Shin

Yellow shrimp

yellow_shrimp

Sneaky little buggers, sometimes I don’t see any for weeks and I’m convinced they’ve all been eaten and then all of a sudden; there they are. Kinda like my posting intervals.

Aquarium jungle

Aquarium Jungle

Here’s a photo of my aquarium before a much needed trimming of the plants. Ever since I started using liquid CO2 (I use EasyCarbo) this has become a recurring thing. The change from before to after is so extreme I’d never go back to not using it. Fast growing plants start growing insanely fast (20-30 centimeters a week) and slow growing plants that seemed stale and pitiful suddenly spring to life and grow strong and rich colored leaves.
I’m still struggling with taking proper photos of the tank, somehow even with my dslr I’m having a hard time capturing the depth and richness of the colors.

Buying a second hand aquarium

Pros:

  • It’s considerably cheaper assuming everything works.

Cons:

  • It’s a LOT of work to set everything up the way you want.
  • Can get expensive if you don’t check everything properly.

Things to check for:

  • Make sure you can see the tank up and running so you know all the equipment works. Having to find out later you need a new pot filter or lighting and you can quickly exceed the cost of buying everything new in the first place.
  • Check for leakage on filter, tank and tank stand. Standard stands are plywood covered in veneer, a bit of water damage from weekly water changes can over time seep through the veneer and expand the plywood, making the whole stand an accident waiting to happen.
  • Carefully check how the tank is set up so you know what you want to replace and how. This goes for the filter, background, substrate and any decorative pieces that may have been glued in place.

Blood worm


My latest sushi experiment.
Just kidding. I’ve now had to expand the diet of my fish with blood worms seeing as it’s the recommended food for my snake fish (Erpetoichthys calabaricus). You keep it in the freezer and every day you break off a small cube to feed. I thaw it out with a few drops of hot water, let it stand for a few minutes and then chuck it in the tank.

Seeing as I have a community aquarium it’s a bit of a juggle as blood worm is considered a delicacy by pretty much all fish, but most of them shouldn’t be eating it on a daily basis as they’ll get too fat. The other fish are supposed to eat their flakes as it offers other nutrients necessary to them but seeing as they go bananas as soon as I toss in the blood worms and then ignore the flakes I have to feed them the flakes first and then once all of those are gone I usually wait until the snake fish is swimming away from the others so I can feed him before the others get to it. It makes for an entertaining scene, even though he’s a predator and much bigger than the other fish they all swoop in to try and get a bite of the blood worms. I’m sure that’ll stop as soon as he grows a bit more.

Alien Fish come in peace

A very alien looking albino Protopterus or African Lung Fish at the Grottenaquarium in Valkenburg we visited this weekend. Even weirder to see it move and swim around and look at you.

Aquarium 101: The cycle

Cycling new aquarium
If you’re thinking about starting an aquarium there’s quite a lot of info to take into account.
There’s a lot of info to be found about cycling, which is the act of getting the nitrogen cycle to complete.
Your aquarium is to be a slice of nature, in which there’s a working balance of stuff eating stuff which sets up a whole balance that lets all life flourish.

It all starts with proteins, which are excreted by fish as organic waste and is also a part of decomposition of organic materials like plants, food remnants and dead fish.
Proteins are broken down into ammonia (NH3), which is toxic to fish.
Ammonia gets converted by nitrosomonas bacteria to nitrite (NO2), which is also toxic, and then by nitrobacter bacteria into the less harmful nitrate (NO3).
Newly planted aquariumNitrate is used as fertilizer by plants who are used to produce oxygen and act as food themselves, thus completing the full circle. Nitrate also gets broken down by anaerobic bacteria that live in the filter and your substrate, which is why it’s important to clean your filter the right way so as not to destroy all the positive bacteria in the process of cleaning.
An excess of nitrate can be fixed by frequent water changes (an average of 10-20% of the total water capacity of your tank every week) and by adding more plants.

When you start a new tank it takes 36 days for the whole cycle to set, which is why a lot of people advise against adding fish for this duration, because you can get spikes in for example the nitrite which could kill your fish off.
On the other hand, adding a few hardy fish actually helps to kickstart the cycle due to the fact that they eat and excrete stuff necessary for the whole circus.
There’s a lot of products out there that supposedly add all the right bacteria to your new tank straight away, and if you look around the web you’ll find a lot of people claiming it’s bogus and a lot of people claiming they do work wonderfully. Your guess is as good as mine, but considering how much you’re spending on the whole setup with aquarium, decor, plants, fish & equipment… another $5 for a bottle of miracle bacteria won’t kill you so why not try.

My first attempt at aquascaping


Of course it still looks a bit barren as it’s just been planted, I hope it’ll look better once all the plants take and start growing and spreading out. Keeping my fingers crossed in the mean time. I know, I’m no Amano, but hey, first attempt.

Survival of the fittest?

One of my fishtanks uses a standard mechanical filter, meaning water gets sucked in through a propellor, it moves through a chamber containing a sponge and gets blown out through small holes.
I also have guppies in the tank, who as you may know, breed like bunnies.
Every time there’s a new batch of fry popping out it now seems that pretty much the only survivors are the small fry that are dumb enough to swim near the intake of the filter, get sucked in and avoid getting chopped to pieces by the propellor. They survive in the chamber that contains the filter.
The other fry in the tank usually get eaten.
So as far as my little 54 liter corner of the animal kingdom goes; evolution favors the lucky and the dumb, the strong and fit get eaten.

Biggest home aquarium in Europe

Big > bigger > insane > 105000 liter home aquarium.
Read more…

Work in progress... not home!
Trying to get all/most of the new code working before I start on the eyecandy.