Feb. 4th, 2007 10:08 pm
serenissima: woman's face with glasses (real life)
On the minus side:
The temperature is going down to 9F tonight.
Another one of my glow-light tetras is unable to swim properly. It's squirming around on its back.
I have homework to do.
And I'm running out of clean pairs of socks.

On the plus side:
I read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho this afternoon. It's a lovely little story, not much more than a glorified parable. I highly recommend it.


Dec. 2nd, 2006 02:58 pm
serenissima: banded sphinx moth (beauty/nature)
One of my fish was ill on Wednesday: I arrived home to find that one of the glow-light tetras could not maintain a horizontal position. It stayed at the bottom of the tank and sort of wobbled around on its tail, achieving a 45-degree angle at best. I withheld food on Thursday in hopes that the problem would resolve on its own. Friday was no better. I continued not to feed, and I decided to quarantine the unhealthy fish Saturday morning. This morning came and went, and I didn't feel up to removing the fish from the tank. There really is no painless way to euthanize a fish that I know of.

I finally got a bowl from the cupboard and moved to isolate the fish half an hour ago. Turns out waiting so long had already made the determination for me: my shrimp have eaten the guts out of the little carcass. I netted it out anyway. When I inverted the net and tried to drop the body in the toilet, the tail snagged on the net and I had to pick it off. Ugh.

I'm such a wuss.


Oct. 29th, 2006 03:47 pm
serenissima: (Default)
Just updated my Flickr account with a few shots of my fish tank.
serenissima: woman's face with glasses (real life)
On a positive note, I just changed the water in my fish tank, and both of the otos are alive and in apparent good health. I guess they've just been hiding for the past two weeks. Maybe they didn't like the strong current: as water evaporates and the water level drops, the waterfall effect from my power filters gets more powerful.

But why haven't they been eating the algae?
serenissima: (Default)
I haven't been paying a lot of attention to my aquarium lately, poor fishies. But I have realized that I haven't seen my Otocinclus catfish in several days. I'd stopped feeding them algae tablets in the past couple weeks, because green algae has been proliferating in my tank, and they're supposed to eat that stuff and keep my tank clean. I wonder if maybe I starved them and my japonica shrimp ate their dead bodies? Or maybe the shrimp ate them live? The shrimp don't look quite big enough to eat my fish, but they are the biggest animals in my tank. Supposedly the shrimp eat algae too, so I guess I need not replace the Otos. They were cute though, and I feel bad if I was a contributor to their demise.
serenissima: (Default)
I went to the pet store last night to buy medicine, but the clerk advised me to was to euthanize the sick fish as a precaution, to protect the others. This was an option I'd already been considering. I bought the medicine anyway in case I need it later. So I went home and set about removing the illin' one from the aquarium. This turned out to be the toughest part of the evening, as my target proved to me that it could still swim perfectly well. I ended up pulling out half the plastic plants so they didn't get in the way of my net. I decided to put the fish in a glass jar temporarily, thinking there might be a possibility it would recover, but when I got home today it was upside down and not moving. Oddly, its colors were still bright.

I'll be keeping a closer eye on the rest of the fish than I have been lately. Unlike when I just got the tank started, this hasn't upset me much.

Well crap

Jun. 7th, 2006 10:57 pm
serenissima: (Default)
One of my fish is sick: a cardinal tetra is severely bloated. This is the first time I've had a problem in several months.
For those who are interested in the nitty-gritty details, here are the contents of the lengthy post I made to Age of Aquariums.
Read more... )
serenissima: (Default)
On Sunday I added new members to my little community-inna-box: four glowlight tetras. The pet store was out of black neon tetras, so I opted for the other species I'd been considering. They are mostly greyish with a metallic coppery-orange lateral stripe. They're pretty, but in a much more understated way than the cardinal tetras. I'm half-regretting putting the glowlights in the same tank with the cardinals, because the cardinals are so flashy. Their electric blue stripe is broader and more brilliant than the reflective stripes of the other tetras, so they outshine the others. The black neons are still moderately eye-catching, but the glowlights fade by comparison.

