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The Witching Tree

Karmicnull

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Joined
6 Sep 2020
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623
Location
Cambridge
9865 - 2022-03-07-FTS.jpg
 

Karmicnull

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Thread starter
Joined
6 Sep 2020
Messages
623
Location
Cambridge
As usual the fast-follow post with words ends up being several weeks later. At which point all the photos are out of date. Hey ho.
For the obsessives amongst you (and yes, I'm definitely one of them), here are the gory details:

Substrate: Tropica Aquasoil, a bit of JBL Manado in the corner, and some arbitrary aquarium sand from some corner of the interweb
Water: 80% Rainwater / 20% Tapwater. Works out as about GH 5 and KH 4.
Ferts regime: Loosely based on one of the many from Vin Kutty's Rotala Kill Tank thread. A low-N version of EI with a bit of Urea thrown in, dosed at 30% as this is low-tech. Micros are APFUK with extra EDDHA FE (the micros are used across all my tanks, and the biggest is all tap water and PH 8+). Yeah I know that's pretty vague. I'll do a proper post dedicated to this either here or on the lean dosing thread. I'm still working out what my destination ferts are - there are some interesting suggestions knocking around, so this is going to change.
Lighting: Two dirt cheap lights from ebay, of which one has about 20% of its LEDs covered with little red stickers, as it felt too bright. At some point I'll upgrade these....
Filter: Tetra EX1200 plus. Nominally 1200LPH, so plenty for this 70L tank, but in practice I suspect not remotely close to that. Connected to metal Lily pipes which look beautiful but are puzzling me at the moment. More on that in a bit.
Livestock: just spare snails and cherry shrimp in there who are doing a not-quite-good-enough cleanup job. I'm interested in people's opinion on fish. More on that in a bit too.
Hardscape: Frodostone, Carboniferous Limestone from Cheddar Gorge, and about 10 pieces of wood from Aquarium Gardens, the Abyss warehouse in Stockport, and Ali Express. In case you are wondering my younger son started at Manchester Uni last September, and I have worked out a route between there and Cambridge that conveniently happens to pass the Abyss warehouse. My daughter is a couple of years off Uni, so I'm keenly researching what ones are near Horizon Aquatics and Scaped Nature. I need to make sure she makes a choice that will set me her up for life.
Plants (the good bit): these break into two lots: The ones I bunged in to give a bit of mass to kick the tank off that are all off-cuts from other tanks and will likely not be permanent, and the ones that will be there long term:
Bunged in:
AR Mini, Crypt Wendtii brown, Heteranthera zosterifolia (Star Grass), Hygrophila Siamensis 53B, Potamogeton Gayi (slender pondweed), Limnophila sessiliflora (Asian Marshweed).

Long term:
Floaters - Limnobium Laevigatum (Amazon Frogbit), Pistia Stratiotes (water lettuce)
Anubias Nana Pinto
Anubias Nana Pangolina
Aponogeton Madagascariensis (Madagascar Lace Plant)
Bucephelandra Pygmea "Bukit Kelam"
Bucephelandra Mercedes
Bucephelandra Green Jade
Bolbitis heteroclita difformis
Cryptocoryne Flamingo
Cryptocoryne Parva
Eriocaulon Cinereum
Helanthium Bolivianum "Chain Sword"
Helanthium tenellum 'Green' (pygmy chain sword)
Hydrocotyle leucocephala (Brazilian Pennywort)
Hydrocotyle Tripartitia Japan (Three-part pennywort)
Microsorum Pteropus (Java Fern)
Nymphaea micrantha
Pogostemon Helferi
Taxyphyllum Barbieri (Java Moss)
Vesicularia Ferriei ('Weeping' Moss )

And at some point in the future once I've sorted the ferts out some Ammania and some Rotala will go in. And anything else that piques my interest.

Here are some of them.
Water Lily
9760 - 2022-02-26-Nymphea.jpg


Anubias Pangolino and Bolbitis
9881 - 2022-03-30 Anubias Pangolino.jpg


H. Leucocephela
9784 - 2022-02-26-Hydrocotyle Leucocephela.jpg


Buce Bukit Kelam
9795 - 2022-02-26-Buce-Bukit Kelam.jpg


Ericaulon Cinereum, This is my wild card plant. It shouldn't really survive, but if it does it will look awesome!
9877 - 2022-03-30 Eriocaulon Cinereum.jpg


