A baby queen snake, and so many northern water snakes! They just hatched so they're really small, but they're not any less rage-filled. It's hard to treadmill these little guys so they are difficult to handle in a way that doesn't make them feel threatened. Luckily their teeth are so small that they can't even break the skin, which is good because they sure try to!
You can't blame them, the world's a scary place when you're a noodle with a head. You'd be forgiven for mistaking them for their distant cousin the Water Moccasin, also known as the Cottonmouth, because that's exactly who they're trying to mimic.
The pale color inside their mouths, the classic Water Moccasin defensive stance (not really pictured here), the similar patterning and coloration, it's all likely aposematic mimicry to ride on the infamy of one of the most venomous snakes in North America.
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How it started:
Vs how it’s going:
Pictures of my “first” tank back in 2010. I had a 3 gallon betta tank when I was a young kid for a year. This was a simple 29 gallon with 2 goldfish, Dale and Allie. I bought three and named them after characters from Tucker and Dale VS Evil. Tucker only lived for a couple days and had issues before I even brought them home. I used river rock, had no live plants, kept the water at 74 degrees (at least there’s that), and rinsed the filter cartridge in hot water every 2 weeks 🤦🏻♀️ I had these two for 3 years before I released them in a local man made pond that had some other goldfish in it.
I’ve had quite a few tanks and different life in between then and now, various Bettas, ADFs, and Amano shrimp have been my favorites. I’ve done gravel, sand, river rocks, and bare bottoms. I’ve done planted and unplanted. I’ve learned a lot as I’ve gone along, and it’s been fun to test out different things. But, I really want to try the modified version of the Walstad Method that Father Fish on YouTube uses. I’ll probably try it with a 75 when I get one in the next year or two when/if I take the plunge on getting a little turtle. Someday when I get my two 120 acrylics one will be using that method modified with a mix of dark water techniques and I’d love to have some Discus if possible. The other 120 is going to be my first saltwater and that’ll be a whole other adventure.
Currently, I have 4 tanks running since I took down my little guppy quarantine tank.
First, a 6 gallon with 3 inches of Seachem’s fluorite gravel. Plants are Amazon Frogbit, Hornwort, an Undulata, and a Green Wendtii. I keep the water at 78-80 degrees. The filter is a 10 gallon internal filter with extra floss behind the carbon. The tank is stocked with 2 Nerite snails, a 1 1/2 inch Bristlenose Pleco, and a male betta.
Second, a 10 gallon with repti carpet for my axolotl’s temporary housing. It has a 10 gallon HOB filter with extra floss behind the carbon. Kept at 64 degrees. Nitrate eaters are 4 Pothos cuttings (silver satin, marble queen, a darker golden, and a variegated golden), a strand of Hornwort, and some green hair algae glued onto the ledge. I’ve been gathering hair algae as I go along cleaning tanks at work and might cut up my Marimo to fully carpet the ledge if I want it done faster.
Third, a 20H with 1 inch Seachem’s fluorite gravel capped with about 3 inches of aquarium sand. The filter is a 20 gallon with you guessed it, extra floss, only a tiny carbon in this one though because I’m moving away from using carbon. It has a large piece of drift wood, and many plants, Valliseneria, Hornwort, Subwassertang, Anubias, Water Sprite, what I’m assuming is a broad leaf Java Fern I’m working on propagating, and my favorite the Ozelot Sword. This tank is overstocked and my groups aren’t complete, just waiting on the 29 to finish cycling so I can move Nyko out of the 10 and put some fish and the Mystery Snail in there. Stocked with 6 female Bettas, one Reticulated Hillstream Loach, 1 3 inch Bristlenose Pleco, 2 Pygmy Cory Catfish, 3 Julii Cory Catfish, 4 Celestial Pearl Danios, 1 Ivory Mystery Snail, and 1 Nerite Snail.
Fourth and lastly, Nyko’s future home, a cycling 29 gallon with 2 inches of pool filter sand, and a planter with 3-ish inches of Seachem’s fluorite sand. A good piece of Mopani wood with Java Moss anchored with cotton thread onto it as well as four varieties of Anubias (Anubias, A. Hastifolia, A. Nana, A. Nana Petite). Floaters are Guppy Grass and Hornwort. Planter so far: Madagascar Lace, Moneywort (probably will end up floating honestly), and a Rose Sword. Stocked with some pre-quarantined guppies that will be my breeders/snacks for Nyko. Filtration: 40 gallon Aquatop sponge filter on a 20-50 gallon Aquatop air pump, and a 30 gallon Hagan AquaClear with sponge, ceramic, carbon, and yep that’s right, extra floss from a cycled tank. See why I put extra floss in the filters? I can move some bacteria around whenever I need to without making much of a dent in the biological filter on any of these tanks now. Plus, more space for bacteria to colonize undisturbed is always a bonus when you have a heavy bio load like I’ve got going on in most of these tanks right now.
Phew, that went on longer than I intended. I wish I had someone to talk to about this stuff lmao. You’d think working at a garden and pet shop I’d get to talk fish with people a lot more than I do. When I’m in the petroom mostly I talk rabbits, rats, and ferrets with some herps, a little invertebrates, and fish thrown in. Not much time for fish talk, and especially not MY tanks fish talk, usually it’s a customer’s tank that’s the topic because of course they’re picking out plants or fish for their tanks. This fall I’m hoping to switch shops for another exotic pet store that doesn’t sell pet mammals and has some epic saltwater aquariums. That’ll be fun because I won’t just be working with only one other person who’s into exotic pets and aquariums.