The one and only


Yes, for all of those who have heard me speak of he is. This is his usual position, with his nose pointing to the top of the tank, right smack in the corner, which makes it a little tricky to get a good picture of him. I inherited him about a year and a half ago, and he was pretty beat up; he had a recurring eye infection he'd apparently had for some time, fluid accumulation in his eyeball, a long-standing gill infection, fin rot, fungus--you name it. I used every medication I've come to trust over the years (Biospheres, Coppersafe, Maroxy, Melafix) at first, which helped with the assorted fin problems and fungus, but what finally did the trick was about eight months of living in clean water. The gill problem and the eye infection finally cleared up--no more fluid, no more cloudy eyes, they're as clear can be now, his gill plates actually cover his gills again and he appears to be as healthy as he's ever going to get. I have often wondered if he's blind, however, and whether that might not be the cause of his peculiar attitude in the water, because there's nothing wrong with his swim bladder; when he does swim, he swims normally, and changes levels in the tank with no difficulty. He also tends to be very spooky if you put your hands in the tank. But in spite of all that he seems quite content, and he sure loves to eat, so I leave him in this 20 high, all alone except for ottos and a couple of guppies--no neighbors that can scare him.

Doofus's tank
This is Doofus's tank; you can see him in his usual spot. This tank is set up for ottos rather than aquascaped for viewing, it's loaded with plants and screened from the front to encourage them to breed, which they would probably be much more likely to do if I would stop stealing them for other tanks. I started with 20 in this tank but have borrowed 11 of them, and I THINK the other nine are still in here somewhere, but YOU try and count them. Sooner or later I'm going to have to move that ozelot sword; that long skinny thing emerging from it is a flower stalk, which it puts up regularly. You can see a nice baby ozelot or two growing in the upper left hand corner at the end of the stalk. There's a nice Amazon sword in the back corner, and some really pretty African bolbitis behind the ozelot sword which you can't see at all. That's ludwigia repens in the back, peeking up over the ozelot. This tank has no CO2; I used to add Excel to it daily but I sort of stopped doing that several weeks ago for no particular reason except that I forgot--and frankly, I don't really see any difference in the plant growth. The swords get Flourish Tabs and plant spikes (swords are hungry little devils), and I add YGN once a week, sometimes twice. There are 55 pc watts over this tank. Why I get good plant growth and no algae with that much light and no CO2 I can't tell you--except for all those ottos in there. They take up the slack for me.
Here's the African bolbitiis (Bolbitiis heudoloti) that you can't see in the picture above. It grows very thickly behind and above where you can see in this picture, but this should give you the idea. It's a very pretty plant, not hard to grow, but like java fern requires lots of patience--it can take forever to get started if you start with a small plant. This is one of those plants that needs to reach a certain size before it takes off, again similar to java fern, but once it does, it grows quite rapidly and is really pretty. It will do just fine in low or moderate light and isn't at all demanding; mine gets a weekly dose of Yamato Green, but then so does everything else. It does like to have good water circulation; in the outflow of your filter is a good place for this plant.
African bolbitiis

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