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Nature Weekly
Short Notes on Nature Singapore

22 March 2015 | My Mini Aquarium |

photo After much anticipation, I finally move forward to set up a mini-aquarium near my balcony area on 7 February. I cannot recall when was the last time I reared a fish, probably when I was a kid a few decades back. My aim is to try to establish a balance ecology system that require very minimum maintenance. I was more interested in the aquatic plants than the fishes.

Coincidently, there is an aquarium shop just 5-minute walk from my place. It is a fully equip shop with everything one need to set up an aquarium. What I wanted was a budget aquarium to start with. After gathering the basic set up stuff that include the tank, some plants, sand, fish food and a bag of feeder guppies, the cost was slightly above $40. The bag of more than 50 feeder guppies cost only $2. These guppies are meant to be food for the bigger fishes. I expect them to be a rather hardy fish and should survive even under a pair of unexperienced hands.

photo photo photo I started to learn about the type of aquatic plants suitable for an aquarium, those that need to be planted and those that should only be secured to rock or wood. I began with those that were secured to rock and wood, such as Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus) and Anubias (Anubias barteri). I was surprised to find that Club Moss (Selanginella wildenowii) was being sold as aquatic plant under the name Malayan Aqua Fern. I brought one back but it did not work out well --- the fern was rotting away after 4 weeks and I had to discard it.

photo photo photo A week after the initial set up, I added a floating plant, Water Lettuce (Pistia stratiotes). It thrived so well that I had to start removing excess plants to prevent it from covering up the water surface. Two weeks ago, I planted 2 new aquatic plants in the sand. One was probably a Cabomba caroliniana while the other one is likely to be a Whorled Pennywort (Hydrocotyle verticillata).

Death rate of the guppies was high in the first 3 weeks --- around 20 of them. But none had died since week 4 onward. Since they were feeder fish, some of the them might be injured or weak when I brought them home. Hence, the high initial death rate did not come as a surprise as these fishes were not meant to be reared for long term.

I placed the tank near the balcony area where it get some sunlight in the morning. As expected, the green algae was growing fast on the wall of the tank. I had been scrubbing them off every 3 to 4 days. I am unlikely to move it to a more shaded area as I wanted a more natural setting for the tank. So, let's see how it works out in another few weeks.

In case you are wondering why there is no picture of the fish. That is because I have yet to take a good picture of them in the water.

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