Oak tree! Because it was just about to go dormant, I let it be. I did not want to disturb it. On the reservation there are many oaks... too many for me to count! When me and my family go up to visit, me and my brother each bring a two-gallon bucket and collect the acorns. This gives us at least a months supply, but leaves thousands more for the wildlife. I put the acorns in our squirrel/Steller's jay feeder. Acorns are: a favorite food of squirrels, rodents, and larger birds; the more natural food of squirrels, rodents, and larger birds - meaning they are likely better for them & easier to digest than peanuts, which do not naturally grow in the Pacific Northwest more resistant to the dampness of the Pacific Northwest, making them better for squirrels & rodents to store away. Peanuts are more likely to rot, due to their softer shell that is prone to getting soggy. I have noticed some of the squirrels in our backyard burying the acorns in the garden, which is both very cute and a little foolish. However, one squirrel must have decided to bury the acorn under the fence, only for it to sprout and grow a tree! I transplanted the tree into a pot last week, and it has been adjusting very well! I planted in sandy soil with lots of dry organic matter (shredded bark & leaves) to mimic the natural prairie setting these trees thrive in. Hawthorn spp. So, this is a bit of a doozy! I know this tree is a hawthorn, but I do not know whether it is black hawthorn or Columbia hawthorn. The leaves look like black hawthorn, however the tree is so young it truly is hard for me to tell. The bark looks like Columbia hawthorn... however, the tree is so young it truly is hard for me to tell. Black hawthorn is an incredibly great tree that was a wishlist species for me for a very long time. The fruit is incredibly important for birds, especially our late-summer species. I've also seen cute Douglas squirrels munching on them before! I was on a hike with my brother; this trail was local, about a fifteen minute drive, and had stunning views of waterfalls and the river. It is an amazing old-growth forest with so many diverse plants. We noticed we never saw any grey squirrels, so we assumed they either weren't present in high numbers or they were shy (the latter, likely; dogs frequent the trails off-leash.) However, as we descended and made our way back to the car, we saw an adorable Douglas squirrel in one of the hawthorns! They were eating the berries, and it was so precious. The juice was smeared all over their face and they were eating it like an absolute monster!!! The fella must have been about six months old, as it was late-summer and the little thing was tiny. Gosh, I wish I took pictures of that. Here is a different Douglas squirrel I hang out with though! I know feeding wildlife is not the best practice, but this squirrel is fed daily by many different people. I personally feed him once a week... he is basically a domesticated animal that simply lives in the woods. He even knows tricks and his name; his name is Buzzley (or 'Buzz')! In this picture he is eating an almond. Here is the difference in fruits (and leaves) compared to Columbia hawthorn. Once the tree ages, I'll be able to tell which it is! The blooms of the trees are both incredibly similar, and I am not that smart to know the difference. Honestly, I have no preference which species it grows to be. Both are native, edible, and important food sources for wildlife. The only minor preference I have is black hawthorn grows bigger and taller than Columbia hawthorn; do I care? Not that much. I just think big trees are prettier... and they do indeed provide more habitat for nesting birds. However, Columbia hawthorn often grows bush/shrub-like, which would provide habitat for ground-dwelling birds, bunny rabbits, rodents, and insects. So maybe I truly don't have a preference! Nootka cedar Sadly, not much to comment on. It is doing well! Here's a picture. I have moved it outside because I was running out of room on my window. But it is adjusting well and is still a lovely tree! While we're at it, here are all of my trees that are outdoors. My dad and I built this shelf in February, it was a fun project. He is teaching me how to work with wood and tools and all that manly stuff... it is really fun and I love it! Douglas-fir I was not planning on getting a douglas-fir, but I found this guy on the side of my house very close to the oak, and figured I may as well dig him up! It is bizarre, however, because the closest douglas-fir is 100 feet away and across the stream. Perhaps an animal stored it; I cannot imagine the seed fell there. But I also did not plant it... I was quite shocked to see it. Still, a tree is a tree; I dug it up and