Interesting Things to See at the California Academy of Sciences

My family and I took a long weekend trip out to San Francisco and spent a few hours visiting the California Academy of Sciences.  I have been there several times and have posted several more detailed videos.  This video is a fast-paced look at many of the cool things to see at the museum.  Enjoy.

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75-gallon Planted Tanks Project – Part 5 – planting the level bottom

Here is the follow up video that shows the planting of the level-bottom aquarium in the fish room.  The plants for this tank are all Tropica 1-2-Grow! tissue culture stem plants.

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75-gallon Planted Tanks Project – Part 4 – Planted Contoured Bottom

The plants finally got here and I am able to get these tanks running.  This video shares the steps taken to plant the tank with the contoured bottom.

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75-gallon Planted Tanks Project – Part 3 – Level Bottom with Manzanita

Here is a look at the other tank that I am working on in this planted tank project.  I apologize up front for the messed up footage of attaching suction cups to the piece of wood, but it is a pretty simple procedure.  Just tie suction cups to the wood, and leave some slack in the line to accommodate for the depth of the substrate.

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75-gallon Planted Tanks Project – Part 2 – Contoured Bottom

The second part in this series on planted aquariums will focus on installing the soil substrate, the sand cap and the hardscape in the tank that will have a contoured bottom.  The tank that appears in the video is located in my living room, and will be the centerpiece aquarium in the house.

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75-gallon Planted Tanks Project – Part 1 – Soil Substrates

I am finally getting around to working on a few of the display tanks that are coming back home since closing the warehouse.  I decided to tear all the planted tanks down completely and start over with new substrates.  One 75-gallon tank will be in the family room and be the centerpiece display in in the house, so I am taking my time and being careful to get everything just the way that I want it to be.

The first step is mixing the soil substrate that will be on the bottom of the tank under a cap of fine sand.  The mixture I use is something that hobbyists here in the Madison, WI, area came up with years ago the works well for us:  3 parts clean topsoil, 1 part peat, 1 part calcined clay (Turface).  Some people will also put a medium gravel in the mix, but I do not (the calcined clay serves the same purpose).

This video is the first in a series of however many parts it takes me to tell the story.  Part one is about making the soil mixture….

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Bermuda Aquarium

The island nation of Bermuda is surrounded by the Sargasso Sea in the western Atlantic Ocean.  There is an aquarium and zoo there, and the aquarium is dedicated to the waters around Bermuda.  I was first there several years ago, and the facility has since been totally remodeled.  This is a very nice little aquarium that is well worth a visit.  Enjoy…

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Bermuda Snorkeling with Reef Explorer

I am in Bermuda this weekend as a guest of the Bermuda Fry Angle Aquarium Society.  Yesterday I was taken out on a glass-bottom boat excursion with Reef Explorer.  We had a great time!  I highly recommend Reef Explorer when you visit here.  You can get more information about the trips on the website www.bermudareefexplorer.com .

I went snorkeling on a reef for the first time in June 2015 in the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Bermuda is very different.  First, the island is not in the Caribbean Sea… Bermuda is a lot further north, roughly on the same latitude as the the Carolina’s, east of the main flow of the Gulf Stream and in the western part of the Sargasso Sea.  The Gulf Stream helps to keep the waters of Bermuda warm, but they are still quite a bit cooler in the Winter.  That means that there is a lower diversity of life here than further south.  But I believe that Bermuda does a better job of protecting their reefs, and maybe the pollution is not as bad here as it is in the Caribbean, because the corals all looked a lot healthier and larger.  The fish were definitely larger!  We saw some huge blue angelfish, a massive porcupine puffer, big parrotfish, and a really cool hogfish.  Lots of butterfly fish and smaller species as well.  Lots of fun!  Enjoy…

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Apistogramma sp. ‘Abacaxi’

Here is a short video showing my colony of A. sp. ‘Abacaxi’, an undescribed dwarf cichlid from Brazil. Enjoy….

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Corydoras sp. CW049

Here is a short video showing my school of Corydoras sp. CW049 .  These catfish were imported from Peru, but they come from the region around Letecia, where Colombia, Peru and Brazil intersect.  They are similar to CW051, but the 49’s have proven to be easier to spawn.  This is one of my favorite cory cats, but they are pricey.  They swam around in the warehouse fish room for months and nobody bought them, so I decided to keep them for myself.  You will also see a larger cory in the video, which is CW117 from Brazil.  Also in the tank are a group of Apistogramma cacatuoides ‘triple red’, which are already spawning.  I thought that the cories would go into the caves at night and steal the eggs, but so far they have left the cichlids alone.

 

The aquarium is a 30-breeder aquarium that is top drilled in the back.  Water changes of about 15% are done 2x each week by topping the tank off with water and letting the excess drain out.  The filter is a Poret foam 5″ cube filter with a jet lifter that has an elbow and spout on the top.  That smooth 90-degree turn makes all the difference in the world when it comes to current in the tank.  I get the filters from www.swisstropicals.com .  The wood and caves provide structure and cover, but the catfish pretty much stay out in the open over the sand.

The tangled mass of plant-like matter in the back is Spanish moss, which you can get at most nurseries that sell supplies for planted hanging baskets.  I soak the moss in hot water, changing daily, for a few days to get rid of a lot of the tannin, but there is still plenty in there.  I do not mind the tannin, and the moss is a great place for the cories to deposit eggs (though it will be hard to see them in there).  The yarn mops are also for depositing eggs.  One mop is located directly in the current of the filter, and the other is on the calm side of the tank against the glass.  Hopefully I will see some signs of spawning soon.

The cories are fed at least twice each day.  Baby brine shrimp is given daily (along with all the other tanks in the room).  Other feedings may be flake (Brine Shrimp Direct deli, plankton and earthworm flake), sinking pellet (Sera plankton pellets), Repashy gel food (Bottom Scratcher or Spawn & Grow) or live black worm.  I generally feed each of those foods a few times each week, but not a lot of any of them.

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