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Cajun Charlie

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  1. My old Italian Tropuquarium 88 made by Askoll S.P.A. and bought overseas has a hood with a built-in fluorescent fixture that takes two 24” 20W bulbs. I‘be been running ZooMed Ocean Sun 10,000K bulbs for several years now, and I’m wondering if it’s time to replace them. My heavily planted tank is generally happy, but 3 of my 4 swords are getting holy leaves while sprouting lots of babies. Their roots are in hardware store gravel on an undergravel filter with a power head, full of natural fertilizer. Distance from bottom of bulbs to top of gravel is 18”. First photo is holy leaves if you can see past the begging platies; second was after about 3 months without pruning. I’m very much into low maintenance and use no root tabs and very little Flourish at infrequent water changes. The only thing I would consider changing is bulbs, and only if necessary, since they are older than I can remember, having been in storage 2012-2021, run 2007-2012, stored some years before that… They run 7:00 am to 9:30 pm. Do these fluorescent bulbs wear out enough to need replacement?
  2. No measurable ammonia. I don't worry about nitrates since the tank is so heavily planted and I change five or ten gallons alternate weeks, with new water dosed with Prime, Flourish, Excel, API salt at a tablespoon per five gallons, and a small Wonder Shell. New water drips in slowly via airline tube from a five gallon bucket on top of the canopy, while both the Fluval U3 and the undergravel power head are circulating. I will have to figure how to quarantine, maybe five gallon bucket and cobble together bits and pieces of filter from the box in the garage; can't afford new plus meds, will just buy meds.
  3. Thanks. Unfortunately I have no way to quarantine him: no other tank, no place to put one, and no budget for it. Looks like I dose the whole tank's food (including lots of livebearer fry?), and increase salt from the current tablespoon per five gallons. Last nightI found a dead cardinal. 😞 Edited to add: I have energies, bladder snails, Amanos, and red cherries. Can they withstand medication and more salt? 😞
  4. Photos attached. Will test water again and edit to add results. Edited to add: Used three different test kits, one ammonia only, two different brand multi. Ammonia 0 For the multi test strips, different results are noted; same results are posted only once. pH 7.0 nitrate 40-50 nitrite 0 carbonate 0-15 Chlorine 0 Iron 0 Copper 0 Gh 160-180 total alkalinity 0
  5. Behaving normally, no signs of distress. I feed a wide variety: Tetra flakes, bug bites (top and bottom kind), fancy guppy food, micropellets, freeze dried blood worms, FD tubifex, FD daphnia, and two kinds of betta food. I'm not sure of his appetite recently, but will observe more closely and post findings.
  6. He (pointy back end of dorsal fin) has expanded in the stomach so much that looking head on he is twice as wide as he was a week ago. Water tests okay. He's in a heavily planted community 130 liter (~34.4 gallon) tank with tetras, mollies, platies, guppies, a clown Plecostomas, and a panda Corydoras. What's going on? Disease? I would post photos but I'm having user malfunction problems with my tablet, and can't log in with my phone even after a password reset.
  7. Some months ago I had a bad infestation of BBA. I treated it with Excel for a couple of weekly partial water changes, then stopped Excel and went natural with mollies, nerites, Amanos, and red cherries. My 130 liter tank has white clouds, Rasbora hets, green neons, black neon, cardinals, a clown Plecostomas, a panda Corydoras, platies, guppies, a honey gourami, and lots of plants. My weekly water changes are either five or ten gallons depending on how heavily I feed. For the past month or so, I've gone from one feeding a day to two, to try to get my livebearers to give birth. It worked for the platies and guppies, but my big fat molly is still big and fat. The problem is the black beard algae is starting to come back. My 60+ shrimp and the livebearers are not slowing the growth rate. I didn't expect much help from the nerites, but they do windows. I also have a relatively new crop of bladder snails, probably from the heavy feeding, but they aren't helping either. The Anacharis tips are full of it, the Java ferns are sprouting it, and the Vallisneria is getting it on the parts at the surface. I seem to recall that there was a reason why I discontinued Excel, but now it escapes me. Can I safely use Excel without harming my critters?
  8. It seems that my black shrimp is very shy. I see it maybe once or twice a week. Yesterday when my wife and I were looking at the tank, I told her I see it. As I was digging into my pocket for the phone to take a picture, she pointed at it, about two inches from the tank. Every critter in the area scattered. 😞 Anyway, I decided to post the photos I have, in case anybody has any similar experiences in color variation, and might be able to share some insights. 1. Two-tone 2., 3., 4. Brown-ish 5. Red Cherry 6. Clear-ish 7. Plain Amano 8., 9. Yellow
  9. I have a few pieces of petrified wood, and two coprolites (petrified "road apples"), all collected some years ago in the middle of the Arabian desert. I used most of the petrified wood for vertical interest, but when my plants started taking up so much room, I retired most of it. Now I have only three small flat pieces, and two vertical ones that partially obscure my Fluval U3 submersible filter and the lift tube for the undergravel filter. I don't have any substrate. My old undergravel filter is topped with a 40 lb., $4.99 bag of local Texas river rock from Rob's Hardware. I don't have a photo on this tablet, but you can see the petrified stuff at .
  10. Some look like the online pictures, mostly clear with red lines. Some look brown with a broad tan dorsal stripe. Some are translucent golden with bright yellow egg saddles. Yesterday I even saw a new black one. I started with 6 Amanos and 6 red cherries. Now I have 40+ shrimps. Is this kind of color variation normal? Photos would take time; would they help?
  11. Better late than never? I use one tablespoon of aquarium salt per 5 gallons of water, and a small Wonder Shell, but not even close to brackish. My Amanos and red cherries are reproducing like crazy. I have lots of plants to hide in, but no doubt my mollies are eating their share of little ones. I started with 6 of each kind in a 130 liter (34.4 gallon) community tank. At last count I had 40+ shrimps, and a surprising variety of colors.
