Saturday, November 19, 2011

Catching up

I cannot show any photos of anything I have worked on in the past few weeks. Some are custom orders that people are going to give as Christmas presents. Some are for secret santa swaps that I am involved in. Needless to say none of those will be shown until after the holidays as to keep the surprises.

I think perhaps I did not get a thick enough cap of sand on top of the dirt in my new aquarium. While I do not have any dirt floating the water column is brownish. So today I washed some more sand and will dig up my plants and fix that.
The rotala that I trimmed is doing wonderfully. Not only have the tops I replanted shown a lot of growth but so have the stems that I cut them off of. The Lindernia rotundifolia did not fair so well. All but 2 have completely melted. Perhaps they need high light? My tank has medium light. I am using a Freshwater T5 Dual with one 6,700K bulb and one Colormax lamp bulb. My anubias nana loves it. I have owned those plants about 8 years and have never seen them grow as fast as they have been in this tank.

Yesterday was my great dane George's birthday. He is 11 yrs old now! Not bad for a pup my vet asked me to take home with me when he was only 2½ weeks old and was not expected to live more than a week past that. Of course I was not told that until he reached 1 year old and my vet was giddily bragging about how I was the right person to take him.

This was taken with one of those disposable cameras, remember those? He was 4 weeks old.

George at 4 weeks

Here he is about 6 yrs old with the 3 legged cat who thinks George is his dog.

Rico and George

This year taking a break in my husbands shed on the way back from a hike in the woods with me and his best friend Reba, a lab/bloodhound mix.

old and wise

Monday, November 14, 2011

NPT diary: rescape

I was not happy with how busy the tank looked so I changed it. I moved the java moss and African fern to another tank and rearranged everything else. While I was at it I trimmed the rotala.


I like this a lot better.
Since I do not have and do not want any Malaysian trumpet snails to aerate the soil I carefully poked it with a chopstick just before doing a water change.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

NPT diary: plants

Sorry about the cloudy pic. I just planted and moved them around a bit. Still not finished rearranging because I have not really settled on how it looks yet. Most of these plants will grow a lot and keeping a photo diary of it will help me keep track of growth and what works as well as what does not work.

plants day 1

Plants in the tank so far...
Lindernia rotundifolia, Variegated Baby Tears
Bolbitis heudelotii, African Fern
Anubias nana
Microsorum pteropus, Java Fern
java moss, Vesicularia dubyana
Lobelia cardinalis, Small Form
Pogostemon erectus
Rotala rotundifolia, Roundleaf Toothcup
Ammania species 'Bonsai', now known as Rotala indica

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

NPT diary: substrate

Finishing up putting in the substrate in my planted tank. On the right you see the miracle gro organic choice potting soil. The white bits are crushed shell I mixed into the soil. I took this photo while adding the cap. I am using 20/40 grit Black Diamond blasting sand. I washed it to remove the oily residue that comes on it. It is the black you see on the left.


I painted the outside back of the tank with black acrylic. I used to have a piece of black foam board behind it but like it better painted.
Next I will begin planting with what I have leaving space for more that I ordered from one of my favorite sellers on Aquabid. They will be here in a few days.

Meanwhile on the sculpting front I got a special request that I am working on. Will show you that once it is finished.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Planted Tank Diary

I have had freshwater aquariums with live plants for many years. This however will be my first dirt tank. This is not a new idea, people have been doing this for many years. You can read "Fresh-water aquaria" by Gregory Climenson Bateman published 1890, online at Cornell University Library.
For a more recent publication "Ecology of the Planted Aquarium" by Diana Walstad is very good for understanding the science behind it, how and why a dirt substrate works.

There is a lot of information available both online and in books so this is not going to be any sort of tutorial. It is just a journal of my personal experiences.

dirt tank 1

posted image

29 gallon tank. I sifted Miracle Gro Potting Organic Choice Soil through a wire sieve to remove large wood pieces. I am airing it out to let it out gas before adding a cap to keep it from just making a tank of muddy water.
None of this will be done in a hurry. While I do have a lot of plants I am ordering more.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Elf from ClayItAgain

I won something and it just arrived! An elf from Cindi aka ClayItAgain. It is so adorable! Photos do not do it justice...

ClayItAgain Elf

Isn't it cute! I just love him ♥
You can find Cindi's work at ClayItAgain on Artfire and ClayItAgain on etsy. She is also a wonderful painter and you can find her paintings at 12MidnightOils on Artfire and 12MidnightOils on etsy.