An arty frogbit shot just for the hell of it
9804 - 2022-02-26-Water Surface.jpg


Side tank shot showing the Crypt. Flamingo, Crypt Parva, the Madagascar lace plant, and the crazy growth that the dwarf chain sword has put on. The Madagascar lace plant was growing nice small leaves for a month or so in the potting shed / quarantine tank, and then I planted it here and it's gone bonkers with these huge leaves - it's putting out about one a week. I've also been snipping a leaf off the Lily every week as well. This is supposed to be a low tech slow growth tank dammit. Why won't these plants behave?
9876 - 2022-03-30 Side Tank.jpg




And finally the latest FTS with enthusiastic chain swords and the usual complementary reflections.
9878 - 2022-03-30 FTS.jpg



Will look brilliant when grown in
Thanks - fingers crossed!

Cheers,
Simon
 
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Karmicnull

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Metal Lily pipes. Aesthetically they are fabulous, but how do people use them? I can raise the output pipe high, in which case I get decent surface disturbance, but not great flow for the overall tank. Or I can have the output pipe low, in which case I have decent flow round the tank and the surface is like a millpond. I had a loose intention of making this a high-flow tank (and I have my eye on a tiger hillstream loach in the LFS), but I'm starting to think I'll have to add a powerhead if I want to do that, which is crazy given my headline hourly turnover is 17x tank volume.

Any hard-bitten metal Lily users who know how to solve this?
 

Karmicnull

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Joined
6 Sep 2020
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Location
Cambridge
Any hard-bitten metal Lily users who know how to solve this?

From the radio silence I am concluding that either everyone else has the same problem or it's Friday night and everyone has a life. Or of course both. I know @J-Bonham came up with an excellent solution <here>, but it is way beyond my technical competence level. So for the moment my two options are adding a power head or going low-flow.
Diving into these in a bit more detail:

Powerhead
Pros
- I have a couple of cheap ones in a drawer somewhere that I picked up in black friday
- I get to say 'Powerhead' a lot when showing people the tank, which makes me sound competent and authoritative (ho ho ho).
Cons
- A wire feeding in and a bit of black plastic in a tank which to-date is completely unsullied with anything other than the Lily pipes.

Go low-flow
Pros
  • Maintains the aesthetic of the tank
  • I can pick up those two Apistogramma erythrura that have been skulking in the corner tank of the LFS for the last month and win the enduring approval of @shangman and other UKAPS Apisto lovers
Cons
  • I've spent bloody ages researching high-flow fish for nothing
  • I don't get a rather lovely Hillstream loach
  • I'll need to create a cave for the Apistos. I'm not sure this is actually a con - more like a challenge to do it in keeping with the rest of the tank.

Decisions, decisions. I'll have a beer and mull it over whilst doing a WC on one of the other tanks.

Cheers,
Simon
 

shangman

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Joined
13 Jul 2020
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1,087
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London
A friend of mine was recently talking about those metal pipes, apparently you can get a lilypipe head attachment on it to change the flow and disrupt the surface a bit more? <Riverwood has one, but out of stock atm>, maybe message them on Instagram and ask when they'd restock if you're interested in it, Pete is always very nice and helpful. My question is, is the top having little surface aggitation really bad? To me just sounds like a good chance for some nice floating plants :D For me surface film goes away after 2 months or so, even with not much flow.

Having a powerhead and turning it into a stream-style tank does sound really nice, but then... Apistogramma erythrura .... also very very nice! Either way you have two very good options!!

If you go with the apistos, then I have found that seedpods work best for caves, they always go for the seedpod over the rock or wood caves I've made. Cariniana/savu pods are the ones my fish seem to like the most, and they have bred in a sterculia pod which was msotly closed too. Also useful as they look natural and are easy to camoflage, and easy to take out too if needed.
 

plantnoobdude

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17 Mar 2021
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1,071
Location
uk
the tank looks stunning! as for the erio cinereum they might do well! I have grown it without any co2 as it is one of the less picky species. and liquid rock london tap aswell. it looks a bit shaded though, try thin out the plants around it, that should give it a better chance.
 

Karmicnull

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Thread starter
Joined
6 Sep 2020
Messages
623
Location
Cambridge
A friend of mine was recently talking about those metal pipes, apparently you can get a lilypipe head attachment on it to change the flow and disrupt the surface a bit more? <Riverwood has one, but out of stock atm>, maybe message them on Instagram and ask when they'd restock if you're interested in it, Pete is always very nice and helpful. My question is, is the top having little surface aggitation really bad? To me just sounds like a good chance for some nice floating plants :D For me surface film goes away after 2 months or so, even with not much flow.

