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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey all, my name is Chris and I am currently living in Portland Oregon. I am a bit new to aquatic plants and aquariums in general. My girlfriend is the reason that I was introduced to the hobby and I bet she is regretting it now. She moved in with me August of last year and over the course of the next few months she decided that she wanted some pets of her own. I had 2 dogs (pembroke welsh corgi and Westie/Beagle mix) and a green cheek conure already so a pug was out of the question and cats were just not an option right then. She remembered seeing "Pea Puffers" a few years back and wanted to get some. I wasn't really keen on the idea but I wanted her to be happy. So after a lot of searching and footwork we finally called this place called "The Wet Spot". They didn't know what a pea puffer was but they had something called a dwarf puffer, which was about the right size. I think I should go back and say that I always thought aquariums were lame. In my mind they were boxes with dumb fish and neon rocks with a treasure chest that blew bubbles and more often than not were dirty and covered in algae. So we drove up to "The Wet Spot"(which is hard to google at work... think about it ;) ) and entered their east door where they had a bunch of empty aquariums and everything seemed kind of scattered, I wasn't impressed. So we start to look around and I became impressed with the amount of stocked tanks they have (easily 100+). Then I rounded the corner into the next room and there they were, 4 beautiful green tanks that were covered in plants... I was quite taken aback, now I was very impressed. So I told my gf right then that fake plants were not an option. So we purchased a 10 gallon and they told us that we should wait a week to buy fish. I have heard of aging water before so this seemed to make sense.

We setup our aquarium with our real plants and gravel substrate mix and I was very pleased... I thought it was cool without fish. So 6 days later we go in and get our dwarf puffers and brought them home. We lost one in a bout a week, but she wasn't quite right from the beginning. I did use Cycle in the tank all that previous week but never had any ammonia/nitrites/nitrates, I assumed the plants were consuming the little that was being made in our fishless tank.

About 8 months later and what I would liken to a full associates degree worth of learning about fish/inverts/tankmates/substrates/plants/maintenance/water chemistry, I am really in full aquaria awe. The 10 gallon is now a red cherry shrimp breeding tank and grow out tank for my upcoming aqua gardens(no point in paying for a bunch individual plants when I can grow my own), and the puffers have a new home in a mostly planted 25 gallon tank with a couple Amano shrimp and a few ottos. We are currently dosing Seachem products but we will be migrating to pressurized CO2 and PPS fertilizing. My girlfriend likes to feed the fish but I have taken over nearly every other aspect of the hobby, she does provide quite a bit of financial support though :hug:. I have no desire to do saltwater or reef tanks, being from Oregon that is just to fake to me (if I lived in Cali or Florida maybe). I need it to be green and wet just like everything else here (except my lawn... go figure) I have discovered something that transcends pets or a hobby. To me it is very much about creating a balanced and natural piece of art. I must admit that creating an almost full fledged eco-system satisfies some underlying God complex. I am getting ready to start my transition into full fledged aquascaping. My girlfriend has more or less ok'd 3 new tanks. 2 will be small Amano/Iwagumi style aqua gardens and one will be a larger 70+ Gallon living room fixture. This is the plan anyway as with anything they are prone to change.

I am a big time DIY kind of guy, so expect to see some cool things come from me in the future. I hope I can give back a fraction of the knowledge I have received from this and the many other aquatic communities online.
 

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Welcome to APC, glad to see another fellow Oregonian here. It sounds like you've really gotten into the hobby, it certainly is addicting. I'm looking forward to seeing what projects you come up with.
 

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Alright, another Portlander:D

Just so you know, The Wet Spot usually gets their plant shipments in on Friday, so that is the best time to show up. The plants can get picked over pretty quickly sometimes, and you are likely to bump into other plant people. I have short hair, glasses and a goatee, so feel free to say 'hi' if you want a lecture on the benefits of EI and CO2 mist:p

If your cherry tank ever gets overrun, and you want to do a shrimp for plants swap, shoot me a pm...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
No kidding, it is my aqua meth... haha. If I don't get my fix I start to get antsy.

I usually drop in to TWS on Sundays, but I will keep my eyes open. The next time the shrimp tank needs some thinning I will definately let you know. One of my main reasons for keeping them is so that I can trade/sell them to forward my hobby. However I have started ordering plants/fish online, I know it is a crap shoot but 5 dollars for a cherry shrimp is way to high and my last purchase of shrimp online I got 15 shrimp for $24 and none were DOA, and actually one was a pregnant female so I ended up with 30+ but not sure on the survival rate of the fry as my substrate is white and black... doh! So the little fry are hard to see. Is there an aquatic club in the Portland area? I hope the answer is no otherwise my girlfriend may kill me... insert nervous laugh here
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Can anybody recommend a good book for freshwater plants? I don't know what half my plants are and even less about how to keep them in check.
 

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Have you checked the Plantfinder at the top left of the page in the gold bar? Lots of plants listed in there with their care requirements. For books, I have the Encyclopedia of Aquarium Plants by Peter Hiscock and that was quite helpful when I was getting started as it lists a good number of basic plants and their needs. I've heard good reviews of Aquarium Plants by Christel Kasselmann, but I've never been able to justify the expense (over $60) with resources like the Plantfinder and other websites so readily available. As for trimming and other plant maintenance, there have been several threads that cover the basics but I can't remember where the are right now (sorry).

There is a Portland aquarium society, it's Greater Portland Aquarium Society. I haven't joined because they meet during the week and there's no way I'm going to make it to N Portland from Salem after work. I believe they're for all types of aquariums so I'm not sure how much focus would be on planted tanks.
 

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Can anybody recommend a good book for freshwater plants? I don't know what half my plants are and even less about how to keep them in check.
The best resources I've found for plant ID are the databases here, at plantedtank.net and at plantgeek.com.

As for keeping them in check, if you haven't yet, you should read the info at rexgrigg.com.
I find some of the info is outdated, but it will get you up to speed for the most part.
There is also Greg Watson's guide, at http://www.aquaticplantnews.com/. I haven't read it, but have heard it is a good overview of different dosing strategies.
 

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:welcome: to APC!
 

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Greater Portland aquarium society is mostly about the fish, but they are warming up to the planted tank life and you can find some plants in the monthly auctions and the yearly plant auction is a must. The club has a lot of knowledgeable breeders in it and you can find some nice fish each month. Worth checking out.

P.S. Do you need any Java Fern I have way to much.
 

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There is a Portland aquarium society, it's Greater Portland Aquarium Society. I haven't joined because they meet during the week and there's no way I'm going to make it to N Portland from Salem after work. I believe they're for all types of aquariums so I'm not sure how much focus would be on planted tanks.
I've complained to them about that for years, but for whatever reason its a long tradition that they will not change. The Seattle club does the same thing. There used to be several serious plant people in the club, they even had a plant study group, but I think it has disbanded.

We should have our own get together somewhere in between Portland and Salem sometime. It would be nice to meet all these people. Minsc and Medred can bring their fancy erios to share! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hey all, I just wanted to say thanks for the warm welcome. I just dropped into the wetspot today. I won't be buying many plants online anymore. Their prices were very resonable if not down right cheap for dwarf baby tears and hc. Every other time I've been in they had them growing on a metal or plastic mesh and were charging 15-20, but potted they were only about $4.00. I am actually good on java fern for a little while as my next tank will be all ground cover iwagumi style. Thank you very much for the offer though. It looks like my big female rcs is developing a saddle again so I may have some juvies up for trade in the next couple months. I am lining up a pressurized co2 setup for my dwarf puffer tank, it is quite exciting, should be up and running mid september and pictures will be soon to follow once the plants grow in some more.
 
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