Month: January 2019

Aquarium – Part 1

Complete…

Today I planted out the tank with 11 plants, treated the water again with biological bacteria that will help stabilise the tank, help the plants utilise light, water, and nutrients from the fertiliser I add each day. This products also helps the breakdown of waste and nitrates. Once this was done I added 10 of my fish to the tank and left it there for a few hours. Again after a few hours added another 10, then finally this evening I transferred the final 10, 30 in total.

List of Fish

  • 2 x synodontis catfish
  • 1 x bala shark
  • 1 x tiger barb
  • 2 x tiger loach
  • 1 x weather loach
  • 2 x angelfish
  • 1 x pleco
  • 1 x blue dolphin
  • 2 x blue gourami
  • 2 x dwarf gourami
  • 2 x kissing gourami
  • 3 x sunset gourami
  • 2 x pearl gourami
  • 3 x cory
  • 1 x silver dollar
  • 2 x golden panchax
  • 2 x rainbow fish

Now that is done, I have turned off the heater, lights and the 2 reef wave makers to the old thanks and on Thursday I will drain it and start the cleaning process in order to get it ready for starting a marine tank. Although I know that the cleaning will take a good few weeks to ensure everything is spotless and free of any residue from the previous set up. Thankfully I have an aqua vacuum which means that side is easy enough, but the buildup of algae especially in the weir will be a tough part to clean. If you have never seen a weir, it is a closed off part of the tank at the back that water flows into before leaving the tank to flow through the sump tank and back up into the main tank. As mentioned I have had to leave the pump and air pump running as I do not fancy the water turning stagnant before I can empty and clean it.

I have 2 electric blue acara’s on order and with luck, I can collect them this weekend. Once they are in I do not think that I will be adding any more to it. Unless I can find something really special. I did fancy a disc fish, but they need a very quiet and peaceful tank. I also found freshwater stingrays, but apart from them starting at £300 and ranging up to £1200, they need very different tank mates, so that is out. I may put a snail or two in the tank as mentioned mine are breeding, so that would be a good relocation move. Although I would rather have my apple snails breed as they get rather big, and would suit the tank.

Tropical

Today I decided to pop to one of the reliable aquatic shops and look at tanks and was looking at a nice tank, but the sales guy Graham told me of another tank that was £50 more, but it was bigger, the filter heater and lighting was better, and all round a better-looking tank. I had a good look and it was rather stunning, so threw caution to the wind and bought it. I could have gone for shaped tanks, corner tanks, and orb ones, but decided to stay traditional.



I built the cabinet this afternoon, placed the tank on it and added the river sand, but need to get more for it as 10 kilos does not cover much. Everything is in position, so tomorrow I will go back and get some more river sand and 100 litres of RO water, then when home mix with another 100 litres of tap water, then leave all the equipment to run for a few weeks until it has fully cycled and all the levels are perfect. When this happens, I will remove about 20 litres of water and add 20 from my current tank to the new one, and let cycle for a few days and then move all the fish over.

Once this is all done then the hard work starts with the old tank. I will need to do a full clean of both the tank and the glass sump, get rid of all the stones install plastic “egg box” grid to support the rock features, add ocean sand, live rock, RO water, and more equipment. I also need to replace all the sump media too so it will not be cheap, but when it is done it should be stunning. I estimate it will take about 4 to 6 months to get it perfect, but I am more than happy to go slow, get it right, and most importantly no lose any livestock, anemonies or coral.

Once I have transferred the fish to the new tank I will post some photos, and of course, write about my experience of building a reef tank.

Marine

This week I went to the aquatic shop and got a few more fish for my large tank, and whilst there M and I had a look at all the marine fish, coral and anemones. What an incredible sight it was to see. I have visited this place many many times but never gone into this side as I had no reason as my tanks are all tropical. However, M decided to go and have a look, and when I had purchased my livestock called me through to have a look at some of the fish. As I mentioned, they were amazing, and it started me thinking again about setting up a marine reef tank.

The large tank I have was originally a marine reef tank of my Mum’s, however, I decided to use it for tropical. So, with that I have been thinking of getting another standard tank and putting it in the hall next to the spiral staircase and transferring all the fish to this, then cleaning out my reef tank and setting it back up as it was originally intended. I have found a few tanks that I like that come with cabinets. Some great bargains too, but wouldn’t you know, out of stock. I am going to visit a few of the aquatic stores to see what is available. I am not going to rush things either as the fish are perfectly happy in their home, so there is no need to make decisions in haste that I may regret at leisure.

Watch this space, who knows where this may go.

