Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Inert Substrate Trail/Experiment pt.3

Posting a very short entry today. 

3 Days after adding 100g of Sera Super Peat, the tank has gone from 7.3pH down to 5.9pH. I'm at a situation where I hope the pH doesn't continue to drop. I need it to stabilize around this range to allow me to keep bee shrimps successfully. 

I think I've been recently inspired with a new scape idea. Something new, something I've never done before, but something I predict will be very fantastic! I'm very excited to try this new scape  I hope you guys stay tuned for updates!


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Photoburst: Royal Blue Tigers

It's been a long time without any real shrimp photos! Sorry guys!! So here to provide, I'm sharing some photos of my Royal Tigers with folks.

Let's do some crazy HQ photos for y'all.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Inert Substrate Trail/Experiment pt.2

It's been about a month into the trail and things are moving slow. Sorry folks! Partly (or mostly) due part to my laziness and RL commitments. It's been hectic with work and trying to figure out new living conditions. The  news is I might be moving to a different house by the end of the month. The downside is of course, I am limited on time and what I can do. The upside is once the move is finalize, I will have my own space and a larger allowance of space to have tanks!

As an update to the tanks, as a few folks are curious to know, the tap water used for cycling the tank has been completely drained and replaced by RODI mineralized with the Bianco products. I was testing the water the day after the water swap and noticed that the pH was climbing back into the neutral ranges (7pH).  Having already anticipated this would happen, I ordered Sera Super Peat to counteract the problem.  The super peat should serve as a temporary buffering agent for my tank while the tank develops it's down humic and fulvic acids which will enable it to buffer the pH on it's own.

A little thing I had not anticipate (and notes for those seeking to try this) is a means to utilize the peat effectively. I found out quickly that adding the peat to the canister filter was going to be a living nightmare! The seer amount of work needed to disconnect, remove, open, add the peat, reseal, reconnect and start the filter was overwhelming, to say the least!  So, I did a little brainstorming and opted to use a HOB filter as a media carrier for the 10G tank. A nice added benefit of having a HOB housing media is now I can more easily (and regularly) swap out old Purigen for new Purigen. At my parent's home, both my JRB and JBB have HOB and that's the same thing I do there. Tanks there looks nice cleaner and nicer than the ones at my GF's house. 

After adding the Sera Super Peat, the tank's pH dropped from 7.3 down to 6.9 over a 24hr period. I predict the drop in pH will continue throughout the week.  The current plan on the agenda is to move some moss already growing on a piece of DW up to the new tank. Also adding in some Amanos to clean the tank and moss up a bit before I add the cull JRB. I'm also planning on injecting more CO2 to get as much nice growth from the moss as possible before I have to dial back when JRB are inside.

Prior to adding Sera Super Peat
24hr after adding Sera Super Peat

Overall, I really enjoy the inert substrate.  Everything about this substrate so far has been nothing but positive. I love the look and the feel of the substrate and really enjoy the fact that I can so easily clean the substrate and not have to worry about it breaking down or kicking up mud from already broken down soil.  

Until next time! Cheers!

Monday, September 21, 2015

DIY Corner: Fan Power pt.2

Hi Folks!

Back with another update on the DIY Fan setup. Aftering using this fan for sometime and really seeing just how effective the cooling via PC fans was and how viable it is for folks living in hotter areas, I wanted to figure out how I could improve on an already effective method. 

I realized that I couldn't really do much to increase the cooling capacity, but I could work on finding an effective way to combat the evaporation for my tanks. Realizing that the fan's doesn't need to be in operation for 24/7 (or until I turned it off manually) I opted to find a smart solution.

I am very pleased to be introducing the brain-ware v1.0. This brain-ware is rigged to kickstart the fans at set temperature and auto on/off when the temperature is met. This allows the tanks to stay cool but eliminates the human need of constantly monitoring and topping off the tanks. 

The temperature probe is very effective at monitoring the tank's temperature and making sure the tank is never above set temperature. For all my tanks, I've rigged PC fans and the brainware to monitor each tank's temperature. 

To test how effective this brain-ware was at maintaining the correct temp, below are a few photos of my Ellen Wang tank kept cool by the brain-ware. 

Sunday was a very hot day. I wanted to test the extremes of the PC fans and brain-ware. 

Sunday's outside temperature was 100F.
100F Day

As you can see, with the PC and brain-ware, the Ellen Wang PRL tank is kept at a nice cool 73.9F

The probed indicated that the temp increased by .01F by the time I moved closer to the brain-ware to take photo.

The temp of the room with probe outside. 89.7F is no joking matter. This little fan has enough power to pull the tank's temp down from a balmy 89.7F to 73.9F without breaking a sweat! That's a 15.8 degrees drop! 

As you can see, not only is the PC effective ondays with upwards of 100F temps, the probe is very accurate at monitoring the temperature. It's on/off function is just fantastic and really gets the job done!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Inert Substrate Trail/Experiment

I've been a long time advocator of using active buffering substrate when keeping bee shrimps but as we all know, active substrate is pricy and can be very expensive. With prices ranging anywhere from $30-$40/bag, it can really add up depending on how many tanks and the size of tanks you want to setup.

As such, I wanted to try to find an alternative substrate that would be more cost efficient and that would allow me to better allocate my funds towards other things like more fancy shrimps or other fancier equipments. One of my goals with using Eco-Complete is to have a sustainable tank for years to come and avoid having to swap out the substrate as the buffering exhausts, something more commonly experience among those using active substrates. Myself, I've been using the same ADA Amazonia  for my 10 gallon PRL tank for roughly 3 years before needing to swap and restart the tank. My goal this time around is to avoid the hassle and have a tank sustainable nearly indefinitely. I believe having an active substrate tank for 3 years before needing to swap the entire tank is actually pretty good, but I'm not aiming for good this time. I'm aiming for perfection.  :)

After spending the better half of my Friday doing nothing but tank maintenances and tearing down the revamped tank, I am pretty happy to have the entire process completed and over. It was a lot of work to drain the water, net the shrimps, re-home the PRL, remove the substrate, clean the tank, and tint the tank. This was all done on a 91F day... it wasn't fun...

