March 2004 Meeting

Tuesday, March 30th, 2004 at 5:22 pm

The meeting was held at the home of Ivo Busko. We enjoyed his hospitality, his aquariums, and marveled at how large his Angelfish had grown.

I. Business Discussions

    A. 2004 AGA Convention Update.

    We signed a hotel contract with Crystal City Marriott for the convention dates of November 11-13, 2004. Initially, we suggested to contract with a hotel in the Baltimore, MD area, but Crystal City is right across the Potomac River from the Washington, D.C. Thus, our convention guests will have the option of sightseeing in the nation’s capital, with the ease of public transportation.

    The preliminary convention itinerary includes the following, with more details to come.

    Friday, November 11th – field trip
    Saturday, November 12th – Mr. Amano speaks and/or conducts workshop
    Sunday, November 13th – Auctions all day

    B. Study Groups

    The group suggested that we start study groups to allow our members to gain more knowledge in areas that interest them. Suggestions included tissue cultures (for cryts); soil substrates; and Poor Man’s Doppler Drop (PMDD), which is GWAPA’s initiative to make its own fertilizer. A few of our members participate in the PMDD project, but more probably would participate if they understood “how and why” of mixing the chemicals.

    C. Workshops

    Members liked the idea of offering workshops with the support and involvement of local aquarium merchants. We could set up different aquariums ranging from low technical environments to specific regional ecosystems. Additionally, we could discuss biotopes, e.g., habitats of compatible plants and fish.

    On a bigger scale, we explored the possibilities of offering larger workshops for beginners as well as the experienced aqua-scaping enthusiasts. It was suggested that we contact the Baltimore Aquarium, for the use of their classroom, auditorium, and equipment for these sessions.

II. Club Activity

    Member Ivo Busko’s lecture entitled “CO2 Systems & Choosing the Right System for Your Tank” provided an in-depth discussion on the importance of carbon dioxide to the aquarium. Ivo has three freshwater aquariums attached to the same automatic- dispensing CO2 tank. His discussion is summarized briefly below.

    We will remember from our high school biology class that fish give off carbon dioxide and plants give off oxygen. So, in a freshwater aquarium, this fosters a mutual relationship between the fish and plants. In order for healthy plants to prosper, they need proper nutrients, adequate lighting, and carbon dioxide. During photosynthesis, plants take in carbon dioxide. The normal level of carbon dioxide found in an aquarium is usually not adequate. Thus, when additional carbon dioxide is introduced into the tank, plants flourish and their growth is usually unsurpassed. Automatic-dispensing carbon dioxide increases the surface agitation (through bubbles) of carbon dioxide regularly without losing much of it to the atmosphere. The plants love it and they give off more oxygen, which the fish utilize.

    Most CO2 canisters contain 5-gallons of compressed CO2 and they last about 8-9 months, depending on how many aquariums are connected to it. When the canister becomes empty, you exchange it for another filled cylinder. Currently, The Aquarium Center and Roberts Oxygen exchange CO2 canisters. Also, members shared their experiences with various CO2 systems and manufacturers, including the Hagen CO2 kit, N.B. Cochran Co (800-467-8044), and Sea Chem. Someone suggested that you should purchase a PH sensor and use it with the CO2 tank.

    Needless to say Ivo’s plants are flourishing very well.

    Related Tips:
    Tip#1: Hair grass loves to pull CO2 out of soil substrates.
    Tip #2: Accurate PH testing of tap water: Put the water in a clean bowl overnight. Then, test. This will make sure that the CO2 is out of it and the PH reading will be more accurate.

III. Future Meetings and Field Trips

    April 17th: Members will collect non-sedimentary rocks and driftwood in Hagerstown, MD.

    May 15th: We will meet at the home of Treasurer Sean Murphy in Gaithersburg, MD.

    In June: Members are traveling to the Tampa, FL area to collect plants and snorkel. Their plan is to rent a van. Dates TBD for this 5-6 day trip.

IV. Plant Auction

    We conducted our auction.