Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Goodies from Japan!

It's been so lonely with the GF living in another country. I can only spend so much time playing card games (MTG) and watch Netflix before things become boring....

HOWEVER! One of the benefits of having a GF living in foreign land is... FOREIGN SNACKS AND CANDIES!!!

*ahem**ahem* Note: LARGE FLAT RATE BOX!
Y'all like Snacks??
Pretty amazeballs (of hazelnuts that is!! HHAHAH!)
...the many flavors of KitKat...
Purple Yam (Taro) was my favorite!
Lovely to receive snacks and get instructions NOT to share 
...these are amazing fluffy/sweet snacks...
Thank you and God bless. I appreciate the abundance of snacks and sweets that I will consume with vigor on my next shrimp photo session.

Sorry folks, no shrimpys pictures or updates today.. Today is dedicated to the snacks I've received.


PS: Photo picturing the fluffy sweets does not represent my hands. I have never painted my nails nor have plans on doing so. Those belong to the GF.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Photoburst: Japanese Red/Black Bees

It has been few weeks since my last update, so I figured I should update you guys with the happenings of my Japanese Red and Black Bees. I visited my parents for dinner and brought along the camera.  No beer this time around and no comfy chair, but managed to get some good photos!

I'm really happy with how fast the babies are growing and my JBB babies are quite big for only so recently been born. For being as big as they are, I find that they have exceptional colors. I have high hopes for them in the future. My RedBees have also given birth recently. Unfortunately, the RedBees gave birth much later than the BlackBees and so their babies are much smaller.  

Anyways, please enjoy.

Lovely Blue Faced JBB Momma

Another Blue Faced momma
...camera shy... 
LARGE and IN CHARGE!!! Busting out with dem eggs!
Baby Hinomaru BlackBee
Baby Hino No-Entry Blackbee (bro/sis of the buster above)

The only male that showed up for the party

I tried to get more photos of the RedBees but the three berried mommas were a bit camera shy today. Girls... what can you do, amirite? Hah! 

The dual cubes currently have a lot of babies with many more on the way (all 6 mommas are berried) so expect to see more posts featuring them as the main guest of honor.

Until next time! 


Friday, January 23, 2015

Photoburst: C'est Bee

It's a friday and the GF is in another country... Nothing left to do but grab a nice cold beer, find a comfy chair, setup the X-T1, and snap a few pictures.... Enjoy! ^.^

Captured the "defensive stance" pose
Big 'ol gal


Japanese call these "Mothra"

Artsy off-focus

Heard you guys like macros?

Fatty #1
Fatty #2
In regards to the most previous post and puzzle, I wanted to thank folks for participating and Infamouz23 for solving the puzzle! Great work Mr. Detective!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Photoburst: Fire // Ice


I figured I post up a photo of my Red/Blue Taiwan Bee for my followers to see as it's been a few days since my last post. The photo of the Blue Bolt is an old one and folks following me on forums might have already seen it, but Red Wine is a new photo taken today  The photo might seem a bit rushed as it's nearing my bed time (the ZzzQuil is kicking in and I'm starting to fall asleep) so please excuse the poor photo.

With regards to the Stainless Steel Wire rack housing my dual 10G rimless tanks, the newly added tank is now in the second week of it's cycling process and everything is so far so good. Nitrate and Nitrite are both at 0 ppm while Ammonia is still at 2p2 ppm which is pretty amazing for anyone with experience cycling ADA AS. I predict within a week the ammonia will drop off and the tank will be safe to add plants and shrimps. I'm going overdose the tank with CO2 and ferts so I can grow a centerpiece for that tank and then once moss and other assorted plants grows in and then dial the CO2 back and flush the tank before adding shrimps.

I also spent the past week setting up 3x 10G tanks for the rack at my parent's home. The folks seems to be really getting into shrimping as my parents are always so curious about their behavior observed during feeding. I'm going to devote this weekend to finishing up the rack by finally settting up the remaining 3x 10G tank. Total tank count for the rack will be 8 tanks. It's going to be a busy week!