Sometimes I wonder what goes through their little fishy brains. What cues them to congregate at the front of the tank when I get ready to feed them? Is it my presence standing in front of the tank? Is it the fact that I remain standing there for more than just a couple seconds? Do they recognize the yellow can of fish food I'm holding? During the terrifying ordeal of a water change, do the more experienced fish reassure the new ones? :) Do they realize that the water is cleaner than it was an hour previous, or do they not remember?

Changing the subject, job stress is back. Looks like I'll be spending a couple of late nights at work. Yuck.


Mar. 14th, 2006 10:52 pm
serenissima: woman's face with glasses (real life)
Reuters: Switching to vegetarian keeps weight down
Researchers who studied the eating habits of 22,000 people over five years, including meat eaters and vegetarians, found they all put on a few kilos but meat eaters who changed to a vegetarian or vegan diet gained the least.

"Contrary to current popular views that a diet low in carbohydrates and high in protein keeps weight down, we found that the lowest weight gain came in people with high intake of carbohydrates and low intake of protein," said Professor Tim Key.
I have given up meat for Lent, except on Sundays, as I have done for the past couple years. If it results in weight loss, I'll be pleased, though really my weight is less of a concern to me than being soft and squishy and tiring easily.

Yesterday was warm, so I went for a walk in the park during lunch, opting for a 10-minute circuit of the garden rather than a 25-minute circuit of the pond because I was short on time. I saw snowdrops, purple crocuses (an inelegant name for a dainty flower), yellow narcissi, white and mauve hellebores, sparrows bathing in a puddle, and a grey-brown cat without any attendant human -- I assume it was stray or feral. Spring is on the way....

I purchased three new cardinal tetras on Sunday. They are juveniles, barely half the length of the ones I already had and about one-fourth to one-third the size in terms of volume. This highlights how my older fish have grown: I used to have two runty-looking ones, but now I can't tell them apart from the "bigger" ones. I'm hoping the increased numbers will make the cardinals bolder. Ever since I added the black neons, the cardinals seemed to let the black neons rule the tank. I think they're a little more outgoing now, but I'm not sure.

New starts

Jan. 30th, 2006 01:41 pm
serenissima: (rose)
Yesterday was New Year's Day according to the lunar calendar used in China and many other Asian countries. Happy Year of the Dog, folks!

I'm in a good mood today. Part of it is held over from a good weekend: relaxed, yet I got some stuff done. Part of it is that my boss is out of the office today, and I think I have my work under control. Part of it is the amazing weather. It's sunny out, and Yahoo! Weather says it's 62F -- more like April than January. I'm back from a walk around the pond in the park across the street. The two swans were standing on the shore grooming themselves, and I was once again impressed by their size. Some days ago, one of them let me stand eight feet away and watch it for a couple minutes as it groomed itself. When I moved up here I thought geese were big, but swans are as big as at least two geese. If you consider volume instead of mass, I think I may only be as big as three geese, myself.

Saturday was almost as warm as today. Chris and I went to the park for running/skating, and I fell for only the second time since discovering that park. While trying to pass a couple walking their dog, I lost my balance and skinned my elbow. The dog was frightened. It was a tiny white poodle wearing a Gap doggy sweatshirt. At least it didn't have the shaved haircut poodles wear in cartoons.

February begins this week. A new week, a new month, a new year. I think I shall make a resolution: floss daily and take my multivitamin. I've fallen out of the habit of both. More ambitious resolutions may yet come.   :)