  12. Finally fingered out how to post the uploaded photos. Resolution isn't good, but I can work on that if anyone is interested. I chose the smallest filesize when I emailed them from my phone. I could try again, larger. The timer on my light is a 1980s circuit board that works for one and only one cycle per day, the manual on/off controls don't work, and parts are no longer available. On this tank, the lights, heater, and filters are designed to be connected to an electrical junction bus in the canopy, so one power supply cord should run everything. I had a few connection problems, but I'm still not anywhere close to being able to put the lights on a separate timer without losing heat and some filtration. I don't think I have the time or energy to get into tubs ... yet. I have a lot of outdoor work to do first. I bought this house as a foreclosure in 2015 and moved the family in while I was working overseas. After "retiring" I am slowly catching up on many years of "deferred maintenance," both indoors and out.
  13. Tried to post photos. Don't know if they made it. If not, let me know. I'm in Houston, so tubs might work. I hope my guava tree survived the winter. It's less than a year old, has grown from ~3' to ~7', and even gave us a few guavas! Unfortunately my mother-in-law's papaya trees didn't survive our only hard freeze this season. But I digress; back to the aquarium. It's in our family room, with the "front" facing a wingback chair and a rocker, and the "back" by an end table and sofa. My wife and her mother are always asking about the babies and the mothers, and study them closely, so tubs might not interest them. And I don't want any more tanks. I evicted the betta, moved to the end table into a big bowl with a few plants, and bought a female and LED lights, but I don't want the fish tanks to spread further. Appreciate the tip on lighting for my red plants, but I can't try it. My lights' automatic timer handles one cycle per day, but the manual on/off switch doesn't work. I've replaced the timer circuit twice over the years, and this is the best of the three I have, but it's still hinky, and parts are no longer available. I will look into the references when I have more time. It's surprising how busy I stay in retirement.
  14. My experience goes back to the 1970s with marine and freshwater tanks, but very much off and on because of job related moves. After retiring, in August of 2021 I retrieved my old Tropiquarium 88 from the garage, cleaned it with vinegar and rinsed it well, then started setting up again after 16 years. It's a European Fluval/Hagen product, bought when I worked overseas, the flower of 1980s technology, with two 24" 20W fluorescent bulbs in the canopy, currently Ocean Sun 10000K. The tank holds 130 liters, or about 34.4 US gallons. The old HIT (hang-in-tank) Bio-Life filter wore out long ago. My old undergravel filter and power head still worked, at least for a few months until I had to replace the power head. I added a submersible Fluval U3 rated for 40 gallons. My gravel is a 40 lb bag of river rock for $4.99 at the local hardware store, well rinsed. Hardscape is petrified wood and a couple of coprolites (petrified "road apples") from the middle of the Arabian desert. After cycling, I gradually added flora and fauna. Planting started with Amazon's "Florida" pack of ten, followed by some losses and additions. Now I have Vallisneria, Dwarf Sagittarius, Anubias that's bloomed twice and is branching off a new rhizome, Amazon Sword that's branched out a baby, Java Fern, Pogostemon, susswassertang, Java Moss, Moneywort, banana, Red Amazon Sword also with a baby, couple of others whose names I don't know, and a big bundle of Anacharis. Most of my little red plants are dying, and I can't change my light fixtures, so I'm thinking of getting a Cryptocoryn Wendtii. Current fish population, stable for a few months, includes a clown Plecostomas, a Panda Corydoras, six Rasbora hets, six White Clouds, six Rummies, six Cardinals, six Green Neons, six Black Neons, six Glow Lights, one surviving very pregnant female guppy, and the algae patrol. Last fall the BBA was bad. After research, mostly here, I got six olive nerites, six Amano shrimp, six red cherries, and six Dalmatian mollies. The shrimp have bred like crazy, 42 total at last count, but the mollies apparently had too many males, sadly now only one male, two adult females, a juvenile female, and a week old baby. I used Excel for a couple of weeks, then relied on the critters to finish off the algae, which they did. No more algae problems, and the "windows" hardly need any cleaning. I haven't tested any measurable ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate since the first month, but still I change five or ten gallons of water weekly, treated with Prime and a tablespoon of API salt per five gallons, and siphoned in slowly through airline tubing. Also I use Flourish twice a week, occasional root tabs, and regular Wonder Shell. And I keep a couple of dried guava leaves from my back yard tree. I put a variety of flakes and freeze dried food in the once a day autofeeder, and occasionally hand feed blood worms, tubifex, pleco wafers, pleco cakes, Daphnia, and bug bites. All my food critters are freeze dried; I have no patience for live or even frozen. I'm hoping my ever increasing jungle will be enough to hide baby guppies, more mollies, and eventually White Clouds. Edited to add photos. I chose a very small filesize when I emailed them from my phone; let me know if anyone wants better resolution. My tank doesn't really have a front and back. The first view is the "front", but my tank really doesn't have a front and back. The "front" faces a wingback chair and a vintage rocker, and the "back" faces an end table and sofa. Looks like I cut off the far right end of the "back" as I don't see the submersible filter or the riser for the undergravel filter, just part of the power head. Sorry about that.
  15. Thanks, y’all. (Did I mention I’m in the South?) I removed the fresh guava leaf and replaced it with a couple of dried ones, weighed down at one end with petrified wood. My Filipino parents-in-law make tea from dried guava leaves for digestive issues, so I have plenty, saved from this summer’s pruning. I’ve had this tree only since March, bought after our unusual February long-lasting very hard freeze, and it’s grown from about three feet to eight. We even got some fruit. It will be interesting to see how the inmates react to these leaves and the new green Banquet block.
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