Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Underwater Weeds

I've recently rediscovered my love for aquariums.

A few years ago, I had a 65-gallon aquarium in my living room until one stormy winter night a neighbor's pine tree snapped in half and fell onto the power line that fed my house (ripping the power anchor off) and I was out of electricity for three days.

The temps that night were in the 30's. I had to net the fish out of the tank in the dark into a plastic bucket,  and then tried to keep them warm next to the gas range burner before transporting them to a friend's house, who coincidentally also didn't have power, but had a generator, so the fish heater could be plugged in again.

Earlier this year, I decided to try my hand at keeping fish indoors again, but this time in a much smaller way. I got a 6-gallon micro aquarium and I was going to keep shrimp.

There are several kinds of freshwater shrimp for aquariums. Some are a little more tricky (and more expensive) than others, but they are generally pretty hardy and fun and easy to keep.

A Cherry Shrimp and a group of Blood Worms chill'n.

Ghost Shrimp - Can you find him?
In the process of shrimp keeping and trying to maintain a small aquatic garden for them, what I have noticed is that I have to sometimes "weed" the tank. There are several ugly algae growing off the plants.

I hoped the shrimp, snails, and/or algae-eater fish would take care of them, but alas, they're not on the menu.

Nerite Snails on the rock.


It is ironic that I happily murder slugs and snails in the garden, yet encourage and even purchase exotic ones for the aquarium in hopes that they will eat a bad weed algae. There are even snails that will eat other snails if you have too many in your tank. But you also have to be sure the snails you introduce won't eat your plants! Best to do your research ahead of time.

Bad "beard" algae? on aquatic moss.
Small pond snails cleaning a leaf of Anubias.
Liaeopsis 'Mauritius' (Micro Sword Narrow Leaf) far left. "Water Clover" center with bad algae.
I have an extra long pair of tweezers that I used to pull out and stick plants into the gravel. I also use my extra pair of kitchen scissors to remove the worst of the plants/leaves covered in algae periodically.

It's very much a hands-on sort of thing and you just have to pull up your sleeves and get wet.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the chuckle over purchasing exotic slugs. :)