Tales from the Crypts
by Heidy Rubin

We gathered on Friday, 25th July 2003 at the home of Michael and Yvonne Cocks. There were only 5 people in attendance on the night, with 4 others sending their apologies, but we still had a fabulous night. After a bit of socialising and looking at Michaels indoor tanks, the meeting got underway.

The topic for the night was Plant Diseases/Treating Fish Diseases in the Planted Aquarium. I wanted to know if fish diseases affected plants directly, if plants could be carriers of fish diseases, and if the treatments used for treating various fish diseases would affect the plants.

To help me find some answers to these these questions, I figured I would search the web to see what information I could find. I was surprised to find very little information on the relationship between fish diseases/medications and their effects on plants. After several days of searching, I figured I would simply ask at the plant study group to see what others had experienced.

Phil said that plants were not directly affected by fish diseases. The others agreed. In everyone's experience they did not see their plants affected when their fish were carrying disease. I was concerned that if a fish died, there might be some disease left behind and carried by the plants. Then, if I added a new fish it would succumb to the same fate or disease. Michael said that he thought that if there was disease in the tank, the plant might act as a carrier and if a fish rubbed against a plant, it might pick up on the disease. It appears that more research and information needs to be gathered in this area.

In regards to fish TB, there was general consensus among everyone that if fish in your tank have TB, then it is best to destroy everything and completely sanitise the tank and gravel. While this seems a bit of a drastic measure to take, it is the only safe way to ensure that the TB is eradicated. One option for sanitising is to use a bleach and water solution. It is strongly advised that extreme caution should be taken when using a bleach solution to clean/sanitise your tanks. Too strong a solution can weaken the silicon used to hold the tank together, and cause disastrous results. A safer option that I have seen used in the past is sea water/salt water. This is definitely safer from a chemical standpoint, and doesn't pose a threat to the silicon.

The medications used to cure some fish diseases will affect some plants if not used properly. Methylene Blue provides a warning on the bottle not to use stronger than recommended. Salt is also a commonly used treatment for some fish diseases/illnesses. Too much salt will kill plants quickly as not too many common aquarium plants like brackish or salt water conditions. Some recommended alternative therapies are tea tree oil essence. Michael and Ken have both used this to treat their fish. Tea tree oil is an anti-bacterial/ anti-parasitic agent. *Please note you need to dilute this before using on fish.

Another item up for discussion is the location of 'laterite' in the Brisbane area. Phil found some red soil along the Warrego Highway near the Wivenhoe Dam area. He did a test for alum and there was none present. He hasn't used it in his aquarium or for his plants yet, but he has used some that he got from Peter to grow some crypts. We will get updates to see how well it performs. Ken will be gathering soil samples from different areas that have been mapped as laterite deposits. He will keep us posted on his findings and perhaps even share with us the location of a laterite mine.

Michael brought up another interesting topic. He wants to know what triggers Echinodorus sp. to produce runners/ pups. It was thought it might be due to the length of daylight. However, it was hard to say what would cause it in an aquarium setting. Looks like a good topic for the next meeting!

Somehow the topic drifted to live foods and bird sacrifices in wriggler (mosquito larvae) breeding ponds/bins. Unfortunately I have been the victim of this happening while we were living in Melbourne. It was such a turnoff, I haven't been able to get back into setting another one up. Someone also mentioned the fascination of frogs to spas. The frogs seem to be a bit smarter than the birds and usually do not jump in.

Our next meeting will be the 22nd of August at the home of myself and husband, Alan, at our home in Virginia. The Brisbane Plant Study Group meetings will be held on the fourth Friday of every month and are as follows: 26th September, no meeting in October (ANGFA Convention in Brisbane), 28th November, and there will be a break-up meeting/BBQ in December (to be scheduled at a later time). Meetings begin at 8:00 PM. 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. It is advised that you contact us prior to each meeting to find out the meeting location. It is also requested that you bring a dish, as supper is provided after the meeting.

Please visit our website at http://bpsg.frell.org