Archive | May, 2013

Get into shape. Buy a fish tank!

9 May

We’ve all seen those articles that claim having a fish tank is good for our mental well-being. The serenity, the calm, the interaction with nature.

What a load of CRAP!

Having a fish tank means always having something to worry about. Diseases like fin rot, and fungus, and especially ICH. Fish that fight, fish that devour their own babies!! Tanks that leak, heaters that stick in the ON position and COOK your fish.  $20 fish that jump out of your $500 tank. The kids putting cookies in the tank.

This hobby is a nightmare, and if you sit in front of the tank eating cookies or drinking beer it also ruins your physical health. My blood pressure goes up every time I see a fish!

I can’t help you with the mental stress of owning a fish tank but I do have some ways to improve your physical fitness.

First, don’t just sit there and stare at your fish like a zombie.  Place your dusty old exercise bike in front of the aquarium. Start out nice and easy. Soon, your legs will get stronger, your stamina will improve and you may actually go outside and ride a real bike someday.

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While you are on the exercise bike, you can ponder your aquarium and it’s inhabitants. You’ll think of ways to hook the bike up to your fish tank lights. Free energy!  Don’t hook the bike up to the air pumps, your fish shouldn’t depend on your lazy butt just to breathe.

To build strength, do a lot of water changes in your tank. Every week, drain out 20 percent of the water and refill it with clean fresh water. Don’t use some fancy-schmantzy automatic water changing device. Just use buckets of water and a short hose. The further you are from the drain, the better.

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A bucket of water weighs about 35 pounds. Don’t forget to alternate your bucket-lifting arm. You don’t want to start walking lop-sided. For those of you who want a more intense workout, carry the bucket outdoors and water your plants and trees. The best water for houseplants comes from your aquarium.

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Eventually, you may attempt a feat of Olympian strength that is known to fishkeepers world-wide.  This “event” requires you to remove a newly acquired 55  gallon (approx. 210 liter) aquarium from the backseat of your car, wrap your arms around it, lean against the back door of your home, quietly open the…dammit, the keys are in your pocket! Hunch down, support the tank on your knees, fish (ha ha, a pun) into your pants for the house-key. Now, QUIETLY, stealthily, tiptoe into the house, and quickly, like a cat, carry the tank into the basement. Even though you have the urge to gasp and groan, remain silent. If your spouse calls from another room  you must calmly reply, using short words like “Yes!” and “Fine!”.

Then, very importantly,  hide the tank! The best way to hide an aquarium is to tuck it BEHIND other unused fish tanks. Camouflage, as it were. This step may involve moving several tanks, buckets, wooden and/or metal stands. Once this is accomplished, you can collapse into a chair or onto the floor.

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It is recommended that you start practicing this phrase immediately:

“That big tank behind there? I’ve ALWAYS had that tank!”

 

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Random thoughts, a post for those of us with no attention span whatsoever

1 May
My son gave me some candy called a Swedish Fish. Yummy! Are they made in Sweden?

My son gave me some candy called a Swedish Fish. Yummy! In America the Swedish Fish are made in Canada 😦

Treat your fish once in awhile. Here's a bowl of peas, brine shrimp and cocktail shrimp.

Treat your fish once in awhile. Here’s a bowl of peas, brine shrimp and cocktail shrimp.

Her'es an extra piece of pond liner that I gave to a friend who might make a pond this year...or next.

Here’s an extra piece of pond liner that I gave to a friend who might make a pond this year…or next.

My wife and i lined this planter with strips of pond liner. The planter dries out too fast. Water can drain out between the strips but hopefully not too fast.

My wife and I lined this planter with strips of pond liner. The planter always dries out too fast. Now, water can drain between the strips but hopefully not too fast.

All done, waiting for Spring!

All done, waiting for Spring!

A few weeks ago, the last bit of snow in the yard.

A few weeks ago, the last bit of snow in the yard.

Spring comes, then it snows again.

Spring comes, then it snows again.

...so feed the birds!!

…so feed the birds!!

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Finally the rains came, and the ponds filled with worms!! i have netted hundreds of worms form the pond. Great fish food, especially for Catfish and Cichlids. If you poison your yard, don't feed the worms to your fish.

Finally the rains came, and the ponds filled with worms!! I have netted hundreds of worms from the pond. Great fish food, especially for Catfish and Cichlids. If you poison your yard, don’t feed the worms to your fish.

Our Golden Retriever hears someone has just gotten home.

Our Golden Retriever hears someone outside.

