urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Some plant pics from when I was cleaning the tank and doing plant maintenance earlier.* Please excuse the bit of water cloudiness; I'd already added FeSO4 fertilizer before I spotted a flower and thought to get the camera.

Not surprisingly, there are fish too, whether I was trying to photograph them or not. :)

Read more... )

BTW, I'm really glad that we can just move the tanks we've got (empty!) to Ireland, without having to buy new electricals or even plug adaptors. Not a cheap prospect, not at all.

* Well past time, too! I hadn't managed to clean it in a couple of weeks, with the viral fatigue. Good thing the heavy planting slurps up a lot of waste products! :-|
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I couldn't resist a few (rather bad) photos.

The goldies now have a serious all-day salad bar.
A 180L tank crammed full of potted plants

That's not even trying to be decent aquascaping, but they seem to like it. *g* The stuff at the top is sunset hygro; the color turned out looking weird, but it really is pinkish at the tops. :)

More photos, including of happy goldies )

The hassle wasn't nearly as bad as I'd expected.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Argh. Last night, I found a little water on the bed from the 150L bowfront aquarium where my nightstand used to be. (Limited places to put them, and it's easy to watch there! *g*) That one has a nasty habit of drips running down the sides from the hood, so I wasn't that concerned.

Now, I'm pretty sure it's got a very slow leak at the front bottom corner. I've left the second filter than causes the dripping off--no real need for it, low as the fish load is now--and there's no sign of water running down the glass from up there. But, there is still some dripping down the side of the cabinet onto a towel on the edge of the bed. And examining it a few minutes ago, a little water seemed to be welling up from under the bottom edging at that corner. I wiped it away a couple of times, and more welled up. Bah.

On the brighter side, at least if we have to spring a tank leak, it's one that's very easily noticed before all Hell breaks loose!

Good thing there aren't many fish in there now, just a couple of corys, a paradise fish (whose more aggressive brother lived with a goldfish, no problem), and 3 otos; I've mostly been using it to grow out plants. All of those are potted or on bogwood or rocks, at least. Guess I'll get to move the fishies into the library tank with the goldfish temporarily this evening, try to find places to stick all the plants, and drain the tank dry. Unfortunately, I can't think of a workable way to move all the tiny (2mm long at most!) freshwater limpets that showed up with the last batch of plants!

We just got a tube of aquarium sealant last weekend to use for something else, so that's something at least. I am tempted just to get the plant-choked 60L with snails and cherry shrimp in it sorted out, move the non-goldfish into it, and not set the bigger tank up again since I'll need to break it down at some point in the somewhat near future before we move anyway. But not this evening!
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
It's a lovely sunny day here, and I finally got around to clearing some choking watercress and blanketweed out of the patio pond. With a stick, thank goodness.

I am so not sticking my arm in there now for further cleaning, at least without huge gauntlets. Look what I found!

A leech on the edge of the pond, leeching its way around
Yep, it's a leech. Next to a tangle of watercress roots and duckweed.

Urgh. I had thought I saw something leechlike when I was cleaning out the prefilter in November or December, and it appears I was right.

It's probably an excellent thing that there are no fish in there now. (Otherwise, I'd have gone for a spring cleaning before this.) Just plants, and snails, and leeches. *shudder*

And probably mosquito larvae, with nothing in there to eat them now, but I'm just trying not to think about that.

While I've never had a leech on me, they have always seriously squicked me. Now I'm going to postpone getting in the shower for a while, what with the water and all, since I've already got crawly skin.

Edit: It looks to be an Erpobdella species, which are apparently unlikely to leech onto humans. It is a very small leech, as you can see in comparison to the duckweed. According to someone who knows a lot more about this than I do, "Most British leeches feeds on snails and other small invertebrates, only a few suck blood." Another source adds, "There are only two species of leech in the UK that fed on human blood, both of which are very rare." At least the ones we've got may take care of the mosquito larvae!

I am still not putting my bare arm in there. I did put it and another one I spotted in the plant tangle back into the water, though.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
It's been a pretty good day so far.

