Posts Tagged ‘fish’

A tale of 2 bettas

Posted: April 22, 2012 by ralliart12 in ~ § Aquascape § ~
Tags: , , , , ,

I setup a betta tank in the office for my colleague last week. Splendid specimen, a lavender butterfly half-moon plakat. It was a simple setup too, i.e. GEX “S” Slim filter, a couple of black lava rocks & Malayan hard wood branches, bottom coated with a layer of Sudo Bottom Sand & topped off with a simple LED lamp. Now that fellow’s living like a king inside his new enclosure (big tank for a betta too), complete with a clump of Anubias barteri var. “nana petite” & some Frogbits. & I’m simply loving it. That’s always the problem, ain’t it? Creators always fall in love with their creations.

Any way, the specimen in the photo is mine. His name is Bob. Unfortunately Bob jumped out of his enclosure a few days back & suffered massive physical damages to his body, e.g. especially his gorgeous caudal & pectoral fins. He’s still alive though; the first few hours (after his short-lived terrestrial adventure) he displayed some very un-fighting-fish swimming behaviour. Now he’s swimming al right, & I’m going to do my best to encourage the recovery of his splendour.

Update: just an elaboration on what the “butterfly” nomenclature means. The misconception is that the term is given to fighting fishes with frilly fins (I erroneously believed this too), but it is actually not. The proper definition is:

A bi-coloured form in which the colour pattern of the body (which may be of any colour) partially blends into the transparent or white fins and tail (body / blend / fin edges). The effect is to create an oval band around the fish, which ideally is separated from the body by a narrow, white or transparent zone. Choice Butterflies have a coloured body with a white blend into the fins and then a final blend back to the body colour towards the edge of the fins.  Fins should display a distinct banded pattern, with strong contrast and well defined edges. The bands should also encircle the body of the fish with a well defined oval shape.


This is the first batch of new Aquascape-related content published in the format of individual posts as opposed to the original “Aquascape” single page that details the humble beginnings of my re-visit into an old hobby.

Office tank version 2.0

Office tank version 2.0

Destiny.

Observe the performance of the 3 sets of lights, from underneath

Observe the performance of the 3 sets of lights, from underneath

Things have a funny way of turning out sometimes. A month ago (17th Jan) I chanced upon an absolutely lovely tank at my usual Local fish Shop (LFS) haunt: The GEX Glassterior Slim 450.  It’s such an attractive tank; I thought it’s just the right dimensions for a desktop tank. I am also delighted with its “panoramic” appearance due to its length, 1.5 feet. The only pity was at that moment in time, I have no reason at all, to acquire a new tank.

Certain areas are intentionally left "sand-less". Observe also, how the rainbar is extended & "bent"

Certain areas are intentionally left "sand-less". Observe also, how the rainbar is extended & "bent"

Less than a week later (26th Jan), I was stunned to observe what appears to be signs of leakage from my existing office tank. I tested it by drying the vicinity where I believe the leak is located; & placing pieces of new, dry tissue paper near the leak. The tissue paper got slightly damp & on other days where the water level has dropped somewhat (due to evaporation; not leakage), I can’t reproduce the symptoms. But the risk is too great for me to take the chance (I have lots of electronic equipment on the same desk). & that is the story of how a Glassterior Slim 450 found its way onto my table.

Environment Specifications

Tank GEX Glassterior Slim 450 of dimensions: W45cm * D20cm * H22cm & capacity: 17litres (4.49 US gallons)
Filter Eden 501 (using extended rainbar as outlet)
Filtration Media Sponge (mechanical filtration); Biohome Plus (biological filtration)
Substrate Dennerle Nano Shrimps Gravel Borneo brown, GEXシュリンプ一番サンド2kg (“GEX Shrimp Soil“), generic ceramic rings (from the Eden 501 filter)
Substrate Additives Mosura Old Sea Mud Powder
Illumination Aquazonic “Super Bright” T5 light set (2 * 16W), complimented by 2 sets of “UP Aqua Pro-LED-A-16” at 12 hours per day
CO2 Supply Nil
Chiller Nil
Stand Nil
Hardscape 4 pieces of driftwood + 1 piece of bogwood
Liquid Fertilisers Seachem Flourish Excel (very occasional dosage)

Water Conditions

Temperature 25 ~ 27 degrees Celsius
pH 6.0
Nitrate 12.5mg/L

Inhabitants

Flora
Fauna

Unfortunately, during the process of treating my existing plant life for algae & snails (after they were extracted out of my old tank), I have accidentally left them in a Hydrogen Peroxide dip for much too long & right now, all the first batch of plants are dying, i.e. turning white, falling apart, have fungus growing on them. There’s nothing I can do about this, except to wait & see.