Kitchen Gadgets

I love my kitchen gadgets, and have many, from meat slicers to meat mincers, dehydrators to steam pressure ovens, you name it, I seem to have it. But, I have been looking at getting a Sous Vide water bath cooker. I have always fancied one, and I know that a lot of the top chefs use them. I admit I do have the vacuum sealer and lots of rolls of sealing bags, and I use this quite a lot, not only for preserving things but for when I freeze things too.

However, I have never gone to the expense of a Sous Vide cooker. Yes, a piece of steak may take 20 hours to cook, but the flavour is never lost, and quick flash fry in the pan to add colour makes it is the best steak ever. I dined at a 2 Michelin Star restaurant at the end of November, 17 courses, and I know that some of the food was prepared using the water bath method. Every course was quite literally to die for, and I do not say that lightly, it was a dining experience like no other.

My question to anyone out there who may have experience of a Sous Vide water bath, please let me know your thoughts, and for those that do not have experience, let me know your thoughts about it too. What should I do? Will it be a cupboard item? Is it worth getting and waiting for the perfect bite?

Answers on a postcard, or just below.

Expanding Library

In the words of Jim Carey, “Somebody Stop Me”.

I bought more books. I cannot help it, it is like an addiction. Anyway, this is what I bought today.

  • English: A Story of Marmite, Queueing and Weather – Ben Fogle
  • Up: My Life Journey to the Top of Everest – Ben Fogle
  • Blood for Blood – Victoria Selman
  • The Killer Collective – Barry Eisler

At this rate, I need to learn to read a book a day. I bought M some great books for Christmas too, 2 of which I would like to read, and my parents bought him the latest Churchill book “Churchill: Walking With Destiny”, which is another one that I want to read too. Maybe I should start practising my speed reading. Yes, I can speed read, but I prefer to go at a natural pace and take the book in, visualise what’s going on, and transfer the words to the movie projector in my mind. A prime example would be Bird Box by Josh Malerman, which I read in October, then watched the film in December and discovered the moved that played in my head from the book was far better than the actual movie itself.

Anyway, someone, please stop me from buying more books than I can possibly read in my lifetime, or send me a vampire to make me immortal.

Reading Challenge

So, in Goodreads, I pledged to read 30 books this year. I was thinking of only doing 20 as I have some really big books to read this year. I also have about 600 books that I still have not read sitting on bookcases about the house. We have bookcases near every room, and in all our halls, which we have 4. I do love books and am more than happy to sit and read all day every day, not that that is productive by any means, but if I could I would.

So far I have read one book, and I am part way through my next book, but being an avid reader does cause problems as I tend to have about 14 books on the go at any one time. I am also a Kindle lending library member, a Kindle unlimited member, Kindle first reads member, and I have access to ebook from the county library too. So all in all, if I never bought another book in my life, when I come to the end of my time on the planet I will still have shelves of books that I never got round to reading. Part of me feels sad about this, but I knew when I was in my early 20’s that I would never get to read all the book I ever wanted to before I died. Back then I could get through a most Stephen King novels in a weekend. I remember back when I was 21, one Saturday I went to Woolworths and bought James Herberts Creed, came home and hung off the end of my bed and read it from cover to cover (320 pages) that day. On saying that, at that time I was a big fan of James Herbert and Clive Barker, so I tended to consume books back then. These days I seem to have little time to read, and if I do get to sit down with a book, the dogs want to play, or generally, want to stop me from reading.

With a bit of determination, I will surpass this goal.

Happy New Year

Well, we made it, we are here in 2019, and thank god it’s here. No more eating empty calories, no more booze, not that we drank much at all, but boy did we eat, far too much. Even last night we had a Chinese takeaway, and it was nothing enjoyable, to be honest. We ended up feeling bloated and rotten. So, we only had a Guinness and a Baileys, and could not face another thing.

Last night we should have been celebrating like the rest of the planet, but no, I fell asleep about 9:30 on the sofa, woke up an hour later needing my bed. I didn’t go to bed but watched the rest of a film Mark was watching, and then went to bed just after 11pm. But, wouldn’t you know, I could not sleep, so I read until just after midnight. Talk about party people, we live the fast life here haha.

So, 2019. I have only one thing in mind I want to do, and that is to drop this extra weight off me. I weighed myself and I am 14 stone 7 pounds. I have the build to carry it, but I do have a bull look about me, in that, my belly does not hang over my jeans, just sticks out, bull-like.

So, back to the grindstone from tomorrow, and that is when the diet starts. I am not looking for a miracle, but if any of you out there can grant wishes, I would like a billion pounds sterling in my bank account, then I can hire Tom Hardy’s trainer and get into shape that way.

Anyway, welcome to 2019, and may I wish you all, the very best.

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