Farewell to A Tank
Well, finally done with the tear down, and there are far fewer fins and things in the house. I swear there is nothing sadder than an empty tank. So many projects; so much potential...
To the last tank (no longer) standing, farewell you sweet, sassy son of a beast. I already miss all six sexy feet of you. You weighed a ton (or at least it felt like it), water changes were a Sisyphean task, and an algal bloom was the stuff of nightmares. Literal nightmares. If I ever see a clump of hair algae or green again...
We had a good fifteen years. May your next owner be kind.
___________________ ...and Things
Of course, to drown my sorrows, where do I wander but to my LFS?
Hmm, I still have my nanos. And the 20g survive the great tank culling. I promised myself I'd be good. No more fish.
Ehh, what can I say? At least it's not a fish! He followed me home (and a couple of his relatives, but more on that later). I've always wanted to try my hand at HC.
Hemianthus callitrichoides aka dwarf baby tears. High light, CO2, root tabs, and maybe even extra iron. At some point, almost everyone I know with a planted tank has gotten that evil gleam in their eye, a particular twitch in their fingers that maybe it isn't really that bad. How hard would it be to get HC to carpet? No stubby rooted, shrimpy leafed plant would beat them! Did I mention we're all a bunch of closet masochists?
Well, I guess today was my day. This is going to end in a glorious disaster but I plan to go down fighting!
Tangentially relevant to Fins but mostly about Things...
The Salt Assault
It's a cyclical thing. Every freshwater fish forum will revisit "The Salt Question". The study of aquaculture is a relatively new field, so we fish keepers have been left with trial and error to figure out what works. Knowledge is passed through word of mouth and personal experience, leaving firmly entrenched opinions on both sides.
The point here isn't to rehash those arguments, but to provide information for people to make their own choice. The important thing is to chose one and implement that change slowly. Just remember that rapid fluctuations of any sort are stressful, and each species as well as each individual fish will have different salt tolerances.
First, when NaCl is a treatment. There are defined situations when a specific amount of NaCl is beneficial, and these reasons are handily compiled here.
Next, NaCl and fish physiology. The salinity of blood is remarkably consistent in vertebrates (~0.9% or 900ppm). About 77% of the "salt" in blood is from NaCl. Additionally, fish have several adaptations for living in freshwater, including 1) efficient salt retention through the kidneys and 2) specialized chloride cells in the gills that actively transport Cl- (and other ions) against the concentration gradient into the blood. So freshwater fish need a certain amount of NaCl, and they're designed to keep that salt inside their bodies.
So what happens when we increase the concentration of sodium chloride in the water? The link above reports that an additional 0.01% to 0.2% (or 10-200ppm of Na+ and Cl-) is "tolerated" by freshwater fish but recommends against any additional NaCl for sensitive species like cory cats and South American tetras. Otherwise, we're in murky waters. On the one hand, adding NaCl to the water may reduce osmotic stress by more closely mimicking blood plasma levels. On the other hand, increasing the NaCl in the water also increases the uptake of Na+/Cl-, leading to higher salinity of the blood plasma, which results in higher blood pressure (more osmotic stress). So that question remains unanswered.
Since betta are hardy fish, adapted to both drought and flood conditions; I figure in a betta only tank the addition of NaCl is a personal choice.
If there are live plants, snails or other tank mates, I'd be careful about how much (if any) NaCl is added. Snails and salt is a recipe for disaster. Plants? I've melted water wisteria and water sprite at 0.1% NaCl, while my anubias and java fern just laugh and carry on at 0.3%.
Finally, the role of "salt" in total dissolved solids (TDS). This partially overlaps the previous point, since NaCl contributes to TDS, but TDS also takes into account all other minerals, salts, metals, and cations/anions in the water. I live in Westerville, Ohio; from the tap, my water comes out high pH (7.8-8.0) and relatively hard (TDS 190+/-30). According to the 2012 water quality report for Westerville, there's an average of 33ppm Na+, 76ppm Cl-, 73ppm sulfate, and 41ppm Ca++ (they don't test for Mg++ or carbonate). Since it's the TDS of water than affects osmoregulation, at those levels, I don't feel the need to bump TDS up even higher.
Side note: Too high of a TDS is unhealthy for fish, which is why water from a softener system isn't recommended for aquariums. Low/No TDS is also unhealthy, which is why pure distilled or RO water shouldn't be used without additives (and possibly a chemistry degree).
Slow day; waiting for westerns to run. Hypothetically, I could haul all this equipment into the cold room and jack up the voltage... sigh.
