Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Pets’ Category

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. 😀

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Finally. At long last, after several years without an aquarium, after weeks of cycling and letting plants take root, after going fish shopping last weekend and being disappointed, we have fish.

Meet the first new inhabitants of JJ&J’s Seafood Buffet:

JJJ Buffet 017

(Letting the temperature adjust for 30 minutes, then in they go.)

These are from one of my local Petcos where, frankly, the fish looked better and the staff were friendlier than my local tropical fish store. These were labeled “Sunset Fire Platies,” and I bought one male and four females.

They’re out of the bag, now, exploring their new home, and pooping. If fish are eating and pooping, they’re happy. After some initial signs of stress, they’re swimming around and snacking on algae. The male seemed to take the longest to adjust, hiding in the Cardamine, but he seems to be doing fine now. I’ll give them and the tank a week to adjust, then go shopping for another species next week.

On the plant front, there’s good news and bad news.

The good news is that I’m still getting good new growth. Here’s a snap of the Cardamine and the Hygrophila Stricta:

Cardamine in the front, Hygrophila in the back

Cardamine in the front, Hygrophila in the back

And the Echinodorus Tenellus is sending runners. Both plants have several “daughters.” In fact, I may have to “harvest” some, soon. They’re invading other plants’ spaces.

That bad news is that my lovely Marsilea Hirsuta, which had been growing like wildfire, has had a major die-off in the central portion. Here’s a recent “before” picture:

It was a great start

It was a great start

Here’s how it is today:

What happened?

What happened?

This makes me sad. 😦

At first I thought it was just old leaves dying during the transition, but even new leaves are rotting. I’m really not sure what’s happened here. I started dosing the full Seachem liquid fertilizer regime last weekend, including Excel. I’ve heard of other plants that have a problem with Excel, but I’ve not read of Marsilea being one of them. Maybe they’re unrelated. Regardless, I think this weekend I’m going to rip out the dead plant portions, snip off the runners that still seem good and replant them

Speaking of Seachem products, as I mentioned, I started the full regime last weekend, including Iron. I think most of the plants like it, especially the Cardamine. Even the Alternanthera is getting redder and showing new leaves. I’ve also noticed the algae that had been bugging me (hair and the beginnings of brush algae) looks like it has vanished. Frankly, I’m surprised.

I’ll be starting CO2, soon (“Do It Yourself” with citric acid), and I’ve decided to add a 2nd AC20 filter to the tank at the other end, to increase flow there. And the extra biological filtration couldn’t hurt.

That’s it for now, more when developments warrant.

Read Full Post »

 

fire fireman

First things first: I’m okay and so is my own apartment. No property loss, don’t have to relocate. I was lucky. Not so much the guy who started the blaze, however. We’ll get back to that.

About 7 PM last night, while I was fixing dinner, the alarm bells went off outside my front door. Didn’t think much of it at first, since there have been false alarms in the past, but then I heard noise in the hallway and popped my head out… and smelled smoke.

This one was for real.

I grabbed my laptop and USB drive (to access important papers I keep online and my bank account) and headed out to the street. It looked like a disaster movie outside: three full engine companies had showed up and were already attacking the fire. I could see smoke pouring from one apartment, and it billowed out the openings at the end of the hallway like smoke pouring form an old coal-burning engine, black and thick.

Like I said, I was lucky. Though only a few doors down the hall from me, there were two closed fire doors in between, keeping the smoke out. And LAFD responded so fast and put the fire out so quickly that it didn’t spread from the original unit, though the hallway is black with smoke stains, and the people below have water damage.

The moron who started the fire, however, paid a price. Apparently my guess was right. Per the LAFD, a fire started in the kitchen, a grease fire, and he tried to put it out by throwing water on it. It probably blew up in his face like this:

Hence he is now in the hospital with burns to his arms and head. And probably facing lawsuits. Idiot.

(In case you think I’m being callous, I do sympathize with him for his injuries, but he damn near burned me out, too. So sympathy is limited.)

I did feel sorry for the animals, too. I saw one woman desperately trying to get her cat into a carrier (It was probably thinking “We’re going to the Vet? NOW???”), and a poor border collie was just shaking with fear as its owner tried to calm it. All the noise and the smells were probably too much for it.