The Eco-Complete had a really smelly smell, so in the meantime, I will be cycling the tank with regular tap before I flush and seed it with RODI mineralized with the Bianco Products. Of course, this new tank will utilize the entire Shrimpy Daddy lineup.

Another goal I hope to prove (SD has already proved this, but I want to prove for myself) that it is doable to breed and maintain a thriving colony of bee shrimps (in this case my JRB) inside a inert tank.

The believe the first few months will be present a difficult situation as I try to maintain the tank's parameters (because I will not have the active substrate helping me) but as the tank matures it will slowly stabilize the work will be lesser on me.

As per usual, below pictures shows my tank setup in SD fashion. Please enjoy.

The Goods

Step 1: Cleaned Tank

Step 2: Revive Vita 

Step 3: The Sinewy Cereal S

Step 4: Revive Vivace

Step 5: Revive Minerals

Tank is filled, filter is hooked up, and light is turned on. I'll provide an update once I perform a flush to clean up the water inside the tank. It's currently very murky and unsightly. In the mean time, I'm going to even out the substrate in an increasing slope (for photo taking) and slur the substrate lightly while I'm at it. This will help release any gunky substrate stuck in the substrate. My plan is to be as eco-friendly as possible, and being that California is currently in a drought, I want to get the maximum results for the least amount of water used.  

PS: In hindsight, I'd probably should have gone with the Eco-Compete Flora Max which is the dried form of the Eco-Complete. It's a little bit better and probably easier for me and helps me avoid this murky look. Hmm....note for the future I suppose. 

Anywhose, cheers and thank you for reading! Stay tuned for my next update!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

DIY Corner: Fan Power!!

Hi Folks!

With the onset of summer in full swing, depending on where you're living, you may or may not be experiencing heat problems. I figure I make a short entry to help folks explore a different cooling method other than the typical cooling methods such as chillers (expensive), AC (also expensive and not every house has one), freezing ice bottles and adding it to your hot tanks (highly ineffective), and many other misc. methods. 

As we all know, summer can be a big issue for those living in places that experiences extreme temperatures. Myself, I am living in an almost desert like state, and our summer gets pretty..warm.. I usually dread the summer because all my hard work breeding and rearing my shrimps ends up dying due to the hot summer (also I hate the sticky icky summer and I have bad allergies).

As such, I wanted to share something that I've found to be extremely helpful at cooling and fending off the summer heat. I am a big advocator of using fans to air cool my tanks. Fans provide cooling to our tanks in the form of evaporation. If you can deal with this problem, then air cooling is a very efficient and cost effective way at dealing with the heat.

Clip on fans (Aquarium Fans, keyword ebay search) are very easy to find. If you're not techy, then I would highly recommend searching for an eBay auction and just buying a pre-assembled setup. Having been using the China made aquarium fans since 2014, I can confidently say that they work. Not only do they work, but they work pretty well. The only downside of the fans are that they are quite noisy, and the prices of individual units are high and can really add up of your an enthusiast with many tanks (as I am assuming you are if you're reading my blog). 

After buying 3x China made aquarium fans and spending nearly $120 for the lot, I figured there must be a more cost effective approach to cooling me fan. I figured that PC Fans wired into a DC power source is something not overly difficult and thus could be sourced and made in scale at very affordable prices. And so I started my search and planning. I wanted something that was aesthetically pleasing but had function and form to support.

Below is a prototype of what I came up with. This is a singular PC fan wired into a DC wall adapter. Unlike the China made fans that comes with a minimum of 2 fans, this single 80mm monstrosity is a single unit that packs enough cooling power as the 6x fans unit... no lie.... 

This is a 3-spd Antec 80mm fan that I found and decided to use as my prototype. This fan was small enough to be discrete but had enough power to cool a 20G long without much effort.

For the longest time I struggled to figure out how to attach the fan onto the tank. I found that it was too costly to have plastic fabricated to fit my aquarium. As such, I found a L-arm that provided the perfect fit. 

Wires all hidden behind the heat shrink cable and connector plugs. I'm all about aesthetics, so looks was an important factor to account for. If I couldn't achieve a nice looking cooling unit, then I would not pursuit this project in the first place. #1 Rule: Aesthetics

A closer look at the L-Arm that allowed for this entire project to happen. This little guy was the catalyst that made it all happen.  This serves as a very tight clamp and can be  modified to fit any size Rimless GLASS tanks under 40G.

The 3-spd controller. Another reason why I decided to opt for the Antec fan is because this particular unit allows the end user to set speeds at low, medium, and high. You may be wonder why this is important? Well, this factor is important because this single 80mm fan can be fitted for tanks as small as 4G all the way up to 25G. Having a speed controller will allow for less evaporation if fitted for a smaller tank. The cooling provided will be the same, but the low settings help cut down the evaporation. Additionally, on warm days, you can change the settings down to low and have the fan run all day and maintain the tank's cool temperature or set to high if rapid cooling is required. Lastly, the low - medium settings is very quite, unlike the China made fans. Suitable for bedroom tanks.

Photo of this unit clipped on the side of my 60P. It's very discreet and actually looks much better than the bulkier China made fans. 

Special thanks to my dear friend Gene for helping me understand how the rig this setup and for inspiring me to find a more cost effective approach to keeping my tanks cool.