Saturday, March 24, 2007

Golden CAE Again

Golden CAE
Another image of a Golden CAE (Chinese Algae Eater) in my tank. Golden CAEs are un-pigemented versions of Chinese Algae Eater or Indian Algae Eater (Gyrinocheilus aymonieri).

I heard a very interesting behaviour of this fish. As the name suggests, this fish eats algae. But, strange fact is, it will stop eating algae in colder temperature. If the temperature goes down below 69° F (20° C) they will not eat algae!

See more information about Golden CAE here.

Marbled Sailfin Molly

Marbled Sailfin Molly
Marbled Sailfin Molly (Poecilia latipinna) is another very common fish that could be found in the aquariums in almost every corners of the world. This is a live bearer and gives birth of babies instead of laying eggs. This is a very hardy fish making it suitable for beginners’ tanks. As mollies are often found in saline water it is suggested to put rock salt (non-iodized salt) in the water.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Java Moss on Stone or Wood

Java moss in Samit's tank
Java moss does exceptionally well if tied up with driftwood or a stone. Nylon fishing line or simple cotton thread can be used for this purpose. I generally use cotton threads as I find them easy to handle. Within few days they will be attached to the stone or the driftwood and then you can carefully remove the thread that you have used to tie it up. To avoid the risk of the Java moss getting separated from the wood or the stone, I would suggest not removing the threads even in next few months. Good quality cotton thread or nylon thread might not harm your tank inhabitants or change the water quality. In some countries, you will get aquarium friendly, bio-degradable threads exclusively for being used in fish tank and aquariums. I never got it in the pet shops here in India. I guess they would the ideal for this purpose. Use black threads, if you are using cotton thread so that would be less visible. Nylon threads will be anyway transparent, so you need not worry about the color.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Aquarium Resources

Planted Tank and Nature Aquariums of Samit Roy
I always find the online forums and communities extremely helpful to have a healthy tank, understand your mistakes, gather the knowledge to restify them and share your learnings and experience with other aquarists. These fourms, like the Krib, fins.actwin.com, IAH, Aquatic Plant Central etc are being considered as the most valuable online resource for aquarium and fish keeping.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Black Beard Algae

BBA
Algae are the recurring nightmares of any aquarist having a planted tank. Among all algae that infest a planted tank, Black Beard Algae or BBA is considered to be the most notorious one. The attached image shows BBA infested plants in my tank. This is a very hardy algae and it’s really very tough to remove it from the tank. The main reason for this algae is the phosphate and other nutrients generated from leftover food. So, if your tank is infested with BBA, I’d suggest cutting the feeding off, immediately. You need to stop all fertilization and CO2 injection as well, ASAP.

There are very few fishes that will eat these algae. SAEs and Yamato Shrimps (Amano Shrimps) are known to eat these algae but they might not be enough if BBA are well-settled in your tank. total black outs also may not work as these algae are not caused by extra light but by extra nutrients. Frequent water change is suggested during the treatment. Adding more plants, especially the aggressive and fast-growing floating ones like, Pistia, Salvina, Duckweed to absorb the extra nutrient quickly, might work as well, if the algae bloom is in it's initial stage.

Some people advice that to scrap off the algae manually from the leaves is the only way to get rid of these ugly additions. Some also suggest giving the affected plants a quick and short bleach bath. I have never tried this bleach bath, as I thought it would be too risky for the plants.

I had a real tough time fighting against these unwanted guests. I was not too careful at the time of the first attack and I ended up in almost revamping the entire set up. After that, for BBA, I started believing "Prevention is Better than Cure"! As soon as I see the first sign of BBA, I add extra plants (floating plants are good as they are easy to add and remove) and try to figure out what could be the reason of these extra nutrients to stop it immediately.

Useful tips to set up a planted tank: Part 2

Planted Nature Tank
Useful tips to set up a planted tank: Part 2

Pruning your plants:

Pruning your plants on a regular basis is also very critical for the growth of the plants. Prune them often. Remove old leaves, cut rotten roots that are coming out of the substrate, clip unwanted branches. While planting remember to clip off all old roots and leaves and do not forget to prune the plant again within a week after planting.

Cutting the budding tip off of the stem plants allows them to shoot new branches and makes the plant bushy. Cut the old leaves regularly from the rosette plants to encourage new leaf growth. Pruning is also crucial to control algae. Cut the leaves that are affected with algae. Few plants like hair grass and other fine grass like plants require regular clipping to keep them free from the brush algae.

Remember to be very careful while pruning slow-growing plants like Anubias etc. However, all fast-growing plants will need regular pruning, to control their growth.

In most of the cases (especially fro the stem plants), pruning also yields loads of new plant cuttings, ready to be planted in your tank.