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Metrowest, MA
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LOl! Thanks!

So, for those who don’t know... this is what I do in my “other life”! ;)
 

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Premium Member
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That's so fun, Ci, that you're doing that! Had you been planning it even before meeting Karen? Karen, thanks for the photos!

Ci, I love your series of photos in your sig. Are they one a month?

My niece, who is 20, has expressed interest in becoming a groomer. Can you please PM me if she can contact you for an informational interview? I want her to hear the highs and lows of grooming. Thanks! (Any other groomers on the forum, it would be great to hear from you too!)
 

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Retired Groomer
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171 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
About 10 years ago I was into low tech planted tanks. When I retired and started travelling south in the winter, I gave up the aquarium hobby and focused on outdoor ponds that I could leave on their own for a few months at a time.
Now, I am staying home year round and want to get back into planted tanks, and am interested in trying high tech. I’m going to take my time and spread the build out over the coming cold and rainy months (PacNW winter). Perfect Pandemic Project!
I remembered from some post here that Karen had written a book on the subject - I love just absorbing information in a new hobby, the book should be here tomorrow from Amazon. So excited! Maybe I will chronicle my build here, if anyone is interested.

As for grooming, well... again, I retired 10 years ago. I had become very jaded about dogs (and owners) at the time. Just the amount of bad health, poor care, matted, abscessed and flea ridden messes, lax and ignorant attitudes ... I’m probably not the one to give advice to potential groomers! The dog I choose to own when i retired was a MinPin who needed the least amount of grooming possible and I vowed to never own a dog with ‘hair’ again!

But, now, of course there is my Bingo boy - enough time has gone by and I take great pride in his beautiful coat and am grateful that I have the knowhow to keep it up.
 

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Metrowest, MA
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32,246 Posts
Karen, how did you get started with these gardens and how long have you been creating them? Are they difficult to maintain?
I've been involved with aquariums all my life, since my parents ALSO had aquariums even as kids! But I had my first, very own, tank when I was 10. Ummm... so that make it... 56 years? LOL!

It depends. Some of the ones I posted above are quite complicated. Something like one of these below is pretty easy, IF they are set up RIGHT. And THAT is the important part, and what my book is for. There is a lot of TERRIBLE "advice" out there!
 

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Metrowest, MA
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32,246 Posts
About 10 years ago I was into low tech planted tanks. When I retired and started travelling south in the winter, I gave up the aquarium hobby and focused on outdoor ponds that I could leave on their own for a few months at a time.
Now, I am staying home year round and want to get back into planted tanks, and am interested in trying high tech. I'm going to take my time and spread the build out over the coming cold and rainy months (PacNW winter). Perfect Pandemic Project!
I remembered from some post here that Karen had written a book on the subject - I love just absorbing information in a new hobby, the book should be here tomorrow from Amazon. So excited! Maybe I will chronicle my build here, if anyone is interested.

As for grooming, well... again, I retired 10 years ago. I had become very jaded about dogs (and owners) at the time. Just the amount of bad health, poor care, matted, abscessed and flea ridden messes, lax and ignorant attitudes ... I'm probably not the one to give advice to potential groomers! The dog I choose to own when i retired was a MinPin who needed the least amount of grooming possible and I vowed to never own a dog with 'hair' again!

But, now, of course there is my Bingo boy - enough time has gone by and I take great pride in his beautiful coat and am grateful that I have the knowhow to keep it up.
The funny thing is that I've pretty much gone in the other direction. I don't really love the term "high tech" because I'm never sure what people mean by it. The only SURE dividing line I see is whether people use supplemental CO2 or not. And plants need EXACTLY the same "stuff" to grow no matter how you set up the tank. It's just a matter of amplitude. If you are going to use supplemental CO2, especially with a steady, high-pressure system, you have the POSSIBILITY of using high light, more fertilizers and therefore growing fast growing, colorful stems. It also means that you are now slave to the tank. LOL! The faster the plants grow, the more work the tank is, because you are CONSTANTLY trimming, removing plants, re-shaping, etc.

The Direction I've gone is to use supplemental CO2 with moderate light and slower growth plants. This gives you the best of both worlds. Tanks that are beautiful, easy to manage and maintain, and always look beautiful. Like my female Betta tank. This is all easy, slow-growth shade plants, but I run the tank with CO2. I do a big water change, wipe down the glass and clean the filter once every 3-4 weeks, and hack a bunch of plants out at the same time. Otherwise, I top up the water, and feed the fish. And it ALWAYS looks good. And I can go away for 3 weeks, have someone feed twice a week for me, and it STILL looks good when I get home. THAT'S the kind of tank I want in my life these days.

The tanks below that was my 6' Dutch style tank. This tank needed a 50% water change every week-10 days, which, on that size tank, took about 2 hours with a Python. While that was happening, I cleaned the glass, trimmed the plants, which NEEDED it EVERY week, and re-arranged whatever was getting out of hand. It was a TON of work. I ran that tank for about 6 years, it was gorgeous, but when we remodeled and that wall was knocked out (so there was no place for a 6' tank) I really didn't miss it! And the Dutch tank always looked AWFUL when I got back from a long trip, which was very discouraging. Of course, I could clean it up and recover it pretty quickly, but it was a lot of work when I came back home from an exhausting research trip.
 

