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Jungle Fan

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Jungle Fan last won the day on July 29

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  1. I've kept cardinals on and off since 1968 and I've only ever seen them become aggressive in very small groups when something had happened, and for a short while your group might be down to just a handful. On the other hand I've seen apistos go after everything that moved when they breed. Are you sure your cardinals killed each other, or are you guessing, it sounds to me that what you see might be stress nipping from being pursued by a bigger killer all through the night. Apistos aggressive breeding behavior, and their taste for shrimp are the two factors why I keep Bolivian rams in my 75 gallon tank instead of Apistogramma cacatuoides red, or Apistogramma macmasteri. Don't get me wrong apistos are great fish, I love them, they are normally great tankmates, but when they breed it's no more Mr. Nice Guy, and they get down to business as I learnt the hard way a few decades ago. Cardinals do best in larger groups, the bigger the better if you want to experience their true schooling behavior and see them less stressed. I know that books advocate for 7- 8 minimum a lot, but they really start being more relaxed around 15 in my experience. I keep 35 in my tank and it's a joy to see them parade up and down lengthwise in the tank, and around the driftwood.
  2. @Fish Folk ...and keeps evaporation to a minimum.
  3. A Eurasian hoopoe where are you located @Fonske if you don't mind me asking? Just saw in the next few posts that you are located in China. I have a friend in Germany who is also a nature and wildlife photographer who couldn't get pictures of the hoopoe in Germany, where they spend the summer, so his client sent him to South Africa to make it happen.
  4. A rosy maple moth, my niece in Germany has been bugging me to take some pictures of those for her for a while, just haven't seen any around.😄
  5. If your tank is still cycling, meaning you just recently set it up, and as you say "ammonia is a bit high" and "...there are a ton of nitrates in the water..." I would say bingo on the brown algae. Your snails likely won't have to worry because with most snails and shrimp their blood isn't hemoglobin based so ammonia, and nitrites won't generally harm them, however how long your plants were at your LFS won't figure that much into the picture at this point, as you are dealing with one of the phases of tank cycling. The brown algae will eventually disappear on its own, how much damage it will do to your plants depends on how long this phase will last. I would do several 30-50% water changes per week while your tank is still cycling, these would be beneficial in reducing potential damage by brown algae. Don't introduce fish until your tank is done cycling and the parameters where they should be. You could also introduce red root floaters, or hornwort to reduce those nitrates and get those values under control. Phosphates can be in your tap water depending on if you are in a more rural area, or if the wells where you water comes from are located in a rural area. Phosphates and nitrates are prime nutrients for brown algae, that's why if you can deprive them of these with your other plants, the addition of floating plants, and hornwort, as well as frequent water changes they'll be gone much sooner than later. Most water precincts post their water quality report with all values on their web site, or you can request to have it mailed to you since by law you have a right to an annual report, and it is good practice to get one once per year to see what you are dealing with, and if any changes have occurred that you should be aware of.
  6. Most of the time when Hornwort isn't doing well it's either because it's grown so quick and consumed all available nutrients and is now deficient because of lack of nutrients, or because it was planted in the gravel which will cause the part in the gravel to rot because it is a floating plant, not a stem plant that needs to be planted.
  7. @ArkieB run a search for Bonsai Driftwood, and you will find multiple entries for driftwood that resembles Bonsai trees without leaves, these driftwood pieces are actually used by aquascapers to create miniature landscapes that resemble Bonsai tree landscapes by attaching your choice of moss, or Monte Carlo to the wood. Mosses come in variety from Java moss, to Christmas moss, Willow moss, or Phoenix moss, a.s.o. I did one such landscape a few years ago by combining several driftwood Bonsai with elephant skin rock, and some decorations purchased from a Bonsai store for a friend. I asked if I could post the photos but my friend wasn't keen on having me do so, so I won't, but I found a link to a gallery of several such Bonsai landscape aquascapes for you from Australia, and a tutorial by Adrie Baumann from Germany. https://microaquaticshop.com.au/pages/bonsai-driftwood-aquascape-new-gallery Here's the tutorial:
  8. In one of the photos It looks like at least one other plant in your tank has a touch of brown on its leaves, if so it could be brown algae at which point you might want to look at your level of silicates and phosphate, as well as nitrate.
  9. So this female twelve spotted skimmer started hanging out in our garden, and since I don't have a deck pond out this year I'm actually happy about it because they eat mosquitoes. The hummers are still active and after all the rain this year so far the purple bee balm seems to want to show the rest of our flowers who's boss around here. Some short snap shots while I was sitting in the garden cleaning my camera:
  10. @Torreymine came for free as tiny hitchhikers on plants for now they seem to just hang out in the area the Bolivian rams get fed with sinking pellets. I love what they do for the soil but if they get too numerous I'll have to go medieval on them.
  11. @CalmedByFish this YouTube video by Jurijs Jutjajevs describes the Darkstart pretty good: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=juris+jutjajevs+darkstart I was skeptical at first but after some friends from Germany had told me that it had worked really well for them, I decided to give it a try, and it worked extremely well for me.
