Sunday, April 5, 2020

Summer is here

Terrarium setup from thecinescaper

Thecinescaper is back with an amazing creation. This time he creates a terrarium with different types of locally found misses and minimal plants. The scape creation is presented with his inimitable style. Another one from the champion. 

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Boraras briggitae - Chilli Rasbora - My search continues

Found an excellent article that gives a comprehensive overview of how to care for a school of chilli Rasbora. Boraras brigiitae 

My drift horn tank which is a 1 feet cube tank planted is a soft water tank. 
I do water changes with cans of Bisleri water. Bisleri comes with 60 TDS, so I add a a bit of tap water to get a final TDS of 150-160. 
This tank has matured with a KH of 2dKH and GH of 4-8 dH. I am planning to introduce chillies into this tank.  

Planning on sourcing chilli Rasbora from Avreus aquatics

Last time Avreus had shipped Boraras merah instead of brigitae and I discovered this blunder out only after 2-3 months of caring for my new comers. 
The ones that were delivered - Boraras merah also called Phoenix rasbora look very much like Chillies. 
So I was waiting for the new comers to get settled and start showing colours before I realised that I was sent wrong species. 

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Lowering the GH for my Boraras

My primary water source has TDS around 1000 and is extremely hard. I do not have a reading yet on the general (GH) and Carbonate hardness (KH) yet on my raw water.

I have a Kent RO system at home which gives me a TDS of around 230-240. This is composed of GH of around 11 dH and KH of about 4 dKH. 
This is still not good enough for my Boraras which need softer water. My target for this species is water that is about 7 dH of GH and 3 dKH on KH.

What this means is that my KH is fine but my GH needs to be further reduced. They also need acidic water in the 5-6 range. 
I am not going to control the pH much. My target is to achieve the right GH and KH and they the pH be a stable value. What ever that means. There are 2 viable methods for achieving this.

  1. Using a peat moss filtering method to condition the water. Peat moss supposedly absorbs the heavier ions namely Ca+ and Mg+ which are the primary sources of GH. 
  2. Mixing my RO water with packaged drinking water e.g. Bisleri that has about 2 GH and almost  nil KH. 
Recently I tried both methods. I took about 15 litres of RO water. Added a peat moss pillow with about 150-200 grams of peat moss and added an air stone for about 4 days. 
The GH dropped from 11 to 8 dH. I further mixed about 1.5 L required amount of Bisleri drinking water to further reduce the GH and KH. 

I have done a 50% water change to my cube tank with this conditioned water. Once I am back in Bangalore in another 4 days I will take a reading to observe the GH and KH. The impact on buffering from substrate should be clear in that time. 

The peat moss filtered water had a slightly higher TDS at 300 primarily I believe due to tons of tannins and humic substances in the water conditioned by the moss. Both of these are good for the fish and plants and should drive down the pH but this depends on the buffering capability of water. Which this means is how much the KH can be influenced by the substrate to keep the pH at a stable level.

I have a mix of both Platinum planted substrate and Fluval stratum on this tank. The peat moss conditioned water had a slight brownish tinge going into the tank which should reduce in the coming days with active filtration.

No fishes on this tank yet but looking at moving my Boraras from the Rasbora nano to the cube tank that my boys have named as Drift Horn

Drift Horn is a planted 30 cm cube tank

Monday, December 23, 2019

Planting tips - Bunch planting of stem plants

Note: this method was something I have learned from posts and vids. It’s not my original.

Try planting stem plants in a course grained plants speciality substrate such as Platinum plant substrate or Fluval Stratum. The first few times can be really frustrating even if you are using proper aquascaping pincers.

A close up shot showing the grain size and shape

This is because of the course grain size it’s near impossible to plant densely. When we plant densely the inward movement into the substrate usually has no issues but the outward movement you will root out not only the stem that you are currently planting but also the adjacent ones that were already planted.

This vicious cycle can go on and on forever.

A simple solution to this issue will be to use a large sized ceramic ring. This is the type that is suitable for canister filters. I recently used this technique to bunch together stems. Take precaution to ensure that you insert the stems gently inside the ceramic ring. Also the length of the stems should be aligned.

Once done firmly push in the ceramic ring into the substrate and cover the remaining part. The stems should grow together and appearance will be bushy.

Latest Scape - 1ft cube nano

Sourced this tank though a friend. This tank is 30 cm cube with clear glass on all viewing sides.
The pasting is very professional and I was super impressed when I sourced this tank.

I am using a hob filter of SunSun make also sourced though another friend. Running some ceramic rings and porous rocks as biological filter media plus filter sponges for mechanical filtration.

