November 14, 2007

November 2007 Meeting

The ninth meeting of the NJAGC was held on Wednesday, November 14, 2007.

It was hosted by Mike Firrincili and Lorraine at Mike’s home in Hawthorne, NJ.

In attendance were 12 members:
Walter Reed
Sergio Canabal
Mike Firrincili
Joseph Hoetzl
Ingo Schobert
George Willms
Jens Rohloff
Glenn McCreedy
Jay L.
Elissa Betterbid
Vince Lim
Frank Zillitto

The meeting kicked off with a quick run through of the business side of the club, membership, the online forum, new initiatives, etc… Then Walter gave the status of the treasury, which is doing ok.

Mike talking business

Mike’s opening remarks with George and Jay looking on

There was plenty of food and drink including Mike’s “Pasta Suprema” (ok, that is my name), and Elissa brought munchkins from DD (thanks!).

Food assortment


 We then progressed into a discussion of Mike’s farm tank.

Farm Tank

Farm tank stuffed to the max

As you can see by the density of the plants in there, this is not a “scaped” tank, but rather a tank where Mike cultures his latest finds and trimmings until he either sells them, trades them, or, uses them in his other two tank’s aquascapes.

He discussed some of the special “features” of keeping this farm growing, including massive CO2 dosing, dual filters, just some sparse fish. He uses an assortment of green Eheim hard plastic tubes, Eheim suction cups (which he readily admits to hoarding), and wooden dowels like this:

Dowel Closeup

Eheim suction cup with wooden dowel growing moss

He also explained about his trick for propagating Anubias species, by removing almost all of the leaves, leaving just enough for photosynthesis, and “notching” the rhizome, he says he can kick off new growth. This was evident in some very nice Anubias barteri v. nana ‘golden’ he had growing in there, near algae free.

He also ran through the large variety of plants he grows in there, including, but not limited to:

Red java fern, which is only red when the leaves come in. Once the leaves are in, they are not really red anymore, Tropica Fern, Windelov Fern, Cryptocoryne crispatula var. balansae, Süßwassertang, Blyxa japonica,
oh, and you need a mermaid in your grow out tank.

From there, Mike reminded everyone to have some food, and carried on with a discussion of his 38 gallon tank, which was recently re-scaped with some help from other NJAGC members.

Mike and his 38 Gallon

Mike explaining the 38g setup

Not only does this tank have a nice front view, but, since it can be seen from 3 sides, Mike takes care to keep it looking nice from those views as well.

He also adds some special growth chemical (sounds like a bad commercial – start the dance is it?). That “special” item he uses is Green gain. A product from ADA that he not only swears by, but produces a cool effect when introduced to the tank.

38g side view

38g Side view

The tank was originally onyx sand, then aquasoil, now mostly sand and aquasoil. The tank also has Tek-Lights, and an outflow on his 2126 that he just loves, but sorry, you can’t get them any more (or at least I don’t think so).

38 detail shot

Nice Blxya Japonica growth

After Mike went over the “plumbing” of the 38g and fielded a few more questions on it, we moved to the 75 gallon show piece.

In what seems to be a bit of a tradition now, Mike did his “reveal”. I’ll leave the “cloth” comment for Mike to answer…

See All Videos at the Bottom of this Article

And you thought you saw Anubias barteri v. nana ‘petite’ before? Just look at that cluster on the left!

Full shot of the 75g

Mike thinks he has 4, 5, 6 different plants in there – Telanthera Rosefolia (Alternanthera reineckii),

Pogostemon stellata ‘broadleaf’, Blyxa Japonica, Glossostigma elatinoides, Hemianthus micranthemoides, Anubias barteri v. nana ‘petite’, and some moss.

Mike also demonstrated how he doesn’t have to get his hands wet (saving money on paper towels too) with all the nifty tools he has.

Mike's micro-alligator

He demonstrated trimming and positioning the HM with the use of his micro-alligator (my name for it), which is a 18″ to 24″ long metal apparatus with tiny little snips at the end.

See All Videos at the Bottom of this Article


Mike explains about HM

Mike showing Elissa about the HM he just pulled from the 75g

There was good discussion on the placement of the plants in there, and Mike explained how he has to keep up with the stems a lot, pulling each stem individually, trimming and replanting to maintain the look. I’d say it is worth it!

75g Look

Wow, just wow!

He doses this tank, and the the others, with a 2x recommended strength of excel daily, after “lights out” aside from the CO2 injection. And on this 75g, he uses both a diffuser and a reactor for better distribution of the CO2.

In our usual fashion, we closed out with a plant swap. Again, there was a good variety of common and not so common plants there.

Plant Swap

Plant swap offerings

But, if you left after that, you missed Mr. “Patience” Firrincili doing a little re-modeling of the 75. I guess there were enough comments about moving that plant off to right.

Mike Couldn't Wait

Full shot of the 75g


Full shot of the 75g


Finally, here are some pictures I didn’t work into the summary…

Crowd shot

Sergio, George, Elissa and Ingo

Fish face

Only a mother could love…

Vince and Glenn

Vince and Glenn planning out their “farm” tanks

Mike's micro alligator

Watch out Sergio, I know how to use this!

Sergio and Mike


Reindeer Shrimp?

Walter Frank and Jay

Walter, Frank and Jay (inspecting one of Mike’s toys)

Bad Joke

I’ll tell all the bad jokes I want! – Mike

Sorry Ingo!

And wait, what is this, the start of something new? Sergio looking into a tank!

Sorry Ingo!

Sorry Ingo

Thanks to Mike and Lorraine for hosting the meeting again!

Happy Holidays to all!

See you next year…

Thanks to Jay for the videography!

Until next meeting,

Joseph Hoetzl


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