PS: A small sidenote for my readers. A question/pizzle for you -

Scenario: The shrimps inside my 8gal Red Taiwan Bee tank has been breeding proactively for months now, even into the onset of winter. Since adding shrimps to this tank, I've experienced a total of 4 clutch release (births I should say) from the Red Taiwan Bee mothers. Of these 4 releases, only the first and last (most current) batches have shown signs of babies surviving.  Given that all else are the same, why is it take only the first and last batch of babies have survive. Parameters are kept EXACTLY the same.  This means PH, GH, KH, and TDS are all kept within the same parameters. Procedures such as bi-monthly water changes and fert dosage are kept the same.  First batch of babies released sometime near the ending of summer and the second/third batches of babies occurred during the onset of Fall.

Question: Why is it that only the first/last batch of babies have survived thus far? What could have happened during the second and third batches that would have caused babies to die?

Tip: Second batch of babies occurred during the end of fall and the third batch of babies occurred during onset of winter and while I was away in Japan. 

Answer: TO-BE-REVEALED!!! On next post.

Prize: Hmmmm. I'll add a prize for those that can make the correct guess.  Shrimp toys (those cool miniatures I have), shrimp foods, moss, or even live shrimp. I'll figure that out when the time nears, but it'll be awesome and fun. I promise! 

As always, thank you for reading!!


Monday, January 12, 2015

Rack: Dual 10g Setup

I haven't been feeling too well lately, maybe I'm coming down with a cold, but I was able to devote sometime during the weekend to setup a new tank and complete by dual 10G rack setup.

Both tanks are sitting on one of those stainless steel wire shelf (available from HomeDepot or any home important stores) with a custom cut piece of 1/2" plywood to evenly reinforce the stand.

Tank: 10 Gallon Rimless 
Filtration: Eheim 2213
Heater: Eheim 'Jager' 50Watt
Substrate: ADA Aquasoil - Amazonia

Step 1: Preparation

I start off by giving the tank a nice cleaning. My goal is to tint the back piece of glass of this tank so a nice cleaning with gloves to prevent fingerprint marks and oil from developing on the glass is required. I bought this tank from a local store in SF for a great price. This tank has curved fronts, but still sexy and for the price I bought it for is a major steal. Overall, tank costed me $20 which is really cheap for a rimless tank.

Step 2: Inspection

I turned the tank backside facing up to closely inspect the surface. I wanted to make sure that the surface was well prepared and ready for tint application. I decided to only use water for the tint (suppose to use water + soap) because I didn't want to risk soap residue getting into the tank and cause issues in the future.

Step 3: Application

Tint is carefully measured and cut to size. The tint is tricky to cut because window tint (the type I'm using) is sized for large windows. It's easy if you already have the measuring equipment but could prove tricky if you don't as cutting straight lines could prove challenging.  The tint was harder to apply because I wasn't using the soap method, but overall, I'm happy with the look and the outcome.

Step 4: Position

After applying the tint and drying the excess water, I positioned the tank into the allotted space on the rack.  It took awhile to get the perfect measurement from floor to tank top because I wanted to make waterchange as easy as possible, and in the past, I've always positioned my tanks so low to the floor that made siphoning water is impossible. This is a good thing to remember and must be accounted for when setting up tank on racks.

Step 5: Position take 2

I had to remove the top tank to position the light for the bottom tank. I had a stroke of genius and managed to hook the light mounting legs backwards and apply hooks to them to hold into place. This allows me to hang the light securely and safety on the rack. This hook method allows me to more easier remove the light for maintenance in the future and also hang the light further up as to prevent algae from forming I also took this opportunity to reposition the light rack to accommodate for the filters, CO2 and electrical plugs.

Step 6: Condition - Bacteria

The following 3 steps are conditioning steps that most successful shrimp keepers do to ensure their substrate is enriched to ensure long term success in shrimp breeding.

