Tales from the Crypts

We gathered at Barry's new house in Burpengary on Friday, 24th September, 2004. There were six people in attendance on the night, with several others sending their apologies. After a bit of socialising the meeting got underway.

The first item of discussion was our impending move. It seems like only yesterday – well, it WAS only 10 months ago that we moved from Virginia to Northgate. I am not sure if we are trying to maintain enthusiasm and excitement for those coming to the meetings by giving them a new place to look at, or if we just enjoy moving. In either case, we had to move. The house we were living in was sold and the buyers were owner/occupiers, leaving us no option but moving. We are hoping that our new home will be just as nice for our fish.

In thinking about the impending move, I mentioned the condition of our tanks at present. The four footer tank has an Echinodorus sp. (sword plant) that for the first time in four years has put out pups. In fact, it seemed to have been waiting so long that it sent out two runners with pups on each runner. I attribute it to the special TLC it received while our housesitter was caring for the tanks. It could have been the new light bar that was installed and the new tubes that accompanied the new installation. This same tank also had some Myriophyllum sp. which was making a strong comeback after succumbing to the extreme heat we experienced last summer. The three foot tank was also looking quite nice. The plants were all doing well, and we were finally building up a population of smaller fish in the tank. Most of the tanks downstairs were empty, so moving them should be a bit easier.

Next, it was on to Bruce. He mentioned the new backdrop he got. As he was revamping one of his tanks, he decided upon some new gravel (sand) as well. The plants, particularly the Vallisneria sp. were not happy with the gravel change.

Barry mentioned using a gravel, peat block, and fertiliser combination with concrete blend on top for holding it down as a base for his pond plants. He will let us know how it goes over the following months. We had a look at Barry's pond while we were on the subject. The pond is on two different levels, the top is more shallow and the bottom is up to a metre deep. Even though it was dark, I thought the pond looked really nice. He had just started to establish some plants in the pond and will keep us up to date on how they go. Barry also has a second pond (tub) out back. This one he was digging a hole for... and met with some very hard soil/sand, so it wasn't quite at the depth he wanted.

Some how we got onto the topic of solar panels for running the pond pump. Barry priced them and it would be around $12,000 for the panels required to run the pump. He said he would have to wait on the panels. (Very understandable). Bruce had read about new paint that worked as a solar conductor. The paint was sort of rubber-like. Perhaps this would be a more affordable option. While on the topic of efficiency, Ken brought up hot air hot water units.

A recent discussion on the Aquatic Plants Digest Mailing List was recalled. There was a person with a hi-tech tank and every morning his fish would be gasping for air. The problem ended up being a lack of oxygen and the solution was adding a powerhead to circulate the water. When thinking about other issues with heavily planted tanks... ammonia is one problem that doesn't appear as frequently in these tanks. I suppose the plants absorb many of the nutrients and toxins.

The discussion then moved on to shipping plants. The best method is to roll the plants in paper towels, making sure that the plants don't touch each other. Many of us noted seeing newspaper being used for wrapping the plants. Newspaper ink is thought to be harmful to the plants... more research will have to be done on this.

As usual, Bruce brought along a good selection of books from his library (what an extensive collection):

  • Enjoy Planting Your Aquarium by William H. Dewhurst M.D.
  • Dennerle Nature Aquaristic: System for a problem-free aquarium by Dennerle
  • Aquarium Plants by Gerhard Brunner
  • Bibliography for Aquatic Gardners by Jare A. Sausaman, Neil Frank, & Dorothy M. Reimer
  • Hobbyist Guide to the Natural Aquarium (Tetra) by Dr. Chris Andrews
  • A Fishkeeper's Guide to Aquarium Plants (Tetra) by Barry James
  • A Fishkeeper's Guide to Garden Ponds by David Papworth
  • Your First Aquarium Plants by William Dewhurst, M.D.
  • Aquarium Plants Primer by Dr. Herbert R. Axelrod
  • Aquarium Plants: A guide to the selection, identification, care and propagation of Aquarium Plants by Herbert R. Axelrod
  • Planting & Decorating Your Aquarium by Pet Books, Inc.
  • Know Your Aquarium Plants by Don L. Jacobs, Ph.D
  • Planted Freshwater Aquariums (FAMA) by Kevin Osbourne
  • Beginner's Guide to Aquarium Plants & Decoration by Joseph B. Stilton

Peter was getting all his outside ponds ready for breeding. He was moving fish from the inside bathtubs to the outdoor ponds.

We finished off the night with a fantastic spread of food, which we had been nibbling on throughout the meeting. There was so much other food, we didn't even make it to the shrimp.  

The Brisbane Plant Study Group (BPSG) meetings are held on the 4th Friday of every month and begin around 8PM. If you need directions or have any questions, please feel free to contact me via email at bpsg2002@hotmail.com or via mobile on 0403 790 701. For the latest information, please visit our website at http://bpsg.frell.org