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. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Shrimp Spotlight: Japanese Red Bees pt.2

Hello Followers!

I am alive!! Few might already know, but as of recent, I've been occupied with another interests of mine - gaming. 

It's been nothing but work and gaming for me. My tanks and shrimps have been well kept and maintained but there was little to no time for photography. Now that I've satiated my interests with the game, I'm looping back and giving my shrimps and tanks more attention. This means.... more photos!!

And... one of the best welcoming back I can think of is.... an update on the currently happenings of my Japanese Red Bees colony. 

Adding to my last JRB observation, I've had some time to experience and observe their growth and I have to comment that although the babies do start off looking more off-red color, orange as I've stated, but this entry is to confirm that as they mature, their colors will darken and become crimson red. Again, the babies are maturing much faster than the typical Pure Red Lines and their adult size is more "jolly" than their Pure Red Line cousins. Whereas the PRL are more slender and "small" in stature and form, the JRB are rounder and more "wholly" appeal.

To comment on the colors of the white, as I know folks are curious to know, the color isn't completely "white". Unlike their PRL, JRB are off-white, almost pearly white color. It's a creamier color.  Additionally, I've noticing that my JRB have red swimmerets. Yes, RED SWIMMERETS! It just beautiful, and I've very excited to have caught it on photo.

Below are photos, please pardon my poor camera skills. The photos are unfocused as I am a bit rusty.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Photoburst: Moar Bees

Girlfriend is back in town. Spent the weekend hanging out with her after picking her up from the airport. It's nice to have her back. She'll help me greatly with this blogger. I'll give her a few days to rest then ask her to help me with my articles. 

I managed to get a few photos in during the week when I was at my parents for dinner. Hope you guys enjoy!!


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Shrimp Spotlight: Japanese RedBees

This is an observational update regarding the status of my Japanese RedBees. It's been roughly 3 months now since I've been back from my Japan trip and my Japanese RedBees have had 3 months to breed and grow inside my tanks. The adults survive the journey from Japan to USA and have bred successfully inside my tanks. I’m very happy to report that I am officially out of the “Red” or danger zone. Now that spring is in full swing, both my J.RedBees and J.BlackBees have kicked into full breeding mode. Both bees inside my 25G cubes are very active happy. All of my original female adults are berried.  Their ovens are operating at maximum efficiency although I have to comment that my J.BlackBees is just crushing it! My J.BlackBees colony has undergone a population explosion. The tank is FILLED with babies and young adults.  I feel like my J.RedBees need to play a little catching up if I want to have a strong population to cull by the end of fall 2015.

I've made note that J.BlackBees are all born with EXCELLENT colors, whereas the J.RedBees are born with exceptional whites but the red is a bit more of an orange color. At first I was curious and worried about the off-red color that I was experiencing BUT as they grow and mature their colors is darkening and becoming a more crimson color. I don’t know if this is a common thing amongst J.RedBees. Additionally, I have observe that the J.RedBees mature VERY quickly. What I mean to say is juveniles at 3 months are roughly a third of the fully mature adults. This isn't something that should be taken with a grain of salt as J.RedBees is much bigger, on average, than PRL. I don’t know what it is, but it would seem that their genetics dictate their growth to be fuller and bigger than your typical PRL. I have PRL roughly around the same age as my J.RedBees and they look nowhere near breeding size.  Breeding Size? Yes, I am saying breeding size because in the adjacent tank housing my J.BlackBees, babies of 3 month old have started mating and becoming berried.  Babies making babies, yo!

Thank you for reading!


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Shrimp Spotlight: Orange Eyes Blue Tigers (OEBT)

I did it! I finally devoted some time to my OEBT and got pictures of them. I've been making promises and was finally able to deliver. Sorry for the poor photos and low numbers, I'm still getting accustomed to taking photos in this new lighting enviroment and the awkwardness of the tank. I never realized just how difficult it was to take photos of shrimps inside a 20G long. Darn tank is so shallow the flash either penetrates the shrimp's flesh completely or the image is too dark!

A pale male

Babies & Adults feasting!

The Orange Eyes Blue Tiger tank is growing and growing at such a rapid place. I had forgotten just how prolific OEBT can be. I just love how active they are and have aggressively they feed. Having been keeping Crystal for so long, it's a refresher to keep Tigers and seeing their quirkiness. I love these little characters!

Moment of Truth - I feel like these guys could have MUCH better colors had they been living with me at my own place rather than at my parents.  Being unable to care and monitor them on a daily basis has really left them looking poor. These guys are overly neglected and it really shows in the way they look. To address this and hopefully fix it, I have since created a schedule for my parents to follow that I feel will help them recover some of their colors and reach their maximum potential.

I'm returning to my parents tomorrow to do my weekly waterchanges for my other tanks there and will give a 2nd attempt at trying to get photos of my more heavily berried females who are keen on hiding from me. They prefer to hang out in the back near the sponge filters on most occasions and so it is very difficult to take pictures of them. I'll try to lure them out with more food.

For folks interested to know about this tank. The OEBT are kept inside a 20G Long with an insert substrate (Eco-Complete) and is fully leveraging the Shrimpy Daddy Revive Bianco Mineralizers. Being that OEBT prefer a more basic water range, I used Reive Bianco Gamma to increase the KH thus increasing the PH of this tank.  I know folks have kept OEBT in a buffering substrate (ADA AS) and in more acidic parameters with a lot of success but I'm pursuing the inert substrate because I wanted something that could basically last my forever and never require substrate swapping. So far, the method is working and the shrimps are reacting positively. 

Future plans is to cull very heavily and aggressively to keep a OEBT tank with mainly blue - dark blue colored OEBT. One of the main reasons I decided to go with OEBT over Royals is because - 

1. OEBT were more widely available. 
2. OEBT costs much less and since I haven't kept Tigers in a long time, I wanted to get my feet wet before getting the more expensive Tigers.
3. OEBT with German bloodline will become rusted as they mature. 

I really like the rusted OEBT and since they're less commonly kept now than before, it was more appealing. I do plan on getting Royals or Black Diamond Tigers in the future, but I'm very happy with my OEBT currently.  Shoot me email if you are interested to know the exact parameters the OEBT are kept in.

Until next time!