transplanted it in soil mixed with some sand, ash, and compost. Douglas-firs are quite aggressive spreaders and are quick to colonize a recently burned site. I did want to mimic this, so I added the ash in. They do okay in moist soils, but not wet -- so the bottom most layer is composed of pebbles for drainage and the soil has sand mixed in, again to aid in drainage. One peculiar aspect was the tree's weakness. Its stem is not very strong and was falling over even before I dug it up. I tied it to a stick to help support it and train it. Another bizarre feature I took note of was the codominance of stems -- that is, when a tree trunk/stem splits into two (or more) three parts. I am unsure if this is common in saplings; I can confirm just by taking hikes that it is certainly not the most common in mature trees; however, I have seen it a handful of times. Perhaps one stem will prevail and grow taller than the other until the other is drowned for nutrients and light? We will see. Finally, it did have some root rot and other root diseases. Despite their ubiquitous appearance here in the Pacific Northwest, douglas-fir is prone to lots of diseases. I did cut off the major pieces of roots that were affected with the disease and treated the ends with some light root hormone. Hopefully it will recover. Bigleaf maple Originally, I had ten saplings; I now have five. Behind my fence, there is a lovely stand of twelve bigleaf maple trees. They are middle-aged, I'd say, about thirty to forty years old. (Side note: Bigleaf maples are just starting to bloom... it is VERY exciting!!!!) Bigleaf maples are obnoxiously prolific. They each produce hundreds of fertile seeds that disperse via a helicopter-like mechanism. That means every February and March we have at least a couple hundred saplings growing in our garden beds. While I was weeding most of them, I selected ten of the healthiest saplings and transplanted them into small planter containers. Two died within the day due to their roots being disturbed; over the next month three more died. Currently one looks as though it is going to die as well. However, one is incredibly healthy and I have full confidence it will continue to grow for many many years. The other three are super healthy as well! I have a theory that perhaps the overall survival rate of these trees is low. While I did pull up many saplings, I have also seen them naturally die after a month in the garden. At least fifty of these saplings did this. With how many seeds they produce, maybe only the strongest plants can survive to prevent overcrowding and too much competition. Hm... interesting. Ponderosa Pine (seeds) No big update on these seeds. None have sprouted, as it's only been two weeks. Ponderosa pines typically take about 4 to 6 weeks to sprout; and even then I only expect about one or maybe two (if I am lucky) to sprout, as the germination rate of ponderosa pine is incredibly low... less than 20 percent. Pacific Yew I was so, so SO excited to give an update on this one!!! Out of pure curiosity, I gently dug it up six days ago, and it has started to grow an itsy bitsy very tiny hair root from the stem!!!!! I cannot express my joy over this!! I am doing more research (not that there is much information...), but I may move the tree from dirt to water instead. When plants propagate in water, pretty much all of their energy goes into growing bigger roots, not bigger leaves/stems/etc. Which is what I want! These trees are incredibly slow-growing, and I can't control that. However, with them being a threatened species but so incredibly important to wildlife -- and beautiful -- I want to ensure my cutting survives. Having large healthy roots is the best way to ensure this! However, I don't want to accidentally kill it or shock it, so I am trying to do more research. I will update if anything changes. Here is a picture! Conclusion Hey!!! Thanks so much for reading about my trees! And even if you just checked out the pictures or skimmed or even if you didn't read... you are awesome! I am so glad I get to share my passion with the world, and I hope you share yours, too! It means a lot to me just how kind, welcoming, and honest people are - especially that they are honest and kind at the same time. Being in this community has really boosted my self-esteem and helped a bit with my online social anxiety. I know I am rambling off-topic, but I appreciate you all very much. It is great to feel so "okay" being unsure or ignorant about something and then being taught things in a kind way by people of all ages. Thanks for reading! Go outside and PLAY!!! I LOVE playing outside... it doesn't make me "childish" - it makes me free.
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