My Aquascapes and plants

Colin_T

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Well water have high nitrate this year, sometimes over 85ppm.
For some reason though, (yes, my discus tank is still here)
this year, discus seems to grow faster, tetras became more active and I haven’t had any fish affected and death by diseases other than some newly purchased zebra danios from the store, and me accidentally decapitated a betta during water changes.

Do you think there are any factors behind it or was it just some strange luck going on?
High nitrates in well water is usually from agricultural runoff. Basically fertiliser runoff soaking into the ground water and contaminating it. You need to be careful and don't drink water with ammonia, nitrite or nitrates in because they can cause cancer. Don't use it for your pets either if you can help it.

If you haven't been getting as many fish there is less chance of introducing new diseases so the fish would be healthier and less stressed.

Are you growing plants in the discus tank?
If yes, they might be eating the plants and that could be helping them grow faster.

I have killed fish doing gravel cleans too. I had a black moor goldfish decide to swim up the gravel cleaner pipe and got its head sucked off. It was gross. I have had plenty of other fish do similar things too. Tiger barbs and female Bettas were the worst. They would deliberately go inside the tube and get sucked out with the water.
 

AdoraBelle Dearheart

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Oh wow, Barry!! So nice to see you here! Have definitely missed you, you've been asked after!

The plants are looking amazing! You've really developed a green thumb. Even better that you're turning into a business for yourself. Glad you checked back in and I hope you don't vanish again!
 

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Welcome back Barry.
You should enter one of your tanks in TOTM. Right now we are accepting tanks sized at 31 gallons or larger. Fish are not required. Entry period closes on Friday so enter soon.
 
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Barry Tetra

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You need to be careful and don't drink water with ammonia, nitrite or nitrates in because they can cause cancer.
Oh no….you’re just making my fear of cancer ocd worse.
The ocd is already bad to the point where every time I touch something that is carcinogenic like water sprite (according to the article) and metronidazole, I have to wash my hand for over 5 minutes.

As for the Nitrate problems, my family refused to buy RO filter
And I’ll probably not going to drink this water for long anyway since I’m going to be moving out in about 2-3 months.

There have been many inbred ducklings appearing lately since I can’t find where females hid their eggs. Some of them even escaped out for month, before coming back with horde of ducklings :(
Oh wow, Barry!! So nice to see you here! Have definitely missed you, you've been asked after!
Hello, nice to see you as well!
Welcome back Barry.
You should enter one of your tanks in TOTM. Right now we are accepting tanks sized at 31 gallons or larger. Fish are not required. Entry period closes on Friday so enter soon.
Sadly, I only have a 20 gallons planted tanks, the bigger ones are all bare.
 

Colin_T

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Oh no….you’re just making my fear of cancer ocd worse.
The ocd is already bad to the point where every time I touch something that is carcinogenic like water sprite (according to the article) and metronidazole, I have to wash my hand for over 5 minutes.
I think that article is flawed or at least contradictory. It says:
The plants may have carcinogenic properties.

And further down the page it says:
This plant is often used as a vegetable, particularly in Asia.

I wouldn't worry about Water Sprite or Metronidazole. I have OCD too and won't go near asbestos fences, houses or anything else made from fibro (fibre cement products), and I hate hospitals, but I have no issues with Water Sprite or handling Metronidazole.

I have been handling Water Sprite for over 40 years and my hands don't have any weird things growing off them. As a general rule, most aquatic plants are safe to eat and I don't know of any plants that are carcinogenic. Some are poisonous but none to my knowledge, cause cancer.

If Metronidazole was a carcinogen, it would have been identified as one 50 years ago and would have been outlawed decades ago. It is still widely used today in hospitals and prescribed by doctors all around the world, so I consider it safe and not a carcinogen. Having said that, it is an antibiotic and you want to avoid using it unless you have to.

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Can you buy a reverse osmosis filter and fit it to the kitchen tap?

Alternatively, how about making a solar still and drinking the distilled water?
You can use a food grade plastic storage container. Put a food safe bucket/ container in the storage container. Put a clean rock in the bottom of the bucket. Place the bucket in the middle of the storage container. Place the container out in the sun.

Half fill the storage container with water. Put the lid on it. Put a small weight on top of the lid in the middle so the lid sags above the bucket. Leave it in the sun and a few hours later you will have distilled water that has collected in the bucket.

The distilled water will be completely free of chemicals and ammonia, nitrite, nitrate.

Chemicals in the water can cause deformities in animals using that water. Water birds are at a higher risk of developmental problems because they spend most of their time in and around the water.
 
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Barry Tetra

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Can you buy a reverse osmosis filter and fit it to the kitchen tap?
Probably not, I would probably get scold if I did since my grandparents is a bit toxic, and they’re going to neglect my opinions anyway…

Off-topic, but speaking of mental stuff, am I the only one who always questioning universe and space stuff? I feel like I’m the only one (that I know of) constantly thinking of the questions like What is existence? Why is there big bang if it came from nothing? What is conciousness?
 