  12. I applied a lot from the Amano style but without the elements that are now pushed by the competitions like the path in between islands, the open area all the way around the glass, Im not using charcoal in my filters, instead my filtration is done by the bacteria colonies in the lava rock and all throughout the tank, and by lots of sponge in the pre-, and canister filter, coupled with a bit of extra sintered glass. and the surface skimmer. Other than the Amano aquaria I run an airstone at night and the CO2 during the day. I did not limit my choice of rocks to one kind, or only one type of wood. The stone was going to become mostly invisible in my tank anyway, and regardless of what some will claim over time all the wood will turn a nicely deep dark brown in the tank so that no one now could tell the difference between spiderwood, Mopani, or Pacific driftwood. The negative space, and the use of colors to evoke the impression of depths is something that Amano took from photography, since what few remember, he started as a photographer long before he entered aquascaping. Photography is all about the light, after all it is the reflected light we take pictures of, not the actual object. Studying light, and composition is a huge benefit when imagining what you want to create. I had planned this tank for a good long while and had collected wood for it from all over to be able to have a branch that pointed forward that I could drape the Christmas moss over, or several stumps I could use to create caves for the rams, and a hollow stump for the Java fern. None of the pieces I combined exceeded $30, only one cost that much and that was the Pacific driftwood stump on the left that reaches the surface. All the pieces were assembled over several years. The Aquario Neo CO2 diffuser from Aquarium Co-Op disperses such a fine mist of CO2 bubbles that they are hardly visible but their effect sure is, I've had to trim my Amazon swords continually and have given away quite a few baby plants now. The bubbles rise from the diffuser only to be picked up by the stream from the filter and distributed throughout the tank.
  13. Everything worked out as I planned it, I learnt something new in regards to Amano shrimp and Pogostemon erectus, that once they reach what is described as their maximum size, or slightly above, they develop a distinct liking for the fine needle like leaves of the Pogostemon and will destroy it in short order. i have had to increase my fertilizer dosing quite a bit even with highly reduced light intensity because none of my plants are really high light requirement plants, yet they grow at quite a pace. The Bucephalandras definitely prefer locations that are much shadier than even Anubias prefer, and the Anubias, as strange as it sounds seem to prefer, and thrive more in a heavily planted tank as my constant blooms seem to have shown. The only fish I've lost were due to extreme cold weather when they were shipped to my LFS, even after a several day quarantine period at the LFS there were two of the cardinals that expired shortly after I had acclimated them to the tank. I also lost one rummynose tetra that got so excited over freeze dried bloodworms that he jumped and boinked his head audibly loud into the glass lid, never to recover. Other than that I have had no losses, the 6 Blue Dream shrimp I initially bought as tiny babies have developed into an extremely large colony, of moss, and plant cleaners, probably in the range of 80 to 90. I also learnt something about rummynose tetras that I did not know before that if you plant dense enough they will hide. They seem to prefer to settle in among plants. Some visitors will exclaim loudly when I feed the fish and for the first time they notice that there is another large school of tetras in the tank besides the cardinals when the feeding frenzy occurs. I love the way my moss has filled in and the way the transition between the Christmas moss, and Phoenix moss has worked out, much like stumps with the transition from the Cryptocoryne parva to the Anubias nana petite, to Anubias nana, and from it to Anubias afzelli, and Java fern. In regards to growing moss, patience can't be overstated, it takes a good long while to establish but then comes a point when you have to reign it in, much like all the other plants. I loved the way the darkstart helped me skip the brown algae phase completely, and how cycling was as without problems as never before. I really used to love Japanese style aquascapes several years ago, with open tops, and all but I must say I much prefer the more natural style now that reminds me of what I used to see snorkeling in rivers. I'm happy with my version of the "Amazon" jungle, my water parameters have been stable and where I wanted them to be, and yes trimming is a chore sometimes but I got what I wanted it to be, and much as I groaned over the steep price when I bought them, the Kessils are totally worth it.
  14. Some more pictures of some of my most "high tech, expensive equipment" 😎 Pieces of plastic straws to keep tweezers and scissors from opening and getting caught either in the bag in which I store them, or in the tray I use when I do aquarium maintenance. An old plastic parks pass card, old credit cards for removing build up, or algae below the soil line on the glass. Old toothbrushes, and plastic forks to remove stone wool from plants before planting, and the brushes to clean all kinds of things. A hummingbird feeder port brush to clean the impeller wells of canister filters, or surface skimmers, and various smaller tube openings. Probably not too much new here but maybe for those who are new to the hobby themselves. PS: Just remembered one more, a $1 glass/ceramic stove top pumice stone with a green pad attached to clean the lime off aquarium lids while running it under the faucet, removes even those stains that seem to be etched in (some muscle grease required), the green pad works to clean algae, or lime off the plastic back strip, and the aforementioned hummingbird feeder port brush works wonders on the groove of the plastic strip.
  15. You could add some Staurogyne repens, or dwarf baby tears to your foreground to carpet, or Java fern, Anubiias nana petite, or Anubias nana to your rocks and wood, or add some Cryptocoryne Pink Flamingo to your mid-ground, then again you could do all of the above. Just a few ideas. All of those are available on the Aquarium Co-Op web site: https://www.aquariumcoop.com/collections/live-plants
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