Drops seen on top are droplets of Revive Vita, a proprietary product designed and created by my friend, ShrimpyDaddy, given to me to cycle my tanks faster and provide long term successful with shrimp keeping. Revive Vita will give tank/substrate and supercharged start. In my previous experience with starting tanks with Revive Vita, I've been able to cycle a tank using ADA AS Amazonia in 2 week (pretty quick for anyone who knows how long it usually takes to cycle ADA AS).

Step 7: Condition - Minerals and Traces

In this stage of the setup, I'm applying minerals and trace elements to the base layer of the tank. I'm using Revive Minerals and Revive Vivace for my minerals and trace needs. Revive Minerals and Revive Vivace isn't only useful during setup, all my tanks are dosed weekly with these products to ensure shrimps are provided all the necessary nutrients they require to develop healthy shells.

Step 8: Condition - Bacteria Food

Given that you have bacteria ready to go, you need to remember you'll need to supply a food soruce for these bacteria. Because Revive Vita is comprised of many types of bacteria, we need to met the food demands for these bacterias.  Revive Sinewy S (powdered form) is sprinkled evenly on the base. Sinewy Cereal S product designed to be used as a food for your substrate.  What??  Food for substrate??... ya.. right..... NOPE, this is true. Think of a well established tank as a closed eco-system. You're keeping many more living things inside your tanks than just shrimps alone. A healthy substrate means you will have a healthy team of decomposers which in turns will mean you tank will break down wastes more efficiently and prevent those random colony collapse many folks experience.

Step 9: Fill

Time for the tank to be filled with substrate. The tank is filled in a sloping manner. I have the tank as 6cm in the front sloping to 8cm in the back. After the substrate compacts, I'll be left with 4cm and 6cm, respectively. 

Why Slope? - Sloping a substrate is a great way to ensure you have the ideal setup for taking photos of your shrimps in the future. Sloping and moving the substrate becomes impossible once shrimps are moved into the tank. It's always best to do sloping during the early setup stages.

Step 10: Flush

Now that the tank is all setup, it's time to fill and flush. ADA Aquasoil series has a lot dust during the initial setup. This means you'll need to flush the tank a few times to clear up the murky water. After the subsequent flushes, the tank will be crystal clear and cycling can start.

Filters all hooked up and equipment plugged in. The tank will be cycling in 82-86F temp for the next few weeks. Remember how Revive Vita contains many strains of bacteria? Well, these stains of bacteria do best in warmer waters. They're activated in warmer waters so this should be considered the most important step.

REMEMBER: Add Activated Carbon to your filter for the 1st week to absorb harmful substances leaching out of the substrate. This will also help your cycle. 

Thank you for reading.

Will update when tank is cycled!!

Cheers ^.^

Monday, January 5, 2015

Shrimp Spotlight: Ruby Red Taiwan Bee

Today is a bad day as I'm feeling a little under the weather, so i'll make today's post brief. I really like the Ruby Red Taiwan Bee. If you remember, I had a clutch hatch a month back, unfortunately, all babies died off except a Red Bolt. I'm still trying to diagnose what the problem is, but the tank has a low baby survival rate. Very interesting stuff! I'm formulating a hypothesis that I will put forth to the test on this current clutch. We'll see how it goes.

Thank you for reading!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Shrimp Spotlight: More Fan's Pure Red Line

A few more photos of my Pure Red Line. The lighting is darker in these photos because the tank is heavy planted and the leaf coverage at the top of the tank rendering my flash and flash equipment useless. Because of this, I do apologize for the darker than normal photos. I've been posting a lot of photos of my PRL instead of my Japanese Red Bees because the JRB are living inside the 25 gallon cube setup at my parents home while the PRL lives with me and so becomes more readily available participants of my photoshoots. I'll make plans to visit my parents this weekend so I can take some photos of the Japanese Red Bees and Japanese Black Bees for you folks.

Thank you for reading! Cheers!!

Monday, December 29, 2014

PhotoBurst: Fan's Pure Red Line

Mature PRL
Tiger Tooth ;..;
Sexy Red Legged PRL
These guys are the results of my own doing. Initially started off as Xin/Feather PRL but I've spent a lot of work improving their colors. I'm quite proud of their colors. I would rate these guys S grade PRL as their colors could be better. I will continue to work on improving their colors and intensity. 


