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SAE's, Novice "How-to's", Foxtail

Dave wrote:

>Liisa, Karen, and whoever else wants to chime in:
>My SAEs (6 in a 50 gal tall) have become very reclusive and are seldom
>seen.  I have cut down on feedings hoping to get them out foraging for
>algae, but they go and hide.  pH 6.2 or so, no other fish, lotsa snails and
>plants, 2w/gal, 50 gph powerhead on UGF, plants bubbling like crazy today.
> Why don't they come out and frolic anymore?  They are about 3" TL.

My only guess is that they are unhappy with either the pH being that low,
or with the amount of CO2 necessary to bring the pH that low.  My pH is
never purposely lower than about 6.8, and is usually 7.0-7.2.  I have
noticed that on the occasions when my CO2 injection has gotten out of hand,
the SAE's are some of the first fish to show distress.  Again, whether this
is due to the CO2 itself or is more pH related, I'm not sure.

I do know that even my sedentary older SAE's are usually front and center,
particularly if there is the slightest possibility that a hand out might be

Lisa wrote:

>Karen, what if your big guys are not big guys but big gals full
>of eggs?  Big girth is the easiest (and about only) way to tell
>adult SAE females from males.  But as fish in tanks get most
>often much more food than wild fish, they naturally might be
>just fat.  

Well, if I had _any_ slim large ones, I could buy that.  But so far _all_
my big ones are also fat :-(

>Hmm, what about creating some more current in your 
>tank and making the fish to some aerobic, no, Aquabic 
>exercises :-)

Well, there are already a couple of power heads in there, I don't think my
plants would like a maelstrom!<g>  

Subject: Novice "How-to's"

Steve wrote:

>I think we should collect Karen Randall's various postings on her method
>and boil that down into a recipe. I think it would be quite good. If
>there were 3-4 methodologies explained in detailed form and with
>pointers set up in the FAQ and Krib, it might be better.

A _lot_ of my material is included in my columns at:

I've written my beginners "recipe" several places.  I think it's been in
TAG, I know it's been in my "Sunken Gardens" column in AFM, and I think
I've posted it here.  It is extensively covered in this year's "Aquarium
USA".  In that article, there are photos of many of our school tanks set up
using this method, planting layouts, and fish and plant recommendations for
several geographical theme tanks.  It is also available in bare-bones form
at the Holliston School's web site, although I don't have the URL handy.
(they tell me that more educational material concerning our tank program
will be added to that site as they get to it)  If you think people would be
interested, and could find it more easily, I'll shoot a copy to Erik and
ask if he can add it to the "Krib".  


Subject: foxtail

>    Last Saturday I was at SuperPetz and saw a plant that I had not seen
>around here before called "Foxtail".  It was cheep ($1.29) so I got a bunch
>(a very BUSHY bunch but only about 8" tall).  I unbundled it when I got home
>and put it in my 29L aquarium (planted) and when to search the net to find
>out something about it.  I could not find anything regarding it 

I'm sure it's a Myriophyllum, although it's hard to be sure which one.  M.
pinnatum is usually sold as "green foxtail", and M. heterophyllum is
usually sold as "red foxtail".  But I've  also seen other species being
offer with that name.  And, yes, it's a very hardy, pretty, and fast
growing plant given even reasonable conditions.  Be _very_ careful not to
let it escape.  Some Myriophyllum is winter hardy, and this is just the
kind of plant that can make legislators want to shut us down if it starts
clogging local waterways.
Karen Randall
Aquatic Gardeners Association