Running a peat bag inside the filter as well.

The lights is a Chihiros RBG A plus with built in Bluetooth control. This is a 30cm fixture, the A301 model. This fixture was sourced from Aliexpress - JinYu aquarium store

Substrate I have used what ever I had on had

  1. Ceramic rings - large sized which was suitable for canisters. Crushed and used for the bottom layer. 
  2. Tourmaline balls - bottom layer. 
  3. A thin layer of diamond black inert sandy substrate - bottom layer. 
  4. Platinum substrate sourced from amazon - background - what ever was left
  5. Fluval Stratum - background - again what ever was left. 
  6. Stones sourced from a seller on
  7. Red coloured large sized gravel sourced locally - foreground without substrate and only this gravel layer.
Three pieces of driftwoods - 2 pieces sourced from Beenas aquarium - sourced some time back and one piece sourced locally from Chowdeshwari Aquarium at Seegehalli - my proud LFS

This is how the tank appears at 25 days after planting.

More on plant list and stocking plans later.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Back with a bang

I am back in the hobby. This time I have been successful in inspiring my two kids in getting into the hobby. The amount of interest that kids take can be mind blowing.

This time around it’s the planter tank bug. First started with nano tanks low tech and low key and tried growing some easy plants. This successful went ahead into making low tech aquascapes.

Right now running 5 tanks all nanos between 10 and 35 litres. Between just tank with plants to scapes I am seeing it all. Learning more each day.

At the start:

Right now:

This time around I am doing more than just fishes, am very interested in keeping invertebrates. Shrimps and snails. Keeping dwarf shrimps is more taxing and rewarding than fish by a big way.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Losing interest? Maybe...

Long time, no updates and well the truth is that nothing has happened.

The Brichardi tank is just like it was 6 months back. I have been doing rare water changes and occasional top ups only. The shrimp moss tank is reduced to a shrimp only tank since the moss has all wilted away.

The outdoor tube is beaming with algae and the guppies are productive as ever.

Problem is that I am not having much interest on the hobby right now. There are other things that need my attention these days and I hope to get back soon.

Friday, December 4, 2009

End of peace

The smallest of the brichardi has been killed. I found it lying almost dead, face down and immediately separated it. But it died some time later. This one fish was part of a group of three called the Leftists. This was because they used to occupy the rock cluster on the left edge of the tank. They used to coexist in peace and I thought everything would just remain that way. But nature reminded me that it is was time.

The remaining two brichardis of the Leftists group have also been wounded but not fatally. One them is sporting scars on the body whereas the other one is having a shredded tail. I found these two with thier lives hanging in balance as they were trying to hide behind the filter draw pipe. I seperated the two and immediately added some pimafix to give them some stress relief. How I wished I had got some API stress coat too!

So that leaves the other 3 brichardis in the tank. One of them is the biggest, already almost 2 inches and this one seemed peaceful. I could see one of the other two medium ones and there was no sign of aggression or damage on it. So I could immediately think about one reason for the end of peace. A pair had finally formed. But wait a minute, if this was true the other remaining medium sized brichardi was in grave danger. I could see that the two ones which seemed like a pair were not together, but when they passed by each other, there was neither love nor aggression.

I searched for the remaining brichardi and finally when it came out, I saw that it was also clean. No signs of damage whatsoever. So its not a pair that has formed. Looks like its a trio. Either a trio has formed from the original six inhabitants or the fact the biggest 3 just decided to eliminate the smaller 3 fish. Whatever it was, it was an evening of ruthlessness as I stood helpless before nature and watched all that unfolded before my eyes.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Moss tank update

When shifting houses we are forced to strip down planted tanks to the bone to enable us to easily transfer the setup in pieces to the new house.

This is how the tank looked before it was strip down. It had an over growth of Java moss on the central driftwood and good hanging growth of Christmas moss on the stones laid out.

Recent updates to the tank

1. Made christmas moss the main stay of the tank and added 3 clumps of flame moss.
2. Made several cuttings of the anubias and have tried propogation, need to wait for some time for the results.
3. Changed the layout and added another driftwood to soften the water and make it more acidic. My tap water is hard and alkaline.

Pictures from the setup

Brichardi update

I lost my whole lot of Brichardis save one when I shifted my house. Recently I have resetup the tank and procured another lot of juveniles and am reattempting a pairing and breeding attempt.

Lucky for the fishes, this new place has borewell water that is hard and high on the quantity of dissolved solids, no idea on the pH though. Junked the old substrate and setup the tank with only rock work. These rocks were collected during a visit to Mekadatu-Sangam.

