November 20, 2008

November 2008 Meeting

The 14th meeting of the NJAGC was held on Thursday,
November 20th, 2008 by Mike F.

In attendance were 16 members:
Frank
Mike
Walter
Jens
George
Jay
Drew
Alex
Stephen
Paula
Glenn
Ingo
Sergio
Irwan
Joe
Brian

The meeting kicked off with a little bit of club business, the treasury update by Walter, and the biggest announcement of all by Mike – that he was giving away an ADA 120p with all the fixins. OK, I just made that up – I was about 10 minutes late for the meeting, so I didn’t catch the beginning, but aside from the give away, I imagine that is what happened :-).

When I did get there, I walked in on Mike going over the changes to his 38g cube. He was having a bit of an algae issue in there, but overall, I don’t think the tank looked so bad.

He was going over the plumbing of the system and showed us his ultra-high tech method for knowing when his filters are off.

Filter Off

Mike’s Filter is Off

We had a few more discussions, including Mike’s Anubias propagation methods, including the nicking/scarring to get it to grow in certain directions. What that means is simply making a small cut into the rhizome and expecting a new leaf to arrive in that spot. From the looks of the growth, it is working for him.

From there, we moved onto the reveal of the 75g monster.

Mike Unveiling the 75

Mike Unveiling the 75

I think it is easiest if I let Frank describe the tank – I like Mike’s reaction to the comment best…

See All Videos at the Bottom of this Article

With all those plants in there, it gives his fauna, a lone pencil fish, about 25 Rhombo Barbs and countless Cherry Shrimp plenty of places to hide.

“I got a major shrimp population – they’re doin what shrimp do best”. – Mike

At any rate, the entire time I was there, I didn’t see any of the barbs, just the pencil and the shrimp.

Mike expressed how much he likes the 9325k bulbs. A lot of folks with T5 fixtures wish they made them in a T5 bulb, but I’ve only seen them as compact fluorescents. He also likes the color that emanates from his windows when the fixture is on – gives it a real moody purple glow.

9325k Bulbs

Mike Showing off the 9325k’s

He then explained how he got away from the whole mass grouping of the Blyxa japonica, instead, just a sparse scattering of it, he thinks it looks prettier that way and I’d have to agree.

Glenn looking into the 75

Glenn looking into the 75

There is also some Micranthemum umbrosum (baby tears) which he is really growing out a bit more to move into 38. The growth difference between this plant in the 38g and the 75gtank was very noticeable. I don’t know if it is just the lights or that the 38 was having some algae difficulties, but I’d leave it in the 75 for now.

We then had discussion about the rapid Anubias growth he gets. In the previous discussions about the 38, I mentioned the method he uses, and in this tank, he is trimming around 25 Anubias leaves daily! “It just grows and grows, it is unbelievable, must be something in the water” – Mike.

Anubias and Rotala

Pogestemin stelatus (Broadleaf stelata) and Anubias

The other, what I’ll describe as a showcase plant, Pogestemin stelatus (Broadleaf stelata) was in splendid form. Mike has worked with this plant for a long time and he certainly seems to have mastered it. However, Ingo expressed some concern about the photo period of these stems, saying “I think they had enough for today”.

Moving on, we briefly went over the plumbing of the system, which hasn’t really changed much since the last time we visited. The same co2 reactor (which is a leftover saltwater calcium reactor, and two Eheim filters, a 2126 and a 2215.

equipment

We had a lengthy discussion about the substrate with mixed opinions on “old tank syndrome” and whether or not we should be changing the substrate every so often. Mike explained that with all the shrimp in there, it would be very painstaking to do. Mike’s regime is every once in a while, he places just a few ADA “Multi Bottom” sticks. He also speaks highly of ADA’s Green gain and the ADA tools. However, he falls a little short of being an ADA “Fanboy” his substrate is Seachem’s Flourite.

Mike then informed us that although his aquascapes stay for a long time, and change slowly, tonight the aquascape would be changing.

The wood

The wood selection

We weren’t trying for an ISM (Ingo Style Makeover – you can use that Ingo), but just a slight modification/addition to the hardscape with some wood. Mike described how he’d like the appearance of a fallen tree.

Jay looking at the wood

Jay and Mike Aquascaping

So with that, we set off to see how the wood could be integrated into the tank. With a lot of input from all in attendance.

Mike playing with the wood

Mike placing some wood

And lots of “ahhhhh’s”

Mike arm deep in it

Mike placing some more wood

And “hmmmm’s”, and when the “ooohhhhh’s” and “ahhhh’s” were loud enough, the wood stayed.

Many combinations and placements were tried, but in about the period of 30 minutes, the new aquascape was complete (for now).

After that, Ingo set about distributing the Nerite snails from the club’s group order that he organized and executed perfectly.

Mike holding the snails

Mike and his snails

Then, Sergio, who organizes the club branded merchandise, distributed the latest batch , including the new gray shirts (and boy do those 9325k’s make color balancing photos difficult!!!).

Sergio modelling

Sergio modelling the latest club fashions

Ingo modelling

Ingo didn’t want to be left out of the fashion show

Finally, we wrapped up with a plant swap which everyone seems too polite, not wanting to take anything. I am always happy with the way these go over.

If you’d like to get a feel for how a meeting goes, please watch these videos

Thanks to Mike and Lorraine for hosting another NJAGC meeting!

Until next time,

Joe

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