Sunday, November 30, 2008


I returned from a week of vacation to find my tank in complete ruin. Hair algae, beard algae and blue-green algae everywhere and even the water is green. I cleaned out some algae last night but it was already so late I could not do more. Today I have no time to work on it as well and this week at work will be crazy, so perhaps I can work on it a bit every night.

I was too panicked at the time to take a picture.

All I can think of is that the automatic fish feeder was dumping way more fish food in than I wanted. All the fish had very fat tummies so this is probably the culprit.

Sigh... and things were going so well.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

3 Weeks - Bristlenose

At 3 weeks most of the water sprite has been removed. The wisteria has grown in to replace it, which looks and smells better (water sprite has a foul odor).

My girls' favorite fish, the bristle-nose pleco. The video is more enjoyable if you make little munching noises with it.

My Coralife power strip with built in day/night timer broke after only 3 weeks of use! It would no longer switch to "night" mode. I could not find any warranty information so I opened it myself and found it easy to fix. There was a small wire running between the timer and the casing that had moved to block the mechansim that toggles the day/night. After moving this wire it worked again. I need to tape it down so it does not happen again. I would hate for this to happen during a vacation and come home to algae soap. While it was open I also realized that this unit does not offer any surge protection, so I picked one up this weekend.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

2 Weeks - Betta Wars - DIY Cooling - Golden Ratio

2 weeks photo
The narrow leaf chain swords are beginning to chain off siblings.

I added 4 more female betttas and my "harem" is now complete. The first few hours after adding the new females were pretty intense and several of them suffered some torn fins. Things have calmed down now and they have all figured out that there is plenty of territory for them all and that they can avoid/leave a confrontation rather than fight it out.

I found what may be the ugliest female betta ever and just could not pass it up. I added her to the tank for her "uniqueness" and character. The girls have named her "Cracker". I don't know what genetic experiments preceded her, but I think it is safe to say they failed.

A few more of the bettas. From left to right we have Buttercup, Crystal and Dragon (renamed from Princess because she is the real trouble maker).

My canopy was getting too hot. I measured the temperature at 105 degrees one evening, and I would think it gets higher than that during the day. I have been looking online at fan solutions and they are overpriced and I just have not been able to make myself buy one. Its pretty obvious that all the solutions are just computer case fans with an AC/DC adapter. So I grabbed a case fan I had here at home, found an old unused AC/DC converter (12v) from an outdated cell phone and spliced the two together. Fan worked, no fire. So I used some velcro tape to attach the fan and try it out. With in few minutes the canopy temp dropped by ~12 degrees. Not bad! Since this worked I am going to add a second fan and find a more permanent/secure way to attach the fans.

As as side note... when I was drawing up the basic plans for the stand and hood I was concerned about getting the proportions balanced. I have seen aquariums with over sized canopies or stands that are too short/tall and they don't look "right". An idea came to me from my website. My brother (a dentist) mentioned that veneers are done with the golden ratio in mind - DING! That was the answer to getting a balanced looking stand/aquarium/canopy. So I used the golden ratio based on the height of the aquarium to determine the height of the stand and canopy. You can't go wrong with the golden ratio.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

1 week

Photo at 1 week after planting. I gave up on keeping the water sprite down and just let it float.