Post 19, in which I become a business woman

Today we had an advanced obedience class with Ellie, which in some ways went very well and in other ways… not so much. She had some trouble getting focused, and since I missed her last class I struggled with some of the newer commands and knowing how to communicate to her exactly what I wanted her to do. By the end of it, she had really done pretty well, and we left with a solid idea of what to work with her on this next week. She was exhausted when we left, and I got this fantastic picture of her crashed on the couch with her lip looking ridiculous. And yes, that is her own back she’s laid her head on. She’s very bendy.

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Jazz has diarrhea again, so that’s awesome. I gave her some doggy kaopectate in her dinner tonight to hopefully get that to stop. I also ordered her knee braces earlier this week (which involved an extensive amount of measuring, which she was thrilled about), and the company I ordered them from, muttkneebrace.com, made it a rush order at no extra charge just because of how old she is. I’m really excited to get them in and see how she walks with them. She was so excited today when we were getting Ellie ready to go to her class; she always jumps at any opportunity for a walk. Of course, we can’t take her to Ellie’s class, but we did take her for a walk later on in the day, but she just wears out so fast. I’m hoping the knee braces will allow her to go a little longer so that she keeps the muscles in her stifles strong.

In other news, holy cow we made an amazing Blue Apron meal a couple nights ago! This was easily one of my favorites. It was Spiced Lamb & Beef Tagine with Lemon-Garlic Couscous and Labneh. I actually snapped a picture while prepping and then one of the completed, plated dish.

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This was just such a nice shot of lots of fresh produce being chopped up – zucchini, swiss chard, and mint!

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Seriously. Absolutely amazing dish. The yogurt sauce was made from labneh cheese mixed with lemon juice. I’ve never heard of labneh cheese before, but I’m going to have to look into it after this. It was absolutely amazing. The dates in the tagine added a slight sweet taste while having a similar texture to the zucchini – and the couscous were also just perfectly flavored. Mmm. We will have to figure out how to get our hands on the ingredients to make this again.

In the world of fish, we went to a swap meet today! It was put on in Greer by the South Carolina Aquaria Association, of which I have recently become a member. I had a fantastic time, and Hampton even enjoyed himself despite not being an aquarist. We met lots of neat people, learned lots of new things, and made some great trades. I bartered three pieces of driftwood for a Fluval Ebi, which I am just beyond excited about. It even came with a Whisper bubbler and an AquaClear HOB filter. I traded a couple pygmy chain sword babies for some small spiderwood branches to scape it; I already have an idea for how I want it to look. I’m thinking a little betta is going to inhabit it once it’s up and running. I’ve been itching to have another betta. If he or she is not a particularly predatory betta, I may add some cherry shrimp as well.

I gave away six Amazon sword plants, and honestly looking at my tank now, I’m wondering if I shouldn’t have tried to give away some more. They’ve just propagated so fast in my tank. I also gave away a handful of ramshorns to a lady who keeps puffers and needs a good snail supply to keep them fed. We exchanged information so that I can give her more snails in the future; I’m just glad to have something to do with them since my assassins are freeloaders.

I sold two nymphoides cuttings; by far they attracted the most attention. I hope the folks who bought them end up loving them as much as I do. I had heard there was going to be an apistogramma breeder at the meet, and indeed there was, so I also picked up three male apistogramma cacatuoides. Being the awkward klutz I am, I managed to drop one on the floor when I was trying to get him into the bag, but they all three seem to have survived the trip home and are now hiding amongst my plants. I’m hoping they’ll become less shy over the next few days.

Here’s one of the two larger ones. The two larger ones both have orange fins, and the smaller one has yellow fins.
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And my adorable little yellow-finned dude hiding in the crypts:
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Even though I hadn’t planned on having more than one pleco in this tank, there was a bristlenose pleco breeder with absolutely beautiful plecos there that I just couldn’t resist. I ended up buying a long-finned, blue-eyed pleco that I believe is a female:

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I can’t wait to see the apistos grow and come out of their shells a bit. The rams were also very shy when they first went in the tank, but they have since started showing their personalities. I’m really having difficulty sexing them, but I *think* two of them are male, and one *might* be female. What makes me question this is that the two males seem to have paired off, whereas the one I think might be female kind of stays to herself. She seems to be very shy compared to the other two. The two maybe-males are total doofs that are usually out and about in the tank trying to eat the snails.

Here are the aforementioned doofs staring at me while I try to get a picture:

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And the same doofs from the side:

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And the maybe-female, hanging out by herself. The other two aren’t aggressive toward her, and occasionally she does swim with them, but she can more often be found hovering in the plants. Her coloring also seems to be substantially lighter than the other two.

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I also picked up a whole bunch of Malaysian Trumpet Snails for free; I don’t know how I’d gotten this far without acquiring some accidentally on plants. I had lots of ramshorns and bladders, but no MTS, which are really the best at burrowing in the substrate and aerating it. I’m glad to finally have some, even if they’ll probably take over the tank.

I also got a bunch of pennywort for VERY cheap and a bunch of water wisteria for free that I am very excited to add in. I want a lush tank, which the Amazon swords certainly accomplished, but I really want a diverse lush tank.

Also, a few days ago my dry ferts came in – I now have potassium nitrate and monopotassium phosphate in powder form, and I also have a bottle of liquid Flourish Iron and will continue to use standard Flourish for trace ferts, so I’m hoping my plants will really take off with a new fert dosing regimen.

All in all, it was a very exciting day! I also won a drawing for six bottles of marine stabilizer. While I can’t do much with it now, a couple saltwater enthusiasts at the meet said I will need the stuff when I get ready to start my saltwater tank. Soon there will be three tanks in the house… slowly the fish will take over…

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