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Old 03-27-2012, 06:22 PM   #71 
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I actually wanted a plakat, and was planning on ordering one from a breeder LittleBettaFish recommended.. ah, well. We have Cleo, and I know better than to visit the LFS with an empty tank.

Well, empty... it had shrimp in it. 'Had' being past tense, since Cleo has decimated the shrimp population and currently has a dangerously round belly. There's only one left that I can see, and it's hiding in the back of the tank. Next water change I'll try to catch it.

She's such a mean little fish! I actually caught her finishing off my largest shrimp - she was swimming around with it in her mouth, half-eaten already, wearing the tail end over her nose so it looked like she had a tiny pink elephant trunk...

So yup, Cleo does not play well with others and there'll be no more tank buddies unless I feel like giving her an expensive snack. She'll also not be getting fed for a few days.

But she sure is showing me the predatory nature of her species.
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Old 03-27-2012, 06:30 PM   #72 
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Which all reminded me of this poem:

Pike
by Ted Hughes

Pike, three inches long, perfect
Pike in all parts, green tigering the gold.
Killers from the egg: the malevolent aged grin.
They dance on the surface among the flies.

Or move, stunned by their own grandeur,
Over a bed of emerald, silhouette
Of submarine delicacy and horror.
A hundred feet long in their world.

In ponds, under the heat-struck lily pads-
Gloom of their stillness:
Logged on last year's black leaves, watching upwards.
Or hung in an amber cavern of weeds

The jaws' hooked clamp and fangs
Not to be changed at this date:
A life subdued to its instrument;
The gills kneading quietly, and the pectorals.

Three we kept behind glass,
Jungled in weed: three inches, four,
And four and a half: red fry to them-
Suddenly there were two. Finally one

With a sag belly and the grin it was born with.
And indeed they spare nobody.
Two, six pounds each, over two feet long
High and dry and dead in the willow-herb-

One jammed past its gills down the other's gullet:
The outside eye stared: as a vice locks-
The same iron in this eye
Though its film shrank in death.

A pond I fished, fifty yards across,
Whose lilies and muscular tench
Had outlasted every visible stone
Of the monastery that planted them-

Stilled legendary depth:
It was as deep as England. It held
Pike too immense to stir, so immense and old
That past nightfall I dared not cast

But silently cast and fished
With the hair frozen on my head
For what might move, for what eye might move.
The still splashes on the dark pond,

Owls hushing the floating woods
Frail on my ear against the dream
Darkness beneath night's darkness had freed,
That rose slowly toward me, watching.
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Old 04-01-2012, 10:05 AM   #73 
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Daughter finally got around to uploading some more pictures so I thought I'd share a few.

Here's a couple of Sid the week before he passed away. You can see that he's quite thin, despite having a really healthy appetite, and how ragged his fins got toward the end. Still, he was a lovely fish and I miss him a lot. :(





And here's one of little Cleo - I have a few more of her on her first day home, but Daughter hasn't uploaded them yet..



I really noticed the contrast between Sid and Cleo as far as healthy weight goes - Cleo has the fat, sleek look a young betta should have, and her skin is quite velvety-looking (in a good way!). She's really hard to photograph as she so rarely stops zooming around madly.

Demyx is back in the hospital tank for biting a chunk out of his dorsal fin - I didn't even think this was possible, but he did it! That's how much fin he has, poor wee fish. It clearly bothers him when swimming, and when feeding his dorsal fin floats in front of him a bit so that's probably why he took a chunk from it. His anal fin and tail have similar but smaller bites, so it's the salt bath for him until I see them healing up somewhat. I'll have some pics of him too, soonish.

I can't catch the shrimp in Cleo's tank... and there's at least two left! I really thought she might have eaten them all, but they're just really good at hiding. They tend to come out during water changes, but they're so wary now that I can't even get close without them going -ping- across the tank to where all the java fern rhizome is, and I really don't want to disturb it all while it's taking root on the wood pieces.. so the shrimpies remain Cleo's tankmates/possible snacks for now. I hope they stay away from her..

At least they're happy - one of them has a lot of eggs, so maybe there'll be baby shrimp soon. The fact that they're happy enough to breed is really encouraging. :)
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Old 04-04-2012, 11:22 AM   #74 
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Plant Rant

So, here's something I didn't know: all of those broken-off bits of leaf from the java fern will sprout baby plants if I don't throw them out.

I'd have about a dozen baby java ferns now, if I'd worked this out earlier.

Oh, well. I have a couple going - and so now there's half a dozen baby plants of various species waiting to be either tethered or planted. Thing is, there's not a lot of room left in Cleo's tank...

So I guess this means the NPT really, really needs to happen soon. I keep getting distracted/overtired/busy and such, or those pesky utility companies insist on sending me colourful letters, et cetera. But soon! I have my plant list all worked out!

There's one species I desperately want to have - thing is, it's not only a total challenge to grow but is also $100 per plant, give or take. Check this out, I'm sure you'll agree it's a beaut:



That's a Madagascar Lace Plant.

I want one. Yes, I do.

Last edited by Aus; 04-04-2012 at 11:29 AM.
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Old 04-05-2012, 02:17 AM   #75 
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Okay, while I'm dreaming...

I've been researching low-tech planted tanks and looking at a lot of different set-ups. Some are very feasible for me, others are not.

