Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tip-terrestrial plants

Terrestrial plants such as pothos (Epipremnum aureum) and Peace lilySpathiphyllum sp.) can be used to take up excess nutrients in an aquarium much more effectively than plants that are submersed in your aquarium. This is because they have the aerial advantage detailed in the book Ecology of the Planted Aquarium. I highly recommend this book, I have learnt a great deal from it. I also recommend you read the articles she wrote that can be downloaded free from the website linked.

Basically the plants have access to an unlimited amount of atmospheric CO2 and therefore grow faster and take up more nutrients than submerged plants. They are also more solid than aquatic plants which means there is more nutrients locked up within the plant.

To get started all you need to do is take a cutting of a pothos plant and stick it in the water, it will quickly take root. Peace lilies can be grown by taking a sucker from an existing plant or washing the soil of a potted plant and placing it in the aquarium; I prefer pothos as they are much easier to secure in the aquarium and to train their growth.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Species profile-Betta splendens

The betta is one of my favorite fish, they have been breed into a multitude of colours, sizes and shapes. Before I begin this article I would like to dispel some common myths:

1. Bettas live in puddles or horse foot prints in the wild so they can be kept in small jars without water changes.

Firstly, bettas live in rice paddies which are absolutely massive. They are very shallow but they stretch for kilometers. The water quality is much higher than would be found in a vase with no water changes. The water quality is also much better as there are many live plants filtering the water. Bettas often have territories of a square meter, that doesn’t even compare to a tiny bowl

.2. Bettas don't like big spaces.

I keep many of my bettas in large 4 feet tanks, they roam the whole thing and a very interactive. The biggest problem is when you have nippy fish with long fin bettas, they can harass them to death.

3. Bettas don't need a heater.

Bettas come from a very hot and humid environment and must be kept at a warm temperature to ensure their health. An optimum temperature is between 26 and 28 degrees Celsius (
78-82oF). Unless you live in the tropics you need a heater.Now that is out of the way let's get on with this article. I like to keep my bettas in a minimum of 10 liters (2.5 gallons). When I use the NPT method in their tanks I hardly need to perform water changes, nitrates should never be above 40ppm and ammonia and nitrate should always be zero. In such a small aquarium I recommend you do water changes around once a week. Please note I only recommend this for a NPT other tanks may require more or less. Once you start to get to know your aquarium you can do less water changes, but remember to test the water!

Bettas should always have a heater, a temperature of 26-28 degrees Celsius (
78-82oF) is good. Indian almond leaves are very good for bettas, they lower the ph and add tannins to the water, in the wild bettas come from waters with heavy tannins. A ph of 6.5 is good but it is more important to have a stable ph than to mess around with it. I keep mine at 7.4.

Bettas love live food but a good staple are pellets made specifically for bettas. Add live foods whenever you can. Mossie larvae, blackworms, adult brine shrimp and grindals are great live foods.

I won't go into breeding in this article, this is a great blog for bettas here, some of the bettas shown are actually mine, this girl knows her stuff. http://bubblesandbettas.blogspot.com/