Full tank shot. The tank is a 20G long with dimentions 2.5'x1'x1' and the rocks are setup with a triangular arrangement. I don'k like the arrangement either and I will be resetting it up soon.

Obtained 6 numbers of Brichardis. The biggest is about an inch long and the smallest is about half inch. 

Feeding them on a mix of prepared and dry foods including

1. Tetrabits
2. Hikari Cichlid gold
3. Hikari Cichlid Bio Gold+
4. Wardley cichlid pellets
5. Wardley flake food
6. Dried bloodworms (rarely)
7. Frozen bloodworms (once a week)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Selling off the 3 footer

Shifting house implies
Stip down the existing setup -> transfer the tank, top, stand, equipment and fishes to new house -> re setup there.

So I thought why not breakit up into
Stip down the existing setup ->Sell the tank, stand and top-> transfer fishes -> setup a new bigger and better tank in the new house.

So thats the reason I am selling off my 3 footer setup. I will be retaining my 6 numbers of N. brichardi in my 2.5 footer. The 2.5 footer is lying idle at the moment and it will become my brichardi tank in the new house.

That leave me to setup a 4 footer for the new house and will give me an immense choice of fishes! Hmmm....

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Some updates

My HOB filter for the 33G tank has gone bad. It was in use for a little over a year. I will know the exact cause of problem when I get back home and would decide if I want to get another HOB or a new cannister. Fishes are all fine, thanks to Pallavi who has been doing the feeding routines and the water changes.

With the rains setting in seems that the outdoor tub is a lot of activity with the guppy females proceating a lot. Another week and I will be home and have a neat update of how the tanks are with three months of my absense.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A quick trip got planned for a new project in office and I am off to US for 3 months. I will be based out of SFO. I expect the work to be tight so that I am kept occupied, for I do not have many friends in SFO and bay area now and weekends will surely be boring.

Currently in transit in Singapore airport, just thought I will make a quick update. Lovely Singapore airport again. Fishy updates, nothing in particular, just maintaining the two aquariums for now and they are in good hands in my absence. Expect the moss growth to be lush and untamed by the time I return :)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Comments from IAH on my low tech setup

I finally got the courage to make a post on IAH with pictures and details of my low tech moss tank setup. The following are comments and suggestions by the members

1. Adding a thin layer of sand, fine gravel will enhance the look of the tank. The placement of rock/looks can be bettered
2. Add a neutral background.
3. You can tie some spiky moss with the stones which are sitting at the front.

Will edit the post as and when there are more updates.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Low tech planted nano updates

Some pictures of the planted nano

Full tank shot - Jan 23rd 2009
Full tank shot - Feb 8th 2009
Xmas moss - Jan 23rd 2009
Xmas moss - Feb 8th 2009

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Outdoor tub update

Summer is arriving and direct sunlight will heat up the tub too much for the livestock and the plants in it to survive. So I have moved the tub back to a position where there will be no direct sunlight falling on it. but ensured that there will be sufficient diffused sunlight and plenty of day light that the tub willbe recieving.

I should say that the plant growth has not been fantastic. I expected more during the winter months. Currently there are amazon swords, hygrophilla and tiger lotus that are growing in the tub and livestock are mostly guppies and ghost shrimps. Guppies are breeding like crazy.

Some pictures of the setup.

The tub on my balcony.

Couple of amazon swords have grown short and bushy because of the high light conditions.

The tiger lotus (or may be lily) send red leaves right to the surface. 

A few of my guppy fry.

Friday, January 16, 2009

My low light planted setup.

Last month I have started a planted low light setup. I have no substrate in the tank, only rocks and driftwood and so the plants I have chosen are Moss, Anubias and Java Fern.

First the tank. The dimentions are 1.5' x 9'' x 9'' roughly holds about 6 gallons of water. The lighting currently in is a 11W CFL that is on for eight hours a day in two phases of 4 hours each. This is a no fish tank and so I had decided not to go for any filteration, but I have been informed that still water with lighting will lead to algae issues.

Currently I have installed a 2.5W 150 Lph nano internal power filter for this tank and it creates some kind of a circulation to keep things going. The driftwood is placed in the centre to create a grassy hill kind of centre piece with rocks all round the hill at the base to create a rocky shoreline. I want to create the effect of a forest at the slopes and trying to achieve the same with the plants.

Currently the plants are Java and Xmas moss and Anubias nana - gold and petite. For Fern I choose the dwarf java fern which has been promised to stay small so as to not compromise with the 9'' hieght of the tank.

