Happy Fish… A Stress Buster!!!!

It’s Gk!!!!

Keerthana is energized when she pens down something very close to her heart…..I used to write in the past, thanks to her I am trying to rekindle my past passions and leave those memories to stay for years to come. We both have a few hobbies that keep us locked up while we have our daily morning tea. This site is a namesake of my favorite childhood hobby of fish keeping. People who know me can relate how close I am with this hobby. Rain or Shine keeping aquariums was never boring or tiring.

This is my marine aquarium landscape as on May 10, 2020.

Like many other aquarists, my story also starts with keeping freshwater fish. When I was penniless I used to go to ponds/river to catch Tilapia/Barb/Tinfoil and keep them in whatever I found at home and that is how this hobby started…somewhere at the age of 16 with around 10 aquariums at home all the money given by mom would be spent on the hobby. I still remember the day when I saw Ocellaris Clownfish at my regular aquarium shop and that was the first time I encountered marine fishkeeping in India (Chennai). I saw this clownfish inside the anemone and it was really beautiful, with no idea of what it would take to keep marine fish I spend all my pocket money in buying them on the same day. I requested the fish shop owner to lend me some saltwater,  came back home, and worked on setting up my first marine aquarium. A week later I went to the sea (Bay of Bengal) and got saltwater for my first water change. The same week I saw that my anemone is dying and my clownfish’s eyes were gradually swelling. I lost both of them in a few weeks.

Long story short, I quit Marine fishkeeping and I continued with my freshwater setup for years but I always wanted Marine aquarium. Thanks to my love, I set up my marine aquarium in 2012 and started learning about them.

My First Setup

My 2012, 20 Gallon setup

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Very healthy growth of Hawaiian Tang, 2013

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Really not sure why this happened, our aquarium is filled with Star Polyps, 2014

It’s been 8 years now and my aquarium is a lively ecosystem. I have not seen the crystal clear water, change color apart from one overfeeding mishap while we were not at home.  We lost most of our fishes in this mishap, need to be cautious when you have automated feeders.

Let me introduce the family one at a time with some easy tips to keep fish happy.

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Vivid Puple color

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He is relaxed, with lot of space

Purple tang is a reef surgeonfish, found in the Arabian sea & Red sea. He can survive for 25-30 years and we wish to see that happen (My record was a clownfish which survived with us for 7 years from 2012). This purple tang has been with the family for 3 years now and we have been seeing him grow bigger. The pleasure of fishkeeping is ecstatic when you get the fish as fry(little ones) and make them grow under your watch. I try to get them very young and watch them grow.

Purple tang is semi-aggressive and territorial. They demand lengthy space to swim around and need greens(Sea weed) to be fed for better immunity. Eventually, I plan to create a family of 2 purple tangs, and 2 Hawaiian yellow tangs in my dream aquarium.

Spring 2020

Our 8-year-old Pink Jasmine bloomed two weeks early this year! It usually starts blooming in the first week of May and is in full bloom in the second week. This year, it was in full bloom in the last week of April.

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Pink Jasmine

The plant is not in its best form because of the two typhoons Faxai and Hagibis. There are fewer flowers than usual but the fragrance still fills our home!

This is our favorite rose plant which produces at least fifteen roses every flowering season. Last month, there were around five roses and now the second round of flowering has started. This rose plant gives us a feeling that it is always happy with its big fragrant roses and healthy leaves. 😀

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Double Delight Rose

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Double Delight Rose

I had never bothered to know the variety of the rose until my friend asked about it. I found out that it is called “Double Delight”. A very apt name!

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Pink Jasmine and Double Delight Roses

I had sown some Fenugreek, Dill, and Holy basil seeds early spring. Fenugreek and Dill grew faster than the others.

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Fenugreek

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Dill Plants

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Fenugreek Plants

There were a lot of small Aloe Vera pups (offsets) growing in the pot, so I cut off the bigger ones. I got a bowl full of natural moisturizer!

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Aloe Vera

I have not repotted the Aloe Vera in years. I have grown it in the same pot, only cutting off the bigger ones twice a year.

This year’s experiment, Onions!!