Oh, and an aquarium update: on Friday evening, I acquired two Otocinclus catfish and three japonica shrimp (I think they are these) to be my clean-up crew. Last time I changed the water, I deliberately did not disturb the ugly coating of brown algae that has developed on my plastic plants, fake rock, and sides of the tank. In the two days that I've had them, the Otos have eaten nearly all the algae off the rock and the glass, and I think some is gone from the plants, too. I'm pleased with how that worked out. The shrimp have been hiding; I haven't observed them eating, or doing anything else, really.
serenissima: (Default)
I got some new fish last Sunday: three black neon tetras. All three seem to be doing fine. They're quite active, and what's more, the five cardinal tetras I already had seem to be more active since I added the black neons. Either that, or I just never paid enough attention before to notice how much they usually move around. When I approach the tank, all the fish hide. If I stand still for half a minute, they come back out, but until the addition of the new fish, I usually saw them moving at a more leisurely pace, except at feeding time.
Read more... )


Nov. 4th, 2005 01:43 pm
serenissima: (Default)
I've been going for a 20-minute walk every lunch break this week, in view of the unseasonably mild weather we're having and my increasing flab. Today, though, I have only a few minutes left in my lunch hour, and I'll spend some time outside tomorrow, so I think I'll post instead of walking.

I had another aquarium crisis -- seems like if it's not one thing, it's another. The power filter died on Sunday: I changed the water and everything was fine, I went out shopping, and when I got back the filter had stopped. Didn't even make any "I'm trying" noise. I assume something went wrong with the motor. So Monday evening after work I dashed out to buy a replacement, instead of distributing Halloween candy. I'm a bit concerned for my fish, because the beneficial bacteria have not had time to grow on the new filter and until they do, waste will accumulate. But it's just five little tetras in a 20 gallon tank, so hopefully conditions will remain tolerable.

I had an odd dream the other morning. One scene involved the three sisters -- and I mean The Three Sisters, fates or Norns or whatever -- as little girls, gossiping around their kitchen table. Another scene had some young men or teenagers going to check out the cave they had used as their secret clubhouse when they were boys, only to find the whole area had been developed as a subdivision of houses. But they broke into the basement of the particular house built on top of their hideout and found a way through to the cave which was still there underneath.
serenissima: (Default)
I got three new cardinal tetras Monday night. A day and a half later, they are doing fine. That makes five of them.

I turned on the tank light this morning and found one of the cory cats lying on its back, right at the front of the tank.

Other than seldom seeing both the cories at the same time, there were no warning signs. At least it expired in a conveniently obvious place. As Chris remarked at the time of the previous fish death, "I begin to see why people get frustrated with this hobby."

The last of the cories was still swimming when I left for work. I think he must be lonely and I want to get him some buddies, but I worry they may succumb to mysterious demises, too. Poor things. The cardinals are more active and much more colorful, but the panda cories have cuter faces.

On a brighter note, I was pleased to hear that the space shuttle Discovery launched without a problem yesterday.
serenissima: (rose)
I had a scare Friday night: my wallet was not in my purse when I got home. I realized I had left it at work. Fortunately, I had left it at my desk, not in the cafeteria, and it was still there when I went back Saturday morning to look for it. I already canceled my credit card number, but I'm willing to deal with a new number.

I added three cardinal tetras to my aquarium Thursday night, despite cautions about my pH being too high for them. They were all still alive Friday, but on Sunday around noon I found one lifeless, stuck against the filter intake tube. I'm not sure if he had been held there wedged between a plant and the intake; I don't think the current is strong enough to trap a fish. The other two look pretty as they zip and zoom around. Also, I have seen only one cory catfish for the past few days, so there is probably another dead body somewhere in there. It's very difficult to see some parts of the aquarium because of the plastic plants clustered together. I put them that way so the fish would feel secure, but I may have to rearrange them again so I can better monitor the status of the inhabitants.
[EDIT: as of 8 PM today, both cories are still alive.]

