Saturday, August 29, 2015

Inert Substrate Trail/Experiement


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. 

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. 

Observation:
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!!







Cheers!

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.

Observation:
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!

Cheers!