Hello Folks...

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Offline TopCookie

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Hello Folks...
« on: March 07, 2018, 09:49:33 AM »
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Greetings folks...

My name is Pierre and am new to the forum and new to the hobby of fish keeping...  Started out in January of this year and have an AquaVogue 170 with Pristella, Red Phantom & Cardinal Tetras, a single Lemon BN Plec and four Corydoras Ornatus...  Keeping them company are a dozen Amano shrimp and three Rabbit snails... 

Getting a lot of enjoyment from the hobby and an almost equal measure of frustration at times, but I guess the two go hand in hand with fish keeping...  :)

Offline fcmf

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2018, 01:14:51 PM »
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Welcome, Pierre  :wave:

Looking forward to seeing some pictures of your tank (and I'll keep them hidden from my own fish, as my own pristella tetras will be very envious of the larger size of your tank  :) ).

Offline Sue

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2018, 02:03:49 PM »
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Hi Pierre, welcome to the forum.


We are a nosey bunch, we love photos  ;D

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2018, 06:43:00 PM »
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Hi there and welcome to the forum.  :wave:

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2018, 10:37:27 PM »
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Thank you for the welcome folks...  :) 

Please excuse the phone pic Sue, but this is about as good as my photography skills get... 


Offline TopCookie

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2018, 10:41:53 PM »
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The Pristellas have a canny knack of knowing you're trying to photograph them, the little blighters...!!!  No sooner do you put the phone away, out they all come again...   :vcross:

Probably my favourite fish so far actually, and can't help thinking they are probably underrated far too much, with being a cheap and widely available Tetra etc...  Fantastic character they have and love to "play" in the filter outflow current sometimes...  Great fun to sit and watch when they do that...  Then at other times, they will all randomly school up with the Cardinal Tetras...  that doesn't happen especially often, but it's lovely to see when it does...  :)   Great little fish...

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2018, 10:45:07 PM »
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Here's a slightly better peep at the rather handsome (imo) Ornatus Corys...


Offline Sue

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2018, 09:05:18 AM »
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I love your tank  :) (and we don't mind how technically good a photo is as long as we can see the fish and plants etc  ;D ) My gouramis are just the same when I get the camera out.

Those cories are gorgeous!

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2018, 09:48:16 AM »
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Thank you Sue...   :D 

Fascinating hobby this, and feels like no two days are the same...  That tank shot is a week or so ago and has had water changes and plant trimming since then, so looks quite different now...  One thing that really had me going is the appearance of micro-critters, such as those diddy little swimmy/darty things, little white round worms and freshwater limpets...  all of which the fish will eat when they spot them...  You don't see many, but was a shock to notice them for the first time...  For a moment, I thought I had managed to get the awful planaria, but the micro-worms are definitely not planaria, thankfully...  I've calmed down after that initial shock and realise that basically it's best to just think of them as part of the clean up crew, provided their numbers remain in check... 

Offline Sue

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2018, 10:56:29 AM »
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A lot of people worry when they spot something they didn't put in the tank - snails are the usual things and it can take a lot of convincing that they are actually good for a tank. The way to stop these "invaders" taking over is to be careful not to overfeed the fish. Population control is much better than chemical eradication  :)

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2018, 03:09:56 PM »
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I did get some pest snails, which I suspect came from the Java Fern log, a later addition to the tank...  I just picked 'em out as they appeared, none were very big at all...  Over time, I kept seeing less and less of them...  The last one I saw must have been at least a full week - maybe a tad more - since seeing the last before that...  I'm fairly confident that there's not likely to be an explosion of them, for now at least, and will keep taking them out if/when I see another...  At the rate of appearance, I don't actually mind them so much to be honest, it's just the notion that taking your eye off the ball could result in dozens of the little blighters... 

Talking of snails, I do have the three Rabbit snails, one a little bambina, and would like to add another snail but this time not another Rabbit...  The one that sounds ideal as a good solid detritivore would be the Black Helmet Nerite, but I am so put off by the sesame seed eggs you tend to get with Nerites...  Other options include Faunus snails, I especially like the Cappuccino variety, but can't seem to find much info on these great looking snails, beyond some basics... 

Offline Sue

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2018, 04:20:39 PM »
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Good detrivores are Malaysian trumpet snails  :)

Offline fcmf

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2018, 07:14:22 PM »
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Your tank is stunning - and the pic itself is good quality, so no cause for concern - and the cories adorable.

As for nerites' sesame seed eggs, that only seems to come with the females. There is a way of working out males .v. females (I'll have to dig out the detail but will add it into this post when I find it), if you were able to buy them from a shop and investigate. Pro-Shrimp is an extremely helpful company and where I got my nerite from - it might be that they'd be able to identify a male for you to circumvent the issue of ending up with a female.

