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FREE Moss for the Aquarium-from your lawn

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Moss is useful as a place for fish to spawn, fry to hide, shrimp to search for food, provide shade from bright aquarium lights and absorb nitrates and other pollutants from the water. It also gives the tank a more natural look. Moss can also be expensive and hard to find at certain times of year. Many people are under the mistaken idea that we must buy moss from a pet store, supplier or another aquarist to put in our tank. There is an alternative! Why not use what you have in your yard? Last year, I did an experiment. I researched local mosses in my area (Nanaimo, BC) to see which ones lived in or near water. Spear moss (Calliergonella cuspidata) was a likely candidate especially since I found it first growing thickly at the edge of and immersed under water of a seasonal ditch a blocks from my house. Identification Here is a photo from page 471 Pojar and MacKinnon  Plants of Coastal British Columbia . It is a field guide I used often when I was a professional heritage interpreter.   Sp

Really Cute Redwood Cone Panda Bears

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This adorable Panda Bear is sure to please bear lovers, children and adults alike! You can even leave him a natural brown color! When I made my first one, it reminded me of Winnie the Poo or Paddington Bear! And once I had made a family-The 3 Bears Momma Bear, Poppa Bear and Baby Bear! Great as a gift for panda bear figurine collectors, a wedding place holder, birthday cake topper and so much more! Make them at a themed birthday party! They are fun and easy enough for kids to make! And you can customize them too! Materials: black acrylic paint white acrylic aint paint brush (size 4 for painting the body and size 2 for the eye patches and nose.) water (to rinse brushes) glue gun and glue sticks sturdy metal scissors or hand clippers to cut cones 2 dry sequoia cones: one large, one about 1/3 to 1/2 the size of the other. 2 round-tipped alder cones 3 spruce cone cores (about 12 cm or 3 inches long) of medium ripeness Step 1   Collect and prepare all your materials. I use alder cones for t

What Food Makes Guppies Act Like Sharks?

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 Find out what this food is!  Boil up a few pieces of spinach leaves until they are soft. Remove from hot water and run under cool water. Place them in the tank and wait for the shark tank behavior to begin! In the video watch for the chunk one guppy tears off and swallows.  Guppies are omnivores which means they eat both animal and plant matter. Spinach and other green leafy vegetables like swiss chard are good for them. The plants provide calcium and chlorophyll that they need to stay healthy. Boiled frozen peas with the outer shell removed, then cooled are also enjoyed by guppies. For guppy fry, I squish the inner pea. For larger guppies, I simply toss it in and let them peck at it. I feed greens at least three times a week. Plant material is also a good laxative for many fish.

Where Did My Fish, Crayfish, Frog or Shrimp Go When They Perform the Vanishing Act?

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Fish, frogs and crayfish may disappear from your tank with no sign of them anywhere. Where did they go? There are a number of options! Escapees Some species of fish are likely to have jumped, crawled or flipped themselves out if you don't have a enclosed top. Among these are swordtails, rainbowfish, frogs, salamanders and crayfish. They may also climb up air tubing and filter tubes to get out. Look in dark corners, under furniture and in dust bunnies for these escapees. If they are still alive, put them back in the tank. They just might survive! Others you may not find until months later, dried up. Unless the critters are large, you are not likely to notice a smell. If you have other pets, they may find a (not -so-tasty) treat on the floor.   Some amphibians and invertebrates (crayfish) will try to escape during rainy periods as that is when they typically migrate to other locations. My newt would only try to escape when we took him to our cottage when the water body was nearby. At

FAST Easy Way to Start an Infusoria Culture for Egg Laying Fish Fry

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Infusoria are probably the best first food for really tiny fish fry that hatch from eggs. If you are planning to breed egg layers, they are a must! Infusoria can also be added to daphnia cultures as a source of food for them too. Start your cultures at least a week before you plan to breed to make sure you have the food ready for your fry. Most fry don't eat the first few days so that will give you about 10 days to get your infusoria cultures well-established.   What Are Infusoria? Remember back to grade 6 when you peeked through a microscope to see what lives in a drop of pond water? You probably saw microscopic paramecium, amoeba, green euglena, rotifers, etc. Well, those are what make up common infusoria. They are present everywhere in nature. Their eggs float around in the air and when they land on water with a suitable food source, they hatch, feed and multiply.  Various species of infusoria are about 25 to 300 micrometers in length. Tiny! Perfect to fit in the mouth of very s

Clean Easy Way to Culture and Harvest Micro worms (Nematodes) for Tropical Fish Fry, Amphibian Larvae etc.

