Sunday, October 26, 2008

Preparing my own leaf litter substrate

I finally decided to get down to creating my own leaf litter substrate for growing cryptocorynes found in peat swamp ponds. I washed the excess Terminalia catappa (Indian / Sea Almond or Ketapang) tree leaves given to me by a friend to get rid of any possible insecticides, pesticides, and some fungus / moulds etc and scalded them with boiling water for a minute or two before storing them in an ice-cream tub.

The above photographs show the Ketapang leaves being used, my friend advocates the use of fresher leaves (collected while they are still reddish or yellowish) instead of the drier type so they looked rather fresh even though they have been collected for a few months already. These are the photographs of me washing the leaves in water and then scalding them with hot water for a mere minute. Notice how brown the water became because of the fresher leaves being used.

The final photograph shows the leaves after the washing, being stored in an ice cream tub. Hopefully they will decompose well and could be used in a few months time by mixing with other substrates!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My first spathe in the emersed tank setup!

I have finally managed to get my first spathe in my 2.5 feet emersed tank since setting it up in April 2008, and the winner is C. pontederiifolia again (winner for my planter box set up too). This cryptocoryne is grown in GEX brand substrate + peat and the pot is partially submersed in water of pH 4.5. Lighting is through a 18W FL switched on for about 8hrs a day.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

My 2nd emersed tank

My 1st emersed tank was getting rather crowded (see below) with both low pH and pH neutral types of Cryptocorynes housed therein. The pH neutral Cryptocorynes are separately placed in tupperwares filled with distilled water with pH of about 6.6 to 6.8 with the entire tupperware housed in the tank. The water in the main tank has a pH of 4.5.

To ease the overcrowding situation, I decided to seperate the pH neutral Cryptocorynes into a separate tank. I first bought a 2 feet 'GEX' tank (60cm x 30cm on plan) for S$22 without a cover and a S$18 2 feet light (with 01 X 15W FL).

After taking measurement of the dimension of the opening at the top (57cm X 27cm), I went to the photo frame shop at Boon Keng to fabricate 02 X 56.8cm X 13.4cm 5mm glass cover for a total of S$8. Luckily they could fit into the rebates after I brought them back home! The back piece will be permanently placed in position to support the light, the front piece could be opened easily whenever required using suction pads.

I transferred all my pH neutral Cryptocorynes into this tank and filled the tank with 3 bottles of distilled water before closing up the tank. Hope they will continue to grow well!

Flower pots from DAISO

I ran out of flower pots last Sunday after returning to Singapore from yet another collection trip and to save time, I decided to visit IMM DAISO near to my house to purchase the required flower pot. And guess what I saw when I took a close look today (5 days after using the pots) at the 2 pots I used?

The above photographs were taken 3 days after adding the pots into my emersed tank, there were signs of what were coming, its just that I failed to spot them.....

The above photograph shows the pot after 5 days in use, white fungus / moulds / whatever!!!!!! I am pretty sure this is due to the DAISO flower pot's unsuitability to be used in such moist environment, the entire flower pot's surface felt slimy and soft with small bulges protruding out. Ok, I need to quickly buy some proper plastic pots to replace these before the fungus grow out of hand!!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Cryptocoryne sp. 'Pahang' (C. affinis?)

During my field trip to Gua Musang with my friend, we went down to Pahang too and there, we managed to collect another species of Cryptocoryne which up till now we are not able to identify the species as we could not find any flowers then. This species is really quite miniature in size and grow flat and spread out along the banks of a fast flowing stream. The pH of the water from the stream is about 7.

This is how they look like in my tank now, some are kept emersed, some kept submersed. The taller Cryptocorynes grown submersed at the back of my tank are the C. affinis 'Gua Musang'. I hope my emersed growth will be rewarded with a spathe soonest for ID purpose. Looking through the "Crypts Pages" website for Cryptocorynes found in Malay Peninsula, I could not identify any current recorded species that looked like what we collected in terms of size of plant and the appearance and structure of the leaves.