[Edited to add: found the picture I was thinking of but it doesn't credit the source and therefore I'm not sure how 'bona fide' it is, so best not to add - sorry.]

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2018, 12:54:26 AM »
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Thank you too fcmf... 

I have actually been in touch with Sebastian at Pro-Shrimp to ask the same question...  His reply was frank and honest too...  It's an LFS that's definitely doable from where I live, in Belper, so I may well go for a visit sometime soon, especially when over on a vist to the closer Wharf Aquatics there...  Blimey, I would love to be guaranteed a male Nerite, but understand that it's very tricky indeed to identify genders with Nerites...  Pro-Shrimp are actually out of stock with many of the snail varieties that appeal to me at the moment, which is a pity, but there will be new stock soon enough no doubt...  I can see me ending up with more Rabbit snails in the end, and while they do reproduce in FW aquariums, I believe the rate is pretty slow and is one bairn at a time... 

MTS snails almost do it for me, but I believe they can reproduce at a fair old rate of knots, under the right circumstances...  Loads of pros for them, but that's a sizeable con at the same time...  A single MTS might be a plan though...?

Offline Sue

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2018, 12:40:49 PM »
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A single MTS will soon be a lot of MTS I'm afraid. They reproduce by parthenogenesis, ie they don't need a male. One female can populate a tank all by herself. They are also viviparous, so you won't see any eggs to remove.

I have black MTS in my tanks, just because I prefer the looks of them to brown MTS.

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2018, 07:16:36 PM »
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I like your tank, and your fish are lovely.  :)

I have a small magnifying glass to look at tiny critters in my tanks.

Offline Matt

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2018, 09:34:45 PM »
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Your tank is stunning

Couldn't agree more...  ;D
I like how you have mixed the different substrates. And the plants look very healthy.

By the way what is the black and white plastic thing in the bottom of the first photo??

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2018, 11:29:26 PM »
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Thank you Littlefish & Matt...  :)

I like the idea of a magnifying glass, maybe one of those reader lenses type affair, for looking more closely at what's going on in the tank...   :cheers:

The plastic widget there is a "seaweed clip", from eBay, for holding down veg stuff for the Lemon BN Plec...  although, the Amano shrimp and the Rabbit snails usually get there long before the BN even realises she's been given a treat, especially if there's a piece of red pepper on the go...   ;D

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #18 on: March 12, 2018, 12:01:08 AM »
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Here's hoping my 10th post means I can start hitting you guys with "Likes" for the nice welcome you've given me here on the forum...  :)

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2018, 09:56:47 PM »
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Picked up two more Rabbit snails today, juvenile ones of around 10mm and 12mm, from my LFS (Wharf Aquatics) for the princely sum of 2 for the pair...   ;D

Got a total of five Rabbit snails now, one huge Black Spotted, a medium sized Golden, a baby Black Spotted which must have been born in the tank shortly after the biggun' was introduced, then the two new ones are hard to tell colour precisely - one looks to be another Golden but the smallest one looks to be black fleshed but with yellow/golden antennae... 

The two new ones went straight to work seeking out summat to eat, bless 'em...  :)

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2018, 06:19:08 PM »
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Offline fcmf

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #21 on: March 19, 2018, 06:55:53 PM »
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Wow - that looks fantastic. Definitely keeping this hidden from my fish or they'll get envious! Is that some gravel/pebbles/small stones you have near the foreground/shorter plants? If so, it creates a lovely natural effect.




Offline TopCookie

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #22 on: March 19, 2018, 10:37:57 PM »
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Yes, but normally it wouldn't be there...  There's a thin "bar" of sand only along the front of the tank, which bulges deeper just in a little from the left hand front corner...  The rest is gravel...  The Corydoras are little sods for managing to routinely rearrange numbers of gravel pieces onto the sand area and I have to manually put them back - a real nuisance of a job tbh as I have to do it one piece at a time with the long tweezers...  Looks great when it has been just done - just doesn't last long before those Corys are nose deep and rearranging everything again, lol...  I suspect the Amano shrimp also play a role in this, but to a lesser degree...  :)

When I origionally planted the tank, the back edge from around the half way point and up to the rh corner were all some random Echinodorus species and one of them in particular was really not doing well...  I had wanted the classic Amazon Swords, but could only get these other fellas...  Eventually, I got a proper Bleheri and replaced one of the too slow to grow random Echinodrus...  Only problem now is that the Sword is growing like bonkers, lol...!!!  There's something to be said for the slower growing plants, eh...    ;D

Photo was taken earlier today in daylight and isn't a good one really - will try to get a better shot posted up some time soon...  All the same, thank you fcmf...  :)

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #23 on: March 20, 2018, 08:13:12 AM »
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Your tank looks fantastic.  8)
You just can't trust corys when it comes to sand/gravel. The constant rummaging around for food always takes priority over tank aquascaping. I'm impressed by your dedication to moving it back piece by piece.  :)

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #24 on: March 20, 2018, 11:22:39 AM »
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I have a confession to make now...  which is that I don't know how long I can maintain that dedication, lol, as it is a losing battle...   ::)   Does look great though when it has just been done, and the Corys do love that sand area for sure...  I have toyed with the idea of literally "fencing" it off with the use of long flat pieces of slate, just to try and slow the process of the two substrates getting jumbled up - perhaps I ought to do that sooner rather than later...

