According to the British Bryological Society (naturally), Riccardia chamedryfolia, also known as ‘Jagged Germanderwort’ is a liverwort with a thalloid growth form and is naturally occurring in most parts of the world including commonly in the UK. There is a lot more biology-talk about liverworts vs. mosses vs. hornworts that I don’t understand, but I did manage to pick up an in vitro pot grown by Dennerle from Aquarium Gardens and thought I’d give it a try growing on hardscape. The secret hope is always to find something that will be able to grow in the Shrimphaus river even though many, many plants have failed there. It turns out that always wet with flowing water slate chippings exposed to typically low humidity indoor air is a quite austere environment. Still, hope springs eternal and I thought I could try out both the Shrimphaus river and also that wedged into cracks of the Fireplace Aquarium mountain would make a nice effect.
Well crap! I had high hopes for the chili rasboras. When I purchased the initial 8 of them I specifically asked the person at the local fish store whether rummy nosed tetras would eat the chili rasboras and was assured that they would not. Then I put the chilis in and only counted 7. I picked up 6 more from Riverpark Aquatics (mail order from Scotland!) to boost up the numbers a bit, so 13 altogether, but then after a few more days, back down to 6. No sign of any bodies anywhere. Then after what seemed like a particularly frenzied fish flake feeding session a few days later, down to just 2 chilis and I see… hanging out of the face of one of the rummys… the back half of a chili!
After some struggles the rummy couldn’t seem to finish the job and barfed up the now-deceased chili. That body also subsequently went missing. As a desperation measure, I fished out the last two chilis and transferred them to the Shrimphaus. One of the last two seemed poorly and now I only see the one left.
I also later discovered a deceased rummy… perhaps an over-sized chili meal did it in? That body also subsequently disappeared – pretty sure torn apart and eaten.
To be fair, I think the juvenile chilis are just slightly larger than proper eating size and maybe if they had grown up together with juvenile rummys things could have worked out better. Seems fully adult rummys and juvenile chilis together is not a good idea. Peaceful community tank, my ass! It’s a savage world in there.
Hopefully slightly larger alternative fish…
I’m trying ember tetras now as a replacement for the chilis. The embers are quite a lot stouter than the chilis were and so far neither the rummys nor the barbs have gone after them in a food-like manner. Fingers crossed…
There’s a new addition to the Fireplace Aquarium – chili rasboras! I’ve been thinking there’s room for some more fish residents and the chili rasboras at LFS seemed to tick all the right boxes.
Two months after the massive pruning of the Bucephalandra caterina and the Anubias nana ‘Pinto’ in an effort to control the black beard algae (BBA) that was colonising them, the battle is lost. Further, inspection showed the BBA had thoroughly colonised the Cryptocoryne parva as well.
I have come around to thinking of BBA as a symptom rather than a problem – in other words the BBA indicates something is wrong that needs to be addressed. In this case I believe it is a build-up of organic waste in the aquarium, and also perhaps the natural life cycle of some of the plants. The caterina was planted 2.5 years ago and the parva 2 years ago where a gradual loss of fitness means they have a hard time fighting off algae.
The last massive epiphyte trim was nearly 10 months ago, so time to go at it again. I didn’t actually mind the overgrown appearance and the fish seemed to like hanging out under the middle layer of Anubias nana ‘Pinto’. There was considerable shading of the bottom of the Fireplace Aquarium but I didn’t notice that particularly being a problem for either the Cryptocoryne petchii pink or the Microsorum pteropus ‘Windelov’ so that was ok. What finally pushed me to get the scissors out was the increasing amount of black beard algae that was growing on the leaves of the Bucephalandra caterina at the top of mountain on the side in the middle that gets the most light. BBA that gets established is notoriously difficult to get back under control so I figured the best way was to remove it physically altogether.
Regular and substantial water changes for an aquarium are a good idea. With EI fertiliser dosing the built-in assumption is that at least 50% of the water will be changed out every week to prevent a build-up of excess fertilisers. Both the Fireplace Aquarium and the Shrimphaus follow this maintenance schedule, although lately I have been doing around 75% water changes to better remove organic particulate debris from the Fireplace Aquarium and to remove salts from the Shrimphaus.
Pre/post water change parameters
|pH||alkalinity (ppm CaCO3)||pH||alkalinity (ppm CaCO3)|
|before water change||7.85||264||9.01||342|
|immediately after water change||7.96||276||8.67||306|
I haven’t had much luck growing plants on the Shrimphaus river. Mostly they dry out either immediately or eventually, or sometimes they rot away. This roots and bottom bits wet all the time but leaves out in the air niche is pretty challenging. Some internet digging revealed plants that thrive in this setting are called marginal plants: those growing on the margins of bodies of water, and they are popular for people with ponds. Ok, so that’s the right setting, but outdoor ponds are much larger than the Shrimphaus so only the smallest marginal plants might work. Some shopping around led me to try Bog Arum (Calla palustris), Golden Buttons (Cotula coronopifolia) and Golden Creeping Jenny (Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’). All of these are listed as growing to a maximum height of about 6 inches.
The plants arrived well-packed in wet newspaper and the first surprise was how big they all were. The pond world operates on a much larger scale than the aquarium world!
It’s been 10 weeks since the tear-down and rebuild of the Shrimphaus. One of the things that surprised me in that process is there turned out to not be very many shrimp in the Shrimphaus, and mostly not any small ones. This suggested that things in the previous build were not as they should be environmentally such that the shrimp had stopped breeding. The big question was whether the new build would turn that around or not. It takes four or five weeks from mating until eggs hatch so there has been a bit of a calendar-watching excercise going on and…
We have baby shrimp!
I was pretty excited the first time we got baby shrimp in the Shrimphaus as well.
First attempt: write me a 500 word blog post about bloody mary shrimp
Bloody Mary Shrimp is a delicious and unique twist on the classic Bloody Mary cocktail. This dish combines the bold flavors of a Bloody Mary with succulent shrimp, making it a perfect appetizer or main course for any occasion.
To make this dish, start by marinating the shrimp in a mixture of tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, horseradish, and lemon juice. Let the shrimp marinate for at least an hour, or overnight for maximum flavor. Once the shrimp are marinated, skewer them and grill or broil them for about 3-4 minutes per side, or until they are cooked through…
Microsorum pteropus ‘Windelov’ also known as Leptochilus pteropus is one of the many varieties of Java fern. I picked up a pot from Pro Shrimp in an order that also included Alternanthera reineckii ‘Mini’. Developed by Tropica, the ‘Windelov’ version I received was grown by Aquadip.
The ‘Windelov’ arrived totally overgrown and just a touch ratty on the ends in places as if it had been waiting for a sale for a long time. I don’t mind actually, and the pot separated out into a nice variety of sizes and forms of plantets. Java fern is a rhizomatous plant where a thick lateral ‘stem’ sprouts leaves growing upwards and roots growing downwards. Although there are many terrestrial plants that grow with rhizomes underground, the conventional wisdom in the aquarium trade is that rhizomes must never be buried in substrate or they will rot and kill the plant. Accordingly, best practice is to attach the rhizome to a component of hardscape, usually rock or driftwood, either by tying it on with thread/line, or more simply by ‘supergluing’ it on using a cyanoacrylate-based adhesive. It is also possible to wedge the rhizome into a convenient crack in the hardscape where eventually the roots will naturally bind the plant on.