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Kirsten

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Everything posted by Kirsten

  1. I have a 9-day trip planned for the fall and folks here said everything should be fine to go that long without food, which surprised me. For puffers, I'd recommend stocking their tank with ramshorn or trumpet snails before you go to hopefully keep them fed while you're gone. Or maybe start a small snail colony in another tank, then move some of the plants or hardscape in with the puffer before you go? Otherwise, maybe a friend or pet sitter can plop in a cube of frozen blood worms once or twice?
  2. So sorry to hear that! They may have had illnesses, injuries, or weaknesses that were hard to spot in the store. Standard advice is to first put them in a smaller, relatively sparse quarantine tank, even if they're the first fish in the new tank, so you can keep an eye on them for the first couple weeks and more easily treat them if you spot something. But I have trouble following that advice, myself, when I'm excited to start a new tank. The store you bought them from may have a refund policy for a certain number of days, but be prepared to bring in a sample of your tank water for them to test to prove it wasn't your fault.
  3. I might be getting ahead of myself, but it'd be so cool to have a Nerm Retreat to get together, finally be able to shop at the ACO store, and maybe have some hands-on classes on aquascaping, CO2 injection, hatching killifish, or how to ship fish (maybe we can ship them to ourselves!)
  4. Oh wow! I didn't know mystery snails ate duckweed either! Time to ring the dinner bell!
  5. I'm always down for a small discount on ACO orders or swag, but honestly I'd sign up and pay a small fee just to be a member, to have access to the guest speaker videos and Q&As, and to be able to swap and buy from my fellow members. I'd love to learn more about breeder programs and step up my fish-keeping game.
  6. Thanks! It was almost all scavenged from other tanks: Jungle val, duckweed, hornwort that had grown out of control in other tanks, hardscape that didn't jive with the rest of the decor, a few loose java ferns, moss, and anubias, some cardinalis and some scarlet temple (I think?) that was otherwise languishing in taller tanks, and the moss ball. Only new things are the substrate (obv), the sword and the little patch of baby tears. Fingers crossed these babies survive to enjoy it!
  7. My process was very straightforward. Just got it in the mail like a letter! 🙂 But possibly because the seller fibbed on the customs slip and said it contained "samples" and only valued at $1. I didn't ask them to do that and that's pretty dangerous for them in the long run, but hey, got my eggs right quick.
  8. API Quick Start is just nitrifying bacteria to help process fish waste faster. It should have no effect on your plants other than slightly positive, since plants will consume all parts of the nitrogen cycle, but like nitrates most. If anything, it'll help consume ammonia to turn it into nitrites, and consume nitrites and turn them into nitrates. Flourish, from what I understand, is a fertilizer and it's completely different, but it might help feed the colony of beneficial bacteria. The pics you posted look like normal brown algae to me, totally common in new aquariums. Reduce light to 8 hrs/day, feed lightly and try easy carbon or algae eaters like shrimp to help it die back. Your water sprite looks a bit like mine. I've tried 3-4 times to get it to take, but no dice. It can be pretty finicky. For what, I don't know yet. But luckily there are other plants that grow great for me like jungle val, chain swords, anacharis, camboba, and most epiphytes. Sometimes you just have to try a bunch of different things and see what sticks.
  9. Yes! Especially killifish eggs, which can incubate in peat moss for several weeks, which is conveniently about as much time as a package takes to get from Thailand to the eastern US.
  10. So my 15g is super planted and well-established: And the time was up (I think?) on my killifish eggs, bought from Thailand: On the 12th, I gave it a whirl, and after a few hours of waiting: We got 4 to 6 teeny tiny ickle bickle babies! After a few hours so they could fill their swim bladders and get their bearings, I gently poured their water into the main tank, since there are no other fish in there, just some bored blue rilli shrimp and some ramshorn snails. Of course, I haven't seen them since. I assume they're somewhere up here, near the surface, amongst the duckweed, resting on plants and eating infusoria and the odd fairy shrimp, whose eggs I've been judiciously apportioning every couple days: But if I still can't see them after a couple weeks, I'm calling it a wash. Fingers crossed for the babies! And in the meantime, I'm keeping my peat moss wet in case I get some more.