This one isn't but I wish it was, and had to share it:




It was built as an almost self-sustaining tank, as the owner is absent for a month at a time. I thought I'd also share the thread it's on over at the Planted Tank forum.. the bit where he send his gf into the swamp gave me a chuckle.

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/lo...semi-self.html

It's just interesting to read about the process of the tank coming together, and how much time was put into its establishment. There's something very appealing about it all, and I'm looking forward to updates on this tank.
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Old 04-05-2012, 05:34 PM   #76 
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Here's a couple more Cleo/tank pictures:





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Old 04-11-2012, 12:42 AM   #77 
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Daughter and I had a lovely evening, eating leftover Easter chocolates and watching Charmed, series 3. Got up this morning to see Demyx looking a little better in the hospital tank - his fins are still a mess, but the rot has stopped spreading and he is looking happier. What worries me is that it's almost the exact pattern of illness Sid had... I really hope he doesn't go the same way. I'm so scrupulous with water quality & changes... I don't understand why they're getting such aggressive rot. :(

Daughter stayed with her uncle & aunt for Easter - her uncle has kept fish all his life, both marine and tropical, and said he had the same trouble with bettas until a good store advised him to add something to the water.. but he can't recall what it was! Apparently, it's to do with some mineral issue or other specific to Melbourne water - he added this stuff and never had any problems after that. He said he'll check back with the store and find out what it was. I hope it helps!

Cleo seems to be doing well so far - she's such a lunatic, though. She rattled the lid of her tank by hitting it when she jumped to catch a fly crawling on top of it. Gave me a fright, lol, but she was fine. Just very annoyed at not being able to catch the fly.

I saw THREE shrimp in the tank a few days ago, which was awesome.. I thought only two had survived the Wrath of Cleo but there's another, smaller shrimpy in there too (meaning she only managed to eat half the population..). I feed them by dropping shrimp pellets behind the driftwood at the back where Ms. Eatalot can't get to either food or shrimp.

This surprise survivor would explain the relatively large amount of shrimp poo I remove at gravel vac time. 30% water changes every 3 days is keeping the water extremely clean (I'm paranoid about this nasty fin rot business..), with a light gravel vac once a week.

Daughter has started restructuring her bedroom in anticipation of some new furniture, and a tank for the angelfish I agreed she could have for her birthday in October IF she kept her room spotless until then. It's amazing how much clutter we both accumulate, must be genetic, lol.

My own room is in need of a facelift, too. I think I need some nice plants... there's a wonderful plant man at the Vic market, who sells his damaged nursery stock for very cheap. I think I'll buy the lot the next time I go, and nurse them back to health - my room is great for bromeliads, lots of indirect light. I hardly ever buy full-price house plants when the discounted sickly ones save me money for the sake of just a little time and care.

It's almost time for our annual rubbish skip so I'm preparing to face the shed-of-massive-spiders and the boxes of old stuff in there... I'm not scared of spiders, as a rule, but these things are HUGE. It's a couple of weeks away yet, and I'm honestly thinking of breaking my no-pesticides rule just to cut down the eek-factor. I probably won't, though. Eek!
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:09 AM   #78 
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And here's another fish-related poem:


A Wild Fish Swims the Lap Pool'
by Judith Sanders

Those flabby slowpokes, fattened on pellets --
how they flap, in their struggle not to sink.
Their flippers are spindly; their heads bulge.
How they must envy my streamlined physique,
my effortless parabolas. I'm powered by the living
flesh I've swallowed, as it fled my ruthless
teeth. A flick of a fin and I'm halfway
to the next continent. That is, when I'm
not here.

I've known things they can't imagine. I've dodged
the drifting tangles in underwater meadows.
I've grazed the crests of sunken mountains.
I've copulated in season and strewn my spawn
without a glance goodbye. I've pierced
the waves like a needle, my wake a dissolving
thread. I'm the color of water, invisible
to my enemies. When I choose, I arc and
vanish.

But here, with every take-off, I slam into a wall.
So it's back and forth, back and forth, chasing my own tail.
This water's empty: Nothing to see,
or surf, or eat. Someday I'll slash
this net of lane lines. I'll shatter these shallows
with a mighty whop and blind the bipeds
with the spray. They'll squawk till their flat faces
blaze, but with a flick of a fin, I'll arc and
vanish
into the open sea.
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:59 PM   #79 
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I've spent the last half an hour watching Cleo 'hunt' the shrimp food I dropped behind the driftwood where she can't get to it. Probably a bit mean to find it so funny... but it is!

She gets so frustrated she sometimes snaps at the wisteria roots, as if it's their fault. Silly fish.

I'm really tempted to re-do the tank today, plant the wisteria and tether the anubias to the wood, etc.
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Old 04-13-2012, 12:48 AM   #80 
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My tank looks a bit bereft now that the wisteria's planted - must get some more floating plants! A few garden leaves on top of the lid are helping to provide makeshift shade atm, lol. Hopefully I'll get some new floaties and also pics up over the weekend.

I hope the wisteria does okay. I didn't move the anubias yet, but I will maybe after the next few water changes.

I added the IQ5 to the 'My Aquariums' link and made an album for it, too. Its kind of fun to see how the tank has evolved over the past few months. Can't wait to add tanks.. Daughter's bedroom re-do is eating my spare monies right now, but I'm still planning that larger NPT.. as well as re-doing this small one as an NPT. I think I'll get a 10g for my bedroom, I have room and a desk to put it on.

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