Archive for April, 2009

Houston Plant Fest 2009- Part 2

Posted in Club Activities with tags , , , , , on April 19, 2009 by Bhushan Dalvi


ADA 180P at ADG Gallery

The third day of Houston Plant Fest started early for some of the NASH members who volunteered to help Mike Senske prepare plants for his demonstration. Mike was gracious enough and offered to do a planted tank set up demonstration for the group which had gathered in Houston for the Plant Fest. The ADG Gallery was looking great as usual.

houstonpffinal33-1ADA Mini-M


The ADG Gallery also had  some great looking marine set ups.


houstonpffinal29-1As Mike and team prepared for the presentation some of the people who had arrived early spent  some time pouring over  Aqua Journals and gazing at the relaxing aquascapes in the ADG confrence room.

houstonpffinal24-1Ghazanfar And John

houstonpffinal35-1Ghazanfar, Thanh and Dave

Other than the beautiful aquariums, the ADG Gallery also has some interesting pieces of wood  on display.


Mike started his presentation with a brief introduction about his business and how he  and Jeff Senske have made Aquarium Design Group what it is today.

houstonpffinal27-1Mike was setting up a ADA 90P for this demonstration. He had decided to do a divided substrate set up with ADA Bright Sand in the front and AquaSoil Amazonia in the back.

houstonpffinal34-1John And Luis , helping Mike.

Mike’s demonstration was great as usual and was an amazing opportunity for people who had gathered to learn and discuss the intricacies involved in setting up a show quality aquascape.


houstonpffinal49-1The finished scape.

The Houston Plant Fest was graciously sponsored by Seachem Laboratories and Deep Sea Aquatics. Seachem had arranged for a lot of  free goodies for the people who attended the presentation at ADG.


Deep Sea Aquatics had donated an awesome  rimless tank setup to be raffled at the end of the presentation. Mary Beth, the winner of the raffle was definitely pleased with her prize.

houstonpffinal40-1Mary Beth excited about her prize.

After the presentation NASH had a impromptu plant auction. Kevin, did a good job as an auctioneer . There were some great plants to be had at dirt cheap prices.

houstonpffinal2-1Kevin trying to sell me some Anubias minima.

From ADG Gallery the group headed to a BBQ party at Valerie’s Lake House on Lake Houston. Valerie is one of the founding members of NASH and was kind enough to host the BBQ party at her beautiful lake house.

houstonpffinal41-1Valerie’s Lake House

I arrived a little late for the BBQ party and missed out on some of the delicious food Kevin’s dad had cooked. But  just hanging around with friends, having some drinks together and checking out the beautiful sunset from the lake house made up for it.

Overall this was a great weekend which we all enjoyed as a group. On behalf of NASH, I would like to thank all the people who participated in the Plant Fest 2009. A big thanks goes out to Aquarium Design Group, Seachem, Fish Gallery , Houston Aquarium Warehouse, Deep Sea Aquatics, Valerie and all the volunteers from NASH who made this  fun filled weekend possible.



Houston Plant Fest 2009- Part 1

Posted in Club Activities on April 19, 2009 by Bhushan Dalvi


Houston Plant Fest 2009 kicked off on Thursday April 9th with a get together at Houston Aquarium Warehouse. Planted tank enthusiasts and friends from all over United States had flown to this event hosted by Nature Aquarium Society of Houston (NASH). Daniel Villasenor owner of Houston Aquarium Warehouse is a reputed discus seller and stocks a lot of “hard – to-find” fish perfect for planted tanks.


The Red Leopard Snakeskin Discus that Daniel had in stock were some of the best I have seen. After some drinks, snacks and catching up on old friends and new  I had to head out with Thanh to pick up the vans for our next days trip to San Marcos.

houstonpffinal42-1 Checking out crystal clear water at Aquarena Springs

houstonpffinal43-1 John looks pretty excited.

The drive to San Marcos started early. When I arrived at the meeting point with the van along with Thanh every one was already there, geared up with their collection equipments and cameras for a fun filled day ahead. There were 22 people in the group who made the trip. The drive was interesting as we spent a lot of time discussing our planted tanks.  We reached Aquarena Springs around 9 am. The day was looking great for our collection trip. After gazing at the beautiful underwater scenery at the Aquarena Springs reservoir through its crystal clear water the group was ready to head downstream to collect some plants.


Drinda ready to collect some plants.

houstonpffinal46-1 Dave trying to grab some Fissiden fontanus.


Collected Fissiden fontanus

The first stop down stream was a great spot just off the road. The group collected a lot of Riccia fluitans and Hydrocotyle verticillata at this spot. Heading further down from there we spotted Fissiden fontanus growing along the embankment. This was the first time we had spotted F.fontanus at this location.

houstonpffinal14-1The group headed further down the river where we spotted a lot of  Hygrophila polysperma , Potamogeton illinoensis, Ceratopteris thalictroides and Ecihhornia crassipes. It was really disheartening to see the river choked with these introduced species.


Hydrilla verticillata clogging the river.

From here we proceeded to our next location to find the elusive Cryptocoryne beckettii. This is another non-native species which is gradually spreading in this river system. The group followed a trail along the river trying to spot some crypts. Along the  river banks we spotted Nuphar lutea, Ludwigia repens, Pistia stratiotes and more H.verticillata. We were not lucky enough to spot the Cryptocoryne but we spotted a school of large Koi cruising peacefully in a secluded section of the river.


H.verticillata was growing everywhere.



At around 3pm we headed back to Houston. Fish Gallery one of the premium aquarium store in Houston was hosting a small cocktail party in the evening.  At Fish Gallery we got a chance to relax and chat about our hobby with other fellow hobbyist. I grabbed this opportunity to snap some pictures of their beautiful livestock.


Pterois volitans


Ginglymostoma brevicaudatum

The day ended on a high note with all of us eagerly looking forward to the presentation from Mike Senske the next morning at the ADG Gallery.