George T. Mormann

My Nano Aquarium

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I’ve been a freshwater aquarist for over twenty years, but I usually avoid keeping any tanks smaller than ten gallons. Don’t get me wrong, I find the increasingly popular trend of nano fish-keeping a grand idea, especially admiring the designs of some of those nano setups. However, I like a tank that flourishes, and I don’t like stuffing fish inside the aquatic equivalent of a studio apartment.

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Heterandria formosa

Well, a couple of weeks ago, I attended a meeting at my local fish club. The meeting always closes with a mini-auction, where I usually stock up on hornwort, guppy grass, and occasionally, fish that I would like to keep. I won a couple of breeding pairs of Least killifish (Heterandria formosa). Not a true killifish, but a livebearer closely related to guppies and mollies, of the family Poeciliidae. They are one of the smallest livebearers in the world, and considered the smallest among North American livebearing fishes, being endemic to Florida. With the females barely exceeding an inch and a half, I didn’t feel comfortable adding these fish to an established aquarium, where they might be out-competed for food, or worse, become food. A year ago, I bought a Fluval Spec V for less than half it’s retail value, but had yet to use it for the reasons specified above. So I decided to set up the Spec V as a single species starter colony for these shy yet fascinating fish! The plants are hornwort (yes, I have to trim it weekly for it grows like a weed) and staurogyne repens. The substrate is Eco-Complete, and within the filter reservoir is a 25 watt, pre-set heater, which maintains a temperature of about 76 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

The Best Instagram in Town

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Lately, I’ve been dedicating more time to my aquarium hobby than writing content for my website. I’ve been a freshwater aquarist for over twenty years, and these past two years I have really invested a great deal towards raising and breeding various fish, invertebrates, and growing aquatic plants and mosses. As I establish and decorate more aquariums, I wanted to start an Instagram page focused on my variety of fish tanks. My Instagram photos can be found at the bottom of this website. Please have a look at my photos and feel free to like and comment. Regardless of whether you’re a fellow fishkeeper or an admirer of the hobby, I enjoy talking about aquariums.

My Instagram

Youth, it is

a sandcastle
admired for a day,
abandoned to the
inevitable tide.
Photographs, like
grains of sand,
rouse the shallows
where memory wades.

a dollop chased out
of a jar of promises,
an arthritic swivel
of a fingertip
twisting counter-
clockwise against
the hands of time.

reclaimed in somber
remembrances
over a box of ash
filled before the age
of seventy.

The Crow’s Elegy

We hid in the sticks of a dying willow long stripped of her luster, gripping the ice left from an untimely winter carried across a pond we’d never seen. Here, we watched a white man shoot the last white buffalo we’d ever know. She limped towards the plain before the red, setting sun. Blades of tall grass caught her blood and tears, and the man trailed them wielding a long knife. When she fell, we sang for her and promised to carry her forever. From our wings we danced over her like crows. Not as a murder. As a tribe.

Metallurgy

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An obtuse heart locket, pentacle and curiously enough, a dog’s bone — gifts from boyfriends one, two, four? — in no respective order. They had long wrestled at the hollow of her bosom. Their chains pulled the hairs on the back of her neck.

She googled “reverse smelting,” for it was the ore from which these metals were born she’d wished back. Instead, she wound up with a puddle and poured it into a crumpled water bottle. She watched years of her sweat escape the hollows of the bottle, innumerable voids as minuscule as the hairs on the back of her neck.

*This was originally an entry for a photo prompt story. The selected story is here.