Notice the "cordoned-off" filter inlet?

Notice the "cordoned-off" filter inlet?

Along with the new tank, I threw in some new equipment (updated in the table above). But the most important thing is, I finally get to use a piece of bogwood that has been sitting in my house for many months. However, this proves to be a challenge as the colour of this bogwood is significantly lighter than the existing 4 pieces of driftwood that I intend to re-use for the new scape. If I use it in the typical, upright layout positions, it will stick out like a sore thumb. But I really, really wish to utilize this piece of wood. Fortunately, I manage to integrate the bogwood by inverting it so that it imitates the meandering roots of a tree beneath a river surface. This way, the bulkier portion of the big wood is extremely near or even above, the water surface. Which makes the lighter shade of brown more “justifiable”, i.e. closer to the “sun-light”. Whereas the branches, even though they are still light in colour, doesn’t attract so much attention due to their slender form.

View of the 5 small pieces of black Lava rock from the left

View of the 5 small pieces of black Lava rock from the left

The “roots-under-water” scaping-style also lends itself naturally to an appropriate habitat of a new type of species I wish to focus on: the Corydoras Hastatus. To make them feel further at home, I have also changed the “topsoil” of my substrate to a different “type”: the Dennerle Nano Shrimps Gravel (Borneo brown). The micro-granularity of this sand will allow the Hastatus to rummage in it for food scraps without damaging its barbels. Beneath this layer of sand I am still using GEX Shrimp Soil on top of a layer of ceramic rings (low-quality versions that arrive with the Eden 501 filter) & Mosura Old Sea Mud Powder. Other than the addition of a 5th piece of wood & top layer of substrate, I have extended the rainbar of the Eden 501 to broaden the range of outlet flow from the filter. I have also cordoned off the inlet using wooden material to prevent the filter inlet from being clogged up too much. I have also installed a Boyu WaveMaker as I am beginning to see dead spots develop in some areas that are furthest away from any filter outlet.

View of tank from a higher perspective

View of tank from a higher perspective

Currently, I am waiting for the water inside this tank to finish cycling before introducing my Hastatus. This shoal will most likely be transferred over to my main tank (at home) when “the time” comes. After the Hastatus, will come the Celestial Pearl Danio (also another species that caught my eye recently; these were previously known as Galaxy Rasboras), & the Otocinclus, as well as the shrimps. & this arrangement will probably stick until the tank has to be re-located.

Just food-for-thought: I may use this tank for an Iwagumi scape should I ever need to relocate it out of office.

UPDATE: this scape has been de-commissioned as the existing plants never recover from the peroxide dip & algae, as well as fungus, soon overwhelmed the environment beyond any recovery efforts. A new scape has taken its place & the new tank (water) is being cycled right now. However, as that setup was created entirely in a no-imaging zone, I am unable to provide photos of any kind.

UPDATE #2a: the tank has now been fully cycled, driven by an Eheim 2211 external canister filter. It currently houses a school of Corydoras Hastatus, a few Celestial Pearl Danio, Otocinclus, a few Caridina Multidentata, a few Horned Nerite snails, many pond snails, a few Neocaridina Heteropoda var. red, spreading Glossostigma Elatinoides, & insanely-rapid-growing Marsilea Quadrifolia. The original Microsorum pteropus, Microsorum pteropusWindalov, & Taxiphyllum barbieri are doing al right as well. My next major hurdle is to trim the Marsilea Quadrifolia aggressively, & keep the stray duckweeds under control.

UPDATE #2b: 2 months later from date of purchase, I am still in love with this tank, i.e. its perfect dimensions. Maybe, just maybe, 1 day it’ll come home to me…


Big bear. Small camera

Big bear. Small camera

Have spent some effort to “formalize” my photography knowledge recently; this act is the direct result of the following catalysts:

  • Sudden influx of free time
  • Current situation of being jobless
  • Recollection of the fact that I own a kick-arse PnS
  • The self-actualization of me wanting to be what everyone think I am, i.e. someone who actually knows something about photography.
  • My friend asking me to take some shots of his shrimps & I dun wanna disappoint (him, not the shrimps) too much.