Having a powerhead and turning it into a stream-style tank does sound really nice, but then... Apistogramma erythrura .... also very very nice! Either way you have two very good options!!

If you go with the apistos, then I have found that seedpods work best for caves, they always go for the seedpod over the rock or wood caves I've made. Cariniana/savu pods are the ones my fish seem to like the most, and they have bred in a sterculia pod which was msotly closed too. Also useful as they look natural and are easy to camoflage, and easy to take out too if needed.

Nice one - thanks! Now that I know the outflow attachment exists I've managed to source one on Ali express - which may get here before Christmas. Hmm.
WRT surface agitation, it's more that I want to get plenty of oxygenation. I tried putting in the power head yesterday at WC time, and it worked just fine, but was super-noisy. @Simon Cole mentioned the All Ponds Solutions Skim 1 <here>, which looks perfect, so I'm going to give that a go. I'm also quite tempted by botanicals. There's a ring of sand at the base of the witching tree, which may end up serving as a home for a couple.

the tank looks stunning! as for the erio cinereum they might do well! I have grown it without any co2 as it is one of the less picky species. and liquid rock london tap aswell. it looks a bit shaded though, try thin out the plants around it, that should give it a better chance.
Thanks! I'll cross my fingers. The photo is deceptive - there's plenty of top-down light for this and the other couple I have snuck in, so they have at least a fighting chance.
 

Simon Cole

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25 Dec 2018
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725
Location
Buckingham
It's looking great!
Ryan from You Tube has a very different opinion on how you can keep and breed Hillstream loaches. It's well worth a watch. I'm not posting a link because the image it will detract from your thread, so just paste in: The TRUTH About Keeping and BREEDING HILLSTREAM LOACHES (They Lied To You) - Sewellia Care Guide.
Aponogeton Madagascariensis does get large, and in looks best with minimal flow. Nymphaea does get quite large too, and it will accelerate growth if it's leaves reach the surface.
I've got two Skim-1 in 40cm cubes. Ideal for low flow species like the Rocket Panchax (Epiplatys annulatus), easy to adjust to get higher flow.
 
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Karmicnull

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A long gap.
Unlockdown and life suddenly going bonkers have had a big negative impact on my UKAPS habit. A lot has happened.
The tank grew in.
Based on @Simon Cole's nudge above I rethought the tank so that I could have my cake and eat it.
First off the cherry shrimp went in:
9967 - 2022-05-Cherry Shrimp Witching tree.jpg


They were pretty happy, so this chap joined them.
0503 - 2022-06-Tiger Hillstream Loach Witching Tree.jpg

You can see a bit of thread algae in there - Whilst I had my cheap un-turndownable Ali express lights I had no control over light intensity, and the thread algae loved it. Eventually a bit of juggling between tanks let me swap in a Lominie Asta 120. I gradually turned that down until the thread algae more or less went away - it currently runs at its minimum setting. There's still a tiny bit of thread algae knocking around, but it's a 30 second job at WC to prune it.

I have also decreased my WC frequency, after some reassurance from @plantnoobdude. It's now usually between 8 and 10 days, but sometimes creeps up to 12, depending on work and life. I've done that across all my tanks with no ill effect other than an increased propensity to grow thread algae and GSA on the glass. I'll live with that in exchange for the time I get back.

Then the next two residents moved in.
0407 - 2022-06-Apisto Witching tree.jpg
0428 - 2022-06-Apisto Witching tree 2.jpg


0446 - 2022-06-Apisto Witching tree 3.jpg


Somewhere along the line some Amanos joined the merry crew.
0474 - 2022-06-Amano Witching Tree.jpg
0480 - 2022-06-Amano Witching Tree #2.jpg


The most recent resident is a right pain. He insists on nibbling my hand whenever I'm trying to prune. I'm terrified I'm going to accidentally squash him. He has clearly role modelled his lifestyle on that squirrel out of 'over the hedge' - He can't stop moving. Spends his life being chased off by the Hillstream Loach and the female Apisto when they are sunning themselves and he gets too close.


1669 - 2022-08-Panda Garra Witching Tree #2.jpg
1665 - 2022-08-Panda Garra Witching Tree #1.jpg


So that's the denizens at the moment. I'm keeping my eye out for a shoal of something to complete the tank - possibly Nannostomus Eques or Marginatus. My LFS has 5 pairs of the new and trendy 'Super Red' Amaya Nannostomus, which look great, but are (a) far too expensive (£80 per pair), and (b) should really go to someone who is going to breed them.

