Philosophy, Photography, and Phull Tank Shots

I had to. Don’t judge me.

I know I just made a blog post yesterday, but here comes another one. With LOTS of pictures. Please to enjoy.

Jazz is having her first at-home laser therapy treatment today. She is 14.5 years old and has arthritis in both stifles, though it’s particularly bad in the left one. I got laser therapy for her back in the winter, but she hated going to the vet so much that I just couldn’t bring myself to keep doing it. She becomes so distressed and trembles and pants so hard, and she’s clearly terrified to let anyone touch her. The laser therapy definitely helped her mobility, but I just wasn’t sure it was worth it to scare her so much. I also tried Adequan shots since I can administer them at home, and they helped a little, but not nearly as much as the laser treatment. Our vet recently tried putting her on Deramaxx since she becomes a poop cannon on Rimadyl, but unfortunately the Deramaxx did the same thing. On top of that, after some extensive Googling, I feel that Proin and Deramaxx maybe don’t play well together, so I’d rather keep her off COX-2 inhibitors altogether if I can.

The end result? I guess we’ll stick with more alternative remedies. I plan to get her on a maintenance schedule alternating between Adequan shots and at-home laser therapy. Maybe the two together will help her stay comfortable. I may also look into heat wraps for her knees, and of course she gets glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, hyaluronic acid, and fish oil every day. She also has Tramadol to take as needed when she’s feeling particularly stiff.

Keeping an old dog comfortable and healthy is not easy. Frequently it seems the remedies that help with one issue cause harm in another way. For her 14-year Gotcha Day this year on July 20, we plan on taking her to her favorite place – the beach. Her age just seems to finally be catching up with her, and while I hope I have multiple years left with her, I want to make every day as nice for her as I can. I came across this passage shared on Facebook today, and it really resonated with me, especially in the face of Jazz’s age.

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The rest of this blog post will be less depressing, I swear.

Water parameters today:

  • Ammonia 0 ppm
  • Nitrite 0 ppm
  • Nitrate <5 ppm
  • pH 7.2

I did a gravel vacuum on the tank today to clean up some snail poop and ich spores. So far all fish remain ich-free, so I’m hopeful that when I turn the temperature back down in a few days, we should be in the clear.

While the water level was low (I probably siphoned out between 15-20 gallons while vacuuming), I did some pruning and propagating. The anubias are once again nitrogen-starved, so old leaves are yellowing some. I trimmed them off so the plants could focus nutrients on growing new, healthy leaves. Hopefully when I get more fish in this tank, nitrogen deficiency will not be a problem anymore. After I finish this post I’ll add some water column fertilizers to hopefully help, although I don’t have anything particularly rich in nitrogen.

I cut bloomstalks off multiple mature Amazon Swords and planted four little swordlets. I really don’t know what to do with all these. They’re reproducing way faster than I realized they would, and I really already have way more than I need. I guess I need to figure out how to sell plants, or else start setting up little aquatic planters around the house. I mean, I do really like the overgrown jungle look in a planted tank; I think the fish particularly enjoy all the hiding places. I just want my jungle to not be exclusively Amazon Swords.

The pygmy chain swords are also taking off. They both now have multiple runners out and are growing little baby pygmies, which is really fun to watch.

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While pruning, I was able to cut off the two rubber bands I was using to hold down a Philippine java fern and an anubias to the driftwood. These plants cannot grow with their tubers buried in substrate. I’m growing several with the roots slightly buried and carefully weighed down with rocks so that the tubers stay above the sand, but I wanted a few to attach to the driftwood. They only take a couple weeks to do this if you secure them to the driftwood with plant glue, fishing line, rubber bands, or some other mechanism.

Here’s my little anubias now rooted to the driftwood:

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I also had a cluster of standard java fern that I wasn’t sure what to do with, so I had weighed it down on a piece of driftwood with a rock, thinking I would figure out what to do with it later. I waited a little too long, and so now I have this java fern trainwreck rooted to the driftwood:

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Maybe it’ll grow into a little java fern bush. I’d be down with that.

As to livestock, I was able to get a complete head count today. I hadn’t counted six female cherry barbs in several days, so I was concerned I had lost one. Today, during vacuuming and pruning, all of them came out to investigate, and I counted all six girls and three boys. I watched one girl sneak behind the tank background, so that may be where they’re disappearing to occasionally.

I also lured the bristlenose (referred to as The Gobble Gobble) out with some blanched zucchini. I hadn’t seen him (or her, whichever) in several days and was getting worried, but this morning he was happily attached to the zucchini and had a visibly full, round little belly. You can just see him here:

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My opinion of the SeaChem pH Alert has gone from somewhat approving to “Is this a joke?” The color it displays in the middle doesn’t actually match any of the colors on the wheel. The Ammonia Alert works fine, but the pH Alert is sorely lacking.

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Seriously, are you even trying, SeaChem?

And now for something new and different: a side tank shot! The water does look rather tannin-filled (that’s that brown tint; it’s naturally occurring in many Amazon waterways), but I don’t particularly mind as long as my pH is stable. It adds to the natural look, I think.

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And lastly, a FTS of the jungle!

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