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.
New plan for the mountain epiphytes and carpet
In some respects, it’s a good time for a complete refresh. The caterina is a wonderful plant, but located at the top of the mountain also blocked a lot of light from getting to the bottom of the Fireplace Aquarium. The parva formed a sparse carpet but didn’t ever grow in thickly or appreciably spread – I’m not sure in the 2 years since it was planted that it has actually grown at all beyond what it was when it was first planted. The ‘Pinto’ doesn’t have an algae problem, but it like the caterina is really too large for the space it has. Once upon a time it was supposed to replace the very much small Anubias nana ‘Snow White’; I hadn’t figured on just how much larger the Pinto would be.
I’m going replace the caterina on the top with the liverwort Riccardia Chamedryfolia. I saw a really nice display of Riccardia at Aquarium Gardens and wanted to give it a try. It reputedly needs a lot of light and the top of the mountain is the best illuminated spot in the tank. I’m replacing the Pinto with Anubias barteri ‘Mini Coin’ which I hope will be smaller but we’ll see how that goes… Finally, I’m going to have a fresh go with one of the very first efforts in the early Fireplace Aquarium: Littorella uniflora. I’ve been itching to see if the current iteration of the Fireplace Aquarium will be a more favourable environment for Littorella than it was in early days.