Well, chalk it up to midnight math, but my % to ppm conversions are actually off by 10 up above. That should be 9000ppm and 100-2000ppm. Darn decimal!
Also, from else where in the forums, seems like the Chao Phraya river basin runs about 0.0-0.2ppt salinity, which makes for 0.0 to 0.02% salinity. That's rather unexpectedly low. Rough estimation puts that at about 1/5 of a teaspoon of NaCl per gallon, I think? Even if you match the salinity, the ionic balance might be off since I have no clue what the major ions in the Chao Phraya river basin is. Probably Na+/Cl- as a guess. Unless the breeders are mainly located up against the coast line; in which case, it gets darn brackish.
Many of the betta farms Ive imported from are located in Samut Sakon province just west of Bangkok on or near the coast. Others are located within 100 miles mostly north of Bangkok which is why I used table area 4 as this is the greatest concentration of farms. Smaller tributaries and groundwater in the area tend to be even more saline than the Choa Phraya because it has higher constant flow of low saline fresh water. I don't think Ive assaulted anyone with bringing up the reasons most breeders provide some level of salinity in their betta operations.
Hey logG! Interesting info on the salinity tolerance of betta; and ahhh, the location of farms was the missing piece of information. I was scratching my head a bit after looking at Table 3, since the majority of the river is at near Amazonian levels of salinity.
Huh, strange to think of B. splendens in near brackish conditions. Next thing we know, evolution of B. splendens oceanica! Going to have to consider this some more, interesting thoughts.
I've avoided breeding betta, mainly due to the space requirement, but between the angels and the mbuna, I've spanned the spectrum on salt (for freshwater at least!). I get the pros and cons of mimicking the conditions a fish was bred and raised in. There's just so many myths out on the internet that I need to see cold, hard facts, especially on something like salt, which is a subject that has been beaten more than a herd of dead horses in most places.
By the by, the title above wasn't meant to be a dig at you or anyone at all. More a half sarcastic, half humorous observation that this "salt debate" has occurred on every fish forum and tends to reoccur every few years. And I find humor in horrible puns.
Hello DB! Nice to see another Ohio resident. Just for old times sake: O - H! ;)
A Little Fin for Thought
Cellular Basis of Metallic Iridescence in the Siamese Fighting Fish, Betta splendens, Khoo et al., 2014.
An interesting paper. Molecular biology meets classical genetics one more time. Very nice EM work; having done the same technique for virus work, the clarity and contrast on those iridophore platelets is truly beautiful.
Take home message: it's the angle of the reflecting platelets in iridophores that determines the metallic color. In royal blue betta, the platelets are almost parallel/horizontal to the surface while positioning at a more oblique angle results in both the turquoise/bronze and silver/gold colors. What separates turquoise/bronze from silver/gold is that the former has platelets organized in large thick stacks while the latter has two: the large stacks as well as a small thin ones.
Fig. 5d. Scale from an aquamarine betta showing the angle of iridophore platelets (RP) relative to the skin (BL) with the melanophores (M) underneath.
Holy cow, finally caught the marble during a spread; only problem? The lighting was craptastic. I swear this guy is the most laid back betta bum. He doesn't do the betta wiggle (how uncouth!); it's more a casual sashay...
Also, finally finished aquascaping the now deceased blue's tank. I started to rip it apart to decon it, but I just couldn't chuck the plants and shrimp. So I guess it's a shrimp tank now!
Pulled the water sprite since I don't need a nitrogen sink anymore. Bioload from the shrimp is nonexistent. The repens is nicely established and sending out side branches. The DHG is just about done melting and I can see new blades popping out of the substrate. Be awhile before it's recovered enough to start carpeting though. Dropped in a few baby marino balls and the driftwood. Just waiting for the java fern to attach to the driftwood and we'll be set!
The shrimp are certainly living it up! Couple of the females are getting ready to berry.
Here's to you, blue! Up in that big fish bowl in the sky (He was such a shrimpy little guy when I got him!)
WARNING: Fin concentration in this household is below critical threshold levels. Seriously considering breaking two tanks out of storage for a little (HA!) betta breeding project...
Originally, the plan was to pack or sell all the fish stuff before the cold months in order to prep for the big move in the spring, but that's 4 months at the earliest (if everything works) or 6 months on the outside. And I've already sold off all my stock except for the 20g of odds and ends. So it wouldn't be much work to set up a 10g breeding tank for a pair of betta.
And the 30g would work as a bare bottom grow out tank... I mean it's just sitting there. Empty. It's not like equipment is an issue.
Add in a trip to visit the family in NYC for Thanksgiving...