Some observations:

  • Fire doors are good things. I will never complain about them being closed and annoying again.
  • Everyone needs basic fire extinguisher training and have a fire extinguisher in their kitchen. I’ve been trained, but my extinguisher is overdue for replacement.
  • I also need a “go bag” ready for an emergency evacuation. I knew what I wanted to save, and I got out pretty quickly, but, had I been forced to relocate, I’d have had only the clothes I was wearing.
  • Whatever the favorite charity is for the Los Angeles Fire Department, it’s getting a donation from me.

So, let’s see. I get sick Friday and my building nearly burns down Saturday. I wonder what Sunday has in store?

Don’t answer that.

PS: The apartment where the fire started is locked up, naturally, but I’ll see if I can get some decent pictures of other parts..

PPS: Got some pictures.

Fire casa de vida apt door

That’s what’s left of the front door of the apartment.

fire casa de vida hallway

Black is not the original color for this hallway, trust me.

fire casa de vida fire door

The fire door did its job.

Read Full Post »

Now, Wiener Dog Races!

Do they know how to have fun in Oklahoma, or what? 😀

PS: Speaking of Cowboy Monkey Rodeo

via Moe Lane

Read Full Post »

Okay, I knew the Nazis were into all sorts of pseudoscience in pursuit of their crazy theories (and just to keep Schiklgruber happy) , but setting up a research institute to teach them to speak (real words, not “arf!”), read, and even read minds?

Science!

The dog school was called the Tier-Sprechschule ASRA and was based near Hanover. Led by headmistress Margarethe Schmitt, it was set up in the 1930s and continued throughout the war years.

Rolf, an Airedale terrier, reportedly ‘spoke’ by tapping his paw against a board, each letter of the alphabet being represented by a certain number of taps. He was said to have speculated about religion, learnt foreign languages, written poetry and asked a visiting noblewoman: ‘Could you wag your tail?’

The patriotic dog even expressed a wish to join the army – because he disliked the French.

A Dachshund named Kurwenal was said to speak using a different number of barks for each letter, and told his biographer he would be voting for Hindenburg.

And a German pointer named Don imitated a human voice to bark: ‘Hungry! Give me cakes.’

Dr Bondeson, whose book Amazing Dogs: A Cabinet Of Canine Curiosities is out now, said: ‘It is absolutely extraordinary stuff.

‘There were some very strange experiments going on in wartime Germany, with regard to dog-human communication.’

That last, I think, qualifies as an understatement.

Of course, it would explain that air of dictatorial authority our dogs exhibited whenever they wanted a cookie. Hmmm…

And while this is yet another example of a what a bunch of fruitcakes the Nazis were*, it’s also marvelous material for a “weird alternate history” roleplaying game. Not that I’ve ever considered such a thing

Click through for more Nazi weirdness.

*Albeit, armed, sociopathic, and extremely dangerous fruitcakes.

h/t Moe Lane

Read Full Post »

Wanna see me recite Shakespeare?

Researchers at Wofford College in South Carolina have what may be the smartest dog in the world:

Cats rule, dogs drool, right? Not this time. It looks like the dogs have won this round thanks to a border collie named Chaser, who has the largest vocabulary seen in any animal.

Alliston Reid and John Pilley, psychologists at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, have been working with Chaser to see if there is a limit to the number of words a border collie can learn. So far, Chaser knows 1,022 words.

(…)

Reid and Pilley taught Chaser to recognize the names of 1,022 toys over a three year period. Toys were presented to Chaser individually, and the name of the toy would be repeated in order to help Chaser learn to recognize it.

To make sure Chaser was actually learning the names of these toys, she was tested on a regular basis. Tests consisted of researchers choosing 20 toys at random, and allowing Chaser to retrieve them when the toy’s name was called. The toys were put in an entirely different room so that researchers could not “unintentionally give Chaser cues about which toy to choose.”

Out of a total of 838 tests over a three year time span, researchers reported that Chaser chose at least 18 out of 20 correct toys when the toy’s name was called.

They’ve also taught Chaser to recognize objects by shape and function, matching the developmental level of a human three-year old.

Pretty darned impressive, and I don’t say this just because I’m a “dog person.” In my family we were sure our dogs understood the meaning of some words, not just recognized sounds. Chaser and her human staff* seem to have taken this to the next level, however.

But, does anyone else get a slightly unnerving Planet of the Apes vibe from this? “Get your paws off me, you damned dirty mutt!” 😉

*Oh, admit it. Anyone who’s ever had a dog or a cat knows who the real boss is.

via The Dog Files

Read Full Post »

This porcupine has a serious identity crisis, as it thinks it’s a puppy:

Well, pooh. The owners seem to have pulled the video.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »