10-Gallon Emergent-growth Plant Scape

I have not been particularly active in my aquarium hobby lately.  Let’s call it an ‘interest break’.  I am not quitting, and my work with CustomAquariums.com keeps me very engaged with aquariums, hobbyists, and the industry.  But, at the end of the day, I have not had much motivation to work on my own tanks.

I have begun an ambitious project that I am confident will restore my passion, but it will take some time.  The fish room is coming down… completely gutted.  A gallery of display tanks featuring CustomAquariums.com tanks, stands and filtration will take the place of a fish breeding set up.  I am not in a hurry to make this happen.

I think that the moment that my flame went out was when the 75-gallon planted tank I had planned so carefully leaked the morning after I set it up.  My plan for a totally new aquarium gallery started as I spent the 4th of July holiday tearing down that leaking aquascape.  

Winter hit Wisconsin earlier this week.  We had a beautiful Fall with pleasant temperatures, and all of a sudden the air turned cold, windy, and threatening snow.  Daylight savings time has not ended yet, but it is already getting dark before 6 PM.  Next week, it will be dark at 5.  This is the time of year when most northern aquarists disappear into our hobby for the Winter. 

I am not, apparently, totally devoid of aquaristic invention, because I suddenly had the urge a couple days a go to scape a tank.  I had a lot of plants growing out in an emergent growth chamber (there was a video about that in July), and empty 10-gallon tank, and a blank spot in my office to set it.  I decided to try something different.  I did not set up an aquarium… I set up a ‘wabi-kusa’ terrarium.  Emergent-growth aquatics plants in a moist enclosure.

Take a look:  

Colombia 2016 – Episode 18

We have one day left on the river after leaving the village of Santa Rosa.  We are tired after being up all night collecting fish in the flooded forest, so we decide to make today a short sightseeing trip and try to get back to Puerto Inirida early in the day.

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Colombia 2016! – Episode 17

After almost a week of exploring the rivers around Puerto Inirida, we finally get our best shot at collecting altum angelfish… in the middle of the night.

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Colombia 2016! – Episode 16 – Rio Inirida

After an unsuccessful day on the Rio Guaviare and Lago Macasabe, we regrouped for the night in Puerto Inirida and started fresh the next day.  Our goal is to make it to Santa Rosa along the Cano Bocon, a tributary of the Rio Inirida, where we hope to find fishermen willing to show us how to catch the altum angelfish.

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Colombia 2016! – Episode 15 – Lago Macasabe

After a day and a night fishing in the black water Rio Atabapo, we decide to motor back toward Puerto Inirida, up the white water Rio Guaviare and try to access the Lago Macasabe, a large oxbow lake we saw from the airplane as we were landing at the start of the trip.


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Hacked! But I am (hopefully) back…

This website was hacked a few weeks ago, and it took me a while to get it cleaned up.  In the process, I had to restore from an old backup and lost several posts.  Here are Colombia 2016! episodes 10 – 13:


Colombia 2016! – Episode 9 – Bat Bridge Creek pt 2

In the last episode of the series we stopped at a nice stream with a colony of bats living under the bridge, and found the target species Corydoras metae.  The section of the stream we looked at was deep and calm, so in this episode we will take a look at the shallow, swifter section below a rock dam.  The most impressive features are beds of Echinodoras sp. sword plants that dominate the habitat.  This is the last stop, and the last video, in the Llanos region around Villavicencio.  The time has come to head back to Bogota to meet some friends (Vin Kutty, Jeff Cardwell and Eduardo Gomez) to take off for the second week of this adventure exploring the lowland rivers of eastern Colombia.

But you will have to wait a couple weeks….  I am going to take a two week break from publishing Colombia 2016 videos, and Episode 10 will air on Sunday, April 16 (Easter).  I am not being lazy.  I am traveling again!  The destination is Mexico to visit some streams in the central highlands and in the desert around Monterey.  I will finally get the chance to visit Quatro Cienegas… one of the places on my bucket list.  See you in a few weeks!


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Colombia 2016 – Episode 8 – Corydoras metae

Episode 8 features my last day out exploring the waters of the Llanos region of Colombia.  We had already seen a lot of really cools fish on the trip, but almost no catfish.  I had really hoped to see some Corydoras sp. while in the Llanos, because there are so many species from that area in the hobby.  Most notably, Corydoras metae.  So I asked Hernando and Allesandro to take me to a place we would find them…  Enjoy.

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Colombia 2016 – Episode 7 – Llanos Ditch Aquascape

This episode of Colombia 2016 revisits the ditch habitat from Episode 6, which has inspired me to aquascape an aquarium to give the impression of that ditch.  Trying to recreate a specific ‘biotope’ in an aquarium is very hard to do… I actually think it is impossible, but there will always be someone willing to make it happen.  A ‘biotope’ aquarium, in my opinion, is an impression of a habitat that looks as close as possible, but is also manageable.  For example, trying to maintain an aquarium with several inches of organic mud on the bottom is not a good idea.  Sometimes getting the actual species of plants or fish is also impossible, so another species that is similar is used to fill that niche.  The idea is to have an aquarium that gives the impression of the biotope.  When I look at this aquarium, I am reminded of the Llanos ditch.  That is the effect I am after.

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