  11. Yeah I wonder if that's part of my problem. At first I used the included airstone (at least I think that's what it is. It's clear but it fits at the end of the tube and makes bubbles) and had to cut the tubing down a little to make it fit when I attached the flexible airline at the top. Then I had a bad hatch so I watched the video again and saw Cory didn't use the airstone, so I removed it, and still had a bad hatch. So maybe I should reattach it to help aerate and keep sediment from building up at the bottom.
  12. This is incredible! I love the idea of dissolving the salt first, building a lightbox for the hatchery, using a bit more aeration, and pouring into a net or coffee filter. I don't mind a little salt in my tanks, but with the small amounts of shrimp I'm hatching, I feel like I'd end up dumping a lot of empty brine in there. Next big question I've been afraid to ask: running a hatchery constantly will really tear through my marine salt supply. Is it possible to reuse the salt water, assuming I can filter out the bbs and unhatched eggs?
  13. Interesting! My tap waters pretty soft and close to neutral, so I'm a little leery of messing with it too much other than the salt. But I do have a grow light bulb in a clamp-on shop lamp that gets pretty warm. Maybe I'll try that at a small distance away. Now the trick will be to block the light from growing algae in the tanks nearby!
  14. Sure! I'll post pics next time I run it. It has been getting pretty cold at night, probably down to at least 64, maybe lower. Maybe my heater isn't keeping up? Yup, Fritz Marine salt. Good to know about the light, too! I'll try that.
  15. I know, probably impossible to tell over the internet, but I'm 0 for 2 for trying to hatch brine shrimp in the ziss and I must be doing something wrong. I've tried to do everything right, watched Cory's video at least a dozen times, and I get only like 25% hatch rate after 48 hours, with tons of empty salt water and eggs. I only have 6 small-ish tanks (36g or less), but I like to give them the best, so I've only been trying to hatch a teaspoon or two of eggs at a time. Is that part of my problem? Should I try brewing up a super full batch of like 2 tbs of BBS eggs? I even tried filling up the tumbler only half way, giving it just 1 tbs salt, to try to concentrate them more, and the water just turned cloudy and I had no better luck than a full tumbler. I have the air tube hooked up to a nano pump, dialed into a couple bubbles per second, I have a 5w heater I use only for BBS hatching which I'm sure to keep below the water line. I don't use a dedicated lamp or light source til I think it's ready to harvest, then I shine an old nano aquarium light on the bottom portion. But for the whole time they're incubating, I seem to get a lot of eggs and salt sitting on the bottom, no matter how much I stir. Is that also part of the problem? I also notice that, even though I have a municipal water supply, the chlorine level's pretty close to 0 out of the tap. Any tips for hatching out small batches of BBS? Or larger batches and saving them? In the meantime, I'm just ordering a bunch of instant BBS jars.
  16. It seems that pretty much every kind of aquarium fish sold in the US has breeders in SE Asia to some degree. Some US buyers prefer local or domestic breeders where possible for less shipping stress for the fish, but that option isn't always available for rare species or for very common species where domestic breeders can't compete on price and volume. I recently bought some killifish eggs from Thailand, which came inexpensively via postal service. I thought that was clever for several reasons: 1) there are so many varieties of killifish that it can be hard to find the exact one you're looking for as adults here in the US. 2) the eggs can have a long incubation period (long enough to survive almost any mail delay) 3) the eggs can be incubated in moist peat moss, sealed in a small plastic bag, which is even easier for shipping 4) many people getting into killifish are slightly more advanced fish keepers who can do research and are interested in breeding and raising fry 5) they're small and easy to keep in smaller tanks The downsides are: 1) you need to provide clear and fool-proof directions in English for when and how to hatch them in case a newer fish keeper buys them 2) killifish aren't as well-known in the US as many other kinds of fish, so they're less popular, though they're very colorful and cute 3) you'd probably need several separate tanks for males, females, spawning, and a good organization system to clearly label and sort the eggs by hatch date But they might be still be a good place to start. Good luck!
