Enter Aquatic Horticulture & Live Stock Breeding

So, I’ve been giving some thought to my new hobby (about a year old now). Usually, when I start a new hobby, I take it to the next level. I’ve done that with computers/internet (started a business in unix shells/web hosting), I’ve done it with comic books (started an online community and retail store), and now I’m doing it with Aquaria and fish keeping. My wife typically doesn’t like it when I do this, but I can’t help myself. I always figure that if you find something that you love, and you can make that into a career that can sustain you for the rest of your life… then perhaps it’s worth pursuing.

This current venture is derived from my love for the animals I keep and my newfound pleasure in aquatic gardening (honestly, I enjoy gardening of all types, but aquatic gardening is my primary focus). As soon as I jumped into this hobby, I started learning everything I could. I joined several fish keeping forums, read articles online about starting fish tanks, cycling tanks, keeping live plants, compatibility among fish, and the specific makeup of water chemistry and the many parameters that can be tested (ie – pH, GH, KH, DH, NH3, NO2, NO3, PO, etc, etc. – you get the picture). There is so much involved in this hobby that I don’t think I’ll ever get bored learning new things, trying new things and helping to educate others. It’s a hobby that can last a lifetime and in many cases, usually does.

Right, the plan… Aquatic Horticulture and live stock breeding. I’ve already setup two different experiment tanks for my personal entertainment: 1. breeding Zebra Nerite Snails (Nertina natalensis sp “zebra”) and 2. breeding Orange Rabbit Snails (Tylomelania zemis Poso Orange Rabbit Snail). I’ve yet to have any babies in these tanks, but they’re relatively new. I do have a mother Rabbit Snail in a 20gal long, which has given birth to two babies, over the course of 7+ months, so I know I can create the habitat for it, they just need to mature. The Zebra Nerites are a work in progress. I’ve also added Red Cherry Shrimp (RCS) to the Rabbit snail tank, and they’ve already reproduced twice in the last month. I’d love to expand this into different types of snails and shrimp to start.

I have also purchased several plastic tubs (Steralite from Target), which I intend to grow different floating plants, mosses, stems and rooted plants. I’ve already started with Frogbit, Giant Duckweed, and Red Rooted Floaters in clean/clear shallow water-filled tubs – these will also house the different mosses. I also filled another shallow tub and a deeper tub with organic soil. These will be for stem and rooted plants. I may also delve into rhizome plants, as well, but I’m starting small.

I have setup the tubs outside for now. It’s going to be a tricky thing, because I’ve already found out that my dog likes the water with the soil (which can’t possibly be good for the dog – at least it’s organic, though…) and I’m still scratching my head with what to do when winter rears its’ ugly head in Virginia, again. My rabbit/rcs and zebra breeding tanks are inside, safe from scavengers and the weather. It’ll be tricky, but definitely an interesting and I think rewarding experience. Hopefully it will also end up being profitable, as I intend to sell them on Aquabid and direct selling to people I know online/offline.

I will not be delving into fish breeding until I move. My family and I are planning on selling this house in the next year or two and buying something larger for our expanding family (we now have two children and it’s getting pretty tight around here – especially when we have visitors). So, when we’re looking for a house, I have two things I’m specifically looking for (well, more like 3): 1. a fish room (somewhere I can setup breeding tanks and a sump, which can be setup with a tile or cement floor and possibly a drain), 2. a large basement, where I can house a 300+ gallon Discus/Altum Angel tank and other fun things, like a home theater (another hobby/interest), and 3. a yard with 1-2 acres+. I would love to have the ability to add a pool (if one doesn’t already exist) and a Koi/Goldfish pond (a nice 500-1000+ pond would be excellent).

If you couldn’t tell, I have very specific needs. lol Wish me luck on finding that “affordable” home. These are requirements, however, so we may be looking for a while. ;P

In the meantime, I’ll be working on my snails/shrimp and live plants. Below, I’ll be making a list of everything I’d like to breed, currently and in the future (I’ll keep this list updated for future reference). This will be a starting point for documenting my progress. I’ll post more blog entries at later dates to update you on what’s happening with this list.

Live Plants:
Floating:
Red Rooted Floaters [Phyllanthus fluitans]
Amazon Frogbit [Limnobium laevigatum]
Giant Duckweed [Spirodela polyrhiza]
Water Sprite (also can be rooted in substrate) [Ceratopteris cornuta]

Moss:
Christmas Moss [Vesicularia montagnei]
Some unidentified mystery moss I have no idea what it is, but it came with some shrimp, so I kept it. [lol]

Stems:
Alternanthera [Alternanthera reineckii ‘roseafolia’]
Ludwigia [Ludwigia repens]
Giant Hygrophila [Hygrophila corymbosa ‘stricta’]

Rooted (in substrate):
Pygmy Chain Sword [Echinodorus tenellus]
Undulated Crypt [Cryptocoryne undulata]

Rhizomes (rooted out of substrate):

Invertebrates:
Snails:
Orange Rabbit Snail [Tylomelania zemis Poso Orange Rabbit Snail]
Zebra Nerite Snail [Nertina natalensis sp “zebra”]

Shrimp:
Red Cherry Shrimp [Neocaridina denticulata sinensis]

Tropical Fish:
TBD

Thanks for reading!
-Kevin

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