Last night I was exhausted enough to fall asleep reading, about 4 hours before the usual bedtime. So, naturally, I woke up at about bedtime, in urgent need of the facilities and turning off the fish lights. I couldn't get back to sleep, but did get some reading time in, after all. :)

Since I was still awake when [personal profile] vatine left for an overnight trebuchet-building session a little after 9:00, and Max was excited to the point of acting demented, we took off for the park down the street. He hadn't been there in a while, and enjoyed it mightily. Not that any opportunity to gallop around off lead isn't welcome, mind.

Max was horribly pully on the way there, but my legs and hip held up remarkably well, anyway. He insists that we humans do multiple circuits of any park or playing field with him, so that was a good thing. :)

After the fog finished burning off, the weather has been lovely today, and I've stayed out in it enough to get mildly scorched. One drawback to the DIY lip balm: no sunscreen. :-| It was a good opportunity to get some more gardening done on the patio, after I woke up again from a much-needed nap.

I also got the bedroom goldfish tank cleaned. Being a tall one, it's at just the wrong level for maintenance without making my hip/back unhappy. So it doesn't get cleaned as frequently as would really be a good idea. Today it wasn't much of a problem, though, so it was a pleasantly exciting afternoon for Pepper and Salsa.

Salsa and Pepper, the ryukins
Salsa at top, Pepper at bottom. And a couple of their algae-covered plants.

Aquarium manufacture fail: the fluorescent tubes on that tank are old enough that they need replaced, so I was squinting at the underside of the hood to try to find out what size replacement T5s to get. I'm going to have to unplug and remove the hood, then remove a splash guard held on with multiple screws so I can get to the tubes--just to read their labels. Bah. Limescale is involved too, to be fair, but that hood is a general PITA.

Plans for this evening include throwing together some quick chicken and broccoli in a miso sauce, settling in with a book and either multiple cats or Max (they are getting along better, but not well enough for both), drinking a lot of tea, and maybe finding a watchable DVD.

Yeah, it hasn't been a very exciting day, overall--but peaceful is good sometimes!
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I got a bit of a shock a few minutes ago, literally and figuratively.

We've got a chronically Camallanus worm-ridden guppy in a hospital tank, both to keep one of the other fish from picking on her and to get the worm reservoir out of the tank she was in. :/ (I'd thought they were wiped out, or I wouldn't have moved the sole surviving gup into there.)

At any rate, I went to siphon out uneaten food, and got a mild shock when my hand went in the water. The heater is now unplugged, which seemed to fix the problem. Both of us are just lucky it wasn't worse, what with 230V and all.

I'd thought about running aquarium electricals through at least plug-in RCD/GFI units, like the pond stuff, and wish I'd gone ahead and done it before. Ah well.

Replacing the heater isn't that critical, AFAICT, since the kitchen stays warm; it was mainly in there to help prevent temperature swings in a small tank near a leaky window. I'll watch the thermometer, and see if it's necessary.

Maybe Dippy will act less nervous now that there's not current leaking through her water. *headdesk*

The worms seem to be resistant to flubendazole now; I guess I'll try levamisole again. Poor fish (and tough!).

Yesterday, I had a pretty bad muscle spasm day to the point of its turning into Kebab Night, probably from overdoing things over the weekend. It's better today so far, but I'm trying to take things easy anyway. Easier said... ;)
urocyon: (water)
Jaws and Sugar have been in their new tank for about a week now, where my nightstand used to be. :) I picked a 150L bowfront from Aquaera, which seems to have gone up in price since my order. Since I set up a small one for guppy boys, I've become rather fond of bowfronts. This one is even better, with the seamless curved front corners. A used tank was tempting for the cost savings, but this one was easier to find, and fit well into the space available. (Yeah, clearing out some junk might be a good plan!) My usual anticonsumerist urges tend to fly out the window where pet stuff is concerned, anyway.

I'd definitely recommend Aquaera. They were initially appealing because of the prices, apparently trying to break into the UK aquarium market. The tank and components seem to be good quality; my only complaint is that the built-in filter's pump doesn't move as much water as messy goldfish need, but I knew that I'd need to add another filter going in. A bigger model of pump should work OK later, if required. The customer service was pretty impressive. When I ordered, they apparently needed to substitute trim/cabinet colors, but I didn't think to check the spamtrap for mail from them. That weekend, there was a knock on the door, and who was there? A little Chinese guy with a couple of huge boxes! Instead of using a courier and saying "to hell with it if she ignores three e-mails", somebody drove the tank to Romford and made sure the color substitution was OK. I was pretty embarrassed, but you can't beat that customer service.