So I return to the basics, rummaging through tons of online photography sites, i.e. Digital Photography School, PictureCorrect, etc.. I actually strongly recommend these 2 sites; they have enough material to thrill any newbies (a.k.a. me). I’ve now learnt about the exposure triangle, the important semi-auto modes of digital cameras, understanding histograms and how to use exposure (over)compensation, rules of thirds, panning, focus for potrait, landscape, close-up photography, how to auto-focus “correctly”, etc. In addition, I thoroughly went through the extended instruction manual of my camera (currently paused at pg81 of 210), to get to know my “tool” better. This, I have to recommend also, because while reading it, I came to understand the awesomeness that is the LX3. & without doing enough research, homework, expenditure of effort from trawling the data oceans, I will never have discover the power of manual focus. & what a joy it is, using manual focus.

My own interpretation. 1 of 6.

My own interpretation. 1 of 6.

2 of 6.

2 of 6.

3 of 6.

3 of 6.

4 of 6.

4 of 6.

5 of 6.

5 of 6.

6 of 6.

6 of 6.

So armed with this new weapon called Knowledge, I forged ahead to Aquarama with the alliance of a friend and an $8-ticket…only to be defeated by a powerful foe known as Fast Moving Objects! Darn…everything is easy to focus on, until they start moving. For the remains of the week, I went around taking photos of everything, humans, buildings, but I came to acknowledge 3 constants:

  1. Given favourable circumstances, I really dun like to be rushed when taking photo
  2. I really excel at taking photos of objects in my house
  3. U can read all the manuals & site information, but nothing beats Disappointment that manifests itself in an ill-composed shot or an incorrectly-exposed photo. So read more, shoot even more.

I am sorely disappointed that my efforts were not reciprocated with results, but hey, let’s face it: effort that I can dish out from the comforts of my chair & the confines of my room, ain’t quality effort. So just gotta clock more shutter counts and invest more composition before the subtle click. But as soon as I mention this point, I’m gonna stab myself in the foot and state that my best photo (as evaluated by me) from Aquarama is a shot that is totally uncomposed, not adjusted for technical correct-ness and effectiveness. The reason it (or they) stood out is due to the fact that it managed to capture the “moment”. & as with all my better photos, I’m gonna dedicate it to a good friend of mine (in another post).

My attempt @ making a lightbox.

My attempt @ making a lightbox.

According to tutorials I should use flash(es) as light source, but I dun have wireless flash

According to tutorials I should use flash(es) as light source, but I dun have wireless flash

Another view of how the 3 lamps are positioned

Another view of how the 3 lamps are positioned

Dun be mistaken: 1. these LED lamps are definitely enough for a lightbox this size (the following photos are taken at night), 2. the light WILL diffuse EVENLY without any trace of specific bulbs presence

Dun be mistaken: 1. these LED lamps are adequate for a lightbox this size (the following photos are taken at night), 2. the light WILL diffuse EVENLY without traces of specific bulbs' presence

I also conjured a pathetic excuse for a lightbox as shown above. I will post the resulting shots as well. Before I get shot to death, I must say I’m entirely too well-aware that my white balance can be adjusted to be better, some of my shots are extremely over-exposed. I am aware of all those, but this awareness does not preclude laziness. But alas! If u have comments, I welcome them all the same.

This is a 9V battery.

This is a 9V battery.

My current daily beater

My current daily beater

Its see-through caseback

Its see-through caseback

My earphones

My earphones

Random shot of my earphones

Random shot of my earphones

My portable amplifier

My portable amplifier

Internal view

Internal view

I know the exposures gone on this one.

I know the exposure's gone on this one.

This present situation, once again cements my belief (& personal principle) that I will NOT go on & purchase a DSLR. Of course, my current financial position aids this decision very strongly. As a matter of fact, I will hate to have my liking for photography degrade to a crude mechanism of blind gadget-procurement. I will pursue this interest, with a steadfast intensity and yet attempt to enjoy the “journey”, i.e. I literally blazed through 80 pages of my LX3’s instruction manual overnight, hence the “extended” break currently. Let’s hope for my sake, that my skills improve.

P.S. I really need to know how to master the exposure control of my camera to match the final end-result depicted on my monitor.

EDIT: I dunno what occurred, but my ipod screenshots and the product shots are definitely sharper than it appears on my blog. Feel free to request for the originals.

Recent additions

Posted: May 30, 2009 by ralliart12 in ScratchPad
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They really should build the Sasuke obstacle course here. I will be its fervent patron.