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If you’re like me, the annual sight of blissfully happy couples on Valentine’s Day makes you ill. Not because of their cloying sweetness and dopey “eyes only for you” looks (though that’s part of it), but because you never get to join in. If your romantic life has stunk as badly as mine, you’ve often felt like that little kid looking in from outside the fence and wishing he could play, too, but never gets the chance.

Admit it: you’re lonely and resentful, and every Valentine’s Day is an annoying reminder of that. Don’t deny it, revel in it — wallow in the mire you yourself have created! Give in to the dark side…

And, while you’re at it, enjoy this Valentine’s Day report from The Onion.

You’re welcome.

Merry Christmas!

I hope Santa brought all that you could desire. 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving TurkeyI hope everyone has a fine day today. And just to show that Turkey Day is a holiday for everyone, even the big cats of Big Cat Rescue get their helping of bird:

Somehow, I don’t think there will be many leftovers tomorrow. 🙂

Flaming horse-poop!

Fire hazard?

No, someone did not feed old Dobbin jalapeños. But New York City is now known as a place where horse manure spontaneously combusts:

Environmental authorities in New York state hot and dry weather conditions caused a large pile of horse poop to spontaneously burst into flames.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation said an officer responded to the town of Throop on July 5 to investigate complaints about a foul odor and smell coming from a large pile of burning horse manure.

The officer discovered the owners of a stable had been storing the horse feces in large piles. The owners said the piles had spontaneously combusted before, but previously the smells and smoke had been carried away from nearby residences by the wind.

Talk about a crappy neighborhood…

Not my tank, but you get the idea.

It’s been a little while since I’ve done an update, and that’s for a good reason: things are going swimmingly (ahem) with JJ&J’s Seafood Buffet. But I thought I’d post a couple of recent pictures.

The first is a full-tank shot. I’d done a major trimming of the Ludwigia Repens at the right rear: it had grown across the top almost to the front of the tank throwing shade. That was a couple of weeks ago, and I think it’s growing back quite nicely.

Here’s the left end. The Cardamine grows like a weed, always threatening to overshadow the Hygrophila Stricta:

And here’s the right. I think the amano shrimp like to molt within it, since I occasionally find castoff shells in front of it. You’ll also see one my (many) platy fry at the lower right:

I think I’m happiest over two things: the general health of the fish and plants, and the success I’ve had at developing the red in the alternanthera grove in the middle. Of the first part, I was afraid I’d make serious mistakes coming back to the hobby after several years away, but I seem to have avoided most. Even algae hasn’t been a major problem.

The success with the alternanthera I attribute to higher lighting thanks to the Finnex Planted+ and regular dosing with Seachem Iron. I think the only way I could do better would be to start injecting CO2.

Of the two mistakes I’ve made (that I know of), one is minor and the other is potentially serious.

The minor mistake was planting the Hygrophila in the back. I thought it would grow an inch or two higher. It’s fairly hidden where it is. I perhaps not have ordered it and just filled that whole back corner with Cardamine. Live and learn.

Potentially more serious is a decision that’s coming back to bite me: when I bought the five platys, I said “four females and one male.” Trust me, that one fry in the photo is not the only one in there. Intellectually I knew I’d get fry, but I didn’t realize just what a potential problem they’d become in a 20-gallon tank.

Oops.

So, since catching fry in a heavily planted tank is impossible without destroying the place, I’ve decided I have to give away the adult platys. I can raise the fry and remove any males that develop. Now I just have to find a local aquarist or store willing to take them. It’s a shame there isn’t an aquarium club in West Los Angeles (that I know of), since it would be nice to offer them to other members. Something has to be done soon, though.

That’s all for now!

science-clipart-life-science-clipart

Because… why not?

SCIENCE!!

clipart shrimp

Haven’t updated this in a while, because, really, there’s not been much to say: all the fish have been happy and eating like little pigs, and no more neons have died. Plants are growing well, too, though I do want to get around to setting up DIY CO2, soon.

Green hair algae is threatening to become a problem. It’s appearing in clumps on the driftwood. In small amounts, it’s actually pleasing, but I can see where it will get out of hand. It’s even sprouting from the gravel. I’ve been testing Nualgi to see how it does at algae control, but, so far (3-4 weeks) I’m not seeing much effect. Others rave about it, though.

Also started running Purigen in the AC50. My goodness, what a difference that has made in the water clarity!

So, anyway, I picked up four more neons from the same store to bring my school to 11, plus five amano shrimps, all from nature Aquarium in Santa Monica. They have great fish and plants there. My new fish are currently in their bags acclimating. (After floating the bags to let the temperature equalize, I’m adding 10ml of tank water to the bags every five minutes for an hour before releasing them.) I can’t wait to try to get the shrimps out. (That was sarcasm, folks) I suspect it will be the “pour into a net” method.

Anyway, here’s a pic of my new aquatic cockroaches waiting patiently:

Bugs, Mr, Rico! Five of them!!

Also, a full tank shot from this morning. The plants are going to get a trimming this weekend or next:

Needs a trim.

The last acquisition for the tank will be a small shoal (5-6) of corydoras habrosus, if I can find any around here. Haven’t seen them yet.

Still have to figure out where the next aquarium goes. Oh yes, there’s always a next one. 😀