Colin_T

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Probably not, I would probably get scold if I did since my grandparents is a bit toxic, and they’re going to neglect my opinions anyway…
make a solar still to get drinking water for you and your pets ;)

Off-topic, but speaking of mental stuff, am I the only one who always questioning universe and space stuff? I feel like I’m the only one (that I know of) constantly thinking of the questions like What is existence? Why is there big bang if it came from nothing? What is conciousness?
I think about things like that sometimes.
What's the point of being here if we only die at the end?
Who created the universe or universes?
Who created the things that created the universe?
 

itiwhetu

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Probably not, I would probably get scold if I did since my grandparents is a bit toxic, and they’re going to neglect my opinions anyway…

Off-topic, but speaking of mental stuff, am I the only one who always questioning universe and space stuff? I feel like I’m the only one (that I know of) constantly thinking of the questions like What is existence? Why is there big bang if it came from nothing? What is conciousness?
You are not, I do that. I believe that we are only an energy source and are the aliens on this planet, our carbon bodies are only for identification purposes, so that we can identify one energy to the next.
 
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Barry Tetra

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make a solar still to get drinking water for you and your pets ;)
What about buying water butt and using uv filtered rain instead? Now speaking of cacinogens, is hairspray one of them as well? I’ve recently just bought an organic hairspray one to replace the chemical one in case it’s a cacinogen.
2F5A6CD0-640F-4CD1-BA2C-3E23F09B8A2F.jpeg

I think about things like that sometimes.
You are not, I do that.
Glad I’m not the only one then, my family thought I’m going crazy with all of my theories ;)

Moving back to the topic as I realized I haven’t told you about my submersed to emersed plants transitioning process. The way I do it is to put submersed plants in container or aquarium with a lid, spray a lot to keep humidity at 100%. It will normally takes about 3-8 days for it to be ready to grow outside. However, the only plant that I can’t grow out of the container is Echinodorus bleheri (classic amazon sword), have you ever try that Colin?

6E7673D7-D590-46E7-AB59-6057B93F2661.jpeg
 

Colin_T

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What about buying water butt and using uv filtered rain instead? Now speaking of cacinogens, is hairspray one of them as well? I’ve recently just bought an organic hairspray one to replace the chemical one in case it’s a cacinogen.
Hair spray is not a carcinogen but you don't want to inhale it because it can irritate your lungs and make you cough.

Filtered rain water should be ok, just test it for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH before using it. Pure clean rain water should have a pH of 7.0. If it's below 7.0, then it is being contaminated by something acidic. This is usually caused by carbon dioxide (CO2) but could be something else.

When you collect rain water from a roof, let it rain for at least 15 minutes before collecting the water. This allows the first rain to wash any dirt off the roof and you get cleaner water after that.

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Moving back to the topic as I realized I haven’t told you about my submersed to emersed plants transitioning process. The way I do it is to put submersed plants in container or aquarium with a lid, spray a lot to keep humidity at 100%. It will normally takes about 3-8 days for it to be ready to grow outside. However, the only plant that I can’t grow out of the container is Echinodorus bleheri (classic amazon sword), have you ever try that Colin?
All sword plants should be able to grow out of water. Every sword plant sold by a number of plant growers here are grown out of water and a friend who got me into aquarium plants used to grow all his Echinodorus out of water. I don't know if he had E. bleheri but he had a bunch of different ones.

Sword plants take a bit longer to adapt to dry conditions so maybe leave them in shallow water and let it evaporate naturally instead of removing the plants from water and keeping them in a humid container.
 
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Barry Tetra

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Update on this week

So, I desided to sell Echinodorus opacus ‘Iguazu’ plantlets on facebook which is the hardest sword to propagate; they produce a few daughter plants per year, so the price is normally $100+ in most stores (like this one). I sell them for only $15 and I got PM asking me to lower the price by 50% everyday for the whole week, some even want free shipping. Should I lower my price? What do you think?

Sword plants take a bit longer to adapt to dry conditions so maybe leave them in shallow water and let it evaporate naturally instead of removing the plants from water and keeping them in a humid container.
I tried every single way possible and it still died. It’s the only plant species that doesn’t do well in the tank as well, even with CO2 and regular ferts dosing. I thought this sword are supposed to be easy :(
 

Colin_T

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So, I decided to sell Echinodorus opacus ‘Iguazu’ plantlets on facebook which is the hardest sword to propagate; they produce a few daughter plants per year, so the price is normally $100+ in most stores (like this one). I sell them for only $15 and I got PM asking me to lower the price by 50% everyday for the whole week, some even want free shipping. Should I lower my price? What do you think?
I think you are selling them way too cheap. Even in Australia that plant goes for $75+ for small plants with 3-5 leaves. Selling them for $15.00 is kinda crazy cheap and they should go for a lot more than that.

