Easy Floating Plant: Salvinia

This plant Salvinia (to be precise Salvinia Molesta or Giant Salvinia) is a super easy floating plant. It has 3 forms: Primary, Secondary, Tertiary Forms. I started with Tertiary Form Salvinia, and now have a lot of Primary Form Salvinia, as well as a few Secondary Form Salvinia.

I find that Salvinia is an easy floating plant because:

1) It only requires medium light

2) It has 3 forms and will evolve to the form that is most suited for your tank. The Tertiary Form is usually for outdoor ponds.

3) It is ok with getting a bit wet. Many other floating plants must be completely dry or else they may rot.

4) It has short roots. Hence, there is no need to trim its roots.

5) Easy to remove if you don’t want it. Most of its leaves are linked together. Hence you can remove all the leaves in a few grabs. This is in contrast to duckweed, which is notorious for being hard to remove.


I find that the Primary Form of Giant Salvinia is quite similar to Salvinia Minima, and the Secondary Form of Giant Salvinia is quite similar to Salvinia Natans! Could they be the same species?

Tropica also sells this version of Salvinia which they call it Salvinia auriculata.


24 Water Spangles (Salvinia Minima), Live Aquarium/Aquatic/Floating/Pond/Beginner Plant by G&Z

Easy Red Low Tech Plant: Ludwigia Super Red

Ludwigia Super Red, also known as Ludwigia Palustris or Ludwigia sp. red (mini) is one of the easiest low tech (No CO2) red plants. Due to its small size, it is suitable for nano tanks (with trimming).

It is rated “easy” by Tropica. In comparison, most other red plants are rated “Medium” or “Advanced”.

I am trying out this low tech easy red plant without CO2. Future updates will be posted on this page as well.

Day 1 (May 22, 2020):

Ludwigia Super Red 1st day in low tech tank!

Day 2:

This is the second day of growing Ludwigia Palustris, also known as Ludwigia Super Red (sp. red mini). I think new growth has already appeared at the top of the stems! The new growth seems not so red though, maybe my light is not strong enough.

Day 4:

Currently, it is day 4 of growing it. I dose basic fertilizers like Tropica Premium, Seachem Potassium (weekly) and also Seachem Root Tabs (once every few months). I think the plant is adapting to the new environment, I did notice a bit of melting going on.

Day 8:

Still surviving on Day 8! The new leaves are quite cool, they are mixed red and green in coloration, with red mostly at the tips. I wonder if they will turn red completely eventually.

Day 13:

We continue with Day 13 of growing Ludwigia Palustris (aka Ludwigia Super Red) in low tech without CO2. Seems to be surviving! There is a bit of “fungus” problem after feeding Hikari frozen brine shrimp, hopefully it clears after the water change.

Stay tuned for future updates. If you have any experience on growing Ludwigia in low tech tanks, please comment below!



New Ludwigia sp. Mini ‘Super Red’ Live Aquarium Freshwater Plants Rare Repens Rubin


Mainam Ludwigia Repens Super Red Freshwater Plants Bundle Tropical Aquatic Plant Decorations


Ludwigia sp. red vs Ludwigia mini sp. red

Xiaozhuang Wong, also known as Dennis Wong (an expert aquascaper), has demonstrated that Ludwigia sp. red is actually the same plant as Ludwigia mini super red. It is the same plant, except that it grows smaller adult forms under lean fertilization regimes. This is similar for many plants. The below image shows Ludwigia plant taken from same cutting, grown under 2 different tank nutrient regimes. (Source: Xiaozhuang Wong Facebook)

Experiment done by Xiaozhuang Wong. Image from his Facebook.

Eheim Air Pump 200 Review

Recently upgraded my air pump to the Eheim Air Pump 200, with dual output. My previous air pump was not strong enough to power 2 sponge filters simultaneously.

This Eheim Air Pump is very strong. In fact, it is almost too strong, I had to lower to the lowest setting for my 2 gallon nano tank. For the 5 gallon tank, I select the medium setting, and angle the output towards the wall. The sponge filter output was made to be above the water level (there is less turbulence this way).

Overall, this air pump is very good and quiet. Do expect some noise though, it is not totally silent. I would say it has the same noise level as a fan, which is totally acceptable. Also, I find that the 2 adjustable valves are not totally independent, when I adjust one valve it will affect the other output as well.

Review: The Eheim Air Pump is a highly recommended air pump for fish keepers with 2 aquariums.