  17. It's true! I still think about this incredible article about working as a deck hand on a salmon fishing boat in Alaska, and the opening lines are not for the faint of heart: https://narratively.com/how-to-stay-sane-as-a-female-deckhand-in-alaska/ Often, at least, the fish are stunned by hitting them and hopefully unconscious when they're gutted. But it's not a pretty business. Getting eaten in one gulp by an acara is probably a better way to go!
  18. For me, it's really about quality of life for the fish and keeping the community of fish in my aquarium happy and healthy for many generations. Luckily, my fry all seem to be vigorous lil buggers so I haven't had the experience of culling them, personally, but let me use a sad example from a sheep farm I worked at: Some kinds of sheep have a terrible recessive gene where their eyelids tend to curl inwards. Their eyelashes scratch the sheep's eyeballs and they get infected, which can kill a young lamb painfully or at the very least blind them, making it easy for them to be outcompeted for food, get bullied or lost from the herd, basically the saddest possible life for a sheep. When you see a lamb with curly eyelids, you have to act pretty fast, popping the eyelid back into position, sometimes using aids like tape or more drastic means to try to keep them from curling under again, castrate any males from the batch, and make sure the ram who sired them (the likely culprit) and his daughters never breed again. It's hard to treat, so, often, after several attempts to help correct their eyelids have failed, the lambs are usually sent to market before they can get worse. The ram in question can live out his life separate from the ladies, if you can manage it, or can get sold if the shepherd doesn't want to keep paying to feed and house him. The treatments for this are not often successful and are stressful and sometimes painful for the sheep. Far better, all around, to keep those terrible genes out of your flock in the first place. In a community fish aquarium, you have much less control over who breeds, when, and illnesses are even harder to treat and identify. Unlike humans, who have loving communities of caregivers to help and treat anyone with disabilities and who have a good chance of living long, happy lives, fish with problems often live in misery and can pass on those problems to their young. As the human who put them in this situation, I think we have a responsibility to the fish to give them the best life and minimize any stress or suffering.
  19. Killifish, a larger livebearer like a swordtail, I bet even some barbs would do the trick in cooler water. I've put a single angelfish in each of my 36g livebearer tanks and even thought they're still pretty small, they're endlessly chasing fry around. I love my livebearers, but I'm cheering for the angelfish! I haven't tried it, but some people recommend dwarf african frogs for eating anything they can catch. Don't know what their temps are, though. But, really, it won't get out of hand if you feed sparingly, keep an eye on it and have the time and patience to catch up a few dozen every month or two to give away. Leave the killing for dangerous genetic problems or terrible illnesses.
  20. I'd also love some plant stickers, maybe some mystery snails or nerites. Or, even more so than stickers, I'd love fridge and car magnets. An Enjoy Nature Daily bumper sticker? Never an unwelcome message!
  21. Personally, if they're that established, I'd rather let them die back naturally (or you could cut them off at the substrate line if you really hate looking at them) rather than disrupting the substrate by pulling them out, which will kick up a crazy amount of detritus and be stressful for everyone. That said, I bet a root tab or two would get them looking good as new in no time. Bad leaves would drop, new leaves would happen, they'd suck up even more nutrients, happy times. But if they're in a bad location and you'd rather put them in another tank, you can do it, just be prepared to do a big water change after the move. Hungry, crazy pond plants like hornwort would definitely keep you balanced til other plants can pick up the slack.
  22. I'd look at Craigslist and FB marketplace for your area to see what people are selling for, or trying to sell for, and go a bit lower than that. I swear I see 10 gallon tanks with a plastic plant up there for like $50. Needless to say they hang around for awhile.
  23. Thanks, that's what I figured, too. And if even half of these 30 eggs hatch and survive, I'll have plenty of fish in the tank, maybe even too many. So I'm okay with a little bit of natural selection here.
  24. Ooh, I bet that's it! Poor lil thing probably wants to be with its own kind. I'll contact nearby fish stores to see if they have some and want one more.
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