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Japan: Adventure at Lowkeys-Osaka location

Store: Lowkeys
Location: Osaka HQ
Specialty: Japanese Red Bees, Japanese Black Bees, Pintos, and Taiwan Bees

This post entry is a few days overdue, but it has been a busy week with the Christmas hitting us and me getting situated back at work and a few other shrimp related matter that required my immediate attention so I do apologize.  

One of the last shrimp related things I did while in Japan was visiting Lowkeys HQ in Osaka. This store is truly a shrimp lover's paradise. This store has literally has a HUNDRED tanks filled to the brim with shrimps. When I entered the store, workers were busily packaging shrimps in boxes and marking them to be shipped (which I assumed to be shipped all over Japan). The store comprised of 5 workers who were all busily running around helping customers and do other shrimp related things. The walls of the store was stacked with shrimp related goodies (foods, toys, accessories), and just a ton of tanks. Lowkeys Osaka really knows how to do shrimp racks, it contained the most beautiful shrimp rack I've ever seen. The rack is stainless steel painted gun-metal color (similar to the ADA Stands) and was just perfectly fitting their small tanks. Everything just looks wonderful and so well thought out.

The trek to find Lowkeys Osaka (similar to Lowkeys Tokyo) proved to be difficult, albeit, not as difficult as locating Lowkeys Tokyo. The store was located on the main street, which is very easy to spot once we figured out the path to take from the trains to the main roads. Walking was roughly 20 mins, but it was well worth it.  

Store Front
This store isn't as big as some stores I've seen in HK but it definitely has the most tanks and the widest selection of shrimps and products. This store is just wonder and there's nothing else I could really say to describe the feeling of being in Japan's #1 hot spot for any and all things shrimps. The store is divided in 4 walls filled with shrimp tanks (basically encompassing the entire store) with stands and racks of shrimp products and shrimp goodies littered in between these tanks.

Please enjoy and share my experiences at Lowkeys Osaka captured in the photos below.

Very happy
Lowkey's Motto

Happy customer picking he/her shrimp

Lowkey's Main Display Tank

Huge Mix and Match of shrimps... Mainly TBs..

Told the GF to go wild with my camera ^.^
...spotted... *smile*...
A tank filled with ¥50000 shrimps.. SOLD OUT!
The store's mascot and me

Reminder to myself that I bought 3 JBB at ¥30000 each
This area is dedicated for TB, Pintos, and Tigers.. very small selection

JRB I hand picked from their best tank ^^
These guys were among the best of the best!
Spotted-Head Pintos

Black Diamond Tigers (not to be confused with Royal Tigers)

More JRB
hmmm..more JRB...

Makes you wonder why you'd keep PRL.. LOL!!
Japanese Pride. I love Japanese Red Bees!!!
These guys would CRUSH any HK/TW PRL any day
Mascot patrolling
Well deserved lunch break
Initially, my plan was to visit Lowkeys Osaka, Aqua Tailors and Samurai Jeans while I was in Osaka but because of the schedule I had to cut Aqua Tailors' visit out of the itinerary. Because Aqua Tailors and Lowkeys has a partnership, I felt it was time better spent visiting Lowkeys (the store is bigger and the main HQ) instead of Aqua Tailors, but I would definitely visit Aqua Tailors on my next trip to Japan.   

The staff and us
Some funny outtakes of my adventure.

GF thought the one piece jumpsuit was funny.. I'm a fan of one piece ^.^
My second passion... raw denim.. yum.

took the female staff 5 times to get a great photo!  Dang her finger!!
Overall, I was really satisfied with having the opportunity to visit Lowkeys Osaka. I'm happy that I got a chance to see this wonderful store and their wonderful tanks filled with shrimps. The staff were wonderful and I would love to visit this store again on my next Japan trip. 

Thank you for reading and following! Cheers!!