Max and Erma

Yup, that's Max and Erma. Erma's on the left, Max is on the right. This picture really doesn't do him justice, he chose not to turn on the beautiful black markings along the rear of his body at the moment I took this. If you look closely, you can see they pigged out on bloodworms for dinner--in fact, they're still looking for more. They are F1 wild leopoldii x domestic koi crosses, and they are not quite nine months old, and once they paired I really thought they ought to have their own house. By the way, I do not name ALL my fish, although you might be pardoned for thinking so; the thing is, it's a lot easier to say to my hubby (who comes home for lunch every day and is available for fish duty) "Did you feed Bernie and Max and Erma?" instead of "Did you feed the betta in the Eclipse upstairs in the bathroom and the angel pair in the 20 high in Ben's bedroom?" It's just easier to name the angels--and of course, you have to name bettas, they demand it. Some fish just NEED names. Schools of tetras don't, of course. How would you know which cardinal was Seymour?

I set up this tank on January 13, 2002. 20 highs are a favorite of mine, they're good for so many things and their proportions are great for planting, too. It has a 55w pc bulb over it, and AquaClear 200 for filtration, flourite/gravel substrate and Flourish Excel, because I still haven't gotten around to setting up the DIY CO2. Yamato Green-N for now, the plants are way ahead of the nitrates.

one week after the tank was set up


This was one week after the tank was set up when the last of the planting was completed. It's got that squeaky clean new look--which tells you nothing much biological is going on! Water's not quite clear yet. Plants: left background, green foxtail (myriophyllum species), right background, rotala indica; left, mermaid weed (proserpinaca pectinata); center, java fern; right, hemianthus micranthemoides; foreground, lilaeopsis. That's some crypt spiralis on the right (the one with the long green leaves).



The angels are still getting used to their new house. The guppies aren't too thrilled with their new neighbors, either. NOW you can see stuff's going on--in fact, that brown patina is diatoms, which have covered almost everything (I have no phosphates in my tap water, but plenty of silicates, the brown algae always shows up in short order). I wish I hadn't cleaned the glass before I took this picture or you could have seen how covered with brown algae it was. Decided it was time to put some ottos to work (i.e., otocinclus affinus, dwarf suckermouth catfish), and added them 02/05/02.



Three ottos, four days, and the brown coating's gone from virtually every surface and leaf. Both these photos were taken under the same lighting conditions and no color adjustment was made to either one. The rotala indica on the right is pink again and the fril (myriophyllum species) on the left is green. Oh, what looks like white fuzzy stuff is bubbles from a water change, but that had nothing to do with getting rid of the brown algae. Not a bad few days' work for three little fish. There's just nothing like ottos for cleaning up diatoms.

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