T, now in Grade 2, is now learning how to propagate plants. When he saw the sprouted onions in the kitchen, he asked if he could plant them. So we read a few articles about how to grow sprouted onions and let them grow roots by putting them in a bowl of water. After three days, we saw the roots growing and planted them in a pot.

T is waiting for it to grow and is very happy to check on the plants every day. 

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Curry Leaf Plant

And finally, after trying to find a curry leaf plant all these years, I bought one online. It came home looking sad 😛 I really hope it grows well. Fingers crossed! 

Tamarind Surprise

I usually get Tamarind blocks (used in Indian cooking) from my grandma in India. She has few tamarind trees from which we get enough tamarind for the extended family for one whole year.

Sometimes I find seeds in the tamarind block which have escaped deseeding. Recently I started planting them in the pot where I grow veggies. The first seed I planted was in Autumn last year.

One fine morning last week, there was this surprise! There were two tamarind plants! 🙂 After browsing for a while, I learnt they can thrive indoors in high light conditions during winter. That’s great news to me.

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I’m planning to transfer them to separate pots. I hope they survive this winter!

 

 

Indoor Herb Garden

I’ve always wanted to have an indoor herb garden. I also mentioned it in my last post. I had bought seeds for coriander, dill and spearmint. I bought these colorful planters from the dollar shop and planted it around early March.

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Coriander, Spearmint & Dill – March, 2017

I’ve got spearmint plants growing outside but just wanted to try growing them from seeds. It’s taking a lot of time to grow. The coriander and dill plants grew faster.

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Spearmint growing from seeds

 

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Dill, Spearmint & Coriander – April 20, 2017

Although it’s not sufficient for Indian cooking, I’m happy that I’ll always have some in my garden! 😀

Growing Garlic & Dill

Another ~40 days for the Sakura (cherry) to bloom and we are really anxious to see some fresh green colour in the garden. Last spring we were too busy with cousins visiting us and then a month’s trip to India. This year we are all set for our early spring vegetable gardening!

Bitter gourd was the only success last year. We lost many other plants to pests. The spearmint plants just dried up. I hope it does not repeat this year.

For growing coriander I had used the Dhaniya seeds used for cooking. But they didn’t grow into healthy plants. And Dill, I’ve always wanted to grow them but didn’t know how. I recently knew they sell seeds and I started to plan for the indoor herb garden.

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Coriander plants – Fall of 2015

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Spearmint harvest – 2014

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Spearmint harvest – 2015

We went to the Home depot to look for a good stand for the herb planters. We didn’t find a right one 😦 We just bought some Coriander, Dill and Spearmint seeds. We also bought a rose plant.

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Coriander, Dill and Spearmint Seeds

This morning, Ganesh was repotting the new rose plant. Just then the idea of planting garlic struck me. Few garlic bulbs in the kitchen were already sprouting.  I checked some gardening websites and decided to plant them. I also found that Dill was a good companion plant to grow with garlic. We planted both garlic and Dill. It was a nice start to the day!!

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Garlic & Dill  – 11 Feb 2017

I will update this post with the pictures when it starts growing 🙂

Thanks for reading! Have a nice day!

Update:

April 20

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Succulents – My new found love!

Recently, I’m more interested in growing succulents in our garden. They are very easy to grow and maintain. I’ve had no problems till now.

This post is about the cacti we grow at home. (Almost all cacti are succulents)

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The three cacti in white containers are from IKEA. We bought it last summer. It grew well until winter. I hope it will start growing again now that its spring.

The other cactus is called a moon cactus. It’s a grafted cactus. The upper cactus lacks chlorophyll and thus red in color. As it cannot survive on it’s own, its grafted on a green cactus. We bought it at a local garden center.

And that’s a pair of Shisa from Okinawa :). Shisa are cross between a lion and a dog from Okinawan Mythology. The left Shisa has it’s mouth closed and the right has it’s mouth open.

My Little Balcony Garden (2012)-2

Posting some more photos of my garden 🙂

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Fenugreek (Methi) Seedlings

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Tomato flowers

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Little Tomato

I grow Fenugreek and Coriander plants in these big rectangular pots. I planted both at the same time but Coriander seeds take a very long time to germinate.

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Fenugreek & Coriander

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Crossandra

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Crossandra Flowers & Fenugreek harvest