If you are selling that plant for $15.00, the people who buy them can pay for postage. If they pay $100 for a plant and live in your country, free postage isn't as much of an issue. But I wouldn't give them free postage for a $15 plant. And I wouldn't reduce the price by 50%.

Most companies do free postage for smallish lightweight items if the customer spends over $100-150.00 in one transaction. If they spend $99.00, they pay postage. If someone buys a $15.00 plant, they can pay for packing and postage.

I would not reduce the price of the plant. I would actually increase it to at least $50 (probably $75) per plant. And I would not give discounts or free postage unless they ordered over $100 worth of plants in one order. And that $100 order will depend on the postage costs in your country. If postage is expensive, make it free postage for orders over $150.00.

In Australia it costs around $16.00 to post small parcels (up to 1kg in weight) and have them delivered in around 24-48 hours. The heavier the item, the more it costs. This cost and the time and fuel it takes for you to go into town, stand in line at the post office, packaging and postage costs all have to be included in the cost of whatever you sell if you give free postage. You also have to include the cost of fertiliser, water and light. Light and water might be cheap where you are but fertiliser has gone up.

eg: It takes me half an hour to go to the post office.
It costs me 50 cents for a fish bag and rubber band. I use 2 bags and 2 rubber bands per plant to double bag them. And a bigger bag and rubber band to line the box with.
It costs me $3.00 for a cardboard box, packing tape and labels.
I spend 20 minutes at the post office paying for and posting the plants.
Then I have a half hour drive home. I might even have to pay for parking at the post office, depending on where it is. Nearly 1 and a half hours of my time is spent going to and from the post office and doing the postage. Actual time will be closer to 2 hours if you include packing the plant/s and getting the order ready for posting.
It costs me $10.00 in fuel to get to and from the post office.
All this has to be included in the price you sell stuff for.

The going rate for that plant is high because it is rare and slow to propagate. Increase the price of it and charge people for postage, unless postage is free where you live (unlikely), or if they spend a lot of money in one order.

For $15.00, I would buy all of those sword plants from you, pay postage and then grow them on a bit and sell them for $100 a piece in a month's time. Don't undercut yourself Barry. Increase the price of those plants and charge postage. Your time and effort to grow those plants is worth money and those plants are worth a lot more than $15.00 each.
 

Colin_T

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Basic breakdown for growing plants, your time & postage. This does not include the time you spend looking after the plants while they are growing. That is usually added on to the cost price as well.

eg:
I pay myself $10 per hour. It takes 2 hours to pack the plant and take it to the post office and post it ($20).
The original plant you bought to start growing them cost you $100.
You spend $5 a month on fertiliser
You spend $5 a month on light
You spend $5 a month on water, you should include the price of water even though you have a well.
Your heat is free but I would have to pay for heat where I live.
Plastic pot and potting mix/ gravel $1.00-2.00
Plastic storage container to grow them in cost $10.00
Cardboard box and address label $3
Plastic bags and rubber bands $2
It takes 3 months to get a baby plant to a saleable size
You get 4 baby plants from 1 adult plant per year.

Just to grow the babies for 3 months it cost $45 for fertiliser, water and light.
Add $2 for the pot and gravel.
Add $5 for packaging.
Add $20 for your time to take the parcel to the post office.
Add $10 for fuel.
Add a few dollars because you had to buy the original plant to grow the babies from, and a couple more dollars to help pay for the infrastructure you built to grow the plants.
The plant has cost you $47 to grow, $5 for packaging, and $30 for fuel and your time. The plant is worth $82.00. Round it up to $85.00. And this does not include the time you spend looking after the plants. This is just the cost of the plant and getting it bagged up and shipped to the customer.

This price is per plant regardless of if you get 3 or 4 babies from the original parent plant. You might not get 3 or 4 baby plants. You might only get 1 baby plant per year. A disease could go through and kill most of your stock. Power, fertiliser and water costs might increase (water probably won't for you due a well and rain, but for other people it could). Fuel is going to keep increasing in price. If you have to do lots of trips to the post office, then add wear and tear to the vehicle.

Most companies send out orders once or twice a week to reduce some of these costs. Then they take all the orders for that week, in one trip. Most companies also send out orders on Monday so the plant/ fish get delivered Tuesday or Wednesday and don't end up in a warehouse over the weekend.

All these things, and more should be included in the cost. Growing lots of plants together can reduce the cost per plant. But when it comes to rare plants and slow growing/ slow to reproduce plants, they cost more money because they are hard or slow to grow.
 
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Barry Tetra

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Sorry for very late reply @Colin_T and thanks for the advices. I’ve been been busy preparing for university entrance exam. And been increasing my workout routine from 60 minutes to 100 minutes daily, I think I’m addicted to the gym at this point :oops:

Anyway, I just successfully sold an Echinodorus and a bunch of used aquarium equipment on facebook. For the questions, when it comes to people haggle over the impossible cheap price, how should I deal with them? Espescially in real life situation?
 

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