The Eheim 200 Air Pump is also labelled as Eheim PHL207184. There is a more powerful Eheim 400 (twice the output), but based on my review most aquariums under 50 gallons should not require such a powerful pump (maybe 50 gallons and above may need it).

Eheim PHL207184, 4.00 x 6.00 x 4.00 inches, Black

How to convert w/w% weight concentration to ppm

In this post, we describe how to convert w/w% (weight concentration of a solution) to ppm (parts per million, or mg/l), with applications to liquid fertilizers.

This method is an approximation for dilute solutions.

We will focus on converting 0.8 w/w% to ppm, with 2ml of fertilizer in a 5 gallon container. This is based on Tropica fertilizer Potassium concentration. We will then verify it with the Rotala Butterfly calculator (answer is 0.845 ppm).

1) 0.8 w/w% = 8g per 1000ml

Here we have made the assumption that 1000ml of solution weighs 1000mg, which is valid for dilute solutions.

2) This is equivalent to: 0.016g per 2ml (in the fertilizer).

3) Now after pouring the fertilizer into the 5 gallon container, the concentration is 16mg per 5 gal = 16mg per 18.9271 liters.

Here we have made the approximation that the amount of fertilizer (2ml) is negligible compared to the volume of the container (5 gal).

4) This is equivalent to 0.845 mg per l or 0.845 ppm as calculated by the Rotala Butterfly calculator!

Rotala Butterfly Calculator Formula

Let a be the w/w% concentration.

Let b be the amount of fertilizer to use (in ml).

Then,

ppm = (10ab)/18.9271

In the example above,

a=0.8, b=2, so

ppm = (16)/18.9271=0.845

Fish Math

How to ensure a pair of male-female for fish & Shrimp

Given N fishes/shrimp, what is the probabillity of having at least 1 male-female pair?

Probability = 1 – (Prob. Of all Male)- (Prob. Of all Female)

If you have 4 fishes, Probability of having a breeding pair = 87.50%

If you have 5 fishes, Probability of having a breeding pair = 93.75%

If you have 6 fishes, Probability of having a breeding pair = 96.88%

If you have 7 fishes, Probability of having a breeding pair = 98.44%

If you have 8 fishes, Probability of having a breeding pair = 99.22%

Seachem Root Tabs Review

Just added 1 Seachem Flourish Tab next to my Alternanthera Reineckii Mini (AR Mini). Some “fizzing” or bubbling is observed. Not sure if that is due to the root tab, or maybe I disturbed some gas pockets in the substrate.

I am still continuing the growing of AR Mini in low tech tank (see Alternanthera Reineckii Mini Low Tech).


Seachem Flourish Tabs Growth Supplement – Aquatic Plant Stimulant 10 ct

My dog Charlie curious about the Seachem Root Tab.

Seachem Root Tab Review

The below review video is rather convincing proof that Seachem Flourish tabs are one of the best root tabs in the market, despite having low macro nutrients (nitrogen and phosphate). The purpose of having low macro nutrients is for preventing algae.

AR Mini Low Tech Day 50

Read more at: Alternanthera Reineckii Mini Low Tech

Day 50 (12 March 2020): The aquarium light was upgraded around 10 days ago on 2 March 2020. It has helped the AR Mini in my opinion, making it slightly redder. The AR Mini is very much alive in the low tech tank! I think this dispels the myth that Alternanthera Reineckii Mini requires CO2 to live.

Anubias Rhizome tied too tight

Anubias tied too tightly

I think one of my Anubias rhizomes died (rotted) due to it being tied too tightly. The Anubias rhizome is supposed to be hard and green, if it is soft or brown, something is wrong.

For Anubias, the rhizome is the most important part of the plant, if it is dead, the whole plant will die.

Another reason for the Anubias rhizome rotting is the dreaded Anubias disease, but I don’t think it is the case here because another rhizome just next to the rotted rhizome is perfectly healthy.

Hence, the conclusion is that the Anubias rhizome most likely died from being tied too tightly by the string. It was at the back of my tank so I didn’t really notice it at first. I only noticed it when I saw a new leaf sprout out from the rotting rhizome, but the new leaf melted soon after. Usually, when new leaves melt, it is a sign of something wrong. Upon taking the entire Anubias plant out, I then realized that the rhizome had turned mushy.

The original Anubias was tied (by the seller) with thick string. I don’t really blame them for tying too tight because it is not easy at all to tie Anubias (too loose and it will not stay in place). I cut off the old string, threw away the rotted rhizome, and re-tied the healthy Anubias lightly with sewing thread.

Probably the same problem can occur for Java Fern, Bucephalandra, the rhizome may rot if tied too tightly.

Chai Discus Shop Tour by Ryo Watanabe

This Japanese boy Ryo Watanabe is currently based in Japan, but used to be in Singapore for some time (his mother works here). I think he is probably back in Singapore recently again based on his videos.

Very amazing discus fish store tour. I usually enjoy watching his videos during meals, I think I have watched almost every single video (except those super long video interviews which may be more than an hour).

Do subscribe to his channel, and like, share, etc. His videos are usually very professionally produced, and he speaks very good English. Sometimes, I wish I have the time to tour all the fish stores like him.

SG Bearded Aquarist Fish Videos

Another fish YouTuber based in SG is SG Bearded Aquarist. Currently, he seems to be “inactive” for quite some time, maybe working on a new project? His videos are also very professionally produced, and he does branch out to overseas aquariums/ saltwater/ planted tanks as well.

One of my favorite videos from SG Bearded Aquarist is the one below (featuring Zaric and Jarenn Foo who are expert Pleco breeders).

Mosquito Rasbora & Neon Tetra

Mosquito Rasbora (Boraras Merah / Phoenix Rasbora) can live peacefully together with neon tetras!

The neon tetras mostly ignore the smaller mosquito rasboras, except maybe during feeding time where they try to snatch the food. There has been zero aggression between the mosquito rasboras and the neon tetras.

Mosquito Rasbora are surprisingly clever and have distinct personalities. One of my mosquito rasbora prefer to hangout near the top of the water together with the neon tetras, while another prefers to swim low near the roots of plants.

Mosquito Rasbora together with Neon Tetra

Phoenix Rasbora with Neon Tetra in the background (behind leaf)

Boraras Merah (Phoenix Rasbora) is a micropredator and a surprisingly intelligent small fish.

Alternanthera Reineckii Mini Low Tech

AR Mini Low Tech

This blog post is an experiment on whether Alternanthera Reineckii Mini (AR Mini) can survive in a low tech (i.e. no CO2 supplementation) tank.

The plant used is Tropica tissue culture as shown below:


Tropica Alternanthera reineckii ‘Mini’ Live Aquarium Plant – in Vitro Tissue Culture 1-2-Grow!

Traditionally, Alternanthera reineckii ‘Mini’ (AR Mini) is grown in high tech, high light tanks where it will grow into a deep red purplish color. In low tech, lower light tanks, I am trying to see if it can still grow, albeit less red. Maybe a lighter red or olive / bronze color like its cousin Alternanthera Roseafolia (below), would be a good enough result.


Mainam Alternanthera Reineckii VAR. Roseafolia Telanthera Freshwater Red Stem Live Aquarium Plant

Tank Parameters and Fertilization

Tank size: 5 Gallon (I am using this tank: Ripples Premium Aquarium Glass Fish Tank (with Filter and LED Lights) 18.9L)

Light: It is just a basic starter kit LED light with 7 bulbs. Apparently rated just 2.9W.

Substrate: Aqua Gro Aquarium Soil by Ocean Free (it is a local brand by Qian Hu). It should be something similar to ADA Aqua Soil Amazonia II Normal Type (9L), maybe with less nutrients.

Fertilizer: So far I am only using Tropica Plant Growth Premium Fertiliser – 125 ml, one pump per week after water change.

Lighting schedule: I am using an electronic timer with 12 hour photoperiod: 10am-4pm, 5pm-11pm. In between 4-5pm is a siesta (rest/blackout) period (to build up some CO2 if possible).

Videos

Day 1 (23 Jan 2020): This is the first day of planting. Still quite purplish undertones. To plant the Tropica tissue culture, I plucked off some of the leaves on the lower stem, and then inserted it into the substrate. No trimming of roots were done (the roots were not long anyway).

Day 3: The next video below is the 3rd day. The pinkish red colors on the underside are mostly gone (quite worrying), but the plants is clearly alive and it has oriented its leaves to face upwards! It is now a olive color with hints of red/pink.

Day 4: Video below. Not much different from Day 3. I realized that there is a Dwarf Sag small plantlet with runner amongst the AR Mini. The Dwarf Sag is one plant that is thriving in the tank. It started with 2 mother plants and now there are at least 8 plants propagated naturally via runners. If necessary, I may remove the dwarf sag (just the one amongst the AR Mini).

Day 5: Melting and shedding of leaves. This is day 5 of planting the AR Mini in the low tech tank. A total of 3 leaves were shed today. I think it is either (a) transitioning from emersed to submersed growth or (b) dying. Hopefully it is the former!