I miss having somewhere to set things like drinks and books--will have to come up with something--but the fishies are a lot more interesting to look at. *g* One side is just a few inches from my head, and the Mini Fiends have been enjoying dancing there for attention and food, of course. They also love zooming up and down with their noses in the curved front corners, for the funhouse effect. It's pretty hilarious to watch.

The biggest drawback at the moment is that we have both large tanks trying to cycle. After Cucumber died of that parasite, I've been a little hypervigilant, and managed to kill off most of the filter bacteria in the Big Fiend tank with medication which was probably unnecessary, in retrospect. Then we set up the new tank. I think the heavy planting was taking care of most of the waste, when it was just the two Mini Fiends in there, but Lobsterback had to move in temporarily. He was just getting too rambunctious, trying to convince Skate to spawn until she went into a headstand in the corner and played dead, so he gets to stay with the young 'uns for a while. Talk about turnabout: Sugar keeps chasing him around. :)

I hoped that having only one goldie churning out ammonia in the old tank might help, too, but it hasn't much. I am considering taking out the gravel, which might be trapping gunk in spite of weekly vaccuuming--yet another useful thing I picked up on The GAB. The new tank is set up bare bottom, with potted plants, and it's living up to its promise of being easier to keep clean so far. Especially with messy, plant-ravaging carp in there. The new Mini Fiend tank is starting into a nitrite spike, so things should be OK pretty soon. As it is, I'm going to have to order more Seachem Safe (powdered Prime, and much cheaper) to help keep the ammonia detoxed, in addition to the water changes and the zeolite in Skate's filter. I may try reseeding both tanks with gunge from one of the other filters; it couldn't hurt.

The multiple 50-75% water changes a day on biggish tanks have really been fun, with my shoulders and pectorals acting up. We do have a coil hose for refilling, which has come in super handy, but it's a small enough diameter that siphoning enough water out takes a couple of hours. Yesterday I set Skate's water emptying before a Tesco trip, and it was a little less than half emptied by the time I got home. There's also no way to attach a gravel vac to that hose, for more thorough cleaning, so I'm schlepping a lot of buckets. And needing rather a lot of painkillers afterward, but it needs to be done. :/

Instead of caving and buying a Python for a higher price in GBP than in USD (like a lot of fish and other hobby stuff, gallingly), I'm going to get some brewing tubing of a diameter to fit the larger gravel vac. Like the Python, that should run to a bathroom drain or out the window to water and fertilize plants. Now I just need to remember to confirm with [livejournal.com profile] vatine how long a length should do the job!

Good thing the fish are worth it, inconvenient though they can be at times. Sort of like sick cats or children, and with about the same sense of timing. As has also come up on The GAB more than once, I'm very glad Ingvar hasn't once expressed amazement because "it's just a fish". Skate has been living here for a little over four years now, since a few days after I moved in. My mom actually let out a surprised "You mean Skate's still around?!" last year. Goldfish will live for 20+ years with good care, and the general level of knowledge about taking care of them is just sad. The common unrepentant ignorance on this, as well as so many other subjects, makes me upset; it's not as if decent information is hard to find. To me, not thinking it's worth learning about shows a lack of empathy.

I was just thinking again a little while ago, as she nibbled on my arm while I was cleaning her gravel, what a generally neat person Skate is, and how many people wouldn't (or couldn't) pay attention to the way she interacts with us finless. If she didn't live in a glass box, she'd be crawling up in the bed with us, like the cats. It's amazing--and not a little frightening--that so many people don't seem to have much empathy, not considering someone who lives a very different life in a different environment even to be a person. Yeah, various nasty -isms are really popular because of this, but it still dumbfounds me sometimes. Other people have acted as if I showed way too much empathy at times, as if it were an obstacle in their zero-sum version of Real Life. I suspect it is seen that way, in a lot of cases. And folks on the autistic spectrum are popularly imagined not to have much in the way of empathy. Grrr.

September 2011

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