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #25 on: March 20, 2018, 11:49:39 AM »
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There, it's done...  Slate pieces ordered...   ;D

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #26 on: March 26, 2018, 06:23:56 PM »
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Afternoon of tank maintenance & planting today, including approx 33% water change...

Removed Java Fern log, which was looking a bit sorry for itself - never really did look very happy tbh, reckon I picked a duffer at the shop plus it looked like it had some uninvited Java Moss starting to get a foothold...!!!  Also completely ripped out all the Elodea pond weed - a truly invasive fcuker that stuff...!!!  Bit of a shame about the Elodea as I do like the look of that plant, but blimey it grows turbo fast indeed...!!!  Probably an amazing plant for folks struggling with cycling their new tanks though, I'd bet...!!! (just set it as a floating plant - don't let it get a root foothold, ffs, lol)

In the space vacated by the dodgy JF log;  a pot of Echinodorus Amazonicus, split into three nice clumps/plants...  Hope these do well and they should take the place nicely of the miserable Java Fern and do a nice job of blocking too much daylight from the living room window getting into the bulk of the tank, once they get established etc...  Next to these but nearer the front where it is more actively visible has gone a nice looking Ludwigia repens Rubin, to complete that l/h side of the tank and where it should get plenty of natural light to supplement that from the LED lighting etc...  Hoping that helps with the red colouration - fingers crossed...    :afro

In the space where the Elodea was, I have finally planted the Aponogeton Capuronii which I have been dithering about for weeks - just hope and pray that I haven't taken out one turbo fast grower and replaced it with another, although it should be a lot easier to maintain and keep reasonably under control even if it is a spritely thing...!!!

Lastly, towards the front of the tank I have popped in a Bucephalandra "Brownie" and a Bucephalandra "Mini Needle Leaf"...  Can't really call it planting in the conventional sense as these have basically just been placed on small pieces of slate with a bit more slate on top to pin 'em down while they become established...  Really excited about these little Bucephalandras and hope they do well - not to mention avoid the attentions of the snails at their roots...  :)

Offline fcmf

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #27 on: March 26, 2018, 06:36:54 PM »
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All sounds very interesting - you've clearly had a busy afternoon. Now we just need to see a pic to accompany your helpful description.  ;D

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #28 on: March 26, 2018, 06:40:57 PM »
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It's gonna take a l'il while for the clarity to settle back down first as the flippin' Elodea was well rooted and pulled up a fair bit of dirt with it, instantly clouding the tank...!!!  Needless to say, a good old dose of Prime has added with the WC to help with any potential for ammonia spikes as a resulted of the dirt cloud...  As soon as it all settles back down and clears up fully, I shall indeed take some pics and get 'em posted up...  :)

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #29 on: March 26, 2018, 06:42:59 PM »
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lol, you're right about the busy afternoon...  took ages doing all that, including stuff such as cleaning & sterilising new bits of slate etc and the big clean up afterwards, so as not to get into trouble with Mrs Cookie   ;D    Ready for a nice big glass of wine now, or three, of course...   :cheers:

Offline Matt

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #30 on: March 26, 2018, 10:07:10 PM »
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Sounds good... can't wait for the pics!

Just a note of caution though as I think you have mentioned struggling with a green algae in your tank (green spot algae on the glass?) - this is likely to be being caused by the natural light hitting the tank. It is best avoided if you can through closing the curtains at the right times. I have a short half hour period where the setting Sun gets to the tank and always close the curtains at this point to avoid the Sun getting to the tank.

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #31 on: March 26, 2018, 11:25:46 PM »
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I mostly mean daylight through the window, but as the spring is coming along, there is indeed some sunlight hitting the end/side of the tank...  This is when the sun is fairly low to be fair and has literally only started recently as the year has progressed and the currant bun has started reaching further around the house etc...  As it happens, we are taking measures to get blinds up asap, with an appointment booked for this Friday with some fitters...  :)

At the moment, no problems with algae at all, but I do appreciate that this can turn on a sixpence under the right conditions...  In fact, I may even erect some cover temporarily until the blinds get installed... 