No fishes in, couple of wood shrimps are the only occupants. No CO2, no fertilisers, still finalising on the water change regime. Some say 50% water changes a week, where as the others suggest topups and rare water changes. I need to find a balance to enable my slow growers to survice and is possible to thrive.

These are pictures of my initial setup when there was only java moss and a single Anubias nana petite. Currently the tank needs some maintenance. Will post recent pictures soon.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Neolamporologus Brichardi

Brichardi are a species of cichlids from Lake Tanganyika. Beautiful fishes are characterized by tan colored body with flowing lyre shaped tail fins, blue eyes with matching shiny blue on the fin tips. The edge of the gill cover has a 'T' shaped black marking with a yellow blotch. Overall the fish looks stunning.
Recently I managed to get a group of six juveniles and managed to setup my three footer for a Tanganyikan setup.  The setup has to contain rock formations mainly vertically stacked, preferably till the water level. These fish are typical tanganyikans, prefer hard and alkaline water.

Few pictures of my about 1'' juveniles.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Convict breeding pair given away

Finally I managed to give away the convict breeding pair to a good home. A gentleman paid me a visit and he took away the breeding pair along with a few juveniles. The other juveniles (about 50 of them) have been seperated into a tub. The main tank has been completely revamped for the tanganyikan setup. I figured out that a brichardi setup must have a lot of rock work with a vertical piling of rocks to form cave like formations.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Heart set for the brichardi.

I have decided that the next species for my tank is a colony of brichardis. The "princess of burundi" with its unique community behavior is something that I am going to be hopeful to watch.

Current stocking is going to be given away and the tank cleared and setups changed.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Convict update

Pictures of my convict pair and their juveniles in the 33G tank

The juveniles are about 3 months old, the biggest are about 1+ inch

Surprising for convicts, the parents just ignore the juveniles.

The female convict named Rebel, stays at around 3''

The male convict called Fluffy, he is about 4'' now and flowing fins.

More pictures of this update are available here

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Changes on the outdoor tub

This tub was left uncared for for months together. The actual steps done to get the tub together was as follows

1) Purchase the largest plastic tub that could be sourced locally. This holds about ~10G of water.
2) For the substrate I had used layers of coarse river gravel and fine garden potting soil. About 2-3 layers of each, the top most layer being river gravel of course.
3) Filled partially with water
4) Planted the two rosettes of Amazon Sword plant available with me at that time.
5) Fill the tub to the brim with water and allow to sit for a week.
6) Introduced 4 ghost shrimps.

This is how the setup has been for months together now, in rain and sun. I remember having topped up water only once when the water level went past the half way mark.

Today I moved the tub out to a place on the veranda where there will be more sunlight and introduced the red lily plant that I have along with a java moss tied to a rock. Also added were 5 guppies all babies all born here and 1 platy and 1 molly. All these fishes have been born in my tanks.

More sunlight for the plants, climate's cool for the moss. Let me check out how the fishes will do. TBD: Get a piece of mosquito net and keep the tub covered. This will prevent a lot of dust from settling on the water and prevent the fishes from jumping out.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Phew all the fry survived.

I was to spend a weekend in vacation...
Yeah sounds very exciting with all the travel, places to see, people to meet, fun to be sought.
But its a totally different scenario when you have fry growing out.
Last time I was in this situation, my entire batch of platy fry were wiped out, all I found was white speckles that were formerly fry.

This time tough I was not going too long, leaving at 6 AM on Saturday and returning back by 3 PM on Sunday. I had one more support my side, this time I am dealing with Convict babies and these guys are real tough ones.

I did a water change on Friday night I changes about 50% and made sure all the muck was gone. I fed them about 3 times with microworms on the Friday evening. This was before I did the water change and one feeding after the water change happened on Saturday morning.

When I came back on Sunday afternoon, the babies were all there and well hungry, but they were there, they did not give up on me. These are some tough buggers no wonder they are called convicts.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

More worms in my microworm culture

Today I observed bigger worms in my microworm culture. They were white in color, about 3-4mm in length much much thicker than microworms. On doing some searching I discovered that its the larvae of some insects that are also good for the fish. I picked one up and let into the tank and immediately all my fishes were wanting for it. Good now I have some live food for the adults also. I need to find out if it is nutritious and the effects of feeding such worms for my fish.

From this site

"During the warmer months of the year I often find another small worm in the culture as well. This is because the odour of the culture will attract the common housefly, which lays its eggs through the small holes of the container lid. The eggs then hatch and the larvae develop and grow on the culture medium. This may seem a little unpleasant to some people, but these worms are ideal for larger rainbowfishes, which love them. Their development doesn't appear to have any detrimental effects on microworm production."