32G planted overhaul
Well it looks like my BGA problem is solved. I used Mardel's Maracyn as directed for 5 days and the cyanobacteria seems to be all gone. And since my tank was pretty much void of decor anyway I decided to do a decor overhaul by going 'all natural'. I've based the aquascape on a European Lake layout (found in one of Peter Hiscock's books). There are still more plants to come but since my LFS didn't have the ones I was looking for yesterday I figured I'd wait rather than adding plants I didn't want. Here are the pics...
This is the first step. Here I just finished adding another 22lbs of gravel to the tank so the water is a bit cloudy from it. I was also still 'curing' the driftwood at this point and it would only be added the next day. The small piece of wood in this picture is actually tied down to one of the rocks with a transparent string.
That large piece of wood is actually kept at the bottom by the large rock in the display. I have been wanting to add driftwood to my tank for a long time but always found that the prices they charged for rocks and wood at the LFS are just ridiculous. All rocks and wood in this tank I found outside by walking through the woods in my neighborhood. I'm not sure what kind of wood that is but I have a feeling it may be from a dead lilac tree because it has a vine look to it.
The red echinodorus in this picture was sold to me as 'nymphea'. I was very excited to have found some but it turns out after having done some research when I got home that this is an echinodorus 'rubin'. In the end I very much like it even if it isn't the 'nymphea lotus' I thought I was getting.
I know this is all in my head but the fish seem relieved to finally have real plants back in the tank (I may be projecting some of my feelings onto the fish here :-D). Kribette (that's the lame name I gave my female kribensis) also seems thrilled to have so many hiding places.
That looks good. That dw looks nice in there. And I don't think it is in your head. I think fish DO like having real plants in a tank.
wow.looks great,and yeah your fish will love you for it.
There is some fact in the relationship between fish and plants--not meaning "live" plants necessarily but just "plants" and branches, at least with the cardinals (don't know about the barbs).
In their native habit, Paracheirodon axelrodi are always and only found among plants, be it aquatic in some streams or overhanging vegetation in other streams, and branches and roots along the streambank. They are never found in open water unless forced into that situation by something.
I posted a video on this a while back, from the collector in Venezuela. There is also an article in one of the issues of TFH from a couple years back with photographs. And many scientists have written about the habitat and its relationship to the fish.
In my 115g Amazonian stream aquascape, the cardinals only come out into the open at feeding time. Aside from this, they are always under cover of plant leaves, close to the substrate and pieces of bogwood. I have observed basically identical behaviour in Hemigrammus bleheri, the Rummy Nose Tetra. This is a large enough tank at 5 feet in length to provide options for the fish, and their clear preference is significant.
As I frequently write when members ask about what to put in their new tank, it is very important to research the fish species and understand what they require to be free of stress. Stress causes health problems; it affects the immune system making disease and parasites more likely; and it contributes to shorter life spans.
When those Echinodorus are twice the size they are now, the cardinals will be very happy because they will feel even more at ease.
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