Tales from the Crypts
by Bruce Hansen

The meeting was held on 27th August, at the home of Michael Cocks at Burpengary with Michael, Bruce, Ken, Peter and Greg attending after apologies from Serewyn, Alan and Heidy. As usual Michael's planted tanks were a "jungle" with the fish looking well-and-truly "at home". In one tank a large mature pair of Crossocheilos siamensis (Siamese Algae-eaters) were obviously roed-up and apparently ready to spawn. We had a short discussion about breeding this species and it's qualifications as an algae consumer. Michael said that the female has lost her girth several times in the past, so presumably they have spawned but no fry ever survived. Even though this is a heavily planted tank there are numerous other fish there to enjoy the "caviar". The dominant fish in the tank is a large male Puntius nigrofasciatus (Ruby barb) which continually harasses the male siamensis (even though he is only one third his length) as well there is a nice pair of Botia morleti (Skunk botias) that would do a good cleanup job on any eggs or fry.

Greg and Peter led a short discussion on the plant order from Pisces - the plants will be delivered at the next ANGFA general meeting. Bruce advised everyone that Kerryn had offered to share with us some of his Nelumbo sp. "Hybrid" (pale yellow flower) when he divides it up shortly. At least 4 of those present were interested. Bruce then produced another collection of books from his library, this time mainly concerned with water-lillies and their relatives - to provide some background information on this group.

  • Encyclopedia of the Water-lily: C.O. Masters
  • Goldfish Pools, Water Lillies and Tropical Fishes: G.L. Thomas
  • Waterlillies and other Aquatic Plants: Stapely Water Gardens
  • Water Gardening, Water Lilies and Lotuses: Slocum and Robinson

He also produced a new little book on planted aquaria from Barron?s that is quite a useful guide for anyone trying not to make too many mistakes along the path of developing a healthy successful planted tank - unlike most, it is not a plant catalogue, and is mostly full of useful advice. However it is well illustrated with attractive shots of planted tanks and plants.

  • Plants for Your Aquarium: Wolfgang Gula

Next followed a discussion on substrates again including another sample of red soil that Ken had brought along from one of his recent travels. Since the APD regularly mentions fluorite, onyx and other "modified clay" substrates we talked about what is available here. Peter advised that those commercial products are available here but as they are imported the cost is significant. Bruce raised the possibility of trying scoria and quinkan which are available from gardening and landscaping outlets as they are of similar origin. He is going to try it in his revamped 5 footer when it finally gets set up again.

Before adjourning for supper and the usual visit to Michael's fishroom, we had the final "whip around" the room for questions, problems and exhibits and Ken brought a plant he had found at Proston, which Bruce thought was a Persicaria sp. He also described a nice aquatic plant habitat he had seen - a spring-fed stream called Iron pot Creek which was full of plants but had virtually no fish. Michael produced a plant from one of his tanks for identification. He had originally been given it as a miniature "val" but Bruce was confident that it was the narrowest of the chain swordplants (Echinodorus ? tenellus).

Remember the aquatic plant study group meets every 4th Friday evening - usually at Heidy's place and all are welcome. You don't have to be a member of any club, it is very informal and all you need to bring is a plate for supper, some questions (or answers) and perhaps something for "show and tell".

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