I spent all Saturday afternoon playing Guild Wars, after not having played it for a month or more. I brought one of my characters out of the "newbie area" and into the main part of the game. Sunday I finally went through the hand-me-down clothes I've received from my cousins and put them in my closet, in the laundry, or in the bag for Goodwill, as appropriate. I also uncovered a few of my own pieces of clothing that I'd been too lazy to iron after they were laundered; they'd been sitting around for months, forgotten. So now I have several "new" options to wear to work. Sunday evening, Chris and I played D&D. My character learned some local history from a conversation with a tree. :) I feel my weekend was a good mix of mental-health recovery & relaxation and productive housework. Could've used a walk in the park, but I'll do better next weekend.

fish update

Jul. 5th, 2005 01:24 pm
serenissima: (Default)
I enjoyed my three day weekend. The kitchen was cleaned, a process completed in stages over all three days. I didn't do anything in particular related to Independence Day besides not going to work. I didn't want to stay up late when I had work the next morning, so that ruled out going to a huge fireworks show, and by yesterday afternoon I found that I didn't feel like going to a small, neighborhood fireworks show either, so Chris and I stayed in and played our Dungeons & Dragons game. (Melinda killed the "mad scientist" wizard and is now wanted for murder, so she fled the country.)

Two of the four corys did not survive the first week. Chris flushed one tiny corpse last Wednesday. Only two fish were eating their food, and I didn't find the other until Sunday, when I removed all the decorations from the tank. I have a colorful pagoda in the middle -- the single most expensive item for my aquarium, even more than the power filter. Anyway, as soon as I lifted it, the dead cory fell out. It's startling to have a corpse land on or near you, even when you're looking for said corpse. I disposed of it and continued redecorating. Most of the plants had come loose from the gravel, so I repositioned everything. There was a lot of debris floating around from all the disturbance, so I changed out a bucketful of water before I put the decorations back in, even though I'd just done a water change last Friday. The two fish were utterly terrified, but after everything was in place I dropped their breakfast in, and when I checked on them ten minutes later they were both eating.

The light fixture had been removed from the aquarium hood when I received it. After a trip to Home Depot, we got a light installed in the hood yesterday. Either the fish are more active with the light or I can see them better. They still dart for cover when I approach the tank. I hope they'll get desensitized to my presence after a few weeks. I may have to change my plans for tetras, because my tap water has a pH of 8 and I'm told that's too alkaline for cardinals. I'm thinking of getting glo-lite (glowlight?) tetras instead, since they're supposed to be more hardy. I was hoping to add them yesterday, but I decided it might be best to let things settle a bit, until this coming weekend at least.
serenissima: (Default)
Work's been stressful lately. I've had to do counts and tallys and stupid little mindless exercises that are necessary because we need to report certain numbers to the state department of health. Meanwhile, the nearly as mindless task of entering all the attendance sheets into my spreadsheet is not being done. My work is piling up. I think all the stuff made necessary by the state department of health has increased my workload about 50% more than normal during the past couple months.

One thing that cheered me up yesterday was a trip to the fish store. My fish tank is finally cycled, so last night I bought four panda corydoras catfish. They're cute. I was at first thinking of getting pygmy cories, but when I saw how small they were I changed my mind. I had a hard time distinguishing them from pieces of aquarium gravel. Even the pandas are barely an inch long, maybe an inch and a quarter, but they are pale and show up better against my black gravel than the grey pygmies would have. Chris and I independently came up with the idea of naming them after the Three Musketeers and D'Artagnan, but we can't tell them apart, so I guess they will have to remain nameless.

These are the first pets I've had since... I think since the gerbils my brother and I had for a few months in elementary school. I'm anxious to provide a good environment for them. Next I'll get some cardinal tetras, and finally a betta.

EDIT: see also here for bigger pictures of panda corys.
serenissima: (Default)
note to self: species that look good )

Am now thinking of getting gold and cherry barbs, but may just settle for platies and zebra danios.
serenissima: (Default)
the short list:
mollies - dalmatian (black and white spotted) and cremesicle (mottled yellow)
red/orange platies, with or without black tail
black neon tetras
1 male Betta splendens
cardinal tetras
cherry or rosy barbs
ghost shrimp

tank size = 24"x12"x12" = 15 gal.
How many fish can this support?
If each schooling species prefers groups of at least 5 or 6, may be limited to just two schooling species?
Would omit the barbs & cardinals first


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