DIY Hairgrass Tutorial

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I haven't done this yet but I got the idea that hairgrass looks much like string up-close and thus thought this would be a neat idea after seeing the photo's of live hairgrass in the above aquarium.

What you'll need...

Flat Slate
Cotton or Nylon Sewing String (preferably 2 different shades of grassy green)
Aquarium Silicone
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Step 1: Hold your slate in one hand.
Step 2: Wrap your string tightly around your slate, the more string you wrap around the fuller your faux hairgrass will look when you're done.
Step 3: Lay your slate on a flat surface with the bottom side up. Using aquarium silicone spread it over-top all the string, this will keep it all in place later. Let the silicone dry, this can take 24-48hrs.
Step 4: Once your silicone has dried you'll then flip your slate over. Take your scissors and cut the string apart down the center.
Step 5: Spread the string open off of the slate.
Step 6: To make your faux hairgrass look more realistic trim the string at different lengths. Rinse thoroughly once complete and place into your aquarium.

Fish Vs. Filter Intake

For whatever reason Mr. Moto (my blue veil-tail Betta) likes curling his tail around the filter intake and having his tail sucked up into the tube. He always does this intentionally, it's not like he doesn't realize it isn't happening, he even falls asleep and is perfectly content. However, in him doing this odd ritual his fins seem to be looking a bit rugged to say the least. Here's my quick fix to keep this from happening...

Cut the toe off a nylon pantyhose (you can usually get these for free at lady shoe stores), make sure it's clean of course. You'll want the piece to be long enough just to cover the intake on the filter tube. Once covered, keep in place with a rubber-band and problem solved.
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This method is also good if you have small fry that you don't want to get sucked up into your filtration. The downside is that this doesn't allow big pieces of debris to get filtered out.


Maturing Guppy Fry

As it's nearing the beginning of May, my guppy fry will then be reaching three months of age, they're currently around half the size of their mother (nearly one inch in length) and I am sure they're going to start growing more rapidly at this stage as they're taking on more food now. I have decided to finally clean out my other 10 gallon aquarium this coming weekend in order to have it setup before the males mature and begin chasing my females around (as I don't want to go overboard on the breeding ordeal right now). It appears about half my fry are male/female this time around. They all look very similar to their mother (showing a tuxedo body) which is slightly disappointing because I was hoping they would show different characteristics in order to better identify what their father looked like (perhaps he was similar to the mother in this case) but this could change in the males as they begin to mature more.


Cat Cubus

Sometimes you can find inspiration in the oddest of items and today I found myself feeling inspired by a Japanese soap pump. I thought "how cute if this was a fish tank" (as it's really hard to find a kawaii looking aquarium on the net). So, I decided to re-create Mr. Moto's Marina Cubus into something kawaii/cute.
kawaii soap pump
What you'll need to achieve my design below is ...
Mr. Moto and Marimo
Paper (I printed out the online image I used)
Clear Tape
Fun-Foam Board (I used white and pink)
Double-Sided Velcro Tape
Marina Cubus tank or similar (if you don't already have one)

The Background
I found the face image online and edited it to fit my aquarium however, you could always design your own or take a sheet of paper and draw your own by hand. Cut out the image to fit the backside of your aquarium, place it on the outside of the tank and adhere it with some clear tape. If you can't laminate your paper background then be careful not to get it wet.

The Foreground
I thought it'd be cute to create and cut out animal ears with some white fun-foam board that matched my background. I then cut out two pink triangles and glued them inside the ear cutout. I then adhered the ears to the tank using some double-sided velcro tape at the top of the tank and the bottom backside of my ear cutouts.

I love how the Cubus light looks like it's the cats tail. I think this came out looking really cute and I hope you enjoy it to! BTW, aquarium filter and gravel is optional but I personally prefer it.


Brown Algae - Part 2 (Success)

As stated in my previous brown algae post I have found a quick remedy for eliminating my current brown algae issue.

I first tried using a capful of Tetra EasyBalance with Nitraban to my 10 gallon tank however, this did not eliminate the brown algae and it continued to worsen. I have also read from others online that most chemicals which are supposed to help eliminate algae do not seem to be effective for the most part, so I opted to take a less chemically evasive route as the product did nothing to eliminate brown algae or lower my nitrate levels for that matter (I have yet to purchase a phosphate test kit therefore I am not sure if that product had any affect on it).

I went to my local Petco in search of a new tank-mate that would hopefully consume my brown algae. The Petco did not have any Siamese Algae Eaters (SAE) although it did carry Chinese Algae Eaters (CAE) however, the two fish are quite different as CAE's apparently don't really consume brown algae. Then, I saw they had a small Albino Bristle Nose Pleco (BNP). I was skeptical about buying a Pleco at first since I had one many moons ago and it didn't survive however, I am much more knowledgeable now and so far I've had success with my new Pleco.

Within 2-3 days now my new 2inch Pleco has really cleaned up my brown algae! What a miracle worker my Pleco has been thus far.


Brown Algae - Part 1

Just as I began to wonder why I have never in my many years of aquarium setups ever had algae...I can now officially say that for the first time ever I now have a case of brown algae. There is one main conclusion I came to as to why this has started happening and that reason I found is due to adding a tank heater into my established aquarium (and yes, actually using it more permanently for once). I started keeping my tank at around 68F and higher, it took about 1-2 weeks and I began to notice some ugly brown patchy substance coating its way onto everything in my tank. According to my research, this also has to do with high nitrate levels, silicates and phosphates. Phosphates have never been tested in my aquarium before, so now I will be going to my local pet-store, picking up a p3/p4 test kit and discovering where my tank rates on its scale. My nitrate level is beginning to decrease with more regular water changes and cleaning which now rates at a level 50 in my tank (however, there has been no decrease in brown algae thus far) which is supposedly mid-range according to the test strips I have been using.

There are several ways in which I can try to tackle this issue of brown algae.

Tetra EasyBalance Water Treatment (Said to reduce nitrate and phosphate, I also currently own this, so I will be trying this first.)

Microbe-Lift GSC Gravel & Substrate Cleaner for Aquariums (Said to reduce and bind nutrients including phosphates.)

Tetra Algae Control (Said to control brown algae as well as several other types of algae.)

According to my research there are also means of using live plants in hopes that the plants can out-compete the brown algae in nutrients. There are also certain fish/snails/etc which also consume brown algae.

To be continued...