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Retired Groomer
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171 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Oh, and I just found your website, Karen. Someone on The Planted Tank forum mentioned an article from your blog. And scrolling through, I found some info that is very timely and helpful for me - the one on your storing system for emersed plants.
I am finding that here, in Canada, most of the online aquatic plant sources are out of stock of most plants. My aquascape idea includes dark coloured bucephalandra, which I found at one dealer, so I ordered them even though I am not close to planting the tank yet. I will use your ideas to set up a basement 'nursery'.

https://www.sunkengardens.net/about

Are you active on any aquatic forums?
 

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"I AM the Brute Squad"
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2,319 Posts
:jaw: I am forever amazed by people who keep any plant alive. My sister-in-law comes to our house and whispers to our dying succulents, "I am so sorry that you are trapped here. I will rescue you when they aren't looking."

Your stuff is brilliant.
 

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:jaw: I am forever amazed by people who keep any plant alive. My sister-in-law comes to our house and whispers to our dying succulents, "I am so sorry that you are trapped here. I will rescue you when they aren't looking."

Your stuff is brilliant.
I tried succulents once a few years ago. I thought it would be better because I wouldn't have to remember to water them as often. NOPE. It was way worse, lol. I think I watered them one time ever. They all died.
 

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Premium Member
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Wow these are absolutely beautiful! I've had a lot of fish tanks over the years. From salt water to fresh water tanks, but I've never seen anything like these water gardens! I'm amazed that the plants will grow submerged in the water. Especially what looks like an African violet. Or is that an orchid? Gorgeous!
 

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Desi’s Mom
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405 Posts
I had many aquariums as a kid and used to save my allowance to buy new fish but I have never seen anything as gorgeous as the tanks you have created. I can’t wait to show my son these pictures as he is getting started in fish as a hobby.
 

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Well, now I know who I can bug with mine. Lol. I’m debating doing a complete tear down and start over on my 26g tank. I had a huge Cyanobacteria bloom that hurt. I’m left with my blue-eyed yellow pleco, kuhlii loaches, and snails. Previously I had a large school of rasboras in there as well. Most of my plants did not survive except the moss, Java ferns, and the handfuls of duckweed I take out daily. Lol.

I’ve never had a tank that I can’t balance, but this one is giving me grief. I think my bioload was way too small, so need to figure that one out. I have an amazing LFS though, so I really just need to plan it out and figure out what I want (I like livebearers). I just wish they’d make a prefilter sponge for my canister filter so I could throw a pile of shrimp in there too. Lol.

Itll probably cost $300 to replant it and another $100 - $200 to restock it. *cry*. But I need to get it going again.
 

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Metrowest, MA
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32,246 Posts
Oh, and I just found your website, Karen. Someone on The Planted Tank forum mentioned an article from your blog. And scrolling through, I found some info that is very timely and helpful for me - the one on your storing system for emersed plants.
I am finding that here, in Canada, most of the online aquatic plant sources are out of stock of most plants. My aquascape idea includes dark coloured bucephalandra, which I found at one dealer, so I ordered them even though I am not close to planting the tank yet. I will use your ideas to set up a basement 'nursery'.

https://www.sunkengardens.net/about

Are you active on any aquatic forums?
On the AGA FB page and on another FB page called Planted Nano and Betta Tanks. No forums.
 
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Metrowest, MA
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:jaw: I am forever amazed by people who keep any plant alive. My sister-in-law comes to our house and whispers to our dying succulents, "I am so sorry that you are trapped here. I will rescue you when they aren't looking."

Your stuff is brilliant.
LOL! Actually, though, I do REALLY POORLY with succulents. Maybe I can't help myself from over-watering them because I'm so used to aquatic and jungle plants? LOL! I've killed every jade plant and Christmas Cactus I've had, and they are SUPPOSED to be almost idiot proof! This is my "indoor tropics", though.
 

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Metrowest, MA
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I tried succulents once a few years ago. I thought it would be better because I wouldn't have to remember to water them as often. NOPE. It was way worse, lol. I think I watered them one time ever. They all died.
The nice thing about planted aquariums is that you have to go a REALLY LONG TIME before they run out of water! :pound:
 

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Metrowest, MA
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32,246 Posts
Wow these are absolutely beautiful! I've had a lot of fish tanks over the years. From salt water to fresh water tanks, but I've never seen anything like these water gardens! I'm amazed that the plants will grow submerged in the water. Especially what looks like an African violet. Or is that an orchid? Gorgeous!
Oh, if you are talking about the BiOrb, there is no water in that! It is a terrarium! LOL!

The aquariums have aquatic plants in them. You can't keep terrestrial plants under water.... at least not for very long!
 
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