There have also been some changes in the flora. This was my 'lean dosing' experimental tank. As discussed extensively elsewhere Lean means different things to different people. One person's Lean is another person's full fat "I spit in the face of Marschner" gaudy excess. Because I have no clue what I'm doing, I decided to write down what everyone else was doing. I have no doubt I've got these wrong in several places and lots of you may say "I never did that!", but enough of a pattern emerged for me to decide on a course of action:

1661038759438.png

1661038784807.png

So I went for a Vin variant for this tank, primarily using Urea as a Nitrogen source. That worked sufficiently well that I've tweaked my ferts for my other tanks too ("Lean EI" which is an oxymoron if ever there was one). The +K as discussed elsewhere appears to make my Java Ferns happy.
Of course this is a low-tech tank so I then do 30% of the above values. It gets pretty handwavy somewhere around here as I split the dose 50% straight after w/c and then two at 25% over time. But then if I run late for a water change which is not unusual, a third 25% might creep in. So clearly not very lean. But a lot leaner than I was. And the plants all like it. Well, most of them anyway.

The Nymphaea micrantha is very happy. I have been pruning out leaves as they get too high, and the plant seems to have adapted, and has stopped trying to reach for the surface
9949 - 2022-05-Witching Tree Nymphaea micrantha.jpg


The Anubuas nana pinto is growing slowly and steadily. Give it another 20 years and it will have taken over the tank.
9991 - 2022-05-Anubias Nanna Pinto.jpg


Here's an FTS and a context shot from back in June. Lots of algae on the back glass. Keeps the loaches happy.
0496 - 2022-06-FTS Witching Tree.jpg
0512 - 2022-06-Arty Witching Tree.jpg


Then in July I treated myself to some HC 'Cuba' - very much planned - and some Riccardia - completely on the spur of the moment (because when you're in Aquarium Gardens it's really difficult not to buy plants). I'm pretty pleased with the way they've turned out.

1659 - 2022-08-Emergent growth Witching tree #1.jpg
1662 - 2022-08-Emergent growth Witching tree #2.jpg

1664 - 2022-08-Emergent growth Witching tree #4.jpg
1672 - 2022-08-Arty Shot Witching Tree.jpg


Cheers,
Simon
 

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Conort2

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16 Feb 2018
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London
Then the next two residents moved in.
0407 - 2022-06-Apisto Witching tree.jpg
0428 - 2022-06-Apisto Witching tree 2.jpg


0446 - 2022-06-Apisto Witching tree 3.jpg
Lovely tank and fish.

You need to get these fish wormed, if you look at you males vent you can see it’s swollen. Tank bred apistogramma often have camallanus worms and that’s what this looks like, only in really severe cases and often when it’s too late they will become visible. Esha NDX is very effective at resolving the issue.

Cheers
 

Hufsa

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Norway
You need to get these fish wormed, if you look at you males vent you can see it’s swollen. Tank bred apistogramma often have camallanus worms and that’s what this looks like, only in really severe cases and often when it’s too late they will become visible. Esha NDX is very effective at resolving the issue.
Im so glad we have an experienced backbone of skilled fishkeepers on UKAPS like @Conort2 and a few others
Their experience and input is really invaluable and I just wanted to write a note of thanks to them (you know who you are) 🥰
 

Karmicnull

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Cambridge
You need to get these fish wormed, if you look at you males vent you can see it’s swollen. Tank bred apistogramma often have camallanus worms and that’s what this looks like
Whoa. Thanks. I quarantined them for three weeks but have no clue what to look for when symptoms aren't in my face. Off to buy some now. And I second what @Hufsa said - much appreciated! Going forward would you recommend pre-emptive treatment during quarantine, and if so, what?
Cheers,
Simon
 

Conort2

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Whoa. Thanks. I quarantined them for three weeks but have no clue what to look for when symptoms aren't in my face. Off to buy some now. And I second what @Hufsa said - much appreciated! Going forward would you recommend pre-emptive treatment during quarantine, and if so, what?
Cheers,
Simon
No worries. The problem with these worms is that once you notice them protruding from the fishes vent it’s often too late but the fish still appears to be in decent shape so I’m sure you’ll be fine.

I’d normally recommend worming fish as internal parasites are pretty common and not something that is noticeable as say white spot. I normally use flubenzanol as a precaution for new fish and esha ndx if I suspect callamanus worms.

Cheers
 
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