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Microworms are a harmless nematode that make a great food for tropical fish fry like guppies, bettas, and amphibian larvae (newts, salamanders and dwarf African aquatic frogs). They are very easy to culture and provide a good volume of live food once cultures are established.  Materials: starter culture of microworms plastic container like a yogurt or margarine container (I prefer the 500mL size as they take up less storage space) lid with small holes in it culture medium (oatmeal, flaked potatoes etc) paper towel cut to size of the container flat wooden stick like a popsicle stick or tongue depressor (or other small piece of food-safe wood) You may notice that yeast is not on the list! If you are starting with a liquid culture, you do not need active yeast. The yeast is just to start brand new cultures that don't have any food for the worms. Once you have a live culture, the tiny amount of media you have them in will start the bacteria, fungi and yeasts to grow in the oatmeal. Tha

Free Fish Food! An Easy Place to Find Free Live Food

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Learn how easy it is to attract and collect FREE fish food! Pot worms that can be found in your yard in the Pacific Northwest (BC, Washington & Oregon) make a great food for guppies, tetras, bettas and many other tropical and cold water fish! All you need is a few flat trays, some water, a turkey baster and small collection container. In the temperate rainforests of the Pacific Northwest they are available from November to April. I don’t know the latin name of these yet, but am searching for it.  I believe they are a type of Annelid (segmented) worm. Will share it here when I find it. 

Snails in Your Tank- Ugh! or Yay!

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When you get new fish or plants, small mollusk hitchhikers may come in unnoticed. What is your first reaction? For many hobbyists, it's "Ugh! Get rid of those things!"  I hope this post teaches you to pause and rethink your initial reaction to snails (and other things) we have been taught to be worried about. What are the Concerns About Snails in Aquariums? Let's start with some history. I believe the main concern about snails originated from the commercial food fish industry which also translated into the tropical fish trade. Some types of snails can carry parasites that infect some species of fish. These parasites may reduce the growth and success of commercial food fish produced and in high enough numbers can even kill the fish. One example is the ram's horn snail ( Bolbophorus confusus)   that is eaten by and infects catfish that are then eaten by and live in the intestinal tract of White pelicans. The pelicans release parasite eggs back into the catfish ponds

Maternity Guppy Ward and Transferring Fry to Grow Out Tank

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  Today we are checking up on our guppy maternity tank.  As our young adult females continue to produce babies, it is time to move some of the the hybrid fry and young fish to another tank to grow up. This also gives more room in the maternity tank to reduce stress on the females and babies. Some of the young are starting to show color. They are moved from a 20 gal tank to a 15 gal tank that was a snail and scud (amphipod / side swimmer) tank.  Enjoy! Here'a 10 day update on the guppy fry! 

Mini Wreath made from Pine Cone Scales!

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Of all the things I have made so far, I think this is my favorite! Making mini-crafts are always cool! I love working with the scales. It is like putting a jigsaw puzzle together! I love the rich brown wood texture of the scales. And I find it oddly soothing to pull the scales apart from the pine cones! Kind of like popping little packing bubbles. Here we go!  Materials: sharp scissors glue gun and glue sticks acrylic paint (red, silver) (optional) paintbrush (optional) glitter glue (optional) rings about 7cm-8 cm (3 inches) in diameter (some examples are a canning lid, the rubber from a canning lid, a ring cut out of cardboard, an expired glow in the dark bracelet (from the dollar store) about 40 pine cones scales per mini wreath-scales with patterns on the inside work well if you plan to leave the wreaths natural color. Step 1 Collect and lay out your materials. Step 2 Lay out the scales around your ring. This gives you an idea of how many you need and how you might arrange them. I u