A few warm days and we think Spring is finally here. We have been fooled 4 or 5 times so far.

A few warm days and we think Spring is finally here. We have been fooled 4 or 5 times.

The Chinese Curly Willow has made it through Winter!!

The Chinese Curly Willow has made it through Winter!!

Too much Caulerpa in the Saltwater tank.

Too much Caulerpa in the Saltwater tank.

I took some to a fish auction.

I took some to a fish auction.

I bought afish tank at the auction, and some plants but my favorite purchase was astack of this magazine from 1969 to 1971. Practical Fishkeeping!!

I bought a fish tank at the auction, and some plants, but my favorite purchase was a stack of this magazine from 1969 to 1971. Practical Fishkeeping!!

Winter is returning tonight , for the fifth time this Spring. My brother sent me this pic of the turtles in Missouri. But it will be cold down there, too. A strange year so far.

Winter is returning tonight, for the fifth time this Spring. My brother sent me this pic of the turtles in Missouri. But it’s getting  cold down there, too. A strange year so far.

A view of Red Swordtails and young Angelfish from above.

A view of Red Swordtails and young Angelfish from above.

A Spring salad today and the snow is coming again.

A Spring salad today and the snow is coming again.

This old girl, who I've had for 23 years , enjoyed the day as well.

This old girl, who I’ve had for 23 years , enjoyed the day as well.

Why Momma turtle was acting funny

1 May
The turtles have spent a long Winter in the basement.

The turtles have spent a long Winter in the basement.

One warm day i oput the turtles outside and within hours the female dug a nest.

One warm day I put the turtles outside and within hours the female dug a nest.

The female works her back legs in alternating fashion until she creates a nest that is shaped like this, but underground.

The female works her back legs in alternating fashion until she creates a nest that is shaped like this, but underground.

She laid 5 eggs, and it got teribly cold that night. I brought the eggs indoors and 3 or 4 are looking good.

She laid 5 eggs, and it got terribly cold that night. I brought the eggs (and turtles) indoors and 3 or 4 are looking good.

Cleaning the ponds is nasty no matter what

1 May
The turtle pond is a stinky mess in the Spring.

The turtle pond is a stinky mess in the Spring.

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During Winter I float plastic jugs weighted slightly with sand. I don’t think this is necessary in a rubber-lined pond but I do it anyway. I don’t know why.

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The little pond is full of leaves and even newspaper.

The turtle are anxious to get outdoors. The female was acting strange, prowling slowly at the bottom of the tank.

The turtles are anxious to get outdoors. The female was acting strange, prowling slowly at the bottom of the tank.

I hoped that draining the pond at 40F ( 4degrees C) would make it less smelly. It was still disgusting.

I hoped that draining the pond at Forty degrees F ( 4 degrees C) would make it less smelly. It was still disgusting.

The land plants need work, too.

The land plants need work, too.

A little frog survived the Winter in the 30 gallon pond.

A little frog survived the Winter in the 30 gallon pond.

I brought nthe frog indoors for two days and fattened him up on earthworms.

I brought the frog indoors for two days and fattened him up on earthworms.

My loyal assistant.

My loyal assistant.

Re-filling the big pond.

Re-filling the big pond.

And another frog, this one as big as your hand. An American Bullfrog.

And another frog, this one as big as your hand.
An American Bullfrog.

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Still too cold for fish. I want to put some Platies and Swordtails in this one.

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Good luck, little froggie.

Baby Bristlies

1 May

I’m happy to report that my pair of albino Bristle-nosed Plecostomus has made babies. Not very many, I counted only four, but I am thrilled to see the cute little ones scurrying around the tank. The four babies are all the typical brown-colored Pleco and I have seen no albinos.

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The male is a short-fin and the female is a long-fin. I wonder what the babies will be.

I can’t say much about how to breed the Bristle-nosed Pleco. I put the pair in a ten-gallon tank, provided a nice rocky cave,  and made some regular water changes. They get the standard flake foods plus occasional peas, and I do have a small piece of driftwood for them to scrape.

The male Bristle -nose has the bristly nose.

The male Bristle -nose has the bristly nose.

I forgot about them for awhile and discontinued the water changes. I looked in the tank one day and there were the babies, already 3/8 of an inch long. (close to one centimeter)

I fear that I may have siphoned away baby Plecos when I changed water. Since the tank has a bare bottom I always siphoned the detritus (do they call it “mulm” anymore?) off the bottom. I dearly hope that didn’t happen.