We only moved into the house in late summer last year, so are still not used to the sun patterns here fully yet... 

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #32 on: March 26, 2018, 11:34:43 PM »
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Thinking about it a little more, I will indeed Matt...  pop something up to block the sun until the blinds are installed...  Thank you muchly for the nudge, as I probably would have waited but on reflection after reading you post now think that's it worth blocking that sun straight away...   :)

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #33 on: March 27, 2018, 05:02:11 PM »
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Some pics: 

The smaller Amazon Sword; "Amazonicus" and the Ludwigia repens Rubin...



Bucephalandra "Brownie"



Bucephalandra "Mini Needle Leaf" plus some Rabbit snails...


Offline Littlefish

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #34 on: March 27, 2018, 05:19:54 PM »
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Looking good.  8)

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #35 on: March 27, 2018, 05:52:55 PM »
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Water is still a little on the murky side after yesterday's antics but is getting there now...  Really pleased with the two little Bucephalandra plants...  They're only diddy little things and expensive for what they are, but really kinda pretty to see...  The "Brownie" in the middle pic is flowering too, which is a bonus...   :D

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #36 on: March 27, 2018, 07:03:50 PM »
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The two bucephalandra that you have are more rare than the standard ones, which was probably why they were a bit more pricey.
I have lots of the standard wavy green leaf ones and the deep purple ones in my river tank, and they have also flowered. I'm fairly certain @Sue had some that flowered too. Pretty little flowers, only last a day or so after they have opened, but will flower again.

Offline Sue

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #37 on: March 27, 2018, 07:13:41 PM »
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Yes mine did flower, in August last year. I have Bucephalandra maia.

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #38 on: March 27, 2018, 10:36:27 PM »
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That gives me the idea for a new thread...   :D

Offline Matt

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #39 on: March 28, 2018, 11:49:55 AM »
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I've had buces, Amazon swords, anubias, and aponogeton flower! Shame no babies ever come of it!...

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #40 on: March 28, 2018, 11:58:22 AM »
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I've never bothered with Anubias so far, don't really know why tbh, but a growing interest in the Bucephalandra is actually making me look at Anubias now too...  I have a perfect little spot for an Anubias in there too... 

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #41 on: March 28, 2018, 02:39:51 PM »
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I've got an anubias in flower at the moment, although I can't take credit for that as it was in flower when I bought it.
My axolotl tank is all anubias of varying types. Very handy as the leaves are big and strong enough for the gang to rest on when the mood takes them.

Offline Hampalong

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #42 on: March 28, 2018, 04:11:08 PM »
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Belated welcome Pierre. Enjoy the lifelong addiction.

:)

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #43 on: March 28, 2018, 04:12:21 PM »
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Thanks Mark...   :)

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #44 on: March 28, 2018, 04:25:34 PM »
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Sounds good... can't wait for the pics!

Just a note of caution though as I think you have mentioned struggling with a green algae in your tank (green spot algae on the glass?) - this is likely to be being caused by the natural light hitting the tank. It is best avoided if you can through closing the curtains at the right times. I have a short half hour period where the setting Sun gets to the tank and always close the curtains at this point to avoid the Sun getting to the tank.

My temporary fix...  Hopefully, we'll have proper blinds up asap, with a chap coming on Friday to measure up etc... 


Offline Sue

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #45 on: March 28, 2018, 07:39:32 PM »
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That looks like the sun screen on my betta's tank  ;D November to February, the sun is low enough to shine on his tank so I made a screen from a cereal box. The sun doesn't shine on his tank now, so it's put away till next November.

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #46 on: March 28, 2018, 08:29:07 PM »
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The sun screen on my betta tank is a tea towel.  :-[

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #47 on: March 28, 2018, 11:19:02 PM »
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I daren't use a tea towel...  Mrs Cookie would wear my  :o  as earrings if I did...!!!

Offline Littlefish

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #48 on: March 29, 2018, 09:03:55 AM »
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There are many pros and cons to being single.
Pro - using a tea towel as a sun screen for a tank without getting into trouble
Con - nobody to tell you "no, the tanks are filling the house" when seeing more fish that you want.....actually, not sure that is a bad thing...  ;D

Offline TopCookie

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Re: Hello Folks...
« Reply #49 on: March 29, 2018, 10:34:05 AM »
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Do you know Donna, the funny thing is that Mrs Cookie was dead set against having an aquarium in the house - in any room at all - originally...  After slowly warming to the idea, we now have the fairly large (170L) thing in the living room and slap bang next to where she sits...  I swear she enjoys the tank even more than I do, on the quiet...!!!  Calls my Amano shrimp "Prawns", lolol...   :D   and is forever remarking what certain creatures are up to...

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