New Fourth Edition (2023)

I am thrilled to announce the 4th edition (2023) of ‘Ecology of the Planted Aquarium’.  Print version (paperback, 225 pages) still at the distribution warehouse (Baker & Taylor Publishers) and won’t be sent out to Internet vendors for several weeks.  BUT the eBook is available now!  Fourth edition has the same low-tech, low-maintenance approach of previous editions, but it has new material based on science, experience, and hobbyist input.  [Note:  I have a few private copies of the 3rd edition (2013) that I am still selling as a ‘Combo.’] 



New Fourth Edition (2023) of Ecology of the Planted Aquarium

2023 Shrimp Bowls

One of my Red Neocaridina Shrimp (RCS)

I am displaying bowls with Neocaridina shrimp for the Raleigh Aquarium Society’s annual workshop.  I set up two 1-gal bowls with shrimp taken from my guppy breeding tanks.  I used a 7.5 watt reptile heating pad to keep bowl water temp at a nice warm 74F for good plant growth.  (Winter house temp is 65F.)  Shrimp article on my aquarium page here describes setup for bowls. Lighting for red shrimp’s bowl is 13 watt CFL.  For blue shrimp’s bowl, I have a 3 watt LED desk lamp plus window light.

My Blue Dream shrimp crawling on the heating pad

            For first 1-2 weeks I have had to change 80% of water almost every day to remove ammonia and nitrites. (The 2 cups of potting soil was probably too fertile; I probably should have diluted it with sand.)  Most important for shrimp health, I only use aged aquarium water from the guppy tanks for water changes. [The DOC (dissolved organic carbon) in aged aquarium water protects the shrimp.]  I don’t need or use the drip method, but I when I pour water into the bowls, I always use a small cup to block the water’s force.  That way, the incoming water does not disturb the soil layer.

Bowl for Red Neocaridina Shrimp (RCS)


Bowl for Blue Neocaridina Shrimp

The RAS workshop [March 24-26, 2023, Raleigh, NC (USA)] will have native fish collecting, talks by fish, plant and shrimp experts, an auction, shrimp judging contest, banquet, etc.  I have been going for decades. Later in the year, I’ll revise my shrimp article based on what I learn at the workshop from a shrimp expert (Robert Lupton) and from setting up these new 2023 bowls!

Aquarium Keeping Ideas

A major Real Estate company, Redfin, included me in their blog article ’14 In-Home Aquarium Ideas….’.  I am honored that they chose me as their expert on planted tanks.  Article promotes home aquaria and provides an overview of aquarium keeping with web links to other experts.

Potted Plants for Fish Tanks

Fish Breeding without Pumps and Filters

My new article ‘Potted Plants for Fish Breeding Tanks’ describes maximizing plant growth so that I can keep 10 fish breeding tanks without any filters. Keeping plants “mobile” (i.e., in pots) makes it doable. I measured no NH3, no NO2- and almost no nitrates in the 10 tanks over the course of several months.

Guppy Genetics

Revision of 2020 Guppy Genetics Article

I revised my 2020 article ‘Breeding Guppies: Genetic Pitfalls and Successes‘.  Revision containsapril-18_2018-1 same basic material, but I simplified article.  I spent more time discussing popular mutations that can perplex beginners.  And I down-sized a complicated discussion on the genetics of swordtail guppies.   It was not that relevant in successfully outcrossing my beautiful delta-tail females (Photo) with male swordtail guppies.   These outcrosses were wildly successful and I had no trouble breeding out the swordtail trait.