Day 6: Just one leaf melt today. One entire stem got uprooted, maybe it was the snail or the shrimp that disturbed it. There is a little frenzy among the neon tetras and Amano shrimp trying to grab the shrimp pellet. I removed a dwarf sag plantlet among the AR Mini, and replanted the uprooted stem there.

Day 7: No shedding of leaves today, which is good news. I spotted something that looks like hair algae, it could well be a disintegrated Marimo moss ball from “Secret Shrimp Society”. Water change was done, as well as dosing of Tropica Premium Nutrition liquid fertilizer. I ended up trimming the Cryptocoryne Wendtii as its leaves were almost reaching the water surface. I also removed the disintegrated Marimo moss balls from “Secret Shrimp Society” as it was starting to look like hair algae.

Day 10: This is day 10 of growing Alternanthera Reineckii Mini in a low tech tank. The leaves seem to have “perked up” and are slightly pinkish. Overall it looks better than on day 7, I think. The contrast between day 3 is also quite clear. No CO2 in this tank.

Day 13: The AR Mini has changed to a nice orangey-red. There has been shedding of around one leaf per day. The plant still looks alive overall, and in fact has grown taller than the Dwarf Sag beside it. There has been some trimming of the taller plants in the tank (crypts and Anubias).

Day 16: It has passed the 2 week mark. The AR Mini is still alive in the low tech tank. I do observe some new leaves growing.

Day 20: The AR Mini plants are getting more bronze color and less red. The undersides are still a little pinkish red though. Overall quite surprised at the result in my low tech tank. (I was half expecting the plants to die.)

Day 50 (12 March 2020): The aquarium light was upgraded around 10 days ago on 2 March 2020. It has helped the AR Mini in my opinion, making it slightly redder. The AR Mini is very much alive in the low tech tank! I think this dispels the myth that Alternanthera Reineckii Mini requires CO2 to live.

Day 50: AR Mini is still doing well in low tech tank.

Further Ideas

I may add some root tabs in the future (will clearly indicate the moment when I do add it). According to the below video review (it is really excellent), the best root tab on the market seems to be Seachem Flourish Tabs Growth Supplement – Aquatic Plant Stimulant 40 ct.

Update (31 March 2020): I have added 2 root tabs (Seachem Flourish). One right next to the AR Mini, and another a few inches away.

Red plant in low tech tank

Just bought this red plant at a local fish store at just $2. I am thinking it is Ludwigia repens (or possibly other type of Ludwigia).

Red plant (Ludwigia repens?) in low tech 5 gallon tank. No CO2. I bought this red stem plant for my fish to celebrate Chinese New Year. Hope it can survive in my tank!

Update: Unfortunately, upon further research, the above red plant may actually be Alternanthera sessilis which is not aquatic! The stems and leaves of the above said plant are quite hard and stiff, which is characteristic of a terrestrial plant.

I have tried to ask experts on the Planted Tank Forum, they have confirmed that it is not Ludwigia arcuata (which I originally thought it was).

Tetra Vacation Food Review (Holiday Fish Food)

Just wanted to give a positive review for the Tetra Vacation “Slow Release Feeder” Holiday fish food, which feeds up to 14 days.

I went for a vacation for around 12 days, and came back to zero fish/snail/shrimp deaths, and perfectly healthy fish!

The fish I had were:

  • 5 neon tetras
  • 2 lambchop rasboras
  • 2 Rili Shrimp
  • 1 Amano Shrimp
  • 2 Horned Nerite Snails

All were surviving well after the vacation. It was quite clear that the shrimp and snails were able to eat the food as well (I saw them eating the food, as well as their poop on the feeding dish).

Tips for using the Tetra Vacation fish food

  1. I think the key is not to put too much. If you only have a few tetras, estimated of 1/8 of the entire block will be more than enough. The entire block is overkill and may increase the chances of polluting the water.
  2. Buy a plastic dish (food safe), such as Melamine Plastic Sauce Dishes, 1 oz, 2-3/4″, White (Set of 15) to hold the food and prevent contact with substrate. I found that this reduces the chance of the Tetra holiday food turning mouldy. This is a cheap but still viable alternative to the proper method which is to use a Shrimp feeding dish such as Senzeal 2X Aquarium Glass Shrimp Feeding Dish Bowls Reptiles Water Food Dish Feeder Bowl Round.

Tetra Vacation food packaging looks like the ones below:


Tetra Vacation Tropical Slow Release Feeder, 2.12-Ounce


Tetravacation 14-Day Feeder For